Hamas Attack in Israel Brings Palestinian Question to the Fore

On October 7 morning, Palestinian organization ruling Gaza launched attack on Israel through air, land and sea. Over 3000 missiles were reportedly launched from Gaza and Hamas troops crossed Gaza Israel border through breaches in defense walls, as well as paragliders and through boats. They attacked a number of places including three Army installations and captured tanks and armoured vehicles. According to Israeli media, over 600 were killed and nearly eighteen hundred injured in these attacks. Israeli Govt. accepted that a large number of people were taken captive in this attack and Hamas claimed they have taken 53 prisoners of war. These include Army personnel and civilians. A few hours later, Israel Govt. launched massive missile barrage against Gaza razing to ground some buildings. According to Palestinians, over 300 have been killed and nearly 2000 have been injured in these attacks. This morning, Israel Govt. said that Army is battling Hamas fighters at nearly 20 places inside Israel, in areas border Gaza and in Southern Israel which may increase the toll of dead and injured.

These attacks by Hamas and Israel have big significance for the Middle East. There is little doubt that backed by Western imperialist powers Israel will be able to inflict far greater damage and casualties at Palestinians. The whole Gaza will be pulverized and casualties will be large in number. Hamas embarked on this attack knowing this well. The support enjoyed by Hamas among Palestinians show that Palestinians are willing to endure all in quest of their national rights.

When Western imperialists and Zionists were seeking to make Palestinian national aspirations unachievable and Palestinians themselves invisible, this attack has shaken the Middle East highlighting that Palestinian question is at the heart of achieving peace in the region; that Palestinians refuse to commit political suicide and refuse to become invisible giving proof that they are alive and struggling.

This attack has come in the backdrop of steady and brutal capture of Palestinian lands by Zionist rulers of Israel in West Bank. Netanyahu Govt. has intensified attacks against Palestinians, their homes and their religious places including Al Aqsa mosque held sacred by Muslims world over. This has also come in the wake of US imperialism and its western imperialist allies not only increasing military aid to Israel but also attempting to lure Arab states into pact with Israel sidelining the Palestinian question. As Netanyahu said recently in the UN General Assembly Palestinians should not have veto over Israel-Arab relations. Zionists and their Western imperialist backers have since long denied the Palestinian nationhood, paying only lip service to hoodwink Arab masses but eroding the very basis on which Palestinian statehood could stand. This attack has also come in the background of several Arab monarchies and dictators making peace with Israel ignoring rights of Palestinians. This conflagration has brought the atrocities against Palestinians once again before the world public opinion and conspiracies of some Arab rulers before their own people. It is indeed a high cost effort as Palestinians will be the worst sufferers but will jolt the conspiracies to sweep Palestinian issue under the carpet. This attack has come in the backdrop of US effort to restore the uni-polar world sputtering and multi-polar world consolidating.

Immediate prelude to this conflagration is also the failure of talks with the mediation of Egypt, Jordan and Qatar which resulted in total failure with Israel showing no intent to loosen blockade of Gaza strip.

Several civilians have become casualty in this war and more are likely to become so. Targeting civilians in war by whichever side must be condemned. This must rouse the world people that the Palestinian issue must be resolved; that national rights of Palestinians must be secured.

This conflagration may give short term reprieve to Netanyahu whose ‘ultra-right’ govt. ‘s attack on judiciary was highly divisive in Israel drawing large number of people in protest, but more importantly it will at least temporarily stop the process of normalization of relations between Arab states and Israel what it being termed Abraham Accords. This may be the most conspicuous result. There is much anger in Arab street while there have been massive demonstrations in Iran and Turkiye against Israel.

International reaction to this conflagration of Palestinian-Israel conflict has been quite diverse. US, UK, France, Germany, almost all the western imperialist & have fully supported Israel and its right to attack Palestinians as its self-defense. Japan also reacted on similar lines. On the other hand, Iran and Syria have supported Hamas attack. Qatar has blamed Israel for the attack and so have many other countries including Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, most of Arab countries- Egypt, Morocco, UAE and others friendly to Western powers have asked both sides to show restraint. Turkiye has also talked in similar vein i.e. asking both sides to show restraint. Russia said it is “in contact with Israel, the Palestinians and Arab countries” and called for restraint. China too, according to Global Times, expressing its “deep concern” called on all relevant parties to remain calm and restrained and to cease hostilities immediately besides calling for establishment of Palestinian state. Brazil’s President also expressed hope to prevent escalation and expressed commitment to “two state solution” with Palestinians and Israelis coexisting within mutually agreed and internationally recognize borders.a “Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel,” wrote Indian Prime Minister on X, “Our thoughts and prayers are with innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.” Indian Govt. position as expressed here totally ignoring Palestinians is very much aligned with the position of Western imperialist countries.

It is clear that this is no terrorist attack but an attack carried out by those ruling in Gaza. While targeting civilians by any Party to the conflict must be condemned, it is by no means a terrorist attack. Nor is Hamas which had won elections among Palestinians a terrorist organization unless one views all Palestinians as terrorists and the national aspiration of Palestinians as terrorism. As far as international law is concerned Zionist rulers of Israel are worst and serial offenders. They have totally ignored the UN resolutions, violated them with impunity and systematically gobbled up Palestinian territories through settlements. They have killed and imprisoned Palestinians at will. Obviously they could do so because of near total support extended by US imperialism and other Western imperialist powers. In fact western powers consider Israel as vital to domination of this oil rich region. But the emergence of other powers in the region, presence of Russian Army in Syria besides Russia deepening military relations with other countries in the region and China developing and deepening economic and strategic relations with the countries of the Middle East have stirred the pot. There cannot be business as usual in the region.

While Israel enjoys overwhelming military superiority over Hamas in this asymmetrical war, the war has potential to drag on, spread to other areas in the wider region and western countries may also feel the heat. There have already been exchanges of fire between Israel and Lebanon (Hezbollah). With their failure to drag Global South along with them in their war against Russian invasion in Ukraine, the emergence of the question of Palestine in world arena comes at an inopportune time for them. While they are shouting themselves hoarse on UN resolutions on Ukraine, on Palestine question they are siding with Israel which has not only systematically violated UN resolutions but has no intention of honouring them. Brazil has already convened a Security CouncilG meeting on the issue.

Whatever time it takes there can be no peace in West Asia and wider Middle East without solving Palestinian issue on the basis on realization of national aspirations of Palestinians. Despite the original injustice of handing over Palestinian land for establishing state of Israel, solution of the dispute in present times would involve two basic aspects- establishment of Palestinian state in pre-1967 borders and right of return of Palestinians to their homes in Israel. Both of these are covered and guaranteed by relevant UN resolutions and are supported by overwhelming majority of countries. It will be interesting to watch the somersaults of western political gymnasts who are shouting for UN charter and international law.

Progressive, democratic and revolutionary forces and justice loving people of the world should raise their voice for just solution to this conflict based on meeting national aspirations of Palestinians. This may be the silver lining of the otherwise great sufferings of the people and civilian casualties on all sides. We should also demand that Indian Govt. should carry on with country’s traditional support to just and legitimate aspirations of Palestinians and unequivocally demand implementation of relevant UN resolutions to secure Palestinians’ national aspirations.

CPI(ML)-New Democracy

October 8, 2023