Israel is committing war crimes on a massive scale in Gaza. Collective punishment, siege and blockade, denial of food, water, power and other essentials, use of white phosphorous weapons against civilians, uprooting and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of residents – all of these are undoubted war crimes, and the perpetrators should face international tribunals.
Meanwhile, in the occupied West Bank, Israeli troops and settlers continue their daily persecution, killing scores of Palestinians since 7 October and driving them out of several villages in preparation for further illegal settlements.
It is no excuse to point to atrocities committed by Hamas – these too are to be condemned. But we should not lose sight of the context. Israel’s behaviour in the past two weeks is a direct continuation of its criminal behaviour over the past 75 years, beginning with the Nakba of 1948 – the establishment of the Israeli state over the ruins of Palestine, the expulsion of the majority of its population, and the destruction of hundreds of towns and villages.
The suffering of the Palestinian people since then, whether as exiles and refugees denied return to their homes and land, as residents of the West Bank and Gaza living under Israeli occupation and military rule since 1967, or as very much third-class citizens in the Israeli state (where they now form 20% of the population) has provided the fertile ground in which nihilistic religious fanaticism has taken hold – strongly abetted, as documented in the Israeli press, by tacit support from successive Israeli governments.
The area between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea is now, in effect, one single apartheid state. For three-quarters of its short existence, this has been the reality of the Israeli state. And that is why the call “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” reflects a genuine aspiration for liberation from an intolerable reality and for freedom and equality, and not an antisemitic desire to eliminate all Jews from the region.
AntiCapitalist Resistance stands in unconditional solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for liberation. We fight for a future in which Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews will be able to live in genuine equality between the river and the sea.
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