Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://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.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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:

triangleIsrael/Palestine: Trump 'peace plan' promises further conflict

trianglePalestinian solidarity demo

triangleTrade unionists and socialists opposed council adoption of IHRA definition of antisemitism

triangleSocialism - the podcast of the Socialist Party

trianglePalestinian solidarity: "We are not victims. We are freedom fighters."

Occupation:

triangleNottingham uni occupation ends

triangleStudent occupation in support of striking workers

triangleIraq - a brutal legacy of imperialist intervention

triangleHarland and Wolff occupation

Israel:

triangleInterview: protests over killing in Israel

triangle'Traitors': Cold War cloak and daggers as capitalist powers spy on allies

triangleMPs revel in £2m worth of free foreign trips

Socialism:

triangleHelp us continue to fight for workers and socialism

triangleThe new crisis and its consequences

Palestinian:

triangleAhed Tamimi - worldwide symbol of self-esteem in face of oppression

Government:

triangleAll in this together? The 'Blitz spirit' myth

Oppression:

triangleInternational Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Military:

triangleEnd repression in Chile - freedom for soldier David Veloso

US:

triangleBradford Socialist Party: US, Trump and Coronavirus

Racism:

triangleTV: Noughts and Crosses

Gaza:

triangleThe ongoing capitalist crisis and the struggle for a socialist world

CWI:

triangleAs coronavirus crisis intensifies, class antagonisms deepen

Capitalist:

triangleState intervention shows what is possible

United States:

triangleUnited States: private healthcare exposed as Trump throws money at markets

Racist:

triangleProtest against Modi's racist law

United Nations:

triangleAnger continues to mount over imposition of direct rule

Protest:

triangleProtest against Facebook censorship

Coalition government:

triangleAnti-austerity, socialist policies can be a winning formula

Army:

triangleMass united action against the war on Syrian Kurds

Counter-revolution:

triangleCounter-revolution in Sudan

Donald Trump:

triangleTens of thousands march

International

International

18/3/20

France

French local elections: CWI candidate elected

18/3/20

Coronavirus

United States: private healthcare exposed as Trump throws money at markets

18/3/20

Coronavirus

'Health not profit' strike wave sweeps Italy

11/3/20

US

How can Trump be ousted from the White House?

11/3/20

Italy

Italy on lockdown: lack of resources and democracy causes panic

11/3/20

Greece

Greece-Turkey border refugee crisis

11/3/20

South Korea

South Korea shows capitalism has money to respond to coronavirus

4/3/20

Women

A legacy of women workers and the class struggle

4/3/20

India

India: Bloody pogrom fuelled by Modi's sectarianism

26/2/20

Germany

Germany: Right-wing terror attacks - fight racism, fight capitalism!

26/2/20

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's strike wave

19/2/20

China

Coronavirus crisis shakes Chinese regime

19/2/20

Yemen

Yemen's desperate civil war fuelled by imperialism and regional powers

12/2/20

Ireland

Sinn Fein harnesses working-class anger to top poll

12/2/20

Lebanon

Lebanon - mass protests cut across sectarian division

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999