Don’t shut your eyes to this picture because WE did this. Now we have to make it right

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Amazing isn’t it?

We can all stomach endless grainy video images of boatloads of people drowning in the sea.

Yes, we’ll huff and puff a bit about how awful it is, but then we quickly get back to our own comparatively comfortable, non-drowning lives.

Yet one pin-sharp image of a three-year-old boy washed up on the shoreline and we stop and shudder in collective horror.

A horror that lingers, that cuts deep into our consciousness, that is far harder to casually etch from the mind.

I can’t stop thinking about Aylan Kurdi and I’m damn sure you can’t either if you’ve seen the photo.

Not the one of him being carried away by the Turkish police officer, because that conveys an air of humanity and kindness.

No, the photo I can’t stop thinking about it is the one of Aylan lying face down on the edge of the water.

His small dead body being lapped by the cold surf.

His soaking red T-shirt pulled half way up.

His pants crunched.

His tiny shoes baring their sodden soles to the sky.

Further down the beach lay his brother Galip, aged just five.

Their mother is also believed to have perished.

In total, 12 Syrian refugees lost their lives in this tragedy.

They’d been packed onto a tiny boat that set off from Bodrum in Turkey for Kos in Greece, a hazardous 5km journey that represented their best chance of reaching Europe.

Aylan’s family fled Kobane in Syria last year to escape the Islamic State, a group that delights in beheading, torturing, shooting and setting fire to anyone that displeases them.

And a group that wouldn’t now have such an iron grip in Syria were it not for the appalling, shockingly shameful decision by the United States and its chief ally Britain to invade Iraq in 2003 with lies and deception (actual reason for invasion – OIL) – the war that started the region’s slide into barbarity.

The barbarity Aylan and his family were trying to flee.

They, and millions like them in Syria, aren’t ‘migrants’, as so many ill-informed people on social media seem to think, and as some in mainstream media disingenuously encourage us to think.

They’re not trying to pursue a better economic life for themselves, something which is perfectly acceptable but which should be liable to strict immigration checks and balances.

No, they’re trying to save their lives.

They’re fleeing a country so ravaged by five years of war that it now resembles an inferno of hell.

Sixty per cent of all the refugees met by the International Rescue Committee on the Greek Islands are from Syria.

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They are refugees in the purest sense of that word.

People so desperate that they will risk death to seek sanctuary.

Imagine being Aylan’s parents as they paid their last savings over to some cut-throat mercenary in a final effort to make their kids safe again.

I have four children and if I had been in that situation, I’d have done exactly the same. Hoping and praying that if I made it to Greece, then somebody with a heart would help us.

Where is our heart now?

What have we become if we can’t deal with this tidal wave of despair?

Let’s be clear: we have a moral, ethical and legal duty to help them.

Syria is not one country’s nor one continent’s problem.

It’s everyone’s problem.

The repercussions of that conflict have had a direct impact on the security and finances of everywhere else in the world.

So what are we all doing about it?

Britain has taken in just a few hundred Syrian refugees so far, and Prime Minister David Cameron seems shamefully reluctant to increase that commitment.

This from a nation that went to war in Iraq on the spurious trumped up pretext of Saddam Hussein having WMDs. A totally unnecessary war that stirred up the hornet’s nest out of which ISIS and its barbaric ilk have emerged and thrived.

WE are thus largely to blame for this fiasco, and WE must take responsibility for the innocent victims of it.

America is just as culpable.

Since the Syrian conflict started, the United States has taken precisely 1,234 refugees.

Think about that for a moment. In fact, think about it for several long moments.

Because it’s an absolute bloody disgrace.

These people are fleeing the very mayhem which America and Britain helped create.

Yet neither the UK nor U.S. governments seem to give a damn about them.

The US State Department announced last week a new target of taking in up to 8,000 Syrian refugees in 2016.

To which my response is: PATHETIC.

Compare and contrast to Germany, the most powerful country in Europe.

It has pledged to take in 800,000.

That’s 100 times as many as the world’s most powerful country.

And that’s called proper leadership in the face of one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our times.

Cameron and Obama love to act the big brave boys on the global stage when it comes to standing up to terrorism.

They’ll order fighter jets and drones to rain down bombs on people’s heads.

