Voices (Aswat) of Anger and Solidarity

Sawt al Niswa

On May 31, Israel massacred 10 international activists and injured nearly 30 on international waters in the Mediterranean Sea. About 650 international activists, from 44 countries around the world, were heading towards Gaza Strip carrying humanitarian aid including scooters for disabled people, medicine, toys, and basic foods. The Free Gaza flotilla’s mission was to break the four years of Israeli blockade and siege on Gaza Strip. The prolonged siege has resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and the long-term consequences of this siege are yet to be fully captured or realized. Everyday children, elderly, or people with various illnesses die from lack of basic health-care, medicine, or malnutrition. In December and January of 2008-2009 Israel committed a massive bombardment on Gaza resulting in nearly 1,500 killed and some thousands injured. Earlier in 2006, before and after the Israeli offense in Lebanon, Israel was also involved in more killing of Gaza civilians.

We thus understand from Israeli Army actions, government communications and mainstream global media, that Palestinian, Lebanese, and currently International bodies are all “disposable” and “killable” without any regret. While many people worldwide mourn the death of their family members, loved ones and/or colleagues, the majority of Israelis choose to uncritically accept the official government and arm line that Israel was the victim of a “terrorist” attack by peace activists.

Aswat, Palestinian queer women group, condemns the Israeli military attacks on the Freedom Gaza flotilla and call people all over the world to exercise their right to protest the apartheid regime in Israel and elsewhere.

As Palestinians we feel that targeting supporters for our families, friends, and fellows in Gaza is targeting our struggle for abolishing racism, inequalities or violence.

As queer women we strongly feel repulsed by the masculine military attacks on unarmed activists who could not escape these attacks while on boats in the middle of the sea. As women we are also disgusted by the sexist, chauvinist and racist language used by Israeli Knesset Members against MK Haneen Zoabi in the Israeli Knesset describing her as a “traitor” and “Trojan horse”. Ms. Haneen Zoabi was in the ship when the Israeli Army attacked and she witnessed the killing of activists and was heard in television shouting in Hebrew and English to the Israeli Army that “we are civilians” and “we have killed and injured people” on the ship. Ms. Haneen Zoabi was also told in the Knesset Assembly by MK Yohana Palsner to “go back to Gaza and see how they treat unmarried 38 year old women”. This language is not only racist towards Gazan women and men, but also sexist by highlighting the fact that she is an unmarried woman as if this is the sole aspect of Ms. Zoabi’s identity or life. As women who reject to be told what to do and how to do it, we find MK Palsner’s humiliating and disrespectful speech to be the very cause of our resistance to patriarchy, heteronormativity, homophobia or sexism.

Aswat sends condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in the massacre and wishes those who were injured full recovery. We also send a message of solidarity to the people in the Gaza Strip, to international activists who were in the Freedom Gaza flotilla and to all the protestors worldwide mobilizing in the streets or online against the Israeli Army and government and their propaganda campaign.

Aswat

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