Israel & U.S. tighten military, political repression


  Aug 21, 2011 9:17 PM

Almost daily for many years, Israeli soldiers have clashed with Palestinian protesters somewhere in the land claimed by the Israeli state. Now the tempo of struggle is rising once again.

The revolutionary upsurge of the masses in Egypt had loosened the Mubarak regime’s tight control over the Sinai region, which borders the Gaza strip. Gaza is densely packed with Palestinian refugees, who have resisted Israeli rule and been repeatedly attacked by its armed forces. Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza ever since the people there four years ago elected the resistance organization Hamas as their local government.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s fall coincided with a pullback of Egypt’s military from the Sinai region, giving the people of Gaza some relief. But on Aug. 12 the Egyptian military moved “tanks and thousands of military troops in cooperation with Israel into the Sinai Peninsula in an attempt to regain control of the area. …

“The apparent aim of the operation is to help Israel stop the movement of provisions from Egypt to Gaza through underground tunnels. Israel claims that these tunnels have been used to smuggle weapons into Gaza and that smuggling has been on the increase since Mubarak’s downfall.

“These underground tunnels are often used to provide essential medical, building and food supplies to the 1.5 million Gazans who are under siege in the tiny area of land.

“The Israel government had to first approve the troop movement by the Egyptians as any military advance into the region without coordination would be in direct breach of the 1978 Camp David Accords.” (Palestine News Network, Aug. 14)

The U.S. was Mubarak’s biggest prop. It has armed Israel to the teeth against the oppressed Arab and Muslim peoples of the region. This development shows the U.S. imperialists have successfully maneuvered to keep the same reactionary military forces in power to oppress the Egyptian and Palestinian people, even while they allow popular anger to be somewhat appeased by the ongoing trial of the deposed dictator.

While this military move was happening, the U.S. government cut off almost $100 million in aid supposed to help the people of Gaza in areas like health, education and infrastructure. Hamas had tried to negotiate an agreement with the U.S. Agency for International Development for an independent audit of the U.S.-funded nongovernmental organizations involved in the project. The USAID, which has long been exposed as a conduit for CIA covert operations under the guise of humanitarian assistance, used this request by Hamas as an excuse to cut off the aid.

The Palestinian Authority is preparing to introduce a resolution to the U.N. General Assembly in September that would recognize its right to U.N. membership representing Palestine as an independent state. Knowing that a majority of the world’s nations would be friendly to such a resolution if it were ever to be formally presented, the Israeli regime is speeding up its building of Jewish-only settlements on land it occupied during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

It is telling that it was Israeli “defense” minister, Ehud Barack, not a minister for development or housing, who approved the construction of 227 new homes in Ariel settlement on the West Bank, announced on Aug. 15. This comes on top of news that Tel Aviv would build 900 new housing units in Har Homa settlement and 1,600 in Ramat Shlomo, both in East Jerusalem.  All these settlements are on land seized by Israel in 1967 and are illegal under international law.

On Aug. 2 the U.S. Congress passed a draconian budget that cuts social services in order to continue to pay the banks and bondholders hundreds of billions of dollars of interest on the national debt. Now an unprecedented 81 members of the House of Representatives are on their way to Israel while Congress is in recess. They will be wined and dined in what is a massive junket and lobbying effort to make sure that Democrats and Republicans alike line up behind the Zionist regime.

U.S. imperialism has long had a strategic partnership with Israel that advances the interests of finance capital and the military-industrial complex in an area of the world where U.S.-armed dictatorships in oil-rich lands are increasingly under pressure from the impoverished and disenfranchised masses of people.

The right of the Palestinian people to exercise self-determination, including the right of the millions now living in the diaspora to return to their homeland, has been consistently blocked first and foremost by Washington. This is why support for Palestine must be a cutting-edge issue for all progressives in the U.S.


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