Yet when it comes to stopping little children dying as they try and escape both the same terrorism and the military efforts to combat it, the same two men have shown themselves to be little more than timid, callous cowards.

Today, there is as much fevered debate about whether news organisations should have published the image of Aylan as there is as to what caused him to be dead in the first place.

We saw the same argument last week when a young female TV journalist and her cameraman were shot dead live on air.

‘We can’t publish the pictures because they are too horrendous!’ came the cry.

Yet that’s exactly why we should publish them.

As with that diabolical ISIS video of them setting on fire and killing a Jordanian pilot trapped in a cage, sometimes we need to SEE the full horror to fully understand it and be shocked enough to act on it.

The civil rights movement changed irrevocably in the ‘50s when a young black boy named Emmet Till was brutally mutilated and murdered by the Ku Klux Klan and his mother insisted on a public funeral with an open casket, allowing the world to see exactly what these evil bastards had done to her son.

I believe that if Americans had been allowed to see images from inside Sandy Hook school after the massacre of 20 young children in 2012, then new draconian gun laws would have been implemented within months.

(One family member told me each child was shot three to 11 times and each bullet wound was the size of a golf ball. Think the NRA could spin their way out of those pictures?)

Dramatic pictures have always told a thousand words, sometimes a million.

And this one of Aylan Kurdi is no different.

Look at it, digest it, recoil from it, get angered by it, shed a tear over it, and demand action from your politicians across the globe.

We owe it to Aylan to stop this cruel madness, and to stop it fast.

Because if we don’t, many more young kids will be washed up on the shores.

And their fresh young blood will be on all our hands.

Or should I say, even more of it.

Amazing account of an Israeli mother speaking on behalf of the Palestinian women

Nurit Peled-Elhanan is an amazing woman! The daughter of  Israeli general, Matti Peled, we might have assumed that she’d become a hardliner in the establishment. Moreover, with her daughter being killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber in 1997, we would understand if she became contemptuous towards all Palestinians and their cause.

Somehow this amazing woman has not only overcome any bitterness towards her Palestinian neighbours. She has become a leading advocate of Palestinian rights. Her speech before the European Parliament, given on ‘International Women’s Day’ in Strasbourg, says it all!

Dr Nurit Peled-Elhanan

Thank you for inviting me to this today. It is always an honour and a pleasure to be here, among you (at the European Parliament).

However, I must admit I believe you should have invited a Palestinian woman at my stead, because the women who suffer most from violence in my county are the Palestinian women. And I would like to dedicate my speech to Miriam R’aban and her husband Kamal, from Bet Lahiya in the Gaza strip, whose five small children were killed by Israeli soldiers while picking strawberries at the family`s strawberry field. No one will ever stand trial for this murder.

When I asked the people who invited me here why didn’t they invite a Palestinian woman, the answer was that it would make the discussion too localized.

I don’t know what is non-localized violence. Racism and discrimination may be theoretical concepts and universal phenomena but their impact is always local, and real. Pain is local, humiliation, sexual abuse, torture and death, are all very local, and so are the scars.

It is true, unfortunately, that the local violence inflicted on Palestinian women by the government of Israel and the Israeli army, has expanded around the globe, In fact, state violence and army violence, individual and collective violence, are the lot of Muslim women today, not only in Palestine but wherever the “enlightened” western world is setting its big imperialistic foot. It is violence which is hardly ever addressed and which is halfheartedly condoned by most people in Europe and in the USA.

This is because the so-called free world is afraid of the Muslim womb.

Great France of “la liberte égalite et la fraternite” is scared of little girls with head scarves. Great Jewish Israel is afraid of the Muslim womb which its ministers call a demographic threat.

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Almighty America and Great Britain are infecting their respective citizens with blind fear of the Muslims, who are depicted as vile, primitive and blood-thirsty, apart from their being non-democratic, chauvinistic and mass producers of future terrorists. This in spite of the fact that the people who are destroying the world today are not Muslim. One of them is a devout Christian, one is Anglican and one is a non-devout Jew (zionists).

