An Interview With Michael Lynk
Oppressed & Oppressors
The death toll from last Saturday’s brutal assault on Israeli communities along the militarized border between Gaza and southern Israel has now topped 1300, most of them civilians. Almost 3000 Israelis have reportedly been injured.
Over two hundred Israeli soldiers, including senior officers, were also killed in the audacious attack by Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants, breaching the seemingly impregnable, hi-tech barrier separating Israel ‘proper’ from the territory it has occupied — either with its own soldiers and settlers, or ‘effectively’, through comprehensive sea, land and air blockade, and exclusive border control — since 1967.
Over 150 Israeli and international hostages are reportedly being held inside the Gaza Strip, some of them human rights workers.
The GPM spoke with Michael Lynk about the unfolding situation. Lynk is Associate Professor of law at Western University, in London, Ontario, specializing in labour, human rights, disability, constitutional and administrative law. Between 2016 and 2022, Lynk served as ‘UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967’.
Listen to our conversation here:
In response to last weekend’s attacks, Israel has doubled down on its crippling siege of the tiny enclave — forty kilometers long and twelve kilometers wide — now into its 17th year.
Referring to Hamas militants as “human animals,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced on Monday that electricity, diesel fuel, food and water supplies would be cut off to the enclave, alternatively referred to as the world’s largest open air prison, a concentration camp and a ghetto.
Retaliatory Israeli strikes on Gaza from land, sea and air have killed at least 1200 Palestinians, including 290 children, and injured over 5,000.
Among Israel’s targets: crowded markets, hospitals, ambulances and facilities of the UN Reliefs and Works Agency (UNRWA). Seven Palestinian journalists have been killed. High-rise residential buildings have been reduced to rubble. An estimated 340,000 Gazans are now refugees, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports. Almost 220,000 are sheltering in UNRWA schools, which have also come under Israeli attack.
Fuel supplies cut off, Gaza’s sole power station is now on the verge of shutting down. Gaza’s major hospitals, packed with injured, will inevitably follow.
An Israeli ground invasion appears to be imminent.
Predictably, Western powers have rallied around Israel, equating Hamas to ISIS and guaranteeing support for the ‘Jewish State’, including arms and ammunition, as it seeks vengeance.
Israel’s response to Hamas outrages must be measured, precise and proportional, in accordance with the rules of war, US and European leaders say, all the while assuring Israel it’s free to do as it pleases.
Israel has the “right defend itself,” they say.
Gaza is home to 2.3 million Palestinians, most of them refugees, or the descendents of refugees driven from their villages between the November 1947 UN partition of historic Palestine and Israel’s 1948 war of ‘independence’. The lovely Israeli communities invaded by reportedly bloodthirsty Palestinian militants this past weekend lie on or near the ruins of those villages — an irony mainstream media has been slow to pick up on.
Meanwhile, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, armed Jewish settlers and soldiers have gunned down at least 29 Palestinians over the past few days. Among these, two residents of Qusra village, near Nablus, in the course of a funeral for four others killed by settlers earlier this week.
Israeli soldiers routinely provide cover and support for settlers, many of whom are active duty soldiers themselves.
In a show of even-handedness, earlier today (October 12), four dozen UN human rights experts condemned both the oppressed and their oppressors.
“We strongly condemn the horrific crimes committed by Hamas, the deliberate and widespread killing and hostage-taking of innocent civilians, including older persons and children,” the experts said, in a news release from Geneva. “These actions constitute heinous violations of international law and international crimes, for which there must be urgent accountability.”
“We also strongly condemn Israel’s indiscriminate military attacks against the already exhausted Palestinian people of Gaza, comprising over 2.3 million people, nearly half of whom are children,” the experts continued. “They have lived under unlawful blockade for 16 years, and already gone through five major brutal wars, which remain unaccounted for. This amounts to collective punishment. There is no justification for violence that indiscriminately targets innocent civilians, whether by Hamas or Israeli forces. This is absolutely prohibited under international law and amounts to a war crime.”
The GPM spoke with Michael Lynk about the unfolding situation in Gaza and Israel. Lynk is Associate Professor of law at Western University, in London, Ontario, specializing in labour, human rights, disability, constitutional and administrative. Between 2016 and 2022, Lynk served as ‘UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967’. Listen to our conversation here: