The slaughter in Gaza is approaching the grim milestone of 12,000 killed. More than a million have been displaced, with nowhere to go. According to the head of the World Health Organisation, a child is dying every 10 minutes in the strip as a result of Israeli imperialism’s murderous campaign.
To give a sense of scale, the Israel Defence Force (IDF) has killed more people in Gaza in one month than the total number of Ukrainian civilians killed in the 21 months since the Ukraine war broke out in February 2022. The latter figure stood at 9,600, according to last month’s estimate.
According to the western imperialists, such a comparison is impermissible. “Slaughtering innocent Ukrainians, that’s part of their [Russia’s] strategy inside Ukraine,” explained one of Joe Biden’s advisors, John Kirby, whereas “that is not what we’re seeing from Israel”.
Apparently, we are told, it is the deliberate strategy of the Russians to kill as many Ukrainian citizens as possible. And yet, the Israelis have managed to outdo them in a fraction of the time without intending to do so.
Are we to put this down to gross incompetence on the part of the Russians, or gross negligence on the part of the Israelis? It is toward such absurd conclusions that western war propaganda leads us.
Slaughter and lies
The almost 12,000 dead represents 1 in every 200 Gazans – all in the space of one month; a figure exceeding the number of Palestinian killed in the 2014 Gaza war, the 2008 Gaza war, and the Second Intifada combined.
It is a grim irony that this milestone falls in the month of remembrance for Commonwealth nations. Every November, our rulers ask us to recall the historical memory of the Great Slaughter of 1914-1918, as they solemnly vow ‘never again’ and lay poppy wreaths at cenotaphs.
But while beseeching us to remember those thrown into the meatgrinder a century ago, our ruling class is keen to downplay the slaughter of our own day, even lying outright about the extent of the carnage.
“I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,” Biden told reporters, casting doubt on civilian death figures. “I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war…I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.”
In response to this misanthropic obscenity, the Gaza Health Ministry responded by releasing a 212-page document listing the name, age, sex and ID number of each of the 7,000 victims of Israeli aggression that had been identified at the time.
But why would Biden cast doubt on the figures when his Israeli allies not only concur with the Gaza Health Ministry’s figure, not only revel in those figures, but even find them embarrassingly modest?
According to the bragging of one senior Israeli security source, 20,000 have actually been killed!
And, what is more, the same source claims that this figure is overwhelmingly composed of Hamas fighters. Given that it is estimated that the number of Hamas fighters stands around 30,000 (again, according to Israel), then surely this is ‘Mission Accomplished’ for Netenyahu?
Wiping out two-thirds of the enemy’s entire fighting force in a matter of weeks is as resounding a victory as you’ll find in the history of warfare!
The truth is, the overwhelming bulk of these casualties are civilians, and Israel knows it, but considers all Palestinians in Gaza to be the enemy.
This kind of accounting for war dead reminds one of how the Americans kept count in Vietnam: “If it’s dead and Vietnamese, it’s Viet Cong.”
Masses on the move
Biden, Sunak, and the whole complicit gang of criminals known as ‘the leaders of the western world’ have left themselves in an extremely tight spot.
Israel is the bastion of western imperialism in the Middle East, and they stand squarely behind the crushing of the Palestinian people. But in a context of already growing discontent at home, the abomination we are witnessing in Palestine is fuelling enormous anger.
As a threatened squid squirts ink to conceal itself, the ruling class are pumping out threats, lies and distortions. They try to downplay the killing. “It’s not so bad,” says the Biden Administration. “Oh yes it is,” replies an Israeli security official. “It’s not genocide,” says the Biden Administration. “Let’s drop a nuclear bomb on Gaza,” replies an Israeli minister.
Nothing they do can mask reality. They resort to threats. They accuse protests of being “hate marches”, composed of ‘Hamas sympathisers’ and ‘antisemites’. The ruling class threatens to arrest attendees and shut down meetings. They whip up a McCarthyite atmosphere. But millions are mobilising week after week. And those mobilisations are only growing.
We saw no less than two million march in Jakarta. In the heart of the imperialist powers, we’ve seen 300,000 march through Washington, and one million take to the streets in London. Despite attempts to ban protests, we’ve now seen thousands taking to the streets of Berlin and Paris.
But 20 years ago, tens of millions took to the streets against the Iraq war. Three million marched through Rome, and two million through the streets of London. The ruling class ignored all this. And the barbarity that followed is well known.
Massive marches are mobilising millions. But we must ask: when millions are mobilised, what then?
The demand predominating in protests around the world is a natural one: for a ceasefire. But considering the foregoing, considering the bestial lack of concern for human life that our ruling class has shown, can we imagine that calls for a ceasefire will fall on sympathetic ears? Of course not – as the scandalous result of Wednesday’s vote in Parliament shows.
The capitalist class are like an armed gang, terrorising the world in furtherance of their interests. Pacifist pleading will not sway them. Imperialist war will only stop when this armed gang has been disarmed. But who will disarm them? The United Nations? To pose the question is to answer it.
Down with the war criminals!
There is only one force in society that can disarm the imperialist gangsters; that can bring them to their knees: the working class.
The working class are the ones that the imperialists call upon to manufacture, load, and ship their weapons. Already, protestors in Tacoma, Washington have blocked alleged shipments of weapons intended for Israel leaving port.
This sort of strategy must be consciously taken up by the labour movement, and generalised, with strikes, pickets, and sit downs. A workers’ boycott of all goods intended for the Israeli war machine could paralyse the IDF.
But more than this, this war has made it quite clear that the western imperialists are no less culpable than the Israeli regime itself for the oppression of the Palestinian people.
The struggle against this war must therefore be connected to the struggle to bring down all the war criminals – Biden, Sunak, Macron, Scholz, and all the rest; and ultimately to the struggle against capitalism and against imperialism all over the globe.
That is why our slogan is: Intifada until victory! Revolution until victory!