Israel’s bombing of the Jabaliya refugee camp: Another atrocity in the genocide in Gaza

Alex Lantier 31 October 2023 –

Yesterday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) committed a horrific atrocity, killing and wounding hundreds of men, women and children in a wanton bombing of the Jabaliya refugee camp. Photos revealed that a large area of the camp that once contained many tall buildings had completely collapsed into rubble.

The health ministry of Gaza confirmed it had identified 50 dead and 150 wounded from the strike on the Jabaliya camp, built to house the descendants of Palestinians forced to flee their land during the creation of the state of Israel. The full death toll is likely much higher. Many of the dead were vaporized or torn to unrecognizable shreds by the six massive bomb blasts that destroyed the camp.

“I went and saw the destruction … homes buried under the rubble and body parts and martyrs and wounded in huge numbers,” one 41-year-old who helped dig through the rubble told AFP. “There’s no exaggerating when they talk about hundreds of martyrs and wounded. [People are] still transporting the remains of children, women, and the elderly.”

Israeli officials brazenly defended the bombing, boasting that this act of mass murder targeting a defenseless civilian camp had exterminated many “terrorists.” IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said the bombing had “managed to eliminate the terrorist murderer Ibrahim Biari,” who Hagari claimed was “the main leader of combat” against IDF forces in Gaza. During Biari’s “elimination, many terrorists were killed,” Hagari said.

The bombing of the Jabaliya refugee camp is the response of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and of his NATO imperialist backers to the mass protests by millions of workers and youth around the world, denouncing the IDF’s genocidal onslaught against Gaza. Their message is: We will ignore your protests and proceed with waging war by the methods of crimes against humanity and genocide.

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The green light for this atrocity was given the day before by Washington, with the active complicity of its European NATO allies. As the confirmed death toll in Gaza passed 8,000, including over 3,000 children, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby rejected the overwhelming 120-14 vote in the UN General Assembly in favor of a ceasefire in Gaza.

War and mass killings of civilians, Kirby insisted, had to continue. He said, “We do not believe that a ceasefire is the right answer right now … We believe that a ceasefire right now benefits Hamas, and Hamas is the only one that would gain from that right now.”

Yesterday, Kirby defended the bombing of the Jabaliya camp, refusing to comment specifically on it. “We’re not going to react to every event in real time,” he said. However, he added that US officials engage in “daily conversations we are having with our counterparts” in Israel that keeps civilian casualties at a level Washington views as acceptable. “It’s obvious to us that they are trying to minimize” civilian losses, Kirby lied.

Kirby’s statement is an endorsement by the US government and the NATO military alliance of Israel’s genocidal methods in Gaza. While it aims to defend Israeli war crimes against the Palestinians, there are targets of imperialism across the Middle East and around the world. The imperialist powers are putting the world’s population, and above all the international working class, on notice. They view genocide, mass murder and ethnic cleansing as legitimate tools to crush resistance to their hegemony.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant infamously called the Palestinians “human animals” at the war’s outset, demonstrating that the IDF policy was indiscriminate slaughter. It cut off all water, fuel and food supplies to the densely-populated region of over 2.3 million people. It massacred hundreds of civilians and health workers by bombing civilian targets like the Al-Ahli Arab Baptist Hospital. It also ordered over 1.1 million people in northern Gaza to leave their homes and flee to southern Gaza, along roads intensively bombed by IDF forces.

Reports of talks between Israeli, NATO and Egyptian officials show that the Israeli regime intends to expel the Palestinian people from Gaza and have the Egyptian military regime imprison surviving Palestinians in concentration camps in the neighboring Sinai Peninsula. Palestinians in Gaza, according to this criminal plan, would be either killed or expelled.

Yesterday, Israeli Intelligence Ministry officials published what Netanyahu called a “concept paper” proposing to forcibly transfer all 2.3 million residents of Gaza into the Sinai. Egyptian officials with whom these plans were discussed apparently made a counter-proposal to house the Palestinians in concentration camps in southern Israel’s barren Negev Desert.

The Financial Times of London cited a “Western diplomat” as saying that “the pressure of a continued Israeli assault on Gaza could yet lead to a shift in stance” by the Egyptian regime. Apparently endorsing the Israeli plan, the unnamed diplomat said: “That’s the only thing that can be done … so now is the time to put increased pressure on the Egyptians to agree.”

This poses the question to millions of workers and youth internationally protesting against the war on Gaza: How can the military machine of the IDF and NATO be stopped, and genocide averted?

The massacre of the Jabaliya refugee camp is a bloody but stark warning that the only way forward is to build a powerful, revolutionary movement against imperialism, genocide and war in the international working class. There is nothing to be negotiated with the Zionist regime or the NATO imperialist governments, which are controlled by cabals of bankers and generals and run by political criminals.

The Israeli government and its NATO imperialist allies have proven impervious to protests begging them to renounce ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. In 30 years of war in the Middle East and Africa since the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, they have plundered Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Mali, killing millions. Their response to moral appeals against genocide, as the Jabaliya massacre shows, is only to escalate their acts of mass murder.

The force that can stop the genocide is the working class, which through its labor produces the wealth of society. An international mass movement of strikes and workers’ struggles can completely block the major economies and bring down the governments complicit in crimes against Gaza. Only a struggle to mobilize and build support among workers and prepare a direct assault on the power of the capitalists and their military-intelligence machines can stop the genocidal onslaught against the Palestinians.

The decisive question facing participants in the protests against the Israeli war in Gaza is to develop a mass anti-war, anti-imperialist movement, preparing an international transfer of power to the working class based on the perspective of socialist revolution.