Palestinians inspect the rubble of a building of the Al Nawasrah family destroyed in an Israeli strike in Maghazi refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, on Christmas Day 2023 (Picture: AP Photo/Adel Hana)

In Palestine the turn of the year was marked by continuing horror. In the final days of 2023 Israel only accelerated its plan to massacre and displace as many Palestinians as possible.

The terror state continued to flatten whole neighbourhoods in Gaza with its bombs. And it targeted those left homeless with a bloody ground assault. The Red Cross wrote last week that Israel’s war has now forced 1.9 million people out of their homes.

Most are now internally displaced within Gaza and have been forced to shelter in makeshift tents that do little to keep out the rain or the cold. Ibitsam, who lives in Deir el-Balah, in central Gaza, told Socialist Worker, “People have nowhere but streets. Hundreds and maybe thousands are homeless in Gaza as people’s houses and shelters are full. Gazans don’t only die from rockets but also from cold, dirt, diseases and hunger.”

Zahrat, who lives near Nablus, in the West Bank, told Socialist Worker that watching from close by is “terrifying and heartbreaking.”

“The bombing is now intensifying to increase the death toll, and homes are being demolished over the heads of their owners without warning. And the Israelis are killing journalists to prevent the truth from reaching the world. This is a war of deliberate killing and extermination of civilians.

“The remaining population lives in fear, without food, without shelter, without electricity, and in the open in this cold weather. I don’t understand how the world could have celebrated Christmas and New Year. While the children of the world received gifts, the children of Palestine were under bombardment.

“Save what is left of Gaza by pressuring your governments across the world to stop this war.”

Israel now admits its massacre in Maghazi

Palestinians are still trying to count the dead after Israel bombed the Maghazi refugee camp, in central Gaza, on Christmas Eve. After the attack, Israeli said it “regretted” how many civilians had been killed because its soldiers “accidentally” used the wrong kind of bombs.

An Israeli Defence Forces spokesperson said that “the type of munition did not match the nature of the attack, causing extensive collateral damage that could have been avoided.”

The Maghazi camp was one of the areas Israel had instructed Palestinians to evacuate to and which it had labelled “safe”. The official death toll following the attack currently stands just under 100, but residents of the camp say that figure is likely to rise.

Ahmed Maghari, a resident of Maghazi, said, “We pulled out so many body parts that we can’t even estimate the total number of deaths yet. In each home, there’s a minimum of 50 people.

“A lot of them are displaced Palestinians from other parts of Gaza who were forced to flee their homes. They’re all in pieces, and we’re pulling them out with our bare hands,” he added.

“We’ve now gathered at least two piles of body parts.”

If the scale of death at Maghazi was unintentional, as Israel suggests, that must mean the numbers of dead after every other massacre it commits are intentional.

UN fails yet again to bring Gaza ceasefire

Delegates at the United Nations (UN) last month finally passed a resolution on the war on Gaza. But rather than calling for an immediate ceasefire, as millions of people across the world are demanding, it instead is just a promise for more aid.

Western powers have repeatedly blocked calls for a break in Israel’s bombardment. They ensured only language acceptable to Israel was contained in the final motion.

The resolution now says the UN will “facilitate and enable the immediate, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale.” Farcically, the West prevented the UN from calling for an end to Israel’s targeting of its own agencies in Gaza.

The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees was hit by Israeli troops last week. “Israeli soldiers fired at an aid convoy as it returned from northern Gaza along a route designated by the Israeli army,” Thomas White, director of the agency in the Gaza Strip, said in a statement. “Our international convoy leader and his team were not injured but one vehicle sustained damage,” he added.

In total, 180 UN facilities have been targeted by Israel, including schools and medical facilities. Even if the UN were to take a tougher line, Israel would likely ignore it. Since 1968 it has broken over 30 UN resolutions.

Cops arrest activists in Britain

Police in Britain have arrested two pro‑Palestinian activists for showing support for the Palestinian resistance. Mick Napier was arrested on a Palestine demonstration in Glasgow after he told the crowd that he agreed with the Palestinian’s right to “resist in any way they choose.” He also thanked Hamas for “breaking out of the Gaza concentration camp on 7 October.” 

The police charged Napier with “support for a proscribed organisation” under the Terrorism Act. In 2021, the Tories made it a crime to show support for, or glorify, Hamas.

Activist Tony Greenstein was also arrested under terror laws. He had tweeted, “I support the Palestinians. That is enough, and I support Hamas against the Israeli army.” Greenstein said that the police searched his home and seized his laptop, his phone and other electronics.

Blair wants more blood on his hands

Warmonger and former Labour prime minister Tony Blair could be handed a new role—helping Israel to ethnically cleanse Palestinians. Israel wants help to convince Arab leaders to accept thousands of displaced Palestinians being shunted across their borders.

According to Israel’s Channel 12 News, Blair met with Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and defence minister Benny Gantz. The Israeli leaders reportedly discussed the possibility of Blair helping them push away Palestinian refugees they want out of Gaza.

Blair has denied the reports that he could take up this role. Yet the Butcher of Baghdad has shown interest in acting as a mediator alongside Israel. Just two months ago his colleagues said he would be open to taking up a “humanitarian” role with Israel.

Netanyahu also hopes Blair can be part of smoothing out the humanitarian situation and reducing international pressure on Israel.

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