Editorial: End Israel’s War Against Palestinian Masses!

March 11, 2024


In the time since our lead article—“Israel’s war and Hamas attack stoke retrogression,” Nov. 29, 2023Israel’s war against the Palestinian masses in Gaza has reached genocidal proportions:

Destruction of Gaza, October 2023. Photo: Wafa (Q2915969), CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED

* The number killed is over 30,000, not counting the thousands of human remains buried under the rubble from Israel’s bombing. Of the known dead, over 12,000 have been children.

* The number of wounded is upwards of 70,000. With most of Gaza’s hospitals destroyed, and those few remaining open barely functioning with little or no electricity, medicines and equipment—how many of the wounded will not survive? How many will be permanently disabled?

* So destructive has been Israel’s bombing that almost two-thirds of Gaza’s housing has been destroyed. When, if ever, will Palestinians be able to return to the places where they lived, and how will they be able to rebuild their homes, let alone their lives?

* A deliberate policy of starvation is being carried out by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) under orders from the government’s war cabinet. As Israel severely limits food and other humanitarian aid entering the country, hundreds of thousands are starving.

* In the West Bank, Palestinian land illegally occupied by Israel, dozens of raids on Palestinian communities and refugee camps have been carried out by the IDF, killing hundreds. Israeli settlers have attacked and burned Palestinian communities, destroying their farm lands, and forcing residents to flee, while the army looks the other way. Thousands of West Bank Palestinians have been arrested since Oct. 7.


What is clear is that Israel’s war is not only against Hamas’ terrorism of Oct. 7 that murdered 1,200, raped and butchered women, kidnapped hundreds who are now hostages—and called for the destruction of Israel as a state—but is, at the same time, aimed at the entire Palestinian population of Gaza. Its bombing has not only been against Hamas leadership and militants who ordered and carried out the Oct. 7 attack, and all their other soldiers, but aimed at making the entire Gaza Strip into an unlivable place for all Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and the extreme right-wing cohorts in his cabinet have made it abundantly clear that they have no intention of agreeing to any kind of independent Palestinian state. Some of them speak of expelling all Palestinians from the West Bank, and of reoccupying Gaza with Israeli settler settlements. Excluding Palestinians from all Palestinian lands remains their nightmarish scenario. Already Israel has deliberately reconfigured its labor force by replacing Palestinians with “guest workers” from many other countries. Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s plan for “the day after” the war centers on total Israeli military control of Gaza.

To be sure, there are important voices and movements within Israel who, even if they see a need for defense against Hamas attacks on civilians, believe that Israel should not wage war against all Palestinians, let alone eliminate the entire population of Gaza. But in the present war hysteria their voices and actions have been circumscribed and marginalized.

Hamas certainly wanted to provoke this war with Israel with its terrorist attack, slaughter of Israelis and capture of hundreds more. It is in many ways succeeding, despite the fact that hundreds of its soldiers and much of its leadership have died. Their hope for the genocidal destruction of Israel remains alive.


Poster in Washington D.C. during the March 2nd Global Action Day: Hands off Rafah. Photo: Elvert Barnes, CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED

What is the United States’ role? Talk, talk, talk of only a temporary ceasefire and of a far, far off two-state “solution.” But as for action—arms, arms, arms sent to the Israeli state. Of course the U.S. has long been Israel’s principal arms supplier. But since Oct. 7, there’s been a flood of weapons: more than 100 separate weapons sales to Israel over the last five months, amounting to thousands of precision-guided munitions, small-diameter bombs, bunker busters and other lethal aid.

That there is much dissatisfaction here at home with President Joe Biden’s empty peace talk, but refusal to confront Netanyahu’s all-out war policies by stopping the flow of U.S. weapons, can be seen in actions such as the large “uncommitted” vote in the Democratic primary elections in Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama.

At the same time, parts of the Left in the U.S. and worldwide have taken a position that Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorism was somehow part of a legitimate Palestinian resistance. Far from it. See our strong condemnation of such a position in “Israel’s war and Hamas attack stoke retrogression.” Add to this that we now face both antisemitism and anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim bigotry and violence gaining new force in the U.S.


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Israel’s war on Gaza has deep roots and current grave ramifications in the whole Middle East. (See our pamphlet: Crossroads of History: Marxist-Humanist Writings on the Middle East; and Raya Dunayevskaya’s Political-Philosophic Letters on Iran.) One of Hamas’ reasons for launching the Oct. 7 attack was the agreement-in-the-making between Saudi Arabia, Israel and the U.S., which would bypass Hamas—and in fact the Palestinians in general—in dealing with the Palestinian question. Israel is hoping for deeper integration of its economy into the broader Middle East, coupled with marginalization of the Palestinian cause into mainly lip service by the Arab ruling classes, with little regard for the sympathy, even identity, that Arab masses still feel for Palestinians.

Such a possible agreement is meant to isolate Iran in the region. With the war in Gaza, Iran had its proxies in several countries attack U.S. military installations in Iraq and Syria, as well as Yemen’s Houthi’s attack shipping in the Red Sea. The U.S. retaliated with B-1 bombers and attacks from its naval fleet stationed close by. Are we witnessing a dress rehearsal for a widening Middle East confrontation? There are many pieces big and small that are moving in the Middle East, though few if any are interested in authentic self-determination of Palestinians.


What would authentic self-determination be? We can hardly know in the morass and hell of Israel’s war on Palestinians. Perhaps the First Palestinian Intifada begun in 1987 and lasting several years can tell us something. It was a mass protest, civil disobedience, stone throwing, rebellion, organized from below. There were demonstrations with tens of thousands participating, with the population to a man, woman and child taking part. With beatings, killings, mass arrests, Israel worked to destroy this popular uprising. But its history has significance.

Today we are at a different moment. But the Idea that the population as a whole, not “decision-makers” from the U.S. nor potentates of Arab countries, should decide. Not even the so-called Palestinian leaders, whether of Hamas or the Palestinian Authority, can speak for the Palestinian masses. Time and again in recent decades, Palestinian protests have occurred in opposition to both groups. Authentic self-determination must begin with the ideas and aspirations of the Palestinian masses. Anything less is a diversion and shortcut to nowhere.

As our article on “Israel’s war and Hamas attack stoke retrogression” concluded:

The world hungers for a way out, for a new beginning. It is not enough to expose the war crimes of Israel, and of Hamas, and the retrogression in the Left. Solidarity movements draw power from a vision of a new, human society, rather than a treadmill of permanent resistance. Stopping a revolution at a halfway point—or stopping short of revolution—ensures retrogression, so what becomes an absolute necessity is the banner of genuine liberation, and a philosophy of liberation. That cannot be left for later as we engage in resolute solidarity with the Palestinian people, and in the U.S. and allied countries struggle against the support given to Israel, its occupation, and its military.”

—Eugene Walker

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