Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/931/24212

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 January 2017

Palestine/Israel: Everyday life under occupation

Discussion at Socialism conference in Tel Aviv

Palestinian activist Mohammed Abu Hummus addresses the Socialism conference in Tel Aviv, photo by Per-Åke Westerlund

Palestinian activist Mohammed Abu Hummus addresses the Socialism conference in Tel Aviv, photo by Per-Åke Westerlund   (Click to enlarge)

Just before Christmas the United Nations security council symbolically voted 14-0 declaring Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank as illegal. The United States abstained, denying a veto sought by Netanyahu's right-wing coalition government in Israel and US President-elect Donald Trump.
A week earlier, Socialist Struggle Movement - the Israel/Palestine section of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) - hosted its annual Socialism conference in Tel Aviv where the major themes of debate were: the fight against Netanyahu's right-wing government, racism and the occupation. There were also discussions on the extreme right, trade unions, the environment, women and LGBT rights, and more. In the following report Per-Åke Westerlund of Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden) - an international guest speaker - gives a flavour of this highly successful event.

With close to 150 participants and a record number of Palestinian speakers, the conference was a great success.

Four days before Socialism conference was held, Mohammed Abu Hummus, member of the al-Issawiya popular committee in occupied East Jerusalem, was shot in the leg with a rubber-covered bullet. Yet he arrived, with a cane as support, to talk about the fight against the settlements and the occupation of East Jerusalem.

"I'm always filming the conduct of the army, border police and police. I have over 500 films on violence, abuse, and more. This time they had blocked off a street. I filmed and they lied about why they blocked the road. Then I was shot", said Mohammed.

In summer 2014 he was shot in the leg with live ammunition during a protest against the war and slaughter in Gaza. He was hospitalised, but did not report it as the police would not have investigated.

In January, his cousin's 12-year-old son was shot in the head with a rubber bullet. The soldiers claimed that he had thrown a stone at them. The 12-year-old ended up in a coma, but survived.

Settlements

Mohammed explained how Israeli state violence and repression has increased with more and more settlements in East Jerusalem.

"Before the occupation in 1967 my village, Issawiya, was 12,500 square kilometres. Now it is 2,000 square kilometres. A large part is used by the military.

Most recently, land was seized for a highway to the Jewish settlement of Maale 'Edomin and a new landfill. Another large area of 440 square kilometres is said to become a national park."

Hebron, January 2017, photo by Shahar Benhorin

Hebron, January 2017, photo by Shahar Benhorin   (Click to enlarge)

Maale 'Edomin is one of the three largest settlements that together have 150,000 inhabitants. New and expanded settlements are now to be legalised as part of the right-wing government policies.

"When a court explained that the Israeli government has no right to take our land, the government responded that they have not taken anything, but only 'built the park'," said Mohammed.

"Police and soldiers act in East Jerusalem to create the wars and conflicts they say they are there to prevent. We can see how 30-40 soldiers chase a child along a street. The aim is to intimidate. There are children who do not dare go to school.

"The brutality is clearly shown on a film in which an Israeli soldier kills a Palestinian, and then plants a knife on the victim."

When the border police seize a Palestinian for 'administrative arrest' they do not have to show any charges or documents to imprison anyone for a period of six months - the arrest can be prolonged for further periods of six months indefinitely.

A few years ago a hunger strike among the prisoners meant that several were released and the numbers arrested fell. But since January 2014, the number held without charge has increased from 155 to 720, including three members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

400 children under 18 years are kept in detention. The total number of political prisoners, as estimated by the organisation Adamir, is 7,000.

More and more Palestinian houses are being demolished. Both in East Jerusalem and in "Area C" (areas not directly under the Palestinian Authority since the Oslo agreement in 1993) more houses and buildings were destroyed in the first half of 2016 than during all of 2015. The demolitions are the worst in 20 years, according to the NGO Ir Amim.

"The government destroys houses where families have lived for 55 years, claiming they are 'illegal'," says Mohammed.

