The invasion of Gaza: what does it mean? – Part Two

The so-called Peace Process is dead. It will be not be revived until the Israeli army has done its bloody work in Gaza thoroughly. Ultimately, both Jews and Arabs must have the right to live in peace and control their own destinies in a homeland of their own. It is easy to state this aim, but not so easy to say how it can be achieved. In the concluding part of his article Alan Woods shows the relation between war and revolution and explains that the prior condition for solving the Palestinian question is the overthrow of the reactionary Arab regimes in the Middle East.

Hamas is under intense pressure to accept international demands for a ceasefire. After the ferocious pounding they have received, they seem to be indicating that they may be prepared for a ceasefire, including halting rocket attacks on Israel. But Israel is not likely to stop the war just yet. It is demanding not only that that Hamas cease firing missiles, but that it accepts Israel, renounces violence, and adheres to the Palestinians' previous peace deals. In other words, it is demanding unconditional surrender.

Palestinian firefighters try to extinguish flames at a medical warehouse after an Israeli airstrike (Photo by Amir Farshad Ebrahimi on flickr)
Palestinian firefighters try to extinguish flames at a medical warehouse after an Israeli airstrike

Sooner or later, after the fighting stops, there will be new moves for a deal. The likelihood of some kind of deal between Syria, Iran and the USA before the end of the war must have been a cause for concern to the Hamas leadership, which depends heavily for financial and military support on Damascus and Teheran. The latter have made a reputation for themselves as the Palestinians' friends. But all history shows that the Palestinian people should place no faith in the friendship of foreign governments, because, as someone once said, countries have no friends, only interests. If the interests of Syria and Iran conflict with those of the Palestinians, it is not hard to see what they will do.

This fear on the part of the Hamas leadership may well have been the reason for their conduct in recent months. From the public declarations of some of the Hamas leaders it is obvious that they hope that Palestinian suffering would rouse the world's conscience and rally fellow Muslims to their side. In this they have succeeded. But if they imagined that this would be sufficient to force Israel to back down, they were sadly mistaken. Once they started the offensive, there was no going back for Israel, no matter how many demonstrations are held or how many EU missions are dispatched.

All these elements must have determined the tactics of Hamas, which must otherwise appear suicidal. They organized rocket strikes against Israel, and kept up a barrage of accusations against Fatah. Last winter they engineered the dramatic breach of Gaza's border with Egypt to advertise Gaza's misery and arouse the people of Egypt to their support. This was not appreciated by the Egyptian ruling clique, which is facing growing popular discontent as a result of the deepening economic crisis and falling living standards.

Effects on world relations

The consequences of this war for US foreign policy will be far-reaching. This is not the eleventh of September! In the new world situation, the US can no longer achieve its objectives without the backing of regional partners as well as China, Europe and Russia. That is why there will be significant differences between the foreign policy of Obama and Bush. But in foreign policy one thing leads to another. In order to get Russia to support what the US regards as its vital interests in the Middle East will require that Washington be prepared to take Russian interests elsewhere into account.

This will probably mean that the US will agree to put on hold plans for missile defence in Europe, on condition that Russia takes steps to slow down the Iranian nuclear programme. Similarly, Nato expansion to include Georgia and Ukraine could be slowed. Since none of these things affect the vital interests of the great powers, such "sacrifices" could easily be made, just as one sacrifices a useless pawn in a game of chess.

In the same way "sacrifices" must be made in the Middle East. The fact that David Miliband, Britain's foreign secretary, recently visited Syria was a sign that the diplomatic machine was already in action. The reason for this is quite clear: Washington wants to get out of Iraq with a minimum of fuss. It must protect its rear and for this it requires the collaboration of Syria and Iran. But since it would be embarrassing for Mr. Bush to admit that he is talking to a "terrorist state", he sends his office boy from London. For their part the Syrians and Iranians are anxious to see the back of the Americans as soon as possible and would like, if possible, to obtain better relations with the transatlantic giant with the possibility of trade and investments this would open up.

Too weak to make war, Syria has proved strong enough to deny its neighbours peace, as we see from its meddling in Lebanon. Even the thickest minds in Washington are beginning to realise that the possibility of talking to Syria could cause less damage than leaving it as an enemy. Even Israel's outgoing prime minister, Ehud Olmert has understood this. According to Aluf Benn, a columnist in the Israeli daily, Haaretz, Olmert struggled in a recent meeting to persuade Bush that the Golan Heights may be a worthwhile price to pay for a major change in the region's strategic alignment.

