Clare Daly stands with the ULA in calling for the immediate cessation of Israeli military aggression against the people of Gaza. There should be an immediate lifting of the punitive blockade on the Strip, to allow in much-needed humanitarian aid, medical supplies, and building material for reconstruction.
Eamon Gilmore should demand a meeting with the Israeli Ambassador now and convey the clear message that if there is not an immediate cessation of military aggression, the Ambassador will be asked to leave Ireland.
The last flare-up of open hostilities, the so-called Operation Cast Lead, which left almost 1,500 Palestinians dead, was in December 2008, three months before the Israeli General Elections of February 2009. Now, with Israeli elections planned for January of next year, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu of the right-wing Likud (Unity) Party and Avigdor Lieberman of the even more right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) have launched another devastating assault on Gaza. This is a blatant effort to prove their militarist muscle and so shore up their voter-base, as well as distract attention from the serious social protests that rocked Israel last year. While those protests may not have drawn a full connection between the vast amounts of money and resources the Israeli state spends on the Occupation and how little they spend on welfare, they did take full aim at Netanyahu & Co. This assault on Gaza is an utterly cynical attempt by Netanyahu and Lieberman to preserve their power. And the residents of Gaza are the brutal victims.
The casualties from the current round of hostilities will probably be as high if not higher than the violence of late 2008. Given how densely populated and poverty-stricken Gaza is, this is the inevitable result of Israeli aerial assault. The Israeli Establishment are only too aware of this. Gilad Sharon, son of Ariel Sharon, has ominously called for Israel to ‘finish decisively.’ And he has clear ideas how to do this:
‘We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too. T here should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire.’
Similarly, Eli Yishai, deputy Israeli Prime Minister and Minister for Internal Affairs, unashamedly declared that his government’s aim is ‘to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.’ The shocking levels of devastation that already exist just an hour’s drive south of Tel Aviv means his government won’t have to try too hard to achieve this.
There can be no peace in Israel-Palestine in the context of this continued oppression of the Palestinian people. The ULA calls for the immediate end to building of Israeli settlements; for existing illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories to be dismantled; and for displaced Palestinians to be given back their lands. We also call for meaningful negotiations, with ALL parties and without preconditions, on the future of the region. End blockade of Gaza. Reopen the Gaza-Egypt border. Only a struggle by workers and the poor will defend democratic rights, end oppression and break with imperialism and capitalism. For a socialist Palestine and Israel and the wider Middle East with guaranteed democratic rights for all minorities.