Editorial: Gaza, their so-called “sustainable” ceasefire

20 December 2023

The latest United Nations’ resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza - in order to get Washington on board - now contains the word “sustainable”.

    But what does “sustainable” mean?  Britain’s Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, along with Germany’s foreign affairs minister Annalena Baerbock, explained this in the Sunday Times this week.

    They wrote that they do not believe that “calling right now for a general and immediate ceasefire, hoping it somehow becomes permanent, is the way forward”.  No, instead, they want a ceasefire which lasts “for days, years, generations”.  Of course, this absurdity - it’s like calling for peace and goodwill to all men - is merely another way of placing the ball in the Netanyahu government’s court.

    Yes, the armed-to-the-teeth imperialist world, which provoked and is already ruthlessly sustaining the war in Ukraine, now, after standing back for over two months while the Israeli army carried out the systematic bombing and laying waste of Gaza, finally says it’s in favour of the “peace” which the poor countries of the rest of the world have been demanding all along!

    Biden and Sunak have waited until the Israeli military offensive has killed more than 19,000 Palestinians (not including all the dead bodies under the rubble) to announce this week, that “too many civilians have been killed”!

    Having stuck like glue to the lap of Biden and US policy - the usual puppy-dog stance of British governments (known as the “special relationship”), Sunak only allowed himself to call for restraint after Biden’s criticism was uttered.  As usual, what Biden said was a little garbled given his speech impairment and difficulty in finding appropriate words.  He was heard to say: that Israel’s “indiscriminate bombing” should stop and “everything should be done to prevent innocent Palestinians from being hurt, murdered, killed”...

    But that is not even the content of this so-called “sustainable ceasefire” resolution, which submits itself entirely to the judgement of Israeli generals, who have already said that they will only stop their one-sided war when the elimination of Hamas is complete.

    The dishonesty of the West’s political leaders, or more accurately, the deliberate distortion of reality for their own ends, knows no bounds.  They try to justify the inhuman actions of the Israeli forces under the heading of “Israel’s right to defend itself”.  Never mind the fact that the Israeli Defence Force put paid to the Hamas incursion on the same day that it actually occurred.  That was “defence”.  “Attack” is what has followed.

    As for saying that this is ensuring Israel’s security into the future because the “aim of Hamas is to destroy Israel...  and create a Palestinian state from the River to the Sea”, this is patently absurd.  The Israeli government - and its western backers - know that in the real world, there is no possibility of Hamas destroying Israel, so why go along with their nationalist rhetoric which is meant to help it recruit angry youth to its ranks?  Taking this “aim” seriously surely only serves to legitimise it!  Or maybe they do so because the Israeli ultra-orthodox far right - the mirror image of Hamas - talks of cleansing Israel of Palestinians from the River to the Sea?

    What is more, seasoned world leaders know better than anyone that “terrorism” and hostage-taking are the weapons of the weak.  They also know that above all, Hamas (which is not ISIS! ) aspired to international recognition as the legitimate leader of the Palestinians and that given half a chance would have chosen to negotiate at any point over the last almost two decades, before this latest attack on the Kibbutzim.

    In the last few days, the indiscriminate killing of civilians by the Israeli army has actually intensified.  Its generals repeat that the killing of “too many” civilians is vitally necessary since they are the human shields used by Hamas and that “Hamas hides in churches, schools and under hospitals”.

    Even British MPs who support Israel asked Sunak why it was considered legitimate to kill civilians in this manner, when it was never considered OK to do so in Northern Ireland in the “war” against the “terrorist” IRA, whose militias certainly used the homes of ordinary Catholic families on the Falls Road or in Derry’s Creggan for hide-outs...  Of course the British state did use other means to discourage the population from helping the republican armies - like internment without trial.  But anyway, the fact that Hamas hides among civilians or under hospitals, schools and churches – should be reason to hold fi re, not to excuse it.

    And now the trapped Palestinians, living and dying under this fi re, with nowhere safe to hide themselves, are also beginning to starve...

    Indeed, the barbaric and savage nature of those who lead “one of the most modern and well equipped armies in the world” is exposed for all to see: their primitive revenge even comes before the lives of their own hostages, let alone the lives of the “civilian” rookie reserves in the ranks of their hastily-mobilised army.  And yet the British and US governments - and behind them those of the EU - maintain that this is the “high moral ground”!

    It’s true that some, like France’s Macron are now calling for an “immediate and unconditional ceasefire”.  But it’s no less cynical.  They know very well that it’s Washington who decides.  So their peace-posturing is purely for the sake of their image in front of their populations and nothing more.  That’s all that counts for the politicians.

    If any “good” at all is to come out of the escalating horror in Gaza, it will be the conviction of the working classes of all countries that fundamental political change in this world is urgent.  And that it is not a “united nations” which is needed, but a workers’ international of equals, under socialism.


19 December 2023