Thousands of Israeli forces, accompanied by drones and armoured bulldozers, have invaded Jenin in the West Bank, killing ten Palestinians, wounding dozens, and forcing thousands to flee their homes. Israeli forces are preventing ambulances reaching the wounded, which will mean that casualties can bleed to death before they can get medical treatment.
Immediately there have been protests against this invasion across the West Bank, with a march and demonstration in Dheisheh refugee camp and a general strike in Ramallah.
This invasion of the civilian population of Jenin by a regional military superpower is the most brutal since the 2002 battle of Jenin, when Israeli bulldozers flattened entire neighbourhoods. The years since then have seen a collapse in the authority of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is now correctly seen by many Palestinians as a corrupt collaborator regime that represses Palestinians on behalf of the Israeli occupation.
The collapse of the PA’s authority has been greatest in Jenin and neighbouring Nablus, where the PA’s security apparatuses has lost control to local militias, which are not under the control of any of the Palestinian factions.
The policy of the Israeli government since 1993 has been to use the PA as a tool to control the Palestinian territories. But the crazed actions of the ultra-nationalist Netanyahu government have accelerated the process of collapse of the PA, by embarking on populist verbal attacks against its leaders, starving it of funds, and not allowing any negotiations towards a Palestinian state. The ongoing collapse of the PA, and with it, the 1993 Camp David treaty, illustrate the impossibility of achieving a lasting peace under capitalism.
The PA has called on the UN to implement resolutions 2334 and 904, and act to ensure the protection of Palestinian civilians. But the capitalist-dominated United Nations has shown time and again that it will not protect innocent civilians in Palestine or anywhere else. Similarly the PA itself, despite having over a dozen armed security forces, has failed to protect civilians against Israeli forces’ incursions or settler pogroms. The Palestinian masses will not be protected by the UN or by the PA. They can only be protected by the struggle of the Palestinian masses themselves. A new socialist intifada, with a mass mobilisation of the entire population, along the lines of the first intifada is necessary.
While the Israeli government invades Jenin, it also faces revolt from its own citizens. Israeli police arrested 51 anti-Netanyahu demonstrators on 3 July, as thousands protested at Israel’s main airport against the prime minister. Massive demonstrations, often of over 100,000, have been held for 26 weeks running against Netanyahu’s judicial reforms, while a general strike in March forced him to freeze his reforms. Netanyahu has condemned these demonstrators as “terrorists and anarchists”, teaching increasing numbers of Israeli Jews that their enemy is not the Palestinians, but their own government.
Scandalously, the self-appointed leaders of the demonstrations have rushed to support Netanyahu’s brutal military operation in Jenin. But a sizeable minority on the demonstrators wear T-shirts saying “there is no democracy with occupation”. In reality, capitalism means endless war and assaults on democratic rights.
Israel and Palestine urgently need new workers’ parties, with a socialist programme which can link up the opposition to Netanyahu, whether in Jenin or in Tel Aviv.
This programme would include:
- Immediate withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the West Bank
- End the siege of Gaza
- Mobilise the Palestinian masses in a new socialist intifada
- Broaden the Israeli democracy protests. Bring down Netanyahu
- For new workers’ parties in Israel and Palestine to lead the popular struggle
- Fight for socialism. End the occupation. For a solution agreed between the Israeli and Palestinian working class, which guarantees the democratic and national rights of all, and ends poverty and all forms of oppression