Israel’s racist U.S.-backed rulers have murdered or maimed thousands of Palestinian children and civilians with aerial bombs and tank shells. One attack struck a UN school. On January 11, Israeli storm troopers began even more deadly face-to-face urban warfare in densely populated Gaza City. The current blow-up in the Middle East is part of the battle for control of oil that has been going on between the capitalists for the last 80 years. Israel has been doing its part as an arm of U.S. interests since its formation in 1948. Their indiscriminate butchery has already killed nearly 1,000 people including hundreds of women, children and elderly, and wounded 3,340 others in the first two weeks.
Israel’s murderous invasion of Gaza is particularly brazen. After Hamas won control of Gaza in the 2006 elections, Israel responded with a military blockade cutting off all supplies to the 1.5 million Palestinians living there. The Israeli strategy was to starve the Gazans into turning away from Hamas and towards the Palestine Liberation Organization, the group Israel prefers to deal with now. Using food and medical supplies as a weapon against the Palestinians in Gaza.
Hamas was originally nurtured by the Israeli secret service Mossad, as a weapon against the PLO, controlled then by Yasser Arafat. This backfired on the Israeli ruling class in much the same way the the U.S. ruling class’s building of the Taliban as a weapon against the Russians came back to haunt them. Hamas went from an invention of the Israeli military to an armed ally of Iran’s rulers.
Israel’s crimes against humanity have sparked protests across the Middle East and beyond. The sight of young workers taking on the tanks and planes of the U.S.-funded Israeli military, as well as the many thousands who have demonstrated around the world against this genocide, is an inspiring sight, but the capitalists are leading workers down political dead-ends. The lack of a mass communist movement has made it easier for the bosses to do this. As a result, many Arabs and Muslims are supporting Hamas or other forms of militant Islam, and in the West, workers are counting on liberals like Obama to solve the crisis.
Hamas does not represent the class interests of Palestinian workers. Whatever its financial ties to Iran’s mullahs, Hamas is, in effect, doing the dirty work of these energy barons masquerading as religious leaders, who seek to replace U.S. dominance of the Middle East’s vast oil and gas reserves. Hamas shares Teheran’s long-term goal of destroying the U.S.’s hired gun, Israel. Hamas’s reaction to Israel’s vicious onslaught mainly serves Iran by stirring anti-Israel sentiment among workers in supposed U.S.-allied states like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. A perceived Hamas victory over Israel would not liberate Palestinians but “bolster Iranian influence and ambitions in the Arab world” (Council on Foreign Relations, 1/8/09). Consequently, it would make the oft-repeated U.S. threat (Obama, too, uttered it) to confront Teheran militarily all the more likely.
U.S. LIBERALS FEAR LOSING ARAB ALLIES
U.S. rulers are just as eager as the Israeli fascists to see Hamas destroyed, but there is an important difference. Israeli bosses worry about their survival. U.S. rulers have a world they want to run. So the dominant wing of U.S. capitalists, fearing Iran 1979- style defections from their empire, dons a liberal guise and wants Israel to “tone it down.” Max Boot, a fellow at the Rockefeller-run Council on Foreign Relations think-tank, urges Israel not to cease, but to calculate cold-bloodedly the number of working-class Arabs it murders. “Brutality can be counterproductive. Killing too many people, especially if they are the wrong people, risks jeopardizing popular support for elected governments that are likely to be important American allies in the future” (Wall Street Journal, 1/4/09). The U.S. will need the Arab allies Boot speaks of in a wider Mid-East war with Iran, China or Russia, or an even broader conflict that includes Europe.
The liberal establishment had installed Gates in the palace coup that ousted Rumsfeld. Covert action and diplomacy, the Times says, are better ways to confront Iran, until, that is, the U.S. can build a coalition and raise its own troop strength to confront Iran militarily. The New York Times (1/11/09) revealed that the Pentagon had refused Israel’s request for a bunker-buster bomb to take out Iran’s growing nuclear facility unilaterally. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, a protégé of Robert Gates, whom Obama is keeping on as defense boss, played the key role.
OBAMA PEACEMAKER? DON’T BUY THE HYPE
So Obama, whose advisors includes a host of past, present, and would-be mass murdering war criminals, is trying to project a worldwide image as peacemaker. The following, from Britain’s liberal Guardian newspaper (1/11/09) reflects this phony effort. “Obama has selected people whose doveish credentials seem impeccable. They will be responsible for reversing the political unilateralism of the Bush years and opening direct negotiations with hostile states, potentially ranging from Syria to Cuba and Venezuela and maybe including Iran and even Islamic militant group Hamas.”
The Guardian mentions unambiguously those who counseled Clinton on his genocidal bombing of Serbia: Dennis Ross, understudy of James Baker, the Exxon Mobil heir and Bush buddy who helped orchestrate both Iraq wars; and Kurt Campbell, a Clinton Pentagon figure who penned a militaristic book unambiguously titled Hard Power.
Obama’s pledge to withdraw from Iraq is a similar lie. His establishment handlers represented by the liberal Brookings Institution remind him (Memo to the President, 1/5/09) that forcibly controlling petroleum profits trumps campaign promises, “Oil-rich Iraq’s long-term stability remains a vital U.S. interest. Everything else your Administration seeks to accomplish in the Middle East will require Iraq’s stability.”
In the face of the greater genocide that the Gaza carnage only hints at, we need to build a working-class anti-war movement with the outlook of communist revolution. Every other kind of organization — nationalist, religious, pro-liberal — ultimately serves one camp or another of capitalist war-makers.
Unite with Israeli, Palestinian Workers
Several comrades joined thousands of people in Lafayette Square outside the White House on Saturday, January 10th to demand an end to the siege of Gaza. We distributed CHALLENGES and communist leaflets to the demonstrators. Hundreds of Palestinian families traveled from the East Coast to rally against U.S. support of the war and against Israel’s genocidal policies.
We argued that if people didn’t try to forge working-class unity now, there would never be an end to war and genocide in the Middle East. One man carried a sign attacking all the Arab leaders in the Middle East and talked about his childhood in Palestine when his family lost their home in 1948. He had no illusions about the betrayal of nationalist leaders!
A long-time Palestinian friend of the Party helped distribute the PLP leaflet. She stressed international worker solidarity when we distributed the communist leaflet. All of us had good conversations with people about our long-term goals and our opposition to nationalism.
Asking people for some contribution for the paper when we are in large crowds like this is important, given the Party’s financial crisis. Expressing ideas about the economic crisis and pointing out that our Party is made up of workers hit home; and I collected about $15 for 25 papers. One man gave $5 and took another copy to give to a friend.
I hope that everyone in the Party takes their international responsibility to express solidarity with our brother and sister workers in Palestine and Israel quite seriously. I was thrilled to hear that over 10,000 Arab and Jews demonstrated in Tel-Aviv and tens of thousands more demonstrated worldwide!