In recent times the world has been witness to brutal aggression on two of the most long-enduring and valiant struggles for independence: that of the Palestinian and the Eelam Tamil people. Through the 22 day-long assault on Gaza, called Operation Cast Lead which ended ten days ago, the Israel state tried in vain to teach the people of Gaza a lesson: Submit or Die. But the heroic Palestinians have refused to submit. The result is a death toll of more than 1375 and more than 5450 wounded, with above 65 percent civilian casualties, including 412 children. 115 are still missing. 4100 homes were destroyed. Most of them were dismembered and burned by missile fire and chemical weapons. Scores of children and women have been slaughtered as well as defenseless civilians and officials, in utter disregard for the rules of war or international law and public opinion. The one-sidedness of the attack can be measured by the 13 Israeli casualties in the same period. And all this went on for three full weeks while the ‘international community’ watched in silence and the people of the Arab world came out on the streets in militant protests condemning Israel and the US.
More than 70% of the people of Gaza today are refugees in their own land. In Gaza city alone, more than 22,000 families are receiving food aid. White phosphorus was used in crowded civilian areas, including refugee camps. White phosphorus once touches the skin, can burn through the flesh to the bone. Israel is not a party to a convention regulating its use. UN schools and main aid headquarters where tons of food was stocked were bombed. UN employees including drivers were killed. Amid growing demand for trial for war crimes in the International Criminal Court, Israel has banned the publication of the unit commanders who led the attacks against Palestine fearing they will be charged and tried for their crimes. Even Israeli human rights groups have demanded investigation to the incidents where unarmed women and children were killed. Israel faces prosecution for committing war crimes, more of which are coming to light after the invasion has been stalled. There are however reports of Israeli fresh air-strikes, indicating the fragile and temporary nature of the assault.
Gaza, a tiny geographical space stretched across 45 kilometers in length and 10 in breadth has 1.5 million people, the world's highest density of population. It suffered terrible civilian casualties during indiscriminate Israeli aerial bombardment of the region even during ‘stage one’ of the assault. As Israeli ground troops moved in for "stage two", the number of dead and injured grew enormously, as did the proportion of civilian casualties among the overall dead and wounded. Israeli troops surrounded Zeitun, near Gaza city and prevented rescue teams to offer help to the victims for four days. When paramedics eventually entered on 7th January, in one destroyed home they found four half-dead children clinging to the corpses of their mothers in the rubble. Israeli mortars purposefully attacked and killed more than 40 people outside one school in the Jabalya refugee camp. As a result, children under sixteen-years and women accounted for nearly 40% of the casualties.
Besides, the inhuman condition of Gaza as a result of the continued artillery and aerial shelling became amply clear when one considers the fact that Israel only admitted 40-50 truckloads of food and supplies a day, less than ten percent of what people need in Gaza during a full-scale war and after 18-months blockade perpetrated by Israel. This condition is further aggravated by scarcity of fuel, clean water and electricity. In the first few days of the land invasion, Gaza hospitals had inadequate supply of drugs, equipment, blood or electricity, with all the beds occupied long ago and even the corridors filled with the wounded. Israel did not allow more than a handful of the injured to be evacuated to hospitals elsewhere. It deliberately targeted ambulances and medical teams with the excuse that they could be carrying rockets. Along with the extermination of Palestinians, the Israeli authorities made phone calls and dropped leaflets warning Gaza residents to evacuate or face death. Israel’s foreign minister’s kept claiming that there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, while its armed forces went on battering residential areas, schools, hospitals, water-supply and electricity infrastructure, and even the UN headquarters in Gaza in the name of targeting the resistance fighters of Hamas. It seems that Israel has accomplished what its Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai’s warned in February 2008: that Gaza was facing a "shoah", the Hebrew word for Holocaust. This criminal misadventure of Israel however has only exposed its fascist designs, and further consolidated the movement for Palestinian national liberation.