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I have never experienced the suffering Palestinian women undergo every day, every hour, I don’t know the kind of violence that turns a woman’s life into constant hell. This daily physical and mental torture of women who are deprived of their basic human rights and needs of privacy and dignity, women whose homes are broken into at any moment of day and night, who are ordered at a gun-point to strip naked in front of strangers and their own children, whose houses are demolished , who are deprived of their livelihood and of any normal family life. This is not part of my personal ordeal.

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But I am a victim of violence against women insofar as violence against children is actually violence against mothers. Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan women are my sisters because we are all at the grip of the same unscrupulous criminals who call themselves “Leaders of the free enlightened world” and in the name of this freedom and enlightenment rob us of our children.

Furthermore, Israeli, American, Italian and British mothers have been for the most part violently blinded and brainwashed to such a degree that they cannot realize their only sisters, their only allies in the world are the Muslim Palestinian, Iraqi or Afghani mothers, whose children are killed by our children or who blow themselves to pieces with our sons and daughters. They are all mind-infected by the same viruses engendered by politicians. And the (western) viruses , though they may have various illustrious names–such as Democracy, Patriotism, G-d, Homeland–are all the same. They are all part of false and fake ideologies that are meant to enrich the rich and to empower the powerful.

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We are all the victims of mental, psychological and cultural violence that turn us to one homogenic group of bereaved or potentially bereaved mothers. Western mothers who are taught to believe their uterus is a national asset just like they are taught to believe that the Muslim uterus is an international threat. They are educated not to cry out: `I gave him birth, I breast fed him, he is mine, and I will not let him be the one whose life is cheaper than oil, whose future is less worth than a piece of land.`

All of us are terrorized by mind-infecting education to believe all we can do is either pray for our sons to come back home or be proud of their dead bodies.

And all of us were brought up to bear all this silently, to contain our fear and frustration, to take Prozac for anxiety, but never hail Mama Courage in public. Never be real Jewish or Italian or Irish mothers.

I am a victim of state violence. My natural and civil rights as a mother have been violated and are violated because I have to fear the day my son would reach his 18th birthday and be taken away from me to be the game tool of criminals such as Sharon, Bush, Blair and their clan of blood-thirsty, oil-thirsty, land thirsty generals.

MIDEAST ISRAEL PALESTINIANS

Living in the world I live in, in the state I live in, in the regime I live in, I don’t dare to offer Muslim women any ideas how to change their lives. I don’t want them to take off their scarves, or educate their children differently, and I will not urge them to constitute Democracies in the image of Western democracies that despise them and their kind. I just want to ask them humbly to be my sisters, to express my admiration for their perseverance and for their courage to carry on, to have children and to maintain a dignified family life in spite of the impossible conditions my world in putting them in. I want to tell them we are all bonded by the same pain, we all the victims of the same sort of violence even though they suffer much more, for they are the ones who are mistreated by my government and its army, sponsored by my taxes.

Islam in itself, like Judaism in itself and Christianity in itself, is not a threat to me or to anyone. American imperialism is, European indifference and co-operation is and Israeli racism and its cruel regime of occupation is. It is racism, educational propaganda and inculcated xenophobia that convince Israeli soldiers to order Palestinian women at gun-point, to strip in front of their children for security reasons, it is the deepest disrespect for the other that allow American soldiers to rape Iraqi women, that give license to Israeli jailers to keep young women in inhuman conditions, without necessary hygienic aids, without electricity in the winter, without clean water or clean mattresses and to separate them from their breast-fed babies and toddlers. To bar their way to hospitals, to block their way to education, to confiscate their lands, to uproot their trees and prevent them from cultivating their fields.

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I cannot completely understand Palestinian women or their suffering. I don’t know how I would have survived such humiliation, such disrespect from the whole world. All I know is that the voice of mothers has been suffocated for too long in this war-stricken planet. Mothers` cry is not heard because mothers are not invited to international forums such as this one. This I know and it is very little. But it is enough for me to remember these women are my sisters, and that they deserve that I should cry for them, and fight for them. And when they lose their children in strawberry fields or on filthy roads by the checkpoints, when their children are shot on their way to school by Israeli children who were educated to believe that love and compassion are race and religion dependent, the only thing I can do is stand by them and their betrayed babies, and ask what Anna Akhmatova–another mother who lived in a regime of violence against women and children–asked:

Why does that streak of blood, rip the petal of your cheek?

