Beyond ‘Cease-fire Now’

By Sara Flounders and Richie Merino
November 27, 2023

This statement was written on Nov. 23, before the cease-fire began. Its analysis still holds a week later.

On Nov. 21, the world media announced a four-day cease-fire in Gaza, a pause in the Israeli genocidal assault on Gaza’s people. The movement of overwhelming global solidarity with and support for Palestine, including within the United States, must adjust its stance to a new period beyond the demand for cease-fire now.

According to a Nov. 21 Hamas statement, the agreement includes entry of hundreds of the blocked truck convoys carrying humanitarian aid, relief supplies, medical assistance and fuel to all regions of Gaza. It also includes an exchange of prisoners. The resistance will release 50 women and children held in Gaza since Oct. 7. In return, the Israeli state will release 150 Palestinians, all children under age 19 and women, from among the 9,000 prisoners long held hostage in Israeli prisons, many without being charged.

Resistance forces voiced demands, both before and after the Oct. 7 Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, similar to those in the agreement. Thus Hamas and its allies in the Palestinian resistance and Gaza’s courageous people have already achieved a victory. Despite the merciless bombing, the resistance has moved toward its stated goals, with its global mass support, while Zionism and U.S. imperialism face the world’s condemnation.

Slandering the Al-Aqsa Flood; propaganda fails

The corporate media’s rush to categorize Al-Aqsa Flood with the worst insults, including slandering a popular resistance as terrorist, is aimed at obscuring the demands attached to the operation. These demands, all legitimate, include the release of political prisoners, an end to Israeli impunity for crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank and at Al-Aqsa mosque and the lifting of the siege on Gaza.

By calling the Oct. 7 events “terrorist,” the Zionist state tried to hide its historical context: a settler-colonialist state imposing a 75-year campaign of ethnic cleansing. It was the Israeli regime’s attempt to present extermination as the only option, to manufacture consent for a genocidal war against Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel’s propaganda has fallen flat. Its military objectives remain unachieved, despite the cost in civilian lives in Gaza. That Gaza’s armed resistance has survived and even prevailed with its guerrilla battles and ambushes in northern Gaza has smashed the Israeli military’s image of invincibility.

An advance for Palestine

The four-day pause marks a step forward for the Palestinian cause. It may save many lives but in itself, is no guarantee to end Israel’s genocide. Previously, the Zionist government had announced plans to drive Palestinians into the Sinai desert, rejected prisoner exchanges and declared the intention to continue its bombing campaign until all Israelis captured on Oct. 7 were returned. The skill and bravery of the armed Palestinian resistance and its continued support from the embattled people of Gaza have forced an agreement.

Escalate global solidarity with Palestine!

The victory is in one battle. Israel’s war on Palestine continues. Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank and within Israel’s 1948 borders can still be murdered during the cease-fire, and Israel has intensified its attacks on Lebanon. Remember that Gaza’s destruction had and has full U.S. political and diplomatic support, supplied by  U.S. weapons, backed up by aircraft carriers and taxpayer dollars.

Beyond cease-fire now: Full liberation

Bronx Antiwar Coalition protest outside the United Nations, New York City, Nov. 20, 2023. Photo: Toni Arenstein

A recent demonstration at the United Nations by the Bronx Antiwar Coalition sought to shine a spotlight on the historic Palestinian position of full liberation, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The Nov. 12-16 international delegation to Cairo to call for the release of supplies through Rafah was one of many actions going beyond demands for a cease-fire.

We urge the movement to act in complete solidarity and salute this accomplishment of steadfast Palestinian resistance and address the root cause of the conflict: Zionist settler-colonialism. Supporters of Palestinian liberation should join with the Palestinian Resistance in advocating for a single Palestinian state with Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital. The struggle to dismantle the Zionist state of Israel, the release of all political prisoners held in occupation jails and the total liberation of Palestine must remain at the forefront of the movement.

While the four-day truce provides a temporary respite, the murder of Palestinian civilians continues, despite the declared cease-fire. A permanent cease-fire only freezes in place the continued apartheid regime.

We urge the solidarity movement to embrace the popular call for a “Free Palestine — from the river to the sea.” We must escalate our protests and solidarity. It is essential to always include the demand: End all U.S. aid to Israel. Only when the Israeli occupation ends, all Palestinian prisoners are freed, all Palestinian land is returned to its rightful owners — and when Palestine and the world are liberated from Zionist fascism – can we desist.

We urge the movement to act in complete solidarity with and salute this accomplishment of steadfast Palestinian resistance and address the root cause of the conflict.