Israel-US Imperial Nexus: The recent attacks in the name of war against terror and against the Palestinian peoples’ defensive war are all products of the same imperial war-machine. It was the US which helped the formation of Israeli state for ensuring its own survival, and since then the Israel has been the bridgehead of the US imperialism in West Asia and a safe base for its reactionary maneuvers all across the world. Both the US as well as Israel has closely integrated war-economies, selling weapons and waging wars to sustain itself. The imperialist administration cannot develop or reform its finance without launching wars at its initiative. Many wars and battles are and will be fought under the guidance and support of US imperialism. The US-Israel nexus has to be seen in this context. The US supply of up-to-date 1000 pound ‘bunker buster’ bombs and high-tech missiles to incinerate large numbers of human beings within their deadly radius, its role in overseeing the genocidal war amply makes clear from the statement of the Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman that “Israel has a right, indeed a duty, to defend itself in response to the hundreds of rockets and mortars fired from Gaza… The loss of innocent life is a terribly tragedy and the blame for that tragedy lies with Hamas.” To the Bermans of the world, only the lives of Israelis matter, not the growing thousands of murdered, dismembered and mutilated Palestinians of Gaza – they do not count as people!
The mass military extermination campaign was a follow up of its non-stop total economic embargo and unremitting selective assassination campaign of the previous two years. Both were designed to purge Palestine of its Arab population, first via mass hunger, disease, humiliation and violent intimidation and the proxy power-grab through the Palestinian Authority under a puppet Mahmoud Abbas, the president. Saudi Arabia, Egypt did not protest the Israel attack. Even the PA controlled by Fatah was not critical. PA is persecuting anyone in the West Bank expressing solidarity with the resistance in Gaza, imprisoning students and professors, journalists and workers, etc.
The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has been working as the perfect agents of Israel and the US, evident from the comment made by a PA official in Ramallah that Israel made a big mistake in ending the attack on Gaza without overthrowing Hamas from the Gaza strip. He said that "the Hamas is still in power is bad for all", meaning bad for the PA as well as Israel-US. The PA is resorting to draconian measures in the West Bank to thwart the spread of sympathy and support for Hamas and the people of Gaza. Hamas, the peoples' representative organization of Gaza, leads a deocratically elected government after defeating Fatah, has won this round of the war. The Hamas may have probably been weakened militarily, but has emerged politically stronger. Israel thinks that "disproportionate" use of force against its adversaries, as it did with Egypt, Jordan, Syria and most recently, Lebanon in 2006, will crush down resistance. The US and Israel has been trying to dislodge Hamas with the help of its agent PA and Mahmoud Abbas, which failed, leading to a direct assault. In the words of the Israel leader: “…because everything is connected to everything…” it is necessary to destroy each and every facet of life, removing all conditions for Palestinians to exist with dignity and freedom. Israel attempted to eliminate the leadership of the Hamas, killing the Gaza commander Major General Tawfik Jabar on the first day of the attack itself. The Interior Minister, Said Siam was also killed, in a targeted attempt to finish off the resistance movement.
The struggle for Tamil Eelam and its fascist repression by the Sri Lankan state: While Gaza was being raged by the fascist Israel state in an attempt to sniff out the liberation movement of the Palestinian people, the Sri Lankan state was no less ruthless in its genocidal war on the Tamils fighting for their free Eelam, which continues till date with the support of Indian state and US imperialism. The occupation of Killinochi and Mullaithivu regions brought the historic Tamil nation in Sri Lanka’s north-east under Sri Lankan military rule, reminding us that the Israeli assault on Gaza is not the only “final solution” pursued by the imperialism and its regional allies across the world. The major suppliers of arms for Sri Lankan government are the US, Israel and India. Israel provides Kfir jets and illegal cluster munitions and also technical trainings for Sri Lankan Special Forces and paramilitary death-squads. As with Hezbollah and Hamas, the LTTE has also been banned as a ‘terrorist’ organisation in several countries in order to curb the scope of peoples’ resistance against imperialist aggression. This fits well to suit Sri Lanka’s strategic significance and also the military, political and theocratic elite that rule the country, maintaining a Western domination of a semi-colonial export-oriented economy.
