Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/270/24561

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 September 2002

A SIX-WEEK lull in the Israeli/Palestine conflict came to an end with further Palestinian suicide bombings and the Israeli Defence Force using brutal force in Ramallah - a renewed attempt by Ariel Sharon to humiliate Yasser Arafat.

As JUDY BEISHON argues, only a socialist movement amongst Palestinians and also Israeli workers can break the cycle of violence and end war and poverty in the region.

No Capitalist Solution To Israel/Palestine Conflict

EVERYONE SAW the copious media coverage marking the first anniversary of the 11 September attacks. But how many saw mention that this month also marks the twentieth anniversary of the massacre of at least 1,500 Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon?

The Israeli Minister of Defence at that time, Ariel Sharon, ordered Israeli troops to let Lebanese Christian Phalangists into the camps, where they spent three days on a horrific killing spree murdering men, women and children.

An Israeli government commission of inquiry found Sharon to be responsible for the massacre, but his punishment was a mere demotion from Defence Minister to cabinet minister without portfolio.

Military onslaught

Now, as Israeli Prime Minister, Sharon continues with his particularly brutal approach to the Palestinians, believing that only military might will safeguard land claimed by Israel.

Recently, he declared all peace talks and agreements of previous years to be defunct: "Oslo doesn't exist, Camp David doesn't exist, neither does Taba. There's no going back to those places". He has fully supported new Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories (settlers now occupy almost half of the West Bank), has annexed more land and holy sites and has met the second Palestinian intifada with a vicious military onslaught and reoccupation of Palestinian towns.

Palestinians are still being killed almost daily (84 in the last six weeks), including young boys armed only with stones. Reactionary right-wing Jewish settlers have gone to the lengths of placing bombs in Palestinian schools, the latest being the wounding of five eight-year-olds in a school yard near Hebron on 17 September.

The effect of reoccupation has been a halving of the Palestinian economy and a tripling of unemployment. Over two-thirds of households now live below the poverty line and UN officials estimate that 1.8 million Palestinians are dependent on foreign food aid.

A US government survey revealed that over half the children in the West Bank and Gaza are suffering from malnutrition. Israeli troops are not only instructed to impose curfews and road closures on the local population, but also on foreign aid workers as well, so worsening further the dire conditions in the towns and camps.


Palestinian Leadership - A Flawed Strategy

FACED WITH huge repression and with no tangible gains, there was a six-week lull in Palestinian suicide bombings. Debates have taken place at all levels in occupied areas on what strategy to pursue.

With much division and dissent, Arafat's Fatah organisation declared an end to attacks on Israeli civilians inside Israel, realising that they are counter-productive, though other organisations that have carried out suicide bombings such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad are determined to continue with them. Islamic Jihad has just carried out two attacks in two days (18 and 19 September), the second one killing six people in Tel Aviv. Sharon's response was to send Israeli troops to systematically demolish most of Arafat's Ramallah compound.

As there is widespread disgust amongst Palestinians towards corruption and lack of leadership in the Palestinian Authority (PA), there are hopes that elections announced for next January could bring in more representative leaders.

General discontent on the ground was reflected in a recent meeting of the Palestinian Legislative Council, when a majority of council members intended to have a vote of no confidence in Yassar Arafat's cabinet.

Arafat was forced to engineer the resignation of the entire cabinet to avoid the vote, which was a blow to his prestige, although not a direct threat to his leadership.

PA elections are far from certain to take place, however, as they would be impossible under present conditions of closures and curfews. Sharon and other right-wing representatives of the Israeli ruling class are in no hurry to create suitable conditions. Although they want the removal of Arafat, they realise he is still regarded as a figurehead of the Palestinian struggle and so would most likely gain a new mandate.

Arafat removal

US President George Bush has also called for the removal of Arafat, while maintaining support for undemocratic and repressive Arab regimes such as in Saudi Arabia. As Robert Fisk commented in the Independent: "Yassar Arafat was not rejected because of his failure to create a democracy, he was rejected because he didn't do the job of a dictator well enough. He failed to create law and order in the small portions of land awarded to him".

Incredibly, Arafat welcomed Bush's speech calling for his own removal, simply because Bush paid lip-service to a Palestinian 'state'. The PA leaders look to foreign imperialist powers and to reactionary Arab regimes to further Palestinian aspirations, rather than to the Palestinians' potential capacity for mass struggle. This stance is inevitable when they themselves rely on capitalism for their careers and personal wealth.

But their strategy cannot lead to a Palestinian state with decent living standards for all, as capitalist classes worldwide, faced with ongoing economic crisis, would not provide sufficient resources for the development of a such a state.

One look at the lack of international funding going to Afghanistan is an example of how little the main imperialist powers are prepared to give. A Palestinian state is also unacceptable to the Israeli ruling class, as they see it as a security threat to the existence of Israel.

Only a struggle by the mass of the Palestinian people for a socialist Palestine, accompanied by an appeal to the Israeli Jewish working class to support their fight, would provide a road to genuine liberation and decent living standards.

In the course of this struggle the building of democratic, armed workers' defence bodies are an urgent necessity, as is the building of a workers' party.


Israeli Workers And The Struggle For Socialism

ISRAELI WORKERS need to build their own struggle against capitalism in Israel, with the aim of creating a socialist Israel in a socialist confederation of the Middle East.

The idea of a single state that some organisations on the Left call for would mean that either Palestinians or Jews would be a minority in such a state.

Most Israeli Jews, having a deep consciousness of the need to defend their own state to guarantee their survival, will never be won to such a programme. And it could not be achieved forcibly, against what is the fourth military power in the world, without massive bloodshed.

A socialist solution depends on a split along class lines; Israeli workers can be won to the idea of a socialist Israel, guaranteeing democratic rights to minorities, in a voluntary socialist confederation.

At present in Israel, the need for building workers' struggles and a new workers' party armed with socialist ideas has never been greater. The economy has suffered from the dire state of the world economy, as well as from its own contradictions and the cost of conducting the military onslaught in the West Bank and Gaza (estimated to be $3bn annually by a senior army commander). Despite workers being told that this isn't the time for internal conflicts, there has recently been a wave of struggles against cuts and wage restraint, including a three-hour local and central government workers' strike.

The Israeli government is presently engaged in a dispute with Lebanon over water rights, which Sharon has said could become a "pretext for war". He has also indicated that in the event of a US war on Iraq provoking Saddam Hussein to attack Israel, Israel will not show military restraint as it did during the Gulf war ten years ago. This warmongering adds to the huge instability in the region and feelings of insecurity among Israeli people.

In the event of renewed war with neighbouring countries, significant opposition could develop in Israel as it did in the past to the war in Lebanon. This would combine with widespread discontent over cuts, pay restraint and job losses, adding to the need for workers to organise independently.

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


In The Socialist 27 September 2002:

No War For Oil

Fight For A Living Wage

Blair's Dossier Can't Justify This War

The Real Rogue State

Bush Continues Along The Warpath

No Capitalist Solution To Israel/Palestine Conflict


 

Home   |   The Socialist 27 September 2002   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Israel:

triangleTrump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

triangleThousands march in London for Palestine

triangleManchester Socialist Party: Israel-Palestine

triangleDerby Socialist Party: Israel/Palestine - one state or two?

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: Israel-Palestine - How can peace be achieved?

Palestine:

trianglePalestinian prisoners on mass hunger strike protest

triangleLivingstone, Labour and anti-Semitism

Capitalist:

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

triangleIrish capitalist state: rotten to the core

Workers:

triangleSupport the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

Socialist:

triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz

International

International

13/12/17

Israel

Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

13/12/17

CWI

A world in crisis, ripe for revolution

6/12/17

US

Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

6/12/17

Ireland

Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core

6/12/17

Women

Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

22/11/17

US

Trump's tax attacks

22/11/17

Australia

Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality

21/11/17

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

15/11/17

Minneapolis

USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

10/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

8/11/17

Sweden

Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success

8/11/17

Spain

Spain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution

8/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class

triangleMore International articles...


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

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

triangle12 Dec Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

More ...

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

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

V2