A child’s hand sticks out from underneath rubble in Gaza. Photo taken from a video by Motaz Azaiza, December 11, 2023.
66 days of a genocide
By Lara Kilani
Today is the 66th day of Israel’s genocidal war on the Palestinians in Gaza. There are too many horrors to translate, both in Gaza itself and throughout Palestine. If you take one message from this newsletter, it should be that we desperately need you to take whatever action you can to call for a ceasefire as a first step in the larger process of decolonization.
As Israeli forces continue to bombard Gaza from the sky, forces on the ground have been kidnapping, stripping, and blindfolding Palestinian men, women, and children over the last days. While some of those kidnapped have returned to describe unimaginable torture, murder, being left out in the cold while essentially naked, used as human shields, and deprived of food and water for days, many more remain captives in unknown locations. Several of those kidnapped have been identified as well-known members of the community, including teachers, principals, journalists, and grocers. It is clear that Israeli forces are trying to manufacture images of victory by pretending that these civilians are resistance forces who have surrendered.
Anas al Sharif, a courageous Al Jazeera journalist, has also uncovered details of Israeli massacres over the last weeks. He is reporting from northern Gaza, where media coverage has been incredibly sparse and even cell phone service has been cut repeatedly. Al Sharif reported the horrific massacre of dozens of Palestinians who were inside al Yaman al Saeed hospital, inside Jabaliya refugee camp, when it was bombed by Israeli forces and set on fire. Dozens of Palestinians were unable to get out of the hospital, either because they were patients who could not move or were physically disabled, burned to death. Al Sharif and his family have received threats from Israeli forces for his brave insistence on reporting the vile actions of Israeli forces. This culminated in the bombing of his home and the murder of his father earlier today. Anas is still alive and pledged to continue reporting.
On December 7, Israeli forces targeted and struck the home of a woman named Asmaa in Gaza City, the sister of well-known academic, writer, poet, organizer, and truth-teller Refaat Alareer. Refaat, Asmaa, their other brother, Salah, and his son Mohammed were all murdered, along with three of Asmaa’s children, Yahia, Alaa, and Mohammad. After his death, journalists uncovered that Israeli forces had called and threatened Refaat, making it clear that they would kill him. Many of us around the world knew or knew of Refaat and were deeply moved not only by his poetry and incisive political analysis but also by his refusal to bend his principles in the face of violence and death. He is being mourned around the world, like so many of his contemporaries who have similarly been murdered in this genocide.
There is too much news to fit in a newsletter, and it is tempting just to list it all — the thousands displaced from shelters and which were then burnt to the ground, the hospitals that continue to be targeted and can no longer adequately treat patients, the 2.2 million Palestinians now starving and parched. But on this day, millions of people worldwide took action by joining the global strike for Gaza. Tomorrow there is a call for a second day of strike as the UN General Assembly votes on another ceasefire resolution following the shameful US veto.
Solidarity partners must continue adding more tools to their belts as the stakes rise daily. Protests must be joined by nonviolent actions to disrupt weapons shipments. Interrupting political speeches must be combined with petitions, then presented to elected politicians, pledging not to donate to or vote for those who fail to stand for a ceasefire. Tangible acts of solidarity bring us closer to a ceasefire by moving beyond the symbolic and taking the battle to those who would rather stay silent or cheer on a genocide.
Please continue to stay committed to Palestinian liberation. As Palestinians in Gaza show us every day that they are staying in their homes and fighting for life, the least we can do is stand beside them and leverage our power to protect them.