By Uri Bar-Shalom Agmon and Tuvaal Klein, Socialist Struggle Movement (our sister organisation in Israel/Palestine)
“In the face of death spectacles, dealing with the many details of life seems insignificant, even though in a normal situation they are a basic part of life that cannot be given up. It is not possible to get bread at all. I tell my children: ‘Maybe a biscuit is a good option for now, instead of bread, until we see where things go’. The electricity is completely cut off. Strange feelings arise in me. Should I stay with all my children in one place? So if we live, we live together, and if we die, we die together… Which death is better? That we all die together or that some of us die and some of us stay alive” — this is how Ahmed Abu Artema described the hell on earth that is unfolding in Gaza in a video published on Al-Jazeera, a few days before the bombing that hit him and his family.
Between Friday and Saturday the incessant bombings reached a terrifying peak. The dust of destruction that the Israeli army unleashed on Gaza in an unprecedented attack in recent days, from the air, the sea and the land, has not yet settled, and the numbers of the dead, wounded and displaced are still unknown also due to the shutting down of the Internet and cell phone networks in the minutes before the attack. At the same time, we were informed that a few days before, the bombings also took a heavy toll on the family of Ahmed Abu Artema, who was seriously injured and 5 members of his family were killed, including his 12-year-old son, Abdullah.
With the shutting down of internet and mobile communications, the Israeli army cut off the residents of Gaza from one another. Families had no way of knowing the fate of their relatives, and those buried under the rubble could not contact the rescue forces. This shutting down is also a disconnection from the world, from the masses in the Middle East, in Europe, in the US, in Africa, a disconnection from those who, over in the last 4 weeks, have taken part in growing protests after seeing the reports, photos and footage of the horrors unleashed by the Israeli regime in its revenge massacre in Gaza. So far, the bloody attack on the residents of the Gaza Strip has claimed the lives of more than 9200 people, of which over 3,800 are children. Over 2000 are believed to be missing, under the ruins of the buildings.
We express our pain and anger at the killing, destruction and loss that the Netanyahu-Ben Gvir-Ganz government is raining down from the sky on Ahmed and his family, and at the bombs that took the lives and dreams for so many other families. some of which have been completely wiped out. We stand in solidarity with ordinary people from all communities, on both sides of the fence, who lost their relatives.
“Men, women, adults and the elderly—everyone came”
Ahmed is a poet, journalist and activist, one of the initiators of the “return marches” in 2018. Tens of thousands then heroically set out towards the fence of the largest ‘open-air prison’ in the world, approximately 70% of its population are ’48 refugees and their descendants. Although the popular protest was met with sniper fire that killed around 200 unarmed demonstrators and left thousands disabled, the protests continued and refused to die down for many weeks.
In an interview with Ahmed that we conducted in 2018 about the return marches, he said that there was “unprecedented popular participation — men, women, adults and the elderly — everyone came,” and added “We hope and try to create a democratic civil movement for equal rights for all people, for all civilians, without discrimination. And we are trying to fight together with all our partners in the struggle and all the people who believe in freedom, of all nationalities—Palestinians, Israelis, and all over the world—and we are confident that we will still win this battle.” Now, during the war, in a video published on October 11, Ahmed sought to convey a message to the world— “Stand on the right side of history, support men and women fighting for their freedom.”
We have no words of comfort. Just a promise. We commit to continuing to fight to stop the brutal revenge war of Israeli capitalism, whose bombings cause a horrific disaster and threaten to ignite an even more catastrophic regional war.
Contrary to the lies of the establishment media, the ministers and the generals, this bloody war is not a “defensive war”, but a war for the reorganization of the siege, occupation and the national oppression of the Palestinian peopleIt also poses a serious threat to the safety of ordinary people in Israel and the region.
We pledge to continue working to stop the war, to overthrow the regime of occupation and siege and to end the national oppression of the Palestinian masses, as part of building a struggle, with our comrades here and around the world, for a life of equality, well-being and genuine peace for all working people, the poor and the youth, from all national communities within the framework of the necessary socialist change in the region.