The streets of Gaza are running with the blood of Palestinians who are suffering assaults from the air, starvation and a ground invasion. Israeli forces surrounded Gaza City this week, effectively splitting the strip in half.
Israel cut communications again early in the week, but satellite images showed new levels of Israeli armoured vehicles, tanks and bulldozers entering Gaza on Monday. The United Nations agency for Palestine said that Palestinians in Gaza are now suffering a “forced displacement and humanitarian tragedy of colossal proportions”.
The Israeli state has also set its sights on the occupied West Bank. Between 7 October and Monday this week Israeli forces have murdered at least 154 Palestinians in the West Bank.
And the Palestinian Prisoners’ and Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs Authority reported that Israel has locked up 2,080 Palestinians from the West Bank. “After 7 October, Israelis also focused their attack on the West Bank,” a Palestinian living near Jerusalem told Socialist Worker.
He explained that Israeli settlers are spreading fear in the West Bank. “About 20 different settler groups have support from the government. Recently the interior minister gave 26,000 automatic guns to settlers and encouraged them to use them,” he said.
“The Israeli army is invading almost every district of the West Bank nightly. Even in my town it’s bringing its reserves here. It’s shooting, beating and humiliating people. We are sent videos by Israeli soldiers of them beating and torturing Palestinians. They like to remind Palestinians that we are still under their control. It’s part of their revenge.”
The Palestinian added that people going to work in the West Bank has essentially stopped. “No one is working, schools and universities are shut,” he said. “Those from the West Bank who worked within Israel were stopped from the first day, and even those who work within the West Bank cannot travel for work.
“Checkpoints have closed. In many areas in the north Israeli soldiers have blocked roads with concrete blocks. The Israelis will also stop and check people’s phones. They’ll look at if you’ve shared or looked at any statements about Gaza. If so, you could be beaten, arrested and imprisoned.”
The plan from the top is to make life even more intolerable for Palestinians in the West Bank and give confidence to settlers. On Monday Israeli special forces drove into Tulkarm in a civilian car and shot and killed at least four Palestinians.
Israel’s finance minister Bezalel Smotrich wrote a letter to prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and minister of defence Yoav Gallant. He pushed for “sterile security spaces” around settlements in the West Bank.
But the Palestinian resistance has been fighting back and was returning fire at Israeli forces in Tulkarem on Tuesday. The Palestinian near Jerusalem said, “We see the Palestinian resistance. We see the videos saying they are still active. “Hamas is still on the ground fighting in Gaza, and is well organised. It’s mounted an astonishing amount of resistance.”
‘Organise to stop attack’
Zahrat is a Palestinian living in Nablus in the West Bank. She told Socialist Worker that she was scared to speak out because Israeli soldiers are checking people’s phones and “killing anyone who speaks the truth”. But she sent a message anyway, saying, “Money, electricity, food, medicine, water—and freedom—are scarce.
“My children have been confined at home for a month and do not go out to school, I don’t go to work, and there is no money to buy anything. We are afraid of genocide. Gaza is without electricity, water, medicine, food, hospitals, schools or sleep.
“There is darkness, blood, and the sounds of children crying and women screaming. Come on, people of the world, organise marches and support Palestine by pressuring and influencing your governments to stop the war.”
Israel looks to take control in Gaza
Israel’s prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Israel would control “overall security responsibility” in Gaza for an “indefinite period”. This outlines Israel plans to grab control in Gaza during and after its invasion. Netanyahu added there would be no ceasefire without Hamas releasing its hostages.
Meanwhile Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the collaborationist Palestinan Authority, met with United States secretary of state Anthony Blinken last Sunday. Blinken suggested that the “effective and revitalised Palestinian Authority” could run the Gaza Strip if Hamas are eliminated.
If the PA was ever handed any power in Gaza it would be a complete betrayal of the Palestinian people and the resistance they’ve shown against Israel. The PA would be there to collaborate with the Israeli state to crush Palestinian resistance in the same way it does in the West Bank.
Just last year the PA carried out one of its biggest manhunts of political activists, arresting 94 Palestinians in just two months. But the PA will never be allowed by Israel to run Gaza either. “The Palestinian Authority has no authority in the West Bank anymore,” explained the Palestinian living near Jerusalem.
“The Israelis do what they like here. They don’t consider that the PA exists.” Abbas and the leaders of the PA still cling to the idea of a two-state solution. Yet Israel will never give up its hold of the West Bank, which it occupies militarily with the PA’s helps. It’s no wonder the PA has become so unpopular in the West Bank, and its plans to betray those in Gaza are a sign of its priorities.