Middle East

At 5pm on May 1 2009 workers and their families gathered in Sanandaj's Amiriyeh Park to commemorate International Labour Day. The May Day celebration was disrupted after 15 minutes when police and plain-clothes security officers attacked those gathered, beating them and arresting 12 people.

Recently there was an attempt to organise a so-called Facebook strike in Egypt. The attempt failed abysmally as it had no connection to the real movement of the working class, such as what we witnessed last year. There is no alternative to real life organisation on the ground, at the factory gates, in the working class neighbourhoods.

Since Nir Barkat was elected mayor of Jerusalem last November, a sharp increase has been noted in the destruction of homes in East Jerusalem. He has ordered the destruction of 34 homes and plans to demolish 90 more. The international labour movement must condemn these barbaric acts.

We have received this appeal from workers in Iraq against the victimisation of an Iraqi trade unionist in the oil industry. Please send message of protest to the Iraqi authorities and copies to the address provided here in the appeal.

The student leader, Sefi Samueloff has written to us to inform us that Samieh Jabbarin and Ibrahim Machajne have been put under house arrest, as they await trial, for which there is no date. He also thanks Marxist.com for publishing the appeal.

We have been contacted by a student leader in Israel, asking us to protest about the arrest of Samieh Jabbarin of the Abnaa elBalad movement and hundreds of Palestinian youth. We publish here the letter appealing for help together with a brief article explaining the situation.

Those responsible for the massacre of the Palestinians in Gaza have turned this to their advantage in the national elections, exploiting the fear of ordinary people in Israel. The new government will have to be a coalition of reactionary parties like the previous one but will prove to be totally incapable of solving any of the real problems of ordinary working people in Israel. What is required is class based politics.

Last week an unofficial strike broke out on the railways in Israel, paralysing the network for one day. The strike was called by an unofficial union, which the courts quickly moved against. In spite of this it gives a taste of what is to come once the Israeli workers begin to move decisively in defense of their own class interests.

As the dust settled over Gaza, the scale of the devastation became clear, with much of Gaza's infrastructure in ruins, with power stations, water networks and sewage systems destroyed; homes, mosques and even schools reduced to rubble. Although Israel severely weakened Hamas militarily, the hatred that it has instilled into the Palestinian masses is only preparing even bigger problems in the future.

Once again the Middle East is engulfed in the flames of war. Alan Woods explains at the IMT Winter School last weekend in Berlin the reasons for Israel's invasion of Gaza and analyses the wider implications for relations between the powers in the Middle East and on a world scale.

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.

Just over one year after the Annapolis Conference that was supposed to produce a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, the Israeli ruling class has concentrated all its military might to pulverise Gaza. Once again the Middle East is engulfed in the flames of war. Alan Woods explains the reasons for Israel's invasion of Gaza and analyses the wider implications for relations between the powers in the Middle East and on a world scale.

We are publishing here two leaflets against the war in Gaza. Click here to download the leaflet produced by Socialist Appeal in Britain and here for the flyer of Socialist Appeal in the U.S. Download, print and distribute widely!

A statement of the Iranian Marxists on the recent Israeli attack on Gaza, that explains the need to build a genuine Marxist leadership throughout the Middle East in opposition to the Zionist regime in Israel, the reactionary Arab regimes, and also Islamic fundamentalist movements that offer no real way out to the masses.

We have received this interesting comment from a Marxist in Israel, who looks at the logic behind the Israeli attack on Gaza, how it is being used for domestic political interests in Israel, the chauvinism whipped up by the mainstream media, but also the voices of protest from within Israel, which although relatively small at this stage can grow later. He also looks at the role of Hamas and its inability to solve any of the problems facing the Palestinian masses.

Two years after the Israeli ‘Defence’ Forces indiscriminately slaughtered over a thousand Lebanese civilians in the quaintly-titled Operation Just Reward, Israel has turned its attention to Gaza, in the form of Operation Cast Lead. Stripped of its innocuous-sounding name, this operation becomes a lot less palatable: according to Palestinian medical sources, nearly 300 Palestinians have been killed, including numerous women and children. Israel’s targets have included police stations (which are unsurprisingly situated in densely-populated areas), the headquarters of a Hamas-owned satellite television channel, and the Islamic University,...

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.

