Michel Moushabeck
Founder/Publisher/Editor, Interlink Publishing. (insert: https://www.interlinkbooks.com/)
Northampton, MA

Like many of you I’ve been glued to the news and frantically checking on family and friends. I grieve for the loss of life on all sides and I mourn with ALL those who lost loved ones and those who continue to suffer the consequences of the longest occupation in modern history. We at Interlink are committed to continuing our work of educating and informing people about what it would take to end the senseless circle of violence in Israel/Palestine.

The only path to ending the bloodshed, violence, and loss of life is freedom and equality for all. It is the only solution to a tragedy that has been going on for 75+ years.

This week’s insanity did not start with Gaza’s “open-air prison revolt” that surprisingly shocked Israelis and the world. Israelis for the first time have experienced what Palestinians have endured on a daily basis for decades. The nightmare that has unfolded is the direct and inevitable result of a decades-long policy of ethnic cleansing and apartheid, and the inhumane suffering of oppressed Palestinians.

Since taking office, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has moved quickly—together with his racist, far right, anti-Palestinian partners—to implement new policies that have escalated the violence. These new policies include intensified military raids and targeted assassinations of so-called Palestinian “terrorists,” stepped-up demolitions of Palestinian homes, and the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land. 

It is heart wrenching to see the images of death, the massive destruction, and demolition of entire residential neighborhoods in Gaza. As I write, Israeli missiles and airstrikes are pounding Gaza indiscriminately in violation of international law and human rights law. Israel is utilizing its military might—one of the world’s most powerful and dangerously equipped army, air force and navy, with a large nuclear arsenal—against a caged, occupied, and crowded population. Israeli politicians are calling for “turning Gaza into rubble” and “opening the gates of hell.” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant made a genocidal announcement and ordered an “even more complete” blockade of Gaza and said that Israel will “cut all water, electricity, fueland food.  We are fighting animals. Let that sink in.”

How many times before have we heard Israel threaten the “flattening of Gaza?” What US mainstream media, the White House, and members of Congress are calling “an unprovoked attack” is nothing short of outrageous and shortsighted. Over two million Palestinians—most of whom are refugees from 1948 and 1967—have been under siege since 2007 and subjected to relentless airstrikes every few years that have caused a human tragedy of unimaginable proportions. The root cause of the violence is the oppression of a people who for decades have been struggling to gain their freedom and equality and are still waiting for the world to wake up to the injustice, systemic gross violations of international law, denial of their rights, and the horrific conditions they have endured.

A friend in Gaza said to me recently, “What is worse than dying in Gaza is living [in Gaza].” The dire humanitarian conditions in Gaza—coupled with shortages of food, electricity, fuel and medical supplies—have left Palestinians without life-sustaining goods and services, and with endless misery and hardship.

It is the continuous, nonstop, daily aggression, settler violence, and abhorrent crimes of apartheid that provoke an armed response. Let us also be clear that the US government is complicit in these acts and is the prime enabler of the continued oppression and dehumanization of Palestinians. The US and other European allies who are supporting the Israeli military as it carries out collective punishment against Palestinians—bombing apartment buildings, raising entire neighborhoods, and cutting electricity to the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza—bear full responsibility for the bloodshed.

We call on our elected officials and all those who care about justice and human life to do everything they can in order to secure an immediate ceasefire, to stop the annihilation of Palestinians, to end the 17-year-old suffocating blockade on Gaza, and end US funding of the Israeli apartheid regime with taxpayers’ dollars. Sending more US weapons to Israel will only add fuel to the violence and result in more deaths and devastation.

Today, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Ranking Member Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), joined by 390 of their colleagues, introduced a bipartisan resolution “standing with Israel as it defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas and other terrorists and condemning Hamas’ brutal war against Israel.”

Without a change in current US policy towards Israel/Palestine and without Congress’s ability to see that a “barbaric war” against the Palestinians has been taking place since before 1948, there will never be a just peace in the region.

International human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have issued extensive reports that concluded that Israel practices apartheid. United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory Francesca Albanese has come under vicious attacks following her report highlighting Israeli settler-colonialism and apartheid. Hagai El-Ad, director of B’Tselem, Israel’s oldest human rights organization, recently said, “Israel is not a democracy that has a temporary occupation attached to it: It is one regime between the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, and we must look at the full picture and see it for what it is: apartheid.” Yet, our elected officials disregard all of this, including the International Criminal Court’s labeling of apartheid as “a crime against humanity.”

Why hasn’t the U.S. government shown Palestinians the same empathy, compassion, support, and resolve that it has shown our brothers and sisters in Ukraine? In a clear display of double standards, US government officials hail Ukrainians fighting the illegal Russian occupation as heroes, but Palestinians—who have a similar struggle to end their illegal occupation—are labeled as terrorists (they were called terrorists long before Hamas even existed). American supporters of Palestinian rights are falsely being accused of anti-Semitism, while Jewish supporters are considered self-hating Jews.

For the rest of the month of October, Interlink will be donating 30% of your purchases to Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) for food, hygiene supplies, water, and fuel for hospital generators in Gaza. You can also donate to MECA directly at www.mecaforpeace.org

This insanity must end. Those who care about humanity—and those who care about Jews and Palestinians—will have to ask themselves a simple question: Isn’t it time to put an end to all this suffering by supporting freedom and equality for all? Until there is an end to the occupation; until Palestinians get justice, freedom, and equal rights; and until Israel adheres to international law, there can be no hope for peace.