War in Palestine is grinding on. Killing fields have replaced ‘silent’ slaughtering. Frontal challenge has replaced behind the back conspiracies. Israel has launched bombing raids on exclave Gaza killing over 1900, a good number of them children and elderly. This is in retaliation to Hamas raid in Southern Israel on October 7 in which nearly 1300 people have been killed including a large number of civilians including children and Army personnel and a good number including civilians taken to Gaza as “prisoners of war”. Targeting of civilians by all sides –Israeli Govt. and Hamas is condemned.
While Palestinian resistance has been going on since they were forcibly and violently displaced from their homeland in what is called the Naqba in 1948, there have been three wars among Arab states and Israel in the past i.e. in 1948, 1967 and 1973 but the present war is different. This time Palestinians themselves are leading the war and not the Arab states. This is the singular difference between earlier wars and this war. Though Palestinians have been resisting Israeli occupation braving bombing raids and large scale civilian killings by Israel in the past, it is the first time that they have launched an offensive on such a scale. It is an ominous sign for occupation and their backers- western imperialist powers. It is a positive development for realization of national aspirations of Palestinians; they have taken their destiny in their own hands. Rulers of Arab states – monarchs and dictators – could be coerced and cajoled by western imperialists but not the Palestinians who are fighting for their very existence. It is an old saying not to leave any body without option, because in that case they would fight and fight well. This aspect is the biggest achievement of the present conflagration and this achievement will not be easily lost.
While Palestinians know and know well that they will pay heavy price for this attack but every Palestinian is rejoicing in the success of the attack. People long suppressed and made to feel that they would be banished from their homeland and made to disappear have long past the time of mourning their dead. In fact these are dead people fighting which is making them feel they are alive. This attack has energized the Arab street, in fact Middle East street. Their leaders have since long been bargaining on the corpses of Palestinians, building bridges with Zionist rulers of Israel and their benefactors- USA and other western imperialist powers but their people have come out in strength to support Palestinians. Mosques, Football Stadia and almost all gathering places have become centres of assembly to express support. Rulers are restrained but people are not. Palestinian flags are flying atop buildings across Middle East. Palestinian cause has been resurrected from what their enemies considered dead. Israel has already lost in their gambit to win all- the whole of Palestine.
Questions are being raised about efficiency and efficacy of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. Some of this criticism is misplaced. This is not the first time that Mossad failed. Among its more well known failures is 1973 Arab-Israeli war which it had failed to know in advance. In fact Mossad specializes in targeted killings and surveillance over populace; in the first it has gained worldwide notoriety and many disciples from other Govts.
Israeli apologists excel in detecting terrorism though never bothering to question themselves what constitutes such acts. Targeting of civilians is condemnable, but how on earth they conclude which civilian killing is terrorism and which is not. When Israel razes Gaza buildings and indiscriminately kills Palestinian civilians that in their view is not terrorism! Some of them go to the extent of justifying killing of civilian Palestinians- children and elderly- as a part of exercise of Israel’s right of self-defense. But they believe and repeat ad nauseum all claims of Israeli Govt. without any evidence, not even video-graphic. Indian apologists of Israel which don the main electronic media have been calling Hamas a terrorist organization though neither United Nations nor India has designated Hamas as terrorist organization; only western imperialist countries have done so. Even BBC is not calling Hamas a terrorist organization but our media apologists are more loyal than royal! These apologists wear patriotism on their sleeves; in this case acting as western patriots.
Not just this. Claim of video-graphic evidence of “beheaded babies” i.e. babies beheaded by Hamas fighters made it to media reports including in India. Even US president claimed to have seen ‘beheaded babies’ claimed to have seen “confirmed pictures” of Palestinian militants “beheading children” in Israel. However, Israeli military said that it was not able to “officially” substantiate the allegation forcing US White House to officially backtrack on the claim. It is old saying that in war truth is the first casualty but in today’s world of dissemination of information, the casualty is seen and brought to light. US president had also echoed the charges that women had been “raped, assaulted, paraded as trophies”. Even Los Angeles Times reportedly appended an editor’s note saying that “such reports have not been substantiated.” All these accusations had been in the Indian media but without the clarifying notes.
While cheer leaders for Israel including those of Indian media are waiting and even hoping for ground offensive of Israel into Gaza, Israel has not yet entered Gaza. In fact Hamas must have known that Israel would go all out in their offensive retaliation. Israel well remembers how it got bogged down in Southern Lebanon which Israeli military had occupied and had to withdraw in disgrace after nearly two decades of occupation. Any incursion into Gaza is fraught with grave danger for Israel as its military personnel have to face daily attacks from the Palestinians. Army stationed among hostile people can neither avoid casualties nor save their morale for long. And there would be no path of exit except in defeat. However, Israel Govt. is planning to inflict unprecedented punishment on Palestinians and is under pressure of its own making to enter Gaza. It is quite likely it may raid all parts of Gaza without occupying it.
