US-UK stand by as Israel prepares Gaza ground attack

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YESTERDAY morning Israel allowed about 450 foreign passport holders to leave the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing near Beit Hanoun, after refusing to let anyone leave the Gaza Strip for months.

A military decision was taken by the Israeli command to let the 450 go on Thursday night.

Palestinians were yesterday saying that the opening of the crossing was a prelude to a widespread Israeli ground assault on the Gaza Strip after the failure of their eight day blitz of the area to break Hamas or the masses of the Palestinian resistance to occupation.

Five children died in the Israeli air attacks on Friday morning, bringing the death toll to 450 with up to 2,200 injured.

This followed the assassination of the Hamas leader Nizar Ryan and his 15 family members on Thursday mid-morning.

Palestinians are describing the Israeli tactics as a massive murderous terror designed to kill or psychologically shatter Palestinians.

A man from the Shata refugee camp has described how he received a phone call from an Israeli soldier urging him to leave the area because his home would shortly be shelled. He left for his brother’s home.

Three hours after the first phone call the man’s brother got a similar message; they both left for a new location. Thousands of others left their homes after the start of the strikes and the psychological warfare, but many have now returned since all their ‘safe places’ have become targets.

In the densely packed Gaza Strip, your home is either across the street from a government ministry building, in the same building as a government police officer (which are targets despite being protected under international law), or beside a mosque said to be a ‘known hideout for militants’.

The Palestinian masses know that there is no hiding place, that is why they decided a long time ago to stand and fight the Israeli occupier and to recover their land and found their independent state.

The Palestinians are determined to stand fast, and to inflict a defeat on the Israelis that will be just as powerful a blow as that which the Lebanese resistance administered to Olmert in 2006.

It is the workers in the West, in their powerful trade unions, who must advance to aid the beleaguered Palestinian masses.

There are a number of things that must be done.

One – the UK trade unions must tell PM Brown that he must condemn Israel, and tell it to ceasefire, end the siege, and that there must be no ground assault on Gaza. Brown must stop playing the Israeli game by pretending that the Palestinian victim is the same as the Israeli butcher. If he will not do these things, the trade unions must launch a campaign of industrial and political action against the Brown government.

Two – the trade unions must demand that the British government send aid directly to Palestine, and break any Israeli sea blockade to do so.

Three – the trade unions must stand for the victory of Hamas and the Palestinian masses over the US and UK-armed Israeli aggressor and occupier.

Four – the trade unions must give their full moral and financial support to the Palestinian masses, the Palestinian Red Crescent, and the Palestinian liberation movements.

Five – the trade unions must impose an economic boycott of all Israeli goods, planes and ships, and urge the world trade union movement to do the same.

This boycott must be clamped on until the siege of Gaza is lifted and the Israeli government has conceded that there will be a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, with the settlements demolished, and with every Palestinian enjoying the right to return.

This is the progressive role that the UK trade unions must play. Their support must not be just verbal.