Stop Israel’s war on Gaza now!

THE ISRAELI war-machine is once again pounding the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in a murderous wave of terror attacks. Daily Israeli air and missile attacks have already claimed the lives of over a hundred Palestinians and injured many more in a week of Zionist violence that the Israelis claim are “targeted” strikes simply aimed at halting Palestinian rocket fire into Israel.

But the rapid escalation from tit-for-tat violence to the assassination of the Gaza Strip’s top military leader when he was in the midst of brokering a ceasefire shows that this was deliberately provoked aggression.

The new Israeli onslaught has little to do with deterring Hamas, the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood that has run the Gaza Strip since June 2007, and everything to do with boosting the chances of premier Benjamin Netanyahu and his reactionary Likud bloc in the forthcoming Israeli elections in two months’ time. The Gaza Strip is a symptom of the overall Palestinian problem. Just 41 km long and from six to 12 km wide this small strip of land was the only part of the Palestinian coastline not seized by the Zionists in 1948. The original Palestinian population was swelled by hundreds of thousands of others forced out of their homes by Zionist terror during the first Arab-Israeli war. The Gaza Strip was administered by a local Palestinian authority, under Egyptian protection, from 1949 until 1967 when it was taken by Israel during the Six-Day War.

Palestinian resistance forced the Israelis to pull-out of the Strip in 2005. But the Israelis retained control of its frontiers and coastal waters and the Zionists used this to full effect to impose an economic blockade in 2007 in an effort to bring down the Hamas administration. But all attempts to economically strangle the Gazan enclave, coupled with repeated Israeli incursions and constant provocations across the cease-fire line, have failed over the past six years.

Over 1.7 million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip. Nearly half-a-million still live in the refugee camps set up in 1948 when the UN first called on Israel to allow them to return to their homes.

Israel’s stubborn refusal to end its occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip seized during the ‘67 war or allow the Palestinian Arabs to return to their homes has rendered any talks with the Palestinians meaningless. The Israeli leaders are determined to annex large parts of the West Bank, particularly in what they call “Great Jerusalem” while retaining overall military and economic control of what’s left to keep the lid on the Palestinian Arab national movement.

That they can do so, and have done so for decades, is because Israel’s leaders know they have the support and backing of the United States and the rest of the imperialist pack.

Israel is economically and politically entirely dependent on American imperialism and successive Israeli governments have existed to serve the needs of American imperialism in the region. And those needs are to weaken and divide the Arabs to ensure that the big oil corporations can continue their exploitation and plunder of Arab oil until it eventually runs out.

Israel still clings to the dream of dominating the Middle East and colonising Palestine. But its petty ambitions and dreams are not the driving force of US led imperialism.

The tail does not wag the dog and Israel and the American “Zionist lobby” do not dictate American foreign policy. They serve it.

They provide imperialism with a convenient alibi to play the role of “honest broker” in the Middle East. They enable the feudal Arab oil princes, whose thrones are propped up by imperialist guns, to claim that the Arabs’ enemy is not imperialism as such but Israel and this supposedly all-powerful “Zionist lobby”, which pulls the strings in the United States.

In a slightly more sophisticated way, Israel’s ruling circles play the same game, claiming to serve a mythical Zionist ideal as a bulwark against persecution. In reality they simply provide imperialism with cannon fodder for the strategic aims of imperialism. Far from being a Zionist paradise, Israel today is one of the worst places for Jews to live, racked by continuing conflict with Palestinians and economic hardship due to its isolation and total dependency on the United States.

We call for the immediate and unconditional end to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and for a comprehensive peace treaty to end the conflict in the Middle East based on past United Nations resolutions that uphold the right of return of the refugees and an independent Palestinian state with Israel giving up all territories seized since 1967.