Gaza Resistance Exposes Limits of U.S. Power

by Sara Flounders, published on Workers World, November 7, 2023

The audacity of the coordinated Palestinian resistance, which began with a surprise operation on Oct. 7, was not only a shock to the Zionist military machine and its vaunted intelligence network, but is also sending shockwaves through the U.S. empire.

Both Israel and the U.S. rulers are now relying on brute force. But brute force can’t reverse this political blow. More U.S.-supplied weapons for massive destruction only clarify the U.S. role — and will further arouse the hatred of the millions of people in the Global South. The coordinated Palestinian resistance is a deadly threat to Israel and its principal backer.

Many commentators agree that the Israeli myth of “invincibility” will never recover from the blow. The whole world has viewed, again and again, the videos of the bold coordinated flight over layers of electrified fences, barbed wire and surveillance cameras by small, motorized hang gliders, followed by light drones. The protection afforded by the Israeli Iron Dome has been shattered by barrages of shoulder missiles hitting Israeli command centers as far away as Tel Aviv.

While the attack was a surprise, it was certainly not unprovoked. It was an act of desperation by the population of a concentration camp who have suffered 16 years in total lockdown and 75 years of complete displacement. The whole Palestinian population was under a lifetime prison sentence.

Israel is opportunistically using the attack on Oct. 7 as a pretext to escalate its “ethnic cleansing” of Gaza and expand the ongoing building of Zionist settlements on the West Bank.

Israel’s plans for a final displacement of the Palestinians in Gaza were long on the drawing board, openly discussed with great arrogance and inflated self-confidence.

The relentless bombing of Gaza is a sign of Zionist desperation and wild revenge. It is not a plan. The so-called Israeli Defense Forces are stumbling into a ground invasion, although they know that, in the past, they were unable to sustain similar invasions of Gaza in 2009 and Lebanon in 2000 and 2006. They were no match for anti-tank weapons and small guerilla bands acting cohesively in coordinated attacks.

The mobilization of millions of people around the world, now on a daily basis, is a threat to the political order. The sheer size, scale and speed with which huge events have come together — from massive demonstrations, even where they have been outlawed, to thousands of walkouts from schools, work stoppages, sit-ins, highway blockings, and disruptive actions in transportation hubs, ports, against weapons manufacturers, at politicians’ offices — is unprecedented. This new, awakening consciousness in solidarity with besieged Palestine — and in rage against U.S. support for this grotesque violence — is a threat to long-established capitalist rule.

Even within the U.S., despite the almost total corporate control of the media, Israel has lost public support, especially among youth.

‘Existential crisis’ 

Many Israelis describe the situation as an “existential crisis.” The continued existence of this Zionist, colonial outpost is at stake.

President Joe Biden’s immediate frantic trip to Israel, his desperate embrace of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and promises of still more weapons, followed by U.S. military generals and advisers with aircraft carrier battle groups in tow, expose that on a global scale, the besieged Palestinian movement has struck a major blow to U.S. hegemony.

Israel, in past years, had been elevated into a “strategic partner” crucial to U.S. “regional security,” even as the U.S. occupation of Iraq unraveled and plans to overthrow the Syrian government also failed.

Just a month ago, the U.S. rulers thought they had wangled Saudi Arabia and the ruling classes of several Arab countries into recognizing Israel. But now, by arousing the hatred of the masses of the region, that cynical deal has been moved off the table.

All of the U.S. plans made since the Obama administration to pivot away from failed wars in the Middle East in order to encircle and threaten China are now in complete disarray.

The U.S./NATO military alliance is battered and running short on weapons and funding in Ukraine. Its corrupt forces have totally failed to secure any ground in their five-month “spring offensive.” This was a war that Biden, over 20 months ago, promised would be over in weeks, with the ruble turned to rubble and regime change in Moscow. Now the U.S. war machine is bogged down on two fronts, struggling to gather munitions and funding for both Israel and Ukraine.

‘Unsinkable aircraft carrier’ 

Israel has for 75 years been considered U.S. imperialism’s unsinkable aircraft carrier, its one secure asset. Israel is totally dependent on the U.S. for its political, economic and military survival. Israel has consistently been the largest recipient of U.S. military aid, exceeding $13 million a day, every day, for 75 years. (

Now Israel’s very existence is in question.

This is what is behind U.S. support for Israel’s carpet bombing of the tiny Gaza enclave, deploying more weapons than the U.S. used in Afghanistan and more explosive power than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. (

The bombing is so extreme that it has turned Gaza into “a ball of fire,” according to Al Jazeera.  Hospitals, schools, United Nations refugee centers — all are being bombed with full U.S. support.

Yet despite these crimes or the world outcry, Israel is assured of an endless stream of U.S. weapons and vetoes in the U.N. Security Council.

People’s War

Palestine is today engaged in a People’s War. A war where almost the entire population is mobilized to resist. The U.S. and Western corporate media constantly bait Hamas, the elected government in Gaza, calling it a small terrorist faction.

