The war against the defenceless people of Gaza by one of the most powerful military machines in the world is another crime against humanity to add to the existing lengthy indictment of the reactionary and racist rulers of Israel.
Here is a population of 1.5 million crowded into a tiny strip of land without water or electricity and desperately short of food and medical supplies. They are isolated in a Palestinian ghetto, surrounded by Israeli armour on the one side and Egyptian border troops on the other. There is no escape for them from the artillery, tank fire or bombs. While children in Britain prepare to return to school after the holidays, their counterparts in Gaza are being blown to pieces by American-supplied and financed weaponry.
Of course, many others apart from the Israelis are complicit in the barbaric treatment of the Palestinian people. For there is no doubt that the aerial bombardment followed by a ground invasion could not have taken place without the explicit approval of Washington and the tacit agreement of European governments, alongside those of Egypt and Jordan who blame Hamas for the violence.
Talk of a “ceasefire” by politicians like Gordon Brown is particularly sickening. New Labour helped make the war on Gaza possible by agreeing to characterise the Hamas regime as a “terrorist” organisation and blocking any contact with it following that organisation’s victory in democratic elections in 2006. Gazans are thus paying the price for the deranged “war on terror”, under which all opponents of major power policies are targets, up to and including governments.
There are other even more cynical factors behind the present war on Gaza. Sporadic rocket attacks from Gaza have taken place for 18 months or so with few casualties. Now, however, the present Israeli coalition government has collapsed, brought down by corruption allegations. So the timing of the war on Gaza is an attempt to show how tough it can be in a bid to outflank the rival Likud party, which is even further to the right, at the elections scheduled for February.
While most of the British trade union movement remains silent, to their credit the transport union RMT has denounced the slaughter in Gaza, which has claimed over 500 lives. General secretary Bob Crow said: “It has been the failure of governments such as our own to demand an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands since 1967 that has encouraged horrific acts such as those we have witnessed in recent days.”
Crow is right but we need to go further. Unions like the RMT should launch a campaign for a trade and cultural boycott campaign of Israel as part of the struggle for a new perspective for the long-standing conflict. Negotiations for a two-state “solution” are doomed because Israel’s leaders have not the slightest intention of allowing it to happen, now or in the future because it runs contrary to their Zionist nationalist dogma which has served ordinary Jews so badly.
The only viable alternative, therefore, is a single, secular revolutionary state in the area where Jew and Palestinian can live together. Building support for this project will pose the political defeat of reactionary regimes throughout the region. It’s a tall order but all other roads are closed off.
AWTW communications editor