Skip to main content

Israel-U.S. War in Gaza: 

Fear of Second and Final “Nakba”: Well-Founded Realism—Not Paranoia or Exaggeration

“It is a new Nakba.” 

—Palestinian now forced from his West Bank home, referring to the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians from their land in 1948 when Israel was founded.1

“Israel’s plan is to destroy Gaza and make it unliveable and lifeless. Israel’s goal has always been to make it impossible for our people to return to their land.”

—Husam Zomlot, Palestinian ambassador to Britain2

Israeli security forces invade Tulkarem refugee camp in West Bank, January 17, 2024.

 

Israeli security forces invade Tulkarem refugee camp in West Bank, January 17, 2024.    Photo: AP

Across Palestine—in Gaza and the occupied West Bank—Palestinians warn that Israel is waging a new “Nakba,” a new genocide aimed at driving them from their homes and homeland, and destroying them as a people.

This fear of a second and final “Nakba” is not paranoiait is well-founded realism, based on what Israel has done before, and what it is doingwith U.S. backingright now.

In 1948, Israel was founded by the leaders of the racist, Jewish supremacist, Zionist movement. They were backed by the U.S. imperialists and other powers. During this period, these Zionists unleashed a mass wave of violence and terror against the Palestinians who had inhabited the land for centuries. About 750,000 Palestinians—more than 80 percent of the population in what would become the state of Israel—were expelled or fled and became refugees. Some 400 Palestinian towns and villages were either completely destroyed or repopulated by Jewish settlers and given new Hebrew names. Palestinians call this time the “Nakba”—the catastrophe.3

Palestinian refugees: Some of the 750,000 driven from Palestine, 1948.

 

Palestinian refugees: Some of the 750,000 driven from Palestine, 1948.    Photo: Wikipedia

Right now, a second and perhaps final “Nakba”—a genocide—is being actively carried out on many fronts and is escalating as we write:

Over 27,513 Palestinians, including 11,500 children (see “Your Government Is Killing, Maiming, and Traumatizing Tens of Thousands of Innocent Children in Gaza…What Are You Doing About It?”), have already been killed, 66,287 have been injured, and 8,000 Gazans are missing.4 Israel is committing Nazi-like atrocities and a host of war crimes and crimes against humanity every day—from mass executions, to targeted assassinations, to mass detentions and torture.

Even more telling—Israel is systematically destroying the possibility of life in Gaza. It’s destroyed much of Gaza’s buildings, infrastructure, and land. It has forced more than two million Gazans—more than 90 percent of the population—to flee from their homes. Many have been displaced three, four, even five times since Israel’s assault began October 7.

And Israel’s rulers are openly advocating ethnic cleansing and genocide! The Washington Post reports (“Israeli calls for Gaza’s ethnic cleansing are only getting louder”) that in the first week of January, “a parliamentarian from Netanyahu’s Likud party went on television and said it was clear to most Israelis that ‘all the Gazans need to be destroyed.’ Then, Israel’s ambassador in Britain told local radio that there was no other solution for her country than to level ‘every school, every mosque, every second house’ in Gaza to degrade Hamas’s military infrastructure.”5

None of this would be possible without arms, military coordination, funding, and staunch political support from the USA. And right now this genocide is escalating in new ways.

Palestinians who fled Israeli air offensive in Khan Younis, arrive in Rafah, January 26, 2024.

 

Palestinians who fled Israeli air offensive in Khan Younis, arrive in Rafah, January 26, 2024.     Photo: AP

Funneling People to Rafah—Preparing a Mass Expulsion?

Israel’s U.S.-backed genocide is escalating. Israel has made Gaza unlivable with its relentless and indiscriminate bombing, its violent terror against the Palestinian people, its deliberate withholding of food and clean water, and its destruction of Gaza’s homes and infrastructure. It has told Gazans they would be safe if they evacuated south, and a million Palestinians, nearly half of Gaza’s population have done so, only to be driven further south again. Some 1.25 million Palestinians have crowded into Rafa, a town on Gaza’s border with Egypt whose pre-war population was over 200,000.

