On the emergency Palestine solidarity protest in London outside the Israeli embassy (Picture: Alisdaire Hickson on Flickr)

Israel is readying for a great crime, a mass slaughter signalled in advance and with the enthusiastic support of the US and British governments.

After days of bombing, shelling and rocket attacks from the air, the Israeli army is now poised for an all-out ground offensive on Gaza. On Friday morning the Israeli Government told 1.1 million people in the North of Gaza to immediately leave their homes and move South within 24 hours.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said a “forced displacement” would amount to a “second Nakba”, or catastrophe. The term is used by Palestinians to refer to Israel’s foundation in 1948 which saw a million Palestinians driven from their homes using the threat of death.

Philippe Lazzarini, the UN’s agency for Palestinian relief commissioner-general, said, “The scale and speed of the unfolding humanitarian crisis is bone-chilling. Gaza is fast becoming a hell hole and is on the brink of collapse.”

Israel is seeking to pre-emptively justify the likely mass slaughter of many thousands of civilians, on the basis that they were warned to leave and should do so if they care for their lives. The Israelis and their imperialist backers are holding Gaza’s 2.3 million people as hostages. They will be released only if there is total surrender, everyone who resists is eliminated and never again is there any revolt.

By Friday Israeli bombs had already killed around 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza, and about 430,000 people had already been displaced.

Arrej, who lives in Deir al Bala in central Gaza, told Socialist Worker, “The bombing here was tough yesterday. The electricity was cut off completely. Clean water is about to run out very soon.

“Bakeries may stop producing bread as no gas and electricity are available. People here can’t survive long with these unbelievable conditions. The number of displaced people is immensely increasing. In one building you may find 60 or 70 persons on average.” 

Hospitals in Gaza are completely overwhelmed by those wounded and dying. There is only one power plant in Gaza, which ran out of power on Wednesday. Those working in hospitals are now terrified that backup generators will soon stop working. 

Fabrizio Carboni, regional director of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said, “As Gaza loses power, hospitals lose power, putting newborns in incubators and elderly patients on oxygen at risk. 

“Kidney dialysis stops, and X-rays can’t be taken. Without electricity, hospitals risk turning into morgues.”

A Palestinian living near Jerusalem told Socialist Worker on Friday, “The Israeli state is aiming to clear the Gaza Strip. They are sending leaflets to people telling them to leave. They are telling them to go to the south, near the Egyptian border. The Israeli army is getting support from Britain, and the US is helping with this. 

“And, of course everyone who crosses the border with Egypt won’t be able to come back to Palestine as they have no right of return. I think their plan next will be to clear the rest of the West Bank as well. 

“People here in the West Bank are almost completely without protection. We don’t have armed military units. The Palestinian Authority is offline. They are non-existent.”

But, urging people to take to the streets, he added that there is still hope in the resistance in Palestine and worldwide. 

“We’ve seen that there were huge demonstrations in Jordan, Afghanistan and Iran,” he said. “In the Arab world and elsewhere, we are seeing that people are shouting. Hopefully this can make a change. 

“Even though things are very bad, I can see through this darkness. They will never stop the sun from rising. We will win our rights and our dignity.”

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