308 bullets fired at Freedom Flotilla 308 bullets fired at Freedom Flotilla blockade busters

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ON May 31 this year, Israeli commandos abseiled onto the deck of the ‘Mavi Marmara’, which was sailing in international waters on its way to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The Israelis sprayed the ship’s unarmed crew and passengers with over 300 bullets, killing nine of them and injuring dozens more. That is according to the testimony of Israel’s own Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi to the Israelis’ own rigged inquiry into their soldiers’ actions.

On Sunday, Israeli forces stormed the Silwan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, spraying tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets in all directions. An eight-year-old boy was hit by rubber bullets three times.

Israeli forces went into the area to enforce the demolition of dozens of Palestinian homes. The aim of this latest attack is clear: to evict the Palestinians in East Jerusalem and replace their homes with more illegal Jewish settlements, trying to destroy any hope of a viable Palestinian state in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The aim of Israel’s raid at the end of May on the ‘Mavi Marmara’ – the largest ship in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla – was to stop the growing international solidarity movement from breaking the siege of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Addressing the six-man Turkel committee, Israeli Chief of Staff Ashkenazi said 308 live rounds were fired by Israel’s troops when they came down from helicopters onto the deck of the ‘Mavi Marmara’. A top aide to the general has said that 70 of these shots were aimed at causing injury, while the rest were warning shots.

The Israelis were acting in accordance with the long established Zionist principle – to create the maximum terror possible, in order to maintain and expand Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

Even after the Oslo Peace Accords were signed by the PLO leader Yasser Arafat in 1993, the Israelis continued to use terror against the Palestinians to establish ‘facts on the ground’, to grab more land and encircle the Palestinian people.

This led to the Al Aqsa Intifada in 2000 and the siege of Yasser Arafat’s Ramallah headquarters in which he eventually died, under the most suspicious circumstances.

After Yasser Arafat’s death, the Israeli leadership, backed by the US government, have sought to force the Palestinian leadership to accept whatever final ‘peace’ ultimatum was imposed on them.

With this in mind they built the Separation Wall to demarcate the new Israeli border to be, annexing the West Bank settlements.

But their plans were delivered a body blow when the Hamas movement drove Israel out of Gaza in 2005 and then won the Palestinian elections in 2006 in both Gaza and the West Bank. The Israelis’ answer was to lay siege to Gaza and to invade it in 2008 – when they were driven back.

What the Israelis are provoking, in their frenzy, is a new Palestinian Intifada and alongside this an even greater upsurge in international support for the Palestinians’ right to self-determination in their homeland with Jerusalem as their capital.

Israeli leaders are now planning for the eventuality of the Palestinian Authority and the Arab League being forced to carry out their threat to go to the United Nations on November 9th to demand recognition for a Palestinian state encompassing all the 1967 Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem. The PA is also threatening to abrogate the Oslo accords.

This is a time for the working class of the world to give its full support to the Palestinian revolution.

The trade unions internationally must clamp a boycott on Israel, and on all Israeli goods and services, and keep it on, halting all trade with Israel, until the Palestinian state is established on, at least, the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital and with every refugee having the right to return.

The Palestinian state will be established by the revolutionary struggle of the Palestinian masses, arm in arm with the working people of the world.