Statement Against Israeli State’s War on Gaza

Friday, October 20, 2023






The Palestinian people of Gaza are now facing an unimaginable human catastrophe as the Israeli military imposes a brutal blockade on Gaza and forced displacement, while heavily bombing the territory.

We condemn the brutal Israeli assault on the people of Gaza, and call for an immediate cease-fire, humanitarian aid to help Gazans recover, an end to US military aid to Israel, the release of all hostages on both sides, and an end to the Israeli occupation and subjugation of Palestinian lands.

The aims of the Israeli government were made clear after Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant declared on October 9, “I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals, and we will act accordingly.” 

In the six days since Gallant’s declaration, the Israeli military dropped 6,000 bombs on Gaza—an area the size of Seattle that contains 2.3 million Palestinians with approximately three times the population density as Seattle.

As a result of that bombing, at least 3,478 people have already been killed in Gaza and more than 12,000 wounded. Most of the casualties have been women, children, and the elderly, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Another 1,300 people across Gaza are believed to be buried under the rubble, alive or dead. During that same period, the Israeli military has killed 54 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank

The Israeli state’s brutal assault on the people of Gaza comes in the wake of the staggering loss of civilian lives by the murderous October 7 attack by Hamas, with 1,400 Israelis dead, 3,500 wounded, and another 200 taken as hostages. This act by Hamas was the largest mass killing of Jewish civilians in the history of Israel, and included the killing of Bedouins and other Arab-Israelis.

The Palestinian people have the right to self-determination. Furthermore, people living under occupation have the right to resist and to defend themselves with force. However, horrific attacks on civilians such as this do not further the safety or liberation of the Palestinian people. Instead, they undermine it by providing a pretext for disproportionate retaliation by the Israeli state, which has one of the world’s most powerful militaries, bolstered by more than $3.8 billion a year of military aid from the United States. All of this has only deepened the divisions between ordinary Israelis and Palestinians.

Global history decisively shows that reactionary and violent attacks on innocent and ordinary people will not bring an end to oppression. On the contrary, we need an international anti-war movement, with the labor movement and rank-and-file workers leading protests and strike actions. Fundamental change can only be brought about by movements of the working class and poor, joined across ethnic and sectarian lines. Such movements need to both fight for an end to war, and build the struggle for affordable housing, healthcare, good standards of living, and a dignified existence for all. This will require a global fightback against the billionaire class and their political representatives, and against the system of capitalism.

Due to the horrific collective punishment by the Israeli state, the most vulnerable people are suffering the most, with 50,000 pregnant Gaza women unable to access even basic care and thousands more mothers with newborns placed in similar dire circumstances.

The Israeli government has cut off the sole water pipeline to Gaza, along with the fuel and electricity that power water and sewage plants. The United Nations Agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said on October 17 that Gaza’s last seawater desalination plant had shut down, bringing the risk of further deaths and waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery. 

The Israeli state’s violent policies of occupation and apartheid are root causes of the current crisis. The Israeli government’s response has been completely disproportionate, racist, and dehumanizing of the Palestinian people.

For instance, Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari admitted that “hundreds of tons of bombs” had already been dropped on Gaza, adding that “the emphasis is on damage and not on accuracy.” Giora Eiland, a major-general in the Israeli military, wrote that “Creating a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a necessary means to achieve the goal,” and that “Gaza will become a place where no human being can exist.” 

And Israeli Knesset member Ariel Kallner, called for a second Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic), stating, “Right now, one goal: Nakba! A Nakba that will overshadow the Nakba of ’48. Nakba in Gaza and Nakba to anyone who dares to join! Their Nakba, because like then in 1948, the alternative is clear.” In calling for another Nakba, Kallner and other Israeli leaders are referring to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian communities in 1948 by Zionist militias, resulting in the killing of thousands of Palestinians, the destruction of their villages, and the forcible expulsion of 80 percent of the Palestinian population from their homeland, with many of the descendents of the Nakba living today in Gaza. 

Even while mourning the deaths of Jewish Israelis, many ordinary Israelis as well as Jewish people along with many other people around the world are outraged at the Israeli government’s violent retaliation. For example, Noy Katsman, whose brother Hayim Katsman, a former resident of Seattle who had returned to Israel and was killed by Hamas, told CNN that Israeli military retaliation “never brings us better lives, it just brings us more and more terror.”

The Israeli state’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has been with the full support of the capitalist regimes of the United States and other Western imperialist nations, with the Congressional Research Service reporting more than $114 billion in U.S. military funding for Israel since 1946.

The root of the crisis is the enforcement of the existing order in which Israeli capitalism, with the strongest military power in the region, violently imposes occupation and annexation and denies millions of Palestinian people their basic rights, including the right to self-determination.

The political and military support from the Biden administration and other capitalist governments from the “Western” imperialist bloc for the brutal actions of the Netanyahu government enables the escalation of the bloodbath and represents a fundamental defense of the policy of occupation and annexation. The personal security of ordinary people on both sides of the fence is actively undermined by this policy, illustrated most clearly by the U.S. veto of attempts by the United Nations to declare a cease-fire.

The declaration of war by the Israeli government and the spreading of military escalation to the Israel-Lebanon border pose a significant threat of wider regional conflict, particularly in the context of heightened tensions and polarization globally due to the New Cold War between the United States and China, which has already escalated the scale and duration of war in Ukraine.

In recent days Jewish and Palestinian community members, along with  other community members, have joined in peaceful protests numbering in the thousands in Seattle, joining similar and even larger protests in cities worldwide in calling for an immediate cease-fire, aid to the people of Gaza, a halt to US military aid to Israel, and an end to the Israeli occupation of and control over Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, comprising 31 unions in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza have called on “our counterparts internationally and all people of conscience to end all forms of complicity with Israel’s crimes—most urgently halting the arms trade with Israel, as well as all funding and military research.” The time for action is now—Palestinian lives hang in the balance.

Unfortunately, in many cases locally and across the United States, Arab, Muslim, Jewish, and Palestinian community members who have taken part in peaceful protests against Israel’s war on Gaza have experienced harassment in the form of doxxing, smear campaigns, and threats of violence

In Chicago, a six-year-old Palestinian boy, Wadea Al Fayoume, was stabbed to death by his family’s landlord in what is being investigated as an Islamophobic hate crime. 

Seattle is home to many people whose families have been impacted by the latest round of violence, with victims in Israel, Gaza, and the occupied West Bank. 

We completely oppose both Islamophobia and antisemitism. A 2021 report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief found that discrimination and hatred towards Muslims has risen to “epidemic proportions”.

We join with others in affirming the right of all people to engage in peaceful protest without threats or intimidation. We oppose Islamophobia and antisemitism in all of their forms. 

We stand in solidarity with the right of both the ordinary people of Israel and the Palestinian people to live in peace and security, within countries of their own choosing. 

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