What is Criminal is the Incarceration of Thousands of Palestinians and the Hannibal Directive Under Which the Israel Army Killed Hundreds of its Own Citizens
Prison Breakout October 7
I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of Jewish Voice for Labour. Nonetheless I consider myself a critical supporter. It is in that spirit that I view with dismay the motion that JVL’s Executive has proposed on the ‘Gaza War’ at your AGM this weekend.
I know that it is a minor point but it is important to point out that in the language we use we don’t unwittingly lend support to the Zionist narrative. There is no war between the people of Gaza and the Zionist state. What has been taking place since October 7 is a one-sided slaughter in which thousands of non-combatants, including children, have been slaughtered in a campaign that has defied every tenet of international law.
Socialists have always supported unconditionally the right of people under occupation to resist their occupiers. That does not mean that that that support is uncritical but any criticism which we make is premised on our support.
Contrary to the lies of the mass media that babies had been beheaded, no baby died on October 7th, unlike the incubator babies that Israel killed in Al Shifa Hospital
I was therefore astounded that JVL’s Executive sought to characterise the attack on October as ‘criminal’. According to whose law? Israeli law? Of course the colonial occupier characterises resistance to its occupation as criminal but I am surprised that JVL should join them.
The right to resist is recognised in numerous resolutions of the UN General Assembly as well as the Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions (1977). Article 1(4), classifies conflicts in which peoples are fighting against alien occupation and racist regimes as armed conflicts in which individuals engaging in such “fighting,” if captured, should be afforded the status of prisoners of war.
Israeli forces shot their own civilians, kibbutz survivor says
It is not necessary however to resort to international law to understand that just as the French and Czech people had the right to resist the Nazis, just as the American colonists had the right to resist the British and the African slaves had the right to resist their overseers, so the Palestinians too have a right to resist Israel’s Apartheid regime.
Between 1791 and 1804 slaves in Haiti and Santo Domingo overthrew slavery, in the course of which they slaughtered every single French white person. I would hope that if the JVL Executive had been around at the time that you would have supported the slave uprising even if you had deplored much of the killing that resulted. The same is true of October 7 when the Palestinians of Gaza broke out of their prison.
As you are well aware Gaza has been occupied for over half a century. For the past 16 years Israel has imposed a starvation blockade and bombed the territory regularly (‘mowing the lawn’) causing thousands of deaths. What right have we to call an uprising of Gaza’s people ‘criminal’?
In 2018 when Palestinians in Gaza took part in the peaceful Great Return March over 300 were mowed down by Israeli snipers and thousands more were disabled by illegal Israeli ammunition. We all remember Razan al-Najjar, the 21 year old medic gunned down by Israel as she was tending to the wounded.
Great Return March
Israel holds approximately 8,000 Palestinian prisoners, 3,000 of whom have not even had the luxury of a ‘trial’ in a military court where the conviction rate is over 99%. By what feat of intellectual gymnastics are Palestinians forbidden to take Israelis prisoner when so many of them are imprisoned? This sounds very much like Jewish Exceptionalism. We support the Palestinians whilst they are nobly suffering but the moment they fight back we call them criminals.
The motion from the JVL Executive, which talks of ‘Hamas’s killing of up to 1,200 Israeli residents, mostly civilians’ is simply wrong. According to the Times of Israel approximately one-third of those killed were either soldiers or police.
It is an open question as to how many of the remaining 800 civilians were killed by Israel itself as part of the infamous Hannibal Directive which decrees that it is better to kill an Israeli captive than have them taken prisoner and later swapped for Palestinian prisoners.
Israelis in Tel Aviv 26 7 2014 There’s no school tomorrow,there’s no children l
We know for a fact that at Kibbutz Be’eri tanks were brought in to shell the houses where Israelis were being held captive with the result that those held hostage died along with their captors.
There is also considerable evidence that Apache helicopters strafed concert goers and cars indiscriminately. How then can the motion ascribe the deaths on October 7 solely to Hamas when Israel acknowledges it bombed its own bases when they fell under Hamas control?
Israeli forces shot their own civilians, kibbutz survivor says (Full with subtitles)
I also find the sentence ‘Israel’s military onslaught is no surgical operation targeting the militants responsible for October 7’ (my emphasis) very strange. It implies that if Israel had launched a surgical as opposed to a genocidal attack on Gaza then JVL would have supported it!
In the list of demands in the bullet points at the end of the resolution JVL calls for the release of the (Israeli) ‘hostages’ but refers to Palestinian ‘detainees’. Why the difference? Are you implying that Palestinian prisoners are lawfully detained? That they are not hostages?
It is to be hoped that this resolution falls or is withdrawn. Israel’s siege and occupation of Gaza are unlawful and it is therefore the right of Hamas and any resistance group to resist that occupation.
This AGM rejects attempts by Israel and its Western backers to portray the death toll inflicted on Gazans since October 7 as justified by Israel’s claimed “right to defend itself”. Hamas’s killing of up to 1,200 Israeli residents, mostly civilians, and the taking of more than 200 hostages were criminal acts. But Israel’s military onslaught is no surgical operation targeting the militants responsible for October 7. It is a vengeful retaliation by a government openly bent on the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
This ongoing catastrophe stems directly from the consistent policies of the Israeli settler-colonial state for decade after decade. It has stolen Palestinians’ land and their water. It has demolished their homes. It has imprisoned, tortured and murdered them and attempted to obliterate their culture. It has created a vast open-air prison in Gaza and now turned it into an open-air grave. Israel wants Palestinian land without Palestinians. In closing off all forms of non-violent resistance to their apartheid policies the Israeli state has set the conditions for the current disaster.
We deplore the proliferating attempts to silence Palestinians and those who stand in solidarity with them by accusations that they are motivated by antisemitism. It is Israel, a state, not the Jewish people worldwide, that is carrying out the shamefully indiscriminate butchery in Gaza.
We reject the hypocritical arguments from politicians, Tory and Labour, who talk of international law while ignoring obvious war crimes, and who propose only temporary interruptions, so-called “humanitarian pauses”, in the genocide. We welcome the negotiated release of some hostages and detainees and any easing of the blockade. But only a permanent ceasefire can open the way for an end to decades of injustice. A lasting peace, bringing security, dignity, equality, justice and freedom for both to Palestinians and Israelis, requires: (Bold is my emphasis)
· an end to the Israeli bombardment and siege of Gaza
· release of the hostages
· release of Palestinian detainees in Israeli gaols, many held without charge or trial