Gaza: End the Siege!

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

Israeli jets are continuing to pound Gaza while troops and armour pour into the Gaza Strip in a renewed Zionist attempt to crush the Palestinian resistance. Hundreds of Palestinian Arabs have been killed and many more wounded in the fighting, as the Israelis advance on what they claim are the centres of Hamas, the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood that has run the Strip since 2007.

But the Israelis have been unable to halt the daily hail of resistance missiles which is spreading panic across their own cities. And a number of major US and European airlines have suspended flights to and from Israel after a rocket attack near Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport this week.

Israel stepped up attacks on Gaza on Tuesday, killing three Palestinians and hitting over 70 targets, including five mosques and a sports stadium. The latest casualties in the fortnight-long Israeli offensive have brought the Palestinian death toll to 633. The majority of the victims are civilians, including almost 100 children. Additionally, nearly 500 homes have been destroyed in the Israeli bombardments and 100,000 people have been displaced.

Meanwhile the Palestinian resistance in Gaza remains steadfast. “The world must understand that Gaza has decided to end the blockade by its blood and its heroism,” deputy Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a televised address on Monday. The Gaza militia say they have killed at least 32 Israeli soldiers and taken another prisoner since the ground war began.

As many as 66 Palestinians were killed in the Shujaiyya neighbourhood alone, located in eastern Gaza City on Sunday. Medical authorities called the killings in the area a “massacre,” saying they have never seen such a level of violence before. The Israeli regime forces also killed dozens of others in other areas in the besieged enclave on the same day. Medics are warning of a serious humanitarian crisis in Gaza as hospitals are running out of basic medical supplies.

atrocious

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon condemned the killings as an “atrocious action,” and called for an immediate end to the fighting, urging Israel to “exercise maximum restraint”.

“Too many innocent people are dying (and) living in constant fear,” the UN chief told news conference in Qatar before flying to Israel for talks with the Netanyahu government to try and end the fighting. But the Zionists are unlikely to heed international calls for a ceasefire until their military objectives are met as they know they can rely on the continued support of US imperialism. Last week Barack Obama told reporters he supports Israel’s ground incursion, but urged the Jewish state to minimise civilian casualties — a mealy-mouthed get-out clause the White House routinely uses to assuage liberal opinion at home.

In Israel communists and peace activists have organised anti-war demonstrations in a number of major cities across the country. Thousands of Jews and Arabs took to the streets of Jerusalem last weekend in support of civilians in Gaza. Others, almost entirely Jewish, gathered in Tel Aviv for a massive anti-war protest while another demonstration in Haifa was attacked by thugs from the Zionist “Jewish Defence League”. The Zionist mob pelted the demonstrators with stones and bottles and though the police did eventually intervene 12 of the 30 arrested were peace activists who had not been involved in any of the violence.

The Communist Party of Israel (CPI) and the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (HADASH) have expressed rage and anguish at the brutal, criminal and inhuman assault conducted by Israel at the people of Gaza. In a statement issued this week the communists and HADASH said: “We are herewith conveying our deep sympathy and solidarity to the people of Gaza who are killed and injured by a vicious government whose all intention is to keep the occupation and colonisation of the occupied Palestinian Territories and to pursue the siege of Gaza.

“Since the assault on Gaza began, the CPI and HADASH have been organizing and leading a series of demonstrations and activities against that assault, calling to immediate ceasefire and to keep all civilians, Palestinians and Israelis alike, out of this bloody conflict. Throughout our activities and initiatives, fascist and racist mobs attacked us verbally and physically, while the Israeli police have hardly done anything to stop that. Those violent attacks were practically promoted by Israeli neo-fascist government that continuously incites against all progressive and democratic forces in Israel, especially against CPI and HADASH and even more so against the Arab-Palestinian population that resides within the state of Israel proper”.