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War crimes in Gaza and the Israeli crisis

 War crimes in Gaza and the Israeli crisis

The World Socialist Web Site unequivocally condemns the one-sided massacre perpetrated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) against Gaza. For 10 days, Israeli planes and artillery have rained missiles, bombs and shells on a population of two million Palestinians trapped in a ruthless and relentless Israeli occupation and blockade in this narrow and poor coastal enclave.

At least 217 Palestinians were killed, nearly half of whom were women and children, and thousands were injured. Some 41,000 Gazans have been forced to flee their homes to take refuge in makeshift shelters in UN-run schools, while Israel's tactics, including knocking down entire towers with "smart bombs" ", Terrorizes the entire population.

An Israeli artillery unit fires at targets in the Gaza Strip, at the Israeli Gaza border, Tuesday, May 18, 2021 (AP Photo / Tsafrir Abayov)

Gaza's health system is collapsing, beds and medical supplies are running out. Hospitals, already overcrowded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are now overflowing with injured people, many with serious injuries. A nurse told Al Jazeera that severed arms and legs were stacked on a hospital bed.

It is expected that the damage to the infrastructure and the cut-off of the fuel supply will plunge the entire Gaza Strip into darkness, cutting electricity to homes, hospitals and clinics, to its system. sewers and its desalination plant. Those killed by Israeli bombs and shells will only be part of the toll, as the destruction and neutralization of health facilities and basic infrastructure will increase mortality for a long time to come.

Israel is not the only one guilty of war crimes here; there is also its main facilitator, US imperialism. In the midst of the bombing, it was reported that Joe Biden's Democratic government officially notified the US Congress on May 5 of a $ 735 million arms shipment to Israel. This includes JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) [GPS-guided bombs], the same ones used to turn Gaza's tallest buildings into rubble. The approval of this tranche of Washington's nearly $ 4 billion annual aid to Israel clearly shows the direct complicity of all Democratic Party leaders in the crimes committed in Gaza.

At the same time, Washington used its veto three times in a week to prevent the UN Security Council from issuing any statement criticizing Israel's actions.

Biden's White House response to the ongoing massacre in Gaza is irrefutable proof of his continuity with the Trump administration, but also with his predecessors Barack Obama and George W. Bush, who similarly aided and abetted the wars waged by Israel in 2008-2009 and 2014. These together killed at least 3,500 Gazans, the overwhelming majority of civilians.

Millions of workers and young people around the world are rightly outraged not only at Israel's war crimes but also at the hypocritical justifications of people like Biden and his Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who keep repeating the phrase "Israel has the right to defend oneself. " In practice, this means that an occupying power equipped with one of the most advanced war machines in the world has the “right” to inflict death and violence on the occupied without any restriction, on a practically defenseless refugee population, trapped in a huge ghetto created by Israel itself. Biden sang the chorus on Monday, through a spokesperson, expressing his platonic support for a ceasefire with no specific date.

Huge popular anger over war crimes in Gaza has been expressed in hundreds of protests on every continent except Antarctica. Despite the support of the United States and other imperialist powers for Israeli aggression, Israel is in the eyes of millions of people around the world, an outcast, a state that has lost all moral and political legitimacy.

Attempts to label these protests as anti-Semitic are seen for what they are, a heavy-handed attempt by Israel and its imperialist backers to quell any opposition to their crimes, and a slander of millions of Jews around the world who are shocked and revolted by the actions of the Zionist state.

But anger and protests are not enough. What is needed is a political perspective on what produced these crimes and how they can be stopped.

The eruption of violence against Gaza is motivated by the crisis and the immense contradictions within Israeli society itself. Tel Aviv's decision to go to war was first and foremost an attempt to contain an out of control political crisis, manifested by the inability to form a viable government after four elections in two years and the presence of a prime minister , Benjamin Netanyahu, who must stay in power so as not to be jailed for corruption.

Insolvable social contradictions underlie this political crisis. Israel remains, along with the United States, one of the most unequal countries in the OECD. According to the annual poverty report of the Israeli aid agency Latet, the poverty rate in Israel jumped from 20.1 percent to 29.3 percent in 2020, while the 20 richest individuals there. amassed a combined wealth of over $ 61 billion, with Israel having the highest concentration of billionaires in the world relative to population.

