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There are more than a hundred thousand broken hearts and broken lives on Valentine’s Day in Gaza as we speak. Various groups are expected to come together globally on February 17 to highlight the ongoing plight of the people of Palestine, subject to relentless attacks and inhumane conditions, even before October 7.

It is estimated that around one percent of Gaza’s pre-war population of 2.27 million people has been wiped out by Israel’s relentless attacks on the people of Gaza. There is no distinction, as the victims remain predominantly civilian — women (5,300 killed) and children (9,000 killed).

Israel is perpetuating genocide in Gaza as well as enforcing apartheid rule in occupied Palestinian territories. Since 1949, it has subjected the people of Palestine to blockades, sanctions, arrests, incarceration, and displacement. By depriving the Palestinian people of their most basic needs, it is a textbook definition of genocide.

Genocide, according to the Geneva Convention, includes five acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group including killing members of the group, causing serious mental and bodily harm, and deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

• Since October 2023, Israel’s acts of violence against Palestinians have only escalated. As of the first week of 2024, the total number of Palestinians killed in Gaza since October 7 stands at 23,357, while at least 57,000 have been injured. Around 70 % of those killed were women and children.
• 1.9 million people, representing 85 percent of the population in Gaza, have been displaced since the Israeli bombardments started and about 300,000 out of 439,000 homes have been destroyed.
• Vital institutions like hospitals and places of refuge are deliberately targeted by Israeli forces. Now, the last remaining safe zones like Rafah, are under attack putting at risk the 1.2 million people seeking refuge in those areas. There is a breakdown in the health system as hospitals can barely function given the tight grip on power, water and fuel by the Israeli government aside from outright attacks against health workers.

Truly, what Israel Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant said last October 9, 2023, has materialized: “complete siege of the Gaza Strip… there will be no electricity, no food, no fuel… we are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.”

The United States and its allies remain complicit in Israel’s war crimes with its logistical support as well as extensive political backing. From 1946 to 2022, Israel received around $ 263 billion in aid and support from the United States.
The United States has shipped more than 10,000 tons of weapons and ammunition to Israel. US President Joe Biden twice circumvented US Congressional oversight to expedite the arms transfers, the US vetoed resolutions at the UN Security Council calling for a cease-fire and even studied how to permanently transfer 2.3 million Palestinians from Gaza to the desert in the Sinai. It is no accident that Israel possesses one of the most powerful militaries in the world, with advanced surveillance and weapons annually bolstered by $3.8 billion in US military aid.

In November 2023, Retired Israeli Major Gen. Yitzhak Brick admitted “All the missiles, ammunition, precision-guided bombs, airplanes, and bombs are from the US” and added that “the minute they turn off the tap, you can’t keep fighting. You have no capability… Everyone understands that we can’t fight this war without the United States. Period.”

Likewise, the presence of US troops and bases in the Middle East and Africa only exacerbates the genocide in Israel, while bringing the US to the brink of another war in the Middle East. The US risks war on four fronts in the Middle East: with Iran, Hezbollah of Lebanon, Syria, and the Houthis in Yemen.

As long as US troops maintain a strong and provocative presence, given its continued open support for Israel and Israel’s actions in Gaza and the West Bank, there will be no peace in the Middle East.

As a broad coalition brought together under Solidarity to Oppose Wars Coalition Philippines (Stop the War! Coalition-Philippines) and reflective of various Philippine-based social movements, trade unions, women’s organizations, non-government organizations, political parties, student formations, people’s organizations, human rights organizations, faith-based groups, and other concerned organizations and individuals, we uphold our call for peace and an end to all wars of aggression, the escalating threats of militarization, and manifestations of military intervention, especially Philippine participation therein.

Professor Walden Bello, senior adviser of Stop the War Coalition Philippines adds in a statement that, “the fact that genocide is going on in plain view… we are human beings and we cannot separate our fate from that of other people. This is the basis of human solidarity,”

In the Philippines, this call for solidarity will be spearheaded by Stop the War Coalition -Philippines, coordinating with various multi-sectoral formations and networks nationwide. Groups will be planning various actions in support of the Global Call to Action Against Genocide from Manila, areas in the Visayas and Mindanao, including Internally Displaced People from Marawi all to put needed weight on the clamor for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the West Bank.

We believe that there can be no real peace without justice, accountability, and truth-telling. We join hands with the rest of the peace-loving peoples of the world in amplifying the call and aspiration of the people of Palestine who dream of an end to the genocide perpetuated by Israel.

We demand that Israel implement an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to facilitate safe zones for the distribution of aid. We demand for Israel to end the siege of Gaza and occupation of Palestine. We appeal to world leaders to demand accountability:
o Bring Israel to justice via the case brought by South Africa to the International Court of Justice (ICJ);
o Bring the US to justice for its role in the perpetration of these war crimes.

Lastly, we appeal to fellow Filipinos, who know the value of democracy, to support the global movement to Free Palestine.#

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