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​Israel's assault on Gaza is ‘collective punishment of the Palestinian people’

Published time: July 11, 2014 10:27
Smoke rises from buildings following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike, as Palestinians search for victims under the rubble of a house which police said was destroyed in another Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip July 11, 2014 (Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

The Israeli establishment cynically uses murderous assault in order to pursue the pre-existing agenda, which is an imperialist agenda aimed at undermining Hamas, former Irish Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy told RT.

RT: Israel pushes on with its Gaza offensive, despite civilians being killed. Are civilian casualties inevitable?

Paul Murphy: I think they are inevitable when you have a murderous assault being pursued by the Israeli establishment. You have a completely cynical use of the tragic death of the three Israeli teenagers in order to pursue the pre-existing agenda, which is an imperialist agenda, which is about undermining Hamas, and which points towards a new ground invasion. So it’s not the matter of the Israeli establishment crying crocodile tears and saying “Oh well, some civilians deaths are inevitable”, they are certainly inevitable whenever you have an open-air prison camp like Gaza and when you subject it to hundreds of bombardments with the highest technological level weapons on a daily basis.

RT: Israel says Hamas is using civilians as human shields. How much of a responsibility for the civilian casualties does the organization have, in your opinion?

PM: I think the responsibility for those killed by Israeli weapons lies with the Israeli government. It is inevitable when you have 1.6-1.7 million people crammed into a very small space, when they are supposedly pursuing so-called legitimate targets that they are going to kill Palestinians civilians. Let’s not pretend that it isn’t the aim or that it’s something extraneous that is happening. The policy here is of collective punishment of the Palestinian people and of the people of Gaza in particular. That’s the policy that repeatedly has been pursued by the Israeli establishment, and let’s remember the invasion in 2009, the invasion in 2012, let’s remember the massive numbers of civilian deaths. But let’s also remember that the aims that are portrayed to the Israeli population of achieving security for the Israeli population, they were not achieved by those wars and they are not going to be achieved now. It is a cynical use of the deaths of the Israeli teenagers.

RT: At least 18 children were killed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza this week. Do you think the issue is getting enough international attention?

PM: No, absolutely not. It is quite striking. It is even worse than the previous occasions in the Western media how that has been portrayed. You have an approach of balance and equivalence, or even in some cases like at the BBC who have talked a bit about Israel retaliating against rockets coming from Gaza. The whole thing is entirely distorted; it is of course distorted by the establishment in Europe, the likes Catherine Ashton, the likes of Obama who insists on justifying the right to defense by the Israeli establishment against the rockets. The aggressor here is very clear here. What we need across Europe, around the world is massive protests to say that people are completely opposed to this Israeli offensive and solidarity with those significant Palestinian protests that are happening in Israel but also joint Palestinian-Jewish protests happening at the moment.

RT: The UN is sounding the alarm, saying the region can't afford a full-blown war. How much influence does the international community have? What can it do to help to stop the violence?

PM: I think right now the best international solidarity that can be shown is by significant protests, by protests also aimed at our own leaders, the leaders of the European establishment, the US establishment, calling for an end of the support for the Israeli assault, calling for a suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement. But I certainly think that people going to Gaza or attempting to go to Gaza highlights that this blockade is continuing at the moment, it is also very important.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.