Washington and other democratic imperialist governments are stepping up the pressure on the Israeli government to agree to a long-term cease-fire with Tehran-backed Hamas in Gaza.
That would mean Israel abandoning its efforts to destroy Hamas, allowing the terrorists to regroup and slaughter Jews again, aided by the rulers in Tehran and their ally Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Hamas death squads raped and tortured women, murdered 1,200 people and injured more than 5,400 Oct. 7. The vast majority of victims were Jews, along with several dozen migrant farmworkers and Arab workers. It was the largest single-day murder of Jews since the Holocaust.
Hamas political bureau member Ghazi Hamad left no doubt about the group’s intentions when he told Lebanese television Oct. 24, “We will do this again and again.”
Seizing hostages and threatening to kill them is a key part of its pogrom. Israel Defense Forces spokesman Avichy Adraee accused Hamas of treating captured Israeli children and women “like the spoils of war … handing them over to other terror groups in the Gaza Strip.” Some families have been separated, with children held away from their parents.
Israel agreed to a four-day truce that began Nov. 24 to facilitate the release of women and children, who make up more than one-third of the 240 hostages. Israel said it would consider up to a 10-day pause if Hamas keeps releasing hostages.
High-ranking U.S. officials told the press that they have warned Israel to avoid “significant further displacement” of civilians in southern Gaza. But that’s precisely where much of the Hamas leadership is now hiding.
But Israeli cabinet minister Benny Gantz said that “fire will resume” when the pause ends. “There will be no place of refuge for terrorists and Hamas leaders.”
Despite their claims to back Israel, the U.S. rulers and other imperialist powers don’t care about the lives of either Jews or Palestinians. They want to see the current war end so that their drive for profits is not disrupted and they can pursue their strategic political interests in the region without disruption.
Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin lauded President Joseph Biden for his “two-track approach” of publicly supporting Israel’s war aims while pressing Israeli rulers to halt the fighting.
As of Nov. 28 Hamas had freed 81 hostages and the Israeli government 150 Palestinian women and teenagers held in its prisons. Hamas refuses to allow Red Cross visits to the hostages. One hostage, 84-year-old Elma Avraham, was deprived of life-saving medicines in Hamas’ dungeons. When she was released she had to be hospitalized and put on a ventilator.
Unlike the hostages in Gaza — kidnapped and mistreated in captivity simply for being Jewish or working with Jews — the Palestinians released by Israel have been found guilty or charged with crimes such as attempted murder, arson and possession of firearms or explosives.
The liberal media claims that the release of prisoners from Israeli jails was popular among Palestinians in the West Bank. But people living under the Palestinian Authority there — like those in Gaza who have been under the boot of the Hamas dictatorship since 2006 — can’t express their views freely.
Underscoring the barbarity of those claiming to defend Palestinian interests, two Palestinians accused of “spying” for Israel in the West Bank were executed Nov. 25 by thugs affiliated to Fatah. Their dead bodies were dragged through the streets and mutilated, just like Hamas does to its opponents in Gaza.
The message is clear: Don’t condemn the pogrom or challenge Tehran, Hamas and its allies.
Arab Israelis condemn Hamas
The Oct. 7 pogrom has sparked a backlash against Hamas among Israel’s Arab citizens, 21% of the population. Almost everyone has seen the videos taken by Hamas assassins as they brutalized Arabs they came across Oct. 7. This included Arab drivers from East Jerusalem picking people up at the Supernova music festival and Bedouins who worked on kibbutzim.
For Hamas, every Jew and anyone who is friendly to Jews is an enemy.
“There is general disgust and shock among Arab workers in Israel at what Hamas did Oct. 7,” Yaniv Bar Ilan, a spokesperson for Koach LaOvdim (Power to the Workers), told the Militant by phone Nov. 24. Koach LaOvdim, the second-largest union federation in Israel, organizes Jewish and Arab workers, including in child care centers, on school campuses and at bus companies.
“This is totally different than in past wars with Hamas,” he said. In 2021 there were clashes between some Jews and Arabs after Hamas fired rockets at Israel. “This time a majority recognize the importance of Israel’s military approach to Gaza to prevent this happening again.”
“There is a mutual solidarity between workers,” he noted. “We are in collective bargaining negotiations right now in transportation and education and Arab and Jewish workers are working well together.”
This shift is reflected in the number of Palestinians who openly condemn Hamas.
Loui Haj, a Palestinian who manages a tech company in Acre, wrote a column in Haaretz Nov. 26. Those chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” at protests include “students from the best universities in the world,” he noted.
“I have to wonder — how are your souls, which are supposed to be oh-so-sensitive to human injustices, able to blithely contemplate the ethnic cleansing of Jews from this land?” he wrote.
Haj does not discount that the formation of Israel in 1948 brought “in its wake killing and destruction and the expulsion of my relatives. Nor do I ignore the pogroms and atrocities that members of my people committed against the Jews before and in the wake” of Israel’s founding.
“You cannot correct one great injustice with an injustice of total destruction,” he said. “Israel has an unshakable right to exist that does not require your approval.”
“For us Arab Israeli citizens, life is complicated and hard, but it is still incomparably preferable to life in any one of the surrounding countries,” he said. “If you show up here in your liberation campaign, you will find me arm-in-arm with my Jewish brethren, fighting you and anyone else who dares to threaten the country’s survival.”