Originally published in Marxism Alive # 9, 2004
In spite of the fact that Zionist leaders think they are specialists in politics and economy, their State today is in the midst of the worst crisis since its foundation, at a moment when the opposition and various social sectors begin to demonstrate their displeasure with this policy. The Zionist administration of Israel has unleashed a lengthy wave of violence and terror to try and stabilize the region in pursuit of the defeat of the Palestinian people. Once more they try the path of eliminating the leaders of the Intifada in order to escape the crisis.
Immigration and strikes: dilemmas for Zionist policy
The Zionist administration headed by Ariel Sharon has an internal crisis to confront today and this will not let Israeli society find stability, more than ever now that different social sectors have started expressing their displeasure with domestic and foreign policy. The propaganda carried out today by Zionism trying to attract immigration of Jews to Israel has a different character now and different aims. The Zionist administration never releases information on the numbers of Jewish immigrants who come in or go out of Palestine. This, for Zionist policy is “Top Secret”.
During his visit to Moscow in early November last year, Ariel Sharon was asked about the number of Russian Jews who left Palestine that year. There was no reply. The Israeli press estimates that about 40,000 Jews returned to their country during the last few months and that hundreds of American Jews, most of them entrepreneurs, have either gone home or are about to do so.
The political, military and popular sectors of the opposition of Israeli society, the radical wing of Likud and of Yesha (a group representing the Jewish settlers) are warning that the government may lose control over society if they keep on with this policy. In November last year, when Sharon declared that he was prepared to pull down some of the isolated settlements in Cisjordania and the Gaza Strip in order to make headway in the peace process, his declaration received a cold welcome from the Jewish settlers and the more radical members of the Likud and other right-wing parties who blame Sharon for not having stopped the Intifada. At the same time there was criticism for his policy of putting up new settlements and the putting up the wall of racial segregation, which prevented the peace talks with the Palestine National Authority (PAN) from advancing and made the millionaire packet of American loans melt by $298.5 million.
The political crisis is reflected in the economy of the state, which pretends to practise reforms and adjustments at the cost of the toiling masses. Over six months ago, the trade union of the Israeli workers (Histadrut) started a process of strikes against the state’s economic policy and the reforms. This is, at present one of the main home problems for the Zionist administration, who has not been able to reach any agreement with the Histadrut since the talks started last December. The ministry of Finances threatens to deduct 10 million shequel (Israeli currency) from workers who join the strike, and in the next few months the situation may become worse with a new strike wave in response to the government’s threats.
A serious security problem
Israeli analysts believe that while the government is concerned about home security jeopardised by the Intifada and other issues such as immigration and corruption, they have been accumulating other problems during these last months and that this is what makes the crisis become deeper and deeper. The new Russian entrepreneurs who are migrating towards Palestine are “bringing in money of the Russian mafia”, something that may endanger the legal stability of the other Jewish entrepreneurs, and lead the Jewish society towards corruption and violence. This problem, together with lack of security, has driven the Jewish American bourgeoisie to return to their country where they can enjoy more economic stability, fleeing from a country incapable of granting security to its people, a country dominated by political and economic groups and religious sects of different ideologies and strategies, that cannot arrive at any agreement to solve these problems.
Today, most of the right-wing Israeli opposition and the most radical wing of the Likud disbelieve in the political commitments of the government. There is a loss of confidence in the discourses of the big bosses of Zionism about home security and the process of peace in the region. In spite of all the measures, the Intifada is still a menace for stability in Palestine; with their tiny and relative victories, they are causing more and more conflicts and instability in Israel. On the other hand, this fear is also due to the loss of confidence in American policy after the invasion of Iraq and the emergence of the Iraqi resistance, which added vigour to the Intifada and is leading the Zionist administration down a cul-de-sac. This mistrust is becoming fear in different Israel sectors, it sweeps away the dreams of the great victories and it begins to open the gates for a return to their original homelands, where there is a more secure future.
