England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

Gaza faces ‘normalised horror’ as Israeli state steps up attacks

By Mike Forster, Socialist Alternative National Committee

As the conflict in Palestine enters its eighth month, the daily horror which Palestinians face has become an awful way of life. Every week a new atrocity is committed by the Israeli army, innocent civilians are killed, mostly women and children; the Israeli military promises a ‘thorough’ investigation. Ordinary people all around the world condemn the appalling deaths and nothing changes on the ground. The death toll in this genocidal onslaught has now reached 40,000 which only tells half the story. A further 60,000 have been severely injured; and countless other bodies remain buried in the rubble that was once Gaza.

The Gaza Strip is hell on earth, including famine and a healthcare collapse. As Israel has tightened its blockade, there are significant shortages of fuel, food, medication, water, and essential medical supplies. There has been a 90% drop in electricity availability, impacting hospital power supplies, sewage plants, and shutting down the desalination plants that provide drinking water. Dsease outbreaks have spread across Gaza, where there is now 80% unemployment.

90% of the population has now been displaced, with over 80% of buildings, including homes, fully or partially destroyed. Despite the best efforts of aid agencies, essential and urgent humanitarian assistance is not getting through, largely due to the ongoing Israeli blockade. There is literally nowhere for Palestinian civilians in Gaza to go. Last month, the Israeli army launched a massive assault on Rafah in the South, the city which was supposedly a ‘safe area’.

Civilians were forced to flee and find shelter in Al Mawasi in the west of the strip, which has also been subject to attacks. Hospitals, schools, refugee camps are routinely bombed. As the UNRWA Director of Planning remarked, “atrocities are becoming commonplace and even mundane…we have normalised horror”.

The West Bank population has also come under attack from both hardline Israeli settlers and the Israeli army. Over 500 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank since 7 October and countless more wounded.

To the north, a deserted buffer zone has been created between Israel and Lebanon, displacing 90,000 Lebanese and 60,000 Israeli citizens either side of the border. There are now daily bombing raids, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of mainly Lebanese people. Netanyahu is now speaking about a ‘very intense operation’ along the northern border with Lebanon, which chills the hearts of all those living in the region. Biden has warned about a further escalation into Lebanon but all the signs are that Netanyahu is intent on opening up a second front.

Region in flames

The conflict has spilled out across the whole of the Middle East and indeed the rest of the world. The recent Iranian attack on Israel in response to the Israeli bombing of the Iranian consulate in Damascus raised the risk of drawing Iran into the conflict. Opposition from the Biden administration alongside parts of the Israeli ruling class to a full scale retaliatory Israeli attack on Iran and the ‘green light’ from Biden for the Rafah invasion in return, temporarily cut across this escalation but the threat remains. Israeli airstrikes in Syria and rocket and mortar fire launched into Israel by the Iraqi Islamic Resistance, intent on widening the conflict; and the ongoing attacks by the Houthis in Yemen on Western merchant shipping, have tied down US and British naval forces in almost daily exchanges of fire.

The impact of this onslaught is being felt across the entire planet. The United Nations has repeatedly called for a ceasefire. The International Criminal Court has ruled that Israel and Hamas have committed war crimes against humanity, requesting the issuing of arrest warrant for Netanyahu and Sinwar. We cannot have any illusions in bodies like the United Nations, the ICC and ICJ to change the situation on the ground as they are dominated by the same capitalist governments responsible for war in the first place. Russia and China have voiced their support for the Palestinians, largely to cynically advance their own aims against the West. The main international culprits in this brutal onslaught have been principally the US, but also the UK, which continue to arm and support the genocidal actions of the Israeli state.

This has not been without its consequences. In Israel itself, Netanyahu faces growing weekly protests initiated by families of the hostages, but which have spread across a much wider section of Israeli society. Biden has faced the courageous and inspirational student encampments which have spread across the world, as well as literally thousands of Democrat voters in the recent primaries casting their ballot against Biden, largely due to his support and funding for the atrocities in Gaza. Both leaders are under immense pressure to urgently bring this massacre to an end.

Netanyahu faces the almost immediate prospect of losing allies in his so-called Unity War Cabinet. The ultra-right nationalists have presented ultimatums that they will quit if Netanyau agrees to the latest ceasefire deal. Likewise, Benny Gantz, a former political opponent of Netanyahu who now favours a peace deal, has walked away from the cabinet. Netanyahu’s fragile coalition could soon collapse, which could precipitate yet more Israeli elections and likely see Netanyahu booted out of office. Biden is desperate to settle the dispute before the US Presidential elections as he too continues to face growing discontent.

In reality, this crisis will never be permanently resolved until the working class rises up to put its stamp on events. Solidarity action by trade unionists across the world, who have refused to ship armaments to Israel, should be hugely stepped up. In reality, it requires a total working-class embargo on Israeli war shipments. This should be accompanied by mass protests and demonstrations in the region. Pressure in every country has to be exerted on imperialist warmongers demanding an end to the genocidal war. In the Middle East, workers and youth need to join together to overthrow regimes complicit in these atrocities.

Mass, united action across the Middle East and Palestine-Israel, to bring about an immediate ceasefire and an end to the occupation, is urgently required. The resolution to this conflict has to be taken out of the capitalists’ hands; only independent workingclass action can stop this horror To fight the root cause of this catastrophe requires a mass struggle for Palestinian liberation and the overthrow of Israeli capitalism and imperialism in the Middle East. Such struggle, as demonstrated by the First Intifada, could drive a wedge between the reactionary capitalist Israeli state and the Israeli-Jewish working class which is increasingly critical against Netanyahu and his far-right coalition partners, as demonstrated in the protests calling for a ceasefire and hostage release.

The fight to end the rule of Israeli capitalism and imperialist wars requires an alternative of socialist change where the wealth and resources in the region are fully controlled and run in the interests of working class people – not warmongers and capitalists.


  • An end to war and terror
  • An immediate and lasting ceasefire and an end of the siege and occupation
  • For the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Gaza and an immediate exchange of ‘all for all’, all of the hostages and all of the Palestinian prisoners
  • Kick out the warmonger Netanyahu and his imperialist allies
  • For an immediate mass rebuilding programme of schools, hospitals and infrastructure in Gaza
  • For socialist change in the region to guarantee full equal rights and genuine equality, including the right for self-determination for all national communities in the region

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