This article is being written on July 9, 2014, while Israel is bombing Gaza and rockets are falling in the region of Tel Aviv. We are being told that the Israeli government is considering a ground assault on Gaza which may be true or not. So far, at least twenty-seven Palestinians, many of them civilians including children, have been killed and more than 152 wounded. No Israeli has been killed. Ironically, Israel’s propaganda campaign claim is that Hamas, unlike “humanistic” Israel, is firing rockets because it wants to kill civilians. Anyone who thinks differently is branded an anti-Semite.
How ugly the political climate is in Israel, the climate which led to the attack on Gaza, can be judged by statements of members of the Knesset. Ayelet Shaked, for example – a Knesset member from the national-religious Jewish Home party – wrote in her Facebook page on July 1, the day before the brutal murder of 17-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khuair, that the “Palestinians children are snakes.”
“This is a war,” wrote Shaked. “It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. These too are forms of avoiding reality. This is a war between two people.” (1)
Such a statement is neither isolated nor is it one that fell from the sky. Rather, it concisely expresses the historical logic of Zionism and the Israeli apartheid state. The same logic of stealing Palestine from its indigenous population is one that can conceivably lead to the genocide of the native Palestinians by the settler colonialists if the latter will only be able to accomplish this.
The Killing of Khudair
The day after Shaked wrote her hateful Facebook entry, Mohammed Abu Khudair was kidnapped in Jerusalem and later buried alive and burned. Six Israeli suspects were arrested on Sunday in connection to the murder.
“Abu Khdeir's death triggered several days of violent protests in Arab areas of Jerusalem and northern Israel as Palestinians accused Israeli extremists of killing the boy to avenge the earlier deaths of the Israeli teens. Israel's Shin Bet agency, which handles top security cases, imposed a gag order, blocking key details, including the identities and backgrounds of the youths, as well as most of the evidence from being made public. (…) Despite the gag order, some additional details have begun to emerge. Israel’s Channel 10 TV said the suspects were the son and five grandsons of a prominent rabbi in Jerusalem, without further identifying him. It said two suspects used the rabbi's car for the kidnapping without his knowledge”. (2)
Israel Targets Hamas
The collapse of the US-led framework negotiations, led to the recent Fatah-Hamas agreement to form a unity government. Israel was and is determined to destroy this agreement. It used the kidnapping and the discovery of the bodies of the three Yeshiva settler students for this purpose. The Israeli government was aware that the three young settlers were dead, but used the searches to try to dismantle Hamas’ operations in the West Bank. In the course of the searches it arrested 400 Hamas activists and raided hundreds of businesses and institutions linked to the organization. Four young Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army.
Following the discovery of the bodies of the young settlers on Monday of last week, Israel carried out air strikes on thirty-four targets in the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas.
By July 8, “Israel struck 150 targets in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and authorized the call-up of 40,000 reservists as we are told that it weighed a possible ground operation. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in televised comments that he ordered a ‘significant’ expansion of Israel’s offensive in Gaza that ‘may take time.’” (3)
Last night Israel struck an additional 160 targets, including governmental buildings in the Gaza Strip.
“Israel's intense bombardment of the Gaza Strip has killed at least 27 people and wounded 130 others, Palestinian officials have said. (…) At least five children were among 12 others killed in Gaza on Tuesday, Palestinian officials said.” (4)
A ground incursion into Gaza will result in the deaths of many Palestinians civilians and will cost the Israeli army some serious losses. For this reason the Israeli government hesitated while Israeli public opinion was shouting “revenge, revenge!” demanding that Israeli’s army enter Gaza and kill as many Palestinians as possible.
“Yaakov Amidror, a former major general and national security adviser, said that Israel responded in force after Hamas had done so overnight. ‘If we don’t find a solution through this exchange of fire, and Hamas won’t understand what we can do, we’ll have no other choice than to do the big operation that we don’t want to do today,’ he said. Israeli public opinion is more supportive of a major military action than the prime minister or the government, ‘which is more sober,’ he said. ‘Israeli public opinion is not only behind the government, but is pushing the government.’” (5)
Large groups of fascistic Jewish youth have been crying out against the Israeli government at rallies held in Zion Square in Jerusalem every night, clashing with smaller peace rallies and calling on the IDF to wipe out the Palestinians. At a July 7 rally, they also called for the blood of all Arab members of Knesset, and said of liberal female politicians: “Haneen Zoabi is a whore! Tipzi Livni is gay!” (6)
Prior to Israel’s recent raids on the West Bank, Hamas claimed that it was not responsible for the deaths of the students. At the same time, Hamas spokesman Abu Zuhri announced that his organization is ready and willing to strike against Israel. These were not empty threats. In reaction to the latest bombing of Gaza, Hamas fired long-ranged M302 rockets on the south of Israel, Tel Aviv, Haifa in the north of the country, and even on Jerusalem. Clearly the rockets in Hamas’ arsenal are better than what Israel expected, and have a range of over 120 km, and their coordinated firing sent more than 500,000 Israelis scrambling to bomb shelters in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. So far no Israeli has been killed, as Hamas’ weapons are inaccurate and are intended to send a message to Israel: “Quiet for quiet.”
