The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 18th May 2018


by our Arab Affairs correspondent

MILLIONS of people took to the streets this week in solidarity with the besieged Palestinian Arabs in the Gaza Strip who remained under fire, while hundreds of communists and peace activists marched through Jerusalem to protest at the relocation of the American embassy to Jerusalem and to demand an end to hatred, and provocations that undermine a chance for peace.

Palestinian anger soared following US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s “capital” and move its embassy to the city. No more so than in the beleaguered Gaza Strip that has been blockaded by Israel since 2007. Tens of thousands of Gazans have been demonstrating along the front-line to call for an end to Israel’s illegal decade-long blockade and the restoration of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian Arabs. Scores have been gunned down over the past few weeks and thousands more wounded by Israeli soldiers.

At least 62 Palestinian protesters were killed and over 3,000 wounded when Israeli troops opened fire on thousands of demonstrators near the so-called security fence on Monday. One of the victims was a 30-year old Palestinian who had both legs amputated and used a wheelchair. Another was an eight-month-old baby who died after inhaling tear gas fired by the Israeli military.

Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, who runs the Palestinian “autonomous” zone in the West Bank, has condemned days of mourning for the fallen. Abbas said: “The US is no longer a mediator in the Middle East,” and that the new embassy was tantamount to “a new American settler outpost” in Jerusalem.

Abbas and other Palestinian leaders have accused the Israeli military of carrying out war crimes during Monday’s crackdown. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said: “We witnessed the killing and slaughter of dozens of our people in the Gaza Strip at the hands of the Israeli army, an act that’s tantamount to a war crime, which we condemn in the strongest possible terms, and urge the international community to move to provide international protection for our people.

“At the same time, we witnessed the move of the American Embassy to Jerusalem, which is an act that’s tantamount to putting the cornerstone of a new settlement outpost in the occupied Palestinian land. Moving the embassy, now we have a new settlement outpost called ‘American Embassy’.”

On Tuesday Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza launched a general strike to protest against the killings. The one-day strike comes on the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or the Day of Catastrophe, when nearly a million Palestinian Arabs were forced to flee their homes by Zionist gangs in 1948.

Israeli violence was condemned by senior United Nations officials as an “outrageous human rights violation”. The Cuban government called the action criminal, serious, a flagrant violation of the UN Charter and International Humanitarian Law, and a new outrage against the Palestinian people.

Russia and China also expressed their concern at the escalation of violence by the Israeli authorities while Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani said that Israeli actions will not go unanswered.

Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, called on Israel to respect the “principle of proportionality in the use of force,” and “the right to peaceful protest” while the US’s increasingly lukewarm Turkish ally has denounced Israel as a “terrorist state”.

Ireland summoned Israel’s ambassador to protest against the fatalities and France has condemned the Israeli violence. Even Britain, the most of loyal of America’s allies, has spoken out, albeit in a more modest way, with Theresa May, saying that she was “deeply troubled” by Israel’s use of live fire and “the scale of the violence”.

But at UN Headquarters in New York the Americans, whose decision to move their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem enraged Arab opinion, brushed all this aside and blocked a call on the UN Security Council for an independent investigation into the latest Israeli atrocity in Gaza. US imperialism’s emissary to the UN, the loathsome Nikki Haley, blamed Iran and Hamas, the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood that is the elected government of the Gaza Strip, for inciting the violence. She then walked out of the chamber when the Palestinian representative rose to address the meeting.