Socialist Alternative

End Israeli State Terror: For A Socialist Middle East!

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As we go to print, the situation in the Middle East is on a knife’s edge. The vicious assault by the Israeli military against the people of the Gaza Strip, using the pretext of the horrific October 7 attack by Hamas, has become a genocidal war. Over half the population of Gaza has now been forced into a tiny corner of the territory in the town of Rafah next to the Egyptian border, with the Israeli military threatening to launch a full scale offensive on the town.

Meanwhile negotiations for a ceasefire have been ongoing, involving Israel, Hamas, the US, Qatar, and Egypt. The basic outline seems to be the release of some of the hostages held by Hamas, in exchange for Palestinian prisoners during a period of up to six weeks. This would not be a permanent ceasefire or anything resembling a solution to the underlying problem but would certainly provide some relief to the besieged population.

However, it is also far from certain that a deal will be reached. If Israel launches the attack on Rafah during the month of Ramadan, beginning March 10, the holiest month in the Muslim calendar, the entire Muslim world could revolt. Brutal allies of the US like the Egyptian regime could face mass civil upheaval. The exchange of attacks between Israel and the Hizbollah militia in Lebanon, far better armed than Hamas, could tip into all out war, possibly drawing in the Iranian regime. All of this is against the backdrop of a growing global inter-imperialist conflict between the US and its allies and China and its allies, including Iran.

It is vitally necessary for the mass movement to step up the pressure in the streets for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and for international working class action in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The Threat Of Mass Starvation

It is very hard to overstate how catastrophic the situation is on the ground in Gaza. Over 30,000 people have been killed, 12,000 of them children. Most neighborhoods have been turned to rubble, the infrastructure that makes human existence possible has been pulverized, the few hospitals left perform surgery without anesthetic and now the threat of mass starvation.

As a recent article in the New York Times states, “the hunger threatening millions is a man-made catastrophe.” The article reports that in northern Gaza, where the threat of famine is most serious, nutrition screenings in January showed that 15 percent of children aged 6 to 23 months were acutely malnourished.

The director of the main humanitarian relief organization on the ground, UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, stated in early March that compared to the minimal aid in January, only half as much aid is getting in. This is after the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel must take action to prevent genocide! At one of the key border crossings, the Israeli military has allowed far right activists who advocate for ethnic cleansing to block trucks.

There is no other conclusion that can be drawn other than that the Israeli state is using mass starvation against the Palestinian population as a weapon of war.

The Biden administration has sent thousands of bombs and billions in military aid to Israel.  But now, fearing a full-scale war in the Middle East, it has grown increasingly critical of Israeli policy in words and is now itself calling for an immediate ceasefire. This call is also based on the massive global and domestic opinion against Biden and US imperialism. But actions speak louder than words. And the key action of the United State is to continue the flow of weapons to Israel. So while criticizing the effects of these barbaric policies, Biden gives Israel the means to continue committing these crimes against humanity. And dropping food packages from planes onto the beach in Gaza is simply putting a bandaid on a gaping wound.

US imperialism again stands exposed in front of the entire world as caring only about its “strategic interests” which are ultimately about the “freedom” to plunder the planet in the interests of profit. People’s lives are completely secondary.

What Is The Way Out?

Millions have gone on the streets across the world in solidarity with the Palestinian people. This must continue. The threat of the masses to reactionary US “allies” in the region who also couldn’t care less about the Palestinian people deeply worries US imperialism and can bring real pressure to bear. But so can the international working class. Dock workers must refuse to load military supplies bound for Israel. More than half of union members in the US are part of unions calling for a ceasefire. It is time to back up this position with the threat of strike action.

The current war is rooted in the decades-long occupation of Gaza and the West Bank by the Israeli state which is armed to the teeth. Many on the far left promote the idea that the Israeli population is one reactionary mass. But Israel is a class divided society where a mass movement against the domestic agenda of the far right threatened to topple the reactionary Netanyahu regime last year.

On the basis of capitalism, the oppression of the Palestinians will continue even if a new arrangement is cobbled together. The terrorist strategy of the reactionary nationalist Hamas is a dead end for the Palestinian people.

But neither will the Jewish population be able to live in security on the basis of capitalism. Already the Israeli economy is in deep crisis due to the war and massive social cuts are threatened. The only way forward for ordinary people is through working class action in Israel, Palestine and across the region to topple the vile ruling class and create a socialist Palestine and a socialist Israel within a socialist federation of the Middle East.

Socialist Alternative Says:

  • End the Genocidal War on Gaza
  • End the Occupation
  • End US Military Aid
  • For international workers action in solidarity with the Palestinian people and against imperialism!

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