Friday, December 22, 2023

Justice for Palestine – cease-fire now!

 Gaza faces a full-scale humanitarian catastrophe as Israel mercilessly maintains indiscriminate attacks on the civilians in the beleaguered Palestinian enclave that is bitterly resisting the Israeli onslaught. But world public opinion made its voice heard at the United Nations this week when 153 member-states voted for an immediate end to the fighting. Only eight lackeys of US imperialism joined Israel and the Americans in voting against the call for peace. Some of America’s NATO allies took the principled stand and supported the demand for peace. Others like Britain shamefully abstained – though some say this modest departure from the American script is a step forward for the Sunak government.
    If that’s so, and we can only hope it is, it is largely down to the wave of support that we have seen for the Palestinians in Britain and throughout the rest of the world. Grovelling to the Americans and turning a blind-eye to Israeli war crimes may be second nature for the Tory government and the leaders of the Labour Party but even they cannot blind-eye the mass protests of millions of people that rock the streets of Britain week after week. Nor can they ignore the view of their Saudi friends, who have shelved a planned summit with Sunak in London over the crisis, or those of the other Arab princes who’ve invested their oil riches in the UK and made this country their second home.
    These protests have encouraged those in the Jewish community that the Zionists claim to exclusively represent to also take the principled stand of supporting the demand for justice for the Palestinian Arabs. These protests are now rippling through the broader labour movement and now we’re seeing Palestinian demands taken up by unions at a local and regional level. We’re even seeing support for a ceasefire growing within the Parliamentary Labour Party with even some of Labour’s biggies now going beyond his meaningless calls for “humanitarian pauses”.
    This week Labour’s Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy slammed Israel over its attacks on Palestinians. He described the death and destruction in Gaza over the past two months as “intolerable” and attacked two Israeli cabinet ministers for “totally unacceptable” support of illegal Zionist settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
    A permanent ceasefire must be the starting point to address the underlying causes of the crisis, including decades of Israeli military occupation and a system of oppression against the Palestinian Arabs that is considered internationally to meet the legal definition of apartheid.
    Nearly 18,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, with over 40 per cent of those being children. Now is the time to really put the pressure on labour and trade union leaders and all the other powers that be in the UK to end the slaughter. They need to hear the call for a cease-fire from as many as possible and that Britain must end its complicity in Israeli war crimes now. Make sure they hear it by supporting the protests until the fighting stops.

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