On Monday a suicide bomb exploded in a crowded restaurant in Tel Aviv leaving nine people dead and 66 wounded, most of them foreign workers who now live in the slums of South Tel-Aviv.
The Islamic Jihad whose leaders want to expose the leaders of Hamas as compromisers in a situation where Israeli military strikes in northern Gaza killed 18 Palestinians, among them three children, claimed responsibility for this terrorist act. It is the second time the same restaurant has been hit this year. Fifteen people were injured at the fast-food outlet on January 19 in a bomb attack claimed by Islamic Jihad.
To understand why there has been this renewal of the bloodshed we have to go back a few years. After the September 11, 2001, the Bush administration made so-called “democratisation” of the Middle East a strategic goal of US imperialism. We have been bombarded almost daily with the "good news" of the great successes of Mr. Bush with every election held under the US dictate.
This was the case of course in Egypt — one of the United States' closest servants in the Middle East, receiving about $2 billion a year in military and financial aid. There President Mubarak, during his re-election campaign last summer, promised to further amend the Constitution and allow other political parties the chance to compete. Was it not wonderful? The only problem was of course that this promise was no more than empty words. These great successes we were told took place not only in Egypt but also in occupied Iraq and Palestine, which were no more than a farce in bad taste.
Now, however we hear the moaning over Bush's failure in the imperialist mass media like the New York Times:
"Analysts and officials say the political rise of Islamists, the chaos in Iraq, the newfound Shiite power in Iraq with its implication for growing Iranian influence, and the sense among some rulers that they can wait out the end of the Bush administration have put the brakes on democratisation.
“ ‘It feels like everything is going back to the bad old days, as if we never went through any changes at all,’ said Sulaiman al-Hattlan, editor in chief of Forbes Arabia and a prominent Saudi columnist and advocate. ‘Everyone is convinced now that there was no serious or genuine belief in change from the governments. It was just a reaction to pressure by the international media and the U.S.’ ” (New York Times, April 10, 2006).
No doubt, soon we are going to hear the racist explanation that the Arabs are not fit for democracy. And if the U.S is thinking of attacking Iran, then Bush is going to have a greater surprise in occupied Iraq as the new government connected to Iran will end up turning against the occupation, and then what? Then of course we will be informed by the mass media that this government is no longer a great democratic government but a reactionary corrupt regime that had to be removed!.
The government of Israel that was forced to hold "democratic" elections in the occupied territories hoping for a victory of the so-called "moderates" of the pro-Bush wing of Fatah led by Abu Mazen, was greatly disappointed when in January of this year Hamas won the elections and went on to form the new government. The new Palestinian cabinet includes 24 ministers; 10 from the Gaza Strip and 14 from the West Bank. Of the 24 ministers, only eight come from the legislative council, while the rest are technocrats and independents, with Islamist leanings
The Hamas government, as we have predicted already two years ago, wants to join the US wagon and ride with the American Cavalry against the bad Indians sorry the bad Palestinians as the fundamentalists have done many times before elsewhere, such as in Afghanistan. To achieve this it would have to recognize Israel. And, lo and behold, in the days following the formation of the new cabinet we heard many times that the Hamas-led Palestinian government is willing to recognize Israel if the latter withdraws fully from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.
Thus Al Jazeera, on April 12 wrote: "Sources close to Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian prime minister, described the Hamas decision as a ‘significant change in policy’.
The Hamas-led government is coming under intense international pressure to recognise Israel, abandon armed resistance and accept outstanding agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Israel"
This however is easier said than done. It is not an easy task to carry out, as the rulers of Israel are not going to allow such an unfair competition. In the thinking of the Israeli rulers they cannot allow what they see as “inferior Moslems” to offer their service to the US. They cannot allow the Hamas government to have direct dealings with US imperialism.
Bertold Brecht once commented on the Stalinist regime in East Germany: "If the people disapprove of the government it is good time to change the people" In the case of the Israeli interim government it is time to replace the will of the occupied people with its own!
For weeks now the Israeli army has been doing its best to provoke Hamas into carrying out a terrorist act. It has bombed Gaza, starved its people, kidnapped the leader of the Popular Front held in Jericho's prison and entered the West Bank many times to arrest militants.
