Protesters mourn for Palestinian kids murdered by Israeli State (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Will Israel’s relentless killing in Gaza backfire on imperialism? The US defence secretary Lloyd Austin thinks it might.

He told the Reagan National Defence Forum last week that Israel might be able to win “militarily”, but it could suffer a “strategic defeat” because it is killing too many Palestinians.

“In this kind of a fight, the centre of gravity is the civilian population,” he said.

“And if you drive them into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.”

That warning echoes one made last month by the US secretary of state Antony Blinken. He said that “far too many Palestinians had been killed” in Israel’s attacks.

But these calls for restraint have nothing to do with concern for Palestinian lives—as can be seen in a report for the Wall Street Journal newspaper last week.

It detailed how the US is sending “bunker-buster” bombs along with thousands of other weapons to Israel to help it slaughter Palestinians.

The bunker buster BLU-109 bomb carries a 2,000-pound warhead and is designed to penetrate concrete before exploding. It can destroy an entire block of flats—and everyone living there—in an instant.

The report says the US has sent roughly 15,000 bombs and 57,000 artillery shells to Israel. And Britain too is playing a disgustingly hypocritical role.

Last month Rishi Sunak said he had told Israel to take “all possible measures to protect innocent civilians” in Gaza.

But then, in a serious escalation of British backing for Israel, the ministry of defence revealed last Saturday that it is sending several Shadow R1 reconnaissance aircraft to fly over Gaza.

British sources claim that the unarmed aircraft have no military role. They say that “only information relating to hostage rescue will be passed to the relevant authorities responsible for hostage rescue”.

That’s completely unbelievable. If the British had information about Hamas forces, does anyone think they would not tell the Zionist army?

And how does overhead surveillance assist if, as is constantly said, Hamas keeps hostages in underground tunnels?

Sunak may have confirmed Britain’s military involvement when he met Israel’s president Isaac Herzog at the Cop28 Summit in the UAE recently.

The government sickeningly claimed, “The prime minister once again emphasised the need to take all possible measures to avoid -civilian casualties and significantly increase the flow of aid to Gaza.”

Yet it backs the Israeli regime’s genocidal assaults.

‘Silence is killing children’

Even lead figures in the United Nations (UN), which usually takes its lead from the world’s biggest powers, are worried about the war on Gaza.

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres told the UN security council last week that, “The people of Gaza are in the midst of an epic humanitarian catastrophe before the eyes of the world. We must not look away.”

He was backed by Unicef spokesperson James Elder. Speaking as he saw the killings this week, he said, “Attacks in the south of Gaza are every bit as vicious as the north endured.

Somehow, it’s getting worse for children and mothers. “Your voice matters. We must believe we can be a part of Stopping The War on Children … Silence is complicity.”

The UN presents itself as an organisation that can discipline states that are committing atrocities. But in reality it has very little control over the great powers.

Since 2013 the UN has condemned Israeli state action in 45 resolutions.

Yet Israel continued to oppress and murder Palestinians as it wished. Its failure to do anything to stop Israeli oppression, is built into its structures and how it operates.

The UN isn’t a force used to negotiate peace or curb imperialism.

Instead, it is an instrument used by world leaders to give a “universal” gloss while maintaining their power and dominance. The UN Security Council has five permanent members—nuclear powers China, France, Russia, Britain, and the US.

Ultimately the UN will never do anything that infringes upon the interests of these nations or its allies. And they each have a veto to block actions they think infringe on them or their allies.

The UN has never been the way for the liberation of the Palestinian people. It put forward the plan to split up Palestine in 1948. It then stood aside as the Zionists grabbed even ore though terror.

It was also instrumental in the 1993 Oslo Accords, which further fragmented Palestinian land.

Most Israelis want a more deadly war

Dozens of people demonstrated outside the Israeli military’s headquarters in Tel Aviv last Saturday against the renewed bombardment of Gaza.

Protesters said the assault would endanger Israelis detained by Hamas. Many Israelis are bitterly angry with prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

But much of the fury is because he is seen to have allowed Israel’s humiliation. According to a poll two weeks ago, governing parties, which hold 64 seats, would crash to just 41 seats if elections were held now.

The number of Israeli Jews that opposed Israel’s massacres in Gaza are tiny. The overwhelming majority of Israelis identify with the settler‑colonialist state and fully back the slaughter.

The most recent polls showed 58 percent of Israeli Jews said that Israeli forces are using too little firepower in Gaza, 37 percent an appropriate amount of firepower, and just 1.8 percent too much firepower.

Bombing the city of Khan Younis shows nowhere is safe

Israel has only ramped up its assault on Gaza since the seven‑day pause last month. In some ways today’s war is worse even than the murder and ethnic cleansing of the 1948 Nakba, which marked Israel’s creation.

The Gazan health ministry said over 700 Palestinians had been killed in a single 24-hour period last weekend.

The total death toll in Gaza had, by the beginning of this week, reached over 16,000 since the 7 October attacks.

There is now no “safe” place in Gaza with missiles exploding everywhere, from north to south. The Israeli military intensified its bombing and moved tanks into the city of Khan Younis on Monday.

It also succeeded in cutting off central Gaza from the south. Khan Younis, which is Gaza’s second city, became a refuge for many of those fleeing Israeli bombs, especially in the north of Gaza. But now the city is now itself a target. 

Gaza resident Abu Mohammed said that he had already fled three times in search of safety and was now having to run from Khan Younis as well.

“Israeli tanks shelled from the east, and the north and the west too from naval ships. There was a ring of fire around us. The house kept shaking.

“It was covered in red light. It caused panic and horror for adults and children alike.”

Nesrine Abdelmoty, who lived in Khan Younis, added, “They told people to move from the north to Khan Younis since the south is safer.

“And now, they’ve bombed Khan Younis. Even Khan Younis is not safe now, and even if we move to Rafah, Rafah is not safe as well. Where do they want us to go?”

Ridiculously, Israel said its bombing was not an attempt to displace people.

Military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said, “We have asked civilians to evacuate the battlefield, and we have provided a designated humanitarian zone inside the Gaza Strip.”

He was referring to al-Mawasi, near Khan Younis, a tiny stretch of land that measures just 2.5 square miles. Al-Mawasi is a small settlement with virtually no infrastructure.

Aid organisations have been unable to set up there in preparation for the thousands of Palestinians who could arrive.

Hospitals across Gaza descended to utter chaos over last weekend. Fuel reserves have entirely run out, and not one hospital in the north of Gaza has been able to operate on patients.

Munir al-Barsh, director general of Gaza’s Health Ministry, said, “We are flooded with an influx of dead bodies. Our hospitals can no longer offer any kind of help to victims.

“All our medical equipment was destroyed by the Israeli occupation soldiers.”

And Israel continues to flatten homes. More than 50 residential buildings were destroyed in the Shujayea neighbourhood, east of Gaza City on Monday.

Israeli forces have damaged or destroyed over half of all Gaza’s residential buildings since 7 October.

The aim of Israel’s Gaza policy is clear—to smash Palestinian resistance by whatever mass murder it thinks necessary.

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