August 2014        

Israel: outpost of imperialism

The self-proclaimed “international community” is much preoccupied lately with international law and human rights, and is busy devising and implementing economic sanctions against Russia, Iran, and Syria, among others, allegedly for their real or supposed transgressions. These considerations do not apply to the allies or clients of the United States or the European Union, such as the mediaeval theocracies of the Arabian peninsula. They most especially do not apply to the principal outpost of imperialism in the Middle East: the Zionist apartheid state of Israel.
     As far as the “international community” is concerned, Israel has a licence to drive people from their homes in the occupied territory of the West Bank and to give their land to settlers from Moscow or New York; to build walls round their communities, isolating them from one another; to keep the entire population of Gaza in a permanent state of siege.
     And above all, Israel has a licence to kill.
     Hardly a day passes without a Palestinian being killed by the occupation forces or the settlers. This, along with the constant harassment, is the daily experience of the Palestinian people.
     Three times in the last five years Israel has intensified its violence to the level of a full-scale assault on the people of Gaza, bombing from the air, sea, and land. Already, on this occasion, they have slaughtered more than 1,300 people, many of them people sheltering in schools or patients in hospital. Many more have been driven from their homes, which have been destroyed.
     The declared aim of the Israeli military operation is the same as the one used in 2008 when they also slaughtered more than a thousand people in Gaza: to stop rockets being fired at Israel and to destroy tunnels. As it did not succeed the last time, and there is no change in the tactics, this can only be an excuse. The motivation can only be to terrorise the population.
     This has not been provoked by missiles fired by Hamas. Israel began the assault before a missile was fired, and intensified it when it got the desired response. Nor was it provoked by the murder of three teenage boys in the West Bank: it was a response to the formation of a unified Palestinian government between Hamas and Al Fatah.
     The division of the Palestinians, with Hamas isolated in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank co-operating with the occupation, suited Israel. It screamed at Fatah to break off relations with the “terrorist” Hamas. The apparently compliant Palestinian Authority had turned on them, first demanding international recognition and now this. They could not comply: they had got no concessions from Israel for all their “negotiations”—not even a halt to the building of new settlements; they would have no credibility left if they followed these orders.
     The continuing siege of Gaza would not be possible without the participation of the Egyptian regime. (One of the reasons for the coup d’état there was the previous government’s friendly relations with Hamas.) Egypt and Saudi Arabia are effectually allies and accomplices of Israel. They are also opposed to the establishment of Palestinian unity.
     Popular revulsion at the Israeli war crimes has been expressed in demonstrations around the world. But the “international community” stands by Israel. The United States voted against and the EU abstained in the UN vote condemning Israeli war crimes. They resupplied depleted armaments to the Israelis in the middle of the assault on Gaza. Netanyahu, assured of the continuing support of the imperialist powers, has announced that the military operation will continue. He has the green light for this, as the United States, on 31 July, resupplied Israel with arms and munitions.
     The Irish government has disgraced itself in accepting the dictate of the European Union and abstaining on this vote, refusing to condemn the massacre. The Minister for External Affairs parrots the arguments used by the Zionists. The subservience of this government is absolute.

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