|The CPGB-ML sends a red salute to the Palestinian resistance in Gaza, whose courage against enormous odds stands as an inspiration to the oppressed masses of the whole world. We denounce the November massacre in which some 150 Gazans died and more than 1,100 were injured in over 1,450 attacks, whilst the supposed guardians of international law at the UN have sat on their hands and reactionaries everywhere point the finger of blame, not at oppression and state terror, but at those who resist it.
History repeats ... and history moves on
‘Operation Pillar of Defence’ was gruesomely reminiscent of the early stages of 2008’s ‘Operation Cast Lead’, with the same massacre of men, women and children, the same zionist lies regurgitated by the BBC, the same denunciation of those who resist oppression and the same shameless excuses made on behalf of the executioners.
True, then it was Bush who gave the green light to state terror and this time it was Obama, but we’ll leave it to star-struck liberals to explain what real difference there is between the two.
Palestinians have been suffering the same barbaric collective punishments, and the same flagrant disregard of any humanitarian norms, as illustrated by the destruction of a three-storey building allegedly housing a Hamas leader at the cost of eleven lives, many of them children, and the deliberate targeting of buildings accommodating media workers (AFP and Sky News as well as Hamas), injuring several journalists, one seriously. In addition, three Palestinian journalists were targeted and slain.
As all these familiar horrors unfolded, it seemed that everything was in place for a complete rerun of 2008’s massacre, with Netanyahu openly threatening a ground invasion and obstructing efforts by Russia and others to negotiate a cessation of violence. Israel made it a precondition of a ceasefire that Hamas should cease all attacks on Israel for the next 15 years and recognise the right of Israel to target resistance fighters in Gaza.
In other words, if Palestine agreed not to defend herself and submitted willingly to extrajudicial killings on her territory, then Israel might consider temporarily suspending the latest air bombardment. Meanwhile, Gaza would continue to starve behind the zionist blockade.
Yet despite appearances to the contrary, the world has moved on in the last four years. Friends of Tel Aviv like Egypt’s Mubarak and Tunisia’s Ben Ali have been overthrown in the course of popular revolts whose potential is far from exhausted.
The warning by President Mohamed Morsi that Egypt would not tolerate an Israeli ground offensive demonstrated the degree of pressure on the Muslim Brotherhood to match its anti-zionist rhetoric with deeds. As protests erupted across the Middle East, hundreds of Egyptians crossed into Gaza to show their support by bringing in medical supplies and donating their blood.
Cairo’s relationship with Palestine serves as a litmus test of the progress or otherwise of the anti-imperialist struggle within Egyptian society.
In the early days following the overthrow of US stooge Mubarak, it seemed that the relationship was shifting, with a widely-supported relaxation of border controls. Yet since that time, and even with the advent of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, Cairo has continued to collaborate with Israel over border access and other issues.
This double-dealing cannot escape the attention of the anti-imperialist masses, especially when contrasted with Cairo’s readiness to render material assistance to western-backed counter-revolutions in Libya and Syria – counter-revolutions that are proving to be an increasing nightmare for their imperialist instigators.
It is true that a combination of heavily-funded mercenaries and intense carpet bombing have temporarily succeeded in bringing Nato puppets to power in Libya, installed under a fake ‘Arab spring’ flag. True also that the imperialists hope to save their skin in the region by pulling the same stunt in Syria and Iran.
But the axis of resistance forged in response to these barbaric provocations could yet usher in a second edition of the Arab spring that would make the original look like a vicarage tea party, sweeping away not only the degenerate feudal sheikdoms in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, but also the jewel in the imperialists’ crown – the state of Israel itself.
In these circumstances, the firmness of the Gaza resistance under fire is an encouragement to the oppressed everywhere to stand up – not least in Egypt itself, where the immediate consequence of Israel’s latest massacre has been to spark an internal political crisis, with the constitutional assembly on the brink of collapse, demonstrators back out on the streets and Morsi granting himself sweeping new executive powers. History repeats itself – but does not stand still.
Gaza united behind the resistance struggle
Zionism piles horrors upon horrors in Gaza, hoping thereby to drive a wedge between the masses and the resistance leaders, yet achieves exactly the opposite, as attested by a piece by bourgeois commentator Phoebe Greenwood.
As well as reporting the agonising toll in human suffering (150 Palestinians killed, 40 of them children, and a steep rise in the number of amputations performed on women and children at Shifa hospital), she noted that, contrary to the claim that only military targets were selected, the bombs, shells and rockets “left the Hamas civil and security infrastructure in smouldering ruins”, including government offices dealing with the registration of births and deaths, the issue of passports and drivers’ licences and the levying of taxes.
Ms Greenwood reported one citizen as complaining that “this war has brought huge financial damage to Gaza and it will take a long time for us to recover. All the banks have been closed, the businesses have closed, the exchanges have run out of currency, the price of the dollar has soared.” (Daily Telegraph, 21 November 2012)
One striking example of a militarily pointless attack – an attack aimed purely at demoralising the population – was the destruction of Gaza’s central sports stadium, a popular venue where national teams’ games were staged, Olympian athletes were trained, and concerts showcased Arab artists. After the arena was last bombed in 2006, FIFA helped rebuild it. Now once again it lies in ruins.
