Today (18/6/08) the Egyptian government announced that an agreement had been reached between Hamas and Israel, according to which Hamas will stop the rocket launching towards Israeli towns and villages near the border with the Gaza Strip. In return, Israel will terminate military operations within the strip and will alleviate the economic blockade it had imposed on Gaza, allowing the entrance of goods and raw materials. Israel has confirmed Egypt's reports.
The ceasefire is a humiliating defeat for Hamas' military strategy. It reduces the organization from being the leader of Palestinian resistance into Israel's loyal policeman. The ceasefire agreement clearly states that it is Hamas' responsibility not only to stop the rocket launching carried out by its own men, but also those that are carried out by members of other organizations, meaning that Hamas, like its predecessor the PLO, will fight Palestinian terrorism as the Israeli army's sub-contractor.
In fact, Israel's head of the political branch in the defense ministry, Amos Gilad, has emphasized that Hamas will be held accountable for any aggressive act coming from the Gaza Strip, regardless of who is carrying out the act. In practice this will mean that Hamas will be forced to police the Gaza territory in order to prevent any infringement of the ceasefire.
While all this deal was being brokered, it has been business as usual as far as Israel's bullying is concerned. Just one day before the Egyptian announcement was made, Israeli air attacks killed seven Palestinian citizens in Gaza and wounded several others. A campaign of arrests was also reported in the West Bank.
The bankruptcy of individual terrorism
If one wonders why Marxists are so profoundly against individual terrorism, this is exactly why. It is not because we do not feel that the Palestinian masses have the right to revenge against their Zionist oppressors. On the contrary, it is because we know from historical experience that such revenge can never be fulfilled through individual terrorism.
Just like the PLO before them, Hamas faced the choice of being stricken out of the pages of history or being co-opted by the Zionist oligarchy and their imperialist masters. After the treachery of the PLO leaders, the Palestinians gave Islamic radicalism a chance. But basing a resistance movement on individual acts of violence will most likely lead to the same results no matter what you are fighting for and what ideology you are basing yourself on.
The institutionalization of Hamas began right from when they won the elections for the Palestine parliament. During that time they were forced to draw the conclusion that terrorism is not enough to satisfy the needs of a starving population. Even before then, they had been seriously hurt and weakened by Israel's counter-terrorist activities against them and other Palestinians.
To stay afloat, they quickly turned to the United States and to Europe for recognition. They even changed their traditional Islamic garments into Western suits and ties while appearing on the international media. The kidnapping of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was also one of Hamas' machinations to pressure Israel into negotiating with it, and through these negotiations, they hope for the desired Israeli recognition of Hamas as the legitimate leader of the Palestinian enclaves.
Thus, individual terrorism had achieved nothing but to provoke the capitalist state into further aggression and violence. And it actually strengthened the state and its hold on society instead of weakening it. Individual terrorism simply had the effect of increasing public legitimacy for the state and its military. Actually, if it weren't for terrorism, Zionism would probably have had a much weaker grip on Israeli society. Terrorism prevented a very positive development of Jews and Palestinians working together, trading with each other and sharing the same class interests.
Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah - the Shiite guerilla organization in Lebanon - once noted that Israel may seem strong, but it is actually as fragile as a spider's web. Individual terrorism has proven itself to be as harmful to Israel as flying insects are to a real spider's web. Israel is fragile, just as the capitalist infrastructure on which it is based is fragile. But individual acts of terror cannot harm it. In the class struggle, only the collective action of an entire class is capable of winning.
The revenge that the Palestinians and other oppressed masses deserve is much more profound and deep than anything individual terrorism can offer. Their full revenge will be to witness the destruction of the entire exploiting imperialist class in the Middle East and all over the world. This can only be achieved through the collaboration of the international working class rather than by acts of individual groups or factions.
- Much ado about nothing: the Israeli "peace" talks with Syria by Dekel Avshalom (May 28, 2008)
- Israel turns 60 – where next for the Jewish and Palestinian peoples? by Luke Wilson (May 16, 2008)
- Israel storms Gaza: once again “peace” talks prepare war by Francesco Merli (March 5, 2008)
- The Crisis in Gaza and Sderot: break with Zionism, Imperialism and Islamism! by David Markovitz (January 21, 2008)