It's understandable that the conflict in Gaza should command such worldwide attention. As well as the genuine suffering incurred (overwhelmingly on the Palestinian side) this war has had a particular resonance.
The conflict kicked off while many people around the world were sleeping off their Christmas celebrations. The usual pious words of peace and goodwill spoken by popes, queens and presidents only a few hours earlier choked in their throats that bit sooner than normal, as the missiles from the Holy Land started to fall on Gaza, deep and crisp and even.
But, let's not lose sight of the fact that the Gaza conflict is just one of over 20 wars underway at present. Fatalities in this conflict so far have been a small fraction of the approximately 100-300,000 direct and indirect war fatalities that capitalism can reliably promise humanity for 2009.
War isn't some sort of exceptional occurrence for capitalism. Just as recession is an essential and unavoidable part of the economics of capitalism, rather than some sort of aberration, so war is a normal consequence of the international political tensions inherent within capitalism. The legitimate global ruling class comprises various different gangs of pirates, oligarchs, conmen, princes, dictators, and gangsters. Each of whom funds its local government or political administration to best protect its interests.
That's not to say we shouldn't try and do anything. But for our efforts to have any success they must be based on a recognition as to the root cause that ultimately connects all these conflicts – a world owned by, and divided up between, the small global minority who live off that monopoly to the exclusion of the vast majority. The global working class is left to do the dirty work for the owning class, the employing class and the officer class - working in their factories and dying in their armies.
It may be tempting to support the underdog and take sides with the Philistine David v Israeli Goliath. But such thinking blinds us to the real causes of what is only the latest flare up in the particularly brutal history of the Middle East.
Israel and the region's security has strategic implications far beyond its borders. Enormous existing and potential oil wealth is present in the region as a whole. And with $4bn worth of natural gas reportedly discovered some 30 miles directly offshore from the Gaza Strip there is – for many governments around the world – definitely something worth fighting for.
World socialists are revolted by the violence of the Gaza conflict. We condemn both sides and denounce the senseless killing of our fellow workers. History shows that in times of war, working-class interests are never served by workers throwing in their lot with nationalist or other political leaders of capitalism, whether they are well-funded like the Israeli state, or weaker like Hamas. The slaughter in Gaza underlines yet again the urgent need to work for a world without nations and nationalism, bosses and workers. Instead of a "two-state" solution, world socialists offer the "no-state" solution as the only one that can ever give the Middle East lasting peace.