The press estimates that about a million Jews, most of them Americans, refuse to emigrate to live in the occupied territories. In an interview for an Israeli newspaper after the raids in Turkey, a Jewish woman said that she preferred to keep on living in her country, Turkey, than going to a country where there was no security. The latest opinion surveys speak of the way of thinking of the Jewish people around the world, that there is no confidence in the Zionist policy. According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’arts of the first week of December last year, the leaders of the Shabak (General Security Service in Israel) are trying to help the Israeli people change their point of view, but they also admit that it is too early to talk about the results of this type of thinking and of the crisis in general, but some radical change is about to happen in Israel, perhaps a “crisis with no way out”. Many left-wing Jewish intellectuals find that the Zionist policy has disfigured the Jewish character, it pushed away the dreams of victory and they believe it impossible to talk of The Great State of Israel with the reality of the Intifada, and that it was much more adequate from the point of view of survival to talk about a secular-democratic state.
Today there are two trends of Jewish political thought. On of them, headed by Sharon, incites the immigration of Jews to Palestine trying to use still the anti-Semitism existing in Europe and in Russia; the other one, contrary to Sharon’s policy, asks Sharon to modify this posture to prevent all the Jews from all over the world from being exposed to danger.
Both the policy of stimulating groups in Latin America and other regions to be converted to Judaism and then emigrate to Palestine and of accepting the immigration of the Jewish people of Flachimura in Ethiopia – which has never been allowed, because they are poor and sick people – and the Nazi-Zionist policy of murdering the leaders of the Intifada, beginning with the Sheik Ahmad Yassin and el Rantyssi, bear witness to the deep crisis of Zionism today. European Jews do not now wish to emigrate to Israel, neither do the Americans nor the Russians!!! It is therefore better to go and fetch the poor and undernourished Africans to see if the crisis can be overcome.
What remains to be said in relation to the first point that this is a delicate and difficult situation Zionism is going through, and in spite of the diplomatic efforts to make headway in the peace process, nothing can guaranty the stability of the Jews in the occupied territories nor their future. One way or another, this situation is one of the results of the victory of the Intifada.
Strategic and military crisis of Zionism
The party ruling in Israel, the Likud, is divided. The ultra-right, headed by Benjamin Netayahu, publicly warned against any future possibility of establishing a “Palestine State”, even if it were without Yasser Arafat and even within the area of Palestinian autonomy, in accordance with the resolution 242 of the UN. The decision of the radical wing of the Likud leaves no room for misunderstandings: “No to a Palestinian State, either ruled by Arafat or by any other person, neither today nor tomorrow.” In spite of the declarations by Sharon and Moffaz on the dismantling of some settlements, which actually were still nothing but projects, the radical wing of Likud is increasingly more explicit in their opposition to Sharon, who in these last two months has requested unconditional American support to his murderous policy. For the radicals of the Likud, the settlements are sacred, the end of the Intifada is priority, or perhaps the murder of Sheik Ahmad Yassin and Rantissi might approve at this difficult moment the Sahronita plan and legitimize their party to reduce the weight of the crisis.
Crisis in the Zionist army
The Zionist army is also going through a crisis. The movement of the reservists, who refuse to serve in Cisjordania and Gaza, defines the Israeli army as an occupation army and a force of oppression against the Palestinian people and demands the withdrawal of the Israelis from those territories and the dismantling of the Zionist settlements. This movement is growing by the day. The constant Zionist invasions caused further showdowns of repudiation and intransigence. Last semester, over 250 reservists refused to serve in the Zionist army and were legally protected by the organisation Yes Goul grouping the soldiers and officers who refuse to serve in Gaza and Cisjordania.
Those revolts in the army and even in the Likud party reflect the crisis and show the degree of decay of Zionism, a decay due to natural factors as part of the development of the capitalist system.
Pacifist demonstrations and confrontations with the Zionist army: “The crisis is transferred to the Israeli territory.”
