More than 1.5 million people live in the ‘open air prison camp’ that is Gaza. For the last sixteen months the blockade of the Israeli regime has intensified the nightmare – a majority of the population are unemployed and suffering from malnutrition. Now the ‘prison guards’ are bombing the prison – resulting in the deaths of many hundreds of Palestinians, including children.
As a UN human rights monitor put it: “Israel is committing a shocking series of atrocities by using modern weaponry against a defenseless population – attacking a population that has been enduring a severe blockade for many months.”
Reactionary role of imperialism
The population of Gaza are enduring a living hell, and the terrible prospect of a wider Middle East war is posed, and yet the Western imperialist powers have refused to force the Israeli government to halt the carnage. They have, of course, used similar brutality in their occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. The White House has even blamed Hamas for the attacks and condemned the Hamas rocket fire into Israeli cities but, as with the Lebanon two years ago, is silent on the Israeli bombardment.
It is true that the western powers have called for a ‘humanitarian ceasefire’ or ‘pause’ in the bombing. However, Israel, which seems to have now rejected this, was willing to consider a temporary ceasefire merely because its timing suited their military purposes – as Israeli troops mass on the border for a possible ground invasion.
At best, the western imperialist powers describe the slaughter by the Israeli army as ‘excessive’ and ‘disproportionate’. ‘Disproportionate’ is a sickening understatement. Since the start of the bombing the number of Palestinian deaths outnumber Israeli deaths 100:1.
The Israeli ruling class do not care about the working class inhabitants of the towns bordering Gaza, but uses their plight to justify this vicious bombing campaign, which in reality is taking place for very different reasons. Facing elections in a few weeks, the government feels humiliated by the war on Lebanon in 2006, and is beset by failure and scandal. Now they are trying to save themselves from defeat in next month’s elections, by means of a wholesale slaughter of Palestinians. The Israeli government deliberately broke the ceasefire, with the killing of 6 Hamas militants in November, in order to provoke this war.
The war also temporarily diverts attention away from the impact of the worldwide economic crisis as none of the main parties, which all support capitalism, have a solution that can guarantee jobs and living standards.
It is possible that the Israeli military will mount a ground invasion of Gaza. This nightmare scenario would lead to a massive explosion of anger across the Middle East. A new regional war would be on the agenda. It would solve nothing for the Israeli ruling class which would suffer casualties and, having gone in, would not easily get out again. When it went into Lebanon in 1982, it was there for 18 years.
Arab League Leaders
Mahmoud Abbas, Mubarak and the Arab League leaders condemn the massacre. But they were complicit in Israel’s starving of the Gaza’s inhabitants by Israel’s 16-month siege. These regimes willingly carry out the dictates of imperialism. Mubarak’s regime in Egypt collaborated in the imprisonment of the Palestinians by preventing free movement of goods and people on Egypt’s border with Gaza. Mubarak even met Israel’s foreign minister Livni on the day before Israel’s attack.
Mass resistance vital
Socialists fully defend the Palestinians’ right to armed resistance against the brutal occupation. Many Palestinians see the Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israeli towns as the best method of resistance available. However, these attacks cannot defeat the Israeli state. On the contrary, they will make it easier for the Israeli government to win the support of the Israeli population for the war.
Every important gain made in the history of Palestinian struggle has been the result of active mobilization of the mass of Palestinian people. Socialists call for an immediate escalation in the demonstrations against the war, in the Middle East and internationally. We call for mass action to destroy the borders that imprison Gaza – including by Palestinian and Egyptian workers to break down the Rafah border. We also call for Israelis to demonstrate on the Israeli side of border crossings against these latest attacks.
Israeli working class
The Israeli working class could potentially develop into a powerful and decisive force against the Israeli ruling class, which must be defeated to solve both Israeli workers’ own aspirations and those of the Palestinians.
In Israel there is a rapidly widening class divide, with the rich getting richer and a third of children now living in poverty. There is tremendous anger towards the government, on economic issues and over deteriorating security. Israeli Jews will never be free of the constant cycles of violence as long as they are led by capitalist politicians who regularly have an interest in resorting to national conflict.
We call for
- For an immediate end to Israeli attacks. For and immediate end to the siege.
- For escalation of demonstrations against the war, in the Middle East and internationally
- No trust in the world powers and the United Nations. The Palestinian masses must trust their own struggle.
- Organize the mass of Palestinians in self-defense. Mass action to destroy the borders that imprison Gaza. Break the Rafah border through mass demos on both sides by Palestinians and Egyptian workers.
- Build independent workers’ organizations throughout the Middle East that can both defend working people and the poor and lead the fight against oppression, capitalism and imperialism.
- For the overthrow of all the capitalist regimes in the Arab states and in Israel. For workers’ governments across the Middle East which will end the cycle of violence and run society for the needs of ordinary people. This means a struggle for a democratic socialist Middle East.