Palestine and Israel have a long history of conflict. When the Israeli State occupied the land in 1948, over 750,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their towns and villages to become homeless and impoverished. A further 300,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes in 1967 in the six-day war. Many Palestinian families live in terrible conditions to date, facing sudden evictions by the Israeli state or living in heavily militarised areas.
Amidst the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Israeli missiles have slaughtered over 217 Gazans, including many children. The bombardment caused by the Israeli state is causing devastation amongst the civilians in the densely populated Gaza strip.
In April, Israeli security forces prevented Palestinians from congregating next to the Damascus gate into the old city which is a procession that usually takes place during Ramadan. As protestors took to the street to oppose this, they were met with heavy repression but eventually the barriers were removed.
Those protesting against the home evictions of Palestinian families in nearby, Sheikh Jarrah, were met with stun grenades by the Israeli police and security forces. Under the pretence of holding Jerusalem Day, the annual Israeli celebration for the seizing of East Jerusalem, Israeli police fired rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas into the hundreds of Palestinians within a mosque compound, causing serious injuries. The escalation of events taking place in the third holiest site in Islam, during the end period of Ramadan has caused an uproar worldwide, especially amongst the Arab and Muslim people.
In retaliation, right-wing Hamas forces and other Palestinian militias fired over 1000 rockets into Israel. As these are not high-accurate missiles, they are striking very few Israeli military targets, but have landed in a number of run-down working-class towns in Israel, killing seven people, two of them Palestinian residents. The high-tech equipment the Israel regime owns has allowed them to intercept most of the rockets fired from Hamas.
We absolutely condemn the use of weapons on civilians by the Hamas militant group, however by no means does this justify the Israeli government under the order of Benjamin Netanyahu to launch high-tech missiles towards civilians at Gaza. In a recent interview Netanyahu declared that there had to be some collateral damage when you are trying to de-escalate a situation as completely avoiding civilian casualties is not possible.
Israel political climate
This armed offence comes at a time when Netanyahu is struggling to form a new coalition government, after failing to achieve a majority in the past four subsequent general elections. The chairman of Likud, also known as the National Liberal Movement, provides no real alternative to the Israeli Jewish workers. Netanyahu and his destabilising relationship with far right-wing allies such as Ben Gvir who has been associated with the large banned terrorist far-right Kahanist movement, resort to posing as strong defenders of ‘law and order’. In addition, Netanyahu is currently on trial for corruption which poses a great problem for the Israeli ruling class.
The instability of this can end up in a full-scale war, which this time could engulf Israeli cities to a much greater degree than previous wars. The effect this can take on the global economy is agitating the Israeli ruling class and the international capitalist powers, including Joe Biden and the UN, resorting to cautions and warnings to Netanyahu.
A large layer of the population has wanted Netanyahu out of office due to his numerous corruption cases, unwilling to resolve the rising inequality in Israel, lack of services and discrimination within the Jewish society, as well as against Palestinians.
However, Netanyahu still has a minority support base, his Likud party topped the polls for the March election, aided by the highest roll-out of coronavirus vaccination in the world. With the smallest inclination in the economy than many other countries.
Demonstrations have been erupting amongst the Palestinian communities across Israel in response to the lack of measures to tackle poverty related crime and gang violence in their communities. Over 2000 people rallied in Tel Aviv.
The Palestinian political representatives provide no solution to the issues that the communities they supposedly represent face. The ‘Joint List’ of four Arab-based parties put forward in 2015, did not deliver in their promises. One of them being the Israeli Communist Party, instead of challenging the pro-capitalist politicians, sit comfortably within the Joint List coalitions. The United Arab List, Ra’am, who departed from this coalition, have resorted to extracting any scraps of funding for the Palestinians from the government in exchange for agreeing to vote for a coalition of right wingers in government.
Within the Palestinian Authority areas, Mahmood Abbas cancelled the first planned election to be held in 15 years, and the presidential election in July, blaming the Israeli government’s refusal of Palestinians in East Jerusalem to vote. However, in reality, it is an indication of the fear of losing the vote.