It is worth remembering that Hamas represents majority of the Palestinians. In the last elections held for Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006, Hamas had won a clear majority of 73 seats out of a total of 132 seats. No elections have been held since and by all accounts Hamas support among Palestinians has only increased over last 17 years and that of Abbas led Fatah has only declined. It is clear that Palestinians support Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) and Netanyahu’s claim that his govt. would wipe out Hamas can only mean that his Govt. would wipe out Palestinians. So far as killing Hamas militants- leaders and cadres- is concerned they have been doing so and may do so on even larger scale but that would only mean far more Palestinians actively joining resistance. Israel and its western backers, mainly USA, have left Palestinians with little choice but to resist the attempts to erase their identity, their nationality.
It was with the advent of uni-polar world that Palestinian cause went into downward spiral with Oslo accords being the symbol of their humiliation- a peace mandated without any recompense. It is opposition to Oslo Accords among Palestinians that saw rise of popularity of Hamas among Palestinians. It is also not any coincidence that the present upswing has come when multi-polar world is consolidating itself. What would have been easy for US overlords to secure unanimous condemnation of Hamas from Security Council during the days of uni-polar world was not to be. All that Security Council was prepared was to condemn targeting of civilians but old imperialist powers of the West know they are the main slaughterers of civilians and they still wish to continue to target civilians. But it is not the end, overwhelming majority of the countries of the world openly say that Palestinians have been wronged and there would be no peace in the region without securing legitimate rights of the Palestinians. No mean achievement.
There have been some side shows as well. As the news that most of the weapons used by Hamas fighters were of American origin, attention immediately shifted to Ukraine from where pilferage of US supplied weapons has long been in news. Ukraine President immediately jumped into fray alleging that Russia was behind the Hamas attack. But Israeli Ambassador to Russia rubbished the claim. On the other hand, Netanyahu alleged that attacks were planned and executed with Iranian support. US establishment sensed the game plan of dragging them into war with Iran, a cherished ambition of Netanyahu, denied saying that they have no intelligence information of Iranian involvement and that according to their intelligence Iranian leaders were themselves surprised at the attack.
While battles are still continuing in some pockets in Southern Israel and at many places in West Bank, the main battle scene has shifted to Gaza, known to be largest open air prison in the world. Israeli Defense Minister has threatened that no food, electricity, water or gas will be permitted to enter Gaza leave out the medicines. Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza has been bombed into closure thus completely cutting off Gaza. Such a siege is not only against the humanitarian law; it is also against law of war. World people should rise to protest against such a large scale starving of people and driving then to death. All democratic and peace loving people should rise against such a siege of a small densely populated exclave which is home to over 2.2 million people. All these are whose families had been displaced from their homes in present day Israel during the Naqba and the Naksa (forcible displacement from Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 war).
Now Israel Govt. has given ultimatum to Palestinians to move to South, out of northern Gaza within 24 hours. United Nations has commented that this is impossible. WHO has said that this would mean a catastrophe. The main purpose of Israel Govt. is to cleanse the northern Gaza of Palestinians. This is part of their policy of swallowing of Palestinian lands which they have been relentlessly and steadily been doing in their pursuit of Greater Israel. They wish to destroy whatever Palestinians have built in Gaza. Israel Govt. is calling October 7 Hamas attack as Israel’s 9/11 thereby preparing the ground for large scale of genocide of Palestinians. But they should keep in mind what happened to US attacks after 9/11 first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq. However, Israel Govt.’ plan pose grave risk of human suffering on a very large scale and put challenge before the democratic people all over the world to prevent and mitigate this. This also put pressure on Govts. of different countries especially those of Arab countries and countries of Middle East not to let mass slaughter of Palestinians and total collapse of living conditions in Gaza take place.
Israel’s aggression against Gaza is fraught with danger of extension of war in the region. There has been some exchange of fire across Israel-Lebanon border. Israel has also bombed main airports in Syria ostensibly in the name of Iranian military supplies. US has moved its Naval armada led by aircraft carrier Gerald Ford. All these maneuvers are to warn other countries and movements in the region to come to the aid of Palestinians especially when Gaza is attacked. Aggressive war being unleashed by Israel against Palestinians is increasing the danger of regional conflagration. It should also be kept in mind that Russia has its military stationed in Syria and China has a naval base in the region in Djibouti.
Indian Govt. too has tried to correct its earlier stance of total and one-sided support to Israel. Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs has expressed support for the humanitarian law and for a “two state solution” with sovereign, secure and viable Palestine state. With its earlier stance expressed in PM’s tweet and speech, India was seen totally aligned with Western imperialist powers in its stance and out of sync with majority of the countries especially third world countries. In fact there is growing support for implementing UN resolutions on Palestine which Israel has violated with impunity and western imperialist powers complicit, rather instrumental in this impunity.
“This is not an era of war” is only a jumla with active wars going on several parts of the world. World has not been free of war. Not only several old conflicts are continuing; many new ones are rising. Imperialism means War and in today’s world war cannot be eliminated without overthrowing imperialism.
October 13, 2023