By David Sole
Early in the morning of October 7 Palestinian resistance fighters launched a massive, coordinated attack against the Zionist state of Israel from the tiny enclave of Gaza. Unlike many small-scale actions taken by individual or small groups of Palestinians, this operation involved launching thousands of rockets and drones with hundreds of well-armed fighters crossing into many sites in southern Israel. It caught the Israeli military entirely by surprise.
The fighting, which continued through the second day, saw Palestinians attack military facilities as well as numerous settler communities. It is reported that many prisoners have been taken back to Gaza and that the Israeli Occupation Forces were slow in responding to the large scale attack.
The operation should properly be called a massive “counteroffensive” by an oppressed people against their oppressive colonizers. The settler state of Israel was created in 1948 by cynically funneling Jewish refugees from liberated Nazi concentration camps into the land of Palestine. This involved driving millions of Palestinian people from their homes and into exile.
Decade after decade the United States has financed this settler state with economic and military aid. Israel is a tool of U.S. imperialist domination over the vast and profitable oil resources across the entire Middle East. And decade after decade the Zionist state has waged economic, military and political warfare against the Palestinian people.
The Gaza Strip has been the home to over 2 million Palestinians from 1948 to the present. It has an area of 140 square miles, about the size of Detroit, Michigan, with a population more than triple that of the city. Gaza has been described as the “world’s largest open-air prison,” where the prison guard is Israel. Because of constant Palestinian resistance to this oppressive situation, Israel imposed a stringent blockade against Gaza that has continued for over 15 years. The Palestinian attack represents a huge prison break against a vicious enemy.
Five years ago the Norwegian Refugee Council made clear the intolerable conditions for the people of Gaza.
“Palestinian children and youth grow up in a society characterized by fear, lack of security, hopelessness and the lack of work, medical services, food, freedom of movement and other essentials…. A 2012 UN report predicted the Palestinian enclave would be ‘unlivable’ by 2020 if nothing was done to ease the blockade, but in June 2017 a UN report on living conditions in Gaza stated that all the indicators are going in the wrong direction and that deadline is actually approaching even faster than earlier predicted.”
Of course the Zionist government, with full support of U.S. President Joe Biden, denounced the uprising as the work of “terrorists.” But that is the same term the U.S. government applied for decades to the heroic freedom fighters against South Africa’s apartheid regime. The U.S. also gave economic, political and military support to that racist, settler state until the Black majority overthrew the racist government and elected Nelson Mandela president.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was also quick to offer Israel any and all support it needed to fight the Palestinian resistance forces. He also began to put pressure on other U.S. dominated governments in the Middle East to denounce the uprising. It is certain that the U.S. will be resupplying Israel with weapons and ammunition needed to fight the Palestinians.
Most embarrassing to both Israel and the U.S. government is that they had no clue that this huge, complex and coordinated military operation was being prepared. Both the U.S. and its client state have huge intelligence gathering organizations. Yet they were taken completely by surprise.
This situation will not quickly be resolved. Fighting could spread. It has been reported that artillery fire has been exchanged on the northern border with Lebanon where the Hezbollah organization, which defeated an Israeli invasion in 2006, is strong.
Israel, no doubt, will make every effort to retrieve the many prisoners, military and civilian, that the Gaza fighters have taken. That may entail close quarter fighting, unlike the fighting Israel prefers, which includes using jet fighters and tanks that usually cost fewer deaths of their own forces.
Whatever the ultimate outcome, this military counteroffensive against colonial oppression reminds the world that the Palestinian people will never give up their demand for self-determination and statehood. It should also remind the Israeli settlers that without justice there will never be peace.