A Hadash lawmaker and leading Communist Party of Israel (CPI) member, Ofer Cassif, has told Al Jazeera that his party warned about events like Saturday’s deadly Hamas attack on Israel if the country’s government continued its occupation of Palestinian territories.
The attack launched on Saturday left at least 700 Israelis dead and 2,000 wounded, including dozens of soldiers. Meanwhile, at least 436 Palestinians have been killed and more than 2,200 others wounded in Israeli bombardments of the besieged Gaza enclave.
A building in Gaza after an Israeli air strike, October 8, 2023 (Photo: WAFA)
Cassif said he warned the situation would “erupt” if the far-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not change its policies towards Palestinians. “We condemn and oppose any assault on innocent civilians. But in contrast to the Israeli government that means that we oppose any assault on Palestinian civilians as well. We must analyze those terrible incidents [the deadly attacks] in the right context – and that is the ongoing occupation,” Cassif said.
“We have been warning time and time again… everything is going to erupt and everybody is going to pay a price – mainly innocent civilians on both sides. And unfortunately, that is exactly what happened,” he said.
“The Israeli government, which is a fascist government, supports, encourages, and leads pogroms against the Palestinians. There is an ethnic cleansing going on. It was obvious the writing was on the wall, written in the blood of the Palestinians – and unfortunately now Israelis as well,” he added. “The only thing Netanyahu cares about is not the well-being of the citizens of Israel, let alone of Palestinians in the occupied territories,” Cassif said. “He is interested in surviving. He just wants to stay out of prison. That is the only motivation and incentive that drives him.”
Cassif posted Sunday a video to social media: “Nothing justifies crimes and massacres as committed today in the south of Israel. But the writing was on the wall, as I warned for a long time: We will pay a heavy price for the crimes of the occupation, the siege on Gaza and the arrogance of the racist Kahanist government. There is no military solution, only a political one — the end of the occupation and Palestinian independence.”
Another CPI leading member and former Hadash MK, Dov Khenin, who called for moderation on both sides and urged for a change of direction in a Sunday op-ed published by Zo Haderech. “Today’s events are heartbreaking. A terrible attack on civilians in their homes is an inconceivable crime,” he said. “The next days will be trying days. We must not let people who want us to hate each other forever succeed. Without a changing of direction, we are doomed to continue living the horrors of today. Two nations live in our country, and if we can’t allow them a life of freedom and independence, we will never be able to go to sleep in peace. It won’t be easy and won’t happen soon, but only true peace can bring us the security, which is so lacking.”