450,000 Palestinians forced to leave Rafah! Trade unions must call general strikes to prevent another Nakba!

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THE United Nations says more than half a million Palestinians have now been displaced in war-torn Gaza, as Israel intensifies its air and ground attacks across the besieged territory.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) estimates that nearly 450,000 Palestinians have been forced to leave the densely-populated southern city of Rafah due to escalating military operations in the city, where more than a million people had sought shelter.

‘People face constant exhaustion, hunger and fear. Nowhere is safe. An immediate ceasefire is the only hope,’ UNRWA said in a post on X.

Israeli tanks have pushed deeper into eastern parts of Rafah, with residents saying they could see smoke billowing above eastern districts of the city and heard explosions after the occupying regime bombarded a cluster of houses.

Israeli tanks, bulldozers and armoured vehicles have also surrounded evacuation zones and shelters in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, with fierce gun battles continuing in the area.

The Israeli military has ordered more residents to evacuate parts of the north, while at least 82 Palestinians have been killed in the past 24 hours during the regime’s relentless air attacks.

According to UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq, evacuation orders in the north have displaced at least 100,000 people so far.

The Israeli onslaught comes as Palestinians were set to commemorate the 76th anniversary of Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe) on May 15, when hundreds of thousands of their fellow Palestinians were forcibly evicted from their homeland by Israelis in 1948.

This year’s Nakba Day sees Israel’s relentless attacks against the Gaza Strip, and its determination to drive Palestinans out of Gaza completely in a new Nakba.

Israel launched its brutalities in Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas carried out a historic operation against the usurping entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

Israel has killed more than 35,170 Palestinians, mostly women and children, in Gaza since then.

Meanwhile, in the USA, Senator Lindsey Graham has said Israel should do ‘whatever it deems necessary in the bombing of Gaza including using nuclear weapons to complete the job’.

Graham’s remarks came days after Biden claimed he had halted a weapons shipment to Israel and that he might continue to do so if the regime launched a full-scale assault on Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering.

Meanwhile, Israeli protesters blocked aid trucks destined for Gaza on Monday, throwing food packages onto the road and ripping bags of grain open in the occupied West Bank.

The lorries, which were set upon at the Tarqumiya checkpoint west of Hebron, came from Jordan and were headed to the Gaza Strip, where people are in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

The group reportedly behind the protest said they were demonstrating against the continued detention of Israeli hostages in Gaza.

Unverified footage shared on social media showed protesters toppling boxes from lorries onto the ground, and stomping on them once they had fallen.

According to reports in the Israeli media, the Tzav 9 activist group were responsible for organising the protest.

One member told AFP news agency she was at the checkpoint on Monday because she heard aid trucks were on ‘their way to the hands of the Hamas, who are trying to kill other soldiers and other Israeli citizens’.

The time has come for the workers and youth of the world not only to say enough is enough but to call indefinite general strikes to bring down the US, UK and EU governments that are supporting Israel with arms supplies and are even planning to extend that support.

The trade unions in the UK and the USA must follow the lead of the youth who have been mobilising in their millions to support Palestine, by calling general strikes on the 76th anniversary of Nakba Day. There is no better day to take such action!