DAILY SABAH – November 9, 2023
Israeli forces intensifies Gaza assault as civilian plight grows
Israeli troops were reportedly inching toward the Al-Shifa hospital inside Gaza City, where thousands of Palestinians have sought refuge from incessant bombardment
Israeli forces intensified it's Gaza assault, fighting Hamas through shell-blasted buildings in the north of the strip Thursday as the plight of civilians in the besieged Palestinian territory worsened.
Gaza residents said Israeli troops were inching their way closer to the Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza's biggest health facility, where Israel claims Hamas has a command center. Thousands of Palestinians have taken refuge there from the relentless Israeli bombardments.
The United Nations human rights chief called for a cease-fire and said blamed both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes in the month of fighting.
In Paris, officials from about 80 countries and organizations called for an immediate cease-fire as they met to coordinate humanitarian aid to Gaza and find ways to help wounded civilians escape the siege.
Residents in Gaza City said Israeli tanks were stationed around the city while both sides reported inflicting heavy casualties on one another in intense street battles.
Israel unleashed its assault on Gaza in response to the Oct. 7 Hamas incursion on southern Israel.
Palestinian officials said 10,569 Gaza residents had been killed as of Wednesday, about 40% of them children, while a humanitarian crisis has gripped the enclave, with basic supplies running out and buildings demolished by unrelenting Israeli bombardments.
Israel, which has vowed to destroy Hamas, says 33 of its soldiers have been killed in its ground operation as they advanced into the heart of Gaza City.
It claimed Wednesday to have secured a Hamas stronghold in Jabalia in northern Gaza after 10 hours of combat.
Nowhere to run to
Thousands of Palestinians have sought refuge at Al-Shifa hospital inside Gaza City despite Israel's orders to evacuate the area it has encircled. They are sheltering in tents in the hospital grounds and say they have nowhere else to go.
The U.N. humanitarian office OCHA said the Israeli military had again told residents of the north to move southward, opening a four-hour corridor for the fifth consecutive day. About 50,000 people left the area Wednesday, it said.
Clashes and shelling around the main road continued, it said endangering evacuees. Corpses were lying alongside the road, while most evacuees were moving on foot as the Israeli military had told them to leave vehicles at the southern edge of Gaza city, it said.
Huge numbers of displaced people from among Gaza's 2.3 million population are already crammed into schools, hospitals and other sites in the south.
Although the fighting is concentrated in the north, southern areas have also come under regular attack. In Khan Younis, Gaza's main southern city, residents picked through the rubble and twisted debris of a building destroyed by an Israeli airstrike, hoping to find survivors, on Thursday morning, witnesses said.
"As deaths and injuries in Gaza continue to rise due to intensified hostilities, intense overcrowding and disrupted health, water, and sanitation systems pose an added danger: the rapid spread of infectious diseases," the World Health Organization said.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, on Wednesday called for an immediate cease-fire – which Israel and its main ally the United States have consistently rejected as benefiting Hamas.
"The collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians is also a war crime, as is unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians," he said after condemning the Hamas incursion.
A conference in Paris on Thursday, attended by Arab nations, Western powers, G-20 members and NGO groups such as Doctors Without Borders discussed measures to alleviate the suffering in Gaza, but without a pause in fighting expectations are low.
Among the options discussed were setting up a maritime corridor, potentially to use sea lanes to ship humanitarian aid into Gaza or evacuate the wounded.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has crossed the region on a diplomatic mission, on Wednesday outlined Washington's expectations for Gaza when the conflict ends. He pushed back at Israeli comments that it would be responsible for security in Gaza indefinitely.
There should be "no reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends. No attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza. No reduction in the territory of Gaza," Blinken said at a press conference in Tokyo.
Blinken said there may be a need for "some transition period" at the end of the conflict, but that post-crisis Gaza must "include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority."
The Palestinian Authority (PA), which exercises limited self-rule in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, says the Gaza Strip, where Hamas has ruled since 2007, is an integral part of what it envisions for a future Palestinian state.
