DURING almost a month of Friday demonstrations in Gaza, called the ‘Great March of Return’, the Israeli army has used snipers to shoot dead over 44 Palestinian civilians, many of them children, as well as injuring over 6,000 people, either by the use of tear gas or by shooting live ammunition. The dead and injured include journalists and medical personnel.
The climax of the ‘Great March’ will be on May 15th, Nakba Day, the 70th anniversary of the 1948 ‘Catastrophe’ for the Palestinian people, when there will be massive demonstrations in Palestine and worldwide. The declaration of the State of Israel was followed by hundreds of thousands of Palestinian men, women and children being driven out of their homes and into refugee camps all over the Middle East.
The May 15th anniversary coincides with the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, internationally recognised as ‘occupied territory’. It is being shifted from Tel Aviv, the Israeli capital, as part of the ‘new’ American policy labelled the ‘deal of the century’ under which the US ruling class will hand Jerusalem and all of Palestine to Israel. In preparation for this act of aggression US diplomats have refused to recognise that there are any occupied Palestinian territories. To add salt to the wound, the US President, Trump, has announced that he may attend the official opening of the embassy in person on Nakba Day!
This will create an explosive situation when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians will march to insist that Jerusalem is their capital, and that Trump and his Israeli stooges are seeking to start a new great war in the Middle East to prevent the foundation of the Palestinian state. However, the Palestinian masses as a whole are used to struggle and making huge sacrifices.
On the 26th of August 2014, an open-ended ceasefire came into effect, bringing an end to an Israeli army war on Gaza, and a victory for the Palestinians. During the previous 50 days of that armed conflict 2,104 Palestinians were killed, including 253 women (12 per cent) and 495 children (24 per cent).
It is estimated that 10,224 Palestinians, including 3,106 children (30 per cent) and 1,970 women (19 per cent) were injured. Up to 1,000 of the children injured had a permanent disability and up to 1,500 orphaned children needed sustained support from the child protection and welfare sectors. According to the UN, over 500,000 Palestinians were displaced by that war, representing 28 per cent of the total population of Gaza. It is also estimated that 18,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. Despite extensive repairs to Gaza’s only power station, electricity outages of 18-hours a day continue across the territory, and only 10 per cent of the population receive water once a day.
Trump’s decision to support a Greater Israel and to even personally open the US embassy in Jerusalem, will touch off an even bigger and more powerful struggle. The UK has supported Israel 100% since 1948. Last year it officially celebrated the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, under which the UK boasted that it would hand over Palestine to the Zionists. In fact a recent Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) report has revealed that the United Kingdom has licensed the sale of arms to Israel worth $445 million since the 2014 Gaza war.
The Middle East Eye online news service reported on Tuesday that figures compiled by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) indicated that the arms included components for drones, combat aircraft and helicopters along with spare parts for sniper rifles. These weapons, made by Britain, are being used by the Israeli military against the Gaza ‘Great March of Return’ marchers and also in the occupied West Bank. British components including parts for sniper rifles have been used to kill scores of Palestinian civilians in recent weeks! UK workers must not stand idly by and watch the Palestinian people being killed and maimed by military equipment supplied by the UK ruling class.
On May Day and on the TUC march on May 12th and on Nakba Day itself, on May 15th, US and UK workers must march and demonstrate in support of the state of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital. The unions must impose a total boycott of Israel and bring down its armer and protector, the May government, replacing it with a workers government that will support Palestine 100%.