U.S. officials say they’re focused on preventing a widening of the war between Israel and the Tehran-organized “axis of resistance,” which includes Hamas, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Tehran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq, and Houthi-based Islamists in Yemen.
“I have been quietly working with the Israeli government to get them to reduce and significantly get out of Gaza,” Biden said Jan. 8 after a handful of opponents of Israel disrupted his campaign talk at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He praised the disrupters’ “passion.”
Washington does not prioritize protecting Jews, Israel or the Palestinians. What it cares about is stability for U.S. imperialism’s profit-driven political and military interests in the region.
The Israeli government is driving to render Hamas incapable of carrying out more murderous pogroms against Jews in the future, as it did on Oct. 7. Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari told the press Jan. 8 that the Hamas command structure has been decimated in northern Gaza, allowing the IDF to concentrate on other Hamas strongholds.
The Hamas massacre, planned with Tehran, left 1,200 dead, and thousands wounded, mostly civilians. More than 100 are still being held hostage in Gaza. In addition to Jews, Hamas death squads also killed, wounded or kidnapped dozens of Arabs, Thais, Filipinos and Nepalese for the “crime” of working with Jews. It’s the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.
Joining Biden in pressing the Israeli government to back off, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is now visiting Turkey, Greece, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the West Bank headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in Washington’s quest to shore up the U.S. rulers’ economic and political endeavors.
The more progress Israeli forces make in dismantling Hamas and its miles of tunnels — coupled with the resistance by Iranian working people and oppressed nationalities to the reactionary bourgeois clerical regime there and its military adventures abroad — the greater the possibilities of avoiding a wider war. And for working people in Israel and throughout the region, whatever their religious beliefs or nationality, to unite to defend their own class interests.
Tehran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps worked with Hamas for years to create an army whose purpose was to kill Jews and attack Israel. The IDF announced Jan. 7 that soldiers in a newly discovered underground factory had found evidence of Iran’s direct involvement in producing precision-guided missiles.
Tehran regime, Hamas hated in Iran
Tehran’s role on Oct. 7 and its reactionary militias throughout the region are not popular among working people in Iran. They see Hamas and the regime in Tehran, which killed more than 500 people during the protests in Iran in 2022, as two sides of the same coin.
Iran’s rulers have, at least for now, been content to let the Hamas thugs face the Israeli counteroffensive without Iranian forces directly confronting the Jewish state’s military.
“Axis of resistance” member Hezbollah began firing rockets and deploying drones against northern Israel close to the Lebanese border nearly every day after Oct. 7 as a measured display of support for Hamas.
Israeli counterattacks have included killing a high-ranking Hamas official based in Beirut, Lebanon. Some 70,000 civilians on each side of the border have evacuated. Both sides have been careful, so far, to try to avoid attacks that would provoke a full-fledged war.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati told the U.N. Jan. 9 that his country is now ready “to enter into negotiations to achieve long-term stabilization” of its border with Israel. He said this would include Hezbollah removing its combatants and arms from the border area, a key Israeli demand.
The biggest price in today’s fighting is being paid by civilians in Gaza, for which Hamas is responsible. They use Gazans as human shields, building their tunnels, bases, armories and other sites under hospitals, apartment buildings and schools. They hoped this would delay Israeli assaults — since Israel warns civilians in advance to leave areas it is targeting — and to create martyrs the reactionary Islamist group uses to gain sympathy and raise funds.
But growing numbers of working people in Gaza are fed up with Hamas’ brutal dictatorial rule, including its stealing and diverting humanitarian aid to its combatants that was intended for the wider population.
Torture, rape of hostages
Apologists for Hamas around the world deny that its death squads raped, tortured, and murdered on Oct. 7. They unconscionably claim that the hostages captured at gunpoint by Hamas are well-treated.
Wichian Temthong, from Thailand, was working on a kibbutz when Hamas attacked. He was held hostage for 51 days with three Israelis, one a Bedouin Arab citizen of Israel. He told the London Financial Times that their captors only gave them one meal a day.
The two Jewish captives were treated the worst, Wichian said, given less food and beaten and tortured. His three fellow captives, who later escaped, were mistakenly shot and killed by IDF soldiers Dec. 15.
Freed hostage Aviva Siegal testified before Israel’s parliament Jan. 9. After a fellow prisoner was sexually abused by a Hamas thug she saw her “returning from the toilet in an agitated state. I got up and hugged her, and he [the Hamas thug] said that’s not allowed. The son of a bitch touched her and did not even let me hug her afterward,” she said. She also witnessed “where a hostage was thought to be a soldier, so they tortured her right next to me.”
South Africa gov’t says ‘genocide’
Attempting to cover up the murderous pogrom against Jews carried out by the Tehran-backed Hamas death squads, the South African government filed documents with the U.N. International Court of Justice Dec. 28 charging Israel’s military operations in Gaza are genocide.
The 84-page document mentions Hamas’ Oct. 7 pogrom just once, then accuses Israel of targeting Palestinians in Gaza “to bring about their physical destruction.”
The document denies that Hamas deliberately places its command posts and weapons storage underneath and in hospitals, schools, homes, mosques and U.N. facilities. The document accuses Israel, not Hamas, of using Palestinians as “human shields,” while supporting Hamas’ claim that it never used hospitals to shield its fighters from attack, despite mountains of proof.
Israel plans to mount a serious defense. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed one of his political opponents, former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, to defend Israel against the South African slanders. Barak is a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust.
The Israeli government will answer “South Africa’s absurd blood libel,” government spokesperson Eylon Levy told the press. The first hearing is scheduled in the Hague on Jan. 11.
Opponents of Israel charge that Israel is an “apartheid state.” They rarely mention that more than 20% of Israel’s population are Arab citizens or permanent residents.
Ismael Haj Yahya, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, wrote in the Jan. 6 Jerusalem Post that Oct. 7 was “an inflection point” that has increased support for Israel’s right to exist among the Arab minority, despite the discrimination they face.
“After witnessing so vividly exactly what the worldview of Hamas means in practice, many of us have come to realize that sitting on the fence is no longer an option,” he wrote. “It is a mortal threat to all we hold dear for the future of our society, and yes, it is a common threat to Jews and Arabs alike.”
There are challenges, Haj Yahya notes. “The minority of Arab citizens who sympathize with Hamas and want to burn down Israel may not operate out in the open, but they are still strong enough to possibly deter others from publicly espousing” their views.