With the latest Israeli assault on Gaza now in its seventh day, with over 141 confirmed deaths and more than 1000 wounded, and with an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire apparently delayed by Israel, PSN offers this roundup of helpful background information and opportunities for action on the issue.

Background Information

For key facts and the basics on Gaza, visit the Gaza Freedom March’s page of Gaza Key Facts and Gaza Under Siege Facts. You can also visit the BBC’s profile on Gaza or read Rashid Khalidi’s op-ed, “What You Don’t Know About Gaza,” which appeared in The New York Times. (Note: most of these resources were created during the last Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-09).

For an introduction to the legal status of Gaza under international law, read the Institute for Middle East Understanding’s excellent reference sheet Israel, Gaza & International Law.

Also worth reading is Mehdi Hasan’s Ten Things You Need to Know About Gaza.

For a graphic illustration of the imbalance of power between Israel and Gaza, visit the Palestine Center’s Imbalance of Power: Understanding Weapons and Casualties in Gaza and Israel.

For a general introduction to basics of the occupation of Palestine, you can watch the documentary film Occupation 101 free online.

Background on the Current Israeli Assault on Gaza

For a timeline of events that led to the current Israeli assault on Gaza, check out Ali Abunimah’s comprehensive blog for Electronic Intifada on How Israel shattered Gaza truce leading to escalating death and tragedy: a timeline or the Institute for Middle East Understanding’s Timeline: Israel’s Latest Escalation in Gaza.

Mondoweiss has a good , short overview of 4 myths about the Israeli attack on Gaza, and also has a long, but highly recommended, article
Dissecting IDF propaganda: The numbers behind the rocket attacks.

For some thoughts on the timing of the current assault, you can read Ramzy Baroud’s Palestine Chronicle article, Netanyahu’s High-stakes Game in Gaza: Same Time, Same Place.

How to Follow the Latest on the Current Israeli Assault

To see the human impact of the assault, the Institute for Middle East Understanding is compiling and updating Gaza Under Attack: Stories From on the Ground and the blog Palestine From My Eyes has a very important post that updates the Names and ages of killed people in the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza. Electronic Intifada also has a moving (and not very graphic) photo essay, In photos: Gaza buries its children as Israeli attacks intensify.

The main Twitter feed to follow for updates is #gazaunderattack and @aymanqwaider also has frequent updates from Gaza.

The following pages are good resources for ongoing updates:

  • Mondoweiss is constantly updating its Gaza page.

What You Can Do

1. Share information about the assault on Gaza

Retweet information from #gazaunderattack and PSN’s Twitter feed. Like PSN’s Facebook page and please share the information we post with your Facebook friends. And, you know, talk to people you know about what’s going on in Gaza.

2. Call on politicians to take action

The Harper government is arguably the most pro-Israeli government in the world, and Prime Minister Harper has offered unqualified support for the current assault on Gaza. Unfortunately, the official statements of three main political parties as well as the Green Party, either support Israel exclusively or offer weak statements that frame the current conflict as Israeli retaliation, despite the timeline of events.

All parties should be urged to call for an immediate ceasefire as well as an end to Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. You can use CJPME’s action alert to send a personalized message to all party leaders, foreign affairs, and your MP.  Or, send emails to the following:

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister: stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca
John Baird, Foreign Affairs Minister: john.baird@parl.gc.ca
Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the Official Opposition:  thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca
Paul Dewar, Foreign Affairs critic for the Official Opposition:  paul.dewar@parl.gc.ca
Bob Rae, Leader of the Liberal Party: bob.rae@parl.gc.ca
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party:  Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca
Find your own MP’s contact info here.

Visit the action pages of US-based groups Jewish Voice for Peace and US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation for additional ways to take action, including pressuring US President Obama to take action.

3. Respond to biased media reports on the Gaza assault

When you read, see or hear reporting that is not accurately reflecting the reality of what is happening on the ground, it’s important to respond with letters to the editor of media outlets. Pro-Israel groups have well-funded networks that pressure media on so-called anti-Israel bias, so it’s important that we do the same.  Ironically, we suggest you use the pro-Israel media bullying group Honest Reporting’s media contact page to engage media on these issues.

4. Support and Attend Events in Solidarity with Gaza

In Edmonton, PSN is planning events to follow up from last Saturday’s emergency rally. Check back to our website frequently for updates and like our Facebook page at facebook.com/psnedmonton and follow us on Twitter for ongoing updates of events in Edmonton. You can also join our email list by sending a blank email to psn-edmonton-announce+subscribe@googlegroups.com.

PSN also welcomes new organizers, so if you are interested contact us to find out how to get involved.

Across Canada, get involved in what’s happening in your community at We Stand With Gaza and the Canadian Peace Alliance.

5. Join and Support BDS Efforts and Ongoing Palestinian Solidarity

While the current crisis in Gaza requires immediate action, an end to the current Israeli assault will do nothing to end the illegal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem or end the illegal siege of Gaza. When the bombs stop dropping on Gaza, it’s important to continue to act to ensure Palestinian human rights.

In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued the Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS, calling “upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel.” Since the current assault on Gaza started, the Palestinian BDS National Committee has reiterated the importance of BDS campaigns and offered Five ways to effectively support Gaza through Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions.

Get involved with PSN to help us build ongoing BDS campaigns here in Edmonton.

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