This piece was originally published on Global Voices Online.
Following the end of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, violence and tensions have escalated between Israel and Gaza. Today, Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza in what the AFP calls "one of the bloodiest days of the decades-long Middle East conflict." So far, the death toll in Gaza is at 210 and rising.
The Palestinian blogosphere, which is made of Palestinians and supporters around the world, is furious with what they perceive to be needless actions from Israel. No Justice No Peace...The Big Picture, an honorary member of the Palestinian blogosphere, spoke out:
200 dead, 750 wounded, and for what? For Qassam rockets which have killed < 10 people in 8 years. If ever there was an epitome of disproportionate use of force this attack by F-16's (paid for by US tax dollars my fellow Americans) is it.
All in the name of "self-defense". Please. This is immoral offense, and indiscriminate killing, and, by god, if you hold elections and call it a democratic process then deal with the results in a civilized manner, but not quarantining Gaza, withholding funds, petrol, electricity, medical supplies, humanitarian ships, ad UN mandated observers from entering Gaza and then wonder why home-made rockets are being fired (with no sophisticated guidance chips or any chance of doing massive damage).
PalestineFreeVoice points out that Israel used internationally banned weaponry in the attacks and reports:
On Saturday noon in the first wave of air strikes,the Israelis targeted Gaza City government buildings. Casualties are confirmed and include the Commander of Gaza Police Force Tawfiq Jabir, the Commander of Security and Protection Services in Gaza police, Ismail Al-Ja'bari and the Governor of the Al-Wusta (central) Districts Ahmad Abu Aashur.Islam Shahwan, a Hamas police spokesman, said that the Israeli attacks have destroyed most of the Gaza Strip police headquarters and that a police graduation ceremony was being held during the Israeli assault.
Global Voices' own Bahrain author, bint battuta, shares a text message from a friend in Rafah:
Text from teacher friend in Rafah: "They struck the whole Gaza Strip at the same second. Many of the casualties are school children. My colleague told me he has seen 8 cases of death in the street. He picked his son alive. I am in my school now and the horror is everywhere in Gaza.
Palestinian bloggers are already ensuring that this most recent airstrike will spur the blogosphere into action. Ali Abunimah, writing for The Electronic Intifada, notes that demonstrations are being planned around the world:
On top of the intense anger and sadness so many people feel at Israel's renewed mass killings in Gaza is a sense of frustration that there seem to be so few ways to channel it into a political response that can change the course of events, end the suffering, and bring justice.
But there are ways, and this is a moment to focus on them. Already I have received notices of demonstrations and solidarity actions being planned in cities all over the world. That is important. But what will happen after the demonstrations disperse and the anger dies down? Will we continue to let Palestinians in Gaza die in silence?
Palestinians everywhere are asking for solidarity, real solidarity, in the form of sustained, determined political action. The Gaza-based One Democratic State Group reaffirmed this today as it "called upon all civil society organizations and freedom loving people to act immediately in any possible way to put pressure on their governments to end diplomatic ties with Apartheid Israel and institute sanctions against it."