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Israeli Assault on Gaza is Murder, Not “Defense"

It was with the greatest sadness, mixed with frustration, and a sense of helplessness, that many people around the world, myself included, watched on television the horrific scenes of death and destruction perpetrated, yet again, by the Israeli military assault on Gaza and its besieged, mostly young, population.

The question on many people lips is; ‘When is the Israel government going to stop this bombing and continual warfare and threat of war against the Palestinians, and its neighbors, and admit that there will be no military solution to the Palestinian Occupation, and begin to talk seriously with their enemies in order to solve these problems, for the sake of Israelis, the Palestinians, the Middle East and indeed the whole world?!”

Watching Israeli bombs land on Gaza and hearing the death toll rise to nearly 150 Palestinians with countless people injured (including the Israeli targeted assassination of a Hamas leader), in spite of Israeli and Western media propaganda, most people around the world realize that this is simply Israel’s continuation of its policies of war, illegal occupation of Palestine, ongoing siege of Gaza, and illegal building of settlements on Palestinian land.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu argues Israel’s “Right to Defense” and the Obama Administration continues, yet again, to support this bogus claim, and pledges to oppose those who would question Israel’s illegal policies. The Israeli government and its military do not have the right to carry out indiscriminate bombing and killing of Palestinian civilians.

Under international law, no government has a legal right to do so.


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Israel has an obligation to abide by international law and uphold the rights of the Palestinian people. Since they refuse to do so, third party governments have a legal responsibility to take action and see that Israel is not allowed to act with impunity.

The retaliation of Palestinian militants with rockets, meanwhile, is a crime against the Israeli people, and serves to create terror and fear in the Israeli families living along the Gaza border. These actions are illegal, but also counter-productive, setting back the efforts for a peaceful solution. (Once, while waiting at the Eretz crossing in Jerusalem, I witnessed one of those Palestinian projectiles fly overhead from Gaza and drop in a field beside me. Almost simultaneously, an Israeli jet fighter flew overhead to Gaza and dropped bombs.)

Many Israelis and Palestinians know that there is a non-military solution available which can break this vicious cycle of violence. What is missing is the serious “political will” of the Israeli government to be brave, to have courage, to move from militarism and war to nonviolent solutions, and for the Western powers to insist that Israel does so and upholds international law.

The Israeli and Palestinian people can lead the way through their own nonviolent movements, and we can support them through the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” campaign, to help bring about real, nonviolent political change. We can all do something for peace in the Middle East. Indeed, we all have to do what we can to help end the occupation, the bombing attacks and killings, so that peace will have a chance.

Mairead Maguire

Mairead Maguire

Mairead Corrigan Maguire won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book, The Vision of Peace (edited by John Dear, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See:

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