However, this Intifada involves the participation of every Palestinian resistance organization active among the Palestinian masses for decades. Their strikes and their martyrs, both secular and religious, are publicly applauded and their news is posted by all the various Palestinian groups.

Engaged in Gaza are the fighting units/brigades of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Islamic Jihad, Popular Resistance Committees, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and even fighting units of Fatah — along with Hamas’s Qassam Brigades. There is also unity in action against armed bands of Zionist settler thugs in the West Bank.

While both the U.S. and Israel have horrendous weapons, U.S. imperialism has failed to defeat past People’s Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, Syria and Vietnam.

All of the formerly colonized countries of the Global South — so long under the threat of U.S. sanctions, invasions and regime change operations — have identified with the long Palestinian struggle for sovereignty. This is reflected in overwhelming votes in the United Nations General Assembly and in all international gatherings.

Some 77 resolutions have been passed by the U,N. General Assembly condemning the occupation and Israel’s genocidal, apartheid treatment of Palestinians. The United States has never voted for one, and Israel has never been held accountable.

Threat of regional war

U.S. imperialism can ignore these U.N. votes and regional condemnation.

Far more ominous for the U.S. strategic position in the entire region are the escalating Iraqi missile strikes on the remaining U.S. bases in Iraq. In Syria, the government has survived 12 years of U.S. regime change efforts and is now reclaiming lost ground. Ansarullah forces in Yemen, still surrounded by a U.S. naval blockade, have fired ballistic missiles at Eilat, an Israeli port city — a distance of some 1,500 kilometers.

The greatest concern of both Israel and the U.S. is a new front in Lebanon in this devastating war. Hezbollah has hit many targets in Israel over the past month. All of the Zionist settler outposts near the Lebanese border have been evacuated, along with all of the settlements surrounding Gaza.

Iran is consistently blamed for the weapons that the Palestinians have managed to smuggle into Gaza.

Each of these countries has survived, despite years of U.S. sanctions and Washington’s continuing efforts to block all development.

Massive mobilizations in Jordan’s Hashemite monarchy and Egypt’s military dictatorship send a message that these compliant states could rapidly unravel. A continuing organized people’s blockade of roads has stopped gas shipments into Jordan. Identification with beleaguered Palestine is changing the consciousness of the whole region.

Despite its big threats, the Pentagon knows that it does not have the weapons, the military personnel or the domestic support to fight a regional war. Weapons are easy to secure on the international arms market. But it takes a high level of determination, discipline and self-sacrifice on a mass scale to secretly train combatants to use weapons in such an unequal fight. The formation of guerilla movements and the power of peoples’ movements are lessons deeply absorbed by the millions of disenfranchised.

Many attempts to divide and conquer

In an earlier time, the Zionists hoped that targeting the secular Palestinian movement would make the religious forces more compliant. They continually game-planned policies to set one group against another.

The Zionists developed different kinds of repressive tactics in the West Bank than in Gaza. Still other tactics were used against Palestinians living within the 1948 borders. Palestinians in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan experienced very different conditions, as did Palestinians in the wider diaspora.

The overwhelming vote in Gaza for Hamas 16 years ago was met with U.S. sanctions — an ironclad blockade on Gaza so extreme that even funds created to support orphanages and hospitals were prosecuted in the U.S. with charges of financing terrorism.

These U.S./Israeli sanctions, imposed since 2007, were collective punishment on the entire population. Now the complete shutoff of water, food, medicine and electricity over the past month has been a further step in collective punishment and is an explicit violation of international law.

Every step has further emboldened the most racist and right-wing forces. They have escalated assaults on the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Now there are daily attacks on West Bank Palestinian settlements, including the nightly kidnapping of hundreds of Palestinian hostages by the Israeli military, which openly operates with Zionist settler gangs that have morphed into vigilante lynch mobs.

The Zionist forces have made every effort, using the most sophisticated tactics, to divide the Palestinian movement, trying to highlight and exacerbate the political differences in Palestine’s long struggle. But the decades of repression have forced the movement to grow far more united.

This new Palestinian Intifada has demonstrated greater levels of unity, even in complex military operations.

Zionism is fracturing

The Zionist movement is now more divided than ever, between extreme right-wing and more liberal groupings, between religious and secular groupings, and between recent Jewish arrivals and those who came in earlier waves.

The Zionists are already a minority of the total population. Apartheid divisions are an effort to hide the reality.

All currents in the Zionist movement constantly decry the number of Israelis who have dual citizenship in other countries and passports from at least one (and sometimes several) countries.

Israel is a small, artificial state. Millions of Israelis are reexamining their options if the government can’t assure their safety. The occupation’s days are numbered. This will give new confidence to the Palestinian people.

*Featured Image: Hamas members use hang-gliders to move themselves and equipment across the wall/fence.  I call this photo: Hamas’ Air force.   src: video made by Hamas of their crossing the wall.

Sara Flounders is an American political writer who has been active in ‘progressive’ and anti-war organizing since the 1960s.  Sara is Co-Director of the International Action Center (IAC) and  a member of the Secretariat of Workers World Party  She also frequently writes for Workers World newspaper and publishes articles on the International Action Center website.

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