STATEMENT of IWL(FI)
Written by IWL-FI International Secretariat
Thursday, 19 November 2015 20:45
The historic resistance of the Palestinian people has been signaling, over the past few years, that it is escalating towards a new – the third – Intifada. The first one happened in 1987-1993, the second in 2000-2004. The trade unions, left-wing parties and the mass movement throughout the world must wholeheartedly support this struggle.
The failure of the Oslo Accords
For more than 67 years – since the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe), i.e., the creation of Israel on May 15, 1948 -, the Palestinian people face a continuous ethnic cleansing, that includes the demolition of their houses, exile, apartheid, colonization and occupation.
Prime-minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory in the last Israeli parliamentary elections shows more clearly Israel’s policy: expanding Israeli territory to the whole historic Palestine, turning it into a Zionist theocratic state, without Palestinians.
In order to look “democratic” to the rest of the world, Israel can’t exterminate all Palestinians, but aims at keeping them as a minority without rights, in ghettos, like the South African apartheid, to make them a source of cheap labor. The killings continue, either by regular bombardments of Gaza or settler violence in the West Bank, the poisoning of prisoners in Israeli jails, the ethnic cleansing in refugee camps in the neighboring countries – with the collaboration of Arab regimes like Bashar al-Assad’s in Syria or the Jordanian monarchy… or the imposition of a miserable life.
Imperialism’s guidance for the region is visible in the Oslo Accords, signed in September 1993 between the government of Israel and the – at that time – president of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Yasser Arafat. Today the whole world can see how this policy has failed. The Palestinian people’s oppression has increased, as well as their poverty. 22 years after, the balance-sheet surpasses 7,000 Palestinians dead and 12,000 houses destroyed. Between 1993 and 2000, the number of Israeli settlements doubled, reaching 600,000 nowadays. The settlements are set up in occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, by Israelis armed to the teeth and backed by the Zionist army. Israel diverts the water supply of the Palestinians to these settlements. The closure of the borders to Palestinian workers, who would be replaced by newcomers Russian immigrants, has catastrophic effects for the Palestinian economy. In 1993, according to the journalist Naomi Klein, the GDP per capita in the occupied territories plummeted nearly 30%. Poverty amongst Palestinians increased by 33%. In 1996, 66% of the Palestinian workforce was unemployed or sub employed. The Oslo Accords meant less work, less freedom and less land.
Currently, the Palestinians live a very similar situation to what the Jews suffered in the Warsaw ghetto under the Nazi yoke. It’s a crime against Palestine and against humanity.
The gestation of a new Intifada
To fight the Netanyahu government – which unveils apartheid and encourages the settlers to attack Palestinians – and the failure of the Oslo Accords, the heroic Palestinian youth has been promoting a process of resistance towards a new Intifada.
Symptoms of this third Intifada have been felt since 2011, as a sign of the ascent of the revolutionary process in the Middle East and North Africa. On that year, on May 15, thousands of refugees – mainly youngsters – marched from camps in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt towards the borders of occupied Palestine, exposing to the world that, since the state of Israel was created, their legitimate right of return to the land from where their families had been expelled has been denied. The movement was violently repressed by the Arab rulers. Afterwards, the Palestinian struggle followed the ebbs and flows of the revolutionary process in the Arab world.
In 2014, the Israeli offensive in Gaza was answered with a heroic resistance which did not come only from this narrow strip. Massive demonstrations in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the territories occupied by Israel since 1948 signaled that the process towards a new Intifada had not died.
On the night of July 24, 2014, and all day after, 25,000 Palestinians took to the streets in the West Bank. The most popular song among the youth was “Oh Qassam, Oh Habib, Drop your bombs on Tel Aviv”, which showed a high, combative morale (Ezzedine al-Qassam is the name of the military brigades of Hamas, responsible for most rockets launched against Israeli-occupied areas).
The main demonstration gathered 10,000 people in Qalandia (a village between Ramallah and Jerusalem which has a Palestinian refugee camp and also the most important checkpoint of the Israeli army). The Israeli army opened fire against the demonstrators, murdering five Palestinians. In other cities there were also killings. Two demonstrators were murdered in Hawara, near Nablus, and another three in Beit Omar, close to Hebron. Mustapha Bartghouti, a Palestinian councilor and Secretary-General of the Palestine National Initiative party, said this was the biggest Palestinian demonstration in the entire history of the West Bank.
This demonstration was preceded by others on practically every day since the murder of the young Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir, kidnapped and burned alive in Jerusalem by three young Zionists, and since the bombings against Gaza, which were followed by ground invasion.
The drive towards a new Intifada took a new breath in 2015. The Palestinian journalist Ahmad Melhem, in an article written for the Al-Monitor website, describes that on July 11 and 12 there were demonstrations repressed by Israeli forces in 30 Palestinians cities and villages, in the West Bank, Jerusalem and in the territories occupied in 1948. The clashes were particularly violent in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jerusalem and Ramallah. The infamous Qalandia checkpoint was attacked with stones and Molotov cocktails, leading to its taking over by the demonstrators for a short while.
In the territories occupied in 1948, the first demonstrations were in Galilea, with clashes with the Israeli police in Nazareth, Ar’Ara, Umm al-Fahm, Taybeh and Qalansawe. The police used tear gas and rubber bullets while demonstrators burned tires and sang, in Arab, “the people want the end of Israel.” Afterwards, the demonstrations spread to other Palestinian cities and villages, like Haifa and Jaffa, and to the Naqab (Negev) desert.