Syria has recently grown closer to Turkey, which is keeping a close eye on developments in Iraq, especially the Kurdish area in the north, which sits on its border and serves as a base for the PKK. According to the Economist: "Syria, Mr Olmert explained, sat at the crux of two axes, one linking Iran to Hamas via Hizbullah, the other linking such 'pragmatic' powers as Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. A switch by Syria would dramatically weaken the extremists, the Israeli leader was said to have concluded."

Syria's economy is being damaged by collapsing crude reserves and world prices. It needs foreign investment to deal with unemployment that is unofficially estimated at more than 20 percent. Syria is a secular state and its leaders fear the growth in influence of the Islamist groups they sponsor abroad. A wave of support for Hamas inside Syria would not be good news for them, any more than for the leaders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. It does not require much imagination to see that in the future their attitude could change - if the terms were right.

The case of Iran is even clearer. The Iranian regime is facing revolutionary developments which we have analysed in previous articles. Its economy is being hit hard by falling oil prices. There has been a wave of strikes and student protests. The Ahmadinejad regime is clearly on its last legs and the ruling clique is looking for a replacement. A negotiated deal with Washington would be to its advantage.

How does this affect the Palestinians and Israel? History provides us with many examples where the rights of small nations have been used as bargaining chips by the Great Powers who cheerfully gamble them away without even the pretence at consultation. Once the professional diplomats sit down to talk, everything will be placed on the table and everything will be up for negotiation - including the fate of the Palestinians. As always, they are the pawns of great power diplomacy, and can be sacrificed very easily. The Palestinians should bear this firmly in mind, and not place any trust in the good will of even its most fervent "friends" in foreign governments.

On the Palestinian question up to now Syria and Iran have presented themselves as the most intransigent supporters of the hard line and have backed Hamas and Hezbollah with money and arms. The Americans and Israelis object to this. How can we solve this problem? Let us see... Israel possesses the Golan Heights, which Syria wants to be returned at all costs, since 1967. "Why not give us Golan?" the Syrians will say. To which the Americans will shake their head sadly: "For our part we would be delighted to oblige, but our friends the Israelis will object because it is a matter of their security." "Is that all?" the Syrians will answer. But we can also help them with the security issue. Don't forget we pay a big part of the bills for Hamas and Hezbollah."

At this, the Iranian delegate begins to express his displeasure: "The rights of our Palestinian brothers are non-negotiable," he protests, banging the table. But after a few hours (or weeks, or months), the Iranians have recovered their good spirits when the Americans produce a whole packet of economic proposals for trade and investment in Iran." "This comes just in time," says the Iranian, as the falling price of oil is causing us a lot of grief. Maybe we ought to be a bit more flexible on the Palestine issue after all." "Yes, says the American, with a broad smile, and don't forget when we withdraw you guys will control half of Iraq. All in all it is not a bad bargain."

This conversation is, of course, fictitious. But let nobody imagine that such things do not occur in the secret world of diplomacy where principles are nothing and cynical calculation everything. Naturally, not a word of these secret deals will be made public until decades later when some high diplomat writes his memoirs. In the next few months the opposite impression will be created: that the negotiations are very difficult, that Teheran and Syria are being very stubborn (it is always necessary to strike a hard bargain, especially in the Middle East where the tradition of haggling is strong). The talks will probably break down more than once, then they will be resumed. The time it takes to get agreement depends on many factors. But sooner or later a deal will be done, because it is in the interests of all parties that it should be so.

But nothing is simple in the politics of the Middle East. There can be complications for all this. Elections in Israel in February could produce a government opposed to any concessions. Binyamin Netanyahu not long ago was favourite to win the general election, although that will be affected by what happens in Gaza. His right wing Likud party generally opposes the withdrawal of Jewish settlers from the West Bank. And the extreme right wing of the party strengthened its position in the primaries on December 9th. Moshe Feiglin, who heads that wing runs a website that denies the right of Palestinians to nationhood and urges Israel to annex the West Bank.

This kind of thing could push Syria and Iran back to the policy of "rejectionism". But in the long run they will have to negotiate. In any case, the new Israeli government, whoever leads it, will have to deal, not with George W Bush but with Barak Obama, whose agenda for the Middle East is rather different to that of his predecessor. Since America subsidises Israel, Obama will have a fair amount of leverage with which to exert pressure.

