Israel & Palestine

On 9 April, a new parliament will be elected in Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, the current prime minister from the nationalist Likud party, has to face corruption charges. In order to hold on to power, Netanyahu is trying to lean on the support of several far-right parties. At the same time, Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan, a more moderate and liberal, but still nationalist alliance is leading the polls.

On 3 December, 20,000 people in Tel Aviv protested against violence towards women. The protests followed the murder of two girls – Silvana Tsegai, 12, and Yara Ayoub, 16. This year, 24 girls and women were murdered in Israel, which is a sharp increase compared to the years before. For days, protests were going on and a women‘s strike was called for the following day.

A lot of fuss is being made about what one can and cannot say about the state of Israel. Especially virulent is the campaign against Jeremy Corbyn’s so-called “anti-semitism” in Britain. In reality this is a blatant attempt to silence any criticism of Israel and its discriminatory policies against the Palestinian people. In light of all this, Francesco Merli looks at the new law that openly discriminates against Palestinians living in Israel, officially reducing them to the status of second-class citizens.

In the third episode of IMTV  the International Marxist Television channel, hosted by the UK section of the IMT, Socialist Appeal Francesco Merli provides a Marxist analysis of the situation in Israel and Palestine.

The spectacle of celebrations for the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem on Monday 14 May stood in stark contrast with the bloodshed in Gaza, where on the same day, 59 Palestinian demonstrators were killed and more than 2,700 injured by Israeli snipers. As we stated in a previous article, the mass resistance movement by Palestinians in Gaza for the right of return for the Palestinian refugees of 1948, and against the 12-year-blockade by Israel, has been growing despite the harshest repression by the Israeli Army.

While the attention of the international media is drawn to the threatened US airstrike on Syria, the Palestinian mobilisations for the right of return of refugees and the ruthless killing of demonstrators by the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) in the Gaza Strip continues.

Recent allegations of corruption against Benjamin Netanyahu have sparked a backlash and his position looks more vulnerable than ever. Netanyahu is one of Israel’s longest-serving prime ministers has been in power for two non-consecutive periods totalling over 11 years. Throughout this time his career and reputation have been repeatedly tarnished by controversy and corruption. In fact, his first premiership ended with an electoral defeat (1999) which was marred by a host of corruption allegations. Israeli Police recommended that he be indicted on two separate occasions, first in 1997 then again in 1999, however he avoided sentence due to lack of evidence.

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump declared that he would officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This reveals the real nature of the so-called peace talks. In a speech delivered at the White House, Trump said, “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

"While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering. My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Israeli tanks advancing on the Golan Heights. June 1967

On 5th June 1967 the Israeli Air Force launched a surprise attack on Egyptian air bases in the Sinai province, beginning what came to be known as the Six-Day War and ending with Israel occupying the West Bank, Gaza, the whole Sinai Peninsula and shortly afterwards also the Golan Heights. To this day the Palestinians have had to live with the consequences.

Over the past few weeks international media have reported on growing tensions and daily violence escalating in Palestine and Israel, but they have focussed mainly on the spate of desperate knife attacks by Palestinian youth randomly targeting ordinary Israelis while waiting at bus stops, transiting in public spaces or walking on the streets of Jerusalem and other towns.

In scenes reminiscent of the huge #blacklivesmatter protests in Baltimore, thousands of Ethiopian Jews have taken to the streets of Tel Aviv and Haifa to protest against the brutal treatment regularly meted out by the police against their community. At the end of April, a shocking video emerged which appeared to show two Israeli police officers savagely beating Ethiopian soldier Damas Fekade in an unprovoked attack.

After six weeks of frantic horse-trading, and with hours to go before a constitutional deadline, the Likud Party of Benjamin Netanyahu has cobbled together a new coalition in Israel. It means that Netanyahu will cling to power with a bare majority of 61 seats in a Knesset of 120 members. The coalition includes all the disparate parties of the right, including the extreme right wing Jewish Home Party, representing the West Bank settlers’ movement. This party will have the ministry of justice and deputy defence minister, among other positions, all of which will be manipulated to enhance and promote Jewish rights and freedoms at the expense of Arabs.