What would you do if your country was occupied by a foreign army?

 

 

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By Ibrahim Hewitt

It is all too easy for Wesern commentators, and those in the pay of the West across the Middle East, to criticise the Palestinian resistance movements. Worse, such movements have been declared to be “terrorists” by governments whose “interests” trump human rights and international law in the region. This is not only plain wrong and unreasonable but also reveals selective recollection of historical precedents for heroic resistance groups fighting against tyranny and injustice.

Within living memory, in the Second World War resistance against the Nazis across Europe included the famous French Resistance, between 15 and 20 per cent of whose members were Jews. In fact, as the main victims of Nazi persecution and industrialised murder Europe’s Jews were engaged in resistance activities across the Third Reich.

According to acclaimed author Martin Gilbert, Jewish resistance was found “in every ghetto, in every deportation train, in every Labour camp, even in the death camps”. It wasn’t limited to fighting, but included civil disobedience and defiance of German orders over everyday matters, such as “obtaining food and water”. Writing in The Holocaust: The Jewish Tragedy, Gilbert said: “Even passivity was a form of resistance. To die with dignity was a form of resistance. To resist the demoralising, brutalizing force of evil, to refuse to be reduced to the level of animals… these too were acts of resistance.”

Famously, the Jews herded into the Warsaw Ghetto took up arms against the occupation army, forming the Jewish Combat Organisation and Jewish Military Union to fight back. It is estimated that at least 13,000 Jews were killed when the Germans entered the Ghetto; almost 60,000 were taken to the death camps.

Resistance was considered to be so important that the British Army trained Jewish volunteers to organise groups across occupied Europe. British military training of Jewish volunteers backfired with the formation of terrorist groups such as Irgun and the Stern Gang, and even the Palmach and Haganah, the forerunners of the Israel Defence Forces, which fought against the British Mandate government in Palestine.

Movements resisting against the Nazis could be found in every country under occupation, including Yugoslavia, Russia, Poland, Norway and Holland. Mainland Britain was not occupied during the war, although the Channel Islands were. Nevertheless, the government had plans for a home-grown resistance movement, the secretive Auxiliary Units, just in case Hitler’s forces crossed the channel. Now thought of as a butt of jokes thanks to the BBC’s Dad’s Army, Britain’s Home Guard, in its various manifestations, was also intended to resist a German invasion. Even America had a role in establishing resistance groups in Europe through the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency, the OSS. Arabs and Jews fought alongside each other in Algeria’s resistance movement formed to fight against the Germans in North Africa. The history of resistance to military occupation is long and noble.

Hamas Resistance suppoters

It is ironic, therefore, that the main enemies of Palestinian resistance today are the descendants of the Jewish resistance fighters now living in Israel; and that their main supporters are heading towards the same end of the political spectrum as Germany’s National Socialists against whom European Jews once fought so bravely. The current Israeli government and its supporters in the West are on the far-right wing (in spirit if not in name), and are willing and able to ignore international laws and conventions in order to crush legitimate resistance to Israel’s occupation of Palestine. These laws were established in the wake of the Nazi Holocaust to ensure that such an atrocity could not take place again, but if they did, that the perpetrators would be brought to justice; that isn’t happening, and is unlikely to happen in the near future, such is the influence of the pro-Israel Lobby over Western governments.

The brutality of Israel’s latest military assault on the civilians of the Gaza Strip, sold to the world as “self-defence” against Palestinian resistance groups, has echoes of the German army’s massacre of more than 200 people, including women and children, in the French town of Vassieux-en-Vercors in July 1944 as a “reprisal” for French armed resistance. The only difference appears to be that the Israelis have been even more merciless than the Nazis, with the death toll in Gaza approaching 2,000 and, yes, that includes many women and children. The Nazi analogy is even more striking given the Israeli deputy speaker’s recent call for ethnic cleansing and the use of what would be nothing less than concentration camps to clear the Gaza Strip of its Palestinian population.

US Military occupation in Iraq

Which brings me back to my original question. What would you do if your country was occupied by a foreign army? Would you accept the status quo, collaborate and get on with your life subjugated and lacking in the basic freedoms that we all take for granted? Or would you stand up and fight for those freedoms, as our parents and grandparents did in World Wars One and Two, so that we could live in freedom or die with dignity? The Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have chosen the latter and, for doing so, Israel and the West, and their Arab lackeys, condemn them as “terrorists”.