The only thing that can completely upset this scenario is the revolutionary movement of the masses in the Arab world and in Iran. The invasion of Gaza has set in motion forces that it will not be easy to halt. This is a factor that the politicians and diplomats cannot control with their usual methods of bribery, trickery and intrigue. In the last analysis it is the only hope for the people of Palestine and the whole world.

War and revolution

Although Hamas has taken a battering, the longer the Israeli army stays in Gaza the more it may find ways of striking back. Until yesterday Hezbollah had only offered rhetorical support. However, the latest reports of rockets being fired into northern Israel may indicate that the conflict could spiral out of control.

As the BBC has reported: "Rockets have been fired into northern Israel from Lebanon, raising fears the Israeli offensive in Gaza may spread. Israel's army responded with artillery to a barrage of at least three rockets. No group has claimed responsibility."

The same report goes on to explain that, "The rocket attacks from Lebanon have raised concerns about a wider war, (...) It is is not clear if the rockets were fired by Hezbollah or by one of the armed Palestinian groups that operate in Lebanon. If Hezbollah mounted the attack there is a grave risk of a very strong Israeli reaction, our correspondent says. The Palestinians in Lebanon do not have the capacity to fight a war with Israel, but Hezbollah does."

Israel is clearly anxious that Hezbollah might be tempted to join in. If it does, in the present context, the Israel military will be pushed into hitting back very hard. This is very worrying to the imperialist powers, particularly the European who fear such a scenario. Whether Hezbollah gets sucked into the conflict we will see in the coming days. Meanwhile, inside Israel, too, this war will have serious consequences, as it drags on over time.

The aim of the war is to marginalize Hamas, to weaken and if possible destroy it. This aim is secretly welcomed by the "moderate" Arab regimes. And Abbas would not lose any sleep over it either, except for the fact that the attack on Gaza has caused outrage in the West Bank. The so-called moderate Arab regimes have been strangely restrained so far in their condemnations. In reality the rulers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan would not be too displeased if Hamas were to be wiped off the face of the earth, although these rulers would never dare to admit such a thing in public.

The petty bourgeois pacifists can only see the horrors of war but they are incapable of seeing the other side of the picture. History has shown many times that wars can lead to revolution. However the invasion of Gaza ends, one thing is sure. Sooner or later, there will be revolutionary developments in the Arab world that will lead to the overthrow of one rotten regime after another. All these reactionary regimes are all hanging by a thread. They live in constant fear that the poverty and discontent of the masses might erupt, leading to a revolutionary overthrow.

The world economic crisis that has led to a collapse of oil prices has underlined this threat. The present situation will lead to a further process of radicalisation throughout the Middle East. The workers and students who come out onto the streets to protest against the invasion of Gaza are not only protesting against the cruel treatment of the Palestinians. They are protesting against the inactivity of their own rulers, against their complicity with Washington and therefore with Israel, against their luxurious lifestyles that contrast so brutally with the misery of the masses.

In an editorial of 17/12/2008, the Financial Times expressed its concern about the stability of the Arab regimes: "Ripples through these regions easily build into waves. The US-allied leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, initially happy to see Israel hit Hizbollah or Hamas, quickly change their tune as soon as their peoples rally to the militants. Their legitimacy and survival is at stake." (my emphasis, AW)

In Egypt, where there was serious unrest even before the war, police have arrested dozens of campaigners for trying to send convoys of food and medicine to Gaza, and Internet organisers were calling for a general strike in support of the strip. There have been mass demonstrations in the Lebanon and the US embassy in Beirut has been attacked. There was a mass demonstration in Istanbul, and other big demonstrations have taken place in Jordan and the West Bank and all over the Middle East, in Indonesia, in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir.

In the northern Israeli town of Sakhnin tens of thousands of Israeli-Palestinians have protested against Israel's offensive. At present the majority of Jewish Israelis have remained passive or support the offensive, deceived by the propaganda about a defensive war. But as the war continues and casualties grow, that can change. There are already signs of differences in the Israeli ruling class. A former head of Mossad has said that Hamas must be included in future negotiations. This already indicates growing doubts even among the ruling layer. If the rockets keep on coming, even in reduced numbers, questions will be raised in Israel and elsewhere about what has really been achieved, especially as the death toll both among the Israeli troops and Palestinian civilians becomes even more severe.

The rulers of the Middle East are right to fear the revolutionary potential of the masses because it was already implicit in the situation before these events. Now it is coming close to boiling point. Arab governments, though furious with Hamas, will come under pressure to reflect the anger on the streets to take some action, and may face overthrow if they do not do so. That is why people like Gordon Brown want peace as soon s possible, because war means instability and instability can have effects that will not be to the liking of either London or Washington.

