The Islamic Movement Hamas has achieved a clear victory in the legislative election held in the Palestine territories: they obtained 50% of the votes and 76 seats against 30% and 43 members of Parliament for the Al Fatah of Ahmud Abbas’, President of the National Palestinian Administration (ANP). Now they have a right to appoint a new government.
The elections revealed a deep crisis of the Al Fatah that, for several decades, had been the unchallenged leader of the Palestinian people. This is the result of a long process of forsaking and betraying their historic banners (a united, lay, democratic, non-racist Palestine) in the Oslo Agreements in 1993. Later, since the creation of the ANP, the leadership became the expression of a corrupt Palestinian bourgeoisie living of looting on and manipulation of the funds that imperialism and Israel send to ANP and repressing their own countrymen who wish to fight against the Zionist state.
The Oslo Agreements constituted the imperialist response in order to avoid the destruction of the State of Israel, defeated in Lebanon in 1985 and – since 1987 – unable to control the Intifada. A Palestinian administration elected with very limited capacities (similar to the South African “Bantustans”) took over the administration in Gaza and Eastern Bank. Al Fatah acknowledged the State of Israel and resigned struggling against it.
The ANP has no chance for financial autonomy: its income originates in the funds that Israel transfers from the taxes collected on the territories and from international aid from the USA, UE and the Arabic governments, which clearly explains the pro imperialist positions of the Al Fatah who furthermore administer those funds with absolute corruption.
At the same time, Israel continued putting up the Jewish settlements on Palestinian territories and seized the best land and sources of water on the Eastern Bank, isolated the Arabic zone of Jerusalem and the Palestinian townships on the Eastern Bank. This situation became more critical since the “unilateral separation” and the construction of the famous “wall” during the Israeli Sharon-Olmert administration. In such circumstances, any Palestinian state – even an “independent one” would be geographically and economically unviable and the living conditions of those people become increasingly deplorable: a third of the population lives in poverty, unemployment reaches 50% and there was no chance for any improvement with the Al Fatah.
That is why the triumph of the Hamas was the expression of a “penal vote” punishing treason by Al Fatah. The masses opted for the “more radical option” and Hamas won even where they do not have any real insertion. Their rejection of the Oslo Agreements contributed towards the victory and their programme including the State of Israel to recover the “Palestinian motherland”. Actually, there has been a strong support for all those who appeared as “combatant against Israel”. Also elected as representatives were members of the Al Fatah who are jailed in Israeli prisons for “terrorism” as Maruan Barguti.
Founded in 1987, during the first Intifada, Hamas was encouraged by the Iranian clergy, the Saudi Monarch and even there was an OK from the one who was then Primer Minister, Itzak Shamir trying to counter-weigh the influence of the Palestinian lay and Marxist organisations. Then Hamas began gaining mass influence, especially in Gaza. At the same time their positions became more radical and Israel began attacking them severely and it became a reference for thousands of Palestinian fighters.
It is a trend with a bourgeois leadership and theocratic ideology: one of their main points of programme is to establish an Islamic state in the entire Palestine. The IWL considers this slogan to be wrong for it divides the Palestinians into those who sustain the Moslem faith and those who do not instead of getting them to get together in a joint struggle against Zionism. We believe that due to their bourgeois character and to their ideology, it is not possible to trust their leadership to be consistent with their struggle against imperialism and Zionism. For example: they accepted the truce agreed on by the Al Fatah administration and Israel.
The policy of imperialism and Israel
The fact remains that the triumph of Hamas has been a severe blow to the continuity of the Oslo agreements sustained by imperialism and Israel. It sweeps the favourite Palestinian protagonist (Al Fatah) off the stage and replaces it by an unexpected one (Hamas) who does not acknowledge the state of Israel and who is still regarded as “terrorist”.
This blow is delivered at a time when the situation In Palestine and the illness of Ariel Sharon generated a political crisis in Israel, a short time before their own elections. If we add this to the course taken by the Iraqi war and the increase of tensions with Iran, all the pillars on which the imperialist policy in the region rests are challenged and in serious trouble.
The imperialist policy is to press Hamas threatening to cut short financial aid rendered to ANP if the future administration does not acknowledge the state of Israel and does not resign armed struggle against it. That means abandoning the Hamas programme. This is a proof of what “democracy” in dominated countries means for imperialism and Israel: “results will be respected only if you choose whom I want you to choose”. With this in mind, we stand for the right Hamas is entitled to: to appoint their own administration without any kind of pressure.
So far the Hamas answer was to propose the beginning of negotiations with the Israeli administration extending the truce accorded between Israel and Al Fatah indefinitely but without forsaking their programme altogether. How long can they maintain this pressure without risking a new Palestinian explosion? Hamas is staking at the possibility that faced with this option, imperialism will accept the negotiation and so will Israel.
The leadership of Hamas is then receiving pressure from imperialism and the Zionists on one side and from the Palestinian people who voted for them on the other side. What will they do under those conditions? We do not have an answer yet but we wish to warn once more: due to their bourgeois character and their partial capitulation already manifest we do not trust them to be consistent with their struggle. There are those leaders of Hamas who have already said, “USA is not the enemy”.
The only guarantee: keep on struggling
It is the heroic Palestinian people we trust entirely and their struggle that will most certainly be strengthened by this electoral triumph against the traitors and turncoats. Only this struggle will be able to destroy the gendarme racist state of Israel and hoist the historic banners of the OLP: a lay, democratic and non-racist Palestine and the right of all the émigrés to return home. We, the IWL, commit ourselves to continue supporting this struggle just as we have always been doing.