Stop the massacre in Gaza!

This is a translated version of the recent editorial of the Xekinima newspaper in Greece

Almost six months after the start of the offensive by Israel’s murderous military machine in Gaza, the death toll has reached 32,000 and the number of wounded 74,000. Israel is preparing a large-scale attack on Rafah in southern Gaza, where most of the more than 2 million Gazans, displaced by the attacks of recent months, have sought refuge. Such an attack would have devastating consequences for the people of Gaza, who are now facing their most dramatic situation in decades. Hunger has reached unprecedented levels, humanitarian aid is drip-feeding into Gaza, and babies are now dying within hours or days of birth due to very low birth weights caused by their mothers’ malnutrition.

In recent days there has been a fierce attack on the Al-Sifa hospital, leaving hundreds of dead, which Israel claims were Hamas fighters, but which Hamas denies. During the attack on the hospital, the Israeli army also arrested hundreds of doctors, nurses and patients.

Similar complaints were made by doctors and nurses arrested during the attack on Nasser Hospital and released after days of beatings. At the same time, attacks on crowds gathering to receive humanitarian aid continue, with the dead often including those trying to distribute the essential supplies. Meanwhile, in the West Bank, Palestinians and UN workers are being systematically attacked by Israeli settlers and the army.

“Move the people out and then clean it up”

The extreme aggression of the Israeli army forces even its closest ally, the US government –which of course continues to supply arms and finances to the Israeli war machine– to show publicly that it is “doing something”. In this context, Blinken (US Secretary of State) visited Israel in an attempt by the US government to persuade Netanyahu to find some kind of “alternative” to the large-scale ground invasion of Rafah. Netanyahu responded that he was determined to go ahead with the operation, with or without US support.

Part of the US establishment fears that the Israeli state has gone too far. On the one hand they are worried that the war on Gaza could lead to a wider conflict in the region. On the other they worry about the impact this brutality will have on the way the US superpower is seen by the peoples of the world and also the people in the US and the Western block.

Notably, although the US has already rejected three resolutions calling for a ceasefire in the UN Security Council, this time it was the US that took the initiative to table a resolution on the issue. This however was not accepted because China and Russia vetoed it, denouncing it as hypocritical and inadequate.

Two different trends are developing in the US at the moment. One is for uncritical support to Israel no matter what. This trend was most recently expressed by Donald Trump’s adviser, Jared Kushner, who said that Gaza is a “waterfront property” and that Israel needs to “move the people out and then clean it up”! He did not even hesitate to say that Israel must “finish the job” in Gaza, a statement that cannot hide the chilling analogies with the genocidal Nazi logic of the “final solution”.

On the other hand, voices of criticism are growing, even among Israel’s supporters. In mid-March, Democratic Party member and Senate leader Chuck Schumer said that Israel needed elections immediately and that it risked “becoming a pariah” if it continued to be governed by Netanyahu.

Friendly criticisms

Overall, in the “Western front”, voices of criticism and concern about the impact of aggression and war are growing, as capitalist commentators understand that the bloc they represent is facing growing isolation internationally.

In response to Macron’s recent proposal to send NATO troops to Ukraine, former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin (a former Macron supporter) stated that:

“In any case, our diplomacy has not done what it should have to isolate Russia. If Russia were isolated, we would know it… I think, by the way, that we are more isolated, unfortunately, than Russia…

“…This is what makes the situation in Ukraine a real danger and it’s also what makes the Israeli policy applied today to Gaza a real danger. Because there is no control over the use of force. And when you look […] all fronts are linked, all crises are linked.”

International movement

Meanwhile, mass protests demanding an immediate ceasefire continue around the world. In the US, demonstrations were organised in front of the White House during Biden’s State of the Union address. In London there was recently another mass mobilisation demanding an end to the attack on the Palestinians. Among the most militant sectors taking part in the mobilisations are Jews living outside Israel (mainly in the US and Europe), who have been demanding a ceasefire and respect for Palestinian rights for months under the central slogan “Not in our name”. Particularly important are the mobilisations inside Israel, which have been met with brutal repression and arrests.

But in recent months, solidarity with the Palestinian people has also been expressed in more practical forms of action. Last November, demonstrators at the port of Tacoma in Washington State blocked the departure of a ship carrying war materiel to Israel. Similar actions were taken recently by workers at the Port of Oakland, and at the end of February by dockers in India who refused to load weapons that would be used to continue the massacre in Gaza.

Such actions must be continued and intensified. International solidarity, mass demonstrations, the actions of trade unions trying to block the war machine that is flattening Gaza, as well as joint struggles with the workers and oppressed inside Israel itself, are the only force that can put a brake on the nightmare that the Palestinian people are living.

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