Noten 53 t/m 58/Sweet Caroline en Vriend Milders


Whole families wiped out

At around 8:20pm on 7 October, Israeli forces struck a three-storey residential building in the al-Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City, where three generations of the al-Dos family were staying. Fifteen family members were killed in the attack, seven of them children. The victims include Awni and Ibtissam al-Dos, and their grandchildren and namesakes Awni, 12, and Ibtissam, 17; and Adel and Ilham al-Dos and all five of their children. Baby Adam, just 18 months old, was the youngest victim.”




20 OCTOBER 2023



‘De Amerikaanse president Biden heeft Israël gewaarschuwd dat het de steun van zijn bondgenoten aan het kwijtraken is door “het lukraak bombarderen” van de Gazastrook. Volgens cijfers van de gezondheidsautoriteiten in Gaza zijn zeker 18.000 mensen gedood en meer dan 50.000 mensen gewond geraakt.”




De Amerikaanse president Biden heeft Israël gewaarschuwd dat het de steun van zijn bondgenoten aan het kwijtraken is door “het lukraak bombarderen” van de Gazastrook. Volgens cijfers van de gezondheidsautoriteiten in Gaza zijn zeker 18.000 mensen gedood en meer dan 50.000 mensen gewond geraakt.

Biden sprak op een fondsenwerfbijeenkomst voor zijn herverkiezingscampagne. Niet eerder sinds het uitbreken van de oorlog uitte hij zulke zware kritiek op het handelen van Israël. De VS is de belangrijkste bondgenoot voor de Israëliërs.

De president vertelde aan zijn gehoor van voornamelijk Joodse donateurs dat hij Netanyahu heeft gewaarschuwd niet dezelfde fouten te maken als de VS na de aanslagen van 11 september 2001. “We hadden niet in Afghanistan hoeven zijn. We hadden zo veel dingen niet hoeven doen.”

Kabinet aanpassen

Hij vindt ook dat premier Netanyahu zijn ministersploeg moet veranderen. De Amerikaanse president pikte Netanyahu’s minister van Veiligheid eruit: de ultranationalistische Itamar Ben-Gvir. De leider van de uiterst rechtse partij Joodse Kracht werd meermaals veroordeeld, onder meer voor het aanzetten tot racisme. Ben-Gvir is een tegenstander van een eigen staat voor de Palestijnen.

Biden noemde het huidige Israëlische kabinet de conservatiefste regering in de geschiedenis van het land. Netanyahu “moet zijn regering aanpassen. Dit kabinet maakt het erg moeilijk”, zei hij.

Biden herhaalde dat hij voorstander is van een tweestatenoplossing, waarbij ook de Palestijnen een eigen staat krijgen. Datzelfde benadrukte hij nadat Netanyahu eind december was geïnstalleerd.

“We hebben een mogelijkheid om de regio te verenigen”, zei hij vandaag. “Maar we moeten zeker zijn dat Netanyahu begrijpt dat hij wat moet bewegen. Je kan geen ‘nee’ zeggen tegen een Palestijnse staat. Dat wordt het moeilijke deel.”





13 DECEMBER 2023

Israeli Human rights and civil society organizations sent a letter yesterday (Tuesday, 12 Dec. 2023) to US President Biden, asking him to use his influence to change Israel’s policy and prevent the deteriorating humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip. The letter is also published as a print advertisement in the New York Times. 

The President

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20500


Dear President Biden,

Re: The humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip  

The war in the Gaza Strip has been underway for more than nine weeks, ever since Hamas carried out its horrific and criminal attack on Israeli civilians, which included killing more than 1,200 people and kidnapping some 250 to Gaza – among them Israeli civilians, foreign nationals and children. Immediately after the attack, and in a speech you later gave in Israel, you made it clear that Israel has the right to defend itself, while emphasizing it must do so only in accordance with the provisions of international law, and particularly the rules of war.

We, Israeli human rights organizations and civil society groups, must at this stage state with a heavy heart that our government has chosen to ignore your advice and similar statements by US officials. This letter does not address the grave suspicions of Israeli violations of international humanitarian law during the war, but centers on the extreme humanitarian crisis developing in Gaza and the urgent need to change Israel’s policy on this issue.

Since the war began, Israel’s policy has driven the humanitarian crisis in Gaza to the point of catastrophe – not only as an inevitable outcome of war. As part of this policy, soon after the fighting began, Israel stopped selling Gaza electricity and water, closed its crossings and blocked all entry of food, water, fuel and medicine. It has since partially renewed supply of water to the south, but without electricity, most of the civilian population has no access to safe drinking water. Since October 21, Israel has enabled partial entry of aid through Rafah Crossing, followed by a small amount of fuel, but this falls far short of the growing needs of a population under incessant bombings, which according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health have killed more than 18,000 people, most of them women and children.

It is crucial that Hamas release the hostages back into Israel. However, allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza is not a gesture of goodwill on Israel’s part but one of its obligations. According to the provisions of international humanitarian law, when a civilian population under armed conflict cannot survive on available means, the fighting parties have a positive obligation to enable quick, unimpeded passage of humanitarian aid – including food and medicine. This obligation applies even when the aid is needed for civilians of the other party, and binds countries whose location is vital for facilitating the passage of aid or even only easing it. Failure to fulfill this obligation constitutes a war crime.

UN agencies and humanitarian organizations report that the situation in Gaza is catastrophic and they have almost no way left to help the population. The few truckloads that are allowed in – a drop in the ocean, according to the reports – cannot be distributed due to the ongoing bombardments, the destruction of infrastructure and restrictions imposed by Israel. This leaves more than two million people hungry and thirsty, without access to proper medical care, and with infectious diseases spreading due to unhygienic overcrowding and lack of water. This inconceivable reality grows worse by the day.

You have the power to influence our government to change its policy and allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, in accordance with Israel’s legal obligations and the needs of the population. The UN agencies and humanitarian organizations on the ground in Gaza must be the ones to make decisions regarding distribution within Gaza and the necessary quantities – not Israel. There is no doubt regarding the urgency of opening Kerem Shalom Crossing for the passage of goods and ongoing, unlimited humanitarian aid.

We are in the final throes of an emergency. Many deaths can still be prevented. Israel must change its policy now.


Academia for Equality | Akevot Institute For Israeli Palestinian Conflict Research| B’Tselem Bimkom | Breaking the Silenc | Combatants for Peace | Gisha | HaMoked -Center for the Defense of the Individual| Jordan Valley Activists | Looking the Occupation in the Eye Machsom Watch | Parents Against Child Detentions | Psychoative | PWG | Rabbis for Human Rights | Re’Acha Kamocha | Social Workers for Peace and Wellare | Yesh Din | Zazim -Community Action








Geneva (ICRC) – Mirjana Spoljaric, the president of the ICRC, is in Gaza today to advance efforts that alleviate the devastating humanitarian toll the ongoing conflict is taking on civilians.

President Spoljaric will call for the protection of civilians in Gaza and respect for the laws of war. She will also reiterate the ICRC’s call for the hostages to be immediately released.

Her travel to the region is happening in several stages, with a visit to Israel expected over the coming weeks.

In Gaza, President Spoljaric will spend time with the ICRC team on the ground and visit the European Hospital, where ICRC medical teams have been conducting life-saving surgery alongside local health-care workers. The ICRC has also been providing medical and other supplies to health-care facilities as well as livelihood support to displaced people.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society has been providing ambulance and other core health-care services in extremely dangerous circumstances in Gaza since the fighting escalated. Many humanitarian and health-care workers, including members of the Palestine Red Crescent Society, have been tragically killed in the conduct of their duties over the last weeks.

President Spoljaric said:

“The level of human suffering is intolerable. It is unacceptable that civilians have no safe place to go in Gaza, and with a military siege in place there is also no adequate humanitarian response currently possible.

The purpose of my visit is to advance efforts that alleviate the desperate humanitarian situation. I will convey my deep concern for the plight of civilians and underline the ICRC’s utmost commitment to doing everything we can to ease their suffering. We have urgently appealed for civilian life to be protected and respected on all sides, in line with international humanitarian law, and I reiterate that appeal today.

An unimpeded and regular flow of aid must be allowed to enter Gaza. All those deprived of liberty must be treated humanely. The hostages must be released, and the ICRC must be allowed to safely visit them.

The last week provided a small degree of humanitarian respite, a positive glimpse of humanity that raised hopes around the world that a path to reduced suffering could now be found. As a neutral actor, the ICRC stands ready to support further humanitarian agreements that reduce suffering and heartbreak.”

About the ICRC
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a neutral, impartial and independent organization with an exclusively humanitarian mandate that stems from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. It helps people around the world affected by armed conflict and other violence, doing everything it can to protect their lives and dignity and to relieve their suffering, often alongside its Red Cross and Red Crescent partners.



”Vlak na het uitbreken van de oorlog, op 7 oktober, riep het Israëlische leger de Gazanen op het noorden van de Gazastrook te verlaten. Veel van hen trokken naar de stad Khan Younis. Deze week werd ook die voormalige ‘veilige plek’ onderdeel van het strijdtoneel.”NOS85 PROCENT VAN DE MENSEN IN GAZA IS OPDE VLUCHT, MAAR NERGENS IS HET VEILIG9 DECEMBER 2023

Een week geleden werden de gevechten tussen Israël en Hamas en de bombardementen op Gaza hervat, na een tijdelijke gevechtspauze van zeven dagen. Sindsdien is het Israëlische leger niet alleen in het noorden van de Gazastrook aanwezig, maar stak het leger ook de grens over in het zuiden. De honderdduizenden ontheemde Palestijnen die zich daar bevinden slaan daardoor opnieuw op de vlucht.

Vlak na het uitbreken van de oorlog, op 7 oktober, riep het Israëlische leger de Gazanen op het noorden van de Gazastrook te verlaten. Veel van hen trokken naar de stad Khan Younis. Deze week werd ook die voormalige ‘veilige plek’ onderdeel van het strijdtoneel.

Al eerder voerde het leger aanvallen uit op steden in het zuiden van de Gazastrook, hoewel ze als ‘veilig’ werden bestempeld, maar nu roept het leger op om nog zuidelijker te trekken. Bijvoorbeeld naar de grens bij Rafah of Al-Mawasi.

Geïmproviseerde schuilplaatsen

“We zien enorme stromen aan ontheemde mensen die nu naar het zuidelijkste puntje komen, naar Rafah”, zegt Rik Peeperkorn, vertegenwoordiger van de Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie (WHO) in de Palestijnse gebieden. “Elke ochtend zie je meer geïmproviseerde schuilplaatsen”, zegt hij. “Overal zie je mensen die proberen plastic vellen te krijgen, hout te sprokkelen. Op zoek naar van alles eigenlijk om maar een soort tent te maken.”

Het gaat om de zwaarste gevechten sinds het begin van de oorlog, zei de Israëlische generaal Finkelman eerder deze week over de opnieuw losgebarsten strijd. Dat heeft gevolgen voor de ontheemde Gazanen. Volgens schattingen van de Verenigde Naties zijn 1,9 van de 2,2 miljoen inwoners van Gaza ontheemd. Niet alleen moeten zij opnieuw evacueren, ook de (internationale) hulpverlening loopt gevaar door de gevechten.

Cijfers dodenaantal moeilijker te controleren:

Sinds 1 december, de dag dat de oorlog in Gaza werd hervat na een week gevechtspauze, is het moeilijker om het aantal doden in kaart te brengen. Persbureau Reuters legde donderdag uit dat in de eerste zes weken van de oorlog cijfers van ziekenhuismortuaria naar het ministerie van Volksgezondheid in Gaza werden gestuurd. Dat wordt geleid door Hamas en huisde in het al Shifa-ziekenhuis.

Voor die data legden ambtenaren in Excel-sheets namen, leeftijden en identiteitskaartnummers van de doden vast. Die lijsten werden dan doorgestuurd naar het Palestijnse ministerie van Volksgezondheid op de Westelijke Jordaanoever. Die geven de cijfers weer door aan de persbureaus. Dat ministerie laat aan Reuters weten dat van de vier mensen die het datacentrum in het al Shifa-ziekenhuis leidden één persoon gedood is bij een luchtaanval en drie mensen vermist zijn geraakt, nadat het pand door Israël in beslag was genomen.

Sindsdien is het volgens het persbureau lastig geworden om bij te houden hoeveel mensen er dagelijks omkomen. Volgens de laatste cijfers van de Palestijnse ministeries zijn er sinds het begin van de oorlog 17.177 mensen gedood. Voor de gevechtspauze ging het om ongeveer 15.000 mensen. Volgens Unicef waren er voor de gevechtspauze 5300 kinderen onder het aantal doden.

Het Israëlische leger heeft eenzijdig Al-Mawasi aangewezen als “humanitaire zone”. Het gaat om een klein gebied van ongeveer 1 kilometer breed en 14 kilometer lang aan de zuidwestkust van de Gazastrook. VN-organisatie UNRWA heeft meerdere keren genoemd dat “eenzijdig uitgeroepen ‘veilige zones’ helemaal niet veilig zijn”.

Het Israëlische leger garandeert overigens niet dat het niet ook dat gebied zal aanvallen.






Ook het zuidelijke gedeelte van de Gazastrook, waar Gazanen in opdracht van Israël massaal naartoe zijn gegaan, blijkt onveilig. Het huis waarin zijn familie zat werd zaterdagmiddag gebombardeerd, vertelt Sami Al-Ajrami. Ondertussen worden water, voedsel en brandstof steeds schaarser.

Ze waren vrijdag naar het zuiden van de Gazastrook gegaan, zoals bevolen door het Israëlische leger. De zussen van Sami Al-Ajrami en hun kinderen, en vrienden. Ze gingen naar Deir al-Balah, ten zuiden van de rivierbedding Wadi Gaza. Daar zou het veilig zijn. Maar dat bleek anders. ‘Het huis waar mijn familie zat is net gebombardeerd’, vertelt Al-Ajrami aan de telefoon vanuit het ziekenhuis Shuhadaa’ Al Aqsa.

Al-Ajrami, van wie de familie voor zover de Volkskrant bekend geen banden heeft met Hamas, verblijft zelf met zijn dochters in een ander huis. Hij kan niet geloven wat er is gebeurd. ‘Ze zijn naar een veilige plek gegaan en nu zijn ze daar gedood. Waarom?’ Al-Ajrami, die werkt als fixer voor internationale media, kan weinig anders zeggen dan dat. ‘Waarom? Deze plek zou veilig zijn.’ Het telefoongesprek is kort. Hij wil terug naar de gewonden en ‘proberen afscheid te nemen van degenen die dood zijn’.

Bij hem in het ziekenhuis is zijn vriend Wisam al-Ashi, een video-editor. Ook hij is gisteren met zijn familie naar het zuiden gegaan en zit met zo’n vijftig mensen in een huis net aan de noordkant van Wadi Gaza. Al-Ashi, de redelijkheid zelve en nooit vol verwijt over Israël, is de weg kwijt.

‘Mijn vriend Sami staat hier naast me te huilen, hij heeft net heel veel familieleden verloren. Er zijn veel doden, veel gewonden. En ik vraag me af: waar zijn we dan veilig? Israël heeft via sociale media en via pamfletten die uit de lucht kwamen gezegd dat we het noorden moesten verlaten. We hebben dat gedaan. Veel mensen zitten nu met drie of vier families bij elkaar in een huis. En dan, zomaar, worden ze gedood. Waarom? Ik kan het niet begrijpen.’

Gebrek aan water

Iets verder naar het zuiden zit Reham Owda, een jonge vrouw uit Gaza-Stad. Zaterdagochtend al, voor haar vertrek naar het zuiden, moest ze haar huis uit, vertelt ze via de telefoon, omdat de hele straat werd geëvacueerd vanwege aanstaande bombardementen. Ze schuilde in het Shifa-ziekenhuis. Die avond kwam ze aan in de zuidelijke stad Khan Younis. ‘Het grootste probleem is dat we geen water hebben, omdat er geen elektriciteit is. De pompen werken niet. Wij hebben nog een paar flessen mineraalwater.’

Ook in Khan Younis zijn er bombardementen, vertelt ze. Dus ook daar geen veiligheid. ‘Maar het ergste nu is het gebrek aan elektriciteit en brandstof voor de generatoren. Sommige families hebben nog een beetje diesel op voorraad.’ Om in contact met de buitenwereld te blijven, vertelt ze, gaan mensen naar de medische centra om de batterij van de telefoon op te laden.

Ook Al-Ashi noemt als grootste nood nu vooral het gebrek aan water. ‘Om je te wassen, voor wat dan ook. Drinkwater kun je nog in flessen krijgen. Maar de prijs gaat snel omhoog. En het is op steeds minder plekken te krijgen. Ook voedsel is er nog, maar wordt steeds duurder, omdat de voorraden kleiner worden doordat Israël de toevoer via de grensovergangen heeft gestopt.’

Gazanen spreken van tweede Nakba

Voor veel mensen in Gaza roept wat nu gaande is herinneringen op aan 1948, toen honderdduizenden Palestijnen op de vlucht sloegen, in wat sindsdien de Nakba heet – de catastrofe. Ze verlieten hun huizen en talloze families namen de sleutel mee. Voor als ze terug zouden gaan. In veel Palestijnse huizen hangt nog zo’n sleutel. Zij wonen sindsdien in vluchtelingenkampen op de Westelijke Jordaanoever, in Libanon en Jordanië. En in de Gazastrook.

Velen in Gaza, opnieuw verdreven, spreken nu over een tweede Nakba. Sommigen gaan om die reden niet naar het zuiden, ze zeggen dat ze liever sterven in hun eigen huis. Stel dat er een kans komt naar Egypte te gaan, zouden ze dat doen? Reham Owda: ‘Ik blijf hier tot we terug kunnen naar Gaza-Stad. Tenzij ze ons dwingen om te gaan.’ Wisam al-Ashi: ‘Jazeker, dan ga ik. Ik wil niet dat mijn familie, mijn kinderen doodgaan. Elke keer als ik kinderen zie die zijn gestorven, zie ik mijn eigen kinderen voor me.’

Bij het bombardement op de plek waar de familie van Sami al-Ajrami ‘veilig’ onderdak had gevonden, blijkt een woonblok van zes gebouwen geraakt. Geruchten doen de ronde, zegt hij zondagochtend, dat in een van de woningen een lid zat van Al-Qassam, de gewapende brigade van Hamas. En zo heeft Al-Ajrami zondag veertien familieleden begraven.







In Pictures

One of the highest daily death tolls since the war began as Israeli army targets the Jabalia refugee camp for a second day.

Israel’s war on Gaza is escalating, leaving death and devastation across the besieged strip.

At least 700 Palestinians have been killed in the past 24 hours – one of the highest daily death tolls since the war began on October 7.

From the north to the south, Palestinians in Gaza say nowhere is safe.

The Israeli military targeted the Jabalia refugee camp for a second day. Several homes were destroyed, killing dozens of people. More are buried under the rubble.

Israel has also called on residents from certain neighbourhoods in Khan Younis in southern Gaza to evacuate. Roads leading to other parts of the city or further south have been destroyed or heavily damaged.

More than 15,500 people have been confirmed killed in Gaza since the start of the conflict, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

A Palestinian Civil Defence spokesperson told Al Jazeera that conditions across Gaza are “beyond dire”, warning that rescuers lack the resources to reach all victims of Israeli bombardment.

“There are dozens of civilians being killed in every single air strike. Hundreds are also being wounded,” said Mahmoud Basal.









Hamas Attack On Israel, The Right To Rise Up Against The Israeli Occupation

On October 20, 2023, 2:05 PM

The 7 October 2023 surprise attack of Hamas on the South of Israel with thousands of rockets codenamed ”Al-Aqsa Flood”, surprised me, like doubtless many others, but I was not completely taken aback.

It was a bloody attack in which a great number of Israeli civilians were killed [according to Israeli authorities at least 1200] or abducted and at least 260 people were killed by the Hamas attack on a Festival near Kibbutz Re”im.

Of course, this deserves strong condemnation since targeting civilians is not only inhumane but prohibited by International Humanitarian Law, declaring a clear distinction between combatants [soldiers and fighters, who are legitimate targets] and non-combatants [civilians, who must be protected]

So I understand the common [especially Western] sympathy with the Israeli
victims, because I share the feeling.

But there my understanding stops.

Because of the almost hysterical “we stand with Israel” reactions, especially from the Western World [USA, EU], completely with Israeli flags hanging from their official buildings [luckily not in Scotland!] is not only hypocritical.
It is disgusting!

Disgusting, because it implies support for Israel as a State and that is, to say it is mildly, controversial.

Because of the bloody 7 October Hamas attack and subsequent abduction operation diverted the attention from the important fact, that since 1967 Israel has been the occupying power in the West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem and Gaza [still
occupied according to International Law since Israel controls the Gaza borders, airspace and territorial waters]

Not only did Israel refuse to withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories despite UN Security Resolution 242 [1967], but there is a decennia-long brutal oppression, Israel is guilty of torture of prisoners, administrative detention,
bloody military attacks in Gaza and the West Bank, with as macabre result thousands and thousands of civilian victims, the building [since the end of the sixties] of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territory [land theft!], extrajudicial execution, apartheid, etc., etc.

En despite this brutal occupation the EU never took any sanctions against the State of Israel, which made them complicit in the Israeli occupation and oppression.

According to International Law, every person has the right to rise up against an occupation, which includes armed resistance.

So Hamas, as any other Palestinian organisation, is in its right in this regard, but of course according to International Humanitarian Law

Hamas must refrain from attacks on civilians.

By the way, I wonder whether the EU will also condemn Israel, which right now launches a bloody attack in Gaza by bombing.

Gaza for a whole week, with more than 2200 deaths, denying the Gazan population water, medicines, fuel and food supplies, in the same strong terms as it condemned Hamas.

Story By Astrid Essed





19 AUGUST 2006

Contary to the leading opinions of the American-European politicians and media, the main aim of Hamas in calling for the “destruction” of the State of Israel, is not to kill or expel the Israeli-Jewish population, but to dismantle the zionistic State Model and to make an end to the 39-year Israeli occupation and settlement policy.

In the Palestinian elections January 25, 2006, Hamas obtained a startling victory.  Of the 132 seats of parliament, the Hamas party, which for the first time was participating in the parliamentary elections, obtained 74 seats, in contrast with the then-reigning Fatah Party, which obtained a mere 43 seats.  The remaining 13 seats were obtained by different smaller political parties, as well as independent candidates.

This great victory for Hamas was no surprise, considering the ongoing corruption of the Fatah-government versus the fundamental political and military resistance by Hamas against the Israeli occupation, as well as the Hamas social activities on behalf of the impoverished population of Palestine, especially Gaza.

In spite of this, leading American-European politicians, as well as the newsmedia, not only showed great astonishment at Hamas’ victory, they also demanded that Hamas renounce the violence against Israel and also acknowledge the State of Israel – and made this demand the condition of continued financial support to the Palestinian Authority.

When the newly-formed Hamas government refused to agree with those American-European demands, the American and Canadian governments, as well the European Union, decided to freeze the financial support to the Palestinian Authority, a measure which mainly affected the already seriously impoverished Palestinian civilian population, since at least 45% of the population [some reports put the number as high as 70 %] are living below the poverty-rate and 15% are living in extreme poverty.

Nutrition, education and medicine have been the areas most affected by the financial and economic boycott of Palestine.  Moreover, 250,000 Palestinians depend on Palestinian Authority salaries, and these government employees support nearly one million people, or 20% of the total Palestinian population.  However, due to the American-European boycott, salaries haven’t been paid since January, and the families of the government employees have had to bear the consequences.

Not only are the boycott measures morally reprehensible in regard with the humanitarian consequences for the Palestinian civilian-population, they have also led to mounting tensions within the Palestinian society.

Many international non-governmental organizations, as well as a number of United Nations agencies, have harshly criticized the economic boycott and blockade of Palestine.

Another consequence of the boycott is that, as a result of the freezing of European Union (EU) financial support, Hamas shall receive increased financial aid from the governments of the Arab and other Islamic countries.  This will lead to the lessening of EU political influence regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the strengthening of the influence of regimes adhering to more radical political Islamic ideologies, such as Iran.  Recently a number of Arab governments, and Iran, have either given or promised financial aid to the Hamas government.

No doubt aware of the above-mentioned political consequences of the diminishing EU influence regarding the Middle-East, the EU, represented by EU Commissioner Louis Michel (former Belgian minister of foreign affairs), has set aside a sum of 34 million euros for emergency aid to the Palestinian territories.  This aid is to be delivered outside of the Palestinian government, mainly through non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Also the World Bank, which has predicted an increasing humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territories, is exploring, in direct cooperation with the ‘Quartet for Mideast Peace made up of the EU, USA, the Russian Federation and the UN, to resume financial aid to the Palestinian population, by going outside of Hamas channels, bypassing the Hamas-led Palestinian government by providing the aid by way of NGOs which are active in the area.

Double standards:

The basis of the American-European boycott of the financial aid to the Palestinian Authority lies in the refusal of Hamas to renounce violence against Israel and to acknowlegde the State of Israel.
A further argument given in support of the boycott is the fact, that Hamas has played a major role in the incitement to suicide attacks against Israeli civilians and is still continuing this strategy.

It is self-evident that suicide-attacks as military attacks on civilians are not only inhuman, but also illegal according to International Law.  But what is seldom mentioned by the EU and the American-European governments are that these attacks are a matter of cause and effects, since they have been the result of the now 39 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian land — an occupation which is in violation of the unanimously-accepted UN-Security Resolution 242 of 1967, in which Israel was required to withdraw its troops from the territories conquered during the June 1967 war, including the Palestinian territories.

Also, the boycotting countries are ignoring the fact that the attacks by Hamas do not consist solely of suicide-attacks, but also of the internationally-recognized legitimate acts of defense by an occupied population against the occupying military force — in this case, the Israeli army.

Repeatedly, the Hamas leadership has declared, both pre- and post- the January elections, the group’s willingness to renounce violence against Israel, as soon as Israel is prepared to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories [ie. its international obligation under UN Security Council Resolution 242], to dismantle its settlements in the Palestinian territories, which are illegal according International Law [see also UN-Security Council Resolution 1979], to dismantle the Wall, which is being built across occupied Palestinian territories [see verdict of the International Court of Justice dated 9-7-2004], and its acknowledgement of the internationally-recognized right of return for Palestinian refugees, a right which is confirmed by General Assembly Resolution 194.

All of the Hamas movement’s demands are based on International Law, confirmed by the above-named United Nations resolutions, and are therefore absolutely legitimate demands that should be recognized as such by the international community.

What is striking in this particular case, however, is that the American-European boycotting goverments are demanding that Hamas completely disarm on the one hand, while on the other hand, making no clear demands on Israel regarding the implementation of the above mentioned UN resolutions, which were voted for by many of these same American-European States.

Also this double standard is being applied in regard to Israeli and Palestinian violence.

Although the condemnation of suicide-attacks against Israeli civilians is correct and justified, there is however a strong undervaluation of the serious character of the Israeli human rights violatons and war-crimes which have been committed by the Israeli army since the beginning of the occupation in 1967 (and before).

It is also significant to mention that from EU-side there is no real political pressure on Israel to end the occupation and withdraw from the Palestinian territories.  Seen from that perspective, the American-European criticism against Hamas lacks moral credibility, as the boycotting nations are choosing to call for the enforcement of international law on a very selective basis.  Why should international human rights standards only apply to Hamas?  Why should they not apply to Israel as well?

The false international perception of Hamas ideology

It is a common standard in nearly all American-European newsmedia, as well in statements of politicians, to mention repeatedly that the Hamas ideology is associated with the “destruction” of the State of Israel.

In the context in which this statement is made, it is almost always implied that by calling for Israel’s “destruction”, Hamas intends to expel the Jewish-Israeli inhabitants out of the present Israel or even to kill them.

Before trying to unmask this stubborn American-European assumption I want to throw some light on the political history of the Hamas

Hamas [abbreviation of Harakat al-muqâwama al-islâmiyya, which means islamic resistanc emovement] was founded in 1987 as a religious-nationalistic resistance-organisation with Sheikh Ahmed Yassin as the spiritual leader.  He was killed in an Israeli airstrike in March 2004, which, being an extra-judicial execution, not only killed him but also killed 7 other innocent bystanders.

However, since the beginning of the eighties, there was a predecessor of Hamas, also under the leadership of Sheikh Yassin, which was mainly an islamic revival movement, mostly directed toward social and charitable goals.

Although that movement of course opposed the Israeli occupation, it did not promote violent resistance, since the group considered the Israeli occupation as a punishment of God because of the lack of religious devotion in Palestine.

In other words, this revival-movement was meant to make the Palestinian population return to the basics of Islam, as explained by the movement, in their daily life.

This revivalist-ideological movement was supported financially by Israel, supposedly as a ‘counterbalance’ to the Palestine Liberation Organization, led by Yasser Arafat, which was, in combination with the al-Fatah organization, the most powerful resistance movement against the Israeli occupation at that time.

Even when the official Hamas organization was founded in 1987, initially there was no real resistance against the occupation, despite the anti-zionistic Charterof the group, written in 1988.

Only in the post-Oslo era (1993 on) did the Hamas organization became part of the resistance, resulting in military attacks against the Israeli occupation army, and, beginning in 1994, in suicide-attacks against Israeli civilians.  The immediate cause of the first suicide-attack was the 1994 massacre by the Jewish-Israeli extreme-rightwing terrorist, Dr. Baruch Goldstein, on 29 Palestinians who were praying Palestinians in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

The Hamas Charter

An analysis of the Hamas Charter, that consists of 36 articles, reveals that the purpose of the group is to form a religious resistance against the Israeli occupation, as well as advocating for the dismantlement of the zionistic State of Israel, to be replaced by an Islamic Palestinian State with equal rights for all the inhabitants and religious freedom regarding Jews and Christians.

Seen from this perspective, the Charter has an anti-colonialistic character, because of its fundamental criticism of the colonial character of the foundation of the State of Israel in historical Palestine, first as a colony of the Turkish-Ottoman Empire, and after World War I, a British Mandate-area.

Following the plans of the European zionist movement, the foundation of a “Jewish” State in historical Palestine took place in 1948, based on UN General Assembly Resolution 181, passed in 1947, which supported the division of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab part.  The Resolution was made without any consultation of the indigenous Palestinian population, despite the fact that the Palestinians, along with the surrounding Arab states, had proposed at that time an alternative plan that would allow for Jewish immigration into Palestine without the separation of the state into “Jewish” and “Arab” areas, but that alternative was rejected by the United Nations, under pressure from the European Zionist movement.

It is of importance to mention here, that the objections of the Palestinians to Resolution 181 were not against the settlement of Jewish people in Palestine, but against the division of their country in two different States.

Apart from that, the Hamas movement is within its rights under international law to challenge the existence of the Zionist State of Israel in its current form, as the State of Israel in its current form is, at its basis, discriminatory against non-Jews.  

One of the most striking examples of the discriminatory basis of the State of Israel is the fact that any Jewish man, woman or child in the world has the right to settle in Israel, while the internationally-recognized right of return of the Palestinian descendants of the 750,000 Palestinians expelled by Zionist militias in 1948, a right confirmed in General Assembly Resolution 194, passed in 1948, is not acknowledged by Israel.

The statements often made by the American-European politicians and newsmedia that Hamas wants to expel or even kill the Israeli-Jewish inhabitants of Israel is made based on a false reading of the Hamas Charter.

Although in the Charter, reference is made to “the Jews”, a thorough reading makes clear that this is a reference to the Israeli zionist system and the Israeli occupation, and not to the Jews as an ethnic-religious group.  In Hamas bulletins, the group never refers to “the Jews” as such, but rather to the “zionist enemy” or the “zionist entity” – a reference to the political basis of the state of Israel, _not_ to Jewish people as an ethnic or religious group.


In any mention of Hamas in the American-European press, emphasis is always made on the suicide-attacks against Israeli civilians for which Hamas bears responsibility.  It is evident that suicide-attacks are not only inhuman, they are also serious violations of International Humanitarian Law, which states that in any military conflict a clear distinction must be made between combatants [soldiers or fighters] and non-combatants [civilians].

From that point of view it is completely right that those attacks are being severely condemned by the International Community.

But it is important to realize that the cause of those suicide-attacks are rooted in the Israeli occupation of all Palestinian land since 1967.  The attacks began in 1994 after nearly thirty years of continuous oppression, humiliation and unpunished war crimes by Israeli forces in Palestine with no international enforcement of United Nations Resolutions that both recognized and condemned the Israeli actions and war crimes.  

Still, this is no justification whatsoever for any resistance group to also commit war crimes.  According to International Law it is illegal to respond to a violation of one’s human rights by committing a reciprocal violation, even in regard to an occupation.

On the other hand, any military action against an occupation army is considered legitimate resistance by an occupied population against the occupying power.  However, there is little international attention to the fact that an important part of Hamas’ strategy is also the use of this legitimate resistance method.

It is worth noting that Israel, as well as the USA, qualify those military attacks against the occupation army as ‘terrorist acts’, ignoring the internationally-recognized legitimacy of such acts.

Recently, Mr. Solana, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union, has confirmed the right of resistance against a foreign occupation.

The Israeli extrajudicial assassination policy

One policy of Israel that is both morally reprehensible and a violation of international law is the policy of extrajudicial assassinations of the leaders and activists of the Palestinian resistance movements like Hamas.

These assassinations began in the beginning of the 1970s and have continued until the present day.  Each successive Israeli government that has been elected has continued the policy unquestioningly.

Israeli assassinations of suspected Palestinian resistance fighters and leaders have taken a number of forms: the frontal shootings of cars, the exploding of mobile telephones and the current method: ‘assassination-by-missile’ – airstrikes by Israeli warplanes onto suspected cars or homes, regardless of whether the target is in a crowded refugee-camp, in a flat full of civilian apartments, or in a marketplace.  All of these have been the sites of missile strikes by Israeli forces in attempted extrajudicial assassinations.

These attacks are severe violations of International Law, which states that every human being has a right on a fair and independent trial.

In the extrajudicial assassinations, which are still being carried out by Israeli forces on a nearly-daily basis, in many cases civilian bystanders are also killed.

In those cases, the extrajudicial assassinations become not just violations of international law, but war crimes.  The fact that civilians are nearly always present at the assassination sites [streets, market-places, cars, apartments and refugee-camps] leads to a high probability of civilians being killed – this is a direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention’s Principle of Proportionality, and thus is considered internationally to be a war crime.

However, despite the high humanitarian risk for the civilian population, the current Israeli Prime Minister Olmert has made clear that those airstrikes are to be continued, despite the continuous loss of Palestinian civilian lives.

It is a striking example of Western ‘selective indignation’ that this Israeli policy of extrajudicial assassinations, which nearly always leads to civilian casualties, is not criticized as harshly as Hamas’ incitement toward suicide-attacks.

No sanctions have been taken against Israel in regard with thosde extrajudicial executions, as well the indiscriminate military attacks on Gaza.  But all financial assistance has been cut to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.

Regarding this issue, Israel, being the occupying country, bears the lion’s share in the escalation of the present conflict.  The EU, which claims to consider Palestinian humanitarian concerns in its policies, must be held accountable for its hypocritical double standard in the enforcement of international law in this conflict.

Social-charitable Hamas-activities

One aspect of Hamas’ activities that has long been undervalued internationally is the fact that Hamas has been engaging in social and charitable activities on behalf of the most impoverished in the two Palestinian territories, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.  Ironically, by doing this, Hamas is fulfilling the international-judicial obligation of the Israeli occupying power to take care of the humanitarian needs of the occupied Palestinian population – an obligation that Israel has failed to fulfill.

According one of the most important articles of the 4th Geneva Convention, an occupying power is responsible for the safety, well-being and the welfare of the occupied population, a population which, while under occupation, become “protected persons” – a class of people that have special rights under international law.

The impoverished situation of the Palestinian population is being intensified each day by the Israeli military attacks in Gaza and the West-Bank, which have also resulted in serious human rights violations and war crimes.

When such Israeli measures were taken in the past, Hamas has increased its efforts to support the most impoverished part of the population.  Donors for the projects, which include schools, hospitals and daycare centers, have come from all over the world, but mainly from the Arab world.  Hamas gained a reputation as a focused and devoted group that did not steal money for themselves and their own enrichment (as was the reputation of the ruling Fateh party), but dedicated funding to numerous projects that benefited the least-well-off of the Palestinian society.

Of course, this led to a great popularity of Hamas and the striking outcome of the elections.

Ongoing Israeli violations

In both Gaza and the West Bank, massive home demolitions of Palestinian homes have been carried out by Israeli forces, which is forbidden according to article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Also, in Gaza especially, the border with Israel is often completely closed, causing tens of thousands of Palestinians who work in Israel to lose their jobs — their only means of livelihood.

In July and August 2006, Israeli forces have not only closed the border with Gaza, but also bombed parts of the infrastructure [bridges and main roads], which caused considerable damage and has cut off the water and electricity supply for the entire population.  This was done, according to Israel, as a retaliatory measure for the abduction and imprisonment of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian resistance fighters on June 25th.

Retaliatory measures such as these, as collective punishment of an entire population, are serious breaches of International Law.  In particular, article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention forbids any collective punishment.


In this article I’ve tried to make clear, that not only is the American-European freezing of the financial help to the Palestinian Authority is immoral, because it is at the cost of the impoverished Palestinian population, it is also a double standard to condemn the violence of Hamas, while not condemning the ongoing violence of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

No resistance organisation in the world can be expected to lay down their arms while the occupation and oppression they are resisting is allowed to continue in the most extreme way.

However, it must also be noted that a resistance movement must also adhere to its obligations according to International Law.

The international community, particularly the European-American nations that have chosen to boycott the Hamas-led Palestinian government, must respect the stand taken by Hamas against the Israeli occupation and settlement expansion policy, as well as Hamas’ fundamental resistance against the zionistic State-model of Israel.  This must not be done by closing our eyes to the serious human rights violations of the group by the part it has played in suicide-attacks against Israeli civilians, but neither can we close our eyes to the ongoing human rights violations by Israel.

I sincerely hope that Hamas will not yield to the growing American-European political pressure to make the Israeli occupation and settlements policy points of negotiation.

But if Hamas really wants to be respected internationally, the group must refrain from attacks on Israeli civilians.

Every human being, whether Palestinian or Israeli, has the right on the same humane treatment and in my opinion, even living under an occupation as severe as the Israeli occupation of Palestine does not give a person or group the right to violate the rights of their occupiers.

Astrid Essed
The Netherlands

“Power in defense of freedom is greater than power on behalf of tyranny and oppression.”
-Malcolm X


Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

The 3th Geneva Convention, relative to the treatment of prisoners of war:

The 4th Geneva Convention, relative to the protections of civilian persons in time of war:

Israeli human rights violations:

Hamas human rights violations:

Israeli discriminatory measures against Palestinian-Arab children in the Israeli education-system:

Israeli discriminatory laws:


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