This hypocrisy is so obvious that it hardly bears comment, but it is a disgrace to the British values trumpeted by the current government led by David Cameron that he and other politicians continue with the charade that they are standing up for justice and freedom by standing with Israel today. They aren’t. In fact, they are going against the very values that Britain, America (eventually) and Europe’s Jews fought for so valiantly all those years ago. Remember this the next time that the legitimacy of Palestinian resistance is questioned by a politician or the media. History and international law are on the side of the Palestinians; our governments should be too.

 

EU shameless initiative to Israel: Gaza reconstruction in exchange for Hamas disarmament

This initiative yet again proves the preposterous disregard of EU leaders  for the Palestinians rights..

Israeli sources announced that Germany, France and Britain recently presented an initiative aimed at reconstructing Gaza subject to international supervision that will prevent the rearmament of Hamas and other factions in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz today reported unnamed Israeli sources as saying that “the proposal by the three European states is an answer to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand for the disarmament of Hamas.”

The “principles for agreement” about the Gaza Strip are:

  • Preventing the armament and strengthening of Hamas and the rest of the “terror organisations” in Gaza.

  • Rebuilding the Gaza Strip in cooperation with the international community and the Palestinian Authority and enabling the transfer of humanitarian aid.

  • Setting up an international mechanism to prevent the entry of prohibited materials to the Strip and ensuring that materials, such as cement and iron, do not reach the “terror organisations” but are used only to rehabilitate Gaza.

  • Returning the Palestinian Authority and puppet President Mahmoud Abbas to the Gaza Strip (i.e. dismantling Hamas).

  • The possibility of returning the European Union’s Border Assistance Mission to the Rafah border crossing alongside the Palestinian presidential guard.

Terror organizations according to Israel are any organizations that resist the occupation and genocide. In a summary, Israel is saying : ” We will kill, arrest whomsoever we want and destroy your homes, steal your lands, prevent the basic necessities for life from getting into Gaza and in exchange you should not resist us. If you resist, you are terrorists hence we will kill you because it is “Self-Defense”. 

Hamas supporters

Since Hamas, the legitimate government of Gaza, which Israel considers a “terrorist organisation” won the Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006; Israel Terrorists have imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip, where more than 1.8 million Palestinians live. This blockade was tightened after the group seized control of the territory in June of the following year.

In response to this shameful initiative, Senior leader of Islamic Jihad (Resistance forces) Khader Habib said on Wednesday that the Palestinian conditions for the Cairo talks are: halting Israel’s aggressions and ending the siege of the Gaza Strip.

“These are not demands,” he told Palestinian news agency Quds. “They are rights,” he explained.

He also ruled out any discussion over demilitarising the Palestinian resistance in return for reconstructing the Gaza Strip. “The issue of arms is connected to the existence of the occupation,” he said, adding that, “this right is guaranteed by the laws of heaven and earth.”

Regarding Islamic Jihad’s position towards the possibility of international peacekeepers in Gaza, Habib said: “We will have a say when this is posed for discussion. However, initially, we refuse the existence of international forces in Gaza because previous experiences have proven that they protect the enemy.”

Commenting on the absolute destruction resulting from Israel’s massive attacks on several parts of Gaza, Habib said: “When the Israeli occupation felt it had failed to face the resistance, it put all of its power in destroying homes and infrastructure in order to break the will of the fighters.”

He added: “Our nation will continue fighting until achieving all the goals set by the resistance.”

 

Thank you Gaza; Message Received!

Everyone has the right to recognise Gaza’s honour and pride and praise its people for their heroism, which has written a new chapter in the Arab-Zionist conflict. Due to their epic battle over the past few weeks, witnessed by the whole world, against those who have defined themselves as civilised and modern but were able to kill women and children unlawfully and in cold-blood, the Palestinians in Gaza have provided rich material for analysts and historians for many years to come. Despite their limited capabilities, the Palestinians have triumphed and can add this victory to the list of their many achievements.