Now, on February 2, it was reported that Israel’s defense minister told his troops, “We are completing the mission in Khan Younis, and we will reach Rafah as well.” Prime Minister Netanyahu recently warned, “Most of the remaining battalions are in the southern Strip and in Rafah, and we will deal with them,” he said. This assault may already have begun: on February 4, Israeli airstrikes killed 127 people across Gaza, including in Rafah where Israel hit two residential towers, a kindergarten converted into a makeshift shelter, and a car.

This is extremely ominous—there is nowhere left for most of the internally displaced Palestinians to go. If Israel launches a major ground and air attack on Rafah, hundreds, perhaps thousands, could be slaughtered. And Israel may be calculating that in such a situation it can forcibly expel Palestinians across the border into Egypt. This would constitute a towering war crime and genocidal ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.6

Some Basic Truths About the U.S.-Supported Israeli War Against Palestine, by Bob Avakian

 

Planning and Celebrating Genocide: The “Settlement Brings Security in Victory” Conference in Jerusalem7

On the weekend of January 27-28, a major conference, attended by thousands, took place in Jerusalem openly calling for—and joyously celebrating—the ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians from Gaza, and its re-settlement by Israelis.

This was not a “fringe” gathering. It was attended by 11 ministers and 15 parliament members representing of all but one of the parties in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition. Roughly a third of Netanyahu’s cabinet was there including Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

One journalist who attended told Democracy Now!, “There at the entrance, you had a big map, a huge map, showing the different settlements they plan to establish in the Gaza Strip, some of them literally on top of Palestinian villages and towns that exist and, of course, unfortunately, were destroyed by the Israeli aggression in the recent months… For me, personally, the most shocking thing was not only the plan to establish the settlements, but the fact that people there were dancing and singing, being happy and joyful.”

Daniella Weiss, one of the settlers’ leaders, was leading the conference. When asked what she envisioned for Palestinians, she said, “They would leave. They would have to leave. We don’t give them food. We don’t give them water…. They would leave. They would have to spread around the world.”

Finance Minister Smotrich spoke and declared: “We are settling our land from width to length, controlling it and fighting terror always and bringing, with God’s help, security to all of Israel. You know what the answer is. Without settlement, there is no security.”

“From width to length.” In short “from the river to the sea.” When people in the U.S. raised the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” they were accused of anti-semitism and threatening genocide. They got doxxed and lost jobs.

But when Israelis not only plan and organize but carry out military acts designed to "ethnically cleanse" the remaining Palestinians, there’s hardly a ripple in the U.S., including very little media coverage!

Demolishing Hundreds of Buildings, Making Gaza Unlivable

A mountain of rubble in the Gaza Strip from Israeli raids, February 1, 2024.

 

A mountain of rubble in the Gaza Strip from Israeli raids, February 1, 2024.    Photo: AP

Mosques, schools, apartment complexes, residential neighborhoods, government buildings—all these and more have been “obliterated in seconds” by the hundreds of controlled demolitions Israel has carried out across Gaza, according to a study by the New York Times, which documented 33 different controlled demolitions reducing hundreds of buildings to rubble. “Israeli ground forces have also carried out a wave of controlled explosions that has drastically changed the landscape in recent months,” the Times reports.

