Photo: Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza, last week
By Felipe Vera
Last weekend, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) released a statement claiming to have launched several airstrikes in Gaza against Hamas (The Islamic Resistance Movement). These airstrikes coincide with large protests in Palestine against US imperialism and Israeli occupation, including one last Friday where a Palestinian teenager was shot and killed.
An IDF soldier shot 16-year-old Fahed al-Astal in the stomach at the latest Great March of Return protest, which have been organizing weekly on the Israeli-Gaza border since March 2018. Over the past several weeks the Committee for the Great Return March Processions has temporarily suspended the demonstrations; al-Astal was killed in an unsanctioned protest, mostly comprised of youth who rebelled against the orders of opportunist leaders.
On November 26, the Fatah party organized the Day of Rage protests in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s declaration that Israeli settlements in the West Bank do not violate international law. Since the Six Days War in 1967, Israel has been steadily expanding its occupation further into the West Bank, where it has been violently displacing Palestinians from their land and establishing settlements, which are later annexed under Israeli control.
Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets and targeted Israeli military checkpoints, rebelling against the occupation and US support for it. Many carried signs which stated, “Trump to impeachment, Netanyahu to jail, the occupation will go and we will remain on our land.”
At several checkpoints, the Palestinian masses hurled rocks at Israeli forces. The IDF viciously attacked protesters with rubber bullets and tear gas, injuring over 77 people.
That same day, two missiles were launched from Gaza at Israel, although it is unclear who was responsible for the attacks. One was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defense system, while the other struck an open field in Israel with no one injured or killed. In response, the reactionary Israeli state sent fighter jets to airstrike what they have claimed to be Hamas targets, destroying a weapons facility.
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, who has recently been indicted on corruption charges, stated “if someone in Gaza thinks it’s safe to attack us after Operation Black Belt — they’re making a serious mistake. We will respond aggressively to any attack against us, and will continue to ensure the security of Israel on all fronts.”
Operation Black Belt was a 48 hour conflict which was initiated on November 12 when the IDF launched an airstrike to murder Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Baha’a Abu al-Ata. In response, PIJ launched over 400 missiles at Israel, and Israel responded with airstrikes of its own, in which at least 34 Palestinians were killed.
Israel continues a genocidal policy of annihilating Palestinians of all ages and is always encroaching further into already occupied territory. The Palestinian masses have continued to rebel against the Israeli occupation as they always have.
The recognition of the Israeli settlements as legal by the United States symbolizes the growing reactionary trends in both countries, as bourgeois laws are bent to serve the interests of imperialism as it continues to spiral in decline. The Palestinians meanwhile rise against the oppression of their nation, raging against the Israeli forces that enforce their occupation.