For three long weeks Israel bombarded the Gaza strip leaving behind blood, destruction and misery. The imbalance could not have been greater: On one side the most powerful army of the region backed by the military supremacy of the US. On the other side a starving and impoverished people closed up behind ghetto walls and forced to defend itself by completely inadequate means.
Under these extraordinary conditions the fragile ceasefire translates into a clear political victory for the Palestinian resistance led by Hamas. Israel sought the annihilation, or at least substantial defeat of Hamas, but the Tzahal were met with such fierce resistance they were forced to abandon the decisive battlefield of the densely populated urban areas. Israel resigned itself to the school of recent US methods of warfare-terrorism - bombing from safe distances. The resistance remains unbeaten; this alone is a success.
To see the outcome of the Israeli siege on Gaza as a political victory for Hamas is not solely an anti-imperialist view; significant corporate media outlets have conceded the same. For example the German daily "Sueddeutsche" titled on January 19: "Olmert's alleged victory is a defeat"
The immediate aftermath of the ceasefire has been a re-establishing of the status quo ante bellum, namely, the murderous embargo. In these first weeks since the major bombing ended Israel has let into Gaza only a small fraction of the goods necessary to sustain life, let alone undertake reconstruction. Even the US has been pressing Israel to open the valves on Gaza's lifeline even if only little enough to provide relief to the immediate humanitarian disaster. Israel's political genocide is bearing increasing political costs for Israel and the Zionists will be forced to somewhat loosen it as international pressure against the blockade grows.
Arab allies of the US now face an acute problem as result of Israel's political losses in Gaza: how to continue the political isolation of Hamas? The Egypt tyranny, which is the prime servant of Zionism in the region, has already aroused the wrath of its people. Even in the West the spell has been broken. In Rome, London and Paris hundreds of thousands marched for Gaza. The disease of anti-Islamic chauvinism could no longer strangle solidarity with a people being cruelly tortured.
Gaza's brave resistance points to a global tendency which is the consolidation of the resistance and its recognition. But we should nevertheless not deceive ourselves. Such setbacks for the US-Israeli empire as suffered in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan and now in Gaza will not mean their withdrawal. On the contrary. The ongoing loss of US hegemony drives them to wage new and bigger wars, for example, against Iran or those nations trying to defend their sovereignty.
For us in Europe and in the West, Gaza should serve as a signal to take a further step ahead. We have to continuously press our governments to stop their subordination to US policies of warmongering. But Obama stands for the contrary. He wants to garner Europe again behind the US by simply promising more courtesy.
The governments of the West keep co-operating with Israel as if nothing had happened. We need to take action by stepping up the campaign for sanctions according to the historical model of the ones used in international campaigns against South African Apartheid.
And we need to provide direct, human solidarity. As soon as the gates of the ghetto open up a slight gap we ought to slip in by hundreds, by thousands in order to assist with the reconstruction and - more importantly - to show the Palestinian people that there is a growing international opposition to Zionist destruction and annihilation. And, as one day in Gaza is enough to destroy a century of Zionist narrative cultivation, upon return those solidarity delegations will provide the best messengers to the West of the Palestinians cause.
If the European governments continue to ignore the will of significant sections of the European people to start a dialogue with the Palestinian resistance it is incumbent upon us to provide solidarity from below.