Only a few days ago the Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon seemed to believe that his dream of removing, or even killing, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was going to become true within just a few days. At the beginning of August an attack on a Jewish settlement in the 1967 occupied territories in reaction to Sharon's provocations was carried out by a Tanzim cell from Nablus. The Tanzim, as everyone in Israel knows, is affiliated to Arafat's Fatah movement.
However, Sharon's excessive appetite has complicated the situation. Sharon's endless provocations aimed at ending the cease fire by his open policy of assassinations of Palestinians leaders, including the attempt to kill the founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, pushed Hamas into declaring an end to the cease-fire. Sharon had hoped they would retreat in the face of the huge military war machine of Israel but Hamas had other ideas. They carried out the suicide bombing that took the life of 13 Israelis in two individual acts of terror.
The attempt on Sheikh Ahmed Yassin put an end to the attempts to provoke a military confrontation between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and also led to the resignation of US-backed Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and to the nomination of Ahmed Qureia's (known as Abu Alaa), a politician close to Arafat, to the post of Prime Minister of Palestine.
The White House informed Sharon's government that Bush was opposed to the forced removal of Arafat. This was a clear indication that without the participation of Arafat the US do not feel they can control the situation. A forced removal of Arafat would cause a great destabilization of the region, as the Arab rulers hurriedly informed the Bush administration.
In our latest article we wrote: "Sharon is tempted to play the card of war against his Arab neighbours, in particular the Lebanon and Syria. If such a war were to take place it would end in defeat for the Arabs yet again. That is why all the Arab bourgeois regimes desperately want to avoid war. But they may not be able to avoid such a scenario. At least one section of the Israeli ruling class seems intent on provoking war. This is reflected also in a wing of the US ruling class, the most reactionary and obtuse wing. The US imperialists would prefer to hold the situation back, as they have enough on their hands with the situation in both Iraq and Afghanistan. But Sharon may have other ideas, for his own reasons."
Sharon has never given up on his idea of controlling the West Bank and Gaza directly without having to deal with the Palestinian Authority as a middleman. Now he may not even have to wait for too long before he gets the approval of the US's head of state for the forced removal of Arafat. This has become clear on Tuesday, night after the U.S veto of the United Nations Security Council resolution which demanded that Israel should refrain from harming or expelling Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.
This veto has shocked the Arab rulers, as well as the middle class left in Israel who were pinning their hopes on the ability of the American imperialists to avoid a new war. The reaction of the Palestinian diplomats was expressed by Erekat, the Palestinians' so-called chief peace negotiator, who said Tuesday, "It's a black day for the United Nations and for international law. I hope that Israel will not interpret the resolution as a license to kill Arafat."
"Washington was turning its back on the internationally-brokered road map to Middle East peace. In some of the most scathing Palestinian criticism since U.S. President George W. Bush formally launched the peace plan in June, cabinet minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said U.S policy had become a 'hostage' to Israeli hardliners." (Haaretz, September 17 2003).
Syria's UN Ambassador Fayssal Mekdad expressed regret at the vote, calling the resolution "highly balanced" and noting that most of the language came from previous resolutions that had been adopted by the Security Council. "The fact that the U.S. delegation used its veto is something extremely regrettable," he said "It only complicates a situation in the Middle East that is already very complicated."
Indeed the US veto reflected Tel -Aviv's position that a UN resolution which ensured Arafat's safety would be seen as a condemnation of Israel and support for terrorism. According to the rulers of Israel, backed by the US, extra-judicial executions have now become acceptable in International law!
Thus the clouds of a new war are beginning to cover the skies of the Middle East. In his well-known book 'Imperialism the highest stage of Capitalism' Lenin argued that imperialism and its wars are not a question of policy but represent a stage of decaying capitalism. This is a profoundly true statement that is ignored by the middle class lefts who tail-end the imperialist rulers and their local agents.
However, it is not true that wars are inevitable. They can be prevented, but only through the revolutionary struggle of the working class for a new society based on the needs of the majority of the people rather than on the profits of the small class of the big capitalists served by politicians like Bush and Sharon.
The same government of Sharon that wants to drown us all in blood is that same government that is attack the working class and poor in Israel for the benefit of their masters, the bankers and the owners of the large industries.
This opens up a situation where the masses of workers are going to fight this government. The role of the Marxists is to connect with the struggles of the labour movement in Israel, and also with the struggle for the emancipation of the Palestinian people from the many years of oppression at the hands of the state of Israel.
We are totally and utterly opposed to the removal or the killing of Arafat. The most dangerous enemies of the working class are Bush and Sharon. At the same time, unlike the Middle class lefts who endorse Arafat, we do not give him and the group around him, any political confidence. We oppose Sharon for the same reasons that Lenin and the Bolsheviks opposed the military coup of the white General Kornilov, but without in any way making political concessions to Kerensky.
This coming Saturday evening "Peace now" has called a march against the Bush government in Tel-Aviv. Naively, the leaders of the movement called for it with the assumption that the US would have oppose Sharon's move to remove Arafat. The Marxists are going to intervene in this march to explain why there is no solution within the capitalist system, and will explain the socialist way out of the whole impasse we are facing.