Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/177/7948

From The Socialist newspaper, 13 October 2000

Middle East on brink of war

LIKE A raging forest fire, an uprising that started in the West Bank and Gaza has spread into Israel proper and ignited mass demonstrations throughout the Arab world.

Mandy Rabin

The subsequent kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah has led to Israel threatening to declare war on Lebanon and Syria, and on Palestine.

Meanwhile, a section of Israeli Jewish workers, whipped up by reactionaries, have launched attacks on Palestinians living within Israel, leading to the horrific prospect of a possible degeneration into an inter-communal civil war.

The Palestinian masses are enraged at the brutal violence used against them by the Israeli police and armed forces, with more than 70 Palestinians dead, and over a thousand wounded; and ordinary Israelis, faced with the prospect of both a regional and an internal war, fear for their very existence, for the first time in decades.

What caused the conflict?

THE SPARK that ignited the current conflict was the provocative visit by Ariel Sharon, the right-wing leader of the opposition Likud party, to the Temple Mount, a disputed site, holy to both Muslims and Jews. Ariel Sharon is hated by Palestinians for his role in the Sabra and Shatilla massacre of Palestinians during Lebanon war.

Sharon's visit acted as the spark to an already incendiary situation. Many Palestinians feel extreme anger and frustration at a peace process that has been dragging on for years, brought them nothing and is going nowhere.

After seven years of peace negotiations, the Israeli army is still occupying most of the West Bank and parts of Gaza, and Israeli soldiers still shoot at unarmed civilians.

The Palestinian masses see their would-be state taking the shape of a brutal dictatorship: Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority is an oppressive, dictatorial regime, with heavy press censorship, where journalists, human rights activists and strike leaders are frequently arrested without trial - with the active consent of Israeli and US leaders.

Palestinians have been humiliated time and again by Arafat's concessions over refugees, Jerusalem, etc. Since the beginning of the Oslo peace process in 1993, poverty and unemployment in Palestine have rocketed, at the same time as the Palestinian leadership have been lining their pockets from the 'peace dividends'.

Palestinian workers and youth living within Israel have also been disillusioned with the Oslo peace process. In addition to continuing to be second-class citizens, they have borne the brunt of the four-year recession in Israel, with unemployment in some towns and villages reaching 35%-40%.

Although 95% of Israeli Palestinians voted for Ehud Barak, his government has turned a blind eye to their distress.

The recession has led to attacks by the Israeli state on working-class Jews also.

This has led to extreme anger, bitterness and a sense of betrayal amongst Israeli workers and youth and in the absence of a genuine, mass workers' party to provide an alternative, a layer of workers have turned to the ultra-orthodox party, Shas.

Why the peace process has failed

IN 1993 the Committee for a Workers' International (the socialist international organisation to which the Socialist Party is affiliated) and its small forces then in Israel, were the solitary voice predicting that the Oslo peace process, on a capitalist basis, would be incapable of resolving the underlying causes of conflict, leading to future hostilities.

Capitalism is incapable of bringing genuine peace because it cannot provide the resources to solve the region's fundamental problems.

Unable to solve the fundamental problems of the national question, the Israeli and Palestinian leaders - serving the interests of the capitalists - drafted the Oslo accords to achieve 'stability' in the region by means of oppression, with the Palestinian Authority playing the part of a puppet regime, repressing the Palestinian masses on behalf of the Israeli state and US imperialism.

A movement of the masses

THE UPRISING, led by the Palestinian youth, shows the incredible potential power of the masses when they move into action. The Israeli army, with all its sophisticated weapons, could not suppress the anger, determination and willingness to sacrifice of the Palestinian masses.

Attempts by the Israeli army and police to quell the protests through violence simply added fuel to the fire: for every Palestinian killed, thousands more poured onto the streets.

Within Israel, despite trying to disperse demonstrations using live ammunition and rubber-coated bullets, the police were unable to prevent Israeli Palestinians blocking main roads in the heart of Israel for several hours, and were forced to withdraw their forces from Arab towns and villages.

Tragically, this movement lacks a socialist leadership, with a clear programme, strategy and set of demands, able to channel the mass energy into challenging the rule of capitalism.

