London protest against war on Gaza. Photo: Ian Pattison
London protest against war on Gaza. Photo: Ian Pattison

Josh Asker, Editor of the Socialist

18 children and four others were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Rafah on 20 April. Nine people were killed the night before in the city into which over a million Gazans have been driven, fleeing for their safety. The death toll now exceeds 34,000.

The spectre of a full-scale offensive on Rafah looms; threats have been repeatedly made by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The US House of Representatives has just approved $26 billion of aid to Israel, part of a bill that bans US funding for the UNRWA, the UN aid agency providing relief in Gaza.

And yet US President Joe Biden and other Western politicians, like British foreign secretary David Cameron, call for ‘restraint’. They fear the conflict spilling over into a regional war, not because of any concern for the peoples of the Middle East, but because of the threat to their profit interests.

Above all, they fear the threat of popular mass uprisings in the region. The ruling classes in the region and internationally are haunted by the spectre of the 2011-12 Arab Spring, which swept the region and deposed several dictatorial rulers.

The road to Palestinian national self-determination is through mass democratic struggle – a socialist intifada. With that, the development of mass workers’ organisations and parties, independent of capitalist interests – and links between them across the region, including in Israel, and internationally.

Britain has seen mass protests against Israeli state terror and in support of the Palestinians’ right to national self-determination. Socialist Party members have fought to increase the scale and organisation of the movement, including by fighting for the trade union movement, with its over 6 million members, to play a central role.

Part of that is by helping to organise protests – like those taking place on the workplace day of action on 1 May. So too, organising sections of the working class that are pivotal to Britain’s defence industry – those in weapons manufacturing and distribution that have huge potential power.

And politically, the trade unions could play a central role in taking steps towards building a new mass working-class party – taking on Sunak and Starmer who back war and cuts, and instead fighting on the side of the working class internationally – including defending the rights of Palestinians and others to national self-determination.

  • Read more: Working class can transform volatile Middle East

The Socialist Party is fighting for:

  • End the siege – for the permanent withdrawal of the Israeli military from the occupied territories
  • For a mass struggle of the Palestinians, under their own democratic control, to fight for liberation
  • For the building of independent workers’ parties in Palestine and Israel and links between them
  • For an independent, socialist Palestinian state, alongside a socialist Israel, with guaranteed rights for all minorities, as part of the struggle for a socialist Middle East
  • No trust in the capitalist politicians, internationally or in Britain. Fight to build a workers’ party in Britain that fights for socialism and internationalism