A hail of death has roared down on Gaza for weeks. Working class people in Britain and worldwide are shocked and angered at images of Palestinian dead and injured. Children account for a quarter of all casualties. Over 460,000 people out of Gaza’s population of 1.8 million have been displaced by the Israeli Defence Force’s (IDF) murderous attacks.
Is it at all plausible that this onslaught is solely in response to Hamas rocket attacks?
Israel has defied UN decisions and ignored all international agreements and appeals for decades. Compare the reaction of the Western powers to the situation in the Ukraine/Crimea to the empty condolences mouthed by the Obama & Cameron governments. Even as the White House timidly called the Israeli attacks on UN schools “disgraceful”, it was voting for $225 million new funds for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system and to restock Israel’s arsenal. The US arms and finances Israel to the tune of $3 billion a year, creating the fourth strongest army in the world. Under growing public pressure, cracks have begun to appear in the Con-Dem government, with former Foreign Office minister Warsi saying government policy on Gaza was “morally indefensible”.
HEAR TOM BALDWIN, South West Socialist Party
on the socialist view on Palestine/Israel & the Middle East
• Condemn western governments’ hypocrisy
• Mass struggle to end Israeli state terror
• Struggle for democratic socialism in Palestine, Israel & across the Middle East
Since its inception the state of Israel has served western interests in the Middle East and the fact that the west has also backed oppressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia does not contradict this view. Similarly, the interests and aims of Israel and its Western imperialist backers do not always chime. The Western powers would like to see a long-term agreement between Palestinian and Israeli leaders that results in what John Kerry called: “two states for two peoples”. But under the watch of imperialism, this would not mean Palestinian liberation but some form of rump Palestinian statelet with a pliant ruling elite. This is the preferred pattern of control by the West, however, the political strategists of the US and Britain have often failed spectacularly. The battle waged by Bush and Blair against the “axis of evil” created countless problems and the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians and combatants. Iraq, Syria, Libya are being torn asunder. Libya, where the workers’ movement is weak, the government is effectively being held to ransom by rebel groups. Iraq is in the process of disintegrating along sectarian, national and ethnic lines, with catastrophic consequences. The Frankenstein’s Monster, which began life in Iraq during the western occupation, has surged back, exploiting the hatred of Sunnis for the sectarian, corrupt and oppressive Maliki regime in Baghdad. In Syria we also see unspeakable human tragedy.
While the Western powers wish for more stability in the region in order to safeguard their interests, they, like the corrupt and despotic ruling elites in the Arab states, fear the establishment of an independent Palestine and dread that radical developments there could provoke the beginning of the end of their rule. Despite all the rhetoric about democracy in the region or Palestinian rights, neither the West nor their allies in the region want to see the masses exercising any element of control.
War is the most barbaric of all human activity, invested as it is in the modern era with fiendish weapons of mass destruction. It also lays bare the reality of class relations, nationally and internationally, which are normally obfuscated, hidden by layers of hypocrisy and the moral turpitude of the ruling classes. The humanitarian crisis of the Middle East flows from the influence of western imperialism.
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