The cancellation of the vote will fuel greater discontent for Fatah, disfranchising 93% of the PA population who had registered to vote, even though they were not expecting any change.
Solidarity demonstrations have erupted across the world and many of our comrades intervened in the Palestinian protests on Saturday where there was an outcry from protestors of the massacre that is taking place. The media blackout with under reported deaths by the Israeli government owned media shows a disparity in the horrific videos we see of attacks on civilians, many children, on various social media platforms. The outpour of people on the streets are a glimpse of the outpour that took place during the final days of the brutal war in Sri Lanka, as the Sri Lankan state massacred over 100,000 civilians in the designated “No Fire Zone” as an attempt to crush the Tamil independence movement. We held our 12th Mulivaikkal Remembrance Day on Tuesday, to remember those that died and most importantly fight for those living. After over a decade of lobbying the British government and the UN, for accountability for the war crimes committed, we know these governing bodies were never going to act in the interest of the ordinary people. The protests then for Tamils in Sri Lanka and now the Free Palestine protests that are taking in place in masses all over the world are great glimpse of solidarity from all sections of people, not just limited to Palestinians. The general strikes that have span across Palestine, also seeing participation from Palestinians living in Israel, striking from work to put a stop to the brutality of the state.
The real issue stands when there are no real alternatives put forward by any mainstream political group internationally. In our attempt to intervene in the protest held in Birmingham, we were prevented from putting forward an idea of Palestinian workers and Israeli workers forming allies and defending their rights in both states on a solidarity basis. A solidarity campaign alone is not sufficient to elevate the issues faced by the Palestinians today. We do not want their rights to self-determination be exercised only to transfer their rule from the Israeli capitalist class to the Palestinian capitalist class.
Whilst we support the right to arms for self-defence whilst also being democratically controlled by communities, the rockets and indiscrimate terror attacks by the Palestinian militias are an indication of the desperation but do not provide a real alternative for the Palestinian workers. This only further alienates the Israeli Jewish working class who have already fed into the racist rhetoric put forward by the right-wing parties. Instead of motivating mass demonstrations, this form of armed struggles falsely indicates the only form of action. When in fact it achieves no real change to the oppressed in Palestine and only attack the oppressed in Israel.
Whilst Palestinian workers suffer the worst pay and working conditions, a large section of Israeli Jewish workers also suffer from poverty, financial insecurity and frequent attacks on their pay, living conditions and welfare at the hands of their bosses and Israeli government.
There is a necessity for trade unionists and other progressive organisations to take this fight forward, by organising the workforce locally. They need to organise against the violence between the far-right and the Palestinians, especially in areas where this is arising. The worker’s movement cannot rely on the pro-capitalist politicians who laid the foundations for this conflict in the first place but can only rely on their real allies of trade unionists and
No pro-capitalist politician is going to act in the interest of the ordinary working people, whether it being Israeli or Palestinian. That is why the Palestinian leaders who act in their own classes’ interests have not fought for a real alternative for the betterment of their living conditions, instead they are fed lies that the only way forward is an armed struggle by Hamas and Fatah.
Palestinians need a successful struggle, democratically organised, the mass mobilisation of the Palestinian people – a new mass intifada. The need the development of a democratically run local committees to organise actions and defence.
We need the workers’ parties both in Palestine and Israel, adopting a programme for a socialist Palestine alongside a socialist Israel. We demand an immediate stop to the Israeli military’s missile strikes on Gaza. No more brutal force against Palestinians defending their homes and religious sites! Stop the home evictions of Palestinian families. Palestinians who live in the UK need to join trade unions, student organisations and other left organisations, to put pressure on the UK government in order to put a stop to this slaughter that is taking place. It is only by acting as part of a progressive organised basis on a class basis, can we demand and win the better living conditions, pay and the right to self-determination in a democratically run, socialist state.