The following is a statement by the International Marxist Tendency on Israeli violence against the Gaza Strip in recent days, which is continuing to escalate. We say: stop the bombing, end the occupation – workers and youth of the world, mobilise and fight for a free Palestine as part of a socialist federation of the Middle East!
The bombing of Gaza by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) is intensifying as we write. Thousands of bombs are being dropped without blinking an eye by the mightiest military power in the Middle East, over one of the most densely populated and poor areas in the world. Meanwhile, lynching mobs of extreme right-wing Zionist settlers and fascist thugs, acting with the complicity or open support of the Israeli state forces, are attacking Palestinian neighbourhoods within Israel itself, destroying homes, properties, shops, beating up and killing innocent people just because they are Palestinian, in a wave of racist terror that can only be described as a Pogrom.
The people in Gaza have nowhere else to go and are lacking everything – energy, clean water, basic hospital supplies, even food – having been subject to a blockade that has already claimed hundreds of victims, just over the past few months.
Not the slightest degree of outrage or “moral indignation” – let alone any concrete measure – is ever expressed by the Western imperialist powers, whether the US or “civilised” Europe, for the suffering inflicted on a daily basis by the Israeli government on the Palestinian population in Gaza, West Bank, East Jerusalem and within the territory of Israel itself. The hypocrisy of imperialism’s reactionary lackey regimes in Riyadh, Dubai, Amman, El Cairo is also being exposed.
On the contrary, the daily nightmare of decades of imperialist “peace” is doubled down with ever more bloody imperialist violence, aimed at breaking the resistance of the Palestinian people. The Israeli ruling class is using “peace” as well as war to pursue their reactionary aim to ethnically cleanse what they regard as theirs. Their motto is “what we have, we hold” – “Eretz Israel”, cleansed from the inconvenient presence of the Palestinian population. This project of ethnic cleansing and institutional discrimination is inscribed in the masthead of the racist Jewish Nation State Law passed by Netanyahu in the summer of 2018 and blessed by US president Donald Trump.
As always, truth is the first casualty of war. The mainstream international media, which are controlled by the capitalists, are echoing the old worn-out refrain calling to “end violence on both sides”, recognising Israel’s right to “defend itself”, as if the “two sides” could be even remotely compared. To pretend to be “neutral” in a situation like this is tantamount to taking the side of the oppressor against the oppressed.
They call it war, but this is not a “war”. It’s the unilateral attempt to reduce to rubble the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to a homeland and the defence of their fundamental human rights. It is a normal feature of imperialist “peace” that every attempt by Palestinian workers and youth to peacefully resist against the daily oppression is criminalised and met by ruthless and bloody repression.
This has been increasingly exposed over the past few weeks with the repression of the mass movement against evictions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. This was followed by the bloody attack by the Israeli state’s repressive forces on peaceful worshippers who were provocatively barred from accessing the Al Aqsa Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem – the most important religious centre for Muslims – right at the end of Ramadan.
This last provocation was designed to instigate a conflict with Hamas. It was a deliberate decision on the part of Netanyahu, a desperate attempt to renew his credentials as Israel’s strong man and prevent the formation of a coalition government from which he would be excluded. It is not the first time that Netanyahu has played the card of anti-Palestinian hatred to rally the Israeli ruling class, the state and strong-arm the mass of the Jewish population in Israel and abroad into supporting the most reactionary measures taken by his government in the name of “security”.
The provisional figures of 119 Palestinians killed by Israeli bombs (of which 31 are children and 19 women) speak for themselves. The claim by the IDF of “hitting military targets” is completely hypocritical, and the sheer asymmetry and disproportionate balance of the forces in this so-called war is exposed.
Seven Israelis have also been killed (among whom 2 Palestinians that had no shelters in their neighbourhood) as a result of the hundreds of rockets fired by Hamas into Israel. The launching of these rockets is completely counterproductive for the Palestinian struggle and only serves to strengthen Netanyahu, pushing Israeli workers into the arms of the Israeli state.
As Marxists and internationalists we are not neutral or above sides in such a conflict. We defend the right of the Palestinians to a homeland and their right to resist against oppression and defend their livelihoods by any means necessary. The violence of the oppressed can never be equated to that of the oppressors.
A different scenario
A very significant feature of the recent protests is that they have involved mainly Palestinians within the Green Line in unprecedented numbers. That is, it is involving those who are legally (second class) Israeli citizens. This movement has been led by a new generation of fighters who are rejecting the failed strategies of the so-called leadership of the Palestinian people, both Fatah and Hamas.
What is also different from the past is the context in which this is happening. More and more workers and youth all over the world, including Jewish workers and youth, have gone through the school of state repression of mass movements in their own countries over the past period. Because of their own experience they are beginning to see through the cloud of lies of the mainstream media. The resistance of the mass movement of the Palestinian people within Israel has revealed in the eyes of millions all over the world the nature of the oppressive mechanism that the Israeli state has put in place to strangle the livelihoods and legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians. This is resonating with the revolutionary mood developing in society everywhere.
Mass demonstrations against the attack on Gaza and the anti-Palestinian pogroms are being called throughout the world. As we write, thousands of Palestinians are peacefully attempting to enter Israel across the Jordan border to rally in support of their brothers and sisters in Palestine. They are at the same time exposing the hypocrisy of the Arab regimes and their so-called “support for the Palestinian cause”.
