The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 2nd November 2018

Israel Pounds Gaza Again !

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

ISRAELI war-planes and drones are again pounding the Gaza Strip after Egyptian efforts to get a truce broke down last weekend. five Palestinians were gunned down at the Gaza border fence and three Palestinian teenagers were killed in an Israeli air-strike last weekend. Two were aged 13 the other was 14. The Zionists claimed they were “terrorists” about to plant bombs on the border fence

The violence escalated when the Israelis resumed their attacks on Palestinian civilians. This provoked the Islamic Jihad militia, a rival to Hamas, the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood that runs the Gaza Strip, into firing a volley of rockets at targets in southern Israel in revenge. Earlier hopes of an end to the fighting had risen following progress in indirect talks, via Egyptian and United Nations officials, between Hamas and the Israelis. The Israelis agreed to allow Qatari-funded fuel shipments pass the Israeli blockade to help restore the broken electricity supply in the Strip and allow Qatar to meet a large chunk of the wages of the Strip’s public workers that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to curtail.

Meanwhile the Palestinian Authority, that administers the ‘autonomous’ zones in the West Bank, has suspended its recognition of Israel and ended the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s commitments towards the agreements signed with Israel until the Zionist entity recognises the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. But nothing will happen until Mahmoud Abbas endorses the decision. On Tuesday Israel held the first round of elections to choose members of 251 local authorities as well as other officials, including the mayor of Jerusalem. But in Arab East Jerusalem, which Israel seized and illegally annexed in 1967, most Palestinians boycotted the poll whilst Zionist attempts to hold them in the occupied Golan Heights provoked an angry response from the Arab population. They took to the streets this week to stop these Israeli “local council elections” that, they said, were a new step towards Judaising and annexing the Golan Heights that the Zionists seized in 1967.

Around 22,000 Druze Arabs live on the Israeli-occupied Golan. Few have taken up Israeli citizenship; most regard themselves as Syrians and strongly support Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

Polling stations were closed in several Golan towns following clashes with the Israeli police. Israeli police attacked the protesters with live rounds and tear-gas grenades in an attempt to disperse them by force, injuring several protesters including elderly people, women, and children. In Majdal Shams, a large town whose population is mainly members of the Syrian Druze sect, protesters, some carrying Syrian flags, blocked the polling station and chanted “The Golan’s identity is Arab and Syrian”. Others draped a banner across the entrance reading “No to elections”. Inside the building, election officials sat in mostly empty rooms with blue ballot boxes bearing Israeli insignia. Outside, others burnt their Israeli ‘election cards’ and held a sit-down protest in the main square.

They were supported by their compatriots in that part of the Heights that Syria liberated in 1973. There, hundreds of Syrians gathered in Quneitra City in solidarity with the Syrian people in occupied Syrian Golan and in support of their national stance in defying the occupying authority. The Syrian people in the occupied Heights then staged a general strike that closed all the markets and schools in Golan, and held protests against the repression and the attempt by the Israeli authorities to apply Israeli regulations to the Heights as if it was a part of Israel. The Syrian government has also strongly condemned the municipal elections in Golan Heights, stating that the Israeli regime is seeking to legitimise its occupation and land expropriation policies there through such attempts.