66 years ago, on May 15, the State of Israel was founded. That date is remembered by the Arab people, especially by the Palestinian, as the “Nakba” (catastrophe), because it meant the expelling of Palestinians from much of their historic territory and the beginning of a long history of permanent suffering until today.
Furthermore, just recently a new “reconciliation” between Hamas and Fatah, the main Palestinian organizations, has occurred.
To remember the date, we’re posting excerpts from an article originally published in the IWL-FI’s theoretical magazine Marxism Alive – New Epoch n° 2 (2011), when a “reconciliation” had also been produced between these organizations (to read the whole article, click here: The Palestinian question).
Despite the time elapsed, we believe that the core issues addressed in the material and their definitions continue in full force:
a) The meaning of the creation of the State of Israel and the usurpation of much of the Palestinian territory.
b) The racist and imperialist military enclave nature of this State.
c) The fact that the “reconciliation” between Hamas and Fatah did not represent a progressive event.
d) The rejection of the solution of a mini-state and the vindication of the founding PLO’s slogan: “For a single, secular, democratic and non-racist Palestine.”
(…) Zionism, political-ideological trend, founded in Europe in 1897, that carried out the creation of the modern State of Israel, justified its actions by means of a main historic falsification: they drew close together “a landless people” (the Jews and a “people less land” (Palestine). It was with this great lie that they justified all the ruthless crimes committed by Zionism to “wipe out” the Palestinian people from history.
In the early XX century, Palestine was a province dominated by the Turkish Empire. In 1917, 644,999 Arab Palestinians and 56,000 Jews lived there. In that same year, the Balfour Declaration was signed between the British authorities and the European Zionist organisation to encourage and finance Jewish migration to Palestine. Furthermore, this agreement sealed the strategic alliance between Zionism and western imperialist powers. (…)
One the war was over and the defeat and dismembering, Society of Nations (ancestor of the UN) declared the territory to be the British Mandate. The population was as follows: in 1922, there were 664,000 Palestinians and 84 Jews; in 1931: 750 000 and 175 000 respectively.(…)
The creation of the State of Israel: violent and ruthless usurpation
After the II World War, a very important shift in the situation of imperialist countries took place: the shrinking of England became more evident and USA surfaced unabashed as the hegemonic power.
The control of the Middle East, possessor of two thirds of world reserves of oil, acquired strategic value. That is why, USA, apart from seeking support from allied petro-monarchies needed a “base of their own”, a solid point of support to control the region. It was the State of Israel that had to play that role.
European Jews had just suffered atrocious genocide perpetrated by the Nazis and the whole world was in shock over that. Imperialists and Zionists took advantage of this just feeling for their own benefit. (…)
Boosted by the American imperialism and with the support from the Stalinist bureaucracies in what was then the USSR, in November 1947, the General Assembly of the UN voted a resolution creating two states in Palestine: one was Jewish (Israel) and the other one was Arab. At that moment 1,300,000 Arab Palestinians and 600 000Jews lived there.
But the UN granted 52% of the territory to the minority that, furthermore, had been created artificially. Even in the territory granted to Israel, Palestinians were majority (950,000).
The legalised usurpation was further aggravated by the terror unleashed by Zionism when driving Palestinians from their homes and their lands. (…)
Zionist armed organisation (such as Ergun and Lehi) attacked hundreds of Palestinian villages. (…)
As an outcome of the six-month long ethnic cleansing (blessed by imperialism and Stalinism), only 138 000 Palestinians remained in the Israeli territory. The rest were evicted.
Later, the Israeli passed the Absentees Bill: houses and lands of citizen declared absent were appropriated by the state, who distributed them among those “present”. It was in this way that while in1947, Jews in Palestine only possessed 6% of the land, and by 1948 they had already grabbed 90%. Using the method already tested out in Deir Jassin Zionists and Israel appropriated and additional 15% of the land apart from the 52 granted by the UN.
Evicted Palestinians went as exiles to other Arab countries, especially Jordan, Lebanon and Syria) or to more distant regions, such as USA or Latin America. In this way, the people got divided into three sectors: those who live within the Israeli boundaries, those who live in Gaza and Western strip and the exiles. This is how the tragedy (Nakba) was born, caused by the creation of the State of Israel. This is also how the struggle to recover the historic land began.
Time aggravated the problem
After the 1967 war (known as the 7 days war) Israel invaded and occupied territories allotted to the Palestinians and up to that moment under the Egyptian administration (Gaza) and Jordanian administration (East Bank) together with the Golan Heights (Syria) still in their power. In 1993, in the occupied territories, the National Palestinian Authority was created as a result of the Oslo Agreements.
On the other hand, Israel carried out several invasions of Lebanon (1978, 1982 and 2006). The two first ones were to attack camps of Palestinian refugees in that country. (…)
On the other hand, the 2006 invasion of Lebanon seeking to attack Hezbollah and ended with the first clear defeat of the Israeli army
From the PLO…
In the 1960, there was a very important event in the history of the Palestinian struggle: the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) was founded, integrated by all the political organisations of that nation. al-Fatah was the main force and Yasser Arafat became the leader of the PLO.
Regardless their deep limitations due to their national bourgeois character, the PLO, al-Fatah and Arafat had two great merits in those days. The first one was to turn the “Palestinian question” into the central issues of world politics.
The second one was that the central point of their programme was to achieve a Secular, Democratic and Non-Racist Palestine. This proposal engulfed various central questions:
· Rejection of the “two states” because this meant admitting and accepting the usurpation and the theft legalised by the UN resolution of 1947
· Expressed the right from those that had been evicted from their homes and lands and the devolution of the latter
· Since after their return the Palestinians would be a clear majority, it was stated that all the Israeli Jews wishing to remain there and coexist in peace could do so with full rights (democratic and non-racist character of the State was proposed);
· The construction of a new Palestine implied the need of destroying the State of Israel for were it to exist, its very character would make this solution impossible.
…to the Oslo Agreements and the National Palestinian Authority
In the late 70s, American imperialism adopted a policy of cooptation of bourgeois nationalist leaderships in the Middle East that had started capitulating.
A central step in this direction was taken in Egypt, after the death of Gamal Abdel Nasser (1970). In 1979, his successor, Anwar el-Sadat signed the Camp David agreement with USA and Israel, acknowledged the State of Israel and put an end to the struggle against the latter. Hosni Mubarak deepened this policy and transformed Egypt into a key part of the policy of imperialism and Israel against the Palestinian territories.
Several years later, this reactionary swerve of the Egyptians was accompanied by Yasser Arafat and the leadership of the PLO which, evicted from Lebanon has now settled down in Tunisia. In 1993 they signed the Oslo Agreements with Israel and USA by means of which they acknowledged Israel and abandoned the struggle for its destruction. This means that the PLO set aside their founding programme. In consideration of which they received a promise of creation of a future Palestinian mini-State. (…)
However, the truth is that not even that promise has been fulfilled and in consideration of their betrayal, the leaders of the PLO and Al-Fatah obtained the formation of PAN on the Gaza Fringe and West bank. Actually, the PAN is a colonial administration with very limited powers, (…) under Israeli military control and deeply dependent financially on Israel and aid from abroad.
To understand the imperialist and Israeli policy of creating PAN we must understand that by 1987, the first Intifada had started (…) In spite of relentless repression, Israel could not put an end to it while elements of crisis among the Zionist army grassroots. These were clear signals the policy of directly occupying Palestinian territories had reached its limits.
At the same time, as from the moment that Al-Fatah took over in the PAN, it was no longer representative of the struggle of most of the Palestinian people against Israel. Its leadership and its main cadres had become corrupt bourgeois looting on the funds of the PAN. What is worse, they had turned into colonial agents of Israel and imperialism, accomplices of repression against the Palestinian peoples using for this the PAN police force. (…)
The betrayal of the nationalist bourgeois leaders together with the emerging of the regime of the Ayatollahs in Iran after the 1979 revolution allowed for this space to be taken up by Islamic fundamentalist trends just as the Iranian regime and the Hezbollah in Lebanon, who maintain their programme that includes the destruction of Israel. Within the Palestinian territories, a space was opened for the growth of Hamas, an organisation related to the Moslem Brotherhood of Egypt.
In 2006, the shrinking of the Al-Fatah was reflected in the triumph of Hamas in the elections to PAN. This fact was led to a confrontation between the two organisations and a coup de état by Mahmoud Abbas with the support from Israel, which retained the domination over the West bank, but the coup was defeated in the Gaza Strip, which remained under the control of Hamas. Ever since then, Israel blockaded this territory and has been launching continuous attacks to evict Hamas, a target they have not yet achieved.
In spite of all the resistance and of having maintained the struggle against Israel, the influence and the prestige of Hamas has been decaying. This is due to: firstly because within the Gaza Fringe they have persecuted and repressed oppositionists, including those who are against Israel and Abbas. Secondly, they have had the wrong attitude towards the Egyptian revolution and they have even prevented or even repressed mobilisation that were cropping up in Gaza in favour of that revolution. Finally, and as a central question, they have always had a policy of conciliation towards Al-Fatah and Abbas. Summoning them to “unity” and this is now expressed in agreement of reconciliation they signed with the leaders of both organisations.
Impact of the Arab revolution
The impact of the Arab revolutionary process on the Palestinian people, especially on the youth, is great for various reasons. First of all, it places the great demonstrations and massive actions as a tool fit to achieve changes in the situation that seemed unchangeable (…)
Secondly, it shows the youth vanguard that it is possible to organise demonstrations independently (or even against) the old political organisations, whether secular or Islamic that keep on calling for “peace” and “negotiation”. (…)
They are the foundations of a real possibility of building a new Palestinian leadership that may turn into an alternative to the old leaders and organisations, responsible for so many years of defeats and frustrations.
The al-Fatah – Hamas agreement
Shortly before this battle was fought, Mahmoud Abbas and the leader of the Hamas, Khaled Meshal, signed “an agreement of reconciliation”. Reports are that Hamas would accept for Abbas to continue as a president of the PAN to keep on negotiating agreements of security with Israel.
As we have already seen, ever since 2006, Al-Fatah and Hamas have been in blatant confrontation. Abbas and PAN cooperated with the blockade and Zionist attacks against the Gaza Strip and Hamas exposed Abbas for this accomplice role and rejected the prospect “independent Palestinian state” that Abbas negotiated. Why and on what bases are they now “reconciled”? It is an agreement that expresses a deep contradiction and can be analysed from various angles.
Firstly, it is the outcome of the mobilisation of the Palestine people, (…) From this point of view, the agreement is regarded by the Palestinian masses as a triumph, as a positive step towards the strengthening the struggle against Israel, something that doubtlessly boosted the massive participation in the marches on the Israeli borderlines.
But in the background the reconciliation between Hamas and Al-Fatah aims at other targets. Among the main ones there is the fact that it is a preventive agreement intended to halt and control the impact of the Arab revolution on the Palestinian toiling masses and youth for its development goes against the political plans and projects of both organisations. (…)
We must also take a third aspect into consideration: the request to discuss the possibility of creating an independent Palestinian mini-state at the General Assembly of the UN. Benjamin Netanyahu has just highlighted his opposition to this request, which was supported by Obama but he finished by retreating. The Al-Fatah-Hamas agreement would therefore be a way of showing imperialism that there is a Palestinian leadership capable of controlling the process in the territories and, at the same time, press the Israeli government to accept the debate and, if it is passed, accept the resolution creating this State.
Racist and militarist society
Israel was born as a military enclave set up in Palestine to defend the interests of imperialism in strategic territories. Its creation has been based on a “transplant” of a population foreign to the region: Jewish immigrants. This artificial character was further heightened as time went by and post-1948 immigrations arrived: because of the Law of Return, any Jew who would settle down in Israel, even if he had no previous links with Palestine, would automatically receive Israeli citizenship and all the privileges, a right that Arabs are barred from, even if they are descendants of displaced Palestinians.
In 1990s, after the fall of the USSR, a migration of over a million of Jewish Russians was encouraged. These migrants are now the spearhead of colonisation and of the grabbing of the land on the West Bank, and constitute the grassroots of one of Israeli furthest right-wing organisations. (…) This means that the “national essence” of Jews who settled in Palestine and of their descendants is a foreign population that seized the land belonging to native inhabitants and exerts oppression in the service of imperialism. That is how they acquire racist and militarist character.
In order to defend this character of the Zionist State, Israeli population is constantly living on the warpath. Every citizen – man or woman – over 18 is to do his or her compulsory 3-year military service. Then they become reservists until they are 50 with a month of training every year. The population is trained to live permanently in the service of the army.
This character also has economic bases. Essentially, Israel can be defined as a huge imperialist base, where soldiers live with their relatives and develop some productive activities as a support. But it all clearly hinges round war and production of weapons.
From the point of view of “normal” parameters, the State has permanent deficit of nearly $10 billion a year. This “gap” is fulfilled with funds from abroad: $3 billion yearly grants officially mailed from USA. Further $2 billion reach that country through other sources, and finally there is the money collected by Zionist organisations all over the world.
The mini-State is not a solution
What is the solution to the over six-decade long conflict between Palestinians and Israel? Basically, two alternatives are proposed.
The most widespread proposal is “two peoples, two states”, which will be under discussion in the General Assembly of the UN. It is supported by imperialism, Al-Fatah and PLO and important part of the world left. (…)
From this point of view, it is nothing but the continuation of the 1947 UN resolution. It would once more sanction and legalize the theft and usurpation that the creation of Israel meant, even if it were adapted to frontiers previous to 1967. At the same time, Palestinian people would be definitely divided into three much weaker areas. The first one, the million and a half of Palestinians who live in Israel, will be doomed to put up with attacks from Israeli administrations eager to wipe away their memory and their history. (…)
The three million and a half who live in Gaza and Western Bank, inhabitants of the future “independent” mini-state, will be compelled to live in a fragmented country, with no viable economic autonomy and even, if they comply with the commitments that Abbas is accepting. (…)
Finally, the five million who live abroad will definitely see their right to return vanishing into thin air. (…)
With this policy, the leaders of Al-Fatah and Hamas basically express the interests of the bourgeois sectors of West Bank and Gaza, for whom the creation of this mini-state might bring some benefits. (…)
That is why Abbas and Al-Fatah are trying to find a new position. They signed the “agreement of reconciliation” with Hamas and – against the opinion of Israel and imperialism – they presented a request of acknowledgement of the Palestinian State to the UN. This bid is beginning to render some crops, at least in West Bank: thousands of Palestinians poured into the streets to celebrate this request and, on his return; Abbas was cheered with great enthusiasm. This means that in order to keep on being the agent of Israel and imperialism, Abbas had to play a tactical game that puts him face-to-face with them on diplomatic grounds.
The only real solution: construction of a sole, secular, democratic and non-racist Palestine and the destruction of Israel
Challenging the proposal of the “two states”, we still uphold that the only real solution for the “Palestine question” is the one that was contained in the founding programme of the PLO: construction of a single, secular, democratic and non-racist Palestine.
A Palestine with no walls and concentration camps, one to which millions of refugees can return and the millions who remained and are now oppressed can recover their rights. (…)
But this proposal cannot be carried out and there can be no peace in Palestine until the State of Israel is not definitely destroyed; i.e.: until the imperialist cancer that grinds down the region is not totally and definitely extirpated. We summon Jewish workers and toiling masses to join this struggle against a racist gendarme of Israel. However, we must be fully aware that, because of the character of the Israeli Jewish population that we have analysed, it is most likely that only a small fringe will accept our proposal while the great majority of them, including the old Ashkenazi grassroots of Zionism, will certainly defend “their state” and their privileges fiercely and that consequently we shall have to fight against them to the bitter end.
The destruction of Israel and the construction of a new Palestine is a historic task, equivalent to the destruction of the German Nazi State or the state of the apartheid in South Africa. It is a hard task and it may take many years.
But the Arab revolution and the mobilisation of Palestinian toiling masses, together with the defeat of the Zionist troops in Lebanon and the crisis of the Zionist State and society pose it to be possible and the current joint political and military struggle and the Arab toiling masses will make this feasible.
 All the data referred to the population have been taken from the book Hidden history of Zionism by Ralph Shoenman.