The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Middle East:
Israel Refuses Any Ceasefire

Apr 8, 2024

This article is translated from the April 5 issue, #2905 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

On April1, the Israeli army bombed the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, killing eleven people, including seven Iranians. This air raid on Syrian territory was the fifth in a week, following hundreds of others carried out since October 7.

In the preceding days, the Israeli army had killed military leaders of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the Shiite party that is an integral part of the Lebanese state it co-manages. The Israeli army no longer confines itself to exchanges of fire close to the Lebanese border but launches attacks up to 100 kilometers into the country, targeting towns such as Baalbek. Over the past six months, 346 people have been killed in Lebanon, including 70 civilians.

In Syria, as in Lebanon, by targeting Hezbollah fighters or buildings or Iranian elements, Israeli leaders claim to be fighting terrorist organizations that finance Hamas and launch rockets against Israel. In so doing, they are themselves acting as state terrorists. They grant themselves the right to wage war throughout the region and to shoot down their adversaries without the slightest respect for the sovereignty of the target countries and without regard for neighboring civilian populations, as they did in Gaza. By attacking an Iranian embassy and multiplying their fire toward Lebanon, Netanyahu, his far-right ministers, and his generals are deliberately taking the risk of a warlike escalation in the region.

Since the beginning of the destruction of Gaza, Iran and Hezbollah, despite their virulent rhetoric against the Zionist state and their outspoken support for the Palestinian cause, have been far less warmongering than Israel. The main reason is that they know that Israel can count on ongoing military support from the United States. For weeks now, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has been touring the Middle East, claiming to be seeking a political solution for Palestine. Negotiations are taking place in various regional capitals. Blinken repeats that the United States wants at all costs to prevent the Israeli massacre in Gaza from turning into a wider regional war. But at the same time, week after week, tens of thousands of deaths after tens of thousands of deaths, the United States has continued to supply arms and munitions to Israel. Until March 25, it opposed every U.N. resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Netanyahu’s stubbornness and headlong rush to war are starting to worry the imperialist leaders, who do not want the conflict to spread to a region where they themselves have left many time bombs ready to explode. This has led them to raise their voices, to publicly criticize the Israeli leadership, and to finally vote for a resolution that was critical but had no effect. In Gaza, the Palestinian population continues to die. Recently, the Israeli army completed the destruction of the al-Shifa hospital, claiming hundreds of victims, and killed seven Westerners working for an NGO. Outside, Israel continues to launch raids.

The Israeli government is blatantly ignoring not only U.N. resolutions but also well-measured advice from Washington. Biden shows his powerlessness to rein them in. Netanyahu knows he can afford this provocative attitude because Israel remains, for the United States, the surest regional cop for ensuring imperialist order in the Middle East.