Israel: Ashdod bombings: How reaction and individual terrorism feed off each other

The latest bombings in Ashdod highlight the fact that state terror provokes individual terror, and individual terror gives the state the excuses it needs to step up repression. A class policy is the only way out.

On Sunday a criminal act of individual terror in the seaport of Ashdod, in southern Israel, killed 10 workers and wounded 14 others. There were two almost simultaneous explosions and the two bombers involved also died.

Ashadod lies 40 Km north of the Gaza Strip, a hotbed of Palestinian resistance, where fighters who have vowed revenge after Israeli soldiers killed 14 people in a raid on 7 March. Many of them are ready to die for what they think will help in the liberation of Palestine. In reality they are cynically exploited by fanatical Islamic clerics who believe that by creating havoc in Israeli society they will come to power. It is one thing to fight the Israeli army. It is a totally different story to kill Israeli workers just because it is easier to hit them rather than those who are responsible for the situation such as Sharon.

One of the bombers reportedly exploded his device just outside the main gate to the port. The second managed to enter the facility and detonated his bomb just a short time later in a centrally-located workshop inside the port The terrorists were identified as Nabil Massud, 18,and Muhammad Salim, also18, from the Jabaliya refugee camp.

It was the first attack of its kind at an Israeli seaport during more than three years of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Palestinian military groups Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade - the military wing of Fatah - have both claimed responsibility for the attacks. In an interview with Aljazeera, a senior Hamas official said the attack came in retaliation "for the massacres committed by the [Israeli] occupation troops during March leaving behind 44 martyrs."

However it is more likely that the murder of innocent Israeli workers was aimed at preventing the meeting between Sharon and Ahmad Quraya to discuss to repression of the opposition in Gaza. Aides to Sharon and his Palestinian counterpart Qurays met on Sunday and planned to meet again on Monday to finalise plans for the leaders' first summit since Quraya took office in October.

The summit that had been tentatively scheduled for Tuesday was immediately cancelled. The same Hamas official said in interview with Aljazeera that, "The Israeli initiative to withdraw from Gaza is vague and it was only created to delude the world, as in reality there is only killing and violence."

This criminal act of using Palestinians teenagers to kill Israeli workers is aimed at the creation of more hatred between the Israeli masses and the Palestinians masses. By pushing the Israeli working class into the hands of Sharon these terrorists are in reality the best friends of Sharon. If they did not exist Sharon would have to invent them. The logic behind this criminal act is to strengthen the right wing, giving more legitimacy to the terror of the state.

Palestinian condemnation

For its part, the Palestinian Authority condemned the attack and urged Palestinians to stop such attacks immediately. The Palestinian government also urged Israel to commit itself to a ceasefire "to break the cycle of violence" and to implement the US-backed "road map" for peace in the Middle East. However this call cannot have any effect, when it is clear to the people who live in Gaza that the Palestinian Authority is ready to serve Israel by oppressing the opposition.

State terror

As could be expected, Sharon used the terrorist act once again to hit Gaza using the pretext of fighting Hamas. The Israeli Defense Forces spokesman early Monday confirmed that air force helicopters carried out strikes against targets in Gaza City, Israel Radio reported.

The army said two buildings were targeted, which had been used by Hamas to manufacture arms and Qassam rockets, as well as mortar shells. The buildings were located in the Zeitun and Nasser neighborhoods of the city. Israeli attack helicopters fired at least 10 missiles at a metal foundry and other targets around Gaza City early on Monday, Palestinian witnesses said.

Palestinian witnesses also said that one man was wounded in the strike. Parts of the city were under a power blackout after the helicopters damaged electric infrastructure. Much of northern Gaza was plunged into darkness as the missiles knocked out electricity supplies.

Sharon will speak on Monday in the Knesset, using - in his usual cynical manner - the act of terror in the debate on the separation wall.

State terror and individual terror are serving each other. The only road out of the horrible oppression of the Palestinians and the death trap for the Israeli masses is an independent policy of the working class, combining the struggle against national oppression with the struggle against the capitalist exploitation. On this road we will find the solution that will provide a real answer to the suffering masses. This struggle in Palestine/Israel must be part of the same struggle as that of the masses in Iraq, Iran and Syria - a struggle that will end nationalist hatred exploited by the ruling classes and by those who dream of rising to the position of ruling class on the backs of the masses. A solution can only be found within the framework of a Socialist Federation of the Middle East.