Return to Recent Articles menu

Ireland edges backwards from the genocide

 . . .  but there are no red lines and the slaughter goes on

31 May 2024

The flag of Palestine flying outside Leinster House.

After months of silence the protective barrier around Israel has begun to crack.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is considering bringing charges. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), a much more august body built into the structure of the United Nations, has issued an order calling on Israel to end the genocide.  The vast majority of the UN General Assembly have called for recognition of a Palestinian state and Ireland, Spain and Portugal have now recognised Palestine.

Yet all these organisations have held back for over six months while the slaughter continued. Why have they changed direction now and what difference will it make?

The simple explanation is that the war has gone on for too long. Israel prefers to stage a blitzkrieg, partly because other groups are able to delay comment and provide cover. In this case Hamas, as a guerrilla group, have won a victory simply by not being defeated. Most military experts consider their absolute defeat impossible. The ongoing struggle and associated genocide, over time, begin to question the credibility of other bodies.

This was especially the case with the ICC. A pro-western body, it had taken only days to issue an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin and then months to say it was considering issuing warrants for Netanyahu. Once the dam broke Ireland and others recognised Palestine for essentially the same reason. Their populations strongly support the Palestinians and they were themselves seen as complicit.

This was especially the case in Ireland. Government representatives toured Kibbutzim to hear stories of Hamas atrocities. The Israeli ambassador was guest of honour at the Fianna Fail conference. Irish athletes and cultural ambassadors were humiliated by Israel while the government shrugged its shoulders. There's no doubt that these changes represent a considerable propaganda defeat for Israel. However, will this defeat lead to any concrete results? Will it save lives?

It is extremely limited. There are plenty of economic and political sanctions that could be applied to Israel that go beyond virtue signalling. There is also a negative element to the new political manoeuvres.  The Hamas uprising was above all an attempt to disrupt the Abraham accords, a US agreement that built an alliance between the Arab regimes and Israel and effectively wiped out any hope of Palestinian statehood. The new campaign is for a "two-state solution", that Israel will not discuss and has made impossible by inserting settler encampments throughout the West Bank. The two-state solution gives cover to Abbas and the Palestinian Authority in combination with the Arab regimes to allow a restoration of association with Israel and deflect from the issue of liberation and return to ineffective diplomacy.

However, things have now moved on. Israel has stepped up the genocide. Technically it is now at war with Egypt following the seizure of the Rafah crossing and the Philadelphia Corridor, if the Egyptian regime can afford to admit this. The US say that no red lines have been crossed, meaning that there are no red lines. The credibility of the idea of international law, or even the US rules-based order, is now being devoured in Gaza.

There is a common strategy around the wars and threats of war across the globe. The US is losing its position as the dominant imperialist power and is determined to use military force to suppress opposition. Israel is a mini-me, unable to conceive of any solution other than ethnic superiority, genocide and total military domination.  It's already too late.  The IDF is unable to suppress Hamas or to deal with the other insurgencies in the area.  It is losing support.

The US are unable to state a road to a settlement. It claims to restrain Israel but the arms flow in to support the genocide, and the state now mobilises to suppress protest and democratic rights at home. The floating pier, conceived as a pretence at a humanitarian solution whilst in practice an attempt to suppress UNWRA and give the US control of the keys to the Gaza prison, ended in fiasco. Sheer incompetence seems to accompany a bloody policy.

The long struggle has also shown up the weakness of the solidarity movement. Many groups are dominated by associations dominated by the emigrés from the Palestinian Authority. Ireland is a particularly bad case, with the PA on one side representing the result of the Oslo Accords and Sinn Féin on the other side formed by the Good Friday Agreement. They both favour diplomacy and self-interest and as a result the Irish movement has become logjammed.  It is telling that a change in policy by the Irish government led, at least temporarily, to the departure of the Israeli ambassador.  Not only did the Irish solidarity campaign not achieve this, it hardly mentioned it.

The genocide goes on. Nothing has been resolved. The US, Israel and the Western Powers stand unmoved.  However, the pressures build up everywhere as the UN and the criminal courts try to absolve themselves of accountability.  The Egyptian and Jordanian regimes hide from their own people.

The students in Ireland, following the lead of US students, have saved the day by demonstrating real passionate commitment and in winning victories against local collaboration. As with all student movements it has to find allies outside the universities to build a more general movement.

The major political problem that has to be faced is that there is a low level of political consciousness.  People see clearly the horror of unfolding genocide, but they don't understand that the same forces have brought about the mass slaughter of young men on the battlefields of Ukraine and the open planning for war with China, nor do they link it to the growing militarism and denial of rights in Europe or the background deals sucking Ireland into NATO.

Deepening struggle, deepening understanding, will lead to a new anti-imperialist movement and a renewal of the socialist movement.

Return to top of page