Mar 10 2013

Freedom Socialist Party: Israeli bombs and Palestinian resistance

Source: Freedom Socialist Party

Assault on Gaza spurs further outrage and broadens anti-occupation solidarity
Monica Hill
February 2013

Palestinian loss of land, 1946-2010

Palestinian loss of land, 1946-2010. Credit: The Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine

Palestinian loss of land, 1946-2010. Credit: The Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine

The mayhem that fell upon Gaza last November raised to new heights the Israeli government’s sinister subjugation of Palestinians. It also invigorated Palestinian resistance and prompted worldwide denunciation. The lies and hypocrisy surrounding Israel’s decades of military occupation reveal ever more clearly that the only resolution is a radical one.

Bombs from the sky. On Nov. 14, an Israeli missile found its mark and assassinated Hamas leader Ahmad Jabari. This incitement by Israel provoked a rocket response from Hamas fighters. Then came Israel’s 8-day bombardment of Gaza, a 25-mile-long refugee/concentration camp. Population: 1.7 million. Destroyed: hospitals, sporting facilities, public buildings, roads. Lives lost: 168 Palestinians, 6 Israelis.

Major Israeli attacks have tended to take place just before an election in Israel and just after one in the U.S. In Israel, this strikes the fear of retaliation in people’s hearts and presses them to vote for right-wing hawks. In the U.S., post-election assaults enable the White House to endorse Israel’s “right to self-defense” without dangerous pre-election opposition from an electorate decidedly opposed to more war.

The November attack was no different. Israel’s far-right politicians hope that it will guarantee them victories in the Jan. 22 elections and it may, because Israelis were very frightened by the Palestinian rockets. They also express little hope for peace, especially since the government announced ambitious plans for settler land grabs of Palestinian territory.

For their part, Palestinians cheered Gaza’s Hamas rulers for their bold use of rockets to resist, even given how limited this response is compared to Israel’s vast arsenal. And the West Bank’s Palestinian Authority got a moment of popular approval when it won U.N. “observer status” for a separate Palestinian state, however symbolic such a state would actually be.

Dissent escalating. U.S. media focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and rarely reports on political turbulence within Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel. Each of these regimes oversees a decaying capitalist economy. Each also oversees an angry populace living under poverty, repression, and vicious discrimination.

West Bank residents have had enough of the Palestinian Authority’s corruption, police brutality, and useless negotiations with Israel. They are outraged at rising prices and intolerable unemployment. In September 2012 public workers organized a wave of strikes, closing the schools and halting buses and taxis. Clearly, the secular-minded Palestinians in the West Bank who led the heroic intifada (uprising) of 1987 and have a tradition of class-conscious struggle that includes women leaders, are not about to be silenced — or fooled.

In Gaza, the Hamas government is hardly beloved. It has destroyed the journalists’ union, disrupted several strikes by teachers and health workers, and bullied the people. Hamas decrees segregation of women and men and imposes a “modest” dress code for schoolgirls. The punishment for “honor killings” of women is a mere 24 months.

The Gazan Youth Manifesto for Change, released in January 2011, describes the sentiments of Palestinian youth colorfully: “Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck U.N. Fuck USA! We are fed up with bearded guys walking around with their guns and beating up young people demonstrating for what they believe in. There is revolution growing inside of us.”

In Israel, during summer and fall 2011, over half a million people took to the streets in unprecedented protest against severe lack of jobs, housing, electricity, and water. In the spirit of the Arab Spring, demonstrators carried banners that said, in Arabic, “Resign, Egypt is here!”

On Dec. 7, 2012, thousands marched in Tel Aviv in the fourth annual rally for human rights, charging Israeli with war crimes in Gaza and denouncing their government’s racist attacks on immigrant African workers. “There are people here from all kinds of places, but we are all united by the battle for basic rights,” said an Eritrean asylum seeker. One popular slogan was, “True revolutions start from the bottom.”

Further dissent is inevitable as Israel tries to enforce new regulations against protest.

In solidarity. After Israel’s November carnage in Gaza, support for Palestinians swelled, with protests in the Middle East, Europe, South Africa, Australia, Russia, and the U.S., organized by a movement that has enlarged steadily over the last decade.

In the U.S., activists promote the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. A good many supporters of Palestine have visited and worked in Gaza and the West Bank at personal risk, and returned to educate the public about the grim circumstances for Palestinians and the U.S. hand in this.

The entire Arab Spring continues to be inspired and nourished by Palestinians’ steadfast refusal to be terrorized or diminished by Israel, their own capitalist regimes, or those of the countries that control their refugee camps.

Only a multiethnic, multiracial, secular and socialist state in place of Israel and Palestine will relieve the misery in this long-besieged region. And the drive for that can only come from the bottom up in each society, not the top down.

• End all U.S. aid to Israel.

• Defend Palestinian refugees’ right of return.

• Act in solidarity with labor strikes in the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel.

• Support the women of the region fighting severe discrimination and cruelty.

• Defend free speech, religious freedom, and secular government.

• Halt Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and African immigrants.

Also see: “Stop Israeli aggression against Gaza!” at www.socialism.com.

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