THE Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have announced that the military operations in Gaza will continue throughout 2024. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has repeatedly stated that the war in Gaza will continue till the Hamas is totally finished. He has also stated that Israel will control the Gaza border with Egypt which would mean Israel’s de facto control over the whole of the Gaza strip.
After three months of air, ground and naval operations in the Gaza strip, the Israeli armed forces have not still been able to eliminate Hamas or end the resistance put up by Hamas fighters. The reality is that military force will not be able to finish off the Hamas. Even if militarily defeated, it will resurface in some form or the other.
The real aim of Israel’s never-ending war is to ensure the ethnic cleansing of Gaza by making this narrow strip of land uninhabitable; to kill, starve and force out the Palestinian people out of Gaza. For the Palestinian people, the Nakba (catastrophe) which began in 1948 is still going on.
Since October 7, Israelis have dropped approximately 29,000 bombs on Gaza (till the third week of December). Compare this to the US bombing in Iraq, where 3,678 bombs were dropped between 2004 and 2010. 85 per cent of the population have been displaced from their homes and according to a World Bank publication of December 12, 77 per cent of healthcare facilities, 72 per cent of public buildings including parks, courts and libraries, 68 per cent of communication infrastructure and almost the entire industrial zone in Gaza were destroyed due to the Israeli aggression.
The genocidal attack has resulted in over 22,000 deaths in the last 88 days, which works out to roughly 250 deaths every day and the mind-numbing figure of approximately 90 children daily.
So the world is witnessing a genocidal massacre perpetrated by Israel’s armed forces with the declared intention of removing the Palestinian population from Gaza. This is not an exaggerated claim. Ministers in the far-right government have made public declarations about this. The Jewish extremist national security minister, Ben-Gvir, and finance minister Smotrich, have called for the migration of Palestinian civilians as a solution to the conflict. According to Ben-Gvir, the war presents an “opportunity to concentrate on encouraging the migration of the residents of Gaza”, While this was echoed by Smotrich, who also talked about “encouraging the voluntary migration of Gaza’s residents” and predicted that “Israel will permanently control the territory of the Gaza strip including through the establishment of settlements”, there are discussions in the Israeli media about how North Sinai (in adjoining Egypt) would be an ideal place for the Palestinians to take refuge in.
The far-right government of Netanyahu is exploiting the October 7 Hamas attack to conduct an extensive anti-Palestinian drive. This is evident from the way the attacks on the Palestinian people have been stepped up in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In raids by the Israeli army and attack by settlers, over 300 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank. Over 4,700 have been arrested and detained. Palestinian farmers are being stopped from conducting agricultural operations, prevented from harvesting their olive trees and dispossessed of their lands and houses. With illegal settlements containing over 700,000 settlers dotted across the West Bank, the Palestinian people are being forced to live in apartheid-style bantustans.
Israel is able to get away with this State-sponsored genocide and ethnic cleansing because it has the full backing of US imperialism. Despite 150 countries voting in the UN General Assembly for an immediate ceasefire, there has been no movement in this direction because the United States has vetoed all such resolutions in the Security Council. The United States goes on hypocritically about minimising civilian casualties in Gaza, while providing Israel with lethal weapons and ammunition to carry out the mass killings.
After the 106 million dollar aid package for Israel and Ukraine got stalled in the US Congress, the Biden administration has twice in the month of December, approved emergency weapon sales to Israel. The first time it approved the sale of 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition worth more than 106 million dollars. This was followed by a second emergency sale of 147.5 million dollar sale of equipment – fuses, charges and primers – that are needed to make the 150 mm shells that Israel has already purchased function. It is these shells that are being used to kill women, children and health workers who are sheltering in UN-run schools and around hospitals. The United States is fully complicit in the genocidal massacre in Gaza.
The process of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians cannot be understood unless the link between Israel and US imperialism is grasped. Israel, as a settler-colonial State, has existed and got strengthened over the decades because of the full-fledged backing of US imperialism; no other State has been financially supported and equipped with arms by the United States to such an extent as Israel. It is the intervention of the United States that led the Arab countries, one after the other, beginning with Egypt to make peace and collaborate with Israel by betraying the Palestinian cause.
The United States had propped up the reactionary kingdoms and sheikhs to counter the secular Arab nationalist forces and facilitate diplomatic relations with Israel, the latest being the Abraham Accords. But though the Palestinian people were let down by the rulers of the Arab countries, the Arab masses have never abandoned their support and solidarity for Palestine. The current upsurge of mass support for the people of Gaza in the entire region shows that whatever the US-Israeli axis do, the struggle of the Palestinian people can never be isolated and suppressed. With the escalating clashes between the Israeli forces and the Hezbollah in the Lebanon border and the Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, all indicators are of a widening regional conflict, the results of which may upset the existing geo-political balance of forces.
(January 3, 2024)