It is the duty of the international labour movement to support the resistance of the Palestinian masses and expose the lies and interests defended by all capitalist governments, especially in the main imperialist countries. No defence of the rights of the Palestinians will ever come from the hypocritical calls for “peace” and “negotiations” issued by the UN or this or that imperialist power. In fact, there can never be peace and an end to the present nightmare as long as capitalism and imperialism still dominate the planet.
We must regard this movement as part of the international revolutionary upsurge against capitalism. Netanyahu’s gamble may backfire because of the combination of the mobilisations developing within Israel and internationally. Worried by the mass movement developing among the Palestinians inside Israel’s territory, the IDF military and the Israeli ruling class are divided over whether to continue, or suspend the assault on Gaza by pretending that they have achieved their aims. At the same time, they are threatening to send the army into Gaza with boots on the ground, as they did in 2014, when they killed over 2,300 Palestinians. Should they attempt to do so, the indiscriminate killing will escalate even further and will be met with even greater outrage.
War and the poisoned fruits of imperialist “peace”
What we are witnessing today in Israel and Palestine is nothing less than the poisoned fruit of imperialist “peace”. The Palestinian population is being progressively expropriated and asphyxiated by the increasing stranglehold of a system designed to marginalise them. In the process, Netanyahu has being relying on the Zionist extreme right wing, including its fascist fringes, rallying support from the Jewish settlers. By giving them concessions he has staked his political fortune to their cause, thus emboldening their actions even further.
Israel is locked in an institutional crisis, with the 3rd election in a row unable to achieve a clear majority. So far, Netanyahu has been able to navigate the stormy waters and survive his indictment for corruption scandals. However, he’s getting increasingly desperate. His arch-enemy General Benny Gantz lost all credibility gained with his past anti-corruption polemic against Netanyahu, when he decided to enter a coalition government with him. Gantz is now trying to appear even more rabidly anti-Palestinian than his rival, emphasising his credentials as the former commander-in-chief of the 2014 Gaza massacre. An attempt to overcome the political deadlock was launched by appointing Yair Lapid to form a new government without Netanyahu, but this attempt has now been dropped.
The Israeli state is powerful, but there are clear indications that a crisis is brewing at the very heart of the Zionist state.
Trump’s bonfire of 70 years of US foreign policy
US imperialism has always backed Israel in the last analysis. This is attested by the lavish subsidies the US granted Israel, without which the Israeli ruling class would have found it hard to consolidate its economic and military supremacy in the region. US Secretary of State General Alexander Haig once described Israel as “the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk”.
However, US power in the region was also based for decades on the pretence of being ‘impartial’ in relation to the Palestinian question. In this way, US imperialism successfully imprisoned the Palestinian struggle for national liberation, by pushing a number of “peace” accords on the Palestinian leadership through the pressure of a large coalition of allies in the region ( the reactionary Arab regimes in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, etc). This led to the Oslo and Madrid Accords in 1993 and the formation of the Palestinian Authority, which the Marxists warned at the time to be a deadly trap for the Palestinian masses’ national aspirations.
Former US president Trump abandoned that pretence by recognising Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and the racist Jewish State National Law. He made a bonfire of 70 years of US foreign policy in the region and and thus sank the whole idea of a two-states solution to the Palestinian question. This process culminated in Trump’s grotesque “Deal of the Century” and the so-called Abraham Accords.
A strong message was conveyed to the Palestinians: “If you want to defend your livelihoods, you can rely only on your own forces”. It was received and understood. This is the basis for the unexpected resistance and the upsurge of struggle in face of the continuous provocations of the past months. And this must be the basis on which to build the international revolutionary movement of the youth and the working class against imperialism, capitalism and oppression throughout the world.
No confidence in imperialist “peace” plans. For the right of the Palestinians to a genuine homeland!
The International Marxist Tendency stands in total solidarity with the Palestinian people as they suffer yet another barbaric attack by the Israeli armed forces and rejects all the excuses the Netanyahu government has produced in an attempt to justify the death and destruction that it is inflicting.
The Palestinian people have a right to a homeland, and so long as this is not achieved the conflict will continue. The Zionist ruling class of Israel, however, will never grant a genuine homeland to the Palestinians. That is why it must be overthrown. For that to happen, Israeli society needs to be broken down along class lines.
Israel is one of the most unequal societies in the world. The same ruling class which oppresses the Palestinians is also attacking the living standards of the Israeli workers and youth. Last year we saw massive protests against Netanyahu. The revolutionary mobilisation of the Palestinian masses must be supported by the anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist movement of the working class throughout the world.
The Palestinian workers and youth also have the right to defend themselves and their neighbourhoods from the attacks unleashed on them by Zionist settlers’ fascist mobs with the complicity of the Israeli state. This is already happening with the setting up of self-defence civic or popular committees in Haifa and other cities.
Any step towards the development of class struggle by Palestinian and Jewish workers and youth breaking with the Zionist state must be encouraged and supported. Only in this way an end of Zionist rule and the establishment of a state that grants equal rights to both the Jews and Palestinians can be achieved.
This, however, will only be possible in a state that is controlled by ordinary working people, both Jews and Palestinians and that means a socialist state where there is no privileged ruling elite in power.
Mobilise international working class solidarity to stop the bombing of Gaza!
Support the Palestinians’ resistance!
Intifada until victory!
End the Occupation!
For the right of both the Palestinians and Jews to a homeland within a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!