Bismillah, before continuing, please check all pessimism and hopelessness at the gate, otherwise do not read any further. Feel free to use this post, in part or entirety, and circulate as much as possible. Copyright rules are waived for it.
ACTION PLAN : We have compiled a list of action-items (many from readers’ comments) into one list that, inshaAllah, will empower us all. We have all read enough about Gaza to know the grave situation that our brethren find themselves in. Now, it’s time to do something. This is OUR 60-90 minutes action-guide that WE should go through at least once. Repeat one or more of the actions as often as you are able to. Do as much as you can, whenever you can. NO ACTION IS INSIGNIFICANT.
Once you are done taking ANY or all actions, come back and add a comment to record your small contribution(s), but with great reward towards OUR cause. The purpose of checking back in is to encourage others to do the same. A small logo for this post will be added to front page, on the right side:
OUR 60-Minute Action-Gaza Plan (one-time, not daily):
MAKE Du’a | 10 minutes | REPEAT Everyday
Print out the du’as in this attachment and post it on your fridge or any other prominent location. Read the du’as now and move on.
Call any random number in Gaza, and tell them that you are calling from North America (or wherever you are), make Duaa for them and tell them all their brothers and sisters around the world are with them; this will give them moral support and courage ! How to call? > Very simple!
Dial any of these number and replace the last 4 digits by any random ones, try 4 or 5 times and you’ll reach a family insha’Allah ! Even if you don’t speak Arabic, talk to them with very slow and simple English. Here’s what you can say in Arabic. We’ll have an audio version of this by tomorrow i/a:
(011)9728284-XXXX (011)9728282-XXXX (011)9728255-XXXX
PLEASE BE MINDFUL OF TIME-ZONES! (7 hrs ahead of US EST, 2 hrs ahead of UK)
WRITE a Letter to the Editor | 20-50 minutes | REPEAT for other newspapers Letters to editor is the most-read section in the entire newspaper, and is read by local leaders as a means of keeping up with the pulse of the community.
Write a letter to your local newspaper (you can find it from the list here). You have a better chance of getting published than writing to one of the national newspapers.
Consider these guidelines to increase your chance of getting published. The most important point: Make ONE point, even if you have a hundred swarming in your head. Be very succinct and add some “color” or “reasoned emotion”, it may increase your chance of getting published.
Talking Points for Letters to Editor & Congressional Representative [remember keep scope of letter limited]:
President Bush and Secretary Rice should exert diplomatic pressure to immediately re-instate a ceasefire. Israel’s military assault is disproportionate, inhumane, and immoral. The U.S. is the only country that has the capability to effectively halt this vicious cycle of violence.
All human life is sacred. Israel must stop its collective punishment of Palestinians, and allow critically needed medical supplies and food to be delivered to the residents of Gaza.
The Gaza Strip is smaller than the Isle of Wight, but it is crammed with 1.5 million people who can never leave. They live out their lives on top of each other in vast sagging tower blocks, jobless and hungry. From the top floor, you can often see the borders of their world: the Mediterranean Sea, and the Israeli barbed wire. When bombs begin to fall — as they are doing now with more deadly force than on any day since 1967 — there is nowhere to hide.
The Israeli government did indeed withdraw from the Gaza Strip in 2005 – in order to be able to intensify control of the West Bank. Ariel Sharon’s senior advisor Dov Weisglass was unequivocal about this, explaining: “The disengagement [from Gaza] is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that’s necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians… Effectively, this whole package that is called the Palestinian state has been removed from our agenda indefinitely.”
The election of Hamas was in a free and democratic election, and it was not a rejection of a two-state solution. The most detailed polling of Palestinians, by the University of Maryland, found that 72 percent want a two-state solution on the 1967 borders, while fewer than 20 percent want to reclaim the whole of historic Palestine. Rather than seize this opportunity and test their sincerity, the Israeli government reacted by punishing the entire civilian population. They announced they were blockading the Gaza Strip in order to “pressure” its people to reverse the democratic process. They surrounded the Strip and refused to let anyone or anything out. They let in a small trickle of food, fuel and medicine – but not enough for survival.
