Israel’s genocide sows seeds of economic instability

As the genocide perpetuated by the U.S.-backed, apartheid Israeli regime continues — claiming over 30,000 Palestinian lives, mostly women and children, and almost 70,000 more wounded according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza Feb. 25 — a toll of a different kind is rightfully being felt within Israeli society since Operation Al Aqsa Flood, initiated by Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, began on October 7.

Thousands demand resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Feb. 24, 2024.

Not only has Israel lost hundreds of soldiers with thousands more wounded thanks to the united Palestinian armed resistance, growing protests are happening within Israel, especially in the capital Tel Aviv, demanding the resignation of war criminal Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Protesters are demanding that Israel negotiate another exchange between the hundred or more hostages being held by Hamas for thousands of Palestinians imprisoned for months and years under tortuous conditions, often with no charges. The response by the Israeli state on Feb. 24 was to attack those protesters with water cannons and massive arrests.

Underneath the mounting instability in Israeli society is the decline of its economy. According to Israeli sources like Haaretz, the overall decline has so far reached over 19%. Bourgeois pundits have attempted to obscure this fact, but it has become more and more difficult to cover up this reality. Israel’s Finance Ministry says that its “war on Hamas” is projected to cost approximately $13.8 billion in the first quarter of 2024 alone.

British ship, Rubymar, damaged by Yemeni Armed Forces in the Red Sea. All of the 24-member crew were rescued by Yemenis, Feb. 19, 2024.  Credit: BBC

For decades, tourism has been a main pillar of Israel’s economy, with occupied Jerusalem the main attraction. Since October 7, thousands of domestic and foreign tourists have canceled their excursions to Israel, and airlines have suspended flights to Tel Aviv. With the lack of tourists, restaurants and shops have shut their doors.

According to Al Jazeera, before October 7, over 300,000 people visited Israel each month. After October 7, that number was radically reduced to 39,000. (Jan. 27) According to data from the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority, nearly half a million Israelis left the country after October 7. (MiddleEastMonitor.com, Dec. 7, 2023)

The construction industry has also taken a huge financial hit since Operation Al Aqsa Flood. Construction across Israel, including illegal settlements, has halted due to indefinite frozen worker permits for low-wage Palestinians who make up 65% to 70% of the workforce in this strategic sector. Israel says it plans to bring in around 70,000 workers from Asia to replace these workers, since Israeli reservists, who could have filled the jobs, have been called to active military duty in Gaza.

Another factor in the growing decline of Israel’s economy is coming from the majority of the world population comprising the Global South which has politically and economically disavowed and isolated Israel with cancellation of arms deals, boycotts and divestments of Israeli products, defunding of cultural programs, cutting off diplomatic relations and resolutions demanding an end to the genocide.

Major blow to Israeli shipping

A major contributor to Israel’s economic woes is Yemen’s role in patrolling the significant sea lanes that the Zionist state depends on for sending and receiving vital shipments of goods and products, including military equipment and supplies.

Yemen’s Ansarullah movement declared that until life-saving humanitarian aid is allowed into Gaza along with an end to the Israeli bombardment, any cargo going in and out of Israel would be halted “by any means necessary” and diverted to a much longer route, causing major delays that result in billions of dollars in losses.

Shipping costs from Asia have skyrocketed up to 300% for United Kingdom companies due to the blockade of the Red Sea, resulting in three- to four-week delivery delays, according to the British Chambers of Commerce.  Some countries have suspended shipping any supplies to Israel.

In a Feb. 22 speech, Ansarullah Commander Sayyed Abdulmalik Badr El-Din Al-Houthi stated, regarding Yemen’s solidarity with Gaza: “Support operations for Gaza in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait are ongoing, and we have escalated them. Escalation in sea operations has increased both in quantity and quality, with the activation of missiles, drones and military boats. Submarines have been introduced into our naval operations, which is worrying for the enemy.

“The number of targeted ships in the sea reached 48, despite the enemy reducing its movement and camouflaging and withholding information about them. All means used by them to withhold information about the ships have been used and failed; we still manage to obtain accurate information. The available missiles have been developed to a level that the American cannot intercept or shoot [them] down with all its technologies.

“There are significant real victories in the confrontation in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. There are real victories over American technologies, capabilities and expertise. There are victories at the level of tactics, weapons and means, and American experts were amazed by our Armed Forces’ tactics.

“The maritime situation halted 40% of the enemy’s commercial maritime movement, affecting its economy, shrinking its exports and imports. The American has a military problem and admits that it has not faced such a problem since World War II, indicating the effectiveness of the Yemeni front.” (Resistance News Network)

Why no U.S. sanctions on Israel?

The Joe Biden administration announced on Feb. 23 that 500 new sanctions will be imposed on Russian industries and individuals in retaliation for the recent death of the neofascist Alexei Navalny in prison. This means that countries will be prohibited from doing business with certain industries and individuals in Russia, especially those connected to military and energy production. Sanctions are economic weapons of war and an attack on a country’s sovereignty.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo claims that the sanctions are targeting Russia’s “human rights abuses,” not only with Navalny but also the two-year proxy war in Ukraine that Russia was forced into by the U.S./North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance.

But these sanctions reflect the height of blatant hypocrisy of U.S. imperialism when blaming any country or individual for human rights violations when the U.S. has consistently been complicit in arming and defending the fascistic Israeli occupiers in their genocide of the Palestinian people. The Vladimir Putin administration in Russia has also been very vocal in denouncing the genocide in Gaza, including the U.S. role.

Why are there no U.S. sanctions on Israel, which the majority of the world is crying out for? Why was the U.S. the only country to veto the most recent United Nations Security Council resolution, initiated by Algeria, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

People in positions of influence and power who call for a ceasefire or express any kind of solidarity with Palestine are often falsely labeled as “antisemitic,” threatened with doxxing, fired from their jobs or censured like Palestinian Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan). Yet extreme right-wing Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles from Tennessee can get away with calling for the killing of all Palestinian children without even a slap on the wrist.

This reflects once again that the U.S. is the biggest human rights violator in the world. The truth is that Israel as a racist, settler-colonial occupier could not exist for one day as a creature of imperialism if the U.S. ever decided to cut off all military and financial aid.

For its very existence, Israel has relied upon the financial and military support of U.S. and Western imperialism since its founding in 1948 following the Nakba, the catastrophic, ethnic cleansing and displacement of 750,000 Palestinians from their ancestral lands. Israel has served as a military outpost, safeguarding the geo-political interests of U.S. and Western imperialism, most notably the oil-rich reserves, tapped and untapped.

According to the Council of Foreign Relations, since its founding Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. financial aid, overwhelmingly military aid, to the tune of $300 billion, adjusted for inflation. (Jan. 23)

The horrific war crimes being suffered by the Palestinian people also signal the inevitable collapse of the Israeli economy and its society. The question isn’t if but when Israel, followed by U.S. imperialism, will once and for all be swept into the dustbin of history. This will not only be a historical victory for the Palestinian people but for workers and oppressed on a global scale.

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!

Monica Moorehead

Monica.Moorehead@workers.org

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Monica Moorehead

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