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

Netanyahu Challenged

Jun 17, 2024

This article is translated from the June 12 issue, #2915 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the Trotskyist group of that name active in France.

Israeli army massacres continue in the Gaza Strip. In the same Nuseirat refugee camp, it carried out an attack on a disused UNRWA school on Thursday, June 6, followed on Saturday, June 8 by one of the deadliest offensives of the war, which led to the release of four Israeli hostages.

The school that was stormed was home to thousands of Gazans who had been displaced several times since October as a result of attacks by the Israeli army, and who had taken refuge in one of the few buildings still standing. However, the army did not hesitate to attack this overcrowded building, under the pretext of eliminating a few Hamas members, nine of whom were reportedly killed. The attack killed 37 people, including three women and nine children.

Horror was unleashed once again on June 8, with an unusually large-scale offensive in a densely populated area, aimed at freeing four Israeli hostages. A deluge of bombs and ground battles left 274 Palestinians dead and 700 wounded. Al-Aqsa hospital was overrun with seriously wounded, amputees and burn victims, even though it had very few resources or even anesthetics to treat these patients.

Prime Minister Netanyahu wanted to demonstrate his intransigence once again. He hoped that the release of the four hostages would boost his popularity among the Israeli population. But nothing is less certain. The price to be paid for Netanyahu’s intransigence is worrying some of the hostages’ families, who continue to demonstrate regularly to demand an agreement allowing their release. There are still 120 hostages in Gaza, half of whom are believed to be alive. Since October, only seven hostages have been released by the Israeli army, and Hamas claims that several have been killed by these military operations, as well as by the fighting that has been going on for several months. Some Israelis also denounce the horror of the massacre, and NGOs have denounced the torture of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Against this backdrop, Benny Gantz, a former general and one of Netanyahu’s main center-right opponents, announced on Sunday, June 9 his resignation from the war cabinet in which he had been involved since October 7. Gantz is seeking to capitalize on the protests against the Prime Minister and position himself as an alternative to Netanyahu and met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his trip to the Middle East on Tuesday, June 11.

Any peace negotiated by American leaders could only be a short truce, an interval between two episodes of war, with the Palestinian population of Gaza condemned to live in ruins, in refugee camps, deprived of the means to care for themselves and feed themselves properly, and under the threat of intervention by the Israeli army.

There can be no real alternative without a break with the policy pursued since the birth of Israel of denying Palestinians their national rights and robbing them of their land and property.