Some of the demolitions are aimed at creating a “buffer zone” next to Israel, an action which would violate international law by reducing the territory of Gaza and prevent Palestinians from returning to their homes there. “In the town of Khuza’a, along the buffer zone to the east of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza,” the Times reports, “videos from early January show soldiers triggering several detonations, destroying nearly 200 homes. Other videos show the soldiers setting off flares and clapping as they carry out a demolition.8

Israel has bulldozed large areas of Gaza—including beachfronts, farmland, forests and homes. Israel’s bombing, bulldozing and demolitions have destroyed or damaged 360,000 residential units—more than half of Gaza’s homes as well as 368 educational facilities, 221 places of worship, and have damaged 13 of Gaza’s 35 hospitals. A new study found that at least 144,000 buildings in Gaza have been damaged or destroyed—more than half of all buildings in the Gaza Strip.9

Flooding Tunnels with Seawater—Threatening Gaza’s Water Supply and Farmland 

Now Israel has begun flooding some tunnels in Gaza with seawater even though this strategy risks causing an ecological catastrophe that will leave Gaza with no drinkable water and devastate what little agriculture is possible in the territory. This is yet another element of its genocidal new “Nakba.”10

Rampage of Terror and Ethnic Cleansing in the West Bank. 

Since October 7, Israeli settlers have gone on a lawless rampage of racist, genocidal violence and forced dispossession against Palestinians in the West Bank, aided and abetted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Incidents of settler violence have increased seven-fold—with settlers attacking Palestinian homes and businesses, burning the tents of Bedouin herders, shooting people, and driving whole communities off their land. Since October 7, at least 382 Palestinians have been killed, most by the Israeli military, including more than 100 children, and another 4,250 have been injured.

Israel is also carrying out “a massive sweep of arrests and arbitrary detentions” in the West Bank, with 5,835 Palestinians abducted since Oct. 7, according to Al-Haq, a Ramallah-based human rights group. “We’re witnessing a number of forcible transfer measures as well: the transfer or the removal of Palestinians from their homes through settler violence, through punitive house demolitions and various attacks on property.”11

NOTE: The West Bank is a separate territory from Gaza, not controlled by Hamas and not involved in its reactionary October 7 attack on Israeli civilians. So what accounts for Israel murdering, terrorizing, and dispossessing people in the West Bank?

It’s a second, genocidal “Nakba.”

The U.S. and Israel—Mass Murders Carrying Out Genocide

Everything Israel is doing today in Gaza and the West Bank—all of it overall supported by basically the entire U.S. imperialist ruling class—is stamped with the mark of genocide, and part of a coherent overall strategy, as we wrote, of “straight-up genocide: to kill, “break,” or drive out the 2.3 million Palestinians of Gaza.”

This is a damning exposure of the illegitimacy of the entire system that gave rise to this and a thousand other horrors—U.S. capitalism-imperialism and its watch dog and attack dog in the Middle East—the settler colonial state of Israel.

These crimes must be fiercely and massively resisted—as part of accumulating forces and getting organized for the rare opportunity to make a real revolution to overthrow the genocidal monsters ruling this country.

We Need and We Demand : A Whole New Way to Live, A Fundamentally Different System

 

_______________

FOOTNOTES:

1.  ‘A new Nakba’: settler violence forces Palestinians out of West Bank villages, Guardian, October 31, 2023  [back]

2.  Israel’s Controlled Demolitions Are Razing Neighborhoods in Gaza, New York Times, February 1  [back]

3.  Al-Nakba: 1948 Palestinian Exodus: Palestinian Villages, American University of Beirut (other sources put the number of Palestinian villages destroyed at more than 530); Pappe, Ilan (2022), A History of Modern Palestine (3rd ed.). Cambridge University Press, p. 128, "Three-quarters of a million Palestinians ... almost 90 per cent"  [back]

4.  “…32,000 Palestinians have been killed so far, if we include the 7,000 under the rubble, and more than 65,000 people have been injured. That is more than four percent of the population of Gaza. Had this happened in the United States of America, you would be talking about 12 million people killed or injured in less than three months. Proportionally, the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza after three months is more than all Americans killed in all America’s wars since the 18th century. Is that acceptable? Is that allowable?” “An Act of Assassination”: Mustafa Barghouti Slams Undercover Israeli Raid on Jenin Hospital, Democracy Now!, January 31  [back]