In other words, there has been a systematic demolition of the normal fabric of civil administration and a deliberate destabilisation of economic life, all designed for the express purpose of making life intolerable for the surviving inhabitants, in the hope that a cowed and despairing population would shrug and deliver their leaders into the hands of the enemy.
Yet this impeccably bourgeois report in the Telegraph admirably sums up what has been the real consequence of this cynical and barbaric policy. Referring to the same witness, Greenwood concludes that “Far from turning his anger on Gaza's Hamas leadership ... that was where he now put his trust. The factional division of Gaza's society have been largely erased during the conflict, as militant groups fell in line behind Hamas and supported its negotiation efforts. ‘We all believe in the Hamas leadership now,’ Mr Yasji said.”
The truth is that the shells and bombs which rained death on Palestinian heads in November were a sign of panic and desperation right across the imperialist camp, not of confidence or strength. What can the warmongers achieve by shooting at the captive inhabitants of what is in effect one vast concentration camp? It has only intensified Israel’s international isolation whilst reinforcing popular support for the Palestinian resistance.
As we write, the ceasefire brokered by Cairo holds, though illegal drone surveillance by the IDF persists, answered by a handful of resistance rockets. By the time this article appears in print, the whole situation could have altered beyond recognition. What is clear, however, is that nothing but a nightmare awaits the zionists should they be tempted to deliver on their earlier threat of a ground invasion, as the US itself has been finding out in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Syria and Iran continue to remain steadfast in the face of escalating aggression by Nato and its proxies, and the green resistance makes itself felt anew (see elsewhere in this issue).
Worse still for Israel, the advances in the range of Palestinian resistance missiles revealed in the course of the conflict make it clear to all that it can never again be an option for Israel to bomb Palestinian families with impunity whilst settler families get on with their cushioned lives uninterrupted.
When the IDF tweeted a warning to all journalists to stay away from Hamas facilities or face the consequences, the al-Qassam brigades responded with a parallel warning to Israelis to stay away from IDF facilities, explaining that they targeted only “Israeli soldiers, fighter jets, tanks and bases”. One resistance missile landed just 200 metres from the US embassy in Tel Aviv.
Morale in the zionist state is at an all-time low, as the stigma of living in the world’s No 1 pariah state is compounded by the fear that the Palestinian people’s resistance can no longer be contained.
Palestine stands up
For these reasons, and despite the massive overall imbalance in military equipment, the resistance refused to be panicked by Tel Aviv (or coaxed by Egypt) into agreeing a ceasefire with the kind of humiliating preconditions urged by Netanyahu.
Khalid Meshaal, whilst asserting that the ceasefire to which Israel did reluctantly assent under US pressure was indeed a step towards a free Palestine, warned that Hamas would keep the “finger on the trigger” should Israel violate the truce. Or as Islamic Jihad expressed it: “We don’t fear them, the resistance is too strong and capable of confronting them. We hit the belly of Israel. The prime minister and leaders of Israel were forced to go to shelters.”
The PFLP’s statement hit a similar tone: “As the enemy continues its crimes, we call to confront the occupiers and their threats, to form a resistance front for a unified national defence ... Our people and our resistance will inevitably prevail. All greetings and glory to ... all of the fighting armed organisations and to the revolution and resistance everywhere in Palestine ... Victory is inevitable.”
British workers have a particular responsibility towards the struggle of our brothers and sisters in Palestine. It was British imperialism that founded the zionist state in 1948 and directly enabled the first mass slaughter and expulsion of Palestinians from their land and homes. And British imperialism, via its governments, its diplomats, its corporations and its media, has been backing Israel to the hilt ever since.
As a result of this backing, Israel is given ‘immunity’ by its imperialist masters in the US and Britain for the terrible crimes it commits against Palestinians on a daily basis as it pushes on with its slow genocide and ethnic cleansing programmes. In return, this armed and dangerous rogue state terrorises the entire Middle East on behalf of US and British oil monopolies, so they in turn can keep on looting Arab oil and raking in maximum profits.
Our job here in Britain is to obstruct and sabotage this criminal war effort. We must refuse to cooperate with writing or broadcasting propaganda in favour of Israel’s genocidal war; refuse to make or transport arms or other supplies for the Israeli war machine; refuse to cooperate with any company that profits from Israel’s crimes; refuse to countenance the presence of British or Israeli war criminals in our midst.
It is past time that British workers followed the example of our Palestinian comrades and stood up to say ‘No more!’ Let us mobilise in our trade unions and elsewhere to coordinate a mass campaign of non-cooperation. Collectively, we do have the power to stop Britain’s part in this criminal war.
All power to the Palestinian resistance!
Death to zionism! Death to imperialism!
No cooperation with zionist war crimes!
:: Historic victory for Palestine - another rejection of occupation , Proletarian issue 51 (December 2012)
:: Israeli court denies responsibility for the murder of Rachel Corrie , Proletarian issue 50 (October 2012)
:: Hail the victory of the Palestinian hunger strikers, Proletarian issue 48 (June 2012)