The Guardian • Issue #2095

Israel, Palestine, and the world

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2095
Many of the placards at the London Palestine Solidarity demonstration on 7 April were very inspirational. ‘Free Palestine’ was drawn by activist and artist Lynda May Ayres.

Many of the placards at the London Palestine Solidarity demonstration on 7 April were very inspirational. ‘Free Palestine’ was drawn by activist and artist Lynda May Ayres. Photo: Alisdare Hickson – flickr.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The US is putting pressure on Israel to open up more corridors to allow aid in. At the same time, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has rejected accusations that Israel is perpetrating genocide in Gaza during a Congressional hearing.

Last year, Germany approved arms exports to Israel worth 326.5 million euros (AU$533) million), including military equipment and war weapons, a 10-fold increase compared with 2022.

The UK supplies about 15 per cent of the components used in the F-35s employed in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, according to the NGO Campaign Against Arms Trade.

Canada, which provides Israel with about $4 billion a year in military aid initially restricted its weapons shipments to non-lethal equipment such as radios and has paused them since January.

Italy exported $2.3 million worth of arms and munitions to Israel in the last three months of 2023. In December alone, it exported arms worth $1.41 million, three times more than in the same month in 2022.

Japan’s Itochu Corporation announced on 5 February that it would end its partnership with Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems by the end of February.

Spain has suspended all arms export licences to Israel, and has announced it will recognise Palestine.

The local government of Belgium’s Walloon region has suspended licences for the export of munitions, specifically gunpowder, to Israel following the International Court of Justice ruling.

In the Netherlands, a court gave the government one week to block all exports of parts for the F-35 fighter jet, which Israel is using to bomb the Gaza Strip.

Nicaragua has brought Germany before the ICJ for violating the Genocide Convention through its continued military and political support of Israel.

Turkey has placed an export embargo on Israel.

Another 139 countries already recognise Palestine.

Across the Middle East there is strong and growing opposition to Israel. Governments such as those of Saudi Arabia that were moving closer to Israel have pulled back. The US is growing increasingly concerned that Israel, its military arm in the Middle East, is becoming more and more isolated.

Millions of people continue to protest across the globe. In Australia weekly protests have been maintained for an incredible six months with thousands of people still participating.

WITHIN ISRAEL

Within Israel pressure is continuing to mount on Netanyahu to gain the release of the hostages and for him to step down. Hundreds of thousands of people have been taking part in protests in major centres. There is also opposition to the genocide from a minority of Israelis.

Netanyahu, who relies on a coalition to retain his prime ministership, is also under pressure from within the government. If he loses his job he faces corruption charges that could see him jailed. One of the issues causing grief is the exemption of ultra-orthodox men from military call-up.

Far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said that “if Netanyahu decides to end the war without an expansive assault in Rafah, he won’t have the mandate to serve as prime minister.”

TENSIONS RISE

The Houthi militia have staged months of attacks in the Red Sea region in support of Palestinians.

The attacks have disrupted global shipping, forcing firms to reroute to longer and more expensive journeys around South Africa. In response, the US and the UK have launched strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen.

On 1 April, Israel carried out an airstrike on the consular annex of the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, violating Syria’s sovereignty and international law protecting diplomatic institutions. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said seven of its members had been killed in the attack, including two commanders. The Syrian Health Ministry said the attack had also killed four Syrians and injured 13 more.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said it “reserves the right” to respond to the Israeli attack and “punish the aggressor.” This it has since done (see page 11). Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi also vowed that Israel would pay a “heavy price” for the strike.

Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China have condemned the attack. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wenbin said, “the security of diplomatic institutions cannot be violated, and Syria’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity should be respected.”

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq attacked the strategic Israeli port city of Eilat using a drone, reaffirming “its commitment to continue pounding the enemy’s strongholds.”

Fighting across the border between Israel and Lebanon continues.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will consider Palestine’s request for full membership the transfer of its application to the UNSC Committee on the Admission of New Members.

This is not a war against soldiers. It is a war against women and children to clear Palestinian land for Israel’s occupation.

Many of the placards at the London Palestine Solidarity demonstration on 7 April were very inspirational. ‘Free Palestine’ was drawn by activist and artist Lynda May Ayres.

‘Free Palestine’ was drawn by activist and artist Lynda May Ayres who is also holding it..

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