According to Oxfam, this November only 137 trucks of food were allowed into Gaza this November – to feed 1.5 million people. The UN says poverty has reached an “unprecedented level.”
It was in this context – under collective punishment designed to topple a democracy – that some forces within Gaza did something immoral: they fired Qassam rockets indiscriminately at Israeli cities. These rockets have killed 16 ordinary Israeli citizens. This is abhorrent: targeting civilians is always murder. But it is hypocritical for the Israeli government to claim now to speak out for the safety of civilians when they have been terrorising civilians as a matter of state policy.
Only 16 civilians have died due to the small unsophisticated rockets in all these years. Israel killed that many civilians in less than 24 hours. Only one in 500 Qassam rockets causes a fatality. How many thousands of Israeli bombs, missiles, rockets, grenades and tank-shells have been blasted into the crowded city and towns of the Gaza Strip by Israel’s high-tech weaponry?
Hamas offered a ceasefire in return for basic and achievable compromises. According to the Israeli press, Yuval Diskin, the current head of the Israeli security services Shin Bet, “told the Israeli cabinet [on the 23rd] that Hamas is interested in continuing the truce, but wants to improve its terms.” Diskin explained Hamas was requesting two things: an end to the blockade, and an Israeli ceasefire on the West Bank. The cabinet – high with election-fever, and eager to appear tough – rejected these terms.
The sound of Gaza burning should be drowned out by the words of the Israeli writer Larry Derfner. He says: “Israel’s war with Gaza has to be the most one-sided on earth…. If the point is to end it, or at least begin to end it, the ball is not in Hamas’ court – it’s in ours.”
“Israel left Gaza in order to create an opportunity for peace.” FALSE. Israel never left Gaza. It still occupies Gaza’s airspace and coastal waters and controls all entrances and exits.
Israel had failed to abide by the terms of the cease-fire. For the overwhelming majority of the six-month truce, Israel had refused to ease its military blockade of Gaza to any significant degree. In addition, it was the initial violator of the cease-fire when it sent tanks and aircraft into Gaza and killed six Palestinians on November 4, 2008.
In the interest of peace, Hamas, and especially Fatah, have firmly established that they are willing to participate in negotiations that are based on internationally recognized borders and rights. The Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said in November that his government was willing to accept a Palestinian state alongside Israel within the 1967 borders. Haaretz Israel News, Nov. 9, 2008
Institutions of higher learning are supposed to serve the needs of their countries and are also supposed to be a place where diverse views are debated. The indiscriminate bombing of this university simply cannot be justified. Last year, when there was a British proposal to boycott Israel universities, and the speed and enthusiasm with which certain American universities and academics jumped to attack the proposed boycott of Israeli universities was a spectacle to witness. They claimed they were championing academic freedom. I wonder where these same universities and academics are now, when an entire University is bombed, its facilities destroyed, and professors assassinated. The only reasonable answer seems to be that in the eyes of these academics, Palestinians don’t really deserve the same freedoms as Israelis do. In other words, some freedoms are just more sacred than others.
The claim that only 60-odd people were civilians out of the nearly 400+ killed is utter misinformation. The UN yesterday issued a “conservative” estimate of the number of civilians killed in three days of unprecedentedly fierce aerial bombardment, putting the death toll at 62. It is a deliberately conservative estimate because it excludes all men in the Gaza City area to ensure that it does not accidentally include uniformed personnel. The Palestinian Centre of Human Rights said that “most” of the more than 300 casualties were civilian but their tally includes Hamas policemen. Under the laws of war, police and police stations are presumptively civilian unless the police are Hamas fighters or taking a direct part in the hostilities, or police stations are being used for military purposes. We already know that some of the police officers targeted were mere cadets/recruits, let alone fighters!