The Sri Lankan state uses a mythical past drawn from religious texts to claim the whole territory for the Sinhalese, reminding us of Israeli’s claim on Palestinian land on the basis of concocted historical past. But truth is that the Tamil presence in the island dates from antiquity. The assertion of the rights of the Tamils as an oppressed nationality and the struggle for free Eelam has led to the Sri Lanka’s prolonged war against the Tamils involving some of the world’s worst war crimes. As has been the case throughout the conflict, Tamil civilians are facing the brunt of the Sri Lankan force’s brutal and indiscriminate assault. Civilians have been targeted, orphanages and hospitals have been regularly bombed. Torture, rape and random killings have been perpetrated by the state’s military and paramilitary forces. This brutal and inhuman nature of the Sinhala State is in full display in the recent assault launched to wipe off LTTE. Vanni, where the war is now being fought, artillery attacks and aerial bombing have already killed hundreds of civilians, including children. Hospitals, ambulances are being attacked. International organizations are not being allowed to enter those regions. As a result of indiscriminate aerial, naval and ground attacks more than 3000 have been killed and many thousands were injured within past few weeks and displacing over 400,000 who are living in subhuman conditions with no access to food, medicines and drinking water. The so-called international community, the UN, etc. by remaining silent and assenting to Sri Lankan government’s ploy to cut the Eelam area off from any outside contact have proven their true nature as an ally of imperialist forces. As a resident of Vanni noted, "The message the Sri Lankan forces were passing to the civilians of Vanni, by repeated and unprovoked attacks, is that they should subjugate themselves by walking into the territories in the hands of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA)." This was a trap the fighting Tamil people have not fallen into. The Sri Lankan Army intruding deep into the Tamil territory did not find a single person, the whole population moving northwards to avoid its wrath, and possibly to fight back at an opportune time. With the full knowledge that the whole Tamil civilian population is now confined in a region less than 300 kilometers, Sri Lanka continues to pound it with bombardments, the declaration of ‘safe-zones’ notwithstanding.
Indian State’s support to the Imperialist Genocides: The struggles of the Palestinians and Tamils to end occupation are important components of the worldwide anti-imperialist struggle. After the Cold War, the Indian ruling classes have been working as willing agents of US imperialism in South Asia, and with the support of the US trying to implement its expansionist designs in the region. It explains the calculated silence maintained by the Indian state when thousands of civilians were slaughtered in Palestine and Sri Lanka, failing to even condemn the killing of thousands of unarmed civilians. While India continues to maintain strong diplomatic and military ties with Israel in this period, Indian intelligence and security forces were involved in aiding the Sri Lankan forces in its genocide of Tamils in the name of ‘War against Terror.’ The various political parties, media and the so-called civil society and the intellectuals have maintained a criminal silence and failed to take a stand in favour of the oppressed Eelam Tamils. It was however easy to condemn and protest against Israel as it is comfortably distant from the Indian shores.
But even the use of mass-murders, bombs and rapes, blockades and displacements, and disproportionate use of fascist violence amid the US imperialism’s change-of-mask from Bush to Obama, has hardly been able to crush the aspirations of the oppressed people for freedom and dignity. Both in Gaza and Vanni, with little outside support the Palestinians and Tamils are resisting the repeated wars of aggression which has demanded huge sacrifice from the freedom-aspiring people. Surrounded and slaughtered though they are, these attacks have strengthened rather than weakened the liberation movements, steeling the resolve to fight on till the final goal is achieved. As Abu Leila of Hamas told the media from an undisclosed location in Gaza, “The Israelis destroyed a lot of empty buildings but they completely failed to break our organization.” In the same spirit a journalist from Tamil Eelam noted that though the Sri Lankan military is testing the breaking point of the Tamil people, they "are not prepared to surrender themselves.” As history has proven over and over again, the spirit of freedom and justice among the oppressed cannot be crushed by the use of force, and it is only a matter of time when the resistance, whether for a free Palestine or a free Tamil Eelam, succeeds in throwing out the oppressors and achieving liberation