All eyes on Rafah as Gaza genocide set to escalate 

By James McCabe

There is truth to the saying that you should “Judge people by their actions, not by their words”. Joe Biden has expressed belated concern for “exposed and vulnerable” Palestinian civilians, but his suspension of funding for UN aid agencies in Gaza says much more about his imperialist view of Palestine than his cheap words of sympathy. 

For many Israeli politicians, there is no such contradiction between their words and their actions. The copious genocidal statements of the Israeli political and military establishment have aligned quite directly with their genocidal actions.

So, when Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said “Gaza won’t return to what it was before” and “We will eliminate everything”; he meant it. When the Israeli Minister for Heritage Amichai Eliyahu said that in his opinion, “there is no such thing as uninvolved civilians in Gaza.”; he meant it. When Avi Dichter, a minister from Netanyahu’s Likud Party, said “We’re rolling out Nakba 2023”; all the evidence shows that he meant it.

The majority of Gaza’s population are descendants of the original Nakba (Catastrophe) – the 1948 forced displacement of 750,000 Palestinians. Over the past five months, we’ve seen the destruction of 70% of homes in Gaza and the internal displacement of 85% of its people. Israeli bombs and bullets have killed over 30,000, while thousands more are buried under rubble. Four-fifths of the world’s hungriest people are now located in the Gaza Strip and ActionAid has reported that significant numbers of children in Gaza right now are dying of severe malnutrition.

Hands off Rafah

More than a million Palestinians have crowded into the small city of Rafah (near the Egyptian border), vastly swelling its previous population of 280,000. Rafah has faced regular attacks by Israeli airstrikes over the past months as it became the most densely populated refugee camp on Earth. And still, the US has vetoed another resolution for an immediate Israeli ceasefire at the UN Security Council. Netanyahu stated his intention to “finish the job” as he announced the plan for a ground assault on Rafah, despicably starting on the first day of Ramadan (10 March).

On the ground in Gaza, we’ve witnessed the obscene phenomenon of IDF soldiers posting TikTok videos of themselves as they carry out war crimes with smiles on their faces. The grim concept of the “war crime influencer” has sadly come into being. At the Kerem Shalom border crossing, hundreds of far-right Israeli activists have been blocking aid trucks from entering Gaza. Eleven Israeli cabinet ministers even attended a conference recently that was devoted to the far-right fantasy of the Israeli resettlement of Gaza.

Western media’s pro-Israeli state bias

The incredibly biased, pro-Israel narrative of the Western media means that we’re fed a very sanitised, skewed version of what’s going on. Orwellian terms such as “evacuations” or “voluntary migration” are being used by the mainstream media as a veneer for the reality of forced displacement and ethnic cleansing. They’re essentially telling us that Israeli officials might sound genocidal, but we shouldn’t believe our eyes and we shouldn’t believe our ears.

But despite their efforts to throw dust in our eyes, millions of ordinary people across the world have taken to the streets, or taken workplace action to demand a ceasefire and an end to the occupation of Palestine. The movement against the Israeli state would be immeasurably strengthened by viewing the occupation through an anti-capitalist framework. One that sees how the US and European ruling classes nurtured the Israeli state as their “strategic asset” in the Middle East. A state that guarantees Western imperialist domination of the natural resources and cheap labour of the region.

While imperialism tries to distance itself from the supremacist, racist, apartheid ideology of the Israeli regime, it has no qualms about fostering it politically and financially. The genocide in Gaza is a particularly heinous example of the barbarism of imperialism and the Western ruling classes but it must be added that capitalism as a system can’t exist without coercion, exploitation, colonialism and racial oppression. But the violent thugs  who orchestrate this genocide should note the words of civil rights activist Assata Shakur: “Where there is oppression, there will be resistance.”

Mass struggle against Israeli state terror

In general, the international movement for Palestine tends to underestimate the power that Palestinians can wield if they organise collectively in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Palestinian masses on both sides of the Green Line represent a powerful force. The mobilisation of this force can deliver serious blows to the Israeli occupation and its imperialist backers. 

A revolutionary mass struggle by Palestinians could be supported by the power of the working classes in the region, in countries like Egypt, Iran and Turkey. It would also necessitate reaching out to the Israeli working class, whose capitalist leaders have only delivered a society based on perpetual insecurity and war. Although it may seem like a distant prospect now, the conditions do exist for a united movement to throw this capitalist system that breeds Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and violence into the dustbin of history where it belongs.

The immense wealth and resources of the region should be seized and brought into public ownership under the democratic control of the masses. The right of return for all Palestinian refugees is a central aspect of the struggle for socialist revolution in the region. A democratic socialist Middle East and Western Asia would put an end to capitalist rule and would at last allow for real self-determination for all nationalities; whether Palestinians, Israelis, Kurds, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, and the rights of all religious and ethnic minorities would be guaranteed. Anyone who wants to see an end to the horror we’re witnessing, must stand with Palestinians and the struggle for socialist change. 

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