A betrayal is being prepared

It is impossible to understand the events in Gaza outside this context. The aim of the Israelis is to pulverise Hamas in order to weaken them as against Fatah, whose services they will need in the next period. On the other hand, Hamas is attempting desperately to gain the sympathy of the Arab masses in order that they will not be completely marginalized. And both sides are issuing a message to those who are preparing to do a deal behind their backs.

Under Abbas the leaders are attempting to arrive at an accommodation with Israel. There is still talk of setting up an independent Palestinian state on land currently occupied by Israel. But how can this be established? The moment we pass from generalizations and pious declarations to the hard facts, the problems come to the fore. I wrote on this question in December 2007, when Bush organized the farce of the Annapolis conference:

"The slogan of the Israeli government is: what we have we hold. The Zionists have no intention of giving any important concessions. Hamas boasted that they had expelled the Israeli army from Gaza. That is a joke. The Israelis withdrew from Gaza as a tactical move to silence international criticism and create the impression that they were giving up something important, when in reality they have no interest in Gaza. This was intended to strengthen their stranglehold on the West Bank, which is the decisive question.

"The Israelis have relentlessly continued building the monstrous wall that slices through Palestinian territory on the West Bank, robbing large chunks of land under the pretext of 'defence'. The settlers have become increasingly bold and insolent. After the incidents in Gaza no Israeli government will want to confront the settlers in the West Bank.

"Then there is the little matter of Jerusalem, which both Jews and Arabs claim as their natural God-given capital. As for the right of return of Palestinians expelled from their homes since 1948, there is no question of Israel accepting them back, since that would completely upset the demographic balance of the ‘Jewish state'."

How are these problems to be resolved? To this question diplomacy has never produced a satisfactory answer. The defiance of the Israelis has just been expressed in the eloquent language of bombs, rockets and artillery fire. And what will the Palestinians say? They will have nothing to say because they will not be invited to these negotiations. The people who have fought and given their blood to fight for their rights, will see that their destiny is being determined by foreign governments who are only concerned with their own narrow national interests.

When all the fundamental issues are nicely decided, there will be a Middle East Conference, with the participation of all the well-known "friends of Palestine" - Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and others. Abbas will then be invited, not to decide anything, but like a man invited to the last day of a trial to listen to the sentence. As for Hamas, whether they are invited or not depends on their good behaviour. In any case, it will make not the slightest difference to the outcome.

A blind alley

It is the elementary duty of every proletarian internationalist to defend the Palestinians against the violence of Israeli imperialism. But it is also our duty to say what is: the tactics of suicide bombing and firing rockets at Israeli towns are counterproductive and useless. They do not represent armed struggle because they do not even dent the armour of the Israeli state, but strengthen it by pushing the Israeli masses behind it.

A big part of the appeal of Hamas comes from its image of resistance to occupation. Hamas won the election in 2006 because the masses were tired of the corruption of the PLO leaders and their connivance with Israel. But if we pose the question purely in nationalist terms (Jews against Arabs), then no solution of the Palestinian question is possible. It is not possible to solve the problem of the Palestinian people by tactics like suicide bombings and firing rockets at Israeli towns and villages. The methods advocated by Hamas were tried by the PLO for 40 years and have led only to one bloody defeat after another. No amount of sympathy for the sufferings of the Palestinians can alter that fact.

What will be the end result of the war? In military terms Hamas will have lost massively. Many of its cadres will have been killed or taken prisoner. Its military infrastructure will be shattered. In terms of physical assets, Gaza will be left devastated. The economic damage will take many years to rebuild. In this sense the Israelis will have got what they wanted. More serious for Israel will be the long-term political effects. Although it will have suffered a severe blow, Hamas will not be destroyed.

And what will Israel have gained? The Israelis' "victory" in Gaza will turn to ashes in their mouths. Let us remember that the whole point was to achieve security. In the end they will have earned an even greater hatred in the Arab world than before. The threat of terrorist actions will not be any less than before but far greater. For every Hamas militant they kill there will be ten, twenty or a hundred youths who are now children filled with bitterness and hate, who will be ready to volunteer for suicide missions against Israel and its allies in the Arab and western world. If this is the idea of creating security for Israel in the future, it is a very strange one!

