No to the Massacre in Rafah Carried Out in Our Name!

Una madre y sus hijos huyen de Rafah después de que Israel lanzara un ataque terrestre y bombardeos contra la ciudad. (fuente: Reuters)

Israel’s genocidal war on the Palestinians in Gaza has escalated with the assault on the city of Rafah in southern Gaza. The attack has forced more than 600,000 of the 1.5 million Palestinians taking refuge there to flee. This attack has inflicted unbelievable suffering, forcing families with children to escape with only what they can carry, in fear of being bombed or shot. For some, this is the ninth time they have been forced to move.

Despite its mild criticisms of Israel’s announcement of plans to attack Rafah, the U.S. government continues to support Israel’s war crimes. The Republicans are calling for even more bloodshed. The Biden administration just advanced a plan for another one billion dollars in weapons sales, on top of the $26 billion recently passed by Congress to supply Israel’s war on the people of Gaza. The politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, are using our tax-dollars to fund this massacre.

This recent stage of Israel’s genocidal war comes on the anniversary of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948. May 15th was Nakba Day, the anniversary of the “Nakba” or catastrophe, when the state of Israel was founded by a massive terrorist attack on Palestinians. The Zionist movement, a Jewish nationalist movement, had been working with the British after World War I to control Palestine. When the British withdrew from Palestine at the end of World War II, Zionist forces launched an all-out assault to ethnically cleanse Palestine. Three-quarters of the Palestinians were driven from their homes by Zionist militias. Their villages were destroyed or taken over by Jewish colonists. They fled to neighboring countries, and to Gaza or the West Bank, which is now under Israeli military occupation.

Palestinians are calling Israel’s current war a second Nakba. Already, at least 35,000 have been killed, most of them civilians, and half of them children. An estimated 19,000 children have been left without families to care for them. Half of Gaza’s homes and buildings have been destroyed. Israel’s assault has driven many of Gaza’s 2.5 million people to flee attacks, first to the south, then to the east, then to the west, and now northwards again. Israel’s military has used more bombs than the U.S. did in Europe during World War II. Israeli drones use advanced artificial intelligence programs to track and target Palestinians who resist, waiting until they are in their homes and bombing their families. White phosphorus munitions, classified as illegal weapons that burn their victims to the bone, have rained down on civilian populations. Israel has created a hell on earth in Gaza.

What future is there for a people who have managed to survive the bombings, the ground assaults and attempts to annihilate them through shutting off access to food, water and medical resources? Already, 80,000 Palestinians have fled to Egypt. Meanwhile Netanyahu and his far-right ministers are calling for a rebuilding of Gaza with Israeli settlements, and direct Israeli control over the territory. Israel’s declaration of war on Hamas is a cover for a policy of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

In the face of this unimaginable terror, the Palestinians continue to survive, against all odds, just as they have done since the first Nakba. They remain committed to struggle for their survival and freedom. And now, around the world, we have seen the rise of a movement calling for an end to the genocide and the right of the Palestinian people for self-determination.

In the U.S., there have been demonstrations of tens and hundreds of thousands, which include groups like Jewish Voice for Peace. Recently, university students have taken the movement to their campuses. Some have faced repression by police, university administrations, and attacks by right-wing mobs. The school year is ending and some promises have been made to students, and encampments are being disbanded, but the movement is far from over. It has spread around the world, to Japan to Lebanon and beyond. It shows that hope is infectious when people take action collectively. A generation is awakening to their ability to change the world.

We can build on what has started, and begin to spread our movement, to stand in support of the Palestinian people, in any way we can. The bombs that destroy their hospitals, the tanks that fire on their homes and crush their tents, the artillery and bullets that rip through people’s bodies indiscriminately, leaving thousands dead — all are paid for by our tax dollars.

This genocidal assault is being carried out in our name. It must be stopped, and it’s our responsibility, living in the U.S., Israel’s chief ally and weapons dealer, to end this war.

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