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How did Latin America react to Israel’s latest onslaught on Gaza?

August 10, 2022 at 12:56 pm

Chilean activists stand in solidarity with Gaza, August 2022 [Photo: OSP UC-Chile]

A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell justified the latest Israeli onslaught on Gaza by claiming, “While Israel has the right to protect its civilian population, everything must be done to prevent a broader conflict.” The reality is that, as an occupying power, Israel has no right to cite “self-defence” when it kills and maims Palestinian men, women and children.

Israel started its military offensive on 5 August by killing Islamic Jihad figure Tayseer Al-Jabari at his home in Gaza City. A ceasefire came into effect on Sunday evening after at least 45 Palestinians had been killed, including 15 children, and hundreds more had been wounded. Dozens of residential buildings were destroyed in the Israeli bombardment, which has been condemned by people all over the world.

Communities in Latin America came together to denounce the Israeli occupation’s actions in Gaza. There is strong solidarity with Palestine in the region, particularly in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and El Salvador.

“I want here to address all Palestinians who resist in Gaza against this cruel attack by Israel right now,” said Brazilian Deputy Paulo Pimenta. “I’m in solidarity with the Palestinian people and I consider myself as a soldier for their struggle. I will continue to support the Palestinians until we raise the flag of Palestine, a flag which unites people all over the world.”

In Chile, a wave of solidarity with the Palestinian people was witnessed during the Israeli offensive on Gaza. Protests and marches were organised by activists. They too denounced the ongoing Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people and declared their solidarity with Palestine and its people. The Chilean-Palestinian Parliamentary Group in the Chile Senate, condemned the targeting of the Palestinians: “We make it a duty, in relation to the events that are occurring in the Gaza Strip, to condemn these bombings against the innocent people there.”

The parliamentary group added that, “We as legislators and friends of Palestine repudiate these events and we hope that both the Government of Chile and the international community, which speak out daily about events in Ukraine, will also speak out about what happens in occupied Palestine. The Palestinian people have a right to live in peace in their land.”

El Salvador has one of the largest Palestinian diaspora communities outside the Middle East, with almost 100,000 people. The Palestinian community in El Salvador “strongly” condemned the targeting of Palestinians in Gaza, describing the Israeli onslaught as a “crime and a violation of Palestinian and international freedoms.”

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“Resistance is the only way to defeat the occupation and end it,” Simaan Khoury told MEMO. “If the position of the Palestinians at home is to resist and directly confront the occupation, then we Palestinians in the diaspora have a duty to raise our voices and expose the crimes of the occupation.” The head of the Palestinian Union of Latin America and member of the Salvadoran Palestinian Association called on “all of the resistance factions and the Palestinian people in the homeland and diaspora to stand united against the occupation and its barbaric aggression.” Khoury also pointed out that, “As usual, the Israeli occupation authorities do not fulfil their promises, so we as Palestinians abroad must support the steadfastness of the Palestinians in Gaza.”

Once again it seems that an Israeli prime minister has used Gaza and its people as a way to make political gains, with a General Election on the political horizon. No matter how much Palestinian blood is shed, how many innocent people are killed and injured, or how much destruction takes place, the occupation state carries on regardless of the cost to others. Yair Lapid is no different to any of his predecessors as a politician who feels the need to demonstrate his “security” credentials by bombing and killing Palestinian civilians.

Israel’s apartheid policies and the denial of basic and very legitimate Palestinian rights, air strikes, ethnic cleansing and aggression are all intended to erase the presence of the Palestinian people in their own land. The wave of solidarity sweeping around the world will not just be a passing phase which will disappear when the bombing stops. Solidarity activists must and will continue to struggle for Palestinian rights until Israel’s brutal military occupation is brought to an end.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.