Protest for Palestine marching through East London (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu last week showed that Israel will never allow a “two state solution” and a Palestinian state.
 
He said, “In any future arrangement Israel needs security control of all territory west of the Jordan River.” 
 
All those who object to protesters chanting, “From the river to the sea” accept Netanyahu’s use of the phrase. Netanyahu’s open rejection of the West’s two state strategy caused problems for Israel’s backers.
 
The United States secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, had said earlier this month that Israel will not achieve what he described as “genuine security” without a plan for a Palestinian state.
 
But there’s nothing new about Israeli opposition to a Palestinian state, and the US back Israel anyway.
 
Between 1993, when Israel and Palestinian leaders signed the Oslo Accords, and 2023 over 500,000 more Israeli settlers have poured into the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel will never allow them to be removed.
 
And the US, which could force Israel into shifting policy by threatening to halt arms supplies, military backing and funding, has allowed the Zionist state to grab more and more land in the notionally Palestinian areas.
 
The US and its Western allies find it helpful to claim they want two states. It gives the illusion of planning for a “fair settlement”.
 
Rishi Sunak said that two states was the “only answer that can allow a new future to be born” for Palestine in Israel.
 
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell even went as far as to say that a Palestinian state might have to be imposed on Israel “from the outside” on Friday of last week. Israel, has not yet driven out all the Palestinians. 
 
So instead it has entrenched an apartheid state where Palestinians will never be allowed anything more than some areas where they are given a little autonomy—such as in the  West Bank—but all the key levers of power remain in Israeli hands. 
 
And Palestinian administrators, such as the Palestine Authority, are reduced to a police force complicit with Israeli brutality.
 
Support for a one-state solution—a secular state with equal democratic rights for all—has rightly grown as the two-state solution is exposed as an illusion and a fraud.
 
One state is the only solution that can guarantee justice and the right of return for Palestinian refugees driven from their homes in 1948 and 1967 and all of their descendants.
 
Israel’s devastation of Gaza
The Israeli state has now murdered more than 25,000 Palestinians in Gaza, and the rate of the massacres has not slowed down. Gaza’s health ministry said 178 Palestinians were murdered by the Israeli state in just 24 hours last Sunday—one of the deadliest days for the people of Gaza so far. 
 
Palestinians in Gaza now make up 80 percent of  people worldwide who are suffering from famine or catastrophic hunger, according to a new United Nations report. 
 
The Israeli state, which has tried to stop aid from crossing the border into Gaza, has engineered the situation.  The Israeli state has only allowed 21 percent of all planned deliveries.
 
Only five out of 24 deliveries containing food and other supplies have been able to reach destinations in the north of Gaza.
 
More than one million Palestinians have fled to the city of Rafah to try and escape Israel’s bombs.
 
Salam Al-Sinwar fled to Rafah with her family.  “When we arrived in Rafah, we stayed on the streets for three days until somebody brought us this tent,” she said. 
 
“There are insects here that come from under the sand, and it is freezing cold. Adults can’t cope with this weather, especially at night—so how can children? 
 
“My children are sick. They are always cold and hungry. We can’t afford to buy any food, so we wait for people to bring it to us from aid trucks. 
 
“I do not want to eat or drink. All I want is food and clean water for my children.”
 
Fighting back against Islamophobia in schools
The media and the right are whipping up Islamophobia against Muslim students in schools.
 
The Lion Academy Trust which runs the Barclay Primary School in Leyton, east London, said the school may switch to online learning because of what it claims  were threats and abuse of staff.
 
Before Christmas, parents and students organised mass protests after the school banned any display of support for Palestine.
 
That included taking action against an eight year old student, who wore a small Palestinian flag sewn on to his jacket. His mother is from Gaza and Israeli raids have killed several of his family’s relatives.
 
Much of the media seized on the story stating that the school had been hit with bomb threats and masked men had climbed the school gates to hang Palestinian flags. 
 
Meanwhile a student at the Michaela Community School in Brent, north London, is taking the school to the High Court after they said they were barred from praying on school premises. 
 
