ONE STATE, TWO STATES or A COMMUNIST STATE?
Once again the Israeli Zionist rulers are launching a full-scale murderous military attack against the Palestinian civilians – men, women and children – in Gaza, just as they did with the brutal Cast Lead massacre in 2008-2009. They claim that this is in retaliation for and to stop the rockets fired from Gaza into Israel. This is a big lie! The current murders are simply the latest step in the constant fascist attempts to “ethnically cleanse all of Palestine.
*There is no doubt that the 2nd attack on Gaza is a war crime and that the military occupation of Palestine by Israel is wrong and unsustainable. At 44 years, it is one of the longest occupations in history and violates every precept of international law. Not only are Palestinians reduced to living on 22% of their former land, but they have been deprived of much of their water, farmland, employment, and freedom of movement. Continuous warfare afflicts not only the region but fuels world conflict. No one demonstrating here today disagrees with any of this.
*The much more difficult question is what should we be fighting for? Is it enough to demand that siege of Gaza and the occupation end, the settlements be dismantled, or a “Palestinian state” be established? This issue cannot be addressed without considering the role of racism and nationalism in the history of Israel and the current struggle between Israel and Palestine.
The influx of Jews into Palestine was a response to their racist persecution in Europe and the nationalist impulses of the late 19th century. The massive increase in immigration after the Holocaust also largely reflected the refusal of Western nations to accept Jewish refugees. In addition, the US and Britain were glad to have an enclave of people with Western capitalist values and ties in the Middle East, which was rapidly gaining importance as the major source of oil.
Instead of going to “a land without people for a people without land”, the Jews arrived in a densely populated area. In 1948, the UN gave 55% of the land to the Jews, when they comprised only one third of the population and owned only 6% of the land. 750, 000 Palestinians, 6/7 of the population, were brutally expelled from their homes. In the 1967 war, Israel began the occupation of Palestinian land and took total control over 46% of the West Bank. Now the Wall, the checkpoints, the ban against Palestinians working in Israel and other indignities have reduced Palestinians to a state of desperation.
*None of this would have been possible if the Zionists were not themselves guilty of racism. Instead of learning from centuries of anti-Semitism that racism is the father of genocide and divides poor peoples against one another, they used the same ideology to suppress other people. Meanwhile, now as throughout history, the wealthy and the rulers use these ethnic divides to their own advantage. The US arms Israel to the teeth, not out of love for Judaism, but to maintain bully-power over the oil rich nations and their potential allies in the area. Ordinary Israelis suffer the costs of occupation in lives lost, morality destroyed, and social services cut to finance the military, all tolerated only because of anti-Arab racism.
Despite the fortitude displayed by Palestinians in surviving the occupation, many are now focused on the strife which continues between the corrupt Fatah movement, and fundamentalist, nationalist Hamas, neither of which promises social equality for Palestinians, or leads to an effective resistance. Palestine, like Israel, is a class society, and needs a mass anti-racist movement of workers for a society in their own interests. Jewish and Arab workers. from the river to the sea. must unite to fight the capitalist rulers.
*So we come to the question, what do we ask for now? It is not good enough to ask for equal civil rights and look to South Africa for inspiration, as do many activists. For although apartheid is gone, the condition of the majority poor black population in SA remains abysmal. As long as the same capitalist system, the same corporations are running the country, poor workers are no better off – maybe worse, having lost the activism of the anti-apartheid movement. From India to El Salvador, throwing off colonialism but not capitalism, has not improved the lot of workers.
That is why, while we march against the attack on Gaza and the evil of occupation, we should also march for an egalitarian, anti-racist, anti-sexist struggle and a communist society in Israel–Palestine, History provides many examples of struggles uniting Arabs, Jews and others in the region against common exploiters. Without a fight for communism in the Middle East and the US, global inter-imperialist wars, fought by workers taught to hate and fear one another, will destroy us all.