The unsustainable nature of such a social divide was highlighted by the revolt of the Palestinian citizens of Israel, initially sparked by the attack and violent storming of the al-Aqsa mosque by the police and by acts of " ethnic cleansing ”increasingly aggressive in East Jerusalem. Palestinians in Israel, who make up 20 percent of its population, joined the general strike by Palestinians in the occupied territories on Tuesday to protest the attack on Gaza. The second motive was their opposition to Israel's apartheid-type "race laws" which condemn them to second-class citizenship. Workers have closed shops, schools and construction sites and quit work across the country.

As the ruling camarilla in Israel, which represents the interests of the billionaire ruling class, seeks a base of support through the promotion of militarism and anti-Arab hatred, unleashing fascist-Zionist gangs on the streets, there is in the working class a broad hostility to the government and its crimes and sympathy for the Palestinians. This was expressed on Sunday in a protest by Jewish and Israeli-Palestinian health workers outside Rambam Hospital in Haifa, calling for unity; an embryonic manifestation of the will of the working class to unite in a struggle against the common oppressor.

Seventy-three years after the founding of the State of Israel and 55 years after the expansionist Six Day War, the Israeli ruling class and its vast military apparatus have been unable to crush Palestinian resistance; which is inextricably linked to the immense internal contradictions of Israeli society as a whole. In response, the government behaves as if it has lost its mind, lashing out with violence that can only worsen its crisis.

Israel has come to the end of its road. The whole Zionist project - a reactionary perspective to create a sectarian Jewish capitalist state in the Middle East through the dispossession of the Palestinian people - has clearly failed. Zionist ideology justified this state as a safe haven for Jews in the aftermath of the Holocaust, but the Israeli government institutes racial laws and commits violent crimes that increasingly resemble those of the Nazis.

The emergence of mass opposition among Arab Israelis and the Jewish working class to the crimes of the Israeli state further underscores the utter unsustainability of the Zionist project. As decades-long efforts to drive a wedge between Palestinian and Jewish workers crumble, raising the prospect of a working class revolt, Israel is unable to survive other than by resorting to a totalitarian dictatorship.

Israel's crisis is linked to the collapse of the entire system of nation-states in the Middle East, created by forming theoretically independent states, based on the borders drawn by the former colonial powers. The venal Arab bourgeoisie, seeking to defend its own rule against growing social opposition by drawing closer to Israel and imperialism, has abandoned its masquerade of supporting the Palestinians and its promotion of the chimera of a "two-state solution". ". Ten years after the bloody crackdown on the Egyptian revolution, all of Israel's bordering states - Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Egypt itself - are rocked by internal strife as the Middle East in general has been devastated by the American wars.

Hamas, the dominant political force in Gaza, is also unable to offer any progressive alternative. Like the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), it is committed to the so-called two-state solution, which would keep Gaza and the West Bank as Palestinian ghettos under the control of the Zionist state. In a context where a rebellion is developing within Israel itself, Hamas is unable to appeal to the Israeli Arab population and even less to the Jewish working class.

General Mark Milley, US Army Chief of Staff, warned Monday that "wider destabilization" could take place and "a whole host of negative consequences if the fighting continues" in Gaza. The fear, clearly, is that events in Israel and the occupied territories will trigger revolutionary upheavals throughout the region, while at the same time posing the threat of a much larger war, primarily against Iran.

These alternatives, war and revolution, arise not only in the Middle East, but also on a global scale. Despite a global pandemic that has left three and a half million dead, the imperialist powers are carrying out massive military reinforcement in preparation for a world war.

This same pandemic has provoked social opposition in the working class and a worldwide escalation of the class struggle that paves the way for social revolution.

Therein lies the way forward for the working masses throughout the Middle East. The central question is to overcome the crisis of perspective and direction.

The impasse of bourgeois nationalism, from Nasser to the PLO, has given reason to Leon Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution. It established that, in the imperialist era, the achievement of the fundamental tasks of liberation from imperialist oppression in the oppressed countries cannot be solved under the leadership of the national bourgeoisie, totally linked to and dependent on imperialism. . These tasks can only be achieved through the independent political intervention of the working class on the basis of a socialist and internationalist program.

The military assault on Gaza and the growing revolt within Israel itself urgently requires a struggle to unite the working class, Arab, Jewish and Iranian, across all national and sectarian divisions; a common fight for a Socialist Federation of the Middle East as part of the struggle to end capitalism all over the world.

The vital task of mobilizing the working class on the basis of this program depends on building a new revolutionary leadership, organized into sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International in each country.

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