The images from Israel and the Gaza Strip are horrific. Many hundreds of civilians are dead on both sides. The unprecedented attacks by Hamas inside Israel followed the escalation policy of the Israeli government against the Palestinians in recent months and years. The Netanyahu-led government, with the support of the western powers, has in turn reacted with methods of mass military terror – a massive brutal bombardment of Gaza. Whole areas are being obliterated with indiscriminate attacks and the siege has been tightened, allowing in no power, food or fuel. A new war has begun which could last some time, with its victims coming from the working class on both sides of the conflict and which will not bring the people of the region one step closer to peace and self-determination.
The Israeli military blockade of the Gaza strip was always going to be a major contributor to another round of bloody conflict. Over two million Palestinians are trapped in that poverty-stricken, densely populated strip of land, most of them refugees. They regularly suffer brutal raids and killings by Israeli forces, as do Palestinians in the West Bank, where repression has been stepped up this year – including over 150 being killed – under the direction of Israel’s most right-wing government ever.
Early on Saturday 7 October a huge, well-prepared offensive was carried out by the military arm of the Hamas-led authority in Gaza: a staggering barrage of thousands of rockets fired into Israel together with blowing up and smashing down parts of the Gaza fence – a fast-executed and coordinated deployment which enabled hundreds of Hamas fighters to storm into Israeli towns and villages and temporarily take control of them. Sending a massive shockwave across Israeli society, over 800 people in those areas were killed and around 130 taken hostage.
This is the fifth war between the Israeli regime and Hamas-led Gaza authority, but this time with the developments having already reached an unprecedented level. Never before have the scenes involved in the Hamas offensive taken place on that scale in Israel’s 75-year history. For Palestinians in Gaza, painfully familiar with death and destruction, the death toll will rise far above that of Israelis, as Netanyahu declared that parts of the strip would be turned into rubble and even threatened that it would become a “deserted island”. ….
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