International Community Must Protect Innocent Palestinians
The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH) urges the international community to take immediate and concrete steps to stop Israel’s state terrorism against the Palestinian people, and protect innocent Palestinian lives.
Within the past 24 hours only, Israeli occupation forces have killed 14 HUMAN BEINGS, including 7 members of the same family, 3 of whom are children (aged one, three, and ten). The Palestinian family had been enjoying a day out at the Sudaniyya seaside in the northern Gaza Strip yesterday, Friday, 9 June, when an Israeli navy vessel fired 3 shells at them, leaving all but one member of the family dead. 7 other Palestinians were killed in various Israeli raids across the Gaza Strip, in addition to at least 40 injuries.
Initial Israeli reactions to the brutal massacre at Sudaniyya have dismissed the seriousness of the murders by adopting ambiguous and misleading language. “The Israeli military confirmed that the navy had fired onto the beach but said it was believed the deaths were caused by shelling and not from the gunboats.” (AP) Official Israeli statements included meaningless assertions that “…the incident will be clarified" and that "…our [Israel’s] purpose was not to kill women and children."
Israel’s “purpose” behind the attacks will not reverse the fact that 7 innocent Palestinian civilians have been killed; that 7 unarmed human beings were directly targeted by a military gunboat; that, practically, an entire Palestinian family has been wiped out by the Israeli army, not for posing any threat to Israel’s security, not for carrying out “terrorist” attacks against Israel, but for simply attempting to enjoy one day together at the beach.
What added more insult to injury are the US State Department’s (Sean McCormak’s) statements following the massacre, calling on “…Israelis and Palestinians to show MUTUAL RESTRAINT and avoid actions that could increase tensions,” and on the Palestinian Authority “…to prevent all acts of terrorism, including the firing of missiles and rockets from Gaza.”
It is nothing short of hypocrisy that such shameful statements and positions are adopted by high ranking officials from the Bush Administration, which equally dismiss the killing of innocent civilians and fall short of the minimal standards of responsibility and human decency expected from a self-proclaimed champion for “freedom, democracy, and justice.”
MIFTAH urges the international community, in particular the Middle East Quartet, to hold Israel accountable for its war crimes against the Palestinians, to take immediate measures to protect Palestinian civilians, and to end the economic and diplomatic isolation of the Palestinian people.