THE WHOLE world has been outraged by the violent Israeli military attack on the convoy of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. The number of deaths and injuries is not yet clear but the surviving civilians and ships’ crews are being detained by the Israeli authorities.
The Israeli official press releases beggar belief: they claim there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza in spite of evidence to the contrary from the United Nations, the Red Cross and many other respected international bodies. And they claim that their troops, while forcibly boarding the small flotilla of ships and armed to the teeth, were ambushed and attacked by the civilians aboard the ships using metal bars and sharp pieces of metal. And is seems they were genuinely surprised that their victims tried to defend themselves.
It shows how insular and isolated Israel has become from reality.
But Israel has committed many atrocities before — and got away with it, under the shield of United States protection — from the Nakba, through a series of wars in which they grabbed neighbouring land, at least three invasions of Lebanon, the massacres at Sabra Shatila in 1982, the devastating attack on Gaza just over two years ago, the continuing siege of Gaza, the increasingly repressive occupation of the West Bank and the recent assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai — the Israeli government assassins using duplicated British passports.
No other country of earth could get away with these things without a United Nations intervention but Israel does because of the role it plays on behalf of the United States in its strategic efforts to dominate the oil-rich Middle East.
Possibly Washington, especially under Obama, is deeply embarrassed by the outrageous behaviour of Israel — on the other hand it also benefits from having another state to do a lot of its dirty work in that region for it. Israel knows it can literally get away with murder but never face the consequences because the US — and its poodle Britain — will always protect it. So it doesn’t care what the world thinks.
An emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council has condemned the loss of life and called for a thorough inquiry into the event. A majority on that committee wanted it to be an international inquiry. Israel would not stomach that so now it is to do its own inquiry, with the words thorough, credible and transparent attached. And words are all those terms are. Effectively the US has succeeded in pushing the issue into the long grass.
There could hardly be a stronger contrast than the way the imperialist powers rushed to condemn and threaten the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea after the south Koreans lost a destroyer, the Cheonan, sunk possibly by accident or possibly by friendly fire during recent exercises with the US Navy. No credible evidence of DPRK involvement has been produced and no independent unbiased inquiry requested.
The biggest danger for Israel is the political and economic weakening of its Washington godfather — and this is slowly but surely happening. Ever since the effective defeat of the US attempts to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan its political power has been leaching away. It has become unable to halt the progress of socialism in Latin America. Although its agents are still trying to pull strings, manipulate and undermine behind the scenes — as in the current Columbian elections — the US cannot make any significant military intervention there.
The 2008 banking crash has undermined the US internal economy for many years to come and globally it is being challenged by the rising economic strength of countries like China, Russia, India and Brazil. Like every imperialist empire, the US will not last forever and it is now well past its peak.
This is not a lot of consolation for the people of Gaza and the West Bank who need rescue right now. So it is all the more important for people like us, living in the imperialist heartlands of Britain and the US to exert every pressure we can on our governments to stop protecting Israel and allow the UN to do its job of disarming Israel and winning justice for the Palestinian people.
The Palestine Solidarity website has a list of demonstrations, pickets and on-line lobbying and every one of our readers who can, should participate.