A Palestine solidarity protest in London last year. Another is planned on Monday night (Picture: Guy Smallman)

In the face of escalating violence from the Israeli state, Palestinian fighters launched resistance attacks on Israeli towns, cities and settlements on Saturday. And they have won huge military gains.

Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, declared from the military headquarters in Tel Aviv, “Citizens of Israel, we are at war.” 

Palestinian resistance group Hamas, said its attack followed the atrocities committed by the Israeli state “against Palestinian people and our holy sites like Al-Aqsa”. Hamas commander Mohammed Deif stated, “We’ve decided to say enough is enough. This is the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on Earth.” 

The group launched rockets early in the morning from the Gaza Strip. Palestinian fighters also attacked Israeli towns and cities on foot, storming Israeli military bases and checkpoints. At around 10am on Saturday Hamas fighters had taken over 21 military bases, holding Israeli soldiers hostage. 

And in the city of Sderot, Palestinian fighters took over a police station and set it on fire. Palestinians also bulldozed a fence which separates the Gaza Strip from Israel. 

By midday, Israeli news channels had to admit that Palestinian resistance fighters effectively controlled all illegal Israeli settlements at the Gaza border. Palestinian fighters took over and held the headquarters of the Israeli occupation’s Southern Command.

Israeli planes began bombing in several locations across Gaza. The Palestinian Health Ministry said at least 198 people were killed and more than 1,610 were wounded by Israeli strikes. 

Israeli officials said rocket attacks and Palestinian gunfire killed at least 40 Israelis. The attacks caught the Israeli state by surprise. But it should be no surprise there is resistance. Ever since the formation of the state through ethnic cleansing, expulsion and murder in 1948, Israel carried out apartheid policies and worke4d alongside imperialism

Following the attack Israel’s imperialist allies quickly asserted their support, whatever the human cost. Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin promised that the United States would provide Israel with “what it needs to defend itself”.

Tory foreign secretary James Cleverly said that Britain “will always support Israel’s right to defend itself”. Defending a state based on systematic Palestinian oppression is itself an act of aggression.

As journalist Tony Karon tweeted, “The racist contempt for Palestinian life that forms the core of US policy on Israel offers no path to liberty, dignity and justice for Palestinians, who are systematically brutalised every day. And then the US calls their resistance ‘unprovoked’.”

Repeatedly the Israeli state has attacked and slaughtered Palestinians living in refugee camps in Jenin. An assault on Jenin last week was the biggest Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank in two decades. It killed 12 Palestinians, injured 140 and forced thousands to flee

Netanyahu’s government, which has faced domestic opposition over how best to maintain the state, has absorbed far right figures such as security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. He demanded “a military operation to demolish buildings, eliminate terrorists, not one or two, but tens and hundreds, and if necessary even thousands.” 

The Palestinian people have every right to respond in any way they choose to the violence that the Israeli state metes out to them every day. 

In 2021 a historic uprising across Palestine mounted a direct challenge to Israel’s regime. For the first time in decades Palestinians joined across Israel’s borders in mass resistance from below—raising the prospect of a united Palestine freed through struggle.

The revolt included a powerful strike by Palestinian workers. The occupation believed it had subsequently regained full control. But again the fightback has burst through.

A key issue now is whether workers and the poor in the surrounding area themselves revolt against their reactionary rulers and aid the Palestinian uprising.

Emergency Demo: Stand with Palestine, 6pm, Monday 9 October, outside the Israeli embassy in west London, W8 4QB. 

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