Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 21 September 2006

End the occupations

How can the Palestinians win national and democratic rights?

A number of journalists have suggested that the changed situation in the Middle East following the Israel-Hezbollah war has opened the door to an Israel-Palestine settlement.

Jenny Brooks

They point out that Israel is in a weaker position militarily, the Palestinians are desperate for change and will soon have a new, more moderate Hamas-Fatah coalition government and that the Arab regimes are under great pressure from their populations to aid the Palestinians. However, in reality there is no settlement on the horizon to end the nightmare conditions faced by the Palestinians.

In the last three months, over 240 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli shelling in Gaza and the West Bank, including 48 children. Palestinian public-sector workers have barely been paid for the last seven months, because aid and taxes have been withdrawn by the world capitalist powers and Israel to punish the Palestinians for electing Hamas.

A World Bank review spelt out the severity of the situation last week: "Year 2006 will be the worst year throughout the Palestinian Authority's sad history. The Palestinian economy is on the verge of an unprecedented crisis".

The US and European Union say they will reinstate aid if the planned Hamas-Fatah coalition renounces violence and recognises Israel and previous international agreements. However, although Hamas has authorised pro-Western Fatah leader Mahmood Abbas to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA), it is clear there is much haggling over these issues to come.

The Islamist Hamas has implicitly recognised Israel's existence, but both Hamas and Fatah are united over the right to armed resistance against the occupation. A lifting of the aid boycott would alleviate the present starvation conditions, but would be far from bringing any resolution to the national conflict.

The withdrawal of Jewish settlers from Gaza one year ago was not part of a deal towards a Palestinian state, but was a unilateral move by the Israeli regime to cut off, atomise and isolate Palestinian areas. Its aim was to ease the military burden of the occupation and attempt to resolve Israel's demographic problem - the higher Palestinian birth-rate compared to that of Israeli Jews.

The unilateral plan has only worsened the Palestinians' plight, and so the second intifada (uprising) continues. The first intifada, which began in 1987, initially involved the Palestinian masses, but the hallmark of the second has been individual and group actions, including rocket attacks and suicide bombings on Israel.

However, violence against Israeli civilians is counter-productive, as it drives Israeli workers to support brutal retaliation by the Israeli army, rather than encouraging them into opposition to the occupation. Only mass, democratic action, led by accountable committees of struggle, can make real headway in ending the occupation and fighting for a genuine state.

National question

The Socialist Party supports the Palestinians' struggle for self-determination and the right to their own state. Some left-wing organisations argue for a single, secular state encompassing Israel and the territories. But following the decades of conflict, most Palestinians view the idea of a shared state with hostility or suspicion, and it is a non-starter for Israeli Jews.

Israel was founded as a Jewish state on the basis of providing a safe haven for Jews worldwide. This was a profoundly mistaken strategy - Israel is increasingly seen as the least safe place for Jews in the world. However, Israel exists, and with nowhere else to go Israeli workers feel compelled to defend that state for their own survival.

The Israeli capitalist class has its own reasons for defending its state - a desire for increased profit and wealth, including economic superiority over the Palestinian territories and surrounding countries. It does not want both the security and economic consequences of allowing an armed Palestinian state on its doorstep. So as well as supporting a two-state solution, the Socialist Party believes it can only be achieved by the removal of Israel's capitalist class by Israeli workers, to bring in a socialist society that has no interest in economic or military domination over the Palestinians.

A socialist Palestinian state is also essential, as capitalism would not provide Palestinians with decent living standards. Even in today's capitalist Israel, with its relatively developed economy, workers are suffering from poorly paid, casual jobs and severe cuts in the welfare state.

Socialism in both Palestine and Israel, as part of a socialist confederation of the Middle East, would provide the conditions for a permanent end to the national conflict, and decent living standards for all in the region. Under the democratic control of the working class and peasantry, the region's resources could be used for the benefit of all, as part of an overall plan of production.

While capitalist politicians worldwide have no solution to end the cycles of bloodshed, workers and young people on both sides of the divide express a strong desire to end it. The intense suffering of the Palestinians is plain to see, and Israeli workers also face increased poverty and constant insecurity. Israeli public-sector workers have periodically fought back with large scale strike action, and at present tens of thousands of Palestinian public-sector workers are on strike against non-payment of their wages. Struggles like these are starting to build the working class solidarity necessary to build alternative societies.

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

In The Socialist 21 September 2006:

War and occupation

Iraq: Will bringing the troops home bring stability?

Is a lasting peace possible in Lebanon?

How can the Palestinians win national and democratic rights?

What's socialism got to do with it?

Will the US attack Iran?

Socialist Party NHS campaign

March to save the NHS

Campaign to stop Hewitt's cuts

Hinckley - marching to save our hospital

The Socialist Party says:

Youth and Education

Parents fight school cuts

The 'IPOD generation' - worse off

Why we joined the Socialist Party

Global Warming

Can capitalism solve the problem of global warming?

Fighting to save jobs

Socialist Party workplace news

Merseyside firefighters take to the streets

Quote me happy? You must be joking!

NHS Logistics: Striking against privatisation

TUC papers over the cracks

International socialist news and analysis

52,000 vote WASG against cuts policy

Right victory punishes Social Democracy


Home   |   The Socialist 21 September 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Democratic rights:

triangleMay's silence is a green light for Chinese repression

triangleStop repression in Hong Kong and China

triangleMovement challenges Iranian regime

triangleKurdish referendum declared illegal


trianglePunishment of Tamimi family awakens wave of international solidarity

triangleWest London Socialist Party: Israel-Palestine - Trump inflames tensions

triangleTrump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

triangleThousands march in London for Palestine


trianglePalestinian prisoners on mass hunger strike protest

triangleCapitalist crisis continues

triangleEnd the siege of Gaza


triangleLeeds Socialist Party: 100 years since women won the right to vote

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: Organising tenants in the private rented sector


triangle90 feared dead after migrant boat capsizes

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis


Tamil Solidarity

Tamil youth march for justice


Foreign Aid

Oxfam scandal: we need democratic aid and working class solidarity



Building support for Corbyn's anti-cuts policies in the local elections



What we saw: Tory-Blairite EU love-in



Rent doubles in a decade: cap rents, build council homes!


Public ownership

McDonnell says Labour would put services 'irreversibly' in workers' hands



We can win the fight for the NHS



NHS - build the fightback



Corbyn's left must seize the advantage in Labour's civil war



Haringey: now's our chance for a no-cuts council



90 feared dead after migrant boat capsizes



Capita in crisis: bring all outsourcers back in-house



Trump v NHS



NHS: use the 3 February protests as a launch pad for a mass movement



Capitalists fear for their system at Davos

triangleMore News and socialist analysis 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



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


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

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

February 2018

January 2018