COMMENT : Palestine’s festering wounds — III — Lal Khan
The Palestinians are faced by an immensely more powerful enemy. The recent events in Gaza have clearly shown the impossibility of defeating Isreal by purely military means
The present conflict has once more utterly exposed the impotence of the Arab leaders, particularly Egypt and the so-called United Nations. The attack on Gaza is threatening to unleash a renewed instability in the West Bank and arouse the Palestinians in Jordan. Even before the Gaza crisis, Jordan has been going through a mass revolt, shaking the Hashemite kingdom to the core. Of course, the country most directly affected is Egypt. The Egyptian government, terrified of the repercussions of a new war on the streets of Cairo, has been frantically active in trying to secure a ceasefire. Over the last few days, Cairo has been frantically negotiating for a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, actively being encouraged by Hillary Clinton who has been shuttling between Jerusalem, Ramallah and Cairo. The presence of Clinton at the announcement of the deal showed who the real boss was. Ban Ki Moon was strutting around in the region as an errand boy of imperialism, which shows the real relevance of the UN in resolving conflicts.
This truce has been guaranteed by Egypt on the Palestinian side; Israel agreed to stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip by land, sea and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals. The Egyptian government had a vested interest in this ceasefire as an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza would have had explosive effects inside Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood is on surface aligned with Hamas. But the truth is its support will be confined to hypocritical speeches about the plight of the people of Gaza. President Morsi will have to promise the Israelis that he will do everything in his power to prevent weapons smuggling into Gaza. He will stand exposed before the masses. The western imperialists were terrified of the ramifications of a land invasion of Gaza by the Israeli army on the Arab streets. The Israeli state is more isolated and under enormous pressure of its masters in the US and Europe. Hamas seems to be exalted by the coming to power of the Islamic governments in Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia. But these Islamic governments have come to power with the connivance of imperialism. The wily CIA veteran operative Bruce Riedel and other senior officials had brokered a deal with their old allies the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in fear of a new wave of revolution that erupted in the spring of 2011. The Islamist leader of the new Tunisian regime Rashid Gnocchi was brought from London and installed in power by British intelligence. The visits to Gaza by reactionary leaders like the Emir of Qatar, Bahraini princes carrying out atrocities on the people of Bahrain, and Egyptian rightwing ministers shows the class and ideological character of the Hamas leaders. But the fragile deal may not last very long. There are other groups in Gaza that may not be controlled by Hamas and can resort to provocative acts that could revive a new wave of hostilities. The hawks in the Israeli establishment are not happy with the deal. They could push for another strike. Certainly, Netanyahu’s facial expressions and body language did not match his announcement of victory on the TV screens. This conflict could unravel into a regional conflagration including an attack on Iran, which will convulse the whole region in unprecedented chaos and with war in the Gulf, oil prices could shoot so high that the world economy could plunge into another devastating crash.
The Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have a genuine and daring struggle for their right to live and be free of oppression and occupation. It is a fight against occupation, oppression, colonialism and imperialism. It is the fundamental duty of every revolutionary worker and peasant to defend the Palestinians against the violence and repression of Israeli despotism backed by imperialism. But it is also equally fundamental to learn the correct lesson from the Palestinian struggle over the last 60 years and draw the right conclusions. The methodologies of armed struggle, individual terrorism and negotiated settlements with the reactionary Israeli state under the auspices of imperialism have failed miserably to resolve this conflict, which has become a festering wound.
The Palestinians are faced by an immensely more powerful enemy. The recent events in Gaza have clearly shown the impossibility of defeating Isreal by purely military means. The question that needs to be posed is, is there a power that is even stronger and more determined than the military might of Israel and its international imperialist and regional collaborators? It is the power of the masses through the class struggle. This was amply demonstrated by the recent Arab Revolution and, more importantly, by the two Intifadas, that the Palestinian masses are prepared to be organised and mobilised to fight heroically. There is no question of the courage and bravery of the Palestinian masses but this on its own is not enough. The Arab revolution that lashed from the coast of the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean also ignited the Israeli Intifada in 2011. On August 7, 2011, over 300,000 took to the streets of Tel Aviv, a city with a population of less than half a million, and thousands demonstrated against the regime in Jerusalem, Haifa, Ashdod and other cities of Israel. Out of a population of 7.7 million, half a million had come out in defiance of the attacks on their living standards and austerity measures. They were holding portraits of Che Guevara and the banners bore the slogans “For social justice” and “Resign, Egypt is here.” Tellingly, ‘resign’ was written in Arabic. This was an unprecedented movement in the 63-year history of Israel. It is certainly not going to be the last. But this movement has given a new dimension to Palestinian liberation and the revolution in the Middle East. It glaringly showed the potential of a class struggle and revolutionary capacity of the workers and youth of Israel and the region. Only through a revolutionary overthrow of the Zionist state and the reactionary Arab regimes with class unity and struggle can the masses of the region be liberated and attain social, economic, national and political emancipation. This struggle can only be completed and be victorious by the creation of a voluntary socialist federation of the Middle East.
The writer is the editor of Asian Marxist Review and International Secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org