July 9 — The Israeli apartheid state has called up as many as 40,000 reserve troops to prepare for an all-out invasion of the Gaza territory, where 1.5 million Palestinians live. Because of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the territory has been described as “the largest open-air prison in the world.”
Beginning July 7, Israeli planes and rockets killed 49 people and wounded another 450 in hundreds of strikes, according to Palestinian medical authorities on the morning of July 9. There is no sign that the Israeli regime intends to slow down this relentless assault on the civilian population of Gaza. On the contrary, elements in Israeli government circles are calling for a full re-occupation of Gaza.
As often happens when there is a showdown in occupied Palestine, the major imperialist powers support Israel. On July 9, this included German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French Ambassador to Israel Patrick Maisonnave, both of whom faulted the Palestinian organization Hamas for its retaliatory rocket strikes on Israeli territory from Gaza.
Washington, which shares strategic interests with the Israeli settler state — it acts as an armed outpost of world imperialism at the center of the Middle East — consistently supports Israel at critical moments, even when it tries to claim the role of “honest broker” between the Palestinians and the Israeli state.
Israeli intransigence has frustrated all efforts to reach a negotiated settlement with the Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank. Following the failure of these talks, the PA and Hamas, which governs Gaza, formed a national unity government that took office June 2. Since that agreement, the Israeli government has stepped up its provocation of the Palestinians.
These provocations include increasing illegal settlements inside the West Bank territories — signaling future annexation of these areas — and using ultra-reactionary settlers to assault Palestinians.
When three missing settler teenagers were found shot dead at the end of June, the Israeli government seized on this incident to arrest more than 400 Palestinians, raid thousands of homes and shoot five people dead. It brought back the punitive demolition of Palestinian homes, a practice mostly discontinued since 2005.
Tel Aviv loudly blamed Hamas for the teens’ deaths and then bombed Gaza 34 times. Hamas, elected to govern Gaza, denies any responsibility. Israel’s last attempt to unseat Hamas, a massive bombing in 2008-09, resulted in the deaths of 1,417 Palestinians and nine Israelis. (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
On July 2, a group of ultra-right Israelis tortured and murdered a young Palestinian, allegedly in retaliation for the three deaths — although there is still no evidence about who killed the three. Six of the Israeli fascists have been arrested for the murder of the Palestinian.
Meanwhile, the heavily armed and technologically developed Israeli army is bombing a virtually unarmed population in Gaza.
While imperialist governments are backing the Israeli state, popular organizations around the world are taking actions to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.
In New York, an ad hoc coalition of many progressive, anti-war and anti-imperialist organizations is demonstrating on July 9. After gathering at the Israeli Mission to the United Nations on Second Avenue and 42nd Street, the protesters are then marching to the News Corp Building at 48th Street and 6th Avenue. The building houses the New York Post, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, all reactionary media owned by Rupert Murdoch.
For background on the struggle over Gaza, read “Gaza, Symbol of Resistance,” edited by Joyce Chediac, gazaresistancebook.com.