What will Hamas have achieved after all the dust settles on the ruins of Gaza? They may win some meagre concessions - perhaps a loosening of Israel's siege, an opening of Egypt's border, a lot of aid from fellow Muslims, and maybe a modicum of international recognition. Their prestige among the Arabs may have been enhanced. But the question remains: what has been solved by all this? We merely return once more to the same never-ending cycle of violence, wars and killings that solve nothing. The rage in Gaza over Israel's violence may momentarily boost Hamas' popularity, but after the excitement dies down the people of Gaza may start to ask what brought them to this mess.

The actions of the Israeli army are stirring up the whole Middle East. They will reap a new harvest of hate, bitterness and a thirst for revenge. But the tactics of groups like Hamas can never succeed. In fact, they are entirely counterproductive. The leaders of Hamas say: "As the weaker party we have the right to use any methods available to us to defeat our oppressors." To this we reply: "Yes, you have that right and we understand that the methods of terrorism and guerrilla warfare are always resorted to by a weaker side against a stronger oppressor.

To professional soldiers such guerrilla methods are always to be condemned. In olden times the shepherd David used his sling to kill the giant Goliath and doubtless the Philistine generals considered that an unfair and barbarous method that did not comply with the rules of warfare. But by the use of this simple but effective method, David won and Goliath lost his head. All that is true but we will say also this: a good general will only make use of such methods that are consistent with his strategic aims and likely to be successful. Only a bad general makes use of methods that do not lead to victory but will guarantee defeat. And the methods used by Hamas can only lead to defeat and help the enemy. That is why we oppose these methods.

If the methods of Hamas have failed to benefit the Palestinians, so have the methods of the Israeli imperialists failed the people of Israel. Every attempt by Israel to guarantee security by force has turned out to be counterproductive. The occupation of Palestinian territory after the 1967 six-day war has intensified the conflict with the Palestinians. Its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 led to the creation of its Nemesis, Hezbollah. Its 2006 war on Hezbollah undermined the pro-western government in Beirut. The current pounding of Gaza has discredited Mahmoud Abbas, the moderate Palestinian president. Security is a mirage that constantly eludes Israel's grasp, and the future of the state of Israel always has a question mark over it.

Equally, every attempt to defeat Israel by military means has ended by reinforcing reactionary Zionism. From the failure of the so-called armed struggle, Abbas and the leaders of Fatah have drawn the conclusion that the only alternative is to negotiate with Israel and seek the good offices of the imperialists. But we have already seen what that means over the last decade or so. It means negotiating surrender and selling out the cause of Palestinian national self-determination. Neither Hamas nor Abbas therefore offer any way out.

What will be the outcome of negotiations on a "Palestinian state" - the "two-state solution"? This solution depends on one thing only: the agreement of Israel (which, after all, will be one of the two states, and not the weakest of them). What will Israel agree to? They might accept some adjustments of the present frontier with the West Bank. They might allow some opening of the border with Gaza (which they can close at any time). They may impose some restrictions on building new Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, and they may even dismantle a few of the existing ones. They cannot hand over Jerusalem, which they regard as their capital, though there may be some sort of sharing agreement. Nor will they allow the right of return to Israel proper, although they might permit some to enter the Palestinian territory.

This is the best the Palestinians can hope for on the present basis: a truncated pseudo-state, which will be economically dependent on Israel, whose presence will stand over it like a dark and menacing shadow. Control of this "state" will be entrusted only to those Palestinian leaders like Abbas, who is prepared to act as a puppet of Israel, and who will mercilessly repress any dissident Palestinian group.

In other words, it will be a "solution" similar to that imposed on the Irish by British imperialism in 1922. That led to a bloody civil war in Ireland in which many more Irish were killed than were ever killed by the British. The same thing can happen with the Palestinians in the future, as we saw with the civil war in Gaza in 2007. Some Palestinians might accept, while others would undoubtedly reject, leading to new conflicts and bloodshed.

Take the revolutionary road!

Napoleon said that defeated armies learn well. All the defeats and sacrifices and martyrdoms will serve for nothing unless we are willing to learn from them and turn them to our advantage. If we merely look at the present bloody mess in sentimental and moralistic terms, as is too often the case, we will gain nothing from it. Our task, in the words of the philosopher Spinoza, is: neither weep nor laugh but understand.

Ultimately, both Jews and Arabs must have the right to live in peace and control their own destinies in a homeland of their own. It is easy to state this aim, but not so easy to say how it can be achieved. The so-called Peace Process is dead. There is no doubt it will be revived, but not until the Israeli army has done its bloody work in Gaza thoroughly.

