The recent municipal elections in Tel Aviv, although won by the right wing, produced a massive swing to the Israeli Communist Party (ICP), which gained 35% of the vote. Jewish and Arab workers, Jewish and Arab youth, voted massively for the ICP. In the commercial, industrial and financial centre of Israel, in the biggest city in the country a radical left mood is brewing among the workers and youth.

Three years have passed since Israel's disengagement from Gaza. This article draws a critical  balance sheet of these events and  explains why the Israeli left and many others internationally were so wrong in regarding Sharon's decision as a step towards peace in the region. The choice to pull-out from Gaza, on the contrary, served the strategic interests of the Israeli ruling class.

Hamas has reached an agreement whereby they will cease rocket attacks across the border from Gaza and Israel will lift the economic blockade. Hamas however, must now police Gaza for the Israeli state, making sure no one carries out attacks. The Hamas leaders are going down the same road as the PLO leaders before them.

Israel has recently renewed "peace" talks with Syria. The problem is that on the crucial question of the return of the Golan Heights to Syria, Israel cannot afford to grant this demand and Asad cannot sign an agreement without such a concession. That explains the lack of enthusiasm of the Israeli masses.

On the 14th May 1948 the state of Israel was proclaimed independent. The immediate results were an outbreak of killings and the creation of huge numbers of Israeli and Palestinian refugees. Palestinians refer to it as the naqba (catastrophe). Luke Wilson explains how Israel has become a bulwark of imperialism, what it has meant for the politics of the Middle East, for Israeli Jews and Palestinians, and how the creation of Israel has perpetuated anti-semitism elsewhere.

Recently there was a protest in Tel Aviv - of both Jews and Arabs - against a reunion of Etzel, one of the terrorist Zionist groups used against the Arab population in the process of the formation of the state of Israel. In the "only democracy in the Middle East" these peaceful demonstrators were brutally manhandled by the police.

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