Blows to Hamas advance fight against Jew-hatred

By Seth Galinsky
February 26, 2024
Hamas built tunnels, command posts under hospitals, schools, mosques, homes to maximize civilian casualties. Left, diagram of tunnel underneath Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Right, Palestinians leaving Rafah after Israel let them know plans for military offensive.
Left, Haaretz; right, Majdi FathiHamas built tunnels, command posts under hospitals, schools, mosques, homes to maximize civilian casualties. Left, diagram of tunnel underneath Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Right, Palestinians leaving Rafah after Israel let them know plans for military offensive.

Israeli officials are preparing an offensive to eliminate Hamas’ last remaining stronghold — Rafah, near the Egyptian/Gaza border — after dealing major blows to the Tehran-backed group’s command structure and underground bases in Gaza City and Khan Younis.

Demonstrating that U.S. imperialism is no friend of working people — Jewish or Palestinian — the White House keeps pressuring Israel to scale back its operations and agree to a cease-fire that would leave the reactionary Islamist group intact. President Joseph Biden claimed Israel’s planned offensive in Rafah — essential for dismantling the group — was “over the top.”

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the offensive is “not something that we would support,” feigning concern for 1.5 million Palestinians in the area. Israeli officials say they intend to evacuate Gazans from Rafah.

Washington’s real concern is to impose the stability it needs to maintain the U.S. rulers’ place as the world’s dominant power and to advance their own economic and political interests against rivals in the region.

The developments unfolding in Israel and more broadly in the Middle East since Tehran-backed Hamas organized the murderous pogrom against Jews Oct. 7 have deeply affected world politics. Actions are needed by working people and unions to fight against Jew-hatred and for Israel’s right to defend itself.

“Those who say that under no circumstances should we enter Rafah are basically saying lose the war,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ABC News Feb. 11.

Liberal media in the U.S. are full of articles describing suffering by the people in Gaza. But they offer no explanation for the causes of the dire conditions there — Hamas’ actions, not Israel’s.

Hamas violated the existing cease-fire with Israel on Oct. 7 by massacring 1,200 people, wounding more than 5,000 and taking more than 240 hostages, the largest massacre of Jews since the Nazi Holocaust.

Nearly three-quarters of those killed in Israel were civilians. The Tehran-trained and financed death squads raped and maimed women, tortured many of their victims and killed entire families. They also killed at least 24 Arabs, 39 Thai and 10 Nepalese farmworkers, and four Filipino home care workers as well as Africans and Cambodians, for the “crime” of friendly relations with Jews.

Hamas continues to hold over 100 hostages. Their allies, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and forces in Iraq and Syria, lob missiles at Israel and carry out attacks elsewhere daily.

Hamas creates civilian ‘martyrs’

The Israeli offensive has uncovered Hamas’ massive spiderweb of tunnels throughout Gaza and provided indisputable proof of how the Jew-hating group deliberately puts civilians in harm’s way to create “martyrs” and to try to win sympathy abroad.

Unlike Hamas, which deliberately targets civilians, Israeli leaders are reluctant to launch operations that could cause significant civilian casualties. That’s why Hamas puts its command centers and weapons warehouses underneath homes, schools, mosques and hospitals — to use Palestinian civilians as human shields.

Hamas could immediately end the war in Gaza by releasing all the remaining hostages, evacuate all the tunnels and hand over the organizers of the Oct. 7 pogrom.

But Hamas has no interest in peace with Israel. It repeatedly says its goal is to carry out Oct. 7-like assaults “again and again.”

U.N. complicity with Hamas

Israeli army officers took reporters on a tour of a high-tech Hamas operation directly underneath the United Nations Relief and Works Agency headquarters in the upscale Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City. The entrance to the tunnel leading to the underground center was located under a UNRWA school.

Inside were six rows of server cabinets with racks of computers. Even though lines to the entrance’s electrical panels came directly from the U.N. headquarters, U.N. officials pretend they didn’t know the tunnels were there.

The U.N. has long been complicit with Hamas. The schools the agency runs in Gaza indoctrinate children that they should fight to expel Jews and conquer Israel. Many of the agency’s employees are Hamas operatives.

“The victims of 7/10 were not killed because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel’s oppression,” claimed Francesca Albanese, the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories, Feb. 10. But this is a straight-up lie. Hamas’ founding convention calls for “killing the Jews.”

Fighting Jew-hatred is not a “Middle East” question.

Whenever capitalism is in crisis, the wealthy rulers scapegoat Jews for economic and social problems, including in the U.S. When their rule is threatened by rising struggles, the rulers turn to fascist thugs that fight under the banner of Jew-hatred, to beat down the working class and crush unions.

Most Arabs in Israel oppose Hamas

Apologists for Hamas rarely mention that some 20% of Israeli citizens are Arabs. And that the overwhelming majority — whatever their view of the government of Israel — oppose Hamas.

“I would say that 85% of Arabs in Israel condemn the Oct. 7 massacre and don’t justify it in anyway,” Loui Haj told the Militant by phone Feb. 10 from Acre, where he manages a tech company. Haj is a Palestinian citizen of Israel.

In an Nov. 26 column in Haaretz he wrote that those who chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” are “calling for the annihilation of Israel.”

Life for Arab Israeli citizens, Haj added, “is complicated and hard, but it is still incomparably preferable to life in any one of the surrounding countries.” Anyone who tries to destroy Israel “will find me arm in arm with my Jewish brethren.”

The column was controversial. “Many Jews liked what I said, but some rightists insulted me for defending equal rights for Palestinians. Some Palestinians told me I had ‘sold out.’”

“But many Palestinians thanked me for the column,” he said. “They said I put into words what they are feeling.”

Haj says the sentiment among Palestinian citizens after the Israel Defense Forces began its counterattack in Gaza became more complicated. Many Arab citizens of Israel have relatives in Gaza. “The collateral damage is their families.”

“I see that Israel is my country and it is right to defend itself,” he said. “Hamas is responsible, but that does not make you feel better when you see the demolished buildings and the catastrophe for civilians in Gaza.”