…no amount of lies and hypocrisy on the part of the world’s biggest terrorists will erase the images burned into the memories of millions and millions globally of 22 days of wanton slaughter perpetuated on one of the world’s most battered peoples—the Palestinians of Gaza, who are confined into the world’s largest open-air prison/concentration camp, in an area the size of the city of Detroit, with no way in, and no way out.
Israeli claims they achieved many of their objectives with the 22-day massacre of Gaza. That alone—the fact that mass, in many cases indiscriminate, murder of civilians, women, and children, including the massacre of refugees at a United Nations camp, achieved Israel’s “objectives” speaks starkly to the totally unjust nature of the Israeli assault.
Israeli rhetoric about the nature of the assault on Gaza has been overt and bloodthirsty.
On January 10, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that “Israel is not going to show restraint anymore…it is not a missile against a missile.”
A senior Israeli military officer told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, “For us, being cautious means being aggressive.” He said, “From the minute we entered, we’ve acted like we’re at war. That creates enormous damage on the ground… I just hope those who have fled the area of Gaza City in which we are operating will describe the shock. Maybe someone there will sober up before it continues.” (Haaretz, 1/7/09)
The massacre in Gaza was a continuation of Israel’s 60-year campaign to ethnically cleanse Palestine, destroy Palestinian society, and break the spirit of the Palestinian people. More broadly, this deliberately vicious assault was aimed at politically and militarily weakening and sending a message to any forces in the region who stand in the way of unfettered dominance by the U.S. imperialists and their regional attack dog Israel.
Again, recent Israeli rhetoric has overtly proclaimed the aim of crushing the Palestinian people. The International Herald Tribune recently printed a quote from Moshe Yaalon in 2002, when he was chief of staff of the Israeli armed forces: “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.” (1/9/09).
And in February 2008, an Israeli minister, speaking of the situation in Gaza, warned that the Palestinians could bring on themselves what he called a “holocaust.” “The more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves,” Matan Vilnai, Israel’s deputy defense minister, told army radio. (Shoah is the Hebrew word normally reserved to refer to the Jewish Holocaust. It is rarely used in Israel outside discussions of the Nazi extermination of Jews during the second world war, and many Israelis are loath to countenance its use to describe other events.)
The massacre in Gaza is linked to strategic aims of the U.S. and Israel to target Iran, which is considered their biggest obstacle in the Middle East due to its size, its location, and its energy resources, and because it has emerged as a regional pole of opposition to some of the directions the U.S. wants to take things and to Israel’s unchallenged ability to dictate terms to the Palestinians and its neighbors. Such forces come into conflict with certain U.S. and Israeli goals, even though they don’t represent a liberating future or a fundamental break from imperialism. Nonetheless, it’s the U.S. and Israel who are overwhelmingly responsible for the widespread suffering and deep oppression in the Middle East, and are the greatest obstacles to liberation in the region—including because of the ways imperialism has fueled and activated Islamic fundamentalism.
The U.S. and Israel are quite willing to engage in horrific and unprovoked slaughter in order to achieve these objectives because dominating and reshaping the Middle East-Central Asia region and strengthening Israel are crucial to maintaining U.S. global power and supremacy.
Preparing for a Ceasefire by Intensifying the Slaughter
Israel’s actions during the days leading up to the ceasefire were a gory illustration of its reactionary, anti-Palestinian people objectives, despite all its hollow protestations to the contrary. On just one day—January 15—even as Israel was discussing a ceasefire, it bombed… continue reading