5.  Israeli calls for Gaza’s ethnic cleansing are only getting louder, Washington Post, January 5. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has argued that Palestinians should leave Gaza, and said that “If there are 100,000 or 200,000 Arabs in Gaza and not 2 million Arabs, the entire discussion on the day after [the war] will be totally different.”  [back]

6.  Israel’s defense minister signals the army could push toward Gaza’s southernmost point, New York Times, February 2; Overnight Israeli airstrikes kill scores in Gaza as fears grow of push into Rafah, Guardian, February 4  [back]

7.  Israeli Cabinet Members Join Settler Event of Thousands Calling for Ethnic Cleansing of Gaza, Democracy Now!, January 31  [back]

8.  Israel’s Controlled Demolitions Are Razing Neighborhoods in Gaza, New York Times, February 1  [back]

9.  Half of Gaza’s Buildings Destroyed or Damaged in Israeli Assault, Democracy Now!, January 31; Israel-Gaza war in maps and charts: Live tracker, Al Jazeera, February 2  [back]

10.  IDF confirms flooding Hamas tunnels in Gaza with seawater, Times of Israel, January 30; Flooding Hamas tunnels with seawater risks ‘ruining basic life in Gaza’, says expert, Guardian, December 23, 2023; Israel claims Hamas and other Palestinian groups have built as many as 450 miles of tunnels, where many leaders of Hamas are believed to live.  [back]

11.  Israel-Gaza war in maps and charts: Live tracker, Al Jazeera, February 2; In the West Bank, Palestinians Struggle to Adjust to a New Reality, New York Times, February 2; “An Act of Assassination”: Mustafa Barghouti Slams Undercover Israeli Raid on Jenin Hospital, Democracy Now!, January 31; Violence and Forced Displacement Increase in the West Bank, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January 19  [back]

Help Make 2024 Our Year—a Year of Revolution! 
Donate to Revcom.us

From the genocide in Gaza, to the growing threat of world war between nuclear powers, to escalating environmental devastation… the capitalist-imperialist system ruling over us is a horror for billions around the world and is tearing up the fabric of life on earth. Now the all-out battle within the U.S. ruling class, between fascist Republicans and war criminal Democrats, is coming to a head—likely during, or before, the coming elections—ripping society apart unlike anything since the Civil War. 

Bob Avakian (BA), revolutionary leader and author of the new communism, has developed a strategy to prepare for and make revolution. He’s scientifically analyzed that this is a rare time when an actual revolution has become more possible, and has laid out the sweeping vision, solid foundation and concrete blueprint for “what comes next,” in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

The website revcom.us follows and applies that leadership and is essential to all this. We post new materials from BA and curate his whole body of work. We apply the science he’s developed to analyze and expose every key event in society, every week. Revcom.us posts BA’s timely leadership for the revcoms (revolutionary communists), including his social media posts which break this down for people every week and sometimes more. We act as a guiding and connecting hub for the growing revcom movement nationwide: not just showing what’s being done, but going into what’s right and what’s wrong and rapidly learning—and recruiting new people into what has to be a rapidly growing force.

Put it this way: there will be no revolution unless this website not only “keeps going” but goes up to a whole different level!

So what should you give to make 2024 our year—a year of revolution? 
Everything you possibly can! 
DONATE NOW to revcom.us and get with BA and the revcoms!    

Your donations contribute to:

  • Promotion of BA on social media and the Bob Avakian Interviews on The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show 
  • Strengthen revcom.us as an accessible, secure, robust website able to rise to the challenge of meeting the extraordinary demands of navigating the storms and preparing for revolution in this pivotal, unprecedented year
  • Fund revcoms to travel to national “hotspots,” where extreme contradictions are pulling apart the fabric of this country and creating the possibility of wrenching an actual revolution out of this intensifying situation
  • Expand the reach and coverage of revcom.us
  • Printing and distribution of key Revcom materials including the Declaration and Proclamation