Regardless of the intentions of the both the Israeli government and Hamas, the cycle of massive bombing of Gaza by Israel and Hamas’ retaliatory rocket fire can indeed lead to an Israeli invasion of Gaza.
The Imperialists and Their Servants
Initially, American and European imperialists stood openly with Israel. “Rocket fire drew a strong reaction from Washington and Brussels. ‘We strongly condemn the continuing rocket fire into Israel, but we also support Israel’s right to defend itself against these attacks,’ US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. (7) Today Brussels and the U.S. condemned both sides.
On Sunday of this week, the Arab League condemned Israel. However, in reality states like Jordan which condemned the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, as well as the killing of Egyptian policemen by Israeli troops in the Sinai border area, has prevented hundreds of Jordanians from gathering at the Israeli embassy in Amman to protest the attacks.
In this military conflict, the Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT-Section in Israel/Occupied Palestine) stands with the Palestinians against the cruel and powerful apartheid regime that uses sophisticated military technology against the oppressed Palestinians. A serious defeat for Israel may lead to a third intifada of the oppressed and to the renewal of the Arab revolutionary uprising against the military regime in Egypt and the other reactionary regimes in the region.
Even the Jewish Journal is of the opinion that a third Intifada is possible in spite of the Palestinians existing leadership:
“Shifra Sagy, chair of the Martin-Springer Center for Conflict Studies and Negotiation at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, said she has heard more warnings of restraint from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Arab leaders within Israel, than she did in the days leading up to the last two intifadas. However, she said — speaking over the phone between air-raid sirens, just outside Be’er Sheba — ‘There are islands of anger and rage,’ and with the smallest spark, ‘it could suddenly go out of control.’” (8)
* Down with Israel’s murdering wars!
* For a general strike of the Palestinians in the lands occupied by Israel in 1948 and in the West Bank!
* For the self defense of the Palestinians!
(1) Ali Abunuimah: Israeli Lawmaker'’s Call for Genocide of Palestinians Gets Thousands of Facebook Likes, Electronic Intifada, 7 July 2014, http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-lawmakers-call-genocide-palestinians-gets-thousands-facebook-likes; see also https://www.facebook.com/ayelet.benshaul.shaked/posts/596568183794945
(2) Josef Federman: Gaza militants unleash heavy rocket fire on Israel Yahoo, Associated Press, 8.7.2014, http://news.yahoo.com/gaza-militants-unleash-heavy-rocket-fire-israel-203044041.html
(3) Calev Ben-David and Saud Abu Ramadan: Israel Strikes Gaza by Air and Sea to Halt Rocket Attacks, July 08, 2014, http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-07-08/israel-strikes-gaza-by-air-and-sea-in-operation-to-halt-rockets
(4) Al Jazeera: Israel steps up deadly Gaza Strip offensive, 9 July 2014 http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/israel-steps-up-deadly-gaza-offensive-201478135059977350.html
(5) Steven Erlanger and Isabel Kershner: Israel and Hamas Trade Attacks as Tension Rises, New York Times, 8 July 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/world/middleeast/israel-steps-up-offensive-against-hamas-in-gaza.html?_r=0
(6) Simone Wilson: On the threshold of a Third Intifada, Jewish Journal 9.7.2014 http://www.jewishjournal.com/israel/article/is_this_the_third_intifada
(7) Channel News Asia: Israel, Hamas slide towards major Gaza conflict, 8 July 2014, http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/israel-hamas-slide/1245078.html
(8) Simone Wilson: On the threshold of a Third Intifada, Jewish Journal 9.7.2014 http://www.jewishjournal.com/israel/article/is_this_the_third_intifada