by Sara Flounders, published on Workers World, January 30, 2024
The Jan. 22 explosion in Gaza that killed 21 Israeli soldiers and left 33 wounded, 11 critically, happened as they were attempting to lay down explosives to demolish a block of housing units. The explosion brought the buildings down on top of them, burying them under tons of rubble. It was the largest reported casualty for the Israeli Occupation Forces since they began the invasion of Gaza.
The demolition unit was surrounded by tanks and explosives and supposedly had layers of protection. This was their undoing!
This war crime of systematically demolishing entire neighborhoods with high explosives to establish a “buffer zone” between Gaza and exclusively Israeli settlements across the border exemplifies the predicament of Israel today. Its all-out genocidal effort to destroy the Palestinians will lead to the Zionist state of Israel’s own demise.
While the U.S. and Israeli media mourn the deaths of 21 Israeli soldiers, there is not even a nod of empathy toward the thousands of people buried under the rubble in Gaza by U.S.-supplied bombs. The number of Palestinians buried alive is in addition to the over 26,000 reported killed and 65,000 reported injured since October 7.
Using mass demolition charges, on Jan. 17, Israeli forces rigged Al-Isra University with more than 315 mines to level the entire campus. There was no military reason for the destruction. Israeli forces were pulling out. For 70 days, the Israeli military had used the campus as a barracks and a torture center. (tinyurl.com/mrxhp464)
IOF soldiers have posted on TikTok and other social media sites videos of themselves laughing and dancing as they hit buttons triggering massive explosions that turn Palestinian schools, hospitals and entire neighborhoods into rubble. (tinyurl.com/2ft5tt8m)
The vengeful acts against the Palestinians in Gaza and the lynch mob attacks throughout the West Bank are exposing Zionism as a racist and colonial ideology. The whole world has watched, in real time, as Israel has blatantly destroyed the infrastructure of sanitation, sewage and electrical wiring with bombs, then uprooted it with bulldozers. This calculated destruction of thousands of housing units, hundreds of schools and all of the hospitals in Gaza has aroused a global movement.
Israel has lost all the political standing that U.S. power could dredge up for its “strategic ally” from around the world. Now, Israeli ports have been targeted by resistance forces and its industries impacted negatively. Israeli forces are tormented by daily ambushes and have completely failed to achieve any of their stated goals.
Israelis fleeing for the exits
Within the first two months of the Israeli attack on Gaza, 470,000 Israelis left and did not return. The number of Israelis applying to obtain European passports has reached unprecedented levels. The Israeli media bemoans this as a “reverse Aliyah,” or a mass exodus of Jews from Israel. (thecradle.co/articles-id/14797)
The number of Jews immigrating into Israel has declined by 70%.
According to data cited from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, one in three businesses have shuttered or are operating at only 20% capacity. (tinyurl.com/35n3mfht) Israel’s Labor Ministry reports that 764,000 citizens, close to one-fifth of Israel’s workforce, are jobless because of evacuations, childcare responsibilities due to school closures, or reserve duty call-ups.
Israelis were already abandoning the Zionist state in huge numbers before October 7. According to the July 26, 2023, Times of Israel, 28% of Israelis were considering leaving the country over the divisive judicial overhaul that reinforced the most reactionary and ultra-right forces. The sheer brutality of four months of massive destruction has revived internal dissension in Israel.
What was most unexpected by the Zionist political establishment is that millions of Jewish people in Israel, in the U.S. and around the world — in horror over Israeli genocide — would awaken to an anti-Zionist consciousness.
Wider war won’t save Israel
Step-by-escalating-step, wider war threatens the region. U.S. arms and funds allow brutal Israeli attacks to continue despite the growing outrage. This blatant aggression by U.S. imperialism and its allies clarifies that the protection of markets and profits takes precedence over protection of Palestinians.
