The situation in the Gaza strip has been getting more barbaric than it has ever been during the 31 years of Israeli occupation. The daily Jerusalem Post reported that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday implored Israel to reverse its decision to close the Gaza border crossings, warning that the cut-off of supplies is provoking a humanitarian crisis among 1.4 million Palestinians.
The closure "cuts off the population from much-needed fuel supplies used to pump water and generate electricity to homes and hospitals," he said. "If this situation endures, the closure will also cause further shortages of food, medical and relief items in the Gaza Strip."
The UN Relief and Works Agency, which distributes cooking oil, flour and sugar to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, said it had about two months worth of supplies in its warehouses.
The Palestinians need to supplement the basics with nutritious foods, such as fruit, vegetables and proteins, which have become increasingly expensive and hard to find. According to the UN, the most immediate concern was the halt in delivery of fuel, of which there are no stockpiles.
In recent months, Israel has reduced fuel supplies in the hope that Gaza's population would pressure the Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants to stop the rocket fire. The International Committee of the Red Cross called on Israel and the Palestinians to respect international law and stop harming civilians.
Kanaan Abeid, deputy chairman of the Palestinian Energy Authority in Gaza called on the international community to pressure Israel into renewing gas supplies to the Strip. According to Abeid, should both the city's power stations shut down, the power funnelled to Gaza City would decrease by 50% and that of the rest of the Strip by 60%. Abeid called on Gazans to conserve energy, adding the Palestinians have no choice but to start initiating blackouts.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak argued that Israel must persist with its current policy in Gaza. During his briefing to the cabinet ministers, he referred to the IDF attacks on Hamas' infrastructure, border-crossing closings, and targeted IDF operations thwarting shooting attacks.
Yesterday, an Israeli air strike killed two members of the Hamas military wing in northern Gaza and three Qassam rockets fired by militants from Gaza landed in and around the Israeli border town of Sderot, causing no casualties.
The New York Times reported that the Israeli military said its actions were aimed at distancing "terrorist organizations, particularly Hamas," from the border fence, and at reducing rocket fire into Israel. More than 130 rockets were fired at Israel since Tuesday, the army said, with about half landing in Israel.
According to the New York Times, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah phoned a senior Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, in Gaza to offer his condolences after Mr. Zahar's son, a militant, was killed in one of the Israeli strikes. And on Friday, several Fatah figures were interviewed on the Hamas-run television station for the first time since June.
In its Editorial, the daily Haaretz wrote:
"Fifty years have gone by since Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan eulogized Roi Rotberg of Kibbutz Nahal Oz, who was murdered by Palestinian infiltrators. The eulogy is still relevant. 'How can we complain about Gaza's hatred toward us?' said Dayan. 'For eight years, they have been sitting in refugee camps while right in front of them we are turning the land and villages of their forefathers into our home'."
"Since then, not much has been done to diminish the hatred. While the settlements of the northern Negev became the pride of Israeli agriculture, Gazans grew poorer. For 30 years, Israel settled large areas in the Gaza Strip, its hothouses and religious colleges further deepening the despair of the refugee camp residents. The disengagement did not help the people living in Gaza, who meanwhile elected Hamas to make their lives even more miserable".
Israeli Occupation as a Dead-End
There is no doubt that the main cause for the ongoing bloodshed and wars is the Israeli occupation and the atrocities committed by the Israeli military against innocent Palestinians. As Marxists, we would also condemn the threat posed by the Islamic fundamentalists on the lives of innocent Israeli. The inhabitants of Sderot are poor Israeli workers, most of them working under terrible conditions of minimum wages and no social rights.
The Israeli elite disregards Sderot, not only due to the socio-economic condition of its population but also as most of them are Jews who immigrated with their families from Arab countries like Morocco, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Tunisia and others. Their lives are not as precious as the lives of Israelis who live in Tel Aviv, Haifa or Jerusalem. In fact, the Islamic fundamentalists know quite well that firing rockets at Tel Aviv would cause bloody escalation, as the ruling class would use these attacks as an excuse to hit back at the defenceless Palestinian population. Thus, there is a vicious circle in which the poor workers and unemployed of Sderot are seen as an "acceptable" target for the Israeli government.
The Israeli state has been committing war crimes against the Palestinian masses for many decades. In 1948, Palestinians were heavily expelled by the Israeli military and those who remained were placed in poor refugees' camps. In 1967, Israel launched an aggressive war against the Palestinians and the Arab regimes, a war that ended in the occupation of the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. For decades, the Palestinians have been living under a de facto military regime that prevents them from having political and civil rights, leaving them besieged in their isolated towns and cities, with their right to free movement violated by dozens of military barriers.
