As Putin, Merkel, Macron and Erdogan were meeting in Istanbul on Saturday evening to discuss the future of Syria, Israeli planes were bombing Gaza schools and seeking to terrorise the people of the region.
This new Israeli push is being carried out in conjunction with the US and its Arab ruling class collaborators. Its purpose is to respond to the lost ground that the imperialists have undeniably suffered in Syria, with new and renewed efforts to smash the resistance of the Palestinian people to colonise occupied Palestinian and the occupied Syrian territories and to attack Hezbollah in the Lebanon.
The US Trump administration has imposed a new round of sanctions on Hezbollah targeting individuals and international organisations that do business with the resistance group. It is in fact an attack on the Lebanon since it is impossible to punish Hezbollah without punishing the Lebanon, since Hezbollah is its major defender.
Former Lebanese lawmaker Fares Souaid told Arab News that the new sanctions are part of a series of US bans meant to ‘turn the party (Hezbollah) into a burden on the Lebanese back after Hezbollah had come forward as the security guarantee for Lebanon.’
Israeli leaders have already warned that they will treat the Lebanese state as part of Hezbollah in any new war. In May, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the Hezbollah leadership jointly along with members of the so-called Terrorist Financing and Targeting Centre (TFTC), which includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.
Palestinian officials meanwhile are denouncing the attempts to normalise relations between Tel Aviv and Arab countries following Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s current not-so-secret visit to Oman. Hamas has denounced Oman for hosting ‘the head of Zionist crime’, saying the trip accelerated ‘normalisation with the Israeli entity’ and was a ‘stab in the back’ for Palestinians.
Mohammad Shtayyeh, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and member of the central committee of the Fatah movement, said the visit signalled the death of the Arab peace initiative, which was endorsed by the Arab League in 2002.
Separately on Saturday, Hassan Khreisheh, deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament, lamented an ‘unprecedented haste by Arab countries to normalise ties with Israel’.
Senior Fatah official, Munir al-Jaghoub also warned that Netanyahu’s visit to Oman as Gaza is being bombed ‘eliminates the Arab peace initiative’ Netanyahu met with Oman’s Sultan Qaboos in Muscat last Thursday, as part of Israel’s drive to have formal contacts with Saudi Arabia, and its Crown Prince.
Syrians in the occupied Golan Heights are also moving into action to defend their country that is still under attack by Israel. They are holding protest rallies against the fake ‘municipal elections’ which Israel is planning to hold in the occupied Golan territory.
Rallies were held on Saturday across several villages where the protesters voiced ‘determination to continue resistance against occupation and vowed their adherence to their Syrian Arab identity’.
They asserted: ‘We are Syrians and we belong to our homeland Syria, and we don’t accept these elections as we consider them null and void.’ Tel Aviv invited the Druze community in the area to participate in the polls on October 30. There are 23,000 Druze living in the Golan Heights – they are loyal to the government in Syria and fiercely opposed to the Israeli occupation, especially for the way that the Druze people in Israel are being treated by the racist nationality law.
Before his trip to Oman, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared that the international community, meaning the United States, had to recognise the Golan Heights as part of Israel. In September, the US ambassador assured Israel saying Washington would recognise the occupied side of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.
The setbacks in Syria have only heightened Israel’s sense of danger. So while the quartet was fiddling in Istanbul, Israel was preparing new wars along with the US in the Middle East.
Workers in the UK must give Palestine their full support, and if the Tories continue to refuse to recognise the state of Palestine, they must bring the May government down and replace it with a workers government.