The Guardian • Issue #2103


Israel and the bomb


Hannah Middleton

More than two million Palestinian civilians, including one million children, are trapped in the densely populated Gaza Strip.

The casualty figures as of 9 June are: at least 37,084 people killed, including more than 15,000 children. More than 84,494 people have been injured and more than 10,000 are missing.

The latest figures in the occupied West Bank are at least 532 people killed, including more than 133 children, and more than 5,000 injured.

As of 9 June, Israeli attacks have resulted in more than half of Gaza’s homes destroyed or damaged together with 80 per cent of commercial facilities, 88 per cent of school buildings, 130 ambulances and 267 places of worship. 16 out of 35 hospitals are partially functioning.

Do you think it could not get even worse?

Israel has refused to publicly acknowledge that it has nuclear weapons and it is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In November 2023, Israel’s extreme-right Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu proposed that his government drop nuclear bombs on Gaza.

Eliyahu claimed “there is no such thing as uninvolved civilians in Gaza.”

According to the Times of Israel, he stated that “the northern [Gaza] Strip has no right to exist.”

Eliyahu called for Palestinians to be ethnically cleansed from Gaza. He insisted that, “They can go to Ireland or deserts; the monsters in Gaza should find a solution by themselves.”

This senior Israeli government minister also claimed that people who wave Palestinian flags “shouldn’t continue living on the face of the earth.”

In January 2024, Eliyahu repeated his call for Israel to use nuclear weapons in Gaza.

Eliyahu lives in an illegal West Bank settlement and has demanded that Israel annex the entire occupied Palestinian territory.

In May this year, prominent member of the US Republican Party, US Senator Lindsey Graham, also argued that Israel should drop nuclear bombs on Gaza.

“Give Israel the bombs they need to end the war they can’t afford to lose,” he added.

To justify his proposal for Israel to inflict nuclear bombing of Gaza, Graham cited the US atomic bombing of Japan, which he insisted was necessary to win the war.

Graham’s claims are contradicted by a report published in 1946 by the US Department of War.

In its Strategic Bombing Survey, the US admitted that “it seems clear that, even without the atomic bombing attacks, air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion.

“Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.

The Geopolitical Economy Report, an anti-imperialist independent media outlet, reported in August 2023 that “The nuclear strikes on Japan represented a political decision taken by the United States, aimed squarely at the Soviet Union; it was the first strike in the Cold War.

“In August 1945, the USSR was preparing to invade Japan to overthrow its ruling fascist regime, which had been allied with Nazi Germany – which the Soviet Red Army had also just defeated in the European theatre of the war.

“Washington was concerned that, if the Soviets defeated Japanese fascism and liberated Tokyo like they had in Berlin, then Japan’s post-fascist government could become an ally of the Soviet Union and could adopt a socialist government.

“The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, therefore, were not so much aimed at the Japanese fascists as they were aimed at the Soviet communists.”

The anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima (6 August 1945) and Nagasaki (9 August 1945) will be marked by commemorative events around Australia.

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