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No one has the right to murder

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No one has the right to Murder

Yusuf Abramjee 

 Anger and emotion is running high following the death of hundreds of Palestinians and the injuring of many more. Israel started a series of air strikes on Gaza more than a week ago and a ground invasion got underway at the weekend. This is in response to rocket attacks from Hamas.

 The majority of those killed by Israel are civilians – men, women and children. Locally, anger is also running high and we have seen a number of protest.


 The United Nations (UN) has once-again shown the world what a toothless body it is. It has failed hopelessly to bring at end to the bloodshed. It could not even agreement on a statement calling for a seize fire. US President, George Bush, says Israel is within its rights to attack Gaza because it has to fight “terror.” The Israeli Defence Force has killed almost 500 people and the body count is rising by the hour. Rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel over the past few months have killed four. Do you call this tit for tat?  The world cannot sit back and see the madness continuing. Those countries that condone the attack on Gaza have blood on their hands. Israel cannot be above international law.   A few weeks ago, in response to the Mumbai attacks, I argued that the killing of civilians can never be condoned – be it in the name of the56or terrorists themselves. But, it appears, it is okay for some countries to kill civilians if it is done by governments like Israel who have the military muscle and have the support of the USA. It’s shocking. The attack by Israel on civilians is nothing more than terrorism. No sensible person can ever say Israel is within its right to attack Palestinians when you see the innocent harmed. Mosques, schools and even a shopping area have been attacked.  In South Africa, Muslims and Jews work closely together. Religious leaders meet regularly and try to find commonality. But, the latest developments in the Middle East have caused some tension. We must also be cautious when we generalize. I heard a comment by a Muslim the other day saying all Jews should be punished for the Gaza attacks. I am sure there are some within the Jewish faith who feel the same about Muslims. Let’s not forget that Muslims who carry out attacks and kill innocent people do not represent the entire Muslim community. The same applies to the Israeli attacks. Not all members of the Jewish faith support Israel’s attack and it’s wrong to portion blame on all of them.          Former Intelligence Minister, Ronnie Kasrils, amongst others, for example, has always been outspoken and he continues to condemn Israel. He is a Jew. Therefore, be very careful before you generalize. Kasrils has repeatedly slammed Israel and comparing them to the apartheid government. The reality is that the people of Palestine are being harassed, intimidated and imprisoned on a tiny strip of land.  Why is Israel not allowing the media into Gaza? They are obviously afraid because the world will get to see the truth.          Let it also be placed on record that rocket attacks or suicide bombs by Palestinians which kill innocent civilians can never be condoned. It is wrong, just as the Israel government is wrong in attacking innocent civilians. However, the time is long overdue for an independent Palestinian state to be created. Hamas was elected democratically. There needs to be a seize fire immediately. The humanitarian crisis is horrendous. The borders of Gaza should be opened without delay to allow the free flow of medical supplies and food. The world cannot sit back and see the blood bath continuing.  The South African government has condemned the violence. Cosatu and other groups have also been very vocal and have come out in support of the Palestinians. Some have even called on South Africa to cut all economic ties with Israel. This should now be seriously considered.

 *Yusuf Abramjee is Group Head of News and Current Affairs for Primedia Broadcasting, owners of Talk Radio 702, 94.7 Highveld Stereo, 567 Cape Talk and 94.5 Kfm. He writes this column in his personal capacity.    

This article appeared in the Pretoria News on Thursday 8th January 2009