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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Arabs hit back as Israelis march on Rafah

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

Nakba Day. The day Arabs remember the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by the Zionist gangs that began in 1948. Nearly a million Palestinian Arabs were driven out of their homes in the war that began on 15th May 1948 following the end of British colonial rule and the proclamation of the State of Israel. And this week Arab leaders gathered in Bahrain for a summit dominated by the current Israeli onslaught on Gaza while Palestinian guerrillas strike back with a vengeance in northern Gaza hitting Israeli patrols in deadly rocket attacks and ambushes. The Israelis are using stalling tactics at cease-fire talks in Cairo to prolong the fighting. The Lebanese resistance is stepping up its daily barrage of rocket and missiles in northern Israel. Israeli firefighting teams are battling to dowse the flames that have swept through the Tel Hashomer military base near Tel Aviv. And hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flee from Rafah as the Israelis advance on the biggest Arab city in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile the White House rejects claims of genocide in Gaza despite a death toll of over 35,000 Palestinians – mostly women and children – and hides behind the claim that the definition of genocide requires intent which the Israelis astonishingly insists is not happening. At the same time the Biden administration plans to send a new billion-dollar tranche of military aid to Israel despite Washington’s supposed opposition to a full-scale invasion of Rafah in southern Gaza and concerns about rising civilian deaths. And a Jewish staffer in the Biden administration has resigned in protest against America’s continued support for Israel amid its war on Gaza. Lily Greenberg Call, a special assistant to the chief of staff in the US Interior Department, wrote in her resignation letter that she could not “in good conscience continue to represent” the administration, as Biden was “making Jews the face of the American war machine”.

Back in Israel rifts are openly emerging in Netanyahu’s wartime coalition with two retired generals turned politicians voicing their differences in public. Defence Minister General Gallant publicly stated that Israel should not be involved in military rule in Gaza once the war is over. He’s been backed by another member of the war cabinet, General Benny Gantz, who said Gallant speaks the truth and that it is the leadership’s responsibility to do the right thing for the country at all costs. Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid, who runs the liberal-Zionist Yesh Atid (There is a future) party, says the Netanyahu administration had lost control. “Relations with the US are collapsing, the middle class is collapsing,” Lapid said. “Soldiers are being killed every day in Gaza and they fight among themselves on television. The cabinet is disassembled and non-functional. Ministers protest in front of cabinet meetings.”

“Seventy-six years ago, over half of the Palestinian population fled or were driven from their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Many of them and their descendants became refugees in the Gaza Strip,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said during Wednesday’s regular news conference. “Seventy-six years on, the historical injustice suffered by the Palestinian people, far from being redressed, has further worsened.”

People’s China firmly opposes the expansion of the fighting to Rafah and opposes collective punishment on the people in Gaza. We support the establishment of an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on the 1967 border and with east Jerusalem as its capital. And we support making Palestine a full UN member state as soon as possible,” he said.

Wang noted that China will continue to work with the international community to promote an early, comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question, to end the Nakba once and for all, and to realise peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine as well as harmony between the Arabs and Jews.