Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

November 20, 2023



Christine Prat
November 20, 2023


Considering how the media report about what is happening in Gaza, it is necessary to put it in context. People who are only informed by major media believe that violence started on October 7, when a “terrorist” attack was launched against Israelis near the border. Nothing could be less true. People who had other sources of information know that almost every day Palestinian civilians had been attacked or killed by extremist settlers for years. It is not a religious war, it is a colonial war.

It all started after World War I, when the first Zionists moved to Palestine under British Mandat, it went on after the Nakba of 1948, then during and after the further occupation of Palestinian Territories in June 1967. Ever since, colonialization creating resistance, Palestinians have been revolting many times, while settlers kept trying to get more land. This is the general history of colonialism.

This article is mainly about the past years and the situation preceding the October 7 attack.



Human Rights organizations and people in the territories reported settlers’ attacks and killings of Palestinian civilians almost every day.

Human Rights Watch, August 28, 2023


Israeli forces killed at least 614 Palestinians whom the UN classified as civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank during this period.

(Jerusalem) – The Israeli military and border police forces are killing Palestinian children with virtually no recourse for accountability.

Last year, 2022, was the deadliest year for Palestinian children in the West Bank in 15 years, and 2023 is on track to meet or exceed 2022 levels. Israeli forces had killed at least 34 Palestinian children in the West Bank as of August 22. Human Rights Watch investigated four fatal shootings of Palestinian children by Israeli forces between November 2022 and March 2023.

“Israeli forces are gunning down Palestinian children living under occupation with increasing frequency,” said Bill Van Esveld, associate children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch. “Unless Israel’s allies, particularly the United States, pressure Israel to change course, more Palestinian children will be killed.” […]

Medical Aid for Palestinians, U.K., July 3, 2023

The death toll of Palestinians in the West Bank in 2023 has now reached 153, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. This year has now already surpassed 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since the UN began recording in 2005.

Israel-Palestine Timeline

At least 239 Palestinians (44 children) and 31 Israelis (5 children) have been killed by someone from the other side in 2023. [Including October 5]



The media seem to have suddenly forgotten that they used to say that the present Israeli government is the most ‘rightist’ in history. Several members of this government can be described as extremely fascist. The effect on extremists – settlers and militaries – is the same as Trump’s presidency on American ultras, they believe they can do anything without fearing prosecution. As you can see from the quotes above, attacks on Palestinians have been increasing, especially in the past two years.

The most notorious members of that government have been extremists for quite some time. Ben Gvir and Smotrich have been arrested in the past, Netanyahu keeps avoiding arrest since his first term in 1996. There are still some judges in Israel who want to prosecute Netanyahu. Now, the three could be prosecuted for war crimes and in Israel for not having prevented the October 7 attack.

The media have also suddenly forgotten that just before the October 7 attack, hundreds of thousands of Israelis demonstrated against a law proposal suppressing Justice independence, and that they thought that the Israeli government was about to fall. The government’s first call, on October 7 was for ‘National Unity’, but now, they are getting unpopular in Israel as well and they are probably not saved by their escalation of violence.



Al Jazeera Timeline: Israel’s attacks on Gaza since 2005

December 2008 – Israel launches a 22-day military offensive in Gaza after rockets were fired at the southern Israeli town of Sderot. About 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis killed before a ceasefire is agreed upon.

November 2012 – Israel kills Hamas’s military chief of staff, Ahmad Jabari, followed by eight days of Israeli air raids on Palestine.

March 2018 – Palestinian protests begin at Gaza’s fenced border with Israel and Israeli troops open fire to keep them back. More than 170 Palestinians killed in several months of protests, prompting fighting between Hamas and Israeli forces.

May 2021 – After weeks of tension during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, hundreds of Palestinians are injured by Israeli security forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem. Hamas demanded Israel withdraw security forces from the compound. Israel launched air raids on Gaza in response to what it said were rockets fired from Gaza. In the fighting that went on for 11 days, at least 260 people were killed in Gaza and 13 died in Israel.

August 2022 – More than 30 Palestinians, including women and children, killed in new air attacks carried out by Israeli planes. Palestinian Islamic Jihad, whose two commanders were killed in the air strikes, fires dozens of rockets into Israel in response.

