Israel & Palestine

The Israeli ruling class is using war in an attempt to solve its problems. They now risk opening up three fronts, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. It is a reflection of the deep crisis afflicting Israeli capitalism and Israeli society. Raising the socialist perspective is an urgent task in the whole region, if we want to avert the terrible barbarism that the ruling class is unleashing.

We received this article yesterday evening. It was written as the situation between Israel and Lebanon was escalating. The Israeli ruling class has decided on war to "solve" its problems. In reality it is opening up even greater problems destabilising the situation even further. The crisis of Israeli capitalism is dragging the peoples of the region to fratricidal war.

The Israeli military claim the 40 Palestinians killed since they re-invaded the Gaza Strip were all “militants”. In reality many civilians have been killed. The Israeli government is hell-bent on terrorising the Palestinian people into submission. It is achieving the opposite effect to that desired and opening up the beginnings of a major crisis for the Israeli ruling class.

The Israeli government refuses to consider the option of releasing Palestinian prisoners to get an Israeli soldier freed. And yet when a few years ago a friend of Sharon was captured he was prepared to release more than 400 Palestinian prisoners. This detail highlights how even in Israel there is one rule for the ordinary citizens and another for those at the top.

The first demand of the international labour movement, and of the Israeli working class, must be for the immediate withdrawal of the troops that were sent into Gaza overnight. Stop this present incursion now! And from there begin the struggle to transform society and put an end to the class and national divisions which are at the heart of the present conflict.

The Israeli Defence Force has amassed tanks and troops on the border with the Gaza Strip as the crisis over a kidnapped soldier deepens. For some time anyone who understands the mechanical logic of the Israeli government and its plans to reoccupy the Gaza Strip has known that the Israeli government has simply been looking for an excuse to move back in.

The cold-blooded killing of a Palestinian family as it was enjoying a day on the beach highlights the brutal methods used by the Israeli military. They are clearly trying to crush the spirit of the Palestinian people. They will achieve the opposite. With these methods the Israeli ruling class are preparing an unimaginable nightmare for all the people in the region.

Calls for boycotting Israeli academics and universities that do not disassociate themselves from the oppression of the Palestinian people have been growing in several unions internationally. How does this connect with the class struggle in Israel? Yossi Schwartz in Israel comments.

On his recent visit to the USA the newly elected Israeli premier, Ehud Olmert, made some very belligerent speeches which raise the spectre of the use of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. It is in the interests of all workers in the region, Jewish, Arab, Kurdish, Iranian... to come together in an international struggle to overthrow the oppressors of all these peoples.

Recent armed clashes between Fatah forces and newly formed Hamas security forces reflect behind-the-scenes manoeuvres of imperialism to divide the Palestinian people with the hope of overthrowing the newly elected Hamas government. They are playing with fire.

In line with their class collaborationist position, the leaders of the Israeli Labour Party were not even prepared to organise the traditional May Day rallies, leaving it to other forces.

Very often among people who consider themselves Marxists there is a mechanical, non-dialectical approach to how capitalism comes into existence in any given country. They take Britain or France as their historical touchstones and judge everything from this angle. But the bourgeoisie in many different countries did not come into existence according to these classical models. Israel is one example.

The world was shocked at the recent terrorist act in Tel Aviv. What has to be highlighted however is the systematic pounding of Palestinian territory by the Israeli armed forces in the recent period. This finally produced the response of Jihad, which now plays into the hands of the Israeli government. Only a united working class can break this vicious cycle.

Kadima, the new party founded by Sharon, has emerged as the first party in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, but it will have to govern in a coalition. No party has an outright majority. Now the new Labour leadership has indicated it would serve in such a coalition. This means accepting anti-working class policies. In these conditions the Labour Party will come under immense pressure from the bosses and the workers, pulling in opposite directions.

Last week’s attack by the Israeli army on the prison in Jericho highlights the growing impasse in Israeli/Palestinian politics. Olmert, the interim leader of Sharon’s Kadima party is using the attack to boost his fortunes in the upcoming Israeli elections. At the same time Abu Mazen, the “friend” of the West is being exposed.

David Irving’s holocaust denial highlights one side of bourgeois reactionary propaganda; the recent anti-Islamic cartoons highlight another. It is all used to divide the workers and poor of the world. This is particularly clear in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Last week, the growing turbulence in the Middle East came to a head as protests erupted over the publication of cartoons picturing a caricature of the prophet Mohammed. The fact alone that all this happened more than five months after their actual publication in a Danish newspaper clearly shows that the publication was only the spark that lit the fuse. You cannot explain the present conflagration without looking at the underlying frustrations of the millions of Muslims all around the world.

The Israeli Marxists had predicted the victory of Hamas some time ago. They understood how discredited Fatah had become among the Palestinian people and the only credible alternative they could turn to was Hamas. They also explain that Hamas will be sucked into the so-called “peace process” and will end up being exposed. All this will eventually help the Palestinian workers and youth to draw revolutionary Marxist conclusions.

Hamas’ ascent to power has been a concluding result of an ongoing process that should be analysed against the background of the events spanning decades, not only in Israel/Palestine but also the whole region and the world. Here Nadim al-Mahjoub, an Arab Marxist, gives his interpretation of the situation.

The shift to the left in Israel and in the Labour Party has not dropped from the sky. This shift is rooted in these struggles of the past period. Looking at the struggles of the last 10 years, we can see that the working class was willing to struggle against privatization and the austerity measures of the Israeli ruling class. This has now found its reflection in the Labour Party.