On Jan. 28, three U.S. Army soldiers were killed and at least 34 wounded in a drone attack on U.S. troops in northeastern Jordan, near the Iraq-Jordan border. These were the first reported casualties of U.S. military personnel in this period. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for the strike.
The U.S. military has hundreds of troops stationed in Jordan, supposedly as “trainers,” and holds extensive exercises there throughout the year. Now the Jordanian monarchy is fearful of the rising anger of its own Palestinian population; the majority of the Jordanian population are Palestinian refugees violently driven out of Palestine in the Israeli wars of 1967 and 1948.
U.S. forces have come under attack more than 150 times in Iraq and Syria, causing at least 70 casualties prior to Sunday’s attack, most of them traumatic brain injuries. The U.S. continues to blame Iran for all of the attacks and not the destructive impact of its own past wars in Iraq and Syria.
A senior official of Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, directly tied the attack in Jordan to Israel’s campaign in Gaza: “The killing of three American soldiers is a message to the U.S. administration that unless the killing of innocents in Gaza stops, it must confront the entire nation. The continued American-Zionist aggression on Gaza is capable of exploding the situation in the region.” (reuters.com, Jan. 29)
In addition to the three U.S. soldier deaths, two U.S. Navy SEAL team members were declared dead yesterday after a 10-day search in the region.
Imperialists bomb Yemen
The Ansarallah movement in Yemen has closed the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and the Suez Canal to all ships intending to dock in Israel until Israel stops its all-out attack on Gaza. Rather than end the flow of arms to Israel, the U.S. and Britain carried out 18 bombing attacks on Yemen and labeled the Ansarallah movement as “terrorists.”
As a result of the U.S. and Britain’s brazen military intervention, the U.S. and France are attempting to put out a fire on a British oil tanker Marlin Luanda, the latest ship hit by Yemen in the Gulf of Aden. Shipping giant Maersk said that the Maersk Detroit and Maersk Chesapeake freighters were attacked during transit through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.
Having little confidence in the ability of U.S. and British forces to protect them, major shipping companies have largely paused operations in the Red Sea and are sailing around Africa in a long and costly diversion. Shipping costs for any supplies to Israel have skyrocketed and this heavily impacts the economies of the other staunch supporters of the Zionist state, the European Union countries.
Militant response to bombing of Lebanon
In response to Israel’s continued bombing of Lebanon, including targeted assassinations of Hamas officials and Hezbollah leaders, the Lebanese resistance carried out a series of daily missile attacks that forced Israel to evacuate 28 settlements and towns. More than 120,000 Israelis have been evacuated from the border since October 7 and, according to many interviews in Israeli media, the majority do not plan to return.
Hezbollah mounted a third attack on the IOF’s Mount Meron Base. They also attacked Israel’s major northern military command base in Safed, five miles from Lebanon’s border. The Mount Meron base is crucial to the Israeli Iron Dome high-tech defense — and it is crumbling under the repeated blows.
A video released by Hezbollah showcases the attack by 15 missiles on the strategic Israeli air base. Lebanon’s defensive attacks are escalating because, rather than implement a ceasefire, Israel has stepped up its strikes on Hezbollah using fighter jets, drones, helicopters and artillery. Hezbollah and Syria have bombed Haifa, Israel’s only other port.
Türkiye, a major Israel trading partner, is finally cutting off trade with Israel. Most damaging for Israel is the cutting of its oil supplies. Trade has been replaced with sanctions for companies attempting to do business with Israel.
Corporate powers in the U.S. and their neocon strategists are increasingly willing to expand the death and destruction to Yemen, to Lebanon, even to Iran, to save their one “strategic ally” in the region.
But Zionism is self-destructing. Solidarity with Palestine is a global phenomenon.
This is the urgent moment for the people of the whole world to demand an end to U.S. diplomatic, political, economic and military support for the racist Israeli settler-colonial enterprise.
*Featured Image: An Israeli tank, one of 160 destroyed by Hamas in Gaza as of Nov. 7, 2023. (Photo: Reuters)
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.