Thursday Jul 31, 201401:16 PM GMT
Henry Siegman: Israel’s offensive in Gaza ‘a slaughter of innocents’

A former leader of American Jewish Congress has strongly condemned Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip, saying “the Zionist dream is based on slaughter of innocents.”

Henry Siegman, who is also a former Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and president of the US/Middle East Project, made the remarks in an interview with the Democracy Now! news program in New York on Wednesday.

“The Zionist dream is based on the repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis,” Siegman said.

Israeli warplanes have been carrying out incessant airstrikes against the blockaded coastal territory since July 8. On July 17, thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion into the densely-populated strip.

Some 1,370 Palestinians have been killed, including women and children, and thousands others injured by the Israeli regime’s offensive against the coastal enclave despite pressure from the international community. The United Nations says over 80 percent of the fatalities in Gaza have been civilians.

Israel’s ongoing deadly offensive in Gaza is “disastrous, both in political terms, which is to say the situation cannot conceivably, certainly in the short run, lead to any positive results, to an improvement in the lives of either Israelis or Palestinians,” said Siegman, a German-born American Jew who is a leading expert on the Middle East and a vocal critic of the Israeli apartheid regime.

“And of course it’s disastrous in humanitarian terms, the kind of slaughter that’s taking place there,” he added.

Siegman said Tel Aviv could have prevented the disaster that is being played out by ending the occupation of the Palestinian territories in the first place. “Couldn’t Israel be doing something [to prevent] this disaster that is playing out now, in terms of the destruction of human life? Couldn’t they have done something that did not require that cost? And the answer is, sure, they could have ended the occupation."

Siegman refers to Israel as a "de-facto apartheid" regime and says that the "two-state solution is dead."  He has also denounced the so-called peace process in the occupied Palestinian territories as a "scam" because of a "consensus reached long ago by Israel's decision-making elites that Israel will never allow the emergence of a Palestinian state."

AHT/GJH

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