Israel’s Gaza war is unwinnable

May 23, 2024
student encampments and staff picketing
Student encampment at the City University of New York (top). Striking university workers, members of UAW Local 4811, picketing the University of California Santa Cruz in support of pro-Palestine students (Bottom). Photos: @YDSA/X

United States intelligence agencies now openly recognise that Israel’s plan to eliminate Hamas in Gaza is futile.

Pro-war Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee told CNN on May 12: “I want Hamas gone … [But] I worry that the number of civilians that are dying are ultimately going to provide permanent recruiting material to Hamas, and Hamas will remain a threat for years to come to Israel.”

He also said that “every intelligence expert has come to the conclusion that you are not going to be able to eliminate Hamas”.

When a whole people are being attacked, those who can — in Gaza this means mainly young men — seek to join groups fighting back, whether this is Hamas’ armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, Islamic Jihad, or others, irrespective of whether they politically supported Hamas before Israel’s invasion.

Even pro-war, pro-Zionist newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times — well informed by intelligence agencies — echo this assessment.

According to analysts, wrote the WSJ, a takeover of Rafah “is unlikely a decisive tactical blow to Hamas” … and … “resumed fighting in Gaza City and other areas of the north shows that Hamas has retained the ability to fight and is trying to reconstitute its capabilities in areas vacated by the [Israeli] military…”

The NYT wrote that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar’s survival, seven months after the October 7 breakout and attack “is emblematic of the failures of Israel’s war, which has ravaged much of Gaza but left Hamas’s top leadership largely intact and failed to free most of the [Israeli] captives…”

US hypocrisy

Given this assessment, known by Israel’s leadership, the only explanation of Israel’s continuing war, deepened by its full blown invasion of Rafah, is that its objective is the crushing of the Palestinian people of Gaza to the extent they will accept Israel’s total indefinite military domination of the strip.

All the measures Israel is using to accomplish that, including mass killing by bombs, artillery, tanks, machine guns, mass displacement and starvation are being stepped up.

About 1.9 million people in Rafah have been moved from their homes and many have been forced to move up to 10 times. They are now being told to move again.

Israel will fail in its objective in the long run because of the Palestinian people’s resistance, which is buttressed by an growing anti-war movement in the US and the condemnation of the world’s majority.

Israel is becoming more and more a pariah country, propped up by the US.

A recent overwhelming vote in the United Nations General Assembly proposed to the UN Security Council to recognise Palestine as a state. The US responded saying it would veto any vote on the SC, giving the lie to President Joe Biden’s phony proposal for a two-state solution.

Biden says his proposed Palestinian “state” would have no army.

Previously, the US and Israel have said that any Palestinian state would have its borders and foreign policy controlled by Israel. Now the Israeli leadership as a whole rejects even that.

South Africa expanded its case against Israel in the International Court of Justice in May, demanding the ICJ order Israel to immediately withdraw and cease its military operations in Rafah.

Meanwhile, Biden’s “red line” warning to Israel to not invade Rafah has been exposed as hot air. As the full blown invasion of Rafah began, Biden announced another billion dollars’ worth of arms to Israel.

The US capitalist ruling class is intent on backing Israel — albeit with some tactical differences that may emerge — because Israel is key to the US’ imperialist objective to dominate the Middle East.

Biden is leading the charge for his class and, concerning Israel’s war, is not the “lesser evil”, but the greater evil.

Mobilised pro-Palestinian students and other sectors being drawn in to oppose Washington’s complicity in genocide are learning this lesson and gaining a greater understanding of the role of the police and the mainstream media.

Unprecedented movement

The pro-Palestine student encampments in the US have helped spark a broader anti-war movement that has spread to Europe, Australia and other parts of the world.

This historic development — the first of its kind in response to Israel’s colonial project — is affecting international politics.

These young people reject Washington’s pro-Israel stance and the mainstream media’s lies and lack of coverage of the carnage in Gaza.

The NYT interviewed many of these students, who reported they are looking to other media sources such as Al Jazeera, which was shut down and banned in Israel on May 6.

The ban “has only elevated the network’s status among many student protesters”, reported the NYT and they value Al Jazeera’s coverage and the sacrifices its journalists have made.

Students are also turning to outlets such as Jewish Currents, the Intercept and Mondoweiss, as well as independent Palestinians on social media.

DemocracyNow!, Consortium News and Counterpunch should be added, as their reportage gets spread far and wide on social media.

At the time of writing, about 2800 students had been arrested on US campuses, at the behest of campus administrations and some city governments. Some students have been expelled, denied their diplomas and others charged with felonies.

Despite the repression, protests continue, including at commencement events as the academic year draws to a close and summer classes are set to begin.

At some academic institutions, administrations have chosen to negotiate with protesters, with some agreeing to divest from war industries backing Israel.

Not all the police raids have been brutal, but in New York City, the Black Democrat mayor — a retired police captain — unleashed a brutal attack on protesters at City College.

Police were less violent at Columbia University, where students come from wealthier families.

Students have noted this class differentiation in other cities and states.

At the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Zionists attacked a peaceful encampment with clubs and other weapons on April 30, while police stood by. They were joined by far rightists, including the antisemitic Proud Boys.

Other forces on the campuses have joined the pro-Palestinian protests, including professors and graduate students with teaching duties.

UAW, Jewish academics step up

Many graduate students are members of the United Auto Workers (UAW), which represents 48,000 graduate student teaching assistants, tutors, researchers and other academic workers in the University of California system (including UCLA).

UAW Local 4811, the largest in the UC system, held a strike ballot in response to the crackdown on students’ protests. UC Santa Cruz members were the first to walk off the job on May 20 in a rolling action that disrupted classes.

“The use and sanction of violent force to curtail peaceful protest is an attack on free speech and the right to demand change, and the university must sit down with students, unions, and campus organizations to negotiate, rather than escalate” announced UAW Local 4811.

Earlier this year the national UAW, which is on a drive to organise foreign-owned auto companies in the anti-union South, following a victorious strike against US-owned auto companies, adopted a resolution calling for a cease fire in Gaza.

As Biden accused the campus protests of being antisemitic — smearing a large segment of Jewish students participating in and leading them — the Jewish Voice for Peace Academic Advisory Council issued an “Open Call to Fellow Jewish Academics”, which condemned “the deliberate mischaracterization, and weaponization of persisting fears about Jewish safety and well-being on campuses” as “the singular excuse for a series of misguided and dangerous policies by university administrators”.

The statement strongly condemned “this violent, punitive, and increasingly militarized approach to resolving conflicts on our campuses”, which “demands a strong response from those concerned with equity, education, and justice”.

Mass action is key

The expanding mass movement for justice for Palestine and against the US-backed war by Israel is putting pressure on the imperialist rulers of the US and Israel to end the war.

Wars end in two ways: by near total annihilation by the oppressor, such as in the case of Indigenous tribes in North America (with ongoing underground resistance); or by a massive anti-war/peace movement that backs those leading the on-the-ground resistance to the occupiers. That popular power is what causes the oppressors to retreat.

Washington’s defeat in Vietnam and withdrawal from Afghanistan reflects that latter outcome.

Biden will never change his unconditional support for the Zionist war and project. He will never demand full democratic rights and freedom for Palestine. His “red lines” are made for electoral reasons.

Mass action is a key factor that can change the equation.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.