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Israeli destruction could spread

Gaza mother with child amongst destruction

Image: abdallahalswaiti – deviantart.com AI art (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

US presidential candidates Biden and Trump don’t have much in common – except for blind support for Israel and an almost rabid animosity toward Palestine. In a recent debate, Trump described Biden as being “like a Palestinian,” and claimed that Biden was not sufficiently supportive of Israel’s attempts to destroy Gaza. Biden’s response was that Hamas was the only party not to endorse the ‘peace’ policy. Biden has spoken of holding up delivery of the biggest of US-made bombs, but keeps saying Israel is getting “all it needs.”

While the US presidential debate was unfolding, planes were bombing Gaza, and Israeli tanks were turning their fire on northern Gaza, already a pile of rubble. The damage, the thousands of lost lives, the trauma, has only been possible because of support from Washington.

Since October, the US has provided Israel with US$6.5 billion in military equipment,  nearly double the normal annual weapons funding. The US Congress has agreed to a further $14 billion to support the Israeli war machine. It has been far more than business as usual.

Those weapons have directly resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Palestinians.

Netanyahu has claimed that because Israel’s objectives have largely been achieved, the ‘war’ in Gaza is being wound down. The dozens of Palestinians that are being killed on a daily basis would suggest that this is not the case.

Refugees are being driven from site to site, and still find no safe place. People are being forced to live in the wreckage of bombed-out buildings or set up camp next to huge piles of waste. The scale of the tragedy is worsening. People are dying from bombs, guns and tanks as well as from disease and starvation.

The media has made much of splits and rifts between the Israeli military and government. This is of little consequence when the daily orgy of killing continues.

That same media has been quick to show images of children with cancer, being transported across the border for treatment. The public relations operation doesn’t fool anyone. The numbers of the repatriated are so few and the suffering of the many is so great.

WEST BANK TERRORISM

While the wanton destruction of Gaza goes on, the Israeli regime has continued to make life unliveable for Palestinians in the West Bank. Netanyahu calls the land run by the Palestinian state “Judea and Samaria.” This call to a mythologised ‘Greater Israel’ emboldens the extreme right-wing settlers to greater acts of terrorism against the Palestinians.

The settler attacks are aided and abetted by the Israeli army. Reports from Ramallah (the administrative centre of the State of Palestine) describe a dramatic increase in Israeli operations in the West Bank. On average there are 38 raids on Palestinian groups and infrastructure every day. Every day Palestinians are detained – taken hostage. Home demolitions are increasing. For Israel, it’s just another front in its assault against Palestine and its people.

It looks like Netanyahu will reduce the numbers of troops deployed in Gaza. The Israeli army will be able to attack Gaza at will even if not physically occupying territory. This is described as a ‘transition’ strategy in Israel’s campaign of terror.

EYEING LEBANON

Israel’s Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant has said Israel was “preparing for every scenario.”

It is more than obvious that one such ‘scenario’ is to launch a full-scale military offensive into Lebanon. The justification for shifting the blood-letting to Lebanon is being presented as a need to secure borders and protect the Israeli civilian population from Hezbollah attacks. Hezbollah has pledged support for Palestinian resistance to Israel’s occupation and aggression but has also pledged to cease actions against Israel, if Israel accepts the conditions of a ceasefire and an end to its war against Gaza.

War with Hezbollah would be horrendous for everyone in the region. The slaughter inflicted on the Palestinian people in Gaza would pale by comparison. Gallant threatened Hezbollah, and Lebanon, when he said that “Hezbollah understands very well that we can inflict massive damage in Lebanon if a war is launched.”

Gallant repeated his threat Israel would send Lebanon “back to the stone age.” Martin Griffiths, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the United Nations, described any potential war in Lebanon as being “potentially apocalyptic.”

Gallant is not the first to use such barbaric language. During the US war against Vietnam, US General Curits LeMay infamously said he wanted to “bomb them back to the stone age … until we have destroyed every work of man.” Gallant and Israel like the slogan, but forget the lesson the US learned then. The Vietnam war ended in humiliation for the USA. Any war against Hezbollah or Lebanon will end in humiliation for Israel.

Hezbollah has already stated that any war would be fought “with no rules and no red lines.” They are reported to have between 50-100,000 well trained, well-armed troops and an arsenal of 150,000 missiles and rockets.

There is an additional fear that Iran, and as a consequence, the USA, might be drawn into such a conflict. Iran has indicated that it would be unlikely to become willingly or directly involved, unless attacked by Israel or its allies.

The Israeli army said last week that it has ‘approved and validated’ plans for an offensive in Lebanon, although any decision would come from the country’s political leaders.

US BACKING

The United States, armourer and funder of Israel’s aggression, has called for calm and restraint. ‘Restraint” has not stopped them flooding Israel with billions of dollars in arms.

An American assault ship, has just entered waters near the Lebanon-Israel border. The action is being described by Washington as an act designed to stop potential hostilities. How an additional warship, with a US Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard, in company with a dock landing ship used to transport Marines, landing craft, vehicles and cargo can ‘de-escalate’ tension is unclear. These two ships are sailing in convoy with a third ship that can deliver troops either by helicopters or landing vessels.

Such is America’s take on ‘restraint’ and easing tensions.

PEACE REJECTED

A White House spokesperson recently dismissed Hezbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah’s offer of peace, saying that “the logic of Nasrallah … is that it is all tied to Gaza, and until there is a cease-fire in Gaza the firing at Israel won’t stop … We frankly, completely reject this logic.” So much for restraint. So much for calming the waters.

Israel can only think of war with Hezbollah if it knows that it has the support of the United States. Biden has repeatedly assured Netanyahu that US support is “ironclad.”


How Australia supports Israel:

  • Israeli arms company Elbit was given a contract for $917 million to supply systems for our army’s Infantry Fighting vehicles
  • Australian companies in Sydney and Melbourne make parts for F-35 fighters. Israel uses those fighters to bomb Gaza
  • Australia has not recognised Palestinian statehood. Doing that would help pressure Israel to take Palestinian statehood seriously
  • Australia has not joined the South African case against Israel for genocide

What you can do:

  • Demonstrate! Every person who shows up to one of the nationwide demonstrations in support of Palestine counts
  • Contact an MP and/or a senator, ask them to show the same courage Senator Fatima Payman showed in supporting recognition of Palestine
  • Keep in touch with bdsaustralia.net.au for more practical steps you can take
  • Stay informed. Keep reading this paper. Stay in touch with Australian Palestinian Advocacy Network (apan.org.au)
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