Israel is again unleashing terror and death on the people on Gaza. But this new war comes amid a very different regional backdrop to the last Gaza war in 2009—in the aftermath of the Arab revolutions.
In the first three days of its new war it has already murdered 29 Palestinians and left hundreds injured. It continues to rain bombs on the population using air strikes and warships, and is also threatening another ground invasion.
Since the “ceasefire” after its 2009 war on Gaza, Israel has continued its strangulation of Gaza’s entire 1.6 million people. Secret Israeli government documents show it has consciously kept Gaza’s residents just above starvation levels, by restricting food shipments to less than required for basic nutrition.
There are chronic shortages of medicines thanks to Israeli restrictions, and seriously ill patients are routinely prevented from travelling out of Gaza to obtain treatment, according to Amnesty International.
Most world leaders and the mainstream media have blamed Hamas for the conflict, and backed up Israel’s claims that it is “defending” itself. Julia Gillard condemned rocket attacks from Gaza, but refused to even criticise Israel’s bomb attacks. The Greens’ response has been that both sides are to blame for the violence.
But there is nothing equivalent about Israel’s massive military arsenal, supplied by the US, and the resistance to it. And it has been Israel that has continually broken ceasefire agreements, as it did when it assassinated Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari this week. During the “ceasefire” since 2009 Israel has killed 271 Palestinians in Gaza, while rockets launched from the Strip killed 12 people. During its three-week war in 2009, Israel killed 1300 Palestinians, including 300 children. Four thousand homes were destroyed, along with UN-run schools and hospitals.
Resistance to occupation
Israel’s blockade was imposed in 2007 as punishment for the democratic election of a Hamas government in Gaza. The West and the mainstream media routinely denounce Hamas as a terrorist organisation. In fact its support came as a result of disillusionment with the sham “peace process” which delivered only increased Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and unrelenting Israeli state terror.
Hamas has simply kept alive the tradition of Palestinian resistance to the humiliation and oppression imposed on them which dates back to the 1940s.
It is this refusal to submit to the occupation that Israel wants to break. Israel’s status as a Jewish or Zionist state can only be maintained through discrimination, exclusion and state terror against the Palestinian Arab population. It is a European colonial state established through the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.
Far from showing any intention of making peace with the Palestinians, it has continued to expand Jewish settlements on land seized in the 1967 war, which are illegal under international law. Since 1993 when the “peace process” supposedly began the number of settlers in the West Bank and Jerusalem has almost doubled to 550,000.
This situation requires Israel to maintain total military dominance over both the Palestinians and its other neighbours. Israel is among the world’s greatest military powers, armed to the teeth with F-16 combat aircraft, attack helicopters, missiles and hundreds of nuclear weapons. Much of this is supplied through billions in US aid, in return for acting as a watchdog for US interests in the Middle East.
But the regional context today is very different to 2009. In Egypt, the hated dictator Hosni Mubarak, who colluded with Israel to keep Gaza imprisoned through sealing its border with Egypt closed, is gone. The new President, Mohamed Morsi, from the Muslim Brotherhood, has been unenthusiastic about challenging US policy in the region but will be under huge pressure from his supporters now to do so.
Israel also confronts instability on its Syrian border instead of the old certainty provided by the Assad regime. And everywhere the Arab revolutions have given ordinary people new confidence to defy their rulers and begin staging strikes and protests.
Israel’s increasingly outrageous actions have damaged its international credibility and fed the growth of a the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement aimed at isolating it further. A wave of protests around the world can help fuel the kind of regional uprisings needed to end Israeli terror.
Rally & March to end the War on Gaza! Friday 23rd November, 5pm, outside Myer Centre, Rundle Mall.
Take Action for Gaza, Friday 23 November, 5pm King George Square
Rally against Israel’s attacks on Gaza Sat Nov 24, 12 noon, Israeli embassy, Turrana St, Yarralumla. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emergency rally for Gaza, Wed Nov 21, 5.30pm, corner of Murray and Macquarie Street.
Emergency organising meeting, Tuesday November 20, 6pm venue TBC.
Rally against bombing of Gaza – Friday November 23, 5:30pm, State Library.
Emergency solidarity for Gaza. 1pm, Sun 25 Nov, Murray Street Mall. Organised by Friends of Palestine WA. https://www.facebook.com/events/348497328579572
Stop the war on Gaza organising meeting Mon 19 November, 6pm UTS Tower Block. Look for signs.
Stop the war on Gaza rally Sat Nov 24, 12 noon, Town Hall. Initiated by Palestine Action Group. For more information visit the Palestine Action Group’s Facebook.