The Israeli pacifist movement “Peace Now”, known as Gush Shalom grew and became more radical in its latest activities due to the murderous policy of Ariel Sharon and the crisis in the Israeli society. Today, this movement boasts 70 000 members and sympathisers from all sectors of Israeli society, plus many foreigners of different nationalities residing on the occupied territories.
The construction of the 700km segregation wall that surrounds Cisjordania is one of the main fighting topics for the Israeli pacifist movement. Since December 2003, about 400 Israeli and foreign pacifists have demonstrated at the town of Qalquilya against the construction of the wall and against the terrorist policy of Ariel Sharon. There is no end to the confrontations with the Zionist army and it is estimated that there are 25 pacifists in jail at the moment. The Israeli police identify the pacifists as anarchists.
These pacifist demonstrations, “in the fatal absence of the Israeli left”, are the national expression of a crisis that is spreading in the Zionist territory and is, naturally, to engulf the entire Israeli society. The radical wing of Likud called the Jewish pacifists “enemies worse than the Palestinians”. Several outstanding figures of the pacifist movement have been threatened by the radicals of Likud.
The political-military stake of the United National Leadership of the Intifada and the murderous policy of Zionism
The second point to be analysed within this context is the policy of the United National Leadership of the Intifada (DNUI). They have always played a political role, evidencing more and more political strategies and tactics parallel to the military work of the Intifada, and clearly endorsing the insurrection and the dismantling of the Zionist State by means of armed struggle. This is the only way to isolate and defeat the ANP and the position of the Arabic rulers, agents of imperialism and also the Israeli right and a frontal space will open for the Israeli left that is not ready to play that role.
The DNUI has centred its attacks lately on the Israeli soldiers stationed in occupied territories and on settlers. The Research Department of Milla, headed by the Chief of the general brigades, general Yossi, has seen this as a significant change to the strategy of the attacks of the Palestinian guerrillas that, until recently affected all the Israelis, no matter where they were, as legitimate targets. On the other hand, explains Yossi, the sensitivity to the Hamas attacks is caused by the support of public opinion for the Palestinian people.
According to Yossi, the Hamas attacks on civilian population have been a response to Sharon’s policy, which caused the death of many Palestinian civilians during the recent invasions of Rafah and Nablus. He claims that according to the Israeli Mossad, Hamas and other Palestinian groups had prepared 27 attacks on military targets for the last three months of last year and none against civilian targets due to a strategic evaluation in the DNUI. The general reported that also the military participation of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has increased lately.
An analysis made by Khalil Shhaki, of the Centre for Research and Studies of Palestine in Nablus, shows that Yasser Arafat’s move towards the leader of Hamas after the Cairo meeting and the visit of the Egyptian delegation when the pace talks were resumed has been an important factor for Hamas to assess its attacks against “civilian targets”. It also informs us that the attacked diminished by 50% in the last months but not the ones against the soldiers and settlers.
Ahmad Qureia (Abu Ala) prime minister of ANP, made a declaration declared on 21 December 2002 that “Israelis and Palestinians are tired of the conflict and now we are about to negotiate peace for both countries.” The Islamic Jihad responded repudiating the cowardly political position sustained by Abu Ala and asserted that armed struggle will go on until Palestine is liberated. He also emphasized his repudiation for the proposed truce and the peace accords. The FPL had previously stated that it is part of their political standpoint to oppose the peace accords and to stand or the armed struggle for the liberation of Palestine. We have lately heard a lot about the declarations of his secretary general, Ahmad Saadat, insisting on the armed struggle being the only solution for the Palestine issue.
At the Herzliya Conference, the murderer Ariel Sharon considered that the Palestinians were the real menace for the Zionist plan for the region. As for the settlements, he declared his willingness to dismantle “some” of them and leave those that are strategic positions. This declaration of Sharon was analysed by the leaders of the Intifada as a possibility for new massacres of Palestinian civilians to take place. As a Zionist way of pressing on the NPA and the international public opinion for a cease fire on behalf of the Palestinians.
From the point of view of our analysis of the DNUI, we do not consider that Khalil Shkaki’s statement to be true. It is true that Arafat has often visited Ahmad Yassin’s home after the Cairo meeting and it is stale news- But Arafat has never been able to influence the policy of Hamas. Perhaps it may have been his intention to to press the Hamas leaders to accept the truce, something that the Hamas has branded as a decision of the DNUI. Hamas and other groups agreed not to attack Israeli civilians in the occupied territory as a result of an internal discussion between the leaders of the Intifada. This happened before the trip to Cairo, and was not due to pressure from FATAH demanding a unilateral Palestinian truce.
On the other hand, what the DNUI pretends with this new truce is – in the first place, to avoid new massacres of Palestinian civilians, “something that the Zionist will never respect, and we can see that every day”. But his would be an argument used by the Intifada so that the interventions of the other Arabic countries, such as Egypt and Jordan or the international ones should be of no value so that there would be no obstacle in the way of the Intifada or limitation of international support for it. In the second place, what the Intifada pretends to do by means of this strategy of attacking military targets of the Zionist army is to turn the conflict into a military possibility, to level out the military condition of the Intifada with those of the Zionist army – for circumstances make it possible – and to prove to the Palestine people and to all the fighting peoples that liberation and self-determination are real possibilities.
The Intifada and the tasks of the Israeli socialists
During the Cairo meeting, the leadership of the Intifada has displayed a firm and solid position, once more asserting the armed struggle is the only way towards liberation of Palestine. They manifested their repudiation of the unfair negotiations and peace accords. The Intifada, which had managed to transfer the centre and the base of the Palestinian revolution to the very territory of the usurped fatherland, accumulated, after eighteen years of struggle, great military and political experience, and today is ready to start a new stage, favourable to their strategic combat. They managed to challenge the Zionist state at their weak point, when they laid a wager on the fact that the conflict has to be fought out on the battlefields, on the purely military terrain, far from the civilians. The initiative of the United National leadership of the Intifada to respect the Israeli civilians is a reflection of their maturity, of their revolutionary leadership, that opens new and realistic possibilities of victory for the Palestinian people.
Currently, the Palestinian revolution represented by the Intifada poses the armed struggle as the only way towards the liberation of Palestine and the decomposition of the Zionist system, by means of a struggle, of a historic conflict. In Israeli society there are ample masses of people oppressed by a homogeneous oppressor. It is true that the Zionist system of Israel cannot be dismantled only by means of the impact of the national uprising of the Palestinians, with an armed struggle on one side only. But the national struggle of the Palestinians may cause a sector of the oppressed Israelis to rise, to find its identity and join the common struggle of the Palestine people against the Zionist-capitalist State.
This is the way for the salvation of the exploited, both Palestinian and Israeli, from the mortal trap of Zionism, a regime that proves more and more openly, its fascist, nazi and imperialist nature. This is the historic task of the Israeli socialists today: to prepare the Israeli territory for the expansion of the Intifada struggle for the National Liberation from the common enemy.
The political programme of the Zionist state taking part in last year’s Geneva talks is explicitly aimed at disarming the Intifada with capitalist proposals of “peace between equals”. The current political programme of the FATAH and National Palestinian Authority does not differ much from the programme of the Zionist left. They capitulate to imperialism in a cowardly way. Even if these movements may have revolutionary potential, they have counterrevolutionary leaders.
The Zionist government of Israel will never accept the challenge of the Intifada which takes positions as a military force potentially capable of confronting their army in a guerrilla war that can inflict the worst loss ever. To avoid the challenge and to minimise its military importance, the Zionist government of Israel murdered two great leaders of the Intifada and will continue attacking the civilian Palestinians causing even worse massacres. Israel is trying to weaken the political military strategy and provokes the Intifada, that will have to respond to a State born out of crime and uses the civilians to justify their terrorist policy.
Member of the Leadership of UJAAL (Union of Arabic Youth of Latin America).