ISRAELI forces are continuing to raid Palestinian refugee camps in the occupied West Bank. Yesterday they killed nine people, including 60-year-old Magda Obaid. 20 others were wounded, and four are on the critical list after troops attacked the Jenin refugee camp.
The Israeli military defended the action. They said that undercover agents, armoured vehicles and snipers entered the camp in the early hours to round up Palestinian militia fighters accused of planning and carrying out terror attacks. There is growing resistance, including armed groups, in the camps, in the face of blatant breaches of international law by the Israeli Government and illegal Israeli settlers carrying out attacks on Palestinian land and people.
Only one Palestinian gunman has been named amongst the dead and injured so far. Al Jazeera has reported that Israeli forces opened fire on ambulances attempting to reach the wounded and fired teargas towards a hospital where it entered a children’s ward.
So far the international response has been minimal. Although there was outrage at the shooting of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh while she was covering a raid on Jenin last May, there have been no sanctions against Israel and nobody has been arrested for this crime.
This has emboldened Israel’s right-wing Government to step up its campaign. Netanyahu has appointed Itamar Ben-Gvir as national security minister, with control over Israel Border Police’s division in the West Bank. Ben-Gvir has previously expressed support for Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish Israeli who killed 29 Palestinians at the Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994. Another far-right figure, Bezalel Smotrich, was given control of COGAT, the Israeli army body in charge of administering the West Bank. Smotrich has openly encouraged violence against Palestinians.
They hope to drive out the Palestinians completely and have been conducting a reign of terror for the last year. According to the United Nations, more than 170 Palestinians, including at least 30 children, were killed across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem last year. 9,000 were injured. Already this year at least 29 Palestinians including five children have been killed.
Any other country that behaved like this would be an international pariah, labelled a rogue state and subject to sanctions. But Israel is the West’s ally and its police officer in the Middle East. Critics of Israel are routinely smeared as being antisemitic. This is what happened to Jeremy Corbyn. Starmer went along with it and has been busy expelling Jewish socialists from the Labour Party who support the Palestinian cause.
This is shameful. All socialists should back the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and reject Starmer’s unconditional support for the Israeli Apartheid State.
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