Her lawyers have said that she is asking to be able to pray at lunchtime for five minutes, but not in lesson time. 
 
But the headteacher and founder of the school, Katharine Birbalsingh, who is often described as Britain’s strictest teacher, says she should be allowed to ban prayers to promote integration between pupils of different backgrounds. 
 
The school used the example of how students decided to pray outside because of the ban. 
 
It said that this created an “intimidatory and aggressive atmosphere” and “resulted in a division in the playground between the Muslim and the non-Muslim children, which had never happened before”. 

 

 
It’s not Muslim prayers that separate children—it’s Islamophobia and the stereotyping of Muslims. Sections of the media have slurred the child involved in the Michaela court case.
 
A Cage International campaign group report published last month showed the effects in schools of the British state clampdown on Palestine solidarity.
 
Almost all the cases saw Muslims targeted. And all the cases where authorities referred people to the Prevent programme or made allegations of “terrorism” involved Muslims. 
 
Cage handled 214 cases of the British state, police and bosses clamping down on Palestine solidarity between October and December. 
 
They include 118 at schools and colleges, 35 at workplaces, 35 at protest, 13 at universities and 13 at mosques.
 
Terror in the West Bank
Yasmeen lives in a small village near Ramallah in the West Bank with her husband and two young children. They are still traumatised after Israeli soldiers raided their house without warning last year.  
 
“Israeli soldiers broke into my house at midnight,” she told Socialist Worker.
 
“As soon as they saw the soldiers with their dogs and their guns, my children started screaming and crying. 
 
“My son is still scared of dogs after that night and doesn’t want to sleep without me anymore. Our babies should not be seeing guns. They should be playing. 
 
“I am visually impaired, and I asked the soldiers why are you coming into my house? What threat are we?” 
 
She added, “We are really scared of the settlers. When they come to the village you know they want to kill you. After 8pm, everyone locks the doors to their homes and hopes that the settlers will not come and kill their children.”
 
Yasmeen added that everywhere in the West Bank, Palestinians are living in fear of attacks from settlers and soldiers. 
 
“I went into Ramallah to pick up medication and nappies for my children,” she said. “While I was there, Israeli soldiers opened fire on us while people were shopping in the market. 
 
“I wasn’t scared to die, but I was scared about leaving my children. I thought about what their lives would be like without me.”
 
But Yasmeen says the Israeli attacks will fuel resistance. “When you trap people in a bottle for their whole lives, they will try to break free one day,” she said.
 
Missile attacks against Yemen widen conflict

Britain and the United States blasted Yemen again on Monday in frustration that the Houthis continue successfully to target Israeli ships in the Red Sea.

The bombardment was the eighth time the US has struck Houthi targets since 11 January. Its the second time British forces have taken part.

The West wants to show its military punch and to secure key trade routes for multinational firms.

The assaults on Yemen haven’t stopped the Houthis supporting the Palestinians. But they are part of a murderous drive towards a wider war.

Imperialism’s latest offensives against the Palestinians are bleeding into and adding to a series of other conflicts. And they are accelerating them.

These conflicts are themselves based on earlier imperialist carve-ups in the Middle East.

Last week Iran launched a series of missile attacks of its own, reminding others that it has long-range military capabilities. On Monday, it struck Erbil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, killing four people. Iran claimed to have destroyed an Israeli spy centre. 

The following day, it sent rockets into the Baluchistan province of Pakistan, targeting militant groups it blames for bombings in Iran.

Pakistan said two children were killed and swiftly hit back, launching missiles at “terrorist hideouts” on Iran’s side of the border.

Iran said three women, two men and four children were killed. Pakistan is a key Western ally in South Asia and is itself a nuclear power.

Last Saturday, Israel lashed out further by bombing Syria. An air strike on the Syrian capital, Damascus, killed ten people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Five of them were senior members of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard. Both Iran and Syria promised revenge.

Turkish forces have launched their own attacks on north and east Syria.

Last week was another sign of how the West’s backing for Israel can spark new conflicts and threaten the security of millions of people.

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