TO ITALIAN POLITICIANS and not only to them

from Luisa Morgantini
Vice President of the European Parliament

Rome, 3rd January 2009

Not a word, not a thought, not a sign of grief for the hundreds of people killed, women, children, the elderly and Hamas militants,also them persons. Homes, entire buildings, ministries, schools, pharmacies, and police stations gutted. Where has our humanity gone? Where are the Veltronis, with their “I care”? How can you be silent about or defend the Israeli policy of aggression?  The people of Gaza and the West Bank, all Palestinians, pay the price of the failure of the international community to oblige Israel to respect international law, and to halt its politics of colonialism. Certainly, by launching rockets, Hamas generates fear and is a threat against the Israeli civilian population, unlawful actions that are to be condemned. They must by stopped. But enough with the impunity of Israel and the blackmailing by its leaders.
Since 1967, Israel has militarily occupied the Palestinian territories; a brutal and colonial occupation. The theft of land; the demolition of houses; checkpoints where Palestinians are treated with contempt, beaten, humiliated; colonies that grow alarmingly, taking over land and water resources, destroying crops. Thousands of political prisoners, who are even denied visits by family members. But you political leaders, have you ever seen the desperation of a Palestinian farmer who embraces his olive tree while a bulldozer uproots it and while soldiers beat him with their rifles to force him to let it go?  Or a woman giving birth behind a rock, whose husband cuts the baby’s umbilical cord with a stone because Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint do not allow them to cross to reach the hospital? Or Um Kamel, evicted from her home bought through sacrifice because Jewish fanatics not Holocaust survivors but from Brooklyn – thinking that this land and therefore this house is their divine right, entered her house by force and occupied it because they want to build another Jewish colony in this Arab quarter of Jerusalem? Have you ever seen the children of the villages surrounding Tuwani in the south of Hebron who, in order to go to school, must walk for more than an hour and a half because a settlement lies along the direct road from their villages to the school, and whose inhabitants beat and assault the children? Or the shepherds of Tuwani who find their water tanks or their sheep poisoned by fanatical settlers? Or the city of Hebron, reduced to a ghost town because 400 settlers live in the old city defended by several thousand soldiers, having chased out thousands of Palestinians, forcing them to close more than 870 shops? Have you seen the wall that cuts through streets and neighborhoods; that steals land from villages; that separates Palestinians from Palestinians; that annexes fertile land and water resources to Israel; a wall deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice? Have you seen the cancer patients waiting at the Eretz crossing, turned back for ‘security reasons’?  In the last 19 months, 283 people have died from a lack of medical care that they should have received at hospitals abroad, but who were not allowed to pass despite receiving guarantees from Israeli doctors from the group ‘Physicians for Human Rights.’  Have you felt the cold of the icy Gazan nights that penetrates the bones, because there is no heating and no light?  Or premature babies born at the Shifa Hospital, whose little bodies want to live but who will die after just thirty minutes without electricity? Have you seen the fear and terror in the eyes of children, their bodies torn apart? Certainly, the fear of the children of Sderot is no different, and rockets can also kill, but at least they have somewhere to take shelter, and fortunately, they have never seen buildings gutted, dozens of dead bodies around them, or airplanes that carpet-bomb them.  One death is enough to say no, but proportionality also counts, and since 2002, 20 people have been killed in rocket attacks by Palestinian extremists.  Too many, but at the same time, thousands and thousands of homes have been destroyed in Gaza, and more than 3,000 Gazans have been killed, including hundreds of children who played no part in the firing of rockets.
After the demonstrations in Milan where Israeli flags were burned, you political leaders all expressed your outrage, you shouted out your condemnation. You have every right. I do not burn the flags of Israeli nor of other countries, and I think that Israel has a right to exist as a normal State, a state for its citizens, along the 1967 borders, much wider than those of the partition plan passed by the United Nations in 1947. But I would have liked to hear your outrage and your humanity, and to hear you shouting for the pain of so many deaths and so much destruction, for such arrogance, for so much inhumanity, for so many violations of international and humanitarian law.  I would have liked to hear you tell the Israeli government: cease your fire, end the siege on Gaza, stop the construction of settlements in the West Bank, end the military occupation, respect and implement the United Nations resolutions.  This is the way to remove any room for fundamentalism and threats against Israel.
And listen to the thousands of Israelis in Tel Aviv, they are saying: we refuse to be enemies, stop the occupation, stop the massacre.
My God, what a terrible world we live in!

This article is available in Italian too