Everyone Should Be Calling for a Cease-Fire in Palestine

JACOBIN, Branko Marcetic, October 11, 2023

Israel is bombarding Gaza, slaughtering civilians en masse and vowing to turn it into a “city of tents” following this weekend’s horrific violence. An immediate cease-fire to end the cycle of bloodshed couldn’t be more urgent.

It was clear from the moment the news came in that we were about to witness a bloodbath.

For years, the Israeli government has made a habit of responding to provocations from Hamas — and even nonviolent protests by ordinary Palestinians pushing back against Israel’s occupation — with brutal force against innocent civilians. Since 2008’s Operation Cast Lead, the death toll of Palestinians and Israelis (before the latest casualties) is 6,407 to 308, respectively, according to UN statistics. That’s a staggering 21:1, a reflection not just of the vast gulf in military resources and support between the two, but the Israeli military’s indiscriminate bombardment of residential areas in Gaza, one of the world’s most densely populated areas.

There was no doubt we would see something still worse in the wake of Hamas’s latest attack, which was unprecedented in its severity. This weekend saw the group that governs Gaza breach the border and assault more than twenty locations in southern Israel, murdering more than two hundred concertgoers at a nearby festival, killing civilians in scores of towns, and taking as many as 150 hostages, including children. The Israeli death toll sits at at least 1,200, with 2,400 wounded, a horrific loss of life.

What has followed has made that tragedy worse: the ongoing, indiscriminate slaughter of innocent Palestinians by Israeli forces. The Israeli military has killed more than nine hundred people in the Gaza Strip so far, including at least 140 children, and wounded five thousand, two-thirds of whom are children and the elderly, as Israeli jets rain bombs down on anything within sight: houses, apartment buildings, mosques, health facilities. Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warning for Gazans to leave the territory is a cruel joke, given that at the best of times, Palestinian movement is tightly controlled and restricted by Israel and given Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant’s swift declaration that “nothing is allowed in or out” of Gaza.

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