On January 23, Palestinians in Gaza blew up a section of the wall that separates them from Egypt and poured out of their prison — created by Israeli rulers — to buy desperately needed goods in Egypt. The flood of people seeking food, medicine and fuel was there for all the world to see, and neither Israel nor Egypt has dared to rush in to stop it.
After 38 years of occupation and settlements, Israel pulled out of the Gaza strip in September 2005, claiming to have ended its occupation and any responsibility for the 1.4 million Palestinian residents. In reality, Israeli rulers turned Gaza into a giant concentration camp, controlling all passage of goods and people, money, access to the sea and air space.
Before the “disengagement,” 65% of Gazans lived in poverty and 35% were unemployed. Since then conditions have deteriorated markedly, with the cutoff of all trade and severe limitations on the import of fuel, medicine and other necessities. Sanitation, housing, public health and all public services are now at a disastrous level.
Palestinians’ anger at Israel and the corrupt Palestinian Fatah party allowed the electoral victory of Hamas, an Islamic nationalist party, and its takeover of Gaza in 2006. Israel used this event and the abduction of an Israeli soldier as the excuse to launch a constant air bombardment of Gaza, killing over 400 Palestinians, militants and civilians alike. Gazans have fired homemade rockets into Israel border towns, killing less than 20 Israelis. However the Western capitalist press and politicians have branded “Palestinian terrorism” as the reason a “peaceful solution” cannot be reached.
However, the real reason there’s no solution is that since 1948 Israel has seized more than 80% of Palestinian land, expelling 750,000 Arabs from their homes and subjecting them to 60 years of brutal occupation. Israel has been able to maintain this oppression only because of massive U.S. military aid, more than sent to any other country. This helps the U.S. control the flow of oil, and its profits, in the Persian Gulf area, using the powerful Israeli military to deal with any rival bosses who might threaten Exxon-Mobil’s empire.
Within Israel the status quo is justified by bitter anti-Arab racism which is drilled into all its citizens, who seem not to have learned the lesson of the holocaust about racism’s evil and murderous nature.
Unfortunately currently there is no leadership in Israel or Palestine which champions the unity of Palestinian and Jewish workers and students and recognizes the need to oppose both imperialism and nationalism. Neither secular nor religious nationalism will deliver either Jewish or Palestinian workers and youth from the grip of leaders who use them to benefit one or another group of power- and wealth-seeking ruling classes. In the recent past such multi-racial groups have existed, some with the help of our Party. We must strive to rebuild the fight for multi-racial unity and communism in this region.