Settlersset fireto the Dawabsha family’s house in the village of Douma, southeast of Nablus, burning them alive on July 30. The incident resulted in the death of 18-month-oldAli Dawabsha, and his parents and his four-year-old brother suffered third-degree burns. The escalation of attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians in the last months and the violation of one of the most important holy sites for Muslims, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem, precipitated this process towards the Third Intifada.
This possible new Intifada, if becoming true, can reach a greater dimension that the previous ones, for a variety of reasons.
First, because since its beginning it is taking place in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948, and not just in Gaza and in the West Bank (annexed in 1967). Second, because it might also incorporate – besides the heroic actions of the Palestinian youth – the direct action of the Palestinian workers. The one-day general strike in Hebron last October is a signal of this possibility.
Third, because the global political isolation of Israel is increasing, despite all the support given by the North-American imperialism and the mainstream mass media. During the last invasion of Gaza, for instance, Israel lost the fight for the consciousness of the world masses. Netanyahu’s statements blaming the Palestinians for Hitler’s “final solution”, which were repudiated even by his allies, showed not only the lies of this murderous leader, but also that nothing can be expected of this state. Besides Netanyahu, there are other leaders vying for popularity such as Lieberman, who openly proposes to summarily expel all Palestinians from their territories. The Nazi-Fascist character of this state is revealing itself more and more.
Due to these reasons, it is possible that a third Intifada gains more weight in the region and throughout the globe.
Arab revolutions and Palestinian resistance: a single struggle
It is impossible to dissociate this movement from the revolutionary process in the Arab world. The powerful enemies of the Palestinian cause, denounced by the Palestinian revolutionary Ghasan Kanafani when he analyzed the revolution of 1936-1939, are still the same: the Palestinian bourgeoisie, the Arab regimes, and imperialism/Zionism.
Most of the Left around the world have declared the end of the Arab Revolution, due to the standstills and eventual ebbs existing in every revolutionary process. This new Intifada is evidence that they are completely wrong.
To stabilize the region and guarantee the safety of Israel, they try to choke the Syrian revolution at every turn. After the quick toppling of four dictators – in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya – with the opening of the “Arab Spring” in late 2010, imperialism intervenes directly and indirectly to stop the domino effect. The Islamic State is a counter-revolutionary element which makes it easier for imperialism to intervene with its military. In Syria, the revolution that tries to topple the bloodthirsty dictator Bashar al-Assad has turned into civil war in 2011. The pretext used by imperialism, that they want to fight the Islamic State, now is being used by Russia and other allies of the Syrian regime to bomb the areas which still remain free from the yoke of Bashar al-Assad.
Russia and the United States agreed on a military deal to “coordinate” the use of the aerial space of Syria, a task division in which “you bomb here and not there” . Russia, the United States and Israel are coordinating their militaries in Syria to suffocate the struggle against the dictator Assad.
Here is revealed the farce of the Castro-Chávez Left that claims the Syrian dictator to be an “anti-imperialist” fighter. Assad, who is destroying his country, killing and expelling millions of people to stay in power, is being supported by the military alliance of the United States and Russia, with the support of Israel as well. The same Assad who sieged the refugees camp of Yarmouk (historical bastion of the Palestinian resistance in Syria) with the purpose of destroying it. The same State of Israel that massacres the Palestinians helps to keep Assad in power.
Now, a new Intifada must mean a new upheaval in the Arab world, possibly helping to reactivate the resistance in the entire region. This would have enormous importance due to the political authority of the Palestinians in the entire Arab world. The signs are growing, like in October 16th in Jordan: in various cities, there were large demonstrations demanding the end of agreements with Israel.
For a single, democratic, secular Palestinian state
Unlike the two previous Intifadas, the current movement towards a new popular uprising has no leadership and, indirectly, questions above all the collaboration between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel. The youth does not see itself represented in any traditional party. This youth, together with the working class, must build, amidst this process, a revolutionary leadership to carry on the struggle for the liberation of Palestine.
It is in the heat of battle against the occupation that this new leadership for the Palestinian movement can be built, a leadership that rejects all collaboration with the enemy and unifies the Palestinian people aiming at liberating all Palestine.
The only solution for all Palestinians, the majority of whom live abroad, is a single, democratic, secular Palestinian state, enabling equal rights for all those who want to live peacefully with the Palestinians. This requires the destruction of the Nazi-fascist state of Israel. The coexistence of a Palestinian state with the state of Israel – as was defined in the Oslo Accords – has showed to be impossible, like we’ve always said it would.
It’s not possible to coexist with fascism, it must be destroyed. This is not about a religious conflict, but about the necessary destruction of the state of Israel, military stronghold of imperialism in the Arab world. It is perfectly possible that Jews, Christians and Muslims live together peacefully in a secular, democratic Palestine, as they have already lived together in the past.
International solidarity is an essential factor. It is vital that all trade unions and left-wing parties expose the atrocities of the Israeli state. We must build international days of struggle linked with the Palestinian demonstrations. It is fundamental to have the broadest unity in action in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.
It is possible and necessary to debate the programmatic differences between all sectors democratically, while advancing the broadest unity in action against the Israeli state.
Along with that, we can strengthen campaigns like the BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions) against Israel. It is crucial to endorse the ‘Olympics without Apartheid’ campaign launched by the BDS National Committee and Brazilian social movements to halt Israel’s presence in the Rio 2016 Olympics. The immediate target of the campaign is the International Security and Defense Systems (ISDS), an Israeli company that awarded a contract last October by the Rio16 Olympic Organizing Committee.
The International Worker’s League supports the Palestinian struggle and the pro-Palestinians actions throughout the world.