Defend the Palestinians! No Confidence in Hamas and Fatah!
Israel’s War on Gaza
Over the past few weeks Israel’s one-sided war against the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip has, with a combination of bombings and ground troops, led to the deaths of nearly 2000 Palestinians, many of them children. Solidarity protests in the West Bank have also faced repression. It is in the class interests of the international proletariat to put a stop to this latest round of capitalist barbarism. With the full backing of the Obama administration and an implicit green light from the United Nations, the Israeli state has continued its murderous attack against a helpless population.
Despite some historical differences separating them, both Hamas and Fatah, the two political forces currently wielding mass influence amongst Palestinians, represent bourgeois class interests rather than the genuine interests of the oppressed Palestinian masses. Their class position means that in addition to opposing emancipation from capitalism and all the forms of oppression it engenders, they are simultaneously also able to betray the struggle for Palestinian national rights which they claim to represent.
Founded in 1964 as a group employing guerilla tactics with the aim of re-establishing a Palestinian state based on pre-1948 borders, already by the 1970’s the PLO, under Fatah’s and Yasser Arafat’s leadership, had retreated to accepting a “mini-state” based on the West Bank and Gaza, which, logistically, could only leave the populations there militarily surrounded by and at the total mercy of the racist Zionist state. Due to Israeli belligerence, Hamas is currently forced into taking a more militant posture. But its reactionary Islamic fundamentalist politics, which includes opposition to secular democratic rights as well as the rights of women and LGBT, means it too is opposed to the interests of the Palestinian masses.
Along with being incapable of appealing to the class interests of Israeli Jewish workers to abandon Zionism and come to the defense of their Palestinian brothers and sisters, whose combined strength would be capable of ending this massacre, both groups are also politically dedicated to running a capitalist society under any state they rule. Neither deserves the political support of Palestinians fighting to end their oppression.
Palestinians can therefore only achieve victory with a political program aimed at overthrowing capitalism, rather than under the leadership of forces devoted to bourgeois nationalism or religious fundamentalism. However we are not neutral when these forces are resisting the murderous Zionist attacks against the Palestinian population, we are formilitarily siding with them against the Israeli state. But unlike many leftist groups with deep illusions in Hamas and Arab Nationalism, we do not extend them any political support.
Along with the tasks posed before revolutionaries in the Palestinian region, it is also crucial to win international solidarity. In an increasingly globalized economy, strikes and other class struggle actions by workers in other countries can deliver major blows to the Israeli bourgeoisie and its imperialist supporters, strengthening the Palestinians ability to resist.
It is Necessary to Win Solidarity from Israeli Workers!
A common mistake by many groups on the left (beyond capitulating politically to Hamas), is to either ignore or deny the necessity of organizing the Hebrew speaking Israeli workers in a common struggle for socialist revolution in the region. The claim that the entire Israeli Jewish population is one big “imperialist military enclave” or “occupying force” ignores the complex situation of the interpenetration of two peoples in the same territory and the fact that Israel is a class divided society, whose bourgeois state does not represent the interests of the Israeli Jewish working class.
Also, at this point in history, it is simply no longer possible to view Israelis as nothing more than colonial settlers. Willy-nilly, they have over time developed in the region as a Hebrew speaking nation. Israeli Jewish workers can be convinced to unite with Palestinians because it is ultimately in their class interests to do so. Denying them their national rights can only throw them back into the hands of the Zionists.
In the recent weeks of the attacks, many thousands of Israelis have resisted the military draft in opposition to the Israeli states murders in Gaza, at the same time as mass protests have occurred in cities such as Tel-Aviv. These are demonstrations of the potential of the Jewish proletariat, under the leadership of a revolutionary vanguard party, to defend the Palestinians national rights and defeat the Zionist state from within.
Build a Bi-national Revolutionary Party! For a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!
Many groups on the left call for a “secular democratic and sovereign Palestine”, without mention of such a state’s class character. In practice this can only lead to subordinating working class political independence towards the goal of the construction of a bourgeois state in the territory. As proletarian internationalists, we are for building a bi-national revolutionary party composed of Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jewish workers (as well as other ethnic and religious groups living in the area) which expropriates the bourgeoisie in the region, making possible a fraternal co-existence between the two peoples where no one oppresses the other.
As the Palestinians, by themselves, cannot overthrow the Zionist state, being able to win the Israeli Jewish workers to an internationalist perspective is not an option but a necessity. An important measure to allow this union and help overcome the deep fears and suspicions systematically instilled in both groups over all these years would be the recognition of the right to self-determination for both groups within democratically redrawn boundaries, if that should be desired. At the same time that a revolutionary party would defend such a measure if it is necessary to move forward, it itself would advocate and struggle to build a single bi-national workers state, within whose framework the two people can build a socialist society together, free of both class and national inequalities.