Written by Bertrand Seah

What happened?

The people of Gaza continue to be under siege from Israeli aggression, with airstrikes on May 14 the deadliest since 2014, leaving 60 dead and over 2700 injured. The Gaza Strip is a territory bordered by Israel, Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea, and houses two million Palestinians, most of whom are the stateless descendants of refugees from the territory now known as Israel. Gaza has also been subject to sea and air blockades by Israel and Egypt, which have now left the area largely uninhabitable.

The airstrikes happened as Palestinians were taking part in protests known as the Great Return March, demanding their right to return 70 years after the creation of  Israel displaced masses of Palestinians from their homes. Israel, meanwhile, has claimed that these airstrikes were done in self-defence against aggression instigated by Hamas. Such a claim has been refuted by the fact that the airstrikes were largely aimed at unarmed civilians and children who were part of nonviolent demonstrations.

Do the major powers care about the plight of Palestinians?

These attacks reflect a continuation of what is commonly referred to as a policy of apartheid against Palestinians. International groups have also criticised the airstrikes as an “abhorrent violation of international law”, while the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution to set up an investigation into the killings was backed by 29 out of 47 nations. In spite of this, Israel continues to receive significant backing from the major powers like the US, both in terms of military support and diplomacy. That powerful nations arm and back Israeli aggression makes it less likely that the struggles of Palestinians for their basic human rights will see the light of day.

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