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Netanyahu and the U.S. Prepare Bloody Counterattack Against Gaza Strip

After the “Al-Aqsa Storm” operation by Hamas, Israel and its allies are preparing to make Palestinians pay tenfold for their resistance. In a press conference, the Israeli Prime Minister threatened to convert the Gaza Strip into rubble. We extend all our solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.

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(AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

In the early hours of Saturday, October 7, Hamas launched more than 2,000 missiles from the Gaza Strip toward occupied territories on the border, as part of the operation “Al-Aqsa Storm,” according to a Hamas leader. The attacks killed over 200 Israelis and included the capture of civilians, military personnel, and military equipment. Israel’s response was to declare a “state of war,” dropping bombs on the Palestinian territories, killing at least 200 Palestinians and wounding more than 1,600. Israel’s response is likely to escalate to a much more deadly attack considering its huge military advantages and state-of-the-art weaponry thanks to the support of the United States and other powers.

Early in the morning, anti-missile alarms began to sound in various Israeli cities. Images of Palestinians seizing an Israeli army tank and a drone firing at a tank went viral on social networks, and were celebrated by the Palestinian people. Hamas forces took control of the Erez military checkpoint at one of the entries to Gaza and other areas near the border. Taking advantage of this situation, Palestinians used bulldozers to tear down a sector of the wired fence that restricts the movement of millions of Palestinians who have been living under a fierce siege for decades. 

The military action launched by Hamas takes place within the context of continuous attacks by the Zionist army, which include daily murders, tortures and harassment of the millions of Palestinians, including children, whose territories are occupied by Israeli forces. This year has been the bloodiest year for Palestinians since the second intifada in 2000: before today’s airstrikes, 204 Palestinians have been killed, including 37 children, during Israeli military incursions in refugee camps in various cities of the West Bank, by attacks perpetrated by settlers (Israelis illegally occupying Palestinian land under the protection of the army) occupying Palestinian villages, as well as in Israeli attacks and bombardments on the Gaza Strip.

Since the Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic) in 1948, Israel has been occupying more and more territories, as part of the zionist offensive. Today, millions of descendants of the initial occupations live in overcrowded refugee camps with no right of return. Beyond the forced occupation itself, these refugees in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip also face constant attacks from the military, the police, as well as ultra-nationalist settlers.

Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in the midst of a domestic crisis, in his first public speech, assured: “Citizens of Israel, we are at war. And we will win it.”  In a video posted on his social networks, he added: “This is not an operation or an escalation, but a war.”  The Israeli government sees this as  an opportunity to rebuild its reactionary “national unity” around the figure of Netanyahu. They are preparing a new massacre as a ‘collective punishment’ for the Palestinian people both in Gaza, the West Bank and other occupied territories.

Yair Lapid, who leads Israel’s opposition, recently met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and said he is willing to “put all our arguments aside” and “establish, together with him, a small, professional emergency government” of national unity. Lapid said such a government would “manage the tough, complex, and extended battle that stands before us.” 

This maneuver serves not only to establish national unity but also to restore “international credibility,” as it garners unwavering support from numerous imperialist powers for both his administration and Israel.

Israeli Government Endorses and Orders Attacks against Palestinians

Netanyahu endorses the attacks against the Palestinian and Arab population in general in order to cater to the ultra-right sectors that support him. Just ten days ago, on the 23rd anniversary of the Palestinian intifada, Israel used drones, helicopters, and tanks to attack various Palestinian guard posts and other facilities in the Gaza Strip on the border. Israel launched this offensive because of an apparent Molotov cocktail that was thrown onto an Israeli post during a demonstration. But the real aim of the Israeli army’s disproportionate response is to sow fear in the Palestinian population.

The attacks and abuses of the Israeli army and the ultra-right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu are not limited to missile bombardment or beatings and violent arrests of Palestinians, but include a wider range of oppressive acts. These include closing access gates to neighborhoods, mistreating the elderly and children, destroying farmland, and more.

