Israel launched a massive aerial bombardment of Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, on Sunday night into Monday morning, killing over 100 people. As the sun came up, the world was horrified by images of the mangled bodies of children, in a chilling premonition of what is to come in the weeks ahead.
Over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to carry out a full-scale military onslaught against the besieged city, declaring, “Our goal … is total victory.” For the Israeli regime, “total victory” means killing as many Palestinians as possible and driving the rest from their homes.
Over one million people—almost half of the population of the Gaza Strip—are crowded into Rafah, with most living in squalid tents without clean water, food or sewerage systems. With the hospital system having collapsed, disease is running rampant, and famine is growing. Four out of five of the world’s hungriest people currently reside in Gaza, according to the United Nations.
The full-scale assault on Rafah will further swell the death toll in Gaza, where over four months of nonstop Israeli bombardment and deliberate mass summary executions have killed over 35,000 people.
The overnight massacre took place just one day after US President Joe Biden gave the administration’s approval for the offensive on Rafah, replacing the assertion that an offensive “cannot proceed” with the declaration that the offensive requires a “plan” for the evacuation of Rafah.
Biden “reaffirmed our shared goal to see Hamas defeated and to ensure the long-term security of Israel and its people,” according to the readout of a call between Biden and Netanyahu published by the White House.
Following a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Monday, Biden repeated this empty condition, while referring to “our military operation in Rafah” in one of his “mistakes” that reveals the essential truth.
It is indeed “our military operation”—that is, an operation carried out by Israel but with the coordination of American imperialism. Biden could just as correctly call it “our genocide.”
The “plan,” worked out between Israel and the United States, appears to have taken shape, with the Wall Street Journal reporting, “The Israeli evacuation proposal includes establishing 15 campsites of around 25,000 tents each across the southwestern part of the Gaza Strip, Egyptian officials said.”
The tent cities would be funded by the United States and its allies in the Middle East, the Journal wrote, and would be operated by Egypt, headed by the dictator El-Sisi.
In other words, with the direct complicity, funding and participation of the United States, one million sick, hungry and exhausted people will be marched across the desert and crammed into tent cities.
Significantly, when asked whether the United Nations will participate in the “evacuation” of Rafah, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, declared, “We will not be party to forced displacement of people,” adding, “As it is, there is no place that is currently safe in Gaza.”
The clear implication is that the United States is precisely a party to this “forced displacement”—i.e., genocide and ethnic cleansing.
The events of the past 24 hours have made clear the extent to which US imperialism is directly implicated in the Gaza genocide. Israel undertakes no major actions without the approval of the Biden administration, which is not only funding and arming but politically directing the mass murder of Gaza’s population.
Biden’s reaffirmation of his support for the genocide is particularly striking given the major escalation of the US political crisis over the weekend, amid a collapse of support for the US president over his role in the Gaza massacre.
Last week, the New York Times published a report of a meeting by Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer, who told a group of Arab American politicians in Dearborn, Michigan, that the administration has carried out a series of “missteps” in its open-ended support for Israel.
According to the Times, Finer said, “We have left a very damaging impression based on what has been a wholly inadequate public accounting for how much the president, the administration, and the country value the lives of Palestinians.”
He added, “I do not have any confidence in this current government of Israel” and admitted that Israeli politicians compared “residents of Gaza to animals,” with no criticism by US officials. He added, “We did not sufficiently indicate that we totally rejected and disagreed with those sorts of sentiments.”
Biden’s actions, however, speak louder than Finer’s words. The systematic public dehumanization of the Palestinian people by the White House flows precisely out of the Biden administration’s support for Netanyahu’s massacre in Gaza. The same goes for the hand-wringing by imperialist politicians in France, Germany and the EU, who have criticized certain aspects of Israel’s policy while in fact backing and financing the genocide.
The Biden administration sees support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza as a critical element of its Middle East strategy. American imperialism seized on the events of October 7 to carry out a long-planned military offensive throughout the Middle East, which has already led to the bombing of Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and leads ultimately toward a direct clash with Iran.
The conflict with Iran is itself part of a global struggle for world domination against Russia and China, in what the Biden administration has called the “decisive decade” that will set “the terms of geopolitical competition between the major powers.”
Biden, speaking for the predatory interests of American capitalism supported by both the Democrats and Republicans, is driven by far deeper necessities of American imperialism, which sees war as a means to shore up the United States’ global hegemony and the viability of the US dollar.
The horrors unfolding in Gaza offer humanity a glimpse of the brutality with which imperialism will conduct a full-scale war against Iran, Russia, China or all three.
The past four months of unending and escalating brutality and barbarism against the Palestinian people has demonstrated the futility of appealing to any section of the political establishment of the imperialist countries. Nor can workers and youth rely on the United Nations, which, whatever its statements condemning Israel’s actions, is entirely subordinate to the imperialist and capitalist powers.
It is the international working class that must be mobilized to stop the impending assault on Rafah and the genocide itself. This includes the escalation of global protests, combined with strike action by dockworkers, transportation workers and other sections of the working class to stop the funneling of arms and supplies to Israel and shut down production.
This must be connected to the building of a socialist leadership in the working class in every country. The genocide in Gaza is imperialist barbarism in its most brutal form. Just as the fight against the genocide is necessarily a fight against imperialism, the fight against imperialism is necessarily a fight against capitalism, for the conquest of power by the working class and the socialist reorganization of economic life on a world scale.