The urgent need right now

La Tribune des Travailleurs (Workers’ Tribune, POID, France).

Issue No.410 (11 October 2023) – Editorial

Hour after hour, the media revise upwards the number of civilian victims – particularly young people and children – who have lost their lives since 7 October, on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. Sadly, this toll is set to rise in the coming days if, as announced, the Gaza Strip is crushed under a carpet of bombs, faced with a ground military intervention and its population starved as a result of the merciless blockade imposed by Netanyahu. To which should be added the thousands of children killed by the Israeli army over the last few decades.

No democrat, no humanist can remain impassive when faced with the death of a single innocent child, whether Jewish or Arab. But invoking this legitimate and shared emotion is not enough to open the path to a solution.

By responding to the Hamas attack with a deluge of metal and fire against 2 million Palestinians trapped in an open-air prison, Netanyahu is simply continuing what he has been doing for years: denying the existence of a Palestinian people who are demanding the legitimate rights to which all peoples aspire. This denial – and the spiral of repression and settler colonisation that it entails – largely contributed to the attack on 7 October. To say this is not to deny Hamas’s responsibility for its actions, nor to approve of its policies.

But it is not Hamas that Israel has been ignoring for decades, it is the Palestinian people as a whole.

It is true that you can temporarily condemn a people to silence. But you cannot make them disappear, even through terror. Legitimate national claims always resurface in the end. The Israeli journalist Gideon Levy says nothing else in the columns of [daily newspaper] Haaretz, which we quote in this newspaper.

Workers will remember that in 1954, when the Algerian people rose up for their liberation, the French government declared that it was not a question of a war of liberation, but of “terrorist acts”, to which it would respond with “police measures”. Later, Interior Minister Mitterrand declared: “The only negotiation is war”.

The outcome is well known: 1.5 million dead on the Algerian side, but in the end, the legitimate cause prevailed against the colonial power.

One may or may not agree with the terms of the statement by the Democratic Independent Workers’ Party (POID) and the perspective it advocates of a single democratic and secular state guaranteeing equal rights to all its citizens. But whether one agrees or not, one indisputable fact remains: allowing Netanyahu to continue tomorrow what he did yesterday will undoubtedly result in thousands, perhaps tens of thousands more deaths, mostly civilians and children, but it will not be enough to wipe out the Palestinian people and their legitimate aspirations.

One way or another, a political solution must be found. Nothing can justify the massacre in the Gaza Strip. The urgent need right now is to prevent it and to impose the lifting of the blockade.

October 10, 4 pm