The killing of protesters on the border of Gaza is the latest massacre inflicted on by the brutal Israeli regime on the Palestinian masses. This is state sanctioned murder, with the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorising soldiers to shoot to kill.
The protests were in response to the provocative move by the Trump administration to open the US embassy in Jerusalem. A signal by the Trump Administration of its support for the Israeli state and a rebuff to the Palestinians’ demand for their own state with its capital also in Jerusalem. Trump has further escalated tension in the region by scraping the US-Iran nuclear deal and cutting US funding to the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees, further worsening the already dire conditions in the Gaza strip. Where the blockade means shortages of electricity, tap water and basic goods and 50% of its workforce is unemployed.
The protest also coincided with the 70th anniversary of the 1948 foundation of the Israeli state. For Palestinians it marked as the ‘Nakba’, the Arabic word for catastrophe, when over 750,000 were forced from their towns and villages to become impoverished refugees. A further 300,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes in the 1967 six-day war. Since then Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have lived under an increasingly unbearable and brutal Israeli occupation.
Palestinian face land confiscations, house demolitions and regular incursions by Israeli soldiers during which killings and harming of Palestinians are normal. Detention in harsh conditions is a tool of the occupation – over 6,000 Palestinians are in prison. This Includes 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi whose case spread in the news internationally after she was jailed for slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier after her cousin had been shot in the face by the Israeli military.
The protests near Gaza’s border during recent weeks also took the form of mass mobilisations, under particularly repressive conditions. The tactic of mass struggle has been the only tactics that have been effective, including the first intifaida (uprising) in 1987 which was successful in winning some rights for the Palestinian people. Recently mass sit-down protests forced the Israeli government to lift new restrictive measure at checkpoints at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque compound. Socialists advocate mass action on the part of the Palestinian masses. While supporting, Palestinian’s right to defend themselves we oppose the tactics of individual terrorism used in the past which targeted Israeli civilians and have been counterproductive; aiding the propaganda and agenda of the Israeli state.
We also believe it is necessary to win over ordinary Israeli workers to a struggle against this militarised state. In Israel, the Palestinian population suffers the highest levels of poverty. Israel is also a class-ridden society were a small number of ‘tycoon’ families at the top control the economy while 20% of Jewish children live in poverty. Workers have been forced to struggle to defend their jobs, tens of thousands have demonstrated against forced deportations of refugees and tens of thousands have also protested against corruption at the top of government. While many Israelis currently believe the reactionary propaganda of the regime- it is possible to win Israeli workers to sympathise with the plight of the Palestinians as the history of anti-war protests in Israel has shown.
A movement of the Palestinian masses and Israeli workers can provide a democratic, lasting solution for the people of the Middle East. This cannot be done on the basis of capitalism- which means a squabble for resources and for Palestinians, a history of their aspirations being sold out by the corrupt Arab elite in the region, the United Nations and their own ‘leaders’ be it the corrupt Fatah or reactionary Hamas.
It requires a struggle for a different society- a socialist one in which the massive wealth in the region can be under the democratic control of the masses in the region and where workers could come together to find a solution including the formation of an independent Socialist Palestinian state and a Socialist Israel with the right to return for Palestinian refugees, the sharing of resources including a joint capital in Jerusalem and full protection for all minorities.
End the Hypocrisy! For real solidarity!
Western government may be happy to criticise Israel for their recent actions but their history of financially backing Israel shows their complicity, including the EU who have provided millions in research funding. Tory and Blairite politicians in Britain have also shown gross hypocrisy by accusing Corbyn of anti-semitism for his principled opposition to Israeli aggression.
This hypocrisy extends to the local politicians here who are only too happy to turn the plight of the Palestinian masses into an issue of sectarian squabbling. Where was their concern for the plight of the Palestinians when both Sinn Fein and the DUP were happy to meet Likud (right-wing government in Israel) representatives?
To genuinely show solidarity with the Palestinian people we must build a genuinely cross-community movement, that can call for concrete action. The Socialist Party support the explusion of the Israeli ambassador from the UK and Ireland. We also support targeted boycotts of companies and institutions engaging or prospering from the Israeli military and settlements. Most importantly it means providing real solidarity to those in Palestine and Israel fighting the reactionary regime.