Activists from the multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) held a protest near the US embassy in Manila to protest the US government’s continuing support for Israel.
For almost three weeks now, Israel has been carrying out bombing raids followed by ground assault on Gaza. The death toll is estimated to have now passed 1,000 Palestinians while the number of wounded in the attacks is nearing 5,000. At least 400 of the casualties are civilians, including women and children.
Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, Bayan chairperson, condemned the US government for its continued political and military support for Israel. “For decades now, US government has encouraged and supported Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its armed aggression against the Palestinian people”, she said.
The Bayan leader noted that Israel remains the single biggest recipient of US aid getting a hefty $3 billion annually. A country of only six million people, it is currently receiving more US aid than all of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean taking out Egypt and Colombia. The US has also derailed initial efforts at the United Nations (UN) Security Council to issue a resolution calling for a ceasefire.
“It is clear that Israel will not be able to carry out its current military offensives in Gaza and its past atrocities against the Palestinian people without its ‘Big Brother’ providing resources and hardware”, Araullo said.
Araullo added that the so-called War on Terror campaign launched by the Bush administration in the aftermath of 9/11 is also being used as a pretext to the massacre of innocent people in Gaza.
Araullo pointed out that the conflict is certainly not about Israel and Palestine alone. “It is about oil and who controls the Middle East. It is about the US drive for world domination behind the guise of a war on terror”.
Bayan challenged US President-elect Barack Obama to go beyond expressing “deep concern” over the loss of civilian lives in Gaza and initiate an actual and substantial shift in US foreign policy in the Middle East and the rest of the world. Araullo said that Obama should back his words with actions including immediately stopping US military aid to Israel and condemning Israeli atrocities in Gaza.