UNRWA[1] Report July/August 2014

The scale of human loss, destruction, devastation and displacement caused by the 2014 conflict in Gaza – the third within seven years – was catastrophic, unprecedented and unparalleled in Gaza, since at least the start of the Israeli occupation in 1967 and further eroded whatever resilience the people in Gaza still have left. During the 50 days of hostilities lasting from 8 July until 26 August 2014, 2,251 Palestinians were killed; 1,462 of them are believed to be civilians, including 551 children and 299 women. 66 Israeli soldiers and five civilians, including one child, were also killed. Overall, 11,231 Palestinians were injured during the conflict, including 3,540 women and 3,436 children. Roughly one third of these children will have to cope with disabilities lasting throughout life as a result of their injuries.


The Guardian

October 17, 2023

Since 2007, Gaza has been subject to a strict land and sea blockade by Israel that prevents civilians and goods such as food and medicine from easily moving across the border. Israel says the blockade is necessary to limit Hamas’s access to weapons. Egypt has been accused of backing the blockade by restricting movement at the Rafah crossing.

According to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, 63% of Gaza’s population is dependent on international aid. UNRWA claims the blockade has devastated Gaza’s economy, estimating that more than 80% of the population is living in poverty.

Since 2007, most of the food, water and medicine that comes into Gaza has first passed through Israel. However, after Hamas’s surprise attack last week, all supplies have been blocked from entering the region.

[…] Even before the latest conflict erupted and Israel cut fresh water supplies to Gaza, 90% of the water was undrinkable, according to the Palestinian water authority.



The situation in Gaza has long been unbearable for most inhabitants. It has been explosive for quite some time.
It is not clear how the October 7 attack has been decided. My impression has always been that Hamas was a rather opportunistic party. Before January 1988, the founders were members of the Muslim Brotherhood. They had contacts with the Israeli authorities and were accused of collaboration by other Palestinian parties. By the mid-1980s, younger Muslim Brothers protested against the inactivity of the Brotherhood. Some founded the Islamic Jihad, which always remained a small party.
In December 1987, an uprising – the ‘First Intifada’ – started. In January 1988, a declaration signed by Hamas, dated of December 1987 and having number 2, was circulated. Nobody ever saw number 1. Thus, most people believe that Hamas was hastily founded in January 1988, to take the lead of an uprising they could not control otherwise.
Hamas was put on the Israeli and U.S. lists of “terrorist” organizations only in the summer of 1988 (all other Palestinian parties were considered as “terrorists” for decades).
Thus, it is possible that Hamas claimed the attack, because they could not hold the people anymore. Or something would have happened sooner or later, as the people in Gaza were on the verge of starvation.
NO!! I am not excusing the killing of civilians, I even think that those who decided the attack, or let it happen, are also responsible for what is happening now, as they knew how the Israeli government would react. But it does not excuse what Israel is doing in any way. Responsibility is not quantitative, the wrongs done by one party are not diminished by those committed by the other party.

In between, the limits of revenge have long been passed. Extremist settlers take the opportunity to conquer more and more land. The genocide in Gaza is meant to terrify all Palestinians. Attacks in the West Bank have increased too. In Gaza, they are not increasing security at the northern border, they are exterminating all Palestinian civilians, in hospitals, U.N. schools and roads to the South.

Of course, it is easy to convince western public opinion that it is all about “terrorists”, as they put Hamas in power. But I remember that, when Yasser Arafat was still alive and the undisputed President of the Palestinian Authority, the people in Gaza already hated Mahmud Abbas. All of them, from ordinary civilians to Marxists, to Islamists, they all agreed in their rejection of Mahmud Abbas. Then, when it became clear that Yasser Arafat was dying and would have to be replaced, the Israelis imposed Mahmud Abbas on the Palestinians.
Imposing Mahmud Abbas as leader of the Palestinian Authority amounted to help Hamas to take power. The same old ways of Western Governments (the “democratic” ones), putting in power corrupt dictators and supporting them to the end.


Now, the Israelis have killed at least 12000 people, including about 5000 children. On Friday, November 10, 101 employees of UNRWA had been killed. On November 14, the 50th journalist was killed, not on a battlefield but in his house.
Netanyahu has already claimed that they will reoccupy Gaza. Empty of Palestinians, this time. The killings are going on.


It is obvious that Israel could not survive a genocide. Their arguments for all their crimes have always been that having been victims of a genocide, they had to ensure their security at any cost. This was easily swallowed by European people who still felt guilty for not having been able to save the European Jews from the Nazis. All those excuses will collapse if Israel really commits a genocide. Then people all over the world will realize that they are just invaders on stolen land.

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