Gaza is now associated with pride in the free world and has become a symbol of heroism, steadfastness and victory. However, it also symbolises the international community’s hypocrisy and exploitation of “human rights”, “the fight against terrorism”, “protection of children and women”, and “international conventions”. Their mantras on such issues sound like broken records. Will Obama, the criminal Netanyahu and other leaders succeed in convincing the younger generations around the world that they are really fighting terrorism while they are committing one massacre of civilians after another? There is a history of Israeli massacres of Palestinians, and while we reflect on them the bottom line will always be that Gaza triumphed.

Gaza’s victory is special because the circumstances under which the current war began are completely different to Israel’s previous attacks. In addition to this, the ordeal itself was different, with Egypt under the military coup regime playing a very different role. The Arab world is unstable and faces internal conspiracies aided by foreign states against the will of the people, Egypt included.

Israel’s latest attack on the Gaza Strip will go down in history for three reasons. First, besieged Gaza has triumphed through the steadfastness and resourcefulness of its people. The Palestinians have impressed the world even though a great deal of time and effort has been spent trying to isolate them.

The second point is the hypocrisy of the international community, especially the larger countries which monopolise political, military and economic decisions. They do not translate any of the human rights, democracy and justice slogans, which they promote in their universities and media, into actions on the ground.

The third issue is the official Arab position, which has moved from secret collusion and hypocrisy to open and public collaboration with Israel, with notable exceptions such as Tunisia, Sudan and Qatar. The collaborators have done this out of their desire to eliminate the Palestinian resistance that has now become a symbol of honour and pride, and to ensure the survival of their own regimes. Why are they demanding conditions to be complied with by Hamas while they are witnessing the crimes committed by Israel against civilians, including women and children?

Arabs, Muslims and every other human being with the tiniest bit of dignity, have acknowledged the strength of the people of Gaza and opposed the actions of their own governments by taking to the streets in solidarity with the Palestinians. Nevertheless, as the bodies are being dragged from beneath the rubble in Gaza, the people are asking, “Where are you, Arabs? Where are you?”

Such messages from Gaza, as the Palestinians count the cost of the destruction and the number of dead and wounded, are very strong. What is the meaning of the unified political and military resistance among the various factions in the Gaza Strip? What about the words of the people who now thank the resistance fighters readily, to the extent that they are prepared to risk their lives and money for them?

Yes, there are media and political platforms, unfortunately they nearly all belong to Arabs, which push a different interpretation of events. However, the truth is that the Palestinian people, and the people of Gaza in particular, are certain and firm in their belief that unity with the resistance, along with their steadfastness and patience, is the only way to end Israel’s brutal occupation and colonisation of Palestine.

Many will write about Gaza and its glory, as well as about Palestine and the steadfastness of its people, and the resistance and its achievements. I would like to thank Gaza and its people for wiping away much of our collective shame, and say with unmatched humility in my heart: Thank you Gaza; message received.

Fidel Castro accuses the Terrorist State of Israel of practicing genocide against Palestinians

‘Why does [the Israeli] government believe that the world will be insensitive to the macabre genocide which today is being perpetuated against the Palestinian people? Perhaps it is expected that the complicity of the US empire in this shameful massacre will be ignored?’

Iconic Cuban leader Fidel Castro has accused Israel of practicing “a new, repugnant form of fascism” in its brutal war against the Gaza Strip, constituting a “macabre genocide”.

In an article entitled “Palestinian Holocaust in Gaza” in the Cuban newspaper Granma, Castro also said that the United States is complicit in Israel’s crimes.

Castro wrote: “I think that a new, repugnant form of fascism is emerging with notable strength, at this time in human history when more that seven billion inhabitants are struggling for their survival.”

Castro cited the list of atrocities that Israel has committed in Gaza: the “murder” of about 2,000 Palestinians, the wounding of almost 9,000 and the displacement of tens of thousands.

Jewish Holocaust Vs Palestinian Holocaust 

“The Nazi genocide of Jews outraged all the earth’s peoples,” he wrote. “Why does [the Israeli] government believe that the world will be insensitive to the macabre genocide which today is being perpetuated against the Palestinian people? Perhaps it is expected that the complicity of the US empire in this shameful massacre will be ignored? “

Castro went on to denounce the history of European and American imperialism, warning that today “New, indispensable forces have emerged” to counteract these oppressive empires, especially noting Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.