End the massacre in Gaza

Party statement

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Proletarian writersParty statement

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The CPGB-ML condemns the massacre that is currently being perpetrated against the people of Gaza by the Israeli state. We join with all progressive and freedom-loving people around the world in calling for the immediate cessation of Israel’s bomb attacks, and we state our unreserved support for all Palestinian groups involved in Gaza’s defence.

Over the last two days, nearly 300 Gazans have been killed in air raids, with up to 700 others wounded. Saturday (27 December) was the single deadliest day in Gaza since the 1967 war.

Predictably, Israel has claimed that its actions are a legitimate response to Palestinian rocket attacks since the collapse of the ceasefire last week – Israel says militants have fired 110 rockets into Israel over the last few days. This sentiment has been implicitly (and in some cases explicitly) backed by the self-appointed ‘international community’. As hi-tech bombs were raining down on Palestinian civilians, that seasoned stooge Zalmay Khalilzad, US ambassador to the UN, had the audacity to claim that “the way forward from here is for rocket attacks against Israel to stop, for all violence to end”.

What a joke! Imagine the outcry in the imperialist press if 300 supporters of the ‘Movement for Democratic Change’ were killed by Zimbabwean state forces – the various bourgeois scribblers would be lining up to condemn Zimbabwe, and the plans for a commemoratory rock concert at Wembley Stadium would be well under way.

As we have said before, one cannot equate the violence of the oppressed with the violence of the oppressors. Israel is not under siege; it is not an occupied country; its citizens (at least its jewish citizens) are not denied their basic human rights; its water, electricity and medical supplies have not been cut off; it is not in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. Meanwhile, Gaza has over the last two years been effectively turned into a giant concentration camp. Gazans cannot move in or out of their country; the supply of food, electricity, water and medicines has been cut off; frequent Israeli bombing raids take place; the unemployment rate exceeds 80 percent and the people are living a miserable existence well below the poverty line.

Are the Palestinian people expected to simply give up their right to existence? The right to resist occupation is enshrined in international law, and the Palestinian military resistance to Israeli occupation is legitimate and laudable.

Still, one does not need to accept the legitimacy of the Palestinian rocket attacks in order to condemn the massacre that is taking place in Gaza. According to detailed information released by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a grand total of 15 Israelis have died as a result of Qassam rocket attacks since these were first fired over seven years ago (in October 2001). Meanwhile, close to a thousand Gazans have been killed in Israeli military raids this year alone. These lopsided figures alone are enough to give lie to Israel’s claim that it is simply protecting its citizens from rocket attacks.

Israel’s agenda is clear enough: not happy with the democratic choice of the Palestinian people, it is seeking regime change in Gaza (having already effected regime change in the West Bank). Foreign Minister Livni said in an interview with the BBC: “We took Hamas by surprise, we targeted Hamas headquarters, so this is the beginning of a successful operation, I hope, but the idea is to change realities on the ground.”

Recently, Ms Livni told a meeting of the Kadima party that she would topple Hamas if she was elected prime minister in the coming general election, saying: “The state of Israel, and a government under me, will make it a strategic objective to topple the Hamas regime in Gaza. The means for doing this should be military, economic and diplomatic.” It would be difficult to be clearer than that.

If Israel genuinely wanted to stop the Qassam rocket attacks, it could have done so very easily by complying with the terms of the ceasefire, under which it was supposed to lift the blockade against Gaza in order to end the humanitarian crisis there. It totally failed to respect those terms, and therefore should not be surprised that the ceasefire has collapsed. As has happened many times before, Israel has violated the terms of a ceasefire and used the Palestinian response to ‘justify’ the unjustifiable.

We reiterate the call of Khaled Meshaal, leader of Hamas, for a renewed intifada against Israel. Only through the intensification of the Palestinian resistance will Israel be forced to recognise the right of the Palestinians to freedom from colonial occupation.

[i]NB. While Israel’s crimes are being ignored, 10 people protesting outside the Israeli Embassy in London have been arrested by police under trumped-up charges (our party comrade, who is among those arrested, is being charged with “threatening words and behaviour”). We call for the immediate release of these ten people, whose only ‘crime’ is demonstrating their support for, and sympathy with, the people of Gaza.[/i]