This article is part one of a two part series.
Aerial footage from social media shows the unprecedented scale of the devastation wrought by Israel’s carpet bombing of Gaza. Entire neighbourhoods have been obliterated. More than a million people have been forced from their homes. Israel’s sealing of Gaza’s borders and cutting off the supply of food, fuel, electricity and even drinking water has caused unimaginable suffering.
The daily death toll is horrific.
A man sits on the rubble as others wander among debris of buildings that were targeted by Israeli airstrikes in Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)
With its targeting of hospitals, schools and other places of refuge, it is ever more apparent that Israel’s twin policies of carpet bombing and deprivation of all means of existence are aimed at driving the Palestinians out of Gaza and ensuring they never return. This is a pre-planned policy that Israel has for years sought to achieve via the forcible displacement of Gaza’s population into Egypt’s Sinai desert, as leaked documents written by Israel’s Ministry of Intelligence and interviews in the Israeli press have revealed. On Sunday, the Hebrew-language publication Mekomit reported, “the document recommends the forced transfer of the population of the Gaza Strip to Sinai permanently, and calls for the international community to be harnessed for the move.”
With the Palestinians in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories now slightly outnumbering Jews, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his fascist government view a war and ethnic cleansing as the only solution to the “demographic problem.” Addressing the nation, he pledged that Israel’s response to the Palestinians’ October 7 attack on Israel would “change the Middle East” and that “What we will do to our enemies in the coming days will reverberate with them for generations.”
This genocidal war against civilians in Gaza is an escalation of policies pursued by the Israeli bourgeoisie for decades, aimed at dispossessing the Palestinian people of their lands, property and homes, about which the ruling elite assumes a collective historical amnesia.
Since capturing the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians, including military and political repression, have become ever tighter. Gaza has suffered 16 years of a suffocating blockade by Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Egypt that the United Nations had in 2012 predicted would make besieged enclave uninhabitable by 2020, only to warn in 2017 that this was happening faster than it had predicted.
These events flow inexorably from Israel’s establishment as the answer to the problem of the European persecution of the Jews—where they would find a safe haven, social justice and equality. The state was in reality based upon the dispossession of another people and maintained through escalating wars, territorial expansion and repression, alongside social inequality at home.
The front page of the Mandate for Palestine and Transjordan memorandum, presented to UK Parliament in December 1922, prior to it coming into force in 1923. [Photo: British government - Archive.org]
Precipitating a war with its Arab neighbours that lasted till 1949, Israel was established in 1948 on 80 percent of the land controlled by the British under the League of Nations-granted Mandate, with King Abdullah of Transjordan, Britain's client state, seizing the West Bank and Egypt the Gaza Strip. This was less than any of the various Zionist factions wanted. But Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, took a pragmatic approach: first establish a Jewish state and change the boundaries later.
The 1967 war and the plundering of Israel’s new Palestinian colonies
The 1967 War provided Israel with the opportunity to change the boundaries, denying its seizure of the West Bank and Gaza constituted an “occupation” of foreign territories since they had been part of Palestine, not Jordan and Egypt.
Israeli tanks advancing on the Golan Heights during the Six Day War, June 1967 [Photo by Government Press Office (Israel) / CC BY-SA 4.0]