Formally speaking Bush has gained control of Iraq, and now the puppet Iraqi government has been granting oil concessions to the major multinational oil corporations. But all this comes at a heavy price in political terms...

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.

The situation in Mahalla has become far more serious than the media would lead us to believe. The police opened fire on the unarmed demonstrating workers and killed at least four. Here we publish an appeal for solidarity that we have received from Egypt.

After the defeat of the Israeli army in Lebanon two years ago, the Israeli Defence Forces have been trying to win back their image as the only real defenders of the people in Israel. Now they are constantly provoking Syria in the hope that Syria will hit back, something it seems unwilling to do.

Yesterday, Sunday, April 6, the workers of Egypt were preparing for what could have been a very powerful general strike. The state intervened heavily at the Mahalla textile plant arresting 150 workers. These methods cannot stop the growing wave of working class militancy and will only serve to increase the determination of the workers. The workers ‘intifada' which erupted later that day in the city is proof of this.

When the coalition forces marched into Baghdad in March 2003, the imperialists were full of confidence. The things they were going to do! Intoxicated by the power of their military machine, they predicted a glowing future for Iraq and the Middle East. How different things are now!

Five years after the invasion of Iraq all the lies cooked up by Blair and Bush at the time have been exposed for what they were. They cannot hide the terrible suffering and destruction they have inflicted on the people of Iraq. And to make things worse they have even failed in their avowed aim of establishing what they define as a "democracy".

The recent dramatic events in the Gaza strip are a clear indication that the Zionist ruling class that governs Israel will never concede genuine national self-determination to the Palestinian masses. These events also confirm that on a capitalist basis there is no solution to the problem. On the Palestinian side neither Hamas nor Fatah offer a solution. We must base ourselves on the perspective of renewed class struggle across the whole of the Middle East.

The magnificent wave of industrial action in Egypt, which started over a year ago, is continuing. And it continues to be ignored by the media. Price rises are the central focus of protest. But in a very important development, at the Ghazl al Mahalla textile company have raised political demands for the first time.

The Israeli siege of Gaza and imperialist pressure to retaliate on the Gaza population in order to isolate Hamas has provoked a major crisis that is shaking the Middle East. Once again the direct intervention of the masses has changed the whole scenario, putting into jeopardy the stability of the most important point of support of US imperialism in the Arab world: Egypt.

The events in Gaza underline more than ever the barbarism that can emerge from the national conflict in Palestine. Israeli imperialism backed by the US is responsible for this bloody mess. So long as there is no genuine independent voice of the workers on both sides of the divide, we can expect nothing but more bloodshed.

George W. Bush has been visiting the Middle East. He is presently in Israel to try and promote his latest solution to the conflict: two capitalist states! These are all words, as US imperialism collaborates with the Israeli ruling class, as well as the rotten Arab regime, to hold down the masses throughout the Middle East.

Despite an international conspiracy of silence, as we have reported over the past year Egypt has seen a major upturn in the class struggle. Workers have shown fantastic bravery and made enormous sacrifices. The working class, especially the massive Egyptian workers movement, is the key to the future of the Middle East, not the so-called war on terror or the blind alley of Islamism.

The mountain has laboured and borne a mouse. That would be a fitting epitaph for the Annapolis conference on Palestine. After four months of endless talks about talks Condoleezza Rice, the American secretary of state, failed to obtain what Washington and Abbas desperately need: an agreement on at least the main points of a deal that would ultimately create a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

The Turkish parliament has voted massively in favour of granting its army permission to carry out widespread military operations inside Iraq. Diplomatic pressure has been mounting to pull Turkey back from the brink, but the Turkish army continues to amass troops on its southeastern border. From being the most stable region of Iraq, the Kurdish area may become its most unstable and bloody.

Israeli vice-premier Haim Ramon has suggested ceding Arab neighbourhoods to a future Palestinian state. This has divided the Israeli political establishment… obviously. But what it reflects is the pressure on the Zionist ruling elite to make at least some verbal concessions in an attempt to stabilise the situation.

A critical comment by Moroccan Marxists on the line of thought developed in the article, The victory of Hamas in Gaza and the questions facing Israeli and Palestinian workers by Yehuda Stern in Jerusalem, that we published on Wednesday, 11 July 2007. It is the opinion of the Editorial Board that the Moroccan Marxists are absolutely correct in their criticisms.

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