The Middle East



Socialist Viewpoint Editorial

On the seventeenth day of Israel’s indefensible war against the Palestinian people of Gaza, the number of fatalities reported by the New York Times has been readjusted upwards approaching a thousand (908) Palestinian men, women and children, and thousands more wounded—in fact it is impossible to keep up with the death toll while Israeli casualties can be counted on one’s fingers and toes during the same time-span (13)—and some of them caught by their own “friendly fire.”

Meanwhile, the relentless and indiscriminate Israeli bombings and brutal ground war continues on homes, schools, ambulances—any Palestinian targets being “fair game!” Palestinian children throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers are met with tank and aerial bombardment of their entire neighborhoods. News photos abound with the images of the blown-apart body parts of children. All Israel need do is label them “Hamas.”

But none of this horror could take place without the massive political, monetary and military aid the U.S. is, and has been, supplying to Israel since before its birth in 1948.

In a News Analysis written by Ethan Bronner that appeared in the Times December 29, 2008 entitled, “Israel Reminds Foes That It Has Teeth,” Bronner, reports that while Israel maintains that the reason they are carrying out this military operation in Gaza is to force, “…Hamas to end its rocket barrages and military buildup.” He goes on to say, “But it has another goal as well: to expunge the ghost of its flawed 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and re-establish Israeli deterrence.” Bronner continues, “…[Israel] worries that its enemies are less afraid of it than they once were, or should be. Israeli leaders are calculating that a display of power in Gaza could fix that.”

But in another article (also December 29) that appeared in Counterpunch, by Joshua Frank, entitled “Obama and the ‘Special Relationship’,” the author writes, “Over the last seven years only 17 Israeli citizens have been killed by Palestinian rocket fire, which makes it extremely difficult for Israeli politicians, which are in the midst of an election, to argue that their response has been proportionate or defensible in any way.”

Not only have the people in Gaza been enduring an Israeli blockade of all goods and services, including electricity, water and medical supplies and equipment, for over a year; the death toll among all the people of Palestine is counted in the tens-of-thousands since before the formation of Israel in 1948.

And, as for U.S. intentions in the region from that time on, in an article in the March 1995 issue of The Middle East Forum Promoting American Interests entitled, “Jesse Helms: Setting the Record Straight,” Helms, who was the senior senator from North Carolina and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time stated,

“I have long believed that if the United States is going to give money to Israel, it should be paid out of the Department of Defense budget. My question is this: If Israel did not exist, what would U.S. defense costs in the Middle East be? Israel is at least the equivalent of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Middle East. Without Israel promoting its and America’s common interests, we would be badly off indeed.”1

This quote was from 13 years ago. Just think of the buildup of Israel’s arsenal funded by U.S. dollars since that time! How many aircraft carriers is Israel worth today with its U.S.-stocked nuclear arsenal?

This siege on Gaza is not just to throw the proverbial fear of the almighty into the people of Gaza but to all who stand opposed to U.S. wars and occupations throughout the world, including opposition to their funding of Israel’s ongoing and relentless war against the Palestinian people.

In fact, Palestine can be viewed as the first front of the U.S. “War on Terror.” The U.S. came out on top of the world imperialist heap after WWII. And immediately it facilitated the formation of Israel with the intention of establishing Israel as a beachhead for U.S. imperialist interests in the Middle East. That’s why they have funded Israel’s war against the people of Palestine all these years since Israel’s formation.

The U.S./Israeli war on Palestine cannot be separated from the U.S. War on Terror any more than you can separate the war on Iraq from the war on Afghanistan; the attacks in Pakistan; the threat to Iran, etc. It is just another front along its designated “Axis of Evil” which includes many other targets around the world in Lebanon, Africa, Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, Columbia—anywhere the U.S. meets resistance to their imperialist exploitation of workers and natural resources.

It is incumbent upon the American people including the entire antiwar movement in this country to stand squarely opposed to these murderous assaults against a people pummeled by war for decades, bankrolled by the U.S. to benefit U.S. Big Business and maintain its world military domination!

The working class of the U.S. must join the workers of the rest of the world not only to condemn the ongoing bloodshed and the inhuman blockade of Gaza, and demand it end immediately, but it must condemn all U.S. funding and aid to Israel and demand that it end NOW!

We must educate people who have been brainwashed by years of lies and propaganda justifying the hundreds of billions of dollars this bipartisan government has already spent funding the wars to insure U.S. domination in the Middle East. And we must point out that Israel—the former Palestine—is but one of 725-plus U.S. military bases around the globe.

The antiwar movement can make a huge step forward by demanding that the U.S. end all aid to Israel now. Palestinian speakers should be featured at antiwar rallies.

“End All U.S. Aid to Israel NOW! Not One More Dime for War and Occupation! Bring All the Troops and Contractors Home from Iraq and Afghanistan NOW! Money for Human Needs Not War and Occupation!”