Ariel Sharon unleashed the full force of the Israeli state against the Palestinian people on Monday of this week. The war criminal who is prime minister of Israel was given the green light for his bloody assault by US president George W Bush. 'Israel has a right to defend itself and the president understands that,' said Bush's official spokesperson.
Israeli missiles destroyed the Gaza residence of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and a compound next to his West Bank office. Israeli jets bombed a Palestinian police building in Jenin and Gaza city, killing three, and Israeli tanks invaded Palestinian-controlled areas. Sharon justified his attacks as a response to the suicide attacks in Jerusalem and Haifa in Israel that killed 26 people.
The attacks in Israel last weekend were horrific and a tragedy. But they were the result of 53 years of violence against a civilian population. Israel has murdered around 900 Palestinians over the last year for taking part in the new intifada, or uprising, against Israeli oppression. This compares to 250 Israelis who have died. Israeli troops have also injured thousands more Palestinians for daring to resist the occupation of their lands.
Israeli leaders have organised the assassinations of almost 50 Palestinian leaders and militants in an attempt to put down the intifada. It was the assassination two weeks ago of Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, military commander of Islamic group Hamas, that led to the retaliation of suicide bombings of last week.
The media calls for more action against 'Palestinian terrorists' but ignores the much greater terrorism of the Israeli state. And this terrorism is backed by George Bush and the US who give Israel $4 billion a year in aid to carry out its function as US 'watchdog' in the oil-rich Middle East.
'Israel cannot, by force, achieve their security,' says Marwan Barghouti, a key figure in the intifada. 'Israeli security will be achieved by negotiation and withdrawal.' Despite this the US backs Israel.
'This is the moment where the advocates for peace in the Middle East must rise up and fight terror,' said Bush after the suicide attacks. But Bush's 'advocates for peace' are the very people who have crushed any hopes of peace and persecuted the Palestinian people.
Now they want to use the US 'war on terrorism' to finally crush any Palestinian resistance, including the possible targeting of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Authority. 'Just as the US acts in its battle against world terror, so shall we do with all the means at our disposal,' said Sharon. 'Arafat has chosen the path of terror.' 'What is good for the Americans is also good for us,' said Limor Livnat, the minister for education.
'Sometimes you can't get rid of the needle in the haystack and you have to get rid of the haystack,' said former Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. After the assassination of right wing Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Zeevi in late October, Israel rolled its tanks into Palestinian towns and killed innocent civilians.
Now Sharon and the warmongers around him want more of this. Israel is a terrorist state, conceived in 1948 by the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinian Arabs. They fled to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Arab East Jerusalem. Then Israel invaded these areas in 1967. It has controlled these 'Occupied Territories' with a rod of iron ever since. Around 400,000 Israeli settlers live in these illegally occupied lands.
The first intifada by the Palestinians, in the late 1980s, forced Israel to negotiate with Yasser Arafat. Despite giving Palestinians limited control over areas of the Occupied Territories, Israel continued to militarily and economically dominate the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
Why Palestinians are forced to fight
Almost every section of the media blames Yasser Arafat for the current crisis. They cite his failure to clamp down on Palestinian fighters and his refusal to accept a deal for a Palestinian state offered by Ehud Barak, the previous Israeli prime minister, last year.
The 'peace process' never offered true freedom and liberation to the Palestinian people. It was only their pressure that forced Arafat to reject the US/Israeli deal. Arafat has now rushed to conciliate his critics by ordering his security forces to arrest dozens of suspected militants.
Groups like Hamas have seen their popularity rise over the last year as they have challenged Israel and Arafat's policies. Before the beginning of the new intifada Hamas's poll rating was around 10 percent. Now it is more like 60 percent.
The intifada is still enormously popular among Palestinians, despite the hardships and Israeli brutality they are put through. The intifada is an uprising against both Israel and Arafat's corrupt concessions to the Israeli state.
The peace process, overseen by the US, saw the Occupied Territories, not as areas illegally controlled by Israel, but as areas to be negotiated over. Israel would continue to control most of the West Bank and parts of Gaza. It would dominate the nominally independent Palestinian state.
Very few of the violent Israeli settlers who have made their homes throughout the Occupied Territories would be forced out. Not one of the four million Palestinian refugees scattered throughout the world would be able to return to their home in Israel.
The Palestinians are right to continue their struggle for a homeland, and everybody should continue their support for their struggle against oppression and imperialism.
Picket The Israeli Embassy Saturday 8 December, 1pm, Israeli Embassy (Kensington High Street tube)