Israel & Palestine

We publish a summarised version of an introductory speech on the Middle East given by Fred Weston at a recent meeting of the International Marxist Tendency. In answering some of the pessimists on the left he points out how imperialism is facing defeat in the region and highlights the enormous potential for class struggle.

The recent internecine fighting between different factions in Gaza has temporarily calmed down after an agreement was patched together to form a government of national unity. This will eventually break down as none of the pressing problems of the Palestinian people will be solved.

The recent opening of archive material clearly demonstrates that Israel used biological weapons against the Palestinian population back in 1948. Israel to this day does not abide by internationally recognised agreements on the use of such weapons. The US imperialists turn a blind eye to all this, as they have their own “weapons of mass destruction”.

A major strike took place in Israel yesterday, called by the Histadrut, over the issue of unpaid wages and siphoning off of workers' pension funds. The strike affected 200,000 public sector workers, uniting secular Jews, religious Jews, and Muslim and Christian Arabs all striking together against their exploiters. As the Marxists have always explained, the class struggle cuts across ethnic division, and offers the only path to a real solution of the problem.

After the humiliating exit from south Lebanon, the Israeli generals have turned on the lesser-armed Palestinians of Gaza. Their bombing solves nothing. It only exacerbates an already extremely unstable situation. The situation highlights the fact that this rotten Israeli ruling class can offer no solutions, but only create more problems.

In spite of our exhaustive response to the leaders of the Argentinean Partido Obrero some time ago, they periodically repeat the same distortions of our ideas. Earlier this year they concentrated their efforts on our analysis and proposals concerning the situation in Israel/Palestine. Here our Israeli comrades set the record straight.

Over the past couple of days 24 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza. This follows a further shift to the right on the part of the Olmert government after the ultra-racist party of Lieberman joined the coalition. With these renewed attacks they are trying to distract the attention of the Israeli masses as it become abundantly clear that the country is in an impasse.

The whole of the Middle East has entered a crisis. Country after country is rocked by political, economic and military crises. The shockwaves of the recent war in Lebanon are still being felt. Imperialism seeks to manoeuvre in this situation to defend its strategic interests, but every step they take simply exacerbates the situation.

In spite of the claims of Israeli government ministers and top army generals, Israel did not win the recent war in Lebanon. It is Hezbollah that has emerged enormously strengthened, as the 800,000 strong rally the other day amply proved. All this is forcing the imperialists to rethink their strategy in the region.

In spite of the claims of Israeli government ministers and top army generals, Israel did not win the recent war in Lebanon. It is Hezbollah that has emerged enormously strengthened, as the 800,000 strong rally the other amply proved. All this is forcing the imperialists to rethink their strategy in the region.

Instead of emerging strengthened from the recent war in Lebanon, the Israeli ruling class been enormously weakened. It failed in all its objectives. Now we are witnessing an unprecedented level of distrust in all the institutions of the state. What is being prepared is a backlash on the part of the Israeli workers.

The Israeli government and military failed in their declared objectives in the recent conflict in Lebanon. Israeli society is under shock as a result. Now while they say a new war needs to prepared, the government is preparing vicious attacks on social spending. This will inevitably prepare class conflict at some stage. Meanwhile on the Arab street the desire for a genuine left alternative is becoming evident.

The Israeli aggression against Lebanon ended in defeat. None of the objectives set by the Israeli Government were attained. The position of the Israeli ruling class has been weakened at home and abroad. The result of the conflict is also a setback for American Imperialism – as well as for French Imperialism – and has strengthened the position of the Hezbollah, Iran and Syria.

Immediately following the ceasefire the government of Israel attempted to convince the Israeli population, and its friends abroad, that Israel had ‘won the war'. Now they are forced to beat a hasty retreat from such declarations, as no-one in Israel is stupid enough to swallow them.

The imperialists have been trying to force Lebanon to accept a diplomatic victory for Israel precisely because Israel cannot win this war by military means. The Israeli war cabinet on Wednesday gave approval in principle to the generals' plan for an expanded ground operation, but delayed its implementation in order to give a chance to the UN Security Council to draft a resolution that fits the rulers of Israel as a condition to end the crisis.

Lebanon has a long history, being one of the cradles of early civilisation, but it has been occupied by many different powers, the last being Isreal and Syria. Last time Israel occupied it it was eventually defeated and forced to leave because of the guerrilla war led by Hezbollah. It was Israel’s Vietnam. This is still a factor in understanding what is happening today.

On Wednesday serious land operations commenced in southern Lebanon. The Israeli army has met severe resistance from the Hezbollah guerrillas. The longer this drags out the greater will be the political consequences for the Israeli ruling class.

The idea that Israel is a class divided society like any other is not often discussed within the left in the Arab world. Here the Moroccan Marxists have interviewed an Israeli Marxist on the situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories, who explains the need for a socialist perspective and the struggle for internationalism and working class unity across borders.

The air strikes against Lebanon continue, as do the rockets being fired on Israel. The responsibility for the bloodshed and suffering of this new conflict lies first and foremost with the Israeli ruling class, who had clearly been preparing for such a scenario for some time.

Today we spoke with Yossi Schwartz in Haifa, one of the cities hit by Hizbollah rockets. Below we are providing the text of a conversation with him in which he describes the mood in the country and looks at the possible scenario that may unfold over the next few days.