More than 130 Palestinians have already been murdered by Israeli occupation forces in 2023 alone. In just the past few days, during a new wave of criminal bombings of Gaza, 31 of its inhabitants have lost their lives, including women and children. One of the contemporary moment’s greatest injustices has been ongoing for seven and a half decades.
It is 75 years since the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe that marked the formation of the racist state of Israel initiated by a planned ethnic cleansing on May 15, 1948. During that period, in just six months Zionist paramilitary gangs – heavily armed by the Soviet Union under Stalin via Czechoslovakia – violently expelled 800,000 Palestinians from their land and destroyed some 500 villages. Some 20,000 Palestinians were murdered in the process, including during the deliberate genocide undertaken in dozens of villages that served as propaganda for ethnic cleansing.
Since then, Palestinian society has become entirely fragmented. Today there are 13 million Palestinians, half in refugee camps and in the diaspora, who have been denied their legitimate right to return. The other half who live in areas occupied in 1948 or 1967, face institutionalized racism, apartheid, and are subject to the ongoing processes of colonization and ethnic cleansing.
In the 75 years since the Nakba, Palestinians find themselves abandoned by the so-called international community, which has been historically complicit in the catastrophe. Whereas for Palestinians, resistance is not an option, it is their existence. The youth who have nothing left to lose have given their lives for freedom, and are even adopting forms of armed resistance more recently. For those who have had even tomorrow stolen from them, to paraphrase the Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti, death lies in wait since birth. And Israel has been killing in various ways: at the beginning of May, Sheikh Khader Adnan perished after 87 days on hunger strike, in the cell in which he was thrown without any formal charge. This tragedy took place in the administrative detention system in which more than a thousand Palestinian political prisoners, including women and children, are held out of a total prison population of 4,900. It was his 12th stint in the sordid Israeli jails and his sixth hunger strike against the injustice he and his people have been experiencing. Sheikh Khader Adnan – who was a baker in his village, Arraba where he distributed bread to children – died of hunger.
The internal crisis
The resistance and outrage at his murder expressed by many Palestinians, has been used as an excuse by Israel that it is merely defending itself. In truth, Palestinian lives do not matter. The ongoing massacre in the narrow Gaza Strip where 2.4 million Palestinians live crowded together-and where they have been under inhumane siege for 16 years-aims to divert attention from the internal crisis faced by Zionism. With the “far right” in government, the current conflict is an attempt to reverse the sharp decline in support for Netaniahu and his coalition. The quest for political gain at the expense of Palestinian blood is nothing new.
According to a report published by Al Jazeera, a poll by the Zionist public TV Channel 2 revealed that 74% of Israelis think the government is doing poorly. There have been months of massive protests against the proposed judicial reform proposed by Netanyahu, which have been joined and led by well-known killers of the Palestinian people. On May 6, more than 100,000 people took to the streets of Tel Aviv, raising the Zionist flag under the motto that the so-called Israeli democracy is under threat, which is a farce. There is no democracy under apartheid. Any even minimal denunciation of the segregation and racism intrinsic to a colonial state like Israel, which is imperialism’s military enclave in the Middle East and North Africa, is not welcome among those who defend their ethnocratic “democracy.”
The internal crisis has spread to the heart of imperialism in the United States. Thousands of young people and Jewish organizations, such as Jewish Voice for Peace and the Anti-Zionist Jews Network are saying “Not in our name.” The crisis has also been made clear in the repercussions of the protest on May 11 by more than two dozen journalists demanding justice for the killing of their Palestinian-American colleague Shireen Abu-Akleh by an Israeli sniper while she was working in Jenin one year ago.
Moreover, on May 11 Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy failed to prevent the holding of an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba promoted by Democratic American-Palestinian Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and Jewish Voice for Peace at the Capitol. The room where it was held near the U.S. Senate was packed.
Tlaib introduced a resolution to the U.S. House of Representatives for recognition of the Nakba. The proposal says that “a just and lasting peace cannot be established without addressing the Nakba and remedying its injustices against the Palestinian people.” The text highlights that the Nakba is the “root cause” of the conflict.
At Wednesday’s event, Tlaib was adamant: “I say it loud and clear by introducing a historic resolution in Congress: the Nakba happened in 1948 and it never ended.” The action is part of the process of Zionism’s decline within society, with its crimes against humanity becoming increasingly difficult to obscure. There is growing pressure on the US Congress against sending billions of dollars annually in US military aid to Israel.
Despite Tlaieb’s initiative, the Democratic Party is fully complicit in the crimes and plunder committed by the State of Israel. It has historically supported its financing, and more recently the laws that criminalize any criticism of Zionism in the US. On April 25, the Biden Administration issued a public statement “congratulating” the Zionist state on its 75th anniversary and “reaffirming his administration’s enduring friendship and commitment to Israel’s security.”
Urgent solidarity needed
Growing solidarity has been reflected in the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement’s increasing victories For instance, the Israeli Universities Fair was canceled at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) in São Paulo, Brazil at the beginning of last April, and the city of Barcelona suspended agreements with Israel.
Strengthening this movement and demanding that all governments who have been accomplices to apartheid and Zionist colonization end relations with the racist State of Israel, is part of the internationalist struggle against exploitation and oppression everywhere in the world. This is a joint struggle with the allies of the Palestinian cause, including anti-Zionist Jews, and working men and women, especially those who face the ongoing genocide of poor and black populations living on the margins, as well as the extermination of indigenous people who have been subject to the same Israeli weapons first tested on Palestinians and then bought by their governments.
At the same time, in the course of this struggle, it is necessary to resolve the crisis of Palestinian revolutionary leadership, as well as recognize and confront the classic enemies of the Palestinian cause, identified by the Marxist Palestinian revolutionary Ghassan Kanafani (1936-1972) in his work The 1936-1939 Revolt in Palestine (Sundermann Publishers). These include, among others, imperialism/Zionism, the Arab regimes who advance the normalization of relations with Israel, and the Arab-Palestinian bourgeoisie itself, which puts profit above the liberation of its people. Examples are businessmen who shake hands stained with Palestinian blood, like the billionaire Bashar Masri, Israel’s partner in building the planned city of Rawabi, north of Ramallah, and already the subject of accusations by Palestinian organizations that it is part of the normalization of apartheid.
In these 75 years of continuous Nakba, it is urgent to expose to the world Israel’s crimes against humanity and to increase international solidarity with the Palestinian people. The inspiration is their heroic and historic resistance, which does not bend or break. We send our unconditional support to the struggle, until Palestine is free from the river to the sea, and millions of refugees can return to their lands.