Issue #9 - War in Palestine: a timeline

Israel started it. Israel always starts it.

So much has happened in the last week that it’s almost impossible to keep up with the full extent of the horrors Israel is inflicting on Gaza. As I write this, 200 Palestinians have been killed since Monday 10 May. Gaza’s ministry of health spokesman says that almost a third of the dead — 59 — are children.

Words feel so inadequate right now. There is no end in sight, with our political leaders in the US, the UK and Europe all backing Israel’s apartheid regime and its ongoing crimes to the hilt.

This is just as much an American-UK-EU war against the Palestinian people as it is an Israeli war. Israel is the vanguard of European-American imperialism and reaction in the region.

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As documented in Max Blumenthal’s brilliant 2015 book The 51 Day War, the last major Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, in 2014, lasted almost two months. It resulted in 2,200 Palestinians dead, including 550 children, with large parts of Gaza completely flattened.

Over the days and weeks ahead, Israel and its proxies will do its best to try and confuse things. It’s important to get reality straight. This time it’s different. It is a unified national uprising of all parts of the Palestinian people.

Here’s a timeline of events so far:

  • Late April: Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem decree that Palestinians are banned from gathering at Damascus Gate, a major entry point to the Old City. Protests forced this order to be rescinded. Hundreds of Jewish extremists — backed by Israeli troops — descend on the city chanting “Death to the Arabs” and beating up Palestinians.

  • Early May: Expulsion orders targeting Palestinian families in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah loom large. After a massive wave of Palestinian protest, with increasing international solidarity, the court orders are delayed.

  • Friday 7 May: Israeli troops storm al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, during the holy month of Ramadan, attacking worshippers with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets, resulting in hundreds injured.

  • Monday 10 May: In what our comrade Ahmed Abu Artema calls the fourth Israeli provocation, the annual “Jerusalem Day” parade of mob bigotry and “Death to the Arabs” chanting gathered to march around the city. Israeli army forces as usual protected the aggressors. This escalated into a second attack on al-Aqsa Mosque, in which another 300 worshippers were injured. In already iconic images, hundreds of young Israelis danced for joy below al-Aqsa Mosque as the compound burned, singing about the “Philistines” they wanted dead.

  • Later that day: Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza, led by Hamas’s armed wing, gave Israel an ultimatum: you have two hours to pull out of the mosque, end your attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem and release prisoners, otherwise we respond with force. Israel refused, and two hours later, Hamas responded by firing rockets off towards Jerusalem, with no reported casualites. But the sound of the air raid sirens forced the “Jerusalem Day” progromists to flee.

  • Israel then proceeded to embark on the current massacre, with 28 killed right away, including 10 children.

My articles this week

I wrote about the Labour Party’s political response to the latest Israeli massacre in Gaza. It is not good. Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy claims to be a “friend of Palestine,” yet also describes herself as a Zionist — a supporter of racist anti-Palestinian violence.

Palestinians have a right to defend themselves

I wrote a MEMO column explaining why Palestinians have a legal and moral right to defend themselves using armed force.

Just as every colonised people around the world have the moral and legal right to use armed resistance to defend themselves, so too do the Palestinians have the right to resist, including by using reasonable force. It is not enough to express "concerns," to condemn or even to express solidarity. Palestinians are demanding concrete material support for their resistance. The absolute bare minimum for us in the West is to stop participating in Israel crimes: to take part in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel: BDS.

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Progressive, but not on Palestine

I wrote another column criticising Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and her two-faced positions on Palestine:

But unfortunately, it transpired that Ocasio-Cortez's [2018] support for basic Palestinian human rights was not principled or concrete, but strictly opportunistic. It evaporated as soon as she got into office.

And recently this process has only continued to deepen. The most woeful example of this came last month when she participated in an online propaganda event run by a far-right Israel lobby group.

Many others made similar criticisms of her. And since this article was published, she is clearly feeling the pressure. She’s now tweeted implying that Israel is an apartheid state:

It’s important to keep up the pressure though. She has not endorsed BDS:

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Some recent media appearances.

There may be some I’ve missed:

Tweets of the Week

This week’s tweets were mostly deleted, due to pro-Israel censorship and fear of being smeared as an anti-Semite:

Our Country is a Graveyard

By Tawfiq Zayyad

Gentlemen, you have transformed
our country into a graveyard
You have planted bullets in our heads,
and organized massacres
Gentlemen, nothing passes like that
without account
All that you have done
to our people is
registered in notebooks

trans: As’ad AbuKhalil

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