Palestine: The simmering revolt

The scathing remarks of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against Barak Obama for suggesting that the ‘two state solution’ should be based upon the pre-1967 borders, just before boarding the plane to Washington for a state visit, exposed the diplomatic weakness of the imperialist leaders.

The arrogance displayed by one of its closest allies laid bare the political and diplomatic impotence of the USA, and its inability to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The standing ovation for Netanyahu during his speech to the US Congress was another humiliating setback for Obama who was fortunate enough to be touring Buckingham Palace at the time. Netanyahu’s offensive was devised to avoid the question of the Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, which is blocking any even partial peace settlement. In fact he rejected almost every demand of the so-called international community.

The fact is that he cannot make any significant concessions if he is to preserve the exploitative system on which Israel was created under the pretext of the biblical myth of the “land of Judea and Samara”. Thus the talks stalled once again. The general pessimism about a negotiated settlement in the Middle East was expressed by The Economist in its recent issue:

“In the end, after much brouhaha and hyperbole, there were no real winners: no sign that negotiations between Israel and Palestinians would resume; no hint of flexibility from Mr. Netanyahu; no expectations from the Palestinians that they would talk to Mr. Netanyahu under the present circumstances... Rarely has the outlook seemed so bleak.”

The “two state solution” was always a non-starter. After the occupation of the West Bank the process of building settlements has made the geographical differentiation between Jewish and Arab neighbourhoods almost impossible. These Jewish settlements are deep intrusions into the West Bank that even surround large towns and cities like Ariel, Ramallah, Bethlehem and, of course, East Jerusalem.

A number of areas within the Palestinian Territories have been dissected by these settlements and the monstrous concrete wall imposed by the Zionist state. Gaza and the West Bank are already divided up by large tracts of Israeli occupied territory. There are many other unresolved questions: the Israeli demand for a demilitarised Palestinian state; trade and commerce under Israeli tutelage; the use of the Israeli currency the shekel in Palestinian areas; but above all the vast number of Palestinian workers that are employed in Israeli industry.

Under these conditions, a two- state solution would not bring anything like independence or sovereignty to the Palestinians. It will rather increase the military and economic subjugation of the Palestinian masses to the Zionist state. All those who are constantly harping about the independence of Palestine through this two-state solution carefully avoid all mention of the realities on the ground. While talking about a “peace process”, they ignore the crude reality of imperialist aggression, brutalisation and the daily killings of the Palestinians by Israeli state terrorism.

The Arab rulers have used and abused the Palestinian cause to perpetuate their despotic rule and distract their subjects from the economic and political repression they were inflicting. The conduct of the so called United Nations reeks of hypocrisy. Scores of resolutions have been passed in the General Assembly proclaiming the rights of the Palestinian masses. But not one has been implemented. This decrepit assembly of the ruling elites of the world can never grant the Palestinians their freedom. The declaration of an independent state at the UN general assembly in September will be yet another hoax. Even if it is passed, the Americans will veto it.

The Palestinian masses have a long history of sacrifices and struggle. However, the methods of individual terrorism over the years played into the hands of the vicious Israeli ruling class, who replied with the most brazen state terrorism. The blowing up of passenger planes and school busses only provided them with an excuse to carryout ferocious massacres of the Palestinians like those in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in the early 1980s.

Neither could the negotiated settlements with imperialism attain freedom for the Palestinians. It was the first intifada of 1987, the huge revolutionary upsurge of the Palestinian masses that rattled the Zionist state. However, the Oslo accords signed between Arafat and imperialism were bitter pills coated with layers of saccharine diplomatic hypocrisy. They were doomed from the start. A solution of the Palestinian question is more distant today than it was sixty three years ago.

The recent revolutionary upsurge in the Arab world has re-aroused the Palestinian movement. During the revolts in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere there were Palestinian spontaneous uprisings in support of the Arab revolution. The Israeli rulers were not the only ones who were terrified. The leaders of Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip were shaken and they used severe repression to crush the Palestinian demonstrations in solidarity with the Arab Revolution.

These leaders are equally corrupt and repressive. The recent rapprochement between Mahmud Abbas and Khalid Mishaal is the result of the fear of these “factions” of the mass upsurge that could challenge the capitalist system upon which Hamas and Fatah are both based.

Israel was created on 15 May 1948, a day of infamy known to the Arabs as the “Nakba Day”. This year saw the largest ever Palestinian mobilisations not only in Palestine and Israel but also in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and other countries where there are large numbers of Palestinian refugees. These courageous demonstrators breached the “international” boundaries. Scores were killed and hundreds injured.

The perpetrators of these heinous crimes were not only the Israeli army but the armed forces of Lebanon, Syria and Egypt along with the security forces of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. A similar mass defiance was seen on “Naksa Day” (June 5, 2011), the 44th anniversary of the 1967 war.

Although the Hezbollah leaders are giving rhetorical support to the Palestinian cause they have been trying to curb the mobilisation in Lebanon. In one of its recent press statement we read that the task was, “To freeze preparations in the light of security developments.” Similarly the other Arab states were on high alert to stop the border crossings by Palestinians. But the Israeli military had a problem: by their resorting to brutal measures to stop the protests, a revolutionary movement of the Palestinian masses that could connect with the movements across the whole Middle East. This can begin to divide Israeli society on class lines. Such a development would seal the fate of the Zionist state. It would be a gigantic step in the direction of a socialist federation of the Middle East – the only way to achieve a genuine and lasting liberation for Palestine.