Another Tet Offensive, at Another “Vietnam” (or: “How is that peace process going?”)

What became known as the Tet Offensive happened back in 1968 in North and South Vietnam, when on January 30, on the Vietnamese Lunar New Year (called Tết Nguyên Đán, or “Tet” by the Viet Cong), militants loyal to Ho Chi Minh launched surprise attacks throughout North and South Vietnam, co-ordinated to happen on the same day. The Tet Offensive was the greatest escalation of a war that since became unpopular by the American public, and triggered a drafting of another 200,000 US citizens to fight it. Mass anti-war protests in America and people burning their draft cards filled the news cycles in the years since the offensive. By the early 1970s, one of the last acts Nixon did before resigning, was to begin the complete withdrawal of troops, allowing the VietCong to rule in a now-united Vietnam (formerly North and South Vietnam), putting an end to what became the longest undeclared war in American history up to that time.

What struck many people was the fact that the Viet Cong were not nearly as militarily well-equipped as the Americans. The Americans had bombs, machine guns, napalm and Agent Orange, while the Viet Cong had much less firepower, and more bows and arrows, and other primitive devices.

Well, now here we are about 55 years later, where, on another part of the globe, where the Americans had helped Israel set up a secured border at a cost of over 1 billion dollars (monitored above and below ground around the clock), armed Israel to the hilt, providing it with advanced weaponry with training to match. But on October 7 of this year, Palestinian militants, who lack clean drinking water in their apartheid-style enclaves, easily crossed the billion-dollar border with hang gliders, motorcycles, tractors, speedboats and pickup trucks. And doing it all at once, they were able to launch its own version of a Tet Offensive. It even happened on a special day for the Middle East. It happened on the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, where the war was between Israel, Syria and Egypt.

The Palestinian attacks starting last week claimed the most civilian Jewish lives since the end of the Holocaust. These included young partygoers, families, hospital patients and hospital medical staff. There is no denying that the attack was brutal, indiscriminate, and calculated to terrorize the Israeli population. But they did hit military targets, and among the hostages were military personnel.

This comes at a time when the ultra-conservative Israeli head of state Benjamin Netanyahu is still facing protests from his own people regarding his disempowering of the Supreme Court. In his latest draft of 100,000 Israelis to fight Hamas, only some who quit over the Supreme Court issue, accepted the draft.

The Israelis have also bombed Palestinean hospitals and residences in Gaza, and ordered a total blockade, depriving Palestinians of “electricity, food, water and fuel”, according to Netanyahu. Over the course of this week, we hear about Israel dropping leaflets by air over the northern part of Gaza, saying to the over 1 million people there that they must evacuate to the southern part of Gaza within 24 hours. This amounts to a forceable exodus of a population, which is a war crime against the Palestinians. Over the past few days, grass-roots protests in support of Palestine were seen world-wide, while support for Israel had its own demonstrators, and were supported by most politicians, especially conservative politicians.

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