Israeli Defence Force soldiers stationed in Hebron, photo Shahar Benhorin

Israeli Defence Force soldiers stationed in Hebron, photo Shahar Benhorin   (Click to enlarge)

Control

The description of East Jerusalem was confirmed by Ron Zaidel from the organisation Breaking the Silence, which consists of former Israeli soldiers against war and occupation.

"The state's behaviour in the occupied areas has spread to East Jerusalem and into Israel itself. It is about control. They show presence to underline who has the power. Houses and homes are searched, but they never say why."

"When they have made a raid, they finish by throwing hand grenades. The Palestinians are treated as enemies who should live in constant fear."

The panel also included Amira Hass, well-known journalist on the newspaper Haaretz, who lives in Ramallah in the West Bank. She emphasised that it is about both the occupation and a colonial regime.

The Israeli state exercises control over two different systems: in Israel itself and in the Palestinian Authority areas, which in practice is an Israeli 'protectorate'. Also, in Israel democratic rights are increasingly restricted.

"The colonisation has deepened. Israel's rulers are trying to eliminate the Palestinians' collective existence. Gaza is a prototype, an enclave separated from the world. In the West Bank and East Jerusalem they create tiny Gazas. The Palestinian nation is at its lowest point," said Amira.

Yasha Marmer from Socialist Struggle Movement (Tnua't Maavak Sozialisti/Harakat Nidal Eshtaraki) also underlined how Netanyahu's government has become even more brutal.

"More than 500 Palestinian homes were demolished in 2015. This year it is already double that. The number of arrests and killings is also increasing."

Yasha continued: "The Oslo agreement came about as a response to the first Intifada, a mass uprising against the occupation. Direct military rule was supposed to be replaced with some autonomy in the fragmented Palestinian areas. However, the occupation continues and deepens.

"At the same time, Netanyahu is on a collision course with history. In the year 2011, with the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and hundreds of thousands in the streets of Israel in over two months against price increases and the housing crisis, support for the government plummeted. The counter-revolution in the region and the lack of alternatives in Israel has led to its recovery."

Yasha described that since the election of Trump in the US, far-right elements of Netanyahu's government speak openly of the annexation of the West Bank and imposing an apartheid-style regime on Palestinians living in this area.

But the majority of the Israeli capitalist elite fear that any significant move in this direction can provoke a new mass uprising of Palestinians - an uprising that is indeed necessary as Yasha stated.

Teachers' strike

"Repression is also a sign of the regime's worry. For example a 'code of ethics' that the ministry of education wants to impose on universities in Israel prohibits students and teachers from talking about what is happening in the occupied territories."

Yasha and other speakers recalled last year's teachers' strike in the West Bank, which was directed against both the Palestinian Authority and the occupation. The strike was hardly reported in the Israeli media and did not get the attention of the teachers' union in Israel.

Socialist Struggle Movement stands for struggle against the occupation and against the oppression of the Palestinians in response to any notion of normalisation of occupation and racism.

The nationalist-racist reaction in Israel is not based on any economic interest of the Jewish working class. The on-going expropriation of the Palestinian masses on both sides of the 'green line' goes hand-in-hand with neoliberal attacks on workers and poor people in Israel and 'divide and rule' policies.

It is security/existential concerns that allow for the ruling class to control workers and others.

Socialists need to support dialogue and common struggle, especially working-class struggle, for Palestinians and Jews in order to emphasise their common interests against Israeli capitalism, and for democratic socialist societies without national oppression.

It means standing up for a socialist Israel and a socialist Palestine. Today, to advance the slogan of a common state would not answer the national inspirations and big concerns for safety of both sides, while a two-state solution on a capitalist basis would mean a Palestine vassal state of Israel.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 11 January 2017:


NHS in meltdown

NHS in meltdown

NHS in meltdown from spending cuts - demonstrate on 4 March!

