ISRAEL’S prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proclaimed that his genocide in Gaza will “change the Middle East”.

In fact, what he has done – in massacring more than 1% of the population of Gaza (in excess of 23,000 human beings, almost half of them children), massively increasing Israel’s murder and repression in the West Bank, and carrying out bloody assassinations in Lebanon (with flagrant disregard for that country’s sovereignty) – is of global, rather than regional, significance.

Israel acts with an appalling, murderous impunity, safe in the knowledge that, both diplomatically and militarily, it is assured of the protection of its imperialist paymaster, the United States.

However, no amount of White House backing or media management by Israel and its supporters in the West can hide the fact that Netanyahu has delivered on his promise (in invoking the story of the Biblically demonised Amalekites) of a campaign of indiscriminate, genocidal violence.

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Almost two million Gazans, of an original population of 2.3 million, have been displaced. They seek shelter wherever they can in their tiny, bomb-blasted strip of land, sleeping in woefully insufficient tents, half a million of them literally starving.

And for the war maimed, the sick, the pregnant, there is only the extraordinary work of the Palestinian and international medics who have managed to survive Israel’s wholesale destruction of the Gazan health system.

This barbarity does not merely “change the Middle East”, it changes forever the international position of the Israeli state.

In the nations of the nominal “West” (a political, rather than geographical concept that, in its reflection of white, European imperial history, includes Western Europe, North America, Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand), Israel’s mask has well and truly slipped.

The National: Graffiti reading Free Palestine is seen written on the side of the Monument a la Republique at the Place de la Republique in Paris

Every major Western nation has seen mass protests against Israel’s assault on Gaza. Even in Germany – where state support for Israel is a matter of almost constitutional certainty – and in France, people have defied shockingly anti-democratic state bans to protest in their many thousands.

In the US there is a strong, often Jewish-led, movement for Palestine. In late October the group Jewish Voice for Peace organised a mass occupation of Grand Central Station in New York City in protest at the bombing of Gaza. On Monday of this week, NYC police arrested 325 people as pro-Palestine protestors – chanting “Israel bombs, USA pays” – blocked Brooklyn Bridge and other major thoroughfares.

In London, a phenomenal 800,000 marched on November 11. There have been massive protests in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Thousands have marched and demonstrated here in Scotland, with protests every week in Glasgow, Edinburgh and elsewhere.

The National: Palestine solidarity march – London

All over the nominally Western world the pro-Palestine movement is characterised by its youthfulness, its determination and its constancy.

From New York to Melbourne, London to Oslo, Glasgow to Berlin, Palestine now means to this young generation (including, significantly, the extraordinary campaigner against climate change Greta Thunberg) what Vietnam meant to many of their parents and grandparents.

Even at the governmental level, the West’s unanimous support for Israel has started to crack. Despite European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s shameful dash to Tel Aviv in October to offer Netanyahu the European Union’s unconditional support, Israel’s assault on Gaza has impacted significantly on European public opinion.

This, in turn, has caused a political shift in some EU states.

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In October, Belgium broke with the EU consensus and voted with the global majority at the UN in calling for an immediate ceasefire.

The Belgian government supports the International Court of Justice's investigation into Israel’s actions in Gaza, and the Belgian federal parliament has introduced a bill to ban trade with settlements in the territories illegally occupied by Israel.

In November the Irish parliament passed a motion demanding a ceasefire. A motion to expel the Israeli ambassador to Dublin lost, with 85 votes against, to a weighty 55 in favour.

Here in Scotland, First Minister Humza Yousaf’s call for a ceasefire has distinguished him from the inveterately pro-Israeli Tory government at Westminster.

It has also set him at odds with the shameless so-called “Leader of the Opposition” Keir Starmer (who infamously said that Israel “had the right” to its initial, and manifestly illegal, “total blockade” of food, water, medicine, fuel and energy to Gaza).

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All of which begins to bring Western public opinion in line with the longstanding opposition to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians among the majority of the world’s population.

That is to say, it connects us with the people of the “Global South” (another political, not geographical, term that accounts for populations across Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific, most of whom have, historically, been subject to Western imperialism).

From Iraq to Egypt, Indonesia to Chile, the Global South has erupted in rage at Israel’s mass murder. In South Africa, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets, while the South African government has reported Israel to the International Court of Justice at The Hague for crimes of genocide.

Predictably, the Israeli government has accused the ANC administration in Cape Town of a “blood libel”. This shameful slur is an attempt to connect criticism of Israel’s butchery in Gaza to the Judeophobic canard (namely, that Jews killed Christians to use their blood in religious rituals) that fuelled murderous pogroms of Jews in medieval Europe.

Israel’s use of the “blood libel” argument is wearing thin. After all, only a matter of weeks before it threw the charge at the South African government, it had attempted to smear UN secretary-general António Guterres as committing a “blood libel” for merely stating the obvious fact that that October 7 attacks in Israel did not occur “in a vacuum”, but came after “years of suffocating occupation” in Gaza.

We here in the West are increasingly seeing Israel as the rest of the world sees it. The Israeli state’s project, to carry Western public opinion with it in its oppression of the Palestinians, is dead. It lies buried under the rubble of Gaza.