Printed with Permission of the UN.
Your Excellency Mr. Ban,
I am writing to you as a Palestinian Canadian mother, Associate Professor in Philosophy of Education, and peace activist.
What is happening in Gaza against the Palestinian people is a vicious war crime that needs to be condemned in the strongest language. The United Nations failed to deliver this condemnation for two and a half weeks while the Palestinian civilians, elderly, women, children, and men were being methodically exterminated in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli army through a tripartite bombardment from land, sea and air.
Whole neighborhoods were leveled to the ground, buildings were demolished on the top of people living in them and whole families died together, schools – where people had taken shelter – were bombarded fiercely, children playing on the beech were bombed to death, and fifty children playing in a park on the swings were targeted, ten of whom were killed and forty of whom were injured! These children went out on a leap of faith, they believed that on Eid Day – during a ceasefire – they would be protected by international law and there would be no bombardment!
In the year 2014, it is appropriate to say that what Israel is committing is not just a terrible genocide but deliberate ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. While all of this was happening, the UN kept silent (very disappointing and looks like a conspiracy of silence; it is also against the ethos and mandate of the UN); then, shockingly, we heard – I am not sure if what was relayed was accurate – that someone in the UN had insinuated that “Hamas” fighters were using UN schools to launch rockets!!!! First of all, this cannot be true and does not make any sense at all; this is merely Israel’s way of rationalizing violence; second, all Palestinians are resisting in Gaza which has been under total blockade for seven full years! So, saying something like that is very irresponsible and would give Israel the permission and rationale it needs – not that it heeds what the world thinks – to bombard those very schools, which is exactly what happened!!! Let us not forget that Israel has the third strongest army in the world and that it uses lethal weapons on civilians – we know that from the Lebanese experience also.
When the Israelis indeed conducted the evil act of bombarding what remained of the UNRWA schools (as well as many hospitals), finally one of the highest officials of the United Nations condemned the Israeli bombardment particularly since it led to the killing of ten United Nations employees on the ground in those UNRWA schools.
I am writing on behalf of many friends, mothers, Palestinian females in our communities in diaspora all over the world. Many women who agree with what I am saying are peace activists and friends, including Jewish women who are anti-Zionist. Please help in stopping this blood bath in Gaza. The United Nations needs to be more proactive in its condemnation of Israeli attacks on civilians. The United Nations ought to have spoken up much earlier during the fierce long blockade of seven years where Gazans had not been allowed to live with any dignity: not allowed to plant, to fish, to travel or trade, to go to university, to work, to do anything that other peoples of the world do normally and to which they are entitled as per the inalienable human, legal, and civil rights of all citizens of the world.
Please note that 312 Palestinian children died during the terrorist bombardment by Israel of Gaza. Please note that the number of martyred civilians has reached 1500. Please note that the number of injured civilians has risen to 6700! Please note that to date not a single Israeli child has died and that the Palestinian resistance has targeted soldiers only and not even settlers! Please note that there is a HUGE HUMANITARIAN Crisis in Gaza! No electricity, no water, no food, and the air is becoming so polluted with the stench of death since Israel does not allow access to certain areas like Khuzaia or Beit Hanoon and bodies cannot be retrieved…Please note that Israel has continued to bomb ambulances all through and killed many medical personnel as well as journalists. Please note that the little bodies of children cannot fend off such violence: they need you and the UN to protect them while politicians bicker about details! Just now I heard on TV that Rafah has been declared a restricted area by the Israelis and they just bombed an ambulance! They also bombed a market in Rafah! The massacres continue as I write this!!! A hospital in Rafah which took five years to build has been targeted for bombing – one of the journalists just said right now on TV – according to messages sent by the IDF!!! This is an ongoing genocide!!
The United Nations is the one organization that can raise the red flag regarding the barbaric way Israel is conducting this war on a population of one and a half million people living in a big concentration camp in Gaza, the area of which is150 sq. kilometers! Please help stop the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and please stand on the right side of history by condemning Israeli Apartheid. Apartheid had to be dismantled in South Africa and as long as Israel continues with its apartheid policies there can be no peaceful solution to the Palestine-Israeli Conflict.
Thank you for your attention
Dr Samia Costandi
Associate Professor in Philosophy of Education