Israeli officials have said they do not intend to occupy Gaza after the war, but have yet to articulate how they might ensure security. Israel withdrew its forces from Gaza in 2005.
Rashida Tlaib censure vote sets precedent for criminalizing opposition to Gaza genocide
By Patrick Martin
The vote by the US House of Representatives to censure Representative Rashida Tlaib (Democrat-Michigan) for her opposition to the Israeli genocide in Gaza is an unprecedented attack on democratic rights. Tlaib, the lone Palestinian-American in the House, is the first representative since the Civil War to be censured for speaking out on her political beliefs. Twenty-two Democrats and nearly all Republicans joined in the censure vote.
The World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party oppose and condemn this censure. Notwithstanding our fundamental differences, as socialists, with the Democratic Party congresswoman, we view this action as part of a systematic effort by the Biden administration, its NATO allies and capitalist governments all over the world to suppress a massive protest movement developing against Israel’s genocide of Palestinians. In calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, Tlaib is doing no more than giving expression to the sentiments not only of her constituents but of the majority of the American population.
The White House is free to send bombs to slaughter Palestinian children—without even reporting how many—and members of Congress like Senator Lindsey Graham are free to advocate a “total war” against what he calls “the most extremist population on Earth.” But verbal criticism of what is clearly a genocide and a massive violation of international law is impermissible.
The vote comes amid mass murder in Gaza, with more than 10,000 Palestinians killed by Israeli bombs, missiles and artillery shells, the vast majority of them women, children and the elderly. This death toll is set to skyrocket as the Israel Defense Forces pushes forward with its ground invasion and tightens its noose around Gaza City, the largest population center in the tiny enclave.
In response, millions of people on every inhabited continent have taken to the streets in simultaneous global mass protests. Just last weekend, 300,000 people marched in Washington D.C., accusing US President Joe Biden of genocide.
The action by the US House is part of a global wave of attacks on democratic rights, as all of the major powers move to prohibit the escalating popular protests against the Israeli military onslaught against a largely defenseless population. These governments are at war with their own people, where opposition to the Gaza genocide is widespread.
In Britain, the Conservative government is seeking to ban demonstrations that have mobilized as many as half a million people, in what Home Secretary (chief police minister) Suella Braverman has vilified as “hate marches.”
In Germany, the display of Palestinian flags and other symbols has been banned, along with photos of Gaza victims and leaflets and placards bearing slogans in support of Palestinian resistance to Israeli oppression. Throughout Europe, mass protests against the bloodbath in Gaza encounter official repression and censorship. In India, with a Muslim population of more than 200 million, the Narendra Modi government has outlawed protests against the Gaza killings in Kashmir, the only state with a Muslim majority.
In all these countries, the same bogus claim is put forward by capitalist governments and the corporate media: that opposition to the Israeli slaughter constitutes antisemitism, that those who demonstrate against genocide are actually motivated by hostility to the Jewish people—even if the protesters are themselves Jewish!
A major weapon in the arsenal of this smear campaign is the claim that the chant taken up by many marchers and displayed on countless placards, “Palestine will be free—from the river to the sea,” is a coded call for the extermination of the Jews who live in Israel. This was the main argument being made during the US House debate on the censure resolution against Rashida Tlaib.
“From the river to the sea” is a longtime slogan of the Palestine resistance movement and is an expression of the perspective of freeing the Palestinian people from Zionist oppression over the entire land area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, which comprises the West Bank, Gaza and the present-day state of Israel.
The WSWS calls for the end to the reactionary Zionist capitalist state, whose existence is based on the colonialist theft of Palestinian land. It has been sustained for 75 years through brutal oppression, with relentless acts of violence now culminating in outright genocide. The claim that opposition to mass murder by the Israeli state is “antisemitism” is a contemptible lie and a libel against Jewish people.
We advocate the creation of a democratic, secular state over the entire territory of Palestine in which present-day Israelis and Arabs, of whatever religious persuasion or none, have equal rights and live side by side. This is inseparably bound up with the struggle for a United Socialist States of the Middle East, as part of the world socialist revolution.
The censure of Rashida Tlaib is effectively a ban on criticism of the policy of the Israeli government. It is, however, not a measure taken merely in support of Benjamin Netanyahu and his gang of fascists and religious zealots. Israel functions as an instrument of American foreign policy. It is part of a far broader war plan of American imperialism, which includes the US-NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, and now the threat of a direct conflict with Iran using the Gaza invasion as a trigger. Beyond this are the stepped up military preparations for war against China in the Far East.
On Tuesday, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby reiterated the mantra embraced by the Biden White House every day since Israeli bombs and missiles—most supplied by the Pentagon—began striking Gaza. The US government has no “red lines” in terms of what Israel can do to displace, remove or kill Palestinians. Mass murder is the policy, not only of the Israeli regime, but of the Biden administration.
As the US war drive escalates, there will be many more expressions of popular opposition, including industrial actions by sections of the working class to disrupt the production and distribution of American-made weapons and war materiel. The censuring of Rashida Tlaib is a preemptive strike against such “interference” from below.
There is a historical parallel to this policy of seeking to ban speech in fear of its appealing to a political movement that has growing mass support. While Rashida Tlaib is the first US House member to be censured solely for political speech, there is one other representative who was censured for his political actions. Representative Joshua Giddings of Ohio was censured in 1842 for violation of what was known as the “Gag Rule,” imposed by the pro-slavery Democratic Party majority in 1836, after a flood of anti-slavery petitions and resolutions had been submitted to the House. This rule, in effect until 1844, barred any discussion or proposal in the House on the subject of emancipation.
Giddings introduced a series of resolutions in support of 128 slaves who had rebelled and seized control of the American slave ship Creole in 1841. They diverted it from its course, from Virginia to the slave market in New Orleans, and forced the crew to sail them to the Bahamas, then a British territory, where slavery had been abolished. The colonial authorities declared the slaves free, but the US government, under President John Tyler, sued for their return to the slave owners.
As historian James Oakes writes:
It is, however, too late. Despite the efforts of governments to bully and intimidate opponents of the Israeli-imperialist genocide in Gaza and to criminalize protests, a powerful mass movement against imperialist war has emerged and is gaining strength.
But the censure of Tlaib must be taken as a warning: The ruling class, desperate in the face of a growing mass movement, will go to any means necessary to suppress popular opposition. It is urgently necessary to deepen and expand the global movement against the genocide in Gaza by fusing it with the growing strike movement by the working class and arming it with a socialist perspective.
Council of Muslim Organization denounces
house censure of Rashida Tlaib
(Washington, D.C. - 11/09/2023) – The US Council of Muslim Organizations today denounces the U.S. House of Representatives for voting to unjustly and hypocritically single out and censure Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib due to her vocal opposition to the Netanyahu government’s ongoing attempted genocide of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
Those members of Congress who voted to censure the only Palestinian-American representative in the House have thrown another log onto the fire of anti-Palestinian racism and anti-Muslim bigotry that is spreading across our nation.
Their decision was also hypocritical. Numerous members of the House have made openly hateful statements about Palestinians and other minorities without facing condemnation, much less censure.
Last night’s censure, only the 26th in U.S. House history, is in reality a badge of honor for Tlaib, who had the political and moral courage to forthrightly condemn this blatant Israeli and U.S.-funded, supplied, and supported genocide against the Palestinians and to call for liberating the Palestinian people from ethnic cleansing, occupation, persecution, and apartheid.
This House vote of censure, moreover, proves beyond doubt that its endorsing representatives are themselves racist supremacists who, in fact, hate freedom and will not tolerate the humanizing of Palestinians.
Rashida Tlaib thus takes an honored place in the dark annals of the U.S. House of Representatives next to the likes of Whig Party Congressman Joshua Giddings (appropriately representing Northeast Ohio, not far from Tlaib’s Michigan district), who Congress censured in 1842 for daring to introduce an anti-slavery bill.
We commenda Congresswoman Tlaib for her brave stance in the face of bigotry and for supporting the God-given human rights of all people in the Holy Land—Muslims and Jews, Palestinians and Israelis, and others.
We believe that present and future generations will ultimately recognize that Rashida Tlaib and others who support Palestinian human rights are on the right side of history.
There Will Be Repercussions: The West is Collectively Responsible
for Israel’s Genocide in Gaza
by Dr Ramzy Baroud
On October 20, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, stood on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, between Egypt and besieged Gaza.
Guterres was not the only international figure to travel to the Gaza border, hoping to mobilize the international community in the face of an ongoing genocide, in an already impoverished and besieged Strip.
“Behind these walls, we have two million people that is suffering (sic) enormously,” Guterres said.
These efforts, however, paid little dividends.
The spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qudra,ﾠsaid in a statement on October 24, that the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza is “too slow (for it to) change the reality” on the ground.
This means that the seemingly endless UN Security Council debates, General Assembly resolutions and calls for action did little to alter the tragic situation in Gaza in any meaningful way.
This begs the question, what is the use of the elaborate international political, humanitarian and legal systems, if they are unable to stop, or even slow down a genocide that is being aired live on TV screens all across the world?
In previous genocides, whether those accompanying the Great Wars or that of Rwanda in 1994, various justifications were offered to explain the lack of immediate actions. In some cases, no Geneva Conventions existed and, as in Rwanda, many pleaded ignorance.
But, in Gaza, no excuse is acceptable. Every international news company has correspondents or some presence in the Strip. Hundreds of journalists, reporters, bloggers, photographers and cameramen are documenting and counting every event, every massacre and every bomb dropped on civilian homes. It is important here to note that scores of journalists have already been killed in Israeli attacks.
Scientific approximations areﾠtelling us, for example, that nearly 25,000 tons of explosives have been dropped on Gaza by Israel in the first 27 days of war. It is equivalent to two atomic bombs, like those dropped by the US on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
When US President Joe Biden callously tried to question the numbers of the Palestinian dead, the Gaza medical staff, who are forced to perform life-saving surgeries on the dirty grounds of hospitals, took the time to prove him wrong. On October 26, theyﾠproduced a list containing the names of 6,747 Palestinian casualties who were killed in the first 19 days of war.
Thousands have been killed and wounded since then, yet Washington and its Western alliesﾠinsist that “Israel has the right to defend itself” even if this comes at the expense of a whole nation.
The Israelis are not masking their language in any way. The New York Timesﾠreported on October 30 that “in private conversations with American counterparts, Israeli officials referred to how the United States and other allied powers resorted to devastating bombings in Germany and Japan during World War II … to try to defeat those countries.” A few days later, Israeli Minister Amichai … has openly declared that nuking Gaza is an option in his country’s genocidal war on the Palestinian people.
On the day the NYT report appeared, Karim Khan, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), arrived at the Egyptian side of the Rafah border.
He still used the same guarded language, as if not to offend the sensibilities of Israel and its Western allies. “Crimes allegedly committed in both places have to be looked into,” heﾠsaid, referring to both Israel and Gaza.
One could excuse Khan by arguing that legal jargon must be restrained until a thorough investigation is conducted. But thorough investigations are rarely conducted when it comes to Israeli crimes in Gaza or anywhere else in Palestine.
When an investigation is carried out, international judges frequently find themselves accused by the US and Israel of bias or worse, anti-Semitism. In the case of the investigation spearheaded by a respected South African judge, Richard Goldstone in 2009, the man wasﾠforced to retract part of his report.
Khan knows this too well because he is currently sitting on a large and growing file of Israeli war crimes in Palestine, insisting on delaying the procedure under various excuses. Obviously, the US does not favorably view ICC judges who advance war crime cases against Israel. The anti-ICC sanctionsﾠimposed by the Trump Administration in 2020 are an example.
