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Gaza airstrike, 2009

Gaza airstrike, 2009. Photo: Al Jazeera English / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0, license linked below article

The Israeli military has once again launched a barbaric aerial offensive on the besieged Gaza strip killing at least 43 Palestinians ahead of November's Israeli elections, writes Alex Snowdon

Israel has yet again launched military attacks on Gaza in recent days. 43 Palestinians have been reportedly killed, including 15 childrean and at least 311 people wounded, over the course of 3 days. Four children were killed in one attack near the Jabaliya refugee camp on Saturday.

The assault began on Friday, when Israel launched air attacks on Gaza City, and appears to have been halted with a 'ceasefire' on Sunday evening. 

There is no equivalence between Israel's deadly attacks, which have destroyed apartment blocks and hit refugee camps, and the small amount of rocket fire from the Islamic Jihad group in Gaza. There have been no Israeli fatalities and no serious injuries reported. 

An Al Jazeera reporter in Tel Aviv said that Sunday was very much a normal day in the Israeli capital: "People are going to work, to the beach, or opening their shops. There do not seem to be any restrictions put in place even though sirens went off yesterday". 

The latest attack is in the context of ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The territory's power station stopped working on Saturday and people are down to four hours a day of electricity use. On Sunday, the health ministry in Gaza warned that its hospitals had only 48 hours remaining before they would lack the necessary fuel for their generators. 

Francesca Albanez, UN special rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, condemned Israel's actions as illegal and irresponsible. She said:

"The situation in Gaza is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis. The only way to secure the wellbeing of Palestinians wherever they are is to lift the siege and allow aid to enter."

Albanez also openly criticised the US for its claim that Israel was defending itself. She pointed out that "Israel cannot claim to be defending itself in this conflict". 

Gaza's population of 2.1 million people are packed in to the small Gaza Strip. Unemployment stands at 45% after 16 years of a devastating blockade by land, air and sea. During that time Israel has been responsible for four major military assaults on Gaza - in 2008/09, 2012, 2014 and 2021 - which have killed thousands of Palestinians altogether. 

Briefer and smaller-scale attacks have also occasionally happened. They tend to be shaped by Israel's election cycle and domestic Israeli politics. That appears to be the case here. 

Israel is due fresh elections in November. The current prime minister, Yair Lapid, is determined to appear tough and hawkish in the face of a threat from Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party. Short, sharp military interventions in Gaza tend to be popular inside Israel. 

In the UK, there has been no criticism of Israel's assault on Gaza from either the Tories or Labour. Yet this country is deeply complicit in Israel's apartheid policies, including its violence in Gaza. 

As Ben Jamal, director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, says:

"We need to reassert the reality that Israel's ability to sustain this system of oppression is wholly dependent on the willing complicity of western powers - including our own Government, which continues to arm Israel and lend it full political support."

The best response to Israel's violence is to build a solidarity movement that puts huge pressure on our own politicians to break with Israeli apartheid.

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Alex Snowdon

Alex Snowdon

Alex Snowdon is a Counterfire activist in Newcastle. He is active in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition and the National Education Union.​ He is the author of A Short Guide to Israeli Apartheid (2022).

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