John Haylett, experienced commentator on Middle East politics, outlines the reasons behind the current Israeli bombardment of the people of Gaza and the challenges facing the peoples of the region who struggle for peace and justice.

BRITISH zionists succeeded this week in forcing an apology out of Liberal Democrat Bradford East MP David Ward for his comment that, if he lived in Gaza, he might well fire a rocket into Israel.
His comment was an ill-judged attempt to dramatise the plight of 1.8 million people besieged in an open-air prison for eight years while the international community fiddles.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews, which spearheaded the campaign against Ward, finds nothing worthy of condemnation in the Israeli government’s genocidal strangling of life in Gaza or its current murderous onslaught on the Palestinian territory.
Earlier, the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Italy united in condemnation of the rise in anti-semitism in their countries in the wake of Israel’s assault on Gaza.
“Anti-semitic rhetoric and hostility against Jews, attacks on people of Jewish belief and synagogues have no place in our societies,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, France’s Laurent Fabius and Italy’s Federica Mogherini said at a meeting in Brussels.
No genuine friend of the Palestinian cause could take issue with this statement or have any truck with anti-semitism, Holocaust denialism or any other ugly and idiotic bile spewed up at times of crisis.
However, as vigilant as we must be against attempts to direct hatred at Jews in Britain or other countries for the crimes of the Israeli state, so we should equally reject the lazy and corrupt allegation by many zionists that criticism of Israel equates to anti-semitism.
A corollary to this position is the demand that Israel should be above international law.
UN human rights head Navi Pillay insists that Israel has not done enough to protect civilians and that there is “a strong possibility that international law has been violated in a manner that could amount to war crimes.”
The response of Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is simply to blame Hamas for civilian deaths and to dismiss the UN Human Rights Council as “anti-Israel.”
Tel Aviv shows similar disregard for UN declarations that its colonisation of the West Bank contravenes international law.
It relies on its international media apologists such as the BBC to add, as a reflex, a rider to every reference to Jewish settlements on occupied land being illegal, “but Israel disputes this.”
The Netanyahu government would certainly dispute the Israeli Communist Party (CPI) assertion that the current slaughter in Gaza is more about resolving an internal crisis than any military threat from Hamas.
The CPI warned recently that the government’s real motivation “was never to achieve security for the people of Israel but solely to obstruct the Palestinian unity government and absolve itself from responsibility for the failure of the peace negotiations.”
The current assault also helps “in keeping his criminal government intact and it puts all questions of poverty, inequality, racism, sexism and discrimination off the table and marginalises all struggles for social justice and democracy.”
Netanyahu’s war cabinet justifies every atrocity by citing its need to destroy countless tunnels dug under the Gaza-Israel border to allow Hamas fighters to infiltrate.
How many subterranean attacks have been launched against Israel in the past year, two years? What are the casualty figures?
This is another emotive claim, lapped up by imperialist media agencies, to portray Israel as under existential threat.
The previous major concern was rocket attacks launched from Gaza, as Netanyahu and propaganda boss Mark Regev opened their hands asking what else could a state do but respond to hundreds of missiles being aimed at its people.
Any attack on a civilian target is a war crime, full stop. 
The Gaza rockets are also militarily futile because of the Iron Dome defensive shield, having killed two Israeli civilians and one Thai migrant worker.
But the Hamas rocket barrage didn’t come out of the blue. It was in response to the Israel Defence Force rampage through the West Bank, killing civilians, wrecking property and seizing hostages.
This operation was ostensibly to search for three “missing” Israeli teenagers who had reportedly been kidnapped while hitchhiking on the West Bank near Hebron.
In reality, the government knew on the first day that the trio were dead.
One, Gilad Shaar, was told to phone the Israel police and, while the line was open, the kidnappers, unlinked to Hamas, shot them all, saying: “We got three” and singing in celebration.
This ghoulish act was emulated by Netanyahu’s decision to keep the murders secret, even from the victims’ parents, and to whip up hysteria and cries for vengeance as a prelude to Operation Protective Edge.
Israel’s periodic massacres, especially in Gaza, are designed to contribute to war psychosis at home and to convince the world that Israel, though committed to a two-state solution, is forced constantly to defend itself against rabid enemies bent on destruction.
In fact, the zionist leadership is intent on completing its West Bank colonial programme, rendering a two-state solution impossible and offering Palestinians an apartheid bantustan or even Native American reservation future.
Unless the international community removes its blinkers, appreciates reality and resolves to use peaceful economic pressure to push Israel in the direction of a just settlement, Protective Edge will not be the last unjustified Israeli slaughter of Palestinians.