Sustainability and Transformation plans - a repackaging of cuts

Worcestershire hospital deaths expose NHS crisis


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Football abuse scandal: Reclaim the game for justice and accountability

Book review: Spy drama gives insight into capitalist coup plot


What we think

Strikes show workers' power


Socialist Party news and analysis

'Cash for ash' scandal set to bring down Northern Ireland government

May slams 'economic inequalities' Tory policies created

Blair's multimillion plans to fight 'populism'

Bosses earn average salary in under three days

What we saw

Them & Us: £500k house party... 50p for rent


Labour Party

Haringey: pressure grows as Labour council cuts

Sick of sham consultations - give us a real fightback

Khan should attack bosses, not workers


Socialist Party workplace news

Tube strike solid in fight for jobs and safety

Support BA cabin crews' strike for fair pay

Sham Royal Mail pensions consultation - action needed

Unison legal battle looks into allegations 'Team Dave' broke rules during general secretary election

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Build the resistance against Trump

Socialist Party national women's meeting

2016: A record-breaking fighting fund year!

Closing of the children's centres could cost lives


International socialist news and analysis

Palestine/Israel: Everyday life under occupation


 

Home   |   The Socialist 11 January 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Palestine:

triangleLivingstone, Labour and anti-Semitism

Occupation:

triangleShimon Peres - a wolf in sheep's clothing

triangleAfter Chilcot: put Blair in the dock

Israel:

triangleAttacks ratchet-up Syrian conflict and fuel tensions between powers

Socialism:

triangleHow Blairism sank its claws into the Labour Party

triangleBristol Socialist Party: Eve of Poll meeting - The Fight for Socialism

Government:

triangleTUSC's programme for local jobs and services

Oppression:

triangleMass movements, not 'fringe cultures', can win feminist change

Military:

triangleTurkey: Erdogan seeks sweeping dictatorial powers in referendum

US:

triangleThe real origins of May Day

Racism:

triangleFight for a socialist Brexit

Gaza:

triangleIsrael-Palestine: Likud election victory

CWI:

triangleMelenchon result shows potential for building a mass left force

Capitalist:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

United States:

triangleInternational Women's Day: taking action against capitalist oppression

Racist:

triangleRefugee rescue

Protest:

triangleJobstown trial begins

Coalition government:

triangleUniversal basic income - what do socialists say?

Counter-revolution:

triangleSocialist Party Congress 2017 reports

Donald Trump:

triangleTrump escalates geopolitical tensions on Korean peninsula

International

International

26/4/17

France

Melenchon result shows potential for building a mass left force

26/4/17

Ireland

Jobstown trial begins

19/4/17

Turkey

Turkey: constitutional referendum result a pyrrhic victory for Erdogan

19/4/17

Trump

Trump escalates geopolitical tensions on Korean peninsula

19/4/17

Ireland

Protest is not a crime: back Jobstown Not Guilty

19/4/17

France

Melenchon result shows potential for building a mass left force

19/4/17

CWI

Relaunch of socialistworld.net

12/4/17

France

France: Groundswell of support for left candidate

12/4/17

Ireland

Ireland: Bury the water charges

12/4/17

Syria

Attacks ratchet-up Syrian conflict and fuel tensions between powers

5/4/17

Ireland

Gagged Jobstown defendants defiantly expose the Irish state

5/4/17

Yemen

Justice for Yemen workers

5/4/17

Japan

Fukushima nuclear disaster - a terrifying legacy

5/4/17

Turkey

Turkey: Erdogan seeks sweeping dictatorial powers in referendum

29/3/17

South Africa

South Africa: Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle26 Apr Health Campaigns Together meets to chart the way forward

triangle26 Apr TUSC's programme for local jobs and services

triangle26 Apr Jobstown trial begins

triangle26 Apr The real origins of May Day

triangle26 Apr How Blairism sank its claws into the Labour Party

triangle26 Apr BMW strikers determined to win pensions dispute

triangle25 Apr A bold socialist campaign could get rid of the Tories

More ...

triangle2 May Doncaster TUSC election rally: Tories Out, Corbyn4PM, Socialist Steve for mayor

triangle2 May Manchester Socialist Party: Can Corbyn win on socialist policies?

triangle2 May Bristol Socialist Party: Kick he Tories out!

triangle2 May Merseyside TUSC pre-election public meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice