Israeli ‘Operation Pillar of Defence’ – ‘Not Defence but Murder of Unarmed Civilians’

Human Wrongs Watch

By Mairead Corrigan Maguire*, 1976 Nobel Peace Laureate, TRANSCEND – It is with the greatest sadness, mixed with frustration, and a sense of helplessness, that many people around the world, myself included, watched on television the horrific scenes of death and destruction perpetrated, yet again, by the latest Israeli military assault on Gaza and its besieged, mostly young population.

**Image: Palestinians in a Gaza neighborhood during the 2008-09 Gaza War | Credit: Al Jazeera |

The question on many people’s lips is: ‘When is the Israeli government going to stop this bombing, and continual wars, and threats of wars against the Palestinians and their neighbours, and admit that there will never be a military solution to the Palestinian Occupation? And start to talk seriously with their enemies in order to solve problems for the sake of Palestinians, Israelis and indeed the whole Middle East and the World’?

The Argument

Watching Israeli bombs landing on Gaza and watching the death toll rising—today [16 Nov.]–to 15 Palestinians, and countless others injured (including the Israeli targeted assassination of a Hamas leader), in spite of all of Israeli and western media propaganda, many of the world’s people realize that this is Israel’s continuation of its policies of war, illegal occupation of Palestine, siege of Gaza, carrying on building illegal settlements and confiscating Palestinian land.

Prime Minister Netanyahu argues that Israel has a ‘right to defend itself’ and the Obama administration continues, yet again, to support this bogus claim, pledging to oppose those who would question Israel’s illegal policies.

The Israeli government and military do not have the right to carry out indiscriminate bombing and killing of Palestinian civilians, nor any other government have a right to do so under international law.

International Law

Israel has an obligation to abide by international law and uphold the rights of the occupied Palestinian people. Since they refuse to do so, third party governments have a legal responsibility to take action and see that Israel does not act with impunity.

The retaliation of Palestinian militants with rockets (at the moment, little more than projectiles as I witnessed one day whilst at Eretz crossing in Jerusalem, when one flew overhead from Gaza to fall in the field beside me, and simultaneously an Israeli jet fighter flew into Gaza to drop bombs on cities) is a crime against the Israeli people, and serves to create terror and fear in the Israeli families living along the Gaza border.

These actions are illegal and counter-productive, setting back the efforts for a peaceful solution.

Many Palestinians/Israelis know that there is a non-military solution that can break the continuing vicious cycle of violence.  What is missing is the serious ‘political will’ of the Israeli government to be brave, have courage, move away from militarism and war, and for the western powers to insist that Israel does so and upholds international law.

The Palestinian/Israeli people can lead the way with their own nonviolent movements including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign to bring about real political change and give peace a chance.  We can all do something.

For peace in the Middle East,
Mairead Maguire

16 November 2012

Mairead C. Maguire | Free Gaza movement

*Mairead Corrigan Maguire is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment. She won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book The Vision of Peace (edited by John Dear, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See: Her article was published by TRANSCEND Media Service. Go to OriginalNOBEL PEACE LAUREATES.

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**Image: Palestinians in a Gaza neighborhood during the 2008-09 Gaza War | Credit: Al Jazeera | | Wikimedia Commons.

2012 Human Wrongs Watch

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