Smash imperialism and Zionism! Victory to Hamas and all Palestinian resistance!

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TWENTY THREE bodies were recovered from destroyed buildings in Gaza City yesterday in the wake of the latest bombardment by the Israel Defence Force (IDF).

More than 1,100 Palestinians have been killed and 5,100 wounded by the IDF in Gaza since the Zionist regime began its aerial bombings, and later ground offensive, which began on December 27. Most of the dead are non-combatants, including more than 350 children.

Such is the extent of the death and destruction unleashed on the besieged Palestinians in Gaza that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who is rarely out of step with the United States and its proxies such as Israel, called on the Zionists yesterday to stop their war on Gaza.

During a visit to Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah, Ban Ki-moon said: ‘I strongly urge the Israeli leadership and government to declare a ceasefire unilaterally.’

This call was dismissed by Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev who said: ‘I don’t believe that there’s a logical expectation in the international community that Israel unilaterally cease fire, while Hamas would continue to target our cities.’

In addition, Regev said: ‘I hope we are entering the end game (in the Gaza offensive) and that our goal of sustained and durable quiet in the south is about to be attained.’

He suggested that the Israeli Cabinet might make a ceasefire decision this weekend, amid a visit to Washington by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and ceasefire negotiations hosted by President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.

Israel has been coordinating its war against Palestinians in Gaza with the US, which blocked a Security Council Resolution condemning the slaughter.

With President-elect Barak Obama about to take office, Livni wants to talk to Tel Aviv’s paymaster and coordinate the next stage of the US imperialist and Zionist intervention in the Middle East.

Obama has the collapsing American capitalist economy at the top of his agenda and is fearful that a ‘hot war’ in occupied Palestine could dominate his first few days in the White House.

It is clear that the Israeli Zionist settler regime is not talking about a ceasefire from the standpoint of a position of strength. Its paymaster has been hit by an economic catastrophe, Israel is isolated diplomatically and the Palestinian resistance is resolute.

Despite plentiful, advanced weapons of mass destruction used with murderous barbarity in Gaza by the IDF and the huge death toll, the Palestinian resistance remains unbowed and defiant.

Speaking in Doha yesterday, Hamas leader Khaled Mishaal said: ‘I assure you, despite all the destruction in Gaza, we will not accept Israel’s conditions for a ceasefire. We tell our loved ones in Gaza, the aggression will soon perish on the rock of your steadfastness.’

He added: ‘Our demands are: That the aggression stops, that the enemy retreats completely from Gaza, that the blockade is lifted without ever returning to it, and that the border crossing at Rafah is opened.’

Although Palestinians in Gaza confront the murderous Israeli military forces with their bodies, they are not alone. Millions have taken to the streets to support their struggle for liberation from the Zionist occupation in other Arab countries and throughout the world.

Only the defeat of the imperialist plunderers and their Zionist army, which threatens everyone in the region, can lead to the establishment of an independent State of Palestine and peace in the Middle East.

The British working class and its trade unions must act as part of a movement to stop the imperialist/Zionist atrocities in Gaza.

The Trades Union Congress must demand that the Prime Minister Gordon Brown break off diplomatic relations with Israel and shut its embassy, halt all arms trade with Tel Aviv and terminate all trade agreements with the Zionists.

The trade unions must organise their own trade and cultural boycott of Israel by refusing to handle its goods and services.

The TUC must tell Brown that they will take political and industrial action against the government if it does not break with Israel and come to the assistance of Palestinians in Gaza.