Dreaming of a Free Palestine

Fighting to Make It Real

Revolutionary Worker #1070, September 17, 2000

On September 16, people are gathering in Washington, D.C. to march for a deeply just cause: to demand the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland that was brutally stolen with the establishment of Israel and later wars of aggression by the imperialist-backed Zionist state. This is also a day to mark the 1982 massacre of thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps by reactionary troops under Israeli control.

The U.S. imperialists and their Zionist attack dogs have long tried to extinguish the flames of Palestinian struggle through bloