Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
In the last three weeks, thousands of Palestinian civilians- almost half of them children- have been killed by the Israeli bombardment of Gaza (and other parts of the occupied Palestinian territory). In response to the October 7th Hamas attack, Israel has bombed civilian homes, schools, factories, hospitals, roadways, and other infrastructure critical for public health and wellbeing. They also cut off all food, water, medicine, and fuel supplies to Gaza as part of a clear strategy of collective punishment.
International human rights bodies such as The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, as well as the United Nations have described the death toll of Palestinian civilians as devastating, alarming, unacceptable, and disturbingly similar to genocide and ethnic cleansing. They have also lamented the Israeli
military’s lack of adherence to international human rights protocols and laws governing conflict, and have documented evidence of war crimes being committed by Israeli forces.
Worldwide, peace and justice loving people, saddened and horrified by the continuing slaughter of innocent civilians, have been marching and lobbying for a ceasefire and end to the violence. Many nations and political leaders, including CARICOM and former President of Guyana, Donald Ramotar have also added their voices to the chorus for peace. The government of Israel however, remains deaf to such pleas, maintaining that their right to self defense is the only thing worth focusing on. They seem unwilling and unable to understand and acknowledge that their cruel and inhumane treatment of Palestinians over the decades has contributed in large part to the current conflict. Instead Israeli leaders describe the Palestinians people as “animals” and continue to ignore their humanity and rights.
As such, it is imperative that additional pressure be brought to bear on the state of Israel in order for the bloodshed to end. We reiterate our call for the government of Guyana to immediately suspend all diplomatic and economic connections with Israel, and to call on other nations to follow suit. This would send a clear signal to Israel that its horrific violations of international human rights law are unacceptable and will not be condoned. Business cannot continue as usual while millions of innocent civilians are massacred, displaced, and collectively punished. While some Israeli businesses are independent of the State, many enjoy close ties with the Israeli government and several of the contracts and deals that were made with Guyana came about as a result of collaboration between the Israeli government and Guyanese ministries.
A dozen years ago, in January 2011, Guyana recognized the rights of the state of Palestine. More recently, in a much acclaimed speech to the United Nations last month (September 2023), President Irfaan Ali reaffirmed Guyana’s solidarity with the Palestinian people. We picket outside the Office of the President every Monday from 12- 1pm to remind President Ali of this statement, and to urge him to do more to demonstrate real, meaningful solidarity with the people of Palestine in this time
of their great need. The thousands of innocent Palestinian children and families suffering unimaginable physical and emotional trauma need more than nice words at this time; they need the Israeli bombs to stop falling on their heads and homes.
Suspending diplomatic and economic ties with the state of Israel and encouraging other nations to do the same would send a tangible message of solidarity to Palestine, demonstrate a real commitment to peace and justice in the Middle East, and make us proud as peace-loving Guyanese. President Ali, we urge you to heed our call and we look forward to seeing you take meaningful action on this matter soonest.