Damage in Gaza, October 2023. Photo: WAFA/CC
Damage in Gaza, October 2023. Photo: WAFA/CC

Thomas Asher

A quarter of the Gaza population are on the brink of famine, according to the United Nations (UN).

In January, a whole swathe of rich capitalist  nations suspended funding for UNRWA – the UN body responsible for distributing aid to Palestinian Refugees. The consequence: a deepening humanitarian catastrophe. Since, a trickle of countries have resumed funding. Britain, and the US continue to withhold it.

Meanwhile, increasingly desperate Gazans are being slaughtered waiting for aid in short supply. On Thursday 13 March, another 21 were killed by Israeli forces who opened fire on a queue of thousands. Earlier the same day, another six were shot queueing for food. In February, 118 were killed by Israeli forces waiting for flour.

UK foreign secretary David Cameron trumpets an extra £10 million of humanitarian aid destined for the ‘Palestinian occupied territories’. Compare that to the £1 million-plus spent every time a Royal Navy destroyer stationed in the Red Sea fires a missile at Yemen.

US President Joe Biden says out of one side of his mouth that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should “pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost”. Out of the other side he says “there is no red line” that the Israeli state could cross that would mean cutting off US military aid to Israel.

The US has delivered 100 ‘foreign military sales’ to Israel since the war began: ammunition, bunker busters, arms – with the sinister description ‘lethal aid’. The British government continues to grant arms export licences to Israel too.

Biden, as well as Sunak and others, have not so much as lifted their little fingers to stop the Israeli state’s slaughter and starvation.

The thing they fear, above all, is the prospect of the war stirring up a new rising of the masses in the Middle East, like what happened during the Arab Spring in 2011. New mass movements, with the development of independent organisations of the working class adopting a socialist political programme, would put socialist change and an end to conflict on the agenda.

In Britain, fighting to develop and strengthen our own working-class organisations is the most important task, including mass working-class political representation.