In addition to all these brutal crimes, thousands of Palestinians were cruelly murdered, tortured and jailed; many were imprisoned for years without fair sentence, others were "eliminated" by Israeli military armed gangs. All these should be considered along the mass building of illegal settlements and outposts, built on stolen Palestinian land, based on robbery of their agricultural fields, taken by the State as if Zionist colonization were a just cause whereby all means should be carried out in order to realize it. Zionism was, and still is, a living hell on earth for the Palestinian masses; it has been oppressing them for ages, robbing them, humiliating them by stealing their lands, expropriating their homes and property, doing whatever it considered as necessary for their lives of their sons and daughters.
The Israeli occupation is a crime against the labouring masses of the region, a bloody threat to the possibility of unifying the toiling masses in the region through a socialist programme. However, by bombing the poor people of Sderot, by posing physical threat on their lives, by making their lives a living hell, by embittering every day in their lives through firing rockets at their homes the Palestinian resistance does not advance the cause of the Palestinian people. On the contrary, it radicalises the support of Israeli workers for the Zionist state.
The situation in Gaza has been pushing the masses there to the brink of a severe humanitarian crisis. Israel's policies are murderous and play vicious, ruthless games in which Palestinian innocents may even die of starvation. This policy is a crime that will bring further disasters and might provoke a regional war. No one can ensure that Israel or the Palestinian would come out of the war as winners.
As happened in the Second Lebanon War, no one will triumph; the masses, in Israel and Lebanon, have paid a very high price for the policies of their misleaderships. Hamas on the one side, represents the most reactionary wing of the nationalist Palestinian elite, not the Palestinian masses; and on the other side, the Olmert-Barak government expresses the decaying liberal bourgeoisie which fears the Israeli extreme right in the coming elections. Both defend their rotten interests against the real interests the masses. Both represent a threat to the lives of their peoples; no one is suggesting a way out other than a bloody war in which the Israeli military, backed by US imperialism, will eventually fight the heavily armed Palestinian cells, who are also backed by the Iranian regime.
The Israeli ruling class, in alliance with the bourgeois Fatah party led by President Abbas, has been trying to create a new order, oriented by the interests of the imperialist US regime of Bush et al. They refused to accept the ceasefire proposed by the Hamas government, and continued with the war waged against the Palestinians, hoping to force them to submit. The Islamic fundamentalists responded by firing rockets and trying to commit unsuccessful suicide bombings. This is a bloody cycle in which so many innocents pay with their lives. It is not in the interests of ordinary working people on both sides of the divide for this to continue.
Which way out?
As Marxists, i.e. as revolutionaries who carry forward the principle of the political independence of the working class, we trust neither the imperialists nor the Islamic fundamentalists. The reactionary Islamists have proved to be the pretext of Israel's war mongering: when they attack Sderot, Israel wages bloody air strikes and kills innocents, including women, babies and youth. They proposed nothing to the masses in Gaza but being sacrificed and to be regarded as martyrs. The only way to stop this vicious spiral is to build the conditions for political independence of the working class, in the West Bank, in Gaza and in Israel.
Imperialism wants to fulfil its agenda and build a regional order that would resemble the Cold War conditions: neither peace nor war but a status quo which will enable US and EU imperialism to make use of the Middle East as a source for cheap oil and an exploited workforce. The intervention of the UN will be worthless as it represents the interests of the imperialists and serves the Western big industries and monopolies.
We call upon the workers and peasants in Israel and Palestine: stop the bloodshed now and turn your arms against your true enemies - your own leaders. The poor mothers of Sderot and Gaza, the hungry workers of these two cities, have much more in common than they actually think. They are victims of their rulers, and their labour is the key to their real liberation. They have been victimized in a brutal war in which no one counts them; the imperialists, the fundamentalist Islamic fundamentalists and the Zionist warmongers are willing to spill the masses' blood in order to get military triumph. The workers should stop them by overthrowing their rulers and build their unity; only their fraternity can create a genuine turning point, a way out of their current condition.
Socialism is not only a matter of history and philosophy but also a clear programme that requires the masses to take action and build their lives based upon their needs, not according to the interests of the exploiters. Marxism offers a way forward and proposes Revolution as an alternative to imperialist war, nationalisms and bloody chauvinism.
As capitalism is a rotten order in a serious process of decay, and since the bourgeoisie can play nothing but a reactionary role, we ask the workers to act for their future. Do not trust your leaders; do not believe your rulers. They offer a fraud in which neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians would be liberated but rather sink into bloody swamp until the tragic end. The nationalist snakes will sting you and the reactionary crows will set upon you, dying to watch you fight each other until mutual, bitter death.
Pave your path forward toward social revolution; take an example from your brothers and sisters in Venezuela; defend your class interests and seize power in order to prevent the awful destiny being prepared for you under condition of endless wars. Release yourselves from your chains; realize your true liberation by class association and workers' fraternity.