Israel’s ongoing invasion, by land, sea and air, of the Gaza Strip is completely unjustified and involves yet another round of pointless killing of innocent civilians. The Israelis and Palestinians will obtain no respite from yet another pointless war over Gaza until the Israeli state and public acknowledges the right of the Palestinians to their own viable independent state—something that first of all requires the cessation of all hostilities against the Palestinians and the removal of Jewish settlers from the occupied West Bank — Editors
The Israel state’s massive aerial and ground assault on Gaza, which as of mid-July has led to the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians—the vast majority of them innocent civilians (including dozens of children)—not only demonstrates once again its total inhumanity when it comes to its treatment of the Palestinians. It also reveals its utter disregard for the long-term interests of its own citizens.
Within 24 hours of the kidnapping (followed by the murder) of three Israeli teenagers in mid-June, which was roundly condemned by many Palestinians, the Israeli government blamed Hamas for the act—even though it presented not a shred of evidence then or since as to Hamas’ complicity. It then proceeded to arrest and detain over 500 Hamas supporters on the West Bank in a wide-ranging dragnet to find the kidnappers. Netanyahu’s government was quick to blame Hamas as part of its effort to undermine the recent unity accord between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. If there is one red thread that has always guided Israeli policy toward the Palestinians—other than its complete disregard for their human rights—it has been to keep the Palestinian movement as divided as possible. Let’s not forget that several decades ago Israel assisted Hamas’s rise to prominence by supplying it with arms as a way to build it up as a counter-weight to the PLO.
In a shocking display of vigilantism, on July 2 a group of Jewish fascists in East Jerusalem murdered a Palestinian youth in revenge for the killing of the three Israeli teenagers; an investigation showed he was beaten and burned while still alive. The day before, several hundred right-wing Jewish extremists had paraded through Jerusalem shouting, “Death to Arabs!”
That Hamas has responded to the arrests of hundreds of its supporters and the targeting of its leaders by firing thousands of rockets, missiles and mortars at Israeli civilian areas in July is certainly a war crime of its own. Although only a handful of Israeli casualties have so far occurred due to its rocket and missile attacks, that is surely not Hamas’ intent. It too must be held accountable for these crimes.
Nevertheless, it was surely no secret to Netanyahu’s government (or to anyone else) that Hamas would respond to a crackdown on its members by firing missiles at Israel. It’s well known that it has stockpiled at least 10,000 such missiles—some of which can reach as far as Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. And yet Israel’s rulers decided to launch yet another war on Gaza. In doing so, it is responsible for jeopardizing the safety of its own citizens for the sake of a shortsighted, and ultimately futile, refusal on its part to make peace with the Palestinians.
The Israeli government, and much of its public, may believe that a ground invasion of Gaza can once and for all finally rid them of the threat posed by Palestinian rocket attacks. But this is pure delusion. When Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 it kept tight control over Gaza’s borders, airspace and coastal areas and imposed a virtual state of siege on the area by restricting vital imports. Yet that solved nothing. Israel launched a massive air and ground invasion of Gaza in 2008-09 that led to the deaths of 1,400 Palestinians, but that also solved nothing. Israel attacked Gaza from the air once again in 2012, decimating entire neighborhoods and communities. But that too solved nothing.
We should keep in mind the specter of Israel’s massive 34-day ground invasion of southern Lebanon in 2006, which was aimed at “eradicating” Hezbollah’s military arsenal. Today Hezbollah is stronger than ever, possessing as many as 100,000 missiles and rockets. The lesson is rather clear. No people will accept permanent occupation by another, especially when they have experienced so many years of persistent struggle as the Palestinians.
The only way out of this endless cycle of Israeli atrocities aimed at Hamas and Hezbollah, and Hamas and Hezbollah atrocities aimed at Israel, is for Israel to withdraw from the areas occupied since 1967 and agree to a peace settlement that ensures the existence of a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. This will of course require the dismantlement of the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which continue to grow in size and population and which have become a breeding ground for anti-Arab racist extremists. None of the major players in Israeli politics today seem willing to take that step, but that step will have to be taken, sooner or later. If it is not done, Israel will face a future of further confrontation, isolation, and escalating military attacks.
It is clear that Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza would not be possible without the support of the U.S., which has not so much as lifted a finger to stop it, as well as its vassals in Europe, especially Britain, and without the tacit agreement of Arab governments (such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia) that use the rhetoric of war to justify the status quo. It is a disgraceful and criminal “holy alliance” in which everybody seems to benefit from the sufferings of the Palestinians. It is about time that a stop was put to this!
As Marxist-Humanists, we firmly oppose Israel’s actions at the same time as we oppose the reactionary politics of Hamas and other Islamic fundamentalist forces. The only way that independent voices for liberation can begin to arise and make themselves heard in Israel and Palestine is by putting a stop to Israel’s endless cycle of attacks upon the Palestinians. For this reason, we call upon all those who aspire for human dignity and freedom to call for an end to this war against Gaza and an immediate and total cessation of all military aid to Israel as well as a boycott/divestment with regard to all entities that supply or support the Israeli occupation.