In the absence of a socialist leadership, the movement has taken on a religious, anti-Jewish character, fuelled by the forces of Islamic fundamentalism on the ground. In Israel, for example, Palestinian demonstrators stoned buses carrying Jewish workers.

This kind of action, instead of uniting Jewish and Palestinian workers against their true enemy - the capitalist system - only serves to deepen the divide, and has led to an escalating spiral of violence within Israel.

Most recently, hundreds of Jewish youth have attacked Arabs in mixed, urban centres within Israel, leading to injuries and death.

The escalating violence threatens to explode into a regional war, with a possible Bosnia-type, ethnic war erupting between Arabs and Jews within Israel itself.

Even if the capitalist leaders manage to calm the situation and stave off an all-out war, any period of quiet will be temporary, because the fundamental causes of the explosion will remain.

A socialist solution

A GENUINE, socialist leadership, with roots in the Palestinian masses, could explain that the real enemy and cause of the problems are the capitalists and their system. Such a leadership could channel the mass energy into a strategy to fight and defeat both Israeli and Palestinian capitalism.

The Palestinian masses could make a class appeal to the Israeli working class to struggle for their own rights, against the Barak government, which is hated by Jews, and for the establishment of socialism in Israel.

The only solution to the national question in the Middle East lies in the establishment of a socialist society. Maavak Sozialisti (CWI - Israel) is fighting for the establishment of a socialist Israel, alongside a socialist Palestine, as part of a socialist federation of Middle Eastern nations, on a free and voluntary basis.

Working people of the region could then use the region's vast resources and technological know-how to eliminate poverty and unemployment, which are the breeding ground for national and ethnic hatred.

Democratically elected committees of working people on both sides could reach agreement on issues that are impossible to solve under capitalism, such as the plight of Palestinian refugees, and Israeli settlers.

Capitalism offers the people of the Middle East nothing but a future of bloodshed, terror and social degeneration. Only a mass struggle for socialism can bring the peace, freedom and prosperity that all peoples of the region so desperately long for.

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


In The Socialist 13 October 2000:

Labour's NHS Panic

Middle East on brink of war

Uprising in Serbia

Marching against the Nazis

Fighting the Vlaams Blok

Students get organised!


 

Home   |   The Socialist 13 October 2000   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Middle East:

triangleCapitalists fear for their system at Davos

trianglePunishment of Tamimi family awakens wave of international solidarity

triangleSouthampton Socialist Party: Is there a global nuclear threat?

triangleMovement challenges Iranian regime

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution

War:

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

triangle90 feared dead after migrant boat capsizes

triangleStop the war on the Kurds

Israel:

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

triangleTrump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Socialist:

trianglePortsmouth Socialist Party: How can the NHS be defended from the Tories?

Capitalism:

triangleCapitalism v cricket

Palestine:

triangleThousands march in London for Palestine

Historic events

Historic events

14/2/18

Stalinism

Czechoslovakia 1968: 'Prague Spring' challenges Stalinism

24/1/18

Vietnam war

Vietnam War: 50 years since the Tet Offensive

13/12/17

Chile

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

18/10/17

Russian revolution

Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

4/10/17

Che Guevara

Che Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter

23/8/17

Review

Mutinies and strikes: when Bolshevism threatened British bosses

23/8/17

Anti-fascist

Lewisham 1977: When socialists and workers defeated the far-right National Front

9/8/17

Marx

Marx's Capital at 150: an unequalled analysis and critique of capitalism

26/7/17

Russian revolution

Russia 1917: how art helped make the revolution

12/7/17

Russian revolution

July Days 1917: battles with counterrevolution

6/7/17

LGBT

Lessons from the Russian revolution for LGBT+ struggle today

28/6/17

Liverpool

Liverpool's 1983-87 socialist council

21/6/17

Revolution

The Pentrich uprising: revolution and counter-revolution in 19th century Britain

31/5/17

Russian revolution

June 1917: when workers in Britain first tried to form soviets

26/4/17

May Day

The real origins of May Day

triangleMore Historic events 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: 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

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999