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Massacre in Gaza

The Israeli state occupies Palestine. That's the most important point to start with when you evaluate the latest slaughter in Gaza. The Israeli army's murder of 82 Palestinians in the week after Sept. 28; Ariel Sharon's unleashing of artillery and rockets on civilian areas; the U.S. veto at the United Nations backing Sharon's massacres; the position of the Kerry-Edwards campaign--all must be looked at in the light of the ongoing occupation.

An extraordinary number of Pales tin ians have been killed since Sept. 28. But the battle did not start on that date. The struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination against the Israeli state has been going on, with varying level of intensity, since that state was established in 1948.

Because the Israeli state occupies the territory, because the Israeli state acts as an outpost of imperialism in the Middle East, this is not simply a battle between two peoples who differ in language and religion. The Israeli state is a settler state and an oppressor. The Palestinians are fighting for their liberation. They are an oppressed people.

That is why the Palestinian people have the solidarity of the great majority of the people of the world. The world looks at the U.S.-armed Israeli settler state not much differently than it did at the apartheid settler state in South Africa, and with good reason. That is why most people in the world support a Palestinian state, at least as a first step toward self-determination.

The latest Israeli invasion of the northern end of occupied Gaza shows once again that the Sharon government is unwilling to allow even the smallest steps toward a Palestinian state. It has directed its fire at any organization of the Palestinians.

Right now Israel claims to be firing at the Hamas organization, calling its members "terrorists," just as the Bush government calls anyone in the Iraqi resistance "terrorists." Israel's attacks kill many civilians, along with some Hamas fighters. In the not-too-distant past the Israelis fired on the Palestine Liberation Organization and even on the Palestinian Authority.

Washington has made it clear that it supports this Israeli offensive. The Bush administration, in an attack on Yasser Arafat, says the Israelis have no negotiating "partner." With equal belligerence, John Kerry and John Edwards say the Israelis have the right to fight against "terrorists," meaning Palestinians.

But against all the hostility from Washington, and even with the leaders of their organizations jailed or murdered, the Palestinians have been carrying on a liberation struggle against Israeli rule for decades. Despite their relatively small number, they have been a central factor in the struggle for the liberation of the people of the Middle East. They continue to inspire others to struggle.

Washington treats Israel as a strategic ally. When the U.S. wants to intimidate Iran, Israel threatens to bomb its nuclear facilities. Yet Israel has developed its own nuclear bombs without penalty or even criticism from Washington. That is why the U.S. representative in the United Nations Security Council vetoed a resolution, supported by every other country on the council, that condemned the latest Israeli raid in Gaza. And because that raid was so much like the U.S. invasion of Samarra, in Iraq.

Neither will be effective in stopping the resistance to occupation, in Iraq or in Palestine.

Reprinted from the Oct. 14, 2004, issue of Workers World newspaper

This article is copyright under a Creative Commons License.
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