Israeli ‘Operation Pillar of Defence’ – Not Defence but Murder of Unarmed Civilians


Mairead Corrigan Maguire, 1976 Nobel Peace Laureate – TRANSCEND Media Service

Press Release – 16 Nov 2012

It is with the greatest sadness, mixed with frustration, and a sense of helplessness, that many people around the world, myself included, watched on television the horrific scenes of death and destruction perpetrated, yet again, by the latest Israeli military assault on Gaza and its besieged, mostly young population.

The question on many people’s lips is: ‘When is the Israeli government going to stop this bombing, and continual wars, and threats of wars against the Palestinians and their neighbours, and admit that there will never be a military solution to the Palestinian Occupation? And start to talk seriously with their enemies in order to solve problems for the sake of Palestinians, Israelis and indeed the whole Middle East and the World’?

Watching Israeli bombs landing on Gaza and watching the death toll rising—today–to 15 Palestinians, and countless others injured (including the Israeli targeted assassination of a Hamas leader), in spite of all of Israeli and western media propaganda, many of the world’s people realize that this is Israel’s continuation of its policies of war, illegal occupation of Palestine, siege of Gaza, carrying on building illegal settlements and confiscating Palestinian land.

Prime Minister Netanyahu argues that Israel has a ‘right to defend itself’ and the Obama administration continues, yet again, to support this bogus claim, pledging to oppose those who would question Israel’s illegal policies. The Israeli government and military do not have the right to carry out indiscriminate bombing and killing of Palestinian civilians, nor any other government have a right to do so under international law.  Israel has an obligation to abide by international law and uphold the rights of the occupied Palestinian people. Since they refuse to do so, third party governments have a legal responsibility to take action and see that Israel does not act with impunity.

The retaliation of Palestinian militants with rockets (at the moment, little more than projectiles as I witnessed one day whilst at Eretz crossing in Jerusalem, when one flew overhead from Gaza to fall in the field beside me, and simultaneously an Israeli jet fighter flew into Gaza to drop bombs on cities) is a crime against the Israeli people, and serves to create terror and fear in the Israeli families living along the Gaza border.

These actions are illegal and counter-productive, setting back the efforts for a peaceful solution.   Many Palestinians/Israelis know that there is a non-military solution that can break the continuing vicious cycle of violence.  What is missing is the serious ‘political will’ of the Israeli government to be brave, have courage, move away from militarism and war, and for the western powers to insist that Israel does so and upholds international law. The Palestinian/Israeli people can lead the way with their own nonviolent movements including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign to bring about real political change and give peace a chance.  We can all do something.

For peace in the Middle East,
Mairead Maguire


Mairead Corrigan Maguire is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment. She won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book The Vision of Peace (edited by John Dear, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See:


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 19 Nov 2012.

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4 Responses to “Israeli ‘Operation Pillar of Defence’ – Not Defence but Murder of Unarmed Civilians”

  1. […] Ireland. See: Her article was published by TRANSCEND Media Service. Go to Original. NOBEL PEACE […]

  2. Israel & the West (ie. Europe and USA) vs. Palestinians, Arabs and other Muslims in the whole world.

    Israel & the West are called the First World.

    Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims are part of the Third World.

    The land-grab that became known as Israel was established when the West won the last Crusade. Unlike the previous Crusades, the last Crusade is not known as a Crusade in academic circles of the West.

    What the state of Israel represents is something completely different from what all the other Western states stand for in modern times.

    Israel is a homeland for the world’s Jews. In this project, all the Jews of the world are citizens of Israel, and Arabs are complete outsiders, however long their connection is with the piece of land that is now Israel.

    Israel vs. the Arabs, or the Jews vs the Arabs can be viewed as the latest phase of the conflict between Christians and Muslims.

    This is a long-drawn-out conflict in which the warring parties are not at all equal. Christians and Jews are bullying and humiliating Muslims.

    The irony of the situation is that the warring parties do not know what they are fighting for. They are fighting for the hearts and minds of the broader world.

    Another Crusade is necessary to end this bloody conflict. It is a conflict that the Muslims and Arabs must win if they are to survive and continue living.

    We have a culture, civilisation and even a race war. That is the dilemma of Israel that is so much admired by many Chritians. I am the only Christian that does not admire Israel.

  3. satoshi says:

    Prime Minister Netanyahu refers to the right of self-defense. But, needless to say, the exercise of the right of self-defense against innocent civilians is the abuse of that right.

    If Palestinians would kill innocent Israeli civilians, and then, if Palestinians would refer to the right of self-defense as Netanyahu claimed, would Israel consider Palestinians’ the right of self-defense as legitimate?

    One of the wisest Jews in Palestine taught some 2,000 years ago, “Do to others what you would like them to do to you.”

  4. Tammy Murphy says:

    I would like to draw attention to an important op-ed in the Boston Globe by Harvard scholar Dr. Sara Roy, Where’s our humanity for Gaza? (11/23). Dr. Roy’s contextualized analysis of the aftermath of the latest round of violence in Gaza, points to an important focus on Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law.
    Focus on the illegality of the occupation and on Israel’s violations of the laws of war bring attention to the heart of the matter. Israel’s occupation of Palestine and Israel’s siege on Gaza are strategies to meet a need for security. The strategy is not working now and it never has largely because Israel is the only thing that can truly make Israel strong. Crushing Palestinians is not making life more secure for Israelis even if its politicians pretend this destruction is an exercise of strength. The violation of international humanitarian law is an avoidance of the vulnerability that Israel must face. Once the Israelis decide to face their insecurities, perhaps they will be able to meet with Palestinians on equal footing and begin the search for true equality and justice that will enable a true security. Equality and justice for all seems to many people a trite cliche but Israelis must embrace their insecurities and we must advocate for an end to the brutality behind which Israel hides.
    I thanked the Globe for publishing this important piece and encourage everyone to do what they can to bring us all closer to peace.