Hamas, the political-Islamist group ruling the Gaza Strip, and allies, fired some 480 rockets at civilian targets in Israel on 9-11 May. The Israeli government responded by bombing hundreds of targets in Gaza. Escalation looks likely to continue.
Solidarity argues for “two nations, two states”. Israel should withdraw from the West Bank, end its blockade of Gaza, and concede the right of the Palestinians to an independent state of their own alongside Israel.
The surrounding states should recognise the right of Israel to exist, i.e. the right of the Israeli-Jewish nation to self-determination. The large Palestinian minority in Israel should have full equal rights there.
The bombing of Gaza by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is a characteristically disproportionate and brutal use of overwhelming military superiority (it is reported to have killed ten children so far). Israel has a right to defend itself, to deter attacks on its civilian population like the rockets of Hamas, but that general right does not justify the escalation.
Nor do the real Palestinian grievances justify the Hamas rockets. Hamas’s aim is not liberation, but conquest of Israel and imposition of an Islamic state in the area (even if its forces are far too weak to achieve that).
The pretext for the rockets was heavy-handed Israeli police action round the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem during Ramadan and threats to evict 13 Palestinian families from homes in a district of East Jerusalem which Jewish chauvinists have been targeting for decades on the grounds that the buildings were Jewish-owned before 1948.
That doesn’t justify the rockets, though. In fact, before the rockets, big protests inside Israel had pushed the Israeli authorities to postpone a court hearing on the evictions and re-route then block a provocative planned Jewish-chauvinist march in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu has a political interest in keeping military conflict “hot”, within limits, so as to derail moves to form an anti-Netanyahu coalition to replace him after the recent Israeli elections. Hamas has chosen for its own reasons to play its part in that game.
Neither Hamas nor the Israeli chauvinists! Two nations, two states!