We can predict that after the war there will be one deal after another, and they will break down one after another. None of this will do anything to solve the problems of the Palestinians. Nor will it guarantee security for the people of Israel. However, there is a solution to the Palestinian problem that is neither futile acts of terrorism or diplomatic sell-outs.

The events in Gaza were the spark that fell on a parched prairie. It provoked a wave of mass protests that has shaken all the existing regimes in the Middle East. The revolutionary potential implicit in these movements was instantly recognised by the strategists of Capital. Thus, the Economist wrote: "But unless the current furious street protests spark a region-wide revolution that scares the wits out of Israel and its friends, Hamas will still face the same painful old choice of how to come to terms with an immensely more powerful and equally determined enemy."

These words express the essence of the problem excellently. What do they mean? The intelligent bourgeois understand that the Palestinian question can act as a catalyst for all the accumulated frustration, rage and discontent of the masses in the Middle East. That is why they are continually pleading for peace, ceasefires, agreements and moderation. They can see what the Marxists can see: that a region-wide revolution is implicit in the whole situation. That is the starting point for the success of the Palestinian Revolution, and no other.

The question is posed very clearly by the above lines. The Palestinians are faced by an immensely more powerful and equally determined enemy. The events in Gaza have clearly shown the impossibility of defeating this monster by purely military means. Is there a power that is even stronger and more determined than the power of the state of Israel? Yes, there is such a power. It is the power of the masses, once they are organized and mobilized to fight. Two intifadas have shown that the Palestinian masses are prepared to fight heroically. But in war courage is never enough to win. A clear strategy and tactics, and above all good generals are necessary. In revolutionary terms this means that in order to win, the masses require a revolutionary programme, correct methods and tactics and good leadership. This is what is needed and this is what is lacking.

The present leaders of the Palestinians offer no alternative. Some of the leaders of Fatah in reality would not be sorry to see Hamas liquidated. They have in fact blamed Hamas for the Israeli invasion! This has caused a wave of disgust among ordinary supporters of Fatah and the mass of Palestinians on the West Bank, who are asking why their top leader has adopted such a position while their compatriots are being slaughtered. Arafat, with all his faults, would not have behaved like this. Many Palestinians are drawing the conclusion: "Abbas is a puppet of Israel."

Hamas is hoping to inspire Palestinians in the West Bank to overthrow Fatah. They have not yet succeeded in this. However discredited Abbas may be, Palestinians do not see Hamas as an alternative, though some young people in desperation may turn to it. That would be a tragedy. What is required is not a new generation of suicide bombers seeking revenge and martyrdom, but the construction of a viable mass revolutionary alternative.

The first condition for the future success of the Palestinian revolution lies in the revolutionary overthrow of the reactionary bourgeois regimes of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and then for a settling of accounts with the reactionary Zionist state itself. The whole Arab world is now in a state of ferment. The one thing that is lacking in the situation is a genuine revolutionary leadership, standing on the basic ideas of Marxism-Leninism. That is what is required to find a way out of this bloody quagmire.

In the past there were powerful Communist Parties in the Arab world, which claimed to stand for Marxism-Leninism, although the Stalinist two-stage policies of the leadership led to one defeat after another. Since the fall of the USSR, the old Communist Parties have ceased to exist. But there are many revolutionary cadres who are dissatisfied with the existing political leaderships and are looking for an alternative. It is to these layers, especially the youth, that we address ourselves. That is the only hope for the future.

Those who consider that the people of Israel are one solid reactionary mass understand nothing. If this were the case, then the future of the Palestinians would be hopeless indeed. But it is not true. On more than one occasion the masses in Israel have demonstrated against the brutality of their own imperialists and in solidarity with the Palestinians. Even in this conflict we had the first signs of protest in the recent anti-war demonstration in Tel Aviv. On more then one occasion the Israeli workers have organized strikes and general strikes. The class struggle exists in Israel as in any other country. What is necessary is to intensify it and cut the ground from under the feet of the reactionary Zionists.

The victory of the socialist revolution in a country like Egypt would have important echoes within Israel, especially if it stood on the programme of Leninist internationalism.

The Palestinian question is part of the overall problems faced by the masses throughout the Middle East. The only real perspective for solving the problem is the creation of a Socialist Federation of the peoples of the region, with complete autonomy for Arabs, Jews, Kurds and all other peoples who inhabit this land. The fight for a free and genuinely democratic Palestine will be won as part of the internationalist socialist revolution, or it will not be won at all.

London, January 8, 2009

[End]

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