Back in March I wrote an article on Israel’s heavy-handed response to what was then the most recent bout of Palestinian rocket fire into the Jewish State, and the pressing need for talks to take place for a two-state solution. It is now July, and the past three weeks have seen a resurgence of the decades-old conflict on a scale not seen since the pre-Israeli election massacres of Dec ’08-Jan ’09.
How Things Stand
Before we turn to my analysis of the situation, let’s have a look at the numbers. Bear in mind, the latest bout of violence – christened Operation Protective Edge by the IDF – began on 08/07/2014.
I hate to have to reduce the deaths of real people to mere statistics like this, but the volume of casualties is simply too high to go into details (although the Telegraph has created a thought-provoking spread showing the names and ages of each dead Palestinian child). Each of these deaths – all 806 of them – is a tragedy. But these killings are no accident. They are a result of the policy of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government towards Gaza – that it is the stronghold of Hamas, and as such its people are legitimate targets.
Netanyahu and his cronies don’t seem to care how many civilians or even children die – as long as they pick off a few Hamas fighters. The fact that well over three-quarters of all Gazan casualties have been non-combatants does seem seem to even register – the tanks keep rolling, the missiles keep coming. The deaths keep mounting up. Seventy-six people have died today.
The word ‘Zionist’ is a loaded one. Those who decry Israel’s government as Zionist extremists are often accused of being anti-Semitic, but the claim is perfectly legitimate. Zionism is, at its basic level, simply the belief that the State of Israel should exist in its present location. This, in an of itself, is not a particularly extreme view. But Netanyahu’s party, Likud, and its partners in the ruling coalition represent something more.
Likud are Revisionist Zionists. This ideology originally called for Jewish control of the entirety of the old British Mandate of Palestine – including present-day Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan. The claim to Jordan has largely been dropped, but Likud and their fellows still desire Israeli control over the Palestinian territories.
Netanyahu does not want peace – that fact is self-evident. He broke off peace talks with the Palestinians in April after the last flare-up of the conflict and has repeatedly denied Palestine and Gaza in particular the justice it deserves. Hamas’ rejection of the most recent ceasefire proposal last week is highly regrettable, and they must accept part responsibility for the civilian deaths since then, but it is understandable that the organisation does not trust Netanyahu when his party’s ideology is built around the conclusion of Israeli conquest of the Palestinians’ remaining land.
The Consequences of Fascism
The Israeli government’s persecution of the Palestinians has gone on since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, but it is growing seemingly worse under the rule of the fascist Netanyahu. And, no, to call this man a fascist is not,as some have claimed, anti-Semitic – the comparison is exact. His government has advanced a nationalist agenda to force the Palestinian people onto smaller and smaller areas of land, provoking them to violent response and then launching overwhelmingly heavy-handed responses to attempt to crush their resistance. In the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, corporate exploitation of poor Palestinians is rife as major companies collude with the government to take advantage of this source of cheap labour. Palestinians are second-class citizens within their own homeland.
And they are not the only victims. In France this week, a protest against the Israeli onslaught transformed into anti-Semitic rioting directed at the local Jewish population. Israel’s brutal actions are playing right into the hands of groups such as the Front National and other extreme-right Europeans who are able to use them to incite violence against the blameless local Jews. It is a sad fact, but a fact nonetheless, that the actions of the ‘Jewish State’ are considered by many to be the fault of all Jews. Netanyahu cares as little for his own people outside Israel as he does for the Palestinians trapped within it.
But the tables are turning on this despot. The programme of oppression and ethnic cleansing which this vile man has made his mission is drawing more and more condemnation. Even the UK government, which – along with the USA and Australia – has shamefully backed Likud’s war, has warned Netanyahu that the West is losing sympathy for his country’s actions. Within Israel, and from amongst the wider Jewish community, groups like Jews for Justice for Palestinians are growing and are criticising more heavily the murder being done against their will but in their name. Netanyahu’s agenda is looking more and more precarious.
As long as the USA and the UK continue to fund the Israeli war machine, we will not see the end of this bloody struggle. Likud and its partners will continue to persecute the people of Palestine until they no longer can. It is up to the people of Israel to push for a change in their government’s brutal policy, and for the rest of the world to force their own governments to withdraw their support for this fascist regime and push for a two-state solution, so that Jews and Palestinians might live side-by-side in peace. The beginnings of this shift are already being felt – let us not lose momentum, but continue onwards. For while Israel remains an apartheid state, and Netanyahu’s holocaust continues, we will never live in a world where peace and freedom reign.