Gaza steady under fire

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

ISRAELI war planes and missiles are continuing to pound the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip while the imperialists stave off international pressure at the United Nations to end the fighting. Over 140 Palestinians have been killed and more than a thousand injured in the new Zionist offensive which began with the targeted killing of the commander of the Hamas militia in a missile strike last week.

Palestinian resistance fighters are retaliating with salvoes of home-made missiles against Israeli airbases and settlements and some have hit the suburbs of Tel Aviv and west Jerusalem. Four Israeli civilians and one soldier have been killed and scores injured by Palestinian rockets and bombs, including 28 wounded in an explosion in a bus near Israeli army headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Russia and China have called for an immediate halt to the fighting. But their efforts, along with those of the Arab League, are being blocked by the Americans who want to give the Israelis more time to finish their military operation which is clearly designed to try and bring down the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip.

On Monday, Russia accused the United States of blocking a bid by the UN Security Council to condemn the escalating conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and said other Council members were filibustering the issue.

The Security Council held heated closed-door negotiations on a possible statement, but diplomats said a sticking point was that the text did not mention Hamas missile attacks on Israel. For its part, Washington hypocritically claims that a resolution from the UN Security Council could harm efforts underway in Cairo to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said that if the Council could not agree, he would put a resolution - - a stronger move by the Council than a statement - - to a vote and to show who supports the peace efforts and who doesn’t.

In a thinly veiled reference to US imperialism, Churkin told reporters: “One member of the Security Council, I’m sure you can guess which one, indicated they will not be prepared to go along with any reaction of the Security Council.” But if the Russian motion is tabled it will still need the support of the majority of the Security Council and it will almost certainly be vetoed by the United States.

For the past week the Zionists have rained death and destruction on the Palestinians in air raids and missile strikes that have destroyed the Palestinian government buildings, police headquarters and the Islamic university in Gaza. And medical crews are struggling to cope with the casualties.

“It’s very hard now, with many injured people coming every hour. Women and children outnumbered men, especially with the new wave [of attacks] targeting houses and civilian buildings,” said Ibrahim Jirjawi, a nurse on the orthopaedic ward, who has worked here for seven years.

“It’s more dangerous now than before, and we expect that things will be worse if ground operations start,” he said.

But so far the Israelis have held back from sending in the tanks. This is partly because they know they will meet fierce resistance like they did the last time they tried it in 2008 and partly because their American masters don’t want the Palestinian issue to divert the Arabs away from the imperialist drive to build a new pliant Arab bloc based on the oil princes, the Muslim Brotherhood and sectarian Sunni Muslim politics.

The Turks and the feudal Arab oil princes, imperialism’s venal allies in the Middle East, have been working overtime to cobble together a phantom Syrian rebel platform that they hope to pass off as some sort of “government in exile” amongst the international community.

France and Britain have already recognised it as the “sole representative” of the Syrian people. But while this pack of Arab reactionaries, traitors and imperialist agents has been readily endorsed by those who chose them in the first place support on the Arab street has been noticeably lacking outside the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhoods, which run Egypt, and the Gaza Strip and whose militia leads the terror campaign against the Assad government in Syria.

Rank and file Muslim Brothers in Egypt are now rallying behind Gaza under fire and if the fighting goes on for much longer it might lead to renewed support for the Palestinian cause across the Arab street which could even derail the bogus “Arab spring” and the current imperialist drive against Syria and Iran.