Thu Feb 22, 2024
February 22, 2024

The Pressure of International Solidarity with Gaza Forces the Zionist State to Negotiate

After a month and half of a genocidal military offensive, the government of Israel and Hamas, with the mediation of Qatar, the U.S., and Egypt, have reached a deal to exchange 50 Israeli prisoners in Gaza for 150 Palestinian prisoners that are in Zionist hands. In both cases they are women and minors.

By: Daniel Sugasti

This fact is a product of a contradictory combination between the strong pressure of the massive protests around the world against the genocide of Palestinians, and of the political action of the Biden administration, who has been pressured by this upsurge in the domestic sphere and worried about an escalation in the instability of the region.

In any case, the fact is that such a pact was not in the plans of Netanyahu and his Neo-Nazi ministers.

The deal would also grant four days of ceasefire and the entry of more trucks with food, medication, and fuel into Gaza, which is under a total siege and land invasion by Israel.

The hostage exchange would be implemented in stages: each day, up to 13 Israelis would be exchanged for around 40 Palestinian prisoners. When the time is up, “the liberation of 10 additional hostages will mean an additional day of pause,” according to Netanyahu’s cabinet, which has also made it clear that this will not mean an end to hostilities. Since, after the truce, he has promised that “the war will continue in order to send all hostages home, complete the destruction of Hamas, and ensure there will be no new threats to the State of Israel from within Gaza.”

The same can be said of Hamas and other Palestinian militias, which will probably take this time to regroup and reposition themselves better in the theater of operations.

It should be noted, however, that before the siege and land invasion which began in October, Israel had arrested 5.300 Palestinians, including at least 200 minors. Many of the Palestinian prisoners have absurd sentences, for instance, up to 20 years for “throwing rocks.”

In little more than a month, according to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), this number rose to more than 8,000 Palestinians kidnapped and jailed, without any respect for legal norms or human rights.

To understand the reasons and the moment of this deal, we must consider that, despite the unprecedentedly brutal offensive by Israel, the Palestinian people have not been defeated. The urban war, which has unfolded inch by inch in a landscape that has been reduced to ruins, has given serious military difficulties to the invaders. In the spectacular Hamas attacks on October 7, 391 soldiers were killed. So far, during the land offensive, Israeli sources admit 69 victims, although this number is certainly higher.

In just a few weeks, the Zionist occupation forces launched as many bombs in Gaza as the U.S. dropped in Afghanistan in the first year of that conflict. Israel has murdered more than 14.000 Palestinians, 70% of which are minors. Save the Children reports that a child is killed every ten minutes in the Gaza Strip.

In the first 30 days, there were 11,000 Israeli air attacks. This is 9 times more than what Russia made in the first month of its invasion of Ukraine and 18 times more than the monthly average of the U.S. in Afghanistan in 2019. In early November, 45% of the buildings in Gaza were destroyed or severely damaged, a number that overcame even the destruction Mariupol, the Ukrainian city severely damaged by Russian artillery, which leveled 32% of its buildings in 2022. Entire neighborhoods in Gaza were erased from the map, including refugee camps, hospitals, schools, markets, etc. But the Palestinian people, who have been subject to a thousand hardships, do not surrender.

Within this context of destruction and resistance in Gaza, we must add the growing pressure of the many demonstrations across the world, which have shown solidarity with Palestine and have demanded a cease-fire or an end to the military funding of Israel. Despite the Zionist propaganda and reprisals, in London, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Istanbul, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, and of course in the Arab countries, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have been protesting against the televised genocide that is happening in Gaza. To this process we can add important demonstrations, events, and manifestos from prominent non-Zionist Jewish personalities and organizations who use the slogan “Not in Our Name.”

This pressure from different directions and different intensities is the factor that has forced Washington to insist on “humanitarian pauses” with its Zionist partners. In the Democrat ranks the rejection of the Israeli attacks is growing. Last week, more than 500 officers of the Biden government signed a letter condemning the massacre in Gaza and criticizing U.S. support of it. In the middle of an electoral race, the White House has been forced to cynically show “humanitarian preoccupations.” But we must not be fooled, because at the same time Biden supports atrocities such as the invasion of the Al-Shifa Hospital by Israeli soldiers.

Inside Israel, the element that has probably forced the negotiation is the pressure of the families of those captured by Hamas. This sector of the occupying population accuses Netanyahu of inaction and insensitivity towards the Israelis who are in the hands of the Palestinian party-militia.

Thousands of Israelis have been gathering for many days in front of the Prime Minister’s cabinet. “If you have to stop to take them out, then stop. If we have to give back the thousands of Palestinian prisoners we have here (in Israel), give them back. But do everything possible to bring back the hostages, all of them,” said a protester. While the government debated the final approval of the deal with Hamas, a protest in front of the Armed Forces headquarters in Tel Aviv showed slogans like “Deal now!” or “What is the price of my son?” Let us remember that, before the offensive, the Prime Minister faced a serious crisis and incredibly low approval ratings by Israelis. In this context, Netanyahu was finally forced to cede and said of the deal: “It is a hard decision, but it is the correct one.” There was, however, a group of ministers who kept their opposition and voted against the deal, a fact that has shown that there are fissures in the entrails of the Zionist state that can barely be hidden by the war.

The cease-fire, reluctantly accepted by Israel, is a relief for Palestinians. It remains to be seen whether it will be respected. On the other hand, it cannot be said that this is the beginning of the end of the Zionist offensive, which seeks to recover direct control of Gaza as part of a plan to exterminate Palestinians, who they have called “human animals.”

The ethnic cleansing, which is coming closer and closer all the time to a “final solution” will continue. It is essential that we do not stop our campaigns and demonstrations against the genocide in Gaza. We must stand for a unified, secular, democratic, and non-racist Palestine, which presupposes the destruction and complete dismantlement of the Zionist State of Israel.

Translation by Miki Sayoko

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