Socialist Alternative

End The Slaughter In Gaza Once & For All

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Over 750,000 Palestinians were removed from their ancestral homeland in 1948 when the Israeli state was founded. Since then, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed by direct fighting over the various wars, incursions, and airstrikes, and relentless discrimination and slow ethnic cleansing, which is now picking up pace on the West Bank. Since the Israeli state invaded, one in 25 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been killed. This genocidal war is a continuation and escalation of the logic of brutal colonialist occupation backed by US imperialism  over decades.

Despite all the bloodshed, the Netanyahu regime has failed to secure anything resembling a safe and stable existence for working class Israelis. On October 7, 2023, Hamas militants massacred 1,200 people from dozens of Israeli communities, and 200 more were taken hostage. Less than a quarter of those killed were Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers. The majority of the dead were workers and young people, including Jew and Arab medical responders and young people attending a music festival.

Reactionary nationalists like Hamas have absolutely no way forward for the Palestinian people except endless misery. Nor are any of the reactionary regimes in the region from Egypt to Iran genuine allies of the Palestinian people. 

Last year, the main threat to Netanyahu’s government was mass protests of ordinary Israelis against his undemocratic power grab in alliance with the far right. Before the war, Hamas was losing popularity in polls, and mass protests against their corrupt rule were growing; Hezbollah in Lebanon was facing protests over rising food and fuel prices; and the Iranian regime was rocked by mass feminist protests and strikes following the murder of Mahsa Amini.

In the United States, one of the only things both the Republicans and Democrats agree on, besides ramping up their conflict with Chinese imperialism, is support for the Israeli government. Like always, the Democrats speak out of both sides of their mouth. Biden has found himself in the bizarre position of supplying sick and starving Palestinians with small amounts of aid, vocally criticizing Israeli policy and the conduct of the war, while also supplying the Israeli government with weapons to continue the war. In reality Israel is a vital ally in their wider fight in the region with allies of China, especially Iran. Trump is much more forthright about his support for Netanyahu, and doesn’t offer an alternative.

A wider war in the region could lead to devastation on a far greater scale than we have already seen. Biden has already carried out airstrikes in Yemen and Syria. Israel has been skirmishing with Hezbollah on the Lebanese border, risking a repeat of the disastrous 2006 invasion that killed thousands but on a much bigger scale. 

In response to assassinations and provocations, Iran took the unprecedented step of launching a massive drone and missile strike against Israel. While U.S. intelligence officials viewed Iran’s response as “designed to fail”, it did highlight the unsustainability of the Israeli state’s reliance on its Iron Dome missile-intercept system. $20,000 interceptor missiles were needed to shoot down $300 Soviet-era rockets and drones purchasable at Wal-Mart. The possibility that the mysterious death of the Iranian president in a helicopter crash involved the Israeli state put people across the region in fear of a full scale war erupting.

Across the world, working class and young people are fighting to stop the war. In the U.S. thousands of students have been arrested, and many more injured, demanding an end to the Israeli occupation. More unions should follow the important example of UAW 1111 and rescind their endorsement of Biden. International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 has refused to handle cargo destined for Israel. Hundreds of thousands of people have registered their frustration at Biden by voting “uncommitted” in the Democratic Party primaries. The next step is to take this energy to end the war, and show it in the streets. People should join Socialist Alternative and Workers Strike Back in building the biggest possible protests at the DNC in August.

In Israel, tens of thousands of people protested last month against Netanyahu, and his failed strategy to bring peace through genocidal war. An important breakthrough was that pro-democracy demonstrators joined forces in the streets with the families of hostages, the pretext for the invasion of Gaza. These protests have forced cabinet ministers to quit. However, with the rising threat of the Israeli far-right, which openly advocates for the complete ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank, it’s urgent that the Israeli working class steps into the scene. A mass anti-war movement for peace, democracy and better living standards for all could topple Netanyahu and the Israeli far-right once and for all.

A powerful wave of protests against all forms of imperialism, oppression, exploitation could spark a movement throughout the Arab world as well. In recent history, working class, secular protests toppled reactionary dictatorships throughout the region during the Arab Spring in 2011. Mass protests in Lebanon over fuel and bread prices almost toppled Hezbollah last year. The Iranian regime, which is no friend to working people or women, was shaken by a mass wave of protests and strikes. The spark of the Iranian protests in 2022 was a police murder of a young woman and rapidly became a revolt against clerical rule, the oppression of women and the impoverishment of the population under a corrupt regime.

Nothing can be solved on the basis of capitalism and imperialism – these caused the crisis in the first place. What’s needed is an international, mass, working class movement to cut across militarism, nationalism and sectarianism. Such a movement needs to oppose the ruling classes of all countries who benefit from maintaining the status quo, and unite working people to bring down all the reactionary regimes on the basis of a revolutionary socialist program for peace and stability for all.

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