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A Working-Class Alternative Is Needed
ON 15 May, after a week of bloodshed in the Gaza strip, around 200,000 demonstrators filled the main Tel Aviv square and the nearby streets.
The failure of Sharon's disengagement plan in the Likud referendum and the killing of 11 Israeli soldiers in Gaza strip a couple of days afterwards, made many people who were not politically active for years take to the streets. Jacob Marmerstein, Maavak Sozialisti (CWI, Israel) reports.
Though it was the biggest anti-occupation demonstration since the beginning of the Intifada [Palestinian uprising], the dominant mood can be described as despair rather than rage. Most of the people attending felt that nothing can be done about the government's policy. Many demonstrators, unlike the majority of the population, still had illusions in peace plans promoted by big business, like the Geneva accord and George Bush's roadmap.
Maavak Sozialisti, the Israeli section of the CWI, explained in its leaflet distributed at the demo that there can be no solution to the conflict under capitalism. No 'peace' agreement between two corrupt elites can solve the real problems of working people in Palestine and Israel - unemployment and poverty. In our leaflets we called for a united struggle of working people on both sides of the national divide against the occupation and the governments ruled by big business in Israel and Palestine.
Despite the huge numbers of people who came to the demo from all over the country, the demo failed to mobilise big sections of working people and youth. The main reason for this was that the organisers did not link it to the struggle against low pay, unemployment and the neo-liberal agenda of the government. Another reason was the justified antagonism that the majority of working class people feel towards the so-called 'opposition' parties who were behind the organisation of the demo.
The Labour Party and the politicians from the new social-democratic party, Yahad, lost most of the support they might have had among layers of workers and youth after carrying out neo-liberal attacks on workers when they were in office.
The demonstration showed the urgent need for a genuine working-class party that can link the struggle against the occupation to the daily problems of working people, and show the way out of the bloody conflict by overthrowing the capitalist profit system, the root cause of wars over decades in the Middle East.
WHILE SHARON talks of 'disengaging' from the Palestinian Gaza strip, Israeli Defence Force tanks and bulldozers backed by jet fighters are ruthlessly destroying it!
And despite the tut-tutting of British foreign secretary Jack Straw, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has the support of US president George Bush to carry out this bloody invasion.
Scores of Palestinian militants and civilians have been killed in this latest assault centred on the Rafa refugee camp. Israeli troops have faced stiff opposition from armed militia as they surrounded the town. For the first time in many months IDF forces have taken substantial casualties.
The IDF appear to be carrying out a scorched earth policy as row after row of houses are demolished. This tactic of 'collective punishment' by the IDF has resulted in over 3,000 Palestinian homes being demolished in the last three-and-a-half years since the start of the second intifada.
In The Socialist 22 May 2004:
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