View from inside the Hamad residential complex as Israel resumes its bombing campaign in Khan Younis View from inside the Hamad residential complex as Israel resumes its bombing campaign in Khan Younis. Photo: Counterfire

The Israeli terror state isn’t succeeding as it hoped, reports Michael Lavelette

The resumption of Israel’s attack on Gaza is reaching new heights of barbarity. Their attacks are focusing on residential sectors and refugee camps, with murderous consequences. They are using a range of anti-personnel munitions (such as white phosphorus) which brings dreadful suffering and horrendous injuries. And they are using huge 2000lb ‘bunker buster’ bombs, which cause massive destruction, and have been supplied by the Americans.

Throughout their attack on Gaza over the last eight weeks, the Israelis have disregarded international law and the ‘rules of war’. They have targeted schools, mosques, churches, and hospitals. They have murdered journalists, health workers and a range of international aid volunteers. And, of course, they have murdered well over 16,000 Palestinian men, women and children.

On 1 December, James Elder, a Unicef spokesperson in Gaza, described the renewed bombing campaign as ‘a war on children’. He sent out his report from a hospital that he said was in a state of collapse, with severely injured children lying on the floor being treated with limited medical equipment.

According to a report emanating from the Director General of the Government Media Office in Gaza, more than 700 Palestinians were killed in 24 hours between 2 and 3 December.

As they have intensified their bombing campaign, the Israelis have also flooded the southern sector of Gaza with leaflets ‘instructing’ Palestinians to move further south ‘for their safety’. In doing so, they reveal their long-term strategic aim: the displacement and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians of Gaza.

The intention, it would seem, is to kill and injure thousands of Palestinians in order to instil fear, and to encourage them to flee on fear of losing their lives. The ultimate aim is to push them out of Gaza and into the Sinai. This, of course, is an old Israeli tactic, it is literally what they did in 1947 and 1948 during the Nakba, although the numbers being killed, injured and displaced today is greater than those who suffered this horrific fate in the late 1940s.

And it’s not just Gaza. Whilst the world’s eyes have been focussed on the genocide unleashed on Gaza, there has been an increase in attacks on Palestinians on the West Bank. In Hebron, Huwara, Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarem and Qalqilya there have been regular military incursions, lockdowns, arrests and shootings, both by the Israeli armed forces and by extremist settlers who kill with impunity.

The Israeli assaults continue with the support of the Americans and a range of European leaders. Despite their weasel words about ‘the need to protect civilians’, the leaders of the West continue to back the Israeli slaughter, and remain silent about events on the West Bank.

Yet despite the horror that Israel is inflicting on the Gazans, things are not all going Israel’s way. First, whilst the bombing campaign is hugely destructive and has caused thousands of deaths, in itself it does not guarantee an easy or quick victory in the ground war. The Israelis claim they have killed 5000 Hamas fighters. These are unconfirmed figures, and in the fog of war, need to be taken with a pinch of salt, but even if true, it means there are still somewhere in the region of 25-30,000 Hamas fighters in Gaza. Hamas has clearly not been broken. Moreover, whilst it’s difficult to know what is happening on the ground, there is some evidence that the Hamas fighters have had some successes against the occupation forces. It certainly is true that the northern sector of Gaza has not been quelled.

Second, tensions are increasing on Israel’s borders. There are regular exchanges with Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Israelis have attacked Syria several times, tensions are growing with Jordan, and Iran. The danger is that with growing instability in the region, Israel finds itself in a war on two fronts.

Third, the increased attacks on the West Bank have been met with a response from the Brigades, especially in the refugee camps. This is a problem for the Israelis, as it potentially opens another front, but also for the Americans, who clearly have a hope that some form of solution might be found by encouraging the Palestinian Authority to play a policing role both on the West Bank and in Gaza. The PA have been completely ineffective over the last eight weeks, and there is growing disaffection with the ineffective President Mahmoud Abbas and his regime.

Fourth, in the long-term, there are very few commentators who think Israel will succeed in their goal of solving the ‘Palestinian problem’ by expelling people, destroying Hamas and incorporating the remaining Palestinian leadership. Indeed all their murderous campaign is likely to do is to create another generation of Palestinians determined to fight the Zionist entity to obtain their right to return.

Finally, perhaps the biggest problem for Israel and the Western leaders is the scale of the global opposition movement that has grown over the last few weeks. The Israelis are clearly losing the war of ideas around the globe. Millions of people are watching, and millions are appalled at the atrocities being inflicted on the Palestinians. Opinion polls show clear majority opinion for a ceasefire and for some form of Palestinian statehood.

More significant still has been the scale of the active opposition on the streets that Western leaders have faced. In Germany, the government’s ban on pro-Palestinian activities has been taken on and defeated by activists. In France, Macron banned Palestinian marches, yet they marched in their millions. The US has witnessed its largest pro-Palestinian demonstrations ever, and significant protests by Jewish activists for Palestinian rights. And of course, in Britain, Braverman’s attempts to demonise and criminalise Palestinian solidarity resulted in her sacking!

The last few weeks have seen the growth of a large, global anti-imperialist movement with Palestine at its heart. A new generation of activists has joined the movement against war, colonialism and the brutality of imperialist support for the war.

The scale of the street movement has piled pressure onto the politicians and some have started to move to demand a ceasefire and demand an end to the killing. This would not have happened if we hadn’t marched in our millions, and it’s important that we stay active and stay on the streets to demand an immediate, indefinite ceasefire, and a free Palestine – a state build on freedom and equality for all – from the river to the sea.

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