At this moment, we are witnessing crimes against humanity in Gaza. More than two million people are being denied food, water, and electricity, and their hospitals are being bombed and infrastructure destroyed, all with the express purpose of ethnic cleansing—to push the population of Gaza into the Sinai.
Innocent Israeli lives were lost on Oct. 7 and should be mourned, but as Stefanie Fox, the director for Jewish Voices for Peace, stated, “Reality is shaped by when you start the clock, you know, and while the Israeli government may have just declared war, its war on Palestine started 75 years ago.”
Just before the official creation of the state of Israel in May 1948, Zionist paramilitary groups murdered hundreds of Palestinians in Deir Yassin and terrified surrounding villagers enough that 750,000 Palestinians fled from their homes. They were never allowed to return.
In 1967 Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza and subjected the population to an apartheid system with massive restrictions on movement, imprisonment without any charges (called administrative detention), destruction of homes, and torture. After the election of Hamas in Gaza in 2006, Israel completely sealed Gaza’s borders and blockaded the travel of people and goods to and from Zaza, effectively rendering it an “open air prison.”
There is no military solution for peace because there can be no peace in a settler colonial state. As the rabbinical council for Jewish Voices for Peace stated, “We look to a future of peace, justice, freedom and dignity. This means, among other things, that Israel ends the blockade of Gaza, ends the occupation of the West Bank, takes down the walls, and dismantles the apartheid system.”
Palestine, like Algeria, Angola, and Vietnam, nations that have decolonized, is on the right side of history. South Africa became a democratic nation in 1994 without the expulsion of any population and so can Palestine and Israel.
Please call your local representatives in Congress and the Senate and ask them to stop supporting the genocide in Gaza.
– Submitted by a UF faculty member who wished to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions