Liberation condemns the latest aggression by Israel against the Palestinians

Destruction following an Israeli airstrike on Gaza, August 2022/OCHA (UN), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Liberation is dismayed to have borne witness, along with the rest of the world, to the latest act of aggression perpetrated by the state of Israel against the people of occupied Palestine, the worst since the 11-daylong assault on Gaza in May 2021, in yet another brazen violation of international law

Citing as yet unspecified and unverified “immediate threats” posed by the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group, the Israeli military launched a “pre-emptive” operation codenamed “Breaking Dawn” that saw repeated airstrikes on Gaza from Friday 5 August, which continued over three days until the reaching of a shaky ceasefire late on Sunday – resulting in at least 44 Palestinians being killed, including 15 children, according to the confirmed figures released by the Palestinian health ministry. (Subsequent violations of the ceasefire have resulted in the death toll rising slightly since.)

Prior to launching its latest bombardment, Israel had stopped the planned transport of fuel into Gaza, effectively incapacitating the territory’s sole power plant and reducing the electricity supply to four hours a day. Increasing concerns over the drastically worsening humanitarian situation in the besieged exclave, where health officials warned that hospitals only had enough fuel to keep generators running for a maximum of two further days, were a major factor in the reaching of a truce on Sunday night.

Despite Israeli claims that their strikes were precision-aimed, it was evident – not least from the footage that quickly spread internationally – that civilians had also been caught up in the bloodshed. And, these are lives that cannot and must not be casually dismissed as collateral damage.

The bare fact that 15 of the casualties – approximately a third of those killed – were under 18-years-old meant that they were innocent victims. Put simply, there can be no argument that their deaths were the unfortunate “overspill” of an operation against otherwise legitimate targets.

The detailed intelligence that Israel would have no-doubt had at its disposal, coupled with the reasonable expectation that children and innocent bystanders would be caught up in the bombardments in densely-populated Gaza (the military equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel) should have rendered the operation as a complete no-go – especially one based on such a flimsy pretext, the grounds for which Israel continues to refuse to make out before the eyes of the world.

Indeed, the world strays into distinctly dangerous territory when an operation of such magnitude can take place on a “pre-emptive” basis – with vague references being made to threats, but no serious scrutiny taking place of the actual underlying rationale. Israel, as before, remains completely unaccountable.

It would be remiss to view this latest offensive in isolation from other material political developments currently underway affecting Israel…

These latest attacks follow on closely from the latest round of talks aimed at reviving a nuclear deal with Iran akin to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) 2015, essentially in which Iran would receive relief from a sanctions regime that has crippled its economy in return for curbs on its uranium enrichment and the restriction of its nuclear programme to civilian purposes and usage.

The Israeli government remains vehemently opposed to the reaching of such accords with Iran, and the consequent lessening of pressure upon the regime in Tehran, just as it was with the original JCPoA in 2015. Israel had made clear its disgruntlement with these developments shortly before the events of last week.

The PIJ group is quite legitimately viewed by many Israeli and Palestinian observers alike as the Islamic Republic of Iran’s proxy in the Occupied Territories. This particular link should not be overlooked as one of the significant factors behind Israel’s most recent offensive.

Neither can it be dismissed as mere happenstance that the attack took place with yet another election cycle in Israel on the horizon. Many informed observers rightly point out the predictability and regularity with which such offensives take place, neatly coinciding with times of flux in Israeli politics. Thus, we witness the current governing coalition, led by Yair Lapid, taking a tough stance in the lead-up to elections set for November – elections which could well see the return to power of the hard-right Likud party and disgraced former prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in a turn of events perhaps unthinkable not so long ago.

Liberation unequivocally condemns the latest act of aggression by Israel against the long-suffering people of Gaza and the rest of the Occupied Territories of Palestine. This latest conflagration, like so many that have come before, manifestly lacked any justifiable ground and should be viewed for what it was – a blatant violation of the rules, norms, and protocols that would ordinarily bind most other states under international law, and one cynically perpetrated largely for domestic political consumption within Israel itself.

Furthermore, while Liberation has consistently argued against the recourse to violence by any party in this long-running conflict – instead holding to the view that the only real solution can be reached through dialogue, diplomacy, and a political process arbitrated by the United Nations and underpinned by international law – we also acknowledge the internationally recognised and inalienable right of peoples living under an occupation to resist.

However, there can be no justification for the wholly disproportionate use of force deployed by the Israeli military against what are densely-inhabited civilian areas.

Contrary to how it might appear on the surface, these acts of aggression by the state of Israel are calculated and cynically employed so as to embolden the very forces it claims to be confronting, while further undermining the Palestinian Authority and all those committed and disposed towards a negotiated political solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Along with the brutal transgressions that are part of the day-to-day reality for Palestinians living under the occupation, as well as the illegal colonisation of territory designated for a future Palestinian state, and the forced clearances of Palestinian districts, these calculated episodic onslaughts by Israel render the prospects for the two-state solution even more bleak and distant.

In a time of supposedly heightened public consciousness and sensitivity all around the world regarding the importance of upholding international law; countering the extraterritorial aggression of one state against another; and the rights and sovereignty of nations, Israel cannot and should not be conferred any sort of special status – whether by the US, UK, EU, or other Western countries – to wantonly flout and transgress against international law.

Full investigations, conducted by UN-tasked agencies, of all attacks and civilian casualties must be carried out without delay – and once culpability is assigned, the perpetrator(s) must be held accountable and punished according to the provisions of international law as well as compelled to make the necessary reparations. The era of impunity for the state of Israel must end if the international rules-based order is to be upheld and international law remain truly sacrosanct.

Liberation reiterates that the two-state solution is the only viable solution to this otherwise intractable conflict and festering wound in the Middle East… That is a sovereign and independent state of Palestine, defined within the borders as they stood on 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN Resolution 194.

Liberation calls for the strengthening of solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for their inalienable national rights.

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