Many officials in Western institutions are becoming aware of this hypocrisy. On October 28, Craig Mokhiberﾠresigned from his position as the Director of the New York office of the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights in protest of the UN’s failure to stop “a genocide unfolding before our eyes in Gaza.”
On October 20, around 850 members of the EU staff signed a letter to EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, criticizing her “unconditional support” for Israel.
The letter was polite and diplomatic, considering the horrendous moral failure of Von der Leyen, especially when her gung-ho approach to the Russian war in Ukraine is compared to her blind support of Israeli crimes in Gaza. “Only if we acknowledge Israel’s pain, and its right to defend itself, will we have the credibility to say that Israel should react … in line with international humanitarian law,” sheﾠsaid.
The International Olympic Committee, which insists on separating between politics and sports, has no problem meddling in politics when the enemy is a Palestinian.
The IOC issued a statement on November 1,ﾠwarning any participant in the Paris Olympics, scheduled for 2024, from engaging in any “discriminatory behavior” against Israeli athletes, because “athletes cannot be held responsible for the actions of their governments”.
The word ‘hypocrisy’ here does not even begin to describe what is taking place, and the repercussions of this moral failure will be felt around the world for years to come. Never again should the West be allowed to play the role of the mediator, the impartial politician, the judge or even the self-serving humanitarian.
This is not a difficult conclusion to reach. Gaza has been turned into a Hiroshima as a result of Western bombs and the blank political check handed to Israel by Western governments and leaders from the onset of the war, in fact, 75 years prior.
Nothing will ever alter this fact, and no ‘strongly worded’ future statements will ever help the West redeem its collective moral failure.
Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is ‘Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out’. His other books include ‘My Father was a Freedom Fighter’ and ‘The Last Earth’. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net
Turkish parliament speaker meets with Palestine National Council chair
Parliament Speaker Numan Kurtulmuş met Rawhi Fattouh, chair of the Palestinian National Council, in the capital, Ankara, on Thursday. Kurtulmuş voiced Türkiye’s support for the Palestinian cause and greetings to oppressed, innocent civilians amid Israel’s attacks on Gaza.
Issuing a joint statement of condemnation, Parliament has come together in a rare unity after a brutal airstrike targeting a hospital killed hundreds in Gaza. Turkish lawmakers are also exploring ways to visit Gaza to show their solidarity with Palestinians trapped in the besieged enclave.
“As nations supporting the Palestinian cause, we will continue to work on this issue. It appears that a new political chapter will be opened and a greater political struggle will be carried out in the coming years for Gaza,” he said.
“Our brothers and sisters in Gaza are exposed to unprecedented cruelty,” Kurtulmuş said.
“As we are talking here, homes are bombed in Gaza. People are deprived of their basic needs, health care services. There is an ongoing massacre amounting to genocide. Like the Auschwitz and Srebrenica massacres, the Gaza massacre will take its place in the annals of history as a shame for humanity. Mankind, particularly the Western countries, remained silent in the face of past massacres in Auschwitz and Srebrenica and we see they are acting the same way today,” he lamented.
He pointed out that Türkiye strongly reacted to the massacre and ongoing genocide at the highest level. “We in Parliament, our president, are exerting efforts in all international platforms for an immediate cease-fire. Parliament discusses the matter with other parliaments and exhibits political pressure to drive the international community to take action to that extent,” he said.
Kurtulmuş also said Israel’s oppression could not last forever and just like the perpetrators of the Srebrenica massacre, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “his gang” will be tried at the International Criminal Court.
For his part, Fattouh thanked Kurtulmuş and lawmakers for “instilling courage” in the Palestinian people and for their “brave stance” on the issue. Fattouh also thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the people of Türkiye, who took to the streets in rallies in solidarity with Palestinians. Fattouh summed up the dramatic situation in Gaza and said Israeli soldiers were also killing children, women and elderly in Palestinian cities other than Gaza. But he said they remained steadfast and despite the attacks, Palestinians “would not abandon their lands.”
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