New Worker Banner

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Palestinians fight on as Israel spurns ceasefire offer

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

Joe Biden is calling a ceasefire in Gaza based on what the Americans claim is an Israeli plan to end the fighting while Chinese President Xi Jinping calls for a peace conference aimed at resolving the Israel/Palestine conflict and ending the “tremendous suffering” in Gaza.

The United States is urging the UN Security Council to support a three-phase plan that would free all the Israeli hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, an Israeli pull-out from the beleaguered Palestinian enclave and the despatch of massive aid into the devastated territory.

Five Arab countries – Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – are supporting the Biden initiative and the Palestinian resistance movements have also responded positively to the proposals. And hundreds of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets in support of a truce that would free the scores of Israelis held by the Palestinian resistance.

But the hard-line Netanyahu government in Tel Aviv says it’s not their plan and they won’t stop fighting until Hamas is crushed.

Hamas says the Israelis are simply stalling to buy more time for their genocidal campaign in Gaza. But time works both ways as the Israelis are finding out to their cost on the streets of Gaza and the burning forests of northern Israel.

Dozens of teams from the Israeli military, police and rescue services are battling to put out bush fires that are sweeping across northern Israel following waves of missile attacks by Hezbollah, the south Lebanon resistance movement, whose political wing is a major player in the Lebanese parliament.

The Zionists have launched deadly attacks on southern Lebanon over the last few months, killing hundreds of civilians and resistance fighters. But Hezbollah Palestinians fight on as Israel spurns ceasefire offer attacks on Israeli military bases have forced the regime to evacuate tens of thousands of Israelis from areas close to the Lebanese border with no prospect in sight for them to return. The attacks have also inflicted a significant number of Israeli casualties with some estimates suggesting some 500 Israeli soldiers have been either killed or wounded in the strikes.

This week Slovenia became the latest European Union country to recognise an independent Palestinian state after its parliament approved the move with a majority vote on Tuesday and the Maldives government banned Israelis from the up-market Indian Ocean holiday spot in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile the British government that welcomes Ukrainian children injured in the war with Russia refuses to issue visas for Palestinian children seeking treatment in the UK. According to the Middle East Eye news website British doctors have been trying unsuccessfully since January to bring five Palestinian children over to the UK for medical treatment. All of them were injured in the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

“We have not asked the UK to take all of them or the majority of them, but just to play its part as a wealthy nation with incredible medical expertise,” says Krish Kandiah, founder of the UK-based Sanctuary Foundation, which supports Ukrainian and Afghan refugees, among others. “We made many, many attempts to try to get a visa for these children and, sadly, despite many good-hearted civil servants, when it got to the highest level, we just heard nothing back,” he said. This is while the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London alone was currently providing treatment for more than 100 Ukrainian children.

Dr Omar Abdel-Mannan – a British-Egyptian paediatric neurologist – pointed out that in 2022 the National Health Service brought Ukrainian children with cancer over to England for treatment. “The double standards are very clear for anyone to see. I’m sad to see my own NHS, which is helping patients day in and day out, is unable to do this, not because of [a lack of] willpower from medics, but at a political level,” Dr Abdel-Mannan said.