On September 28, dozens of settlers vandalized Palestinian graves in the cemetery next to the Al-Aqsa mosque, which is of monumental religious importance to Muslim worshippers, as well as a symbol of resistance for Palestinians. Two days earlier, the Israeli government had ordered the dismantling of the pipes supplying water to the village of Khirbet Emneizal. 

Two months ago, a group of more than 700 Israeli and Palestinian intellectuals and academics signed a joint declaration denouncing the Netanyahu government’s policies, especially its judicial reform. In the text they point to Israel as an apartheid regime that subjugates the Palestinian population. They add that “the ultimate purpose of the judicial overhaul is to tighten restrictions on Gaza, deprive Palestinians of equal rights both beyond the Green Line and within it, annex more land, and ethnically cleanse all territories under Israeli rule of their Palestinian population.”

The United States and the European Powers Support the Offensive against the Palestinian Population

At the first news of the operation launched by Hamas from Gaza and the declaration of the state of war by Netanyahu, the European powers have come out to offer their unconditional support to the State of Israel. “I unequivocally condemn the attack perpetrated by Hamas terrorists against Israel. It is terrorism in its most despicable form. Israel has the right to defend itself against such heinous attacks,” said European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen. The German, French and Spanish governments have also spoken out in support of Israel.

The representatives of the European powers refer to the “terrorist” military actions of Hamas as a way to cover up the historical bloodshed by the Israeli colonialist occupation of the Palestinian territories. In July 2023, Israel carried out the most deadly attacks and bombings in 20 years in the Jenin refugee camp located in the northern West Bank, which added to the permanent incursions of the Israeli Army and the pogroms (including assassinations) by settlers against Palestinians. At that time, the conservative and ultra-right Netanyahu government announced the construction of new settlements, and his coalition openly entertained the notion of a complete annexation of the West Bank. All of this unfolded within the context of a 75-year-long occupation, which has garnered support from both U.S. and European imperialism, as well as regional governments, including the Saudi Arabian monarchy.

The United States has expressed its “unwavering commitment” to Israel’s “right to defend itself” and has pledged to assure Israel of the means to do so. “Our commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself remains unwavering,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.

Former U.S. President and presidential candidate Donald Trump said that “sadly, American taxpayer dollars helped fund these attacks, which many reports are saying came from the Biden Administration.” He also highlighted that Israel “has every right to defend itself with overwhelming force.” In the same vein, Governor De Santis, tweeted that “Israel not only has the right to defend itself against these attacks, it has a duty to respond with overwhelming force. I stand with Israel. America must stand with Israel.”

The bipartisan imperialist regime, despite its rhetoric of “freedom” and “democratic values,” actively maintains political and military pacts with the Saudi monarchy and with the State of Israel. These alliances mean an endorsement of the occupation, murder, torture and systematic repression against the Palestinian people. Its claims of “democratic values” reveal a high level of cynicism.

For a Workers’ and Socialist Palestine in Which Arab and Jewish People Live Together in Peace

The historic crimes of the State of Israel against the Palestinian people were denounced by several historians, activists and Jewish intellectuals including Ilhan Pappé. Under the Netanyahu government and the extreme religious right, these crimes have escalated, impacting not only the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank but also against the Arab population living within the State of Israel, who are treated as second-class citizens. 

For over seven decades, the Palestinian resistance has confronted this colonial oppression repeatedly. We are on the side of the resistance of the Palestinian people, without suggesting that we share the strategy and methods of Hamas, whose goal is to establish a theocratic state. We defend the right to national self-determination of the Palestinian people and we stand for a workers’ and socialist Palestine in which the Arab and Jewish people live together in peace.

In places such as Yemen and Turkey, protests are already igniting in support of  the Palestinian struggle. We must amplify and extend this solidarity across the world in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

A previous version of this article included the claim that Joe Biden had approved $8 billion in aid to be sent to Israel effective immediately. This claim has proven to be false misinformation and has been removed from the article.

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Maryam Alaniz

Maryam Alaniz is a socialist journalist, activist, and PhD student living in NYC. She is an editor for the international section of Left Voice. Follow her on Twitter: @MaryamAlaniz

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Luigi Morris

Luigi Morris is a member of Left Voice, freelance photographer and socialist journalist.

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