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Posted on 5 January 2009 at 0:00 GMT

IDF out of Gaza

Mass struggle needed to defeat Israeli army attack

More than 1.5 million people live in the 'open air prison camp' that is Gaza. For the last 16 months the blockade of the Israeli regime has intensified the nightmare - a majority of the population are unemployed and suffering from malnutrition. Now the horror has reached its nadir with the Israeli invasion of Gaza - resulting in the deaths of many hundreds of Palestinians, including children.

As a UN human rights monitor put it: "Israel is committing a shocking series of atrocities by using modern weaponry against a defenceless population - attacking a population that has been enduring a severe blockade for many months."

Reactionary role of imperialism

The population of Gaza are enduring a living hell, and the terrible prospect of a wider Middle East war is posed, and yet the Western imperialist powers have refused to force the Israeli government to halt the carnage. They have, of course, used similar brutality in their occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. The White House has even blamed Hamas for the attacks and condemned the Hamas rocket fire into Israeli cities but, as with the Lebanon two years ago, is silent on the Israeli bombardment.

At best, the western imperialist powers describe the slaughter by the Israeli army as 'excessive' and 'disproportionate'. 'Disproportionate' is a sickening understatement. Since the start of the bombing the number of Palestinian deaths outnumber Israeli deaths 100:1.

The Israeli ruling class do not care about the working-class inhabitants of the towns bordering Gaza, but uses their plight to justify this vicious bombing campaign, which in reality is taking place for very different reasons. Facing elections in a few weeks, the government feels humiliated by the war on Lebanon in 2006, and is beset by failure and scandal. Now they are trying to save themselves from defeat in next month's elections, by means of a wholesale slaughter of Palestinians. The Israeli government deliberately broke the ceasefire, with the killing of 6 Hamas militants in November, in order to provoke this war. The war also temporarily diverts attention away from the impact of the worldwide economic crisis as none of the main parties, which all support capitalism, have a solution that can guarantee jobs and living standards.

The Israeli invasion opens up a new bloody chapter in the Middle East. There have been huge outpourings of anger across the region. Already 50,000 people have demonstrated in Egypt . The prospect of a new regional war draws closer. The invasion will solve nothing for the Israeli ruling class, whose army will suffer casualties and having gone in, will not easily get out again. When it went into Lebanon in 1982, it was there for 18 years.

Arab league leaders

Mahmoud Abas, Mubarak and the Arab league leaders condemn the massacre. But they were complicit in Israel's starving of the Gaza's inhabitants by Israel's 16-month siege. These regimes willingly carry out the dictates of imperialism. Mubarak's regime in Egypt collaborated in the imprisonment of the Palestinians by preventing free movement of goods and people on Egypt's border with Gaza. Mubarak even met Israel's foreign minister Livni on the day before Israel's attack.

Mass resistance vital

Socialists fully defend the Palestinians' right to armed resistance against the brutal occupation. Many Palestinians see the Hamas' rocket attacks on Israeli towns as the best method of resistance available. However, these attacks cannot defeat the Israeli state. On the contrary, they will make it easier for the Israeli government to win the support of the Israeli population for the war.

Every important gain made in the history of Palestinian struggle has been the result of active mobilisation of the mass of Palestinian people. Socialists call for an immediate escalation in the demonstrations against the war, in the Middle East and internationally. We call for mass action to destroy the borders that imprison Gaza - This includes demonstrations organised by the new Egyptian unions to force the Egyptian government to open the borders with Gaza. Israeli workers and Palestinians in the West Bank could also jointly mobilise in opposition to the invasion. We also call for Israelis to demonstrate on the Israeli side of border crossings against these latest attacks.

Israeli working class

The Israeli working class could potentially develop into a powerful and decisive force against the Israeli ruling class, which must be defeated to solve both Israeli workers' own aspirations and those of the Palestinians.

Already there are signs of discontent in Israel. In recent polls only 19% supported a ground invasion. On Saturday 10,000, mostly Israeli Arabs, marched against the attacks in Sakhnin and several thousand, both Jews and Arabs, demonstrated in Tel Aviv.

In Israel there is a rapidly widening class divide, with the rich getting richer and a third of children now living in poverty. There is tremendous anger towards the government, on economic issues and over deteriorating security. Israeli Jews will never be free of the constant cycles of violence as long as they are led by capitalist politicians who regularly have an interest in resorting to national conflict.

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The Socialist Party is part of the CWI, and international organization which struggles against the horrors of capitalism and for a socialist alternative. We organize activists in the Middle East and internationally. The struggle against the slaughter in the Middle East and capitalist oppression is ultimately one struggle. Join us!
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