Air strikes and warships pounded Gaza yesterday, murdering Ahmad al-Jaabri, military chief of the elected Hamas authority and at least eight other Palestinians.
Those killed include Omar al-Mashharawi (11 months), Renan Yousif Arafat (3), Mohammed Kusaih (18), Esam Abu Me'za (19) and Heba al-Mashharawi (19).
The Western media repeats Israeli propaganda terms uncritically. It is ridiculous to talk of “surgical strikes” in one of the most densely populated areas on earth.
The US pledged to “stand by our Israeli partners”, further exposing president Barack Obama’s hollow rhetoric towards the Palestinians in his 2009 Cairo speech.
Israel’s claim that it is “defending” itself from Hamas rockets is a brazen lie. It was Israel that broke the June 2008 truce with Hamas brokered by Egypt.
As Israel admits, Hamas did not fire a single rocket after June. Yet on 4 November 2008 Israel invaded Gaza murdering a number of Hamas members. A month later it launched “Operation Cast Lead”, murdering 1,400 Palestinians. Overwhelmingly, Israel has been the aggressor.
This is hardly a surprise. There is no equivalence between the state of Israel, armed to the teeth by the US, and Gaza’s embattled population. Gaza is effectively an open-air prison over which Israel exerts almost total control.
The Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals, describes how “constant surveillance from the sky, collective punishment through blockade and isolation, the intrusion into homes and communications, and restrictions on those trying to travel, or marry, or work make it difficult to live a dignified life in Gaza.”
In WikiLeaks revelations, Israeli diplomats explain that their policy is to “keep Gaza’s economy on the brink of collapse”. Israel uses its high-tech “Iron Dome” interceptor system to track and block homemade Palestinian rockets. Israeli citizens can move around the country to escape danger. Palestinians have no such option.
Palestinians in Gaza fear another Operation Cast Lead. There needs to be a global wave of solidarity with them. But there is a difference between 2008 and today–the Arab uprisings.
In Egypt, which controls Gaza’s Rafah border, the cravenly pro-Israel dictator Hosni Mubarak is gone. In his place is Mohamed Morsi, who will be under enormous pressure to stand up to Israel.
The revolution in Syria has created a power vacuum on Israel’s northern border with uncertain consequences. Strikes by workers are growing in Lebanon. Jordan Labour Watch reports an unprecedented level of “worker actions” in the country.
The West Bank has seen an increase in strikes and protests. This upsurge from below threatens the all rotten regimes in the Middle East that allow Israel to act with repeated impunity.