The idea behind all this was simple: either to force the new Hamas government to come into conflict with the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front or to push it into launching acts of terror against the citizens of Israel. It is the same old game they played with Arafat. In the end they managed to provoke a terrorist act, but not by Hamas.
However, the fact that the terrorist act was carried by the Jihad and not by Hamas did not make much difference for Olmert and his friends. Because Hamas refused to condemn the terrorist act, the Israeli government has blamed Hamas for this action anyway. In line with the Israeli government’s position, Gideon Meir, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Israel held Hamas ultimately responsible for such attacks."From our point of view, it doesn't matter if it comes from al-Aqsa, Islamic Jihad or Hamas. They all come out of the same school of terrorism led by Hamas," he said.
You do not have to be a Marxist to understand all this. Haaretz, the main bourgeois newspaper in Israel, carried an article by Danny Rubinstein in which he wrote:
“Despite the refusal of the official Hamas representatives to condemn Monday's terror attack in Tel Aviv - the Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, called it ‘a legitimate act of self-defense’ and said Israel must take responsibility for its policy of ‘aggressive occupation’ the timing of the attack is not convenient for the movement.
“Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar are investing a lot into extricating the Palestinian Authority from its financial troubles and international isolation. Its image as a terror government damages these efforts.
“The attempt of the Hamas government to free itself of financial worries and end its isolation has been expressed over the last two days internally and externally. On the internal level, Haniyeh convened the representatives of various factions in Gaza and suggested, once again, that they join a national unity government.
“On the external level, the Hamas government is trying to recruit alternative sources of funding. Zahar is on a fund-raising trip to Arab states and appears to have notched some success. Iranian leaders have promised to give the Hamas government $100 million, and Saudi Arabian officials hinted that they would also send aid. Qatar, Zahar's next stop, might also offer assistance.
“It is clear that Monday's terror attack is harmful to this mission, since no Arab state wants to be seen as a government that is identified with or assists terrorist activity. If Zahar does not manage to win more aid from Arab states and is forced to make do with the Iranian contribution, he will be endangering the position of his government, which will be defined as an isolated government linked to what U.S. President George W. Bush considers the axis of evil.” (Haaretz, 17/04/2006)
In the meantime, yesterday Israel's interim government decided to revoke the permanent resident status of three members of the Palestinian Parliament, who are members of Hamas residing in annexed East Jerusalem.
The question is whether Israel's interim government is isolating Hamas or itself. As this article is being written a Hamas delegation is visiting the Norwegian government and Russia has promised financial support. On the other hand Bush and many European states stand behind Olmert.
The main point we have to understand is that the new government of Israel is going to continue the war not only against the Palestinians but also against the workers and poor in Israel. The government's fear is that the class struggle is on the rise in Israel and it has to find means to prevent it by turning it into a bloody nationalist orgy.
What the Israeli working class is going to discover in the coming months and years is that that the capitalist government is fighting the same war on two fronts. One front is against the Palestinians workers, poor peasants and urban poor; the other front is against the workers and poor in Israel. The only way t for the workers in Israel to win this war is to join forces with their Arab sisters and brothers against the class enemy. Not a nation against a nation, but a class against class.
- Israel: Instability, polarisation, protest and centre-left government by Yossi Schwartz in Israel (March 29, 2006)
- Jericho and beyond by Yossi Schwartz in Israel (March 20, 2006)
- Hamas wins Palestinian elections: the early stages of the class struggle and the hypocrisy of imperialist democrats by Alon Lessel and Yossi Schwartz in Israel (February 1, 2006)
- "The Writing was on the Wall"- Hamas in power, what next? by Nadim al-Mahjoub (February 1, 2006)
- Israel: the shift in the Labour Party reflects growing class polarization by Yossi Schwartz (January 27, 2006)
- Ariel Sharon – transforming a war criminal into a national hero by Alon Lessel in Israel (January 17, 2006)
- New Israeli Labour leader under pressure from Left and Right by Alon Lessel in Israel (December 14, 2005)
- From Zbeidi With Love - To Sharon by Alon Lessel in Israel (December 7, 2005)
- Israel: The two dangers on the road of the working class by Yossi Schwartz (December 5, 2005)