With a defiant right-wing turn promising that no Palestinian state would be established as long as he remained in power, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu has managed to overturn unfavourable opinion polls at the last minute and emerge as the winner of the Israeli elections on Tuesday. His appeal was aimed - and successfully so - at rallying the right wing around his figure and "firm" leadership by appealing once again to the historically deeply rooted fears of ordinary Israeli citizens over external threats to Israel. What are going to be the consequences of his victory within Israel and internationally?

Yesterday, the Israeli army embarked on a ground offensive into Gaza. Journalists on the ground have described the initial stages of the land invasion, recounting scenes of terror as Gaza is pounded by tank, cannons, airstrikes and missiles fired from Israeli warships off the coast. Israeli forces are bombing Gaza from the air, sea, and land.

A storm of bombs and fire grotesquely denominated “Operation Protective Edge” has been unleashed by the Israeli government on the civilian population of Gaza. Over the last days more than 400 tonnes of high potential bombs have hit targets within the densely populated Gaza Strip, killing at least 100 civilians, including many children, and injuring hundreds.

On the occasion of the death of Ariel Sharon we here republish an article we first published in 2006.

As once more the never ending “peace” talks continue between the Palestinians, the US, and Israel, third generation Palestinians still keep the keys of long demolished Palestinian homes in what is now the State of Israel. From this is it not obvious that the Palestinians will never accept any agreement that will not include their right of return to the land of their forebears.

President Obama’s recent visit to Israel and the ‘Palestinian Territories’ has proved to be another abject failure in an obscene diplomacy being flaunted by US imperialism to end the conflict in the region. The only thing this visit brought to the fore is the sheer weakness of Obama and his policy of appeasing Zionist hawks as well as the US right. During the visit he reiterated over and over again that the USA was the best ally Israel could have and Washington would continue to support Israel come what may. In short, it was a high-profile visit by yet another US president with the same old failed message. In many ways, this visit was an endorsement for the Zionist state to continue its

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Less than a year ago, “King Bibi”, as the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had become known, had an almost absolute majority in the polls and all other parties, one after another, were entering into crisis. The recent elections show a very different picture: polarisation to the right and the left.

Gaza was once again up in flames this week. The brutal aggression of the reactionary Israeli state, killing and maiming hundreds of Palestinians, including women and children, once again lays bare the draconian nature of the Zionist elite and the vicious role of this imperialist outpost in the Middle East. Coming nearly four years after Israel’s murderous  “Operation Cast Lead” assault on Gaza, Israel’s military launched another deadly attack, this time dubbed “Pillar of Defence,” on November 14, 2012. Like “Cast Lead”, this operation took place just a few weeks before Israeli elections scheduled for January 2013. Israeli governments have a longstanding political tradition of

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On the morning of November 15, Israel carried out the extrajudicial killing of Hamas military leader Ahmed al-Jabari. This act sparked off a new and deadly conflict between Israel and Gaza. This whole affair has all the hallmarks of a premeditated provocation.

Last week, a massive wave of protests rocked the Occupied West Bank. This time, the protests were not aimed at Israeli oppression, but against the corrupt leaders of the Palestinian Authority.

On Saturday 3rd September, the Israeli masses unequivocally announced that they would not allow themselves to be sidetracked and divided by the ruling class’ old trick of divide and rule, nor would they allow their movement to run out of steam in the summer heat, as half a million came out onto the streets to demand social justice and revolution.

The social protest movement in Israel, after a hiatus, is now planning to gather one million people in Tel Aviv on September 3. The ruling class is certainly worried by this prospect and the Israeli railways have announced that they will shut down train services between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and between Tel Aviv and Be'er Sheva, supposedly for "for maintenance work". Clearly this is a manoeuvre to try and weaken the mobilisations that are being prepared.

Incredible scenes in Tel Aviv. On Saturday, August 7, over 300,000 took to the streets of a city with a population of less than half a million. Other demonstrations also took place on Saturday, with 30,000 gathering in Jerusalem, and thousands gathering in other cities across the country. The total figure of demonstrators is difficult to estimate, but it could be anything between 400,000 and half a million, in a country of 7.7 million inhabitants. Amongst the familiar demands for “social justice”, a number of banners could be seen bearing the slogan, “Resign, Egypt is here.” Tellingly, resign was written in Arabic.

The latest news coming out of Israel is that municipal workers across the country have declared a one-day general strike in support of the wave of protests sweeping Israel, taking place today [Monday, August 1]. This is a hugely significant step, as it begins to link Israel’s powerful industrial labour movement with the political demands of the wider youth and working-class, something which has not happened on a large scale for decades.

The scathing remarks of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against Barak Obama for suggesting that the ‘two state solution’ should be based upon the pre-1967 borders, just before boarding the plane to Washington for a state visit, exposed the diplomatic weakness of the imperialist leaders.

The revolutionary wave sweeping through the Middle East has acquired a new dimension with the eruption of the Palestinian masses along Israel's borders last weekend. Every 15 May, Palestinians commemorate the Nakba (catastrophe) of the declaration of independence of the state of Israel on 15 May 1948. In recent years, protests have been marked by clashes between Israeli security forces and stone-throwing Palestinian youths, but yesterday was the first time the commemorations took on a more widespread and militant character. 

Consumer boycotts have been raised as a way of putting pressure on the Zionist Israeli authorities to cease their inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people and grant them their own state. History shows that such boycotts don’t actually achieve anything concrete. But recently we have witnessed another type of boycott, a workers’ boycott, carried out by dockers and transport workers who have refused to handle Israeli goods. That is much more of a threat to the Israeli government.

The barbaric Israeli Defence Force attack on the aid flotilla trying to break the embargo on Gaza is a clear indication of the growing crisis within Israeli society. The old ideology that held together Israeli society, Labour Zionism, has broken down, as capitalism in this small country can no longer guarantee the Jewish workers the basic social reforms of the past.

Since the Israeli attack on the flotilla that was attempting to get supplies into Gaza a couple of weeks there have been attempts by Israeli sources to falsify what really happened, but this is easily exposed for what it is, as this article points out. Also worth noting is the workers’ boycott of Israeli goods organised by Swedish and Norwegian dockers.

In the middle of the night of the 31st of May, 64 km off the coast, Israeli commandos rappelled down from helicopters onto the 6 ship flotilla. Activists say they boarded the ships firing. The Israeli government decided to use deadly force to maintain their blockade of the Gaza strip, provoking waves of protest. These events have exposed the policy of Israeli imperialism to the masses everywhere: Gaza is a ghetto, kept in starvation conditions, and no one may interfere. This will have effects across the world, even in Israel itself.

The Israeli military is introducing orders that allow for the deportation of so-called "infiltrators", defined as anyone who does not hold an Israeli permit to reside in the West Bank. Mordechai Peargut sent us this comment from Israel.

Until very recently very few people had heard of Anat Kamm outside Israel, and even inside the country there has been a tight press censorship imposed on her case. But now the facts have started leaking out. Kamm is accused of leaking secret military documents that allegedly endanger Israel state security. The truth is that what she seems to have revealed is the criminal activity of many of Israel’s top army officers.

The Palestinians have a right to their own homeland and this is something Marxists unconditionally defend. But how is this to be achieved? The idea of a blanket boycott of Israel has been raised. In this article the authors raise the idea that treating the whole of the Israeli Jewish population as one reactionary bloc is counter-productive. Much better a trade union based selective boycott that distinguishes the ruling Zionist elite from ordinary working people in Israel.

The crimes of the Zionist ruling class in Israel against the Palestinian people have been rightly condemned by all progressive and left people around the world. However, there are reactionary right-wing elements that try to exploit this to push an anti-Semitic agenda. Genuine socialists reject both Zionism and anti-Semitism. The solution to ethnic and national conflicts is to be found in the class struggle and socialism. We publish this contribution on the question from a Jewish Marxist living in Israel.

We have received this letter, originally written in Hebrew, from a Palestinian, addressed to the masses of Israel. Although we do not agree with every point of this letter, we publish it as it shows that even in the midst of the terrible barbarism unleashed by the Zionist state, there are Palestinians who can see the class differences on both sides of the divide and see a solution in the working people on both sides uniting against the common enemy.


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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.

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The closure of a poultry slaughterhouse in the Jezreel Valley in Israel has provoked intense anger of the 200-strong workforce.

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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.

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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.

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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.