It’s hard to believe that we are here again. Watching helplessly as Israeli planes drop American-funded bombs on civilians in the crowded Gaza Strip. Home to 2.3 million Palestinians subject to a brutal blockade by Israel for 16 years and now victims of a total siege starving the population of food, water and medical supplies. In just twelve days, the death toll exceeded that of the horrifying 90-day 2014 war on Gaza . Unless we stop it, what is unfolding is nothing short of a genocide.
Anyone who watches Al Jazeera News can see with their own eyes the daily demolitions of family homes, apartment blocks, refugee camps, schools and hospitals. Of course, as social workers, we condemn all acts of violence against civilians and the taking of civilian hostages, but we also understand the root causes of violence that lie in 75 years of violent displacement, 56 years of military occupation, a cruel system of apartheid fences, walls and checkpoints and the endless humiliation of armed Israeli settlers evicting Palestinians from their homes and murdering their whānau (under the watchful and complicit eyes of the occupation forces).
Across Aotearoa and the world, people are protesting, rallying and marching in solidarity with Palestinian people. Don’t let anyone tell you that this is too complicated or that this is a religious war. There are many progressive Jewish people overseas, and here in Aotearoa who refuse to be complicit in Israel’s war crimes, they call for a ceasefire now, and an end to the occupation.
The Reimagining Social Work collective stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people and with our brothers and sisters in the Palestinian Union of Social Workers and Psychologists. We also support the call issued by the Palestine-Global Mental Health Network.
In the coming days and weeks, please take time to look beyond mainstream media and take what action you can to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.