“HELL on Earth” returned to Gaza today in the words of a UN official, as Israel resumed its murderous bombing campaign with dozens of air strikes on the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis.
Over 100 solidarity actions will take place for Palestine across Britain on Saturday as peace campaigners demand an end to the killing.
After almost a week’s truce which saw Hamas release 78 hostages seized in its October 7 raid on Israel, and Israel free 240 Palestinian prisoners of the thousands in its jails, Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) unleashed another wave of bombing which had killed at least 109 people today when the Morning Star went to press, bringing the total death toll from its war above 15,000.
Israel’s former defence minister Benny Gantz said it had spent the week’s truce planning an extension of its onslaught to south Gaza, with the first phase of the war having targeted the north.
“We must change the reality in the south as well as in the north,” he declared, with Israeli aircraft dropping leaflets warning people to flee further south, to Rafah on the Egyptian border. “You have to evacuate immediately. Khan Younis is a dangerous fighting zone. You have been warned,” the leaflets read.
Following previous warnings that Palestinians should flee northern Gaza for southern cities like Khan Younis, the new demand raises fears that Israel intends to drive the whole population of Gaza out.
The Stop the War Coalition’s Lindsey German told the Morning Star that Gaza faced the “hideous prospect [of] winter cold, disease and food shortages and now renewed bombardment by Israel.
The West Bank is also seeing increasing violence with many young Palestinians being shot and arrested every day.
A window on the horror was exposed by the Unite union, which has a twinning arrangement with Shu’fat refugee camp which borders East Jerusalem and houses more than 16,000 refugees.
Colin Lomas, secretary of the twinning group, said:
The Shu’fat checkpoint [into Jerusalem] is frequently closed, making the camp an open prison subject to frequent incursions by the Israeli army.
The United Nations health centre in the camp, already desperately overstretched, has experienced extensive damage.
The Shu’fat youth centre has been raided on several occasions, resulting in the arrest of many young people.
Homes have also been raided, with people being summarily arrested and imprisoned, mostly without charge or trial.
To make daily life even worse, residents are constantly subjected to the use of skunk water and tear gas.
Ms German said protests should continue until Israel ended its attacks.
“We are continuing to campaign,” she said.
There are hundreds of events taking place.
Organisers have decided we will have another national rally next Saturday and we will be going to Parliament once again.
The truth is we have to keep marching and protesting until Israel stops its attacks.
A major rally is planned in east London’s Atrium tomorrow, with Ms German joining former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, veteran peace campaigner Tariq Ali, former Respect leader Salma Yaqoob and Morning Star political reporter Andrew Murray among the speakers.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign said more than 100 actions would take place in total,
from Bristol to Woking.
Director Ben Jamal said:
Israel’s decision to resume its bombardment of Gaza flies in the face of international law, which prohibits collective punishment and attacks on civilians. Every humanitarian agency on the ground has indicated that the scale of destruction already wrought by Israel has pushed Gaza to the brink of catastrophe, where deaths from disease and lack of medical services could outstrip the current casualty figures.
In that context not only is it unconscionable that Israel would renew its attacks, it is also shameful and unacceptable that UK political leaders would give their support, tacitly or explicitly.
This Saturday, ordinary people across the UK will come out again to show the vast majority of them support a permanent ceasefire.
And aid agency Islamic Relief said:
Before the truce, a child in Gaza was being killed almost every 10 minutes. It is unconscionable that the international community is now standing by and allowing this bloodshed to continue.
But Israel showed no sign of relenting, with the Financial Times reporting a senior Israeli source telling it “this will be a very long war,” with the “high-intensity” phase expected to last months and no clear end point in sight.
Qatar, which brokered the truce, expressed “regret” it had broken down, with Palestinian sources saying agreement could not be reached on terms for the release of captured women soldiers of the IDF. The U.S. said Hamas had failed to provide new lists of hostages to be released, blaming it for the end to the truce.
A list of Palestine solidarity actions across Britain can be found here: palestinecampaign.org