Around 500 people protested  in Cardiff on 23 December against the slaughter in Gaza—and then occupied a Zara store

Israel’s murderous aerial bombing of the Maghazi refugee camp—which killed 100 people on Christmas Eve—underlined the scale of the carnage in Gaza and pointed to those responsible.

It was a “massacre committed on a crowded residential square”, said Gazan health ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra.

Israel says it issues evacuation orders so civilians can get to safety before military attacks. But people living in Maghazi said there was no such warning. And Israeli troops followed up the bombing with artillery shelling.

The camp’s population of 33,000 in more normal times had risen as people fled other parts of Gaza under attack. Maghazi, established in 1949, exists because of the first wave of slaughter and mass ethnic cleansing as Zionists founded Israel in 1948. That horror, known as the Nakba, is now being repeated.  

On the day of the Maghazi massacre, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu proclaimed his Christmas message. He reinforced the racist and genocidal logic of the assault. “This is a battle, not only of Israel against these barbarians, it’s a battle of civilisation against barbarism,” he said.

The day after the killings, Netanyahu visited troops in Gaza. He expressed his pride in their work, telling them that he was “unusually impressed.” 

He went on, “Don’t stop. The war continues to the end. Until they are finished, no less than that.”

Just as Israeli jets prepared for their Maghazi strike, US president Joe Biden spoke to the media as he climbed aboard a helicopter to fly off for his holiday,  “I had a long talk with Netanyahu,” he said. “I did not ask for a ceasefire.”

On 6 November, after an earlier attack on Maghazi, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said, “The unfolding catastrophe makes the need for a humanitarian ceasefire more urgent with every passing hour.” No such ceasefire came, and the UN’s pleas will be equally useless now.

The UN security council resolution, passed recently after many changes to satisfy the US, has altered nothing. It called only for more humanitarian aid, and even that hasn’t happened.

Only greater and wider resistance will stop the killings in Gaza. Action must continue in Britain over the New Year. Over 1,000 people joined a protest organised by Sisters Uncut in London’s Oxford Street on 23 December.  Other recent protests included marches and other actions in Cardiff, Huddersfield, Manchester, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Brighton, Abergavenny, Bristol, Birmingham, Derby, and Stratford and Wandsworth in London

We need a return to huge numbers on the streets, more workplace action and greater militancy against the pro-Israel Tories and support for the slaughter from Labour.

Local demonstrations for Palestine across Britain, Saturday 6 January
Next national demonstration, Saturday 13 January, 12 noon, London.
Stop the War London Activists’ Meeting,  Monday 8 January, 6:30pm, Mander Hall, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London, WC1H 9BD 

Hamas is undefeated

Hamas remains capable of resistance despite the military losses it has suffered so far in the war against Israel, two military monitors said.

The update comes from the US-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project (CTP).

They report that Hamas continues to do battle in the north of the Gaza Strip, using an improvised explosive device west of Beit Hanoon on 26 December, and challenging Israel’s attempt to “clear and hold” Jabalia city.

“Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad also conducted a combined complex ambush using standard and thermobaric rockets against Israeli forces sheltering in a home in Jabalia city,” the monitors said.

Palestinian fighters are engaged in “heavy fighting” against Israeli forces in the south of the Gaza Strip and continue to fire mortars and rockets towards southern Israel.

Across the occupied West Bank, Palestinian fighters confronted Israeli forces at nine locations on 25 December and four locations on 26 December, according to the monitors.

Last weekend the Palestinian resistance killed 15 Israeli soldiers, and the official death toll has reached 164.

Wider war more likely

Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned Israel of a “tough countdown” following the assassination of a military commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Israel killed general Sayyed Razi Mousavi, the IRGC commander in Syria, in Damascus on 25 December.

Victory for the Elbit Eight

A jury last week delivered a not guilty verdict on nine out of 32 charges brought against activists—collectively known as the Elbit Eight—who have taken action against Israel’s largest private weapons firm, Elbit Systems.

Two of the defendants were acquitted of all of the charges against them, while the six remaining defendants have been acquitted of some of the charges that they faced.

The Elbit Eight carried out direct action protests under the banner of Palestine Action, to disrupt the flow of drones and other military equipment to Israel.

The case ended on 22 December, following a six-week trial held at Snaresbrook Crown Court in east London.

The Crown Prosecution Service may decide to retry the defendants on the charges on which the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

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