15 October 2023 | Yousef Mursi
Speech made at Stop the Cycle of Violence gathering in Prague on 15 October 2023. More speeches in Czech here.
Today, we gather in unity and solidarity, echoing the poignant words of the Jewish Voice for Peace, to shed light on the dire situation unfolding in the palestinian Israeli conflict, quoting a statement by the jewish voice for peace:
“Right now, Palestinians, Israelis and all of us with family on the ground are terrified for loved ones. We grieve the lives of those already lost and remain committed to a future where every life is precious, and all people live in freedom and safety.
Following 16 years of Israeli military blockade, Palestinian fighters from Gaza launched an unprecedented assault, in which hundreds of Israelis were killed and wounded, and civilians kidnapped. The Israeli government declared war, launching airstrikes, killing hundreds of Palestinians and wounding thousands, bombing residential buildings and threatening to commit war crimes against besieged Palestinians in Gaza.
The Israeli government may have just declared war, but its war on Palestinians started over 75 years ago. Israeli apartheid and occupation and United States complicity in that oppression – are the source of all this violence. Reality is shaped by when you start the clock.
For the past year, the most racist, fundamentalist, far-right government in Israeli history has ruthlessly escalated its military occupation over Palestinians in the name of Jewish supremacy with violent expulsions and home demolitions, mass killings, military raids on refugee camps, unrelenting siege and daily humiliation.
In recent weeks, Israeli forces repeatedly stormed the holiest Muslim sites in Jerusalem. For 16 years, the Israeli government has suffocated Palestinians in Gaza under a draconian air, sea and land military blockade, imprisoning and starving two million people and denying them medical aid. The Israeli government routinely massacres Palestinians in Gaza; ten-year-olds who live in Gaza have already been traumatized by seven major bombing campaigns in their short lives.
For 75 years, the Israeli government has maintained a military occupation over Palestinians, operating an apartheid regime. Palestinian children are dragged from their beds in pre-dawn raids by Israeli soldiers and held without charge in Israeli military prisons. Palestinians homes are torched by mobs of Israeli settlers, or destroyed by the Israeli army. Entire Palestinian villages are forced to flee, abandoning the homes and orchards and land that were in their family for generations.” (Source: Jewish Voice for Peace)
Moreover, let us not forget that this unjust suffering has persisted for a staggering 16 years, with Gaza being subjected to an unyielding blockade, as confirmed by reputable organizations such as Amnesty International and Oxfam, among many others. This blockade has resulted in a catastrophic denial of basic human rights, where access to clean water is prohibited, and a comprehensive air, sea, and land blockade has restricted essential supplies, including food, medicine, and other vital resources. The people of Gaza have been forced to endure unimaginable hardships, struggling to survive in a stifling environment that inhibits their very existence.
Adding to the already dire circumstances, recent reports by renowned human rights watch, have shed light on the use of internationally banned weapons such as white phosphorus by the Israeli forces in Gaza and Lebanon. This egregious violation of international law has only served to compound the suffering of innocent civilians, further deepening the already profound crisis that continues to ravage the region.
Amnesty International’s recent recognition of Israel as an apartheid state, as highlighted in their comprehensive report, underscores the gravity of the situation and the urgent need for global attention and action. The report brings to light the deeply entrenched and institutionalized discrimination against Palestinians, emphasizing the systemic inequalities and segregation perpetuated by the Israeli government. It vividly outlines how Israel’s policies and practices have resulted in the denial of basic rights and freedoms for Palestinians, including the right to self-determination, movement, and access to essential services. Amnesty’s thorough analysis of the situation unequivocally points to a regime of systematic oppression, echoing the sentiments of countless individuals and organizations worldwide, who are advocating for a just and equitable resolution to the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The recognition by a reputable international human rights organization like Amnesty International serves as a stark reminder that addressing the deeply rooted issues of apartheid is an essential step towards fostering lasting peace and justice in the region.
Therefore, today, as we raise our voices in unified protest, we implore the Czech government to take a resolute and unequivocal stand for justice and humanity. We urgently call upon the Czech government to immediately cease all forms of support, both financial and military, to the state of Israel and to vehemently denounce the deliberate and systematic attacks on Palestinian civilians.
It is of paramount importance to reiterate that the worth of a Palestinian life is equal to that of an Israeli life. We must foster a world where the sanctity of human life transcends all political divides and where the universal principles of dignity, security, and peace are upheld for every individual, irrespective of their nationality or ethnicity.
Let our unified voice serve as a clarion call to the world, a testament that the global community stands in solidarity, closely monitoring the events unfolding in this tumultuous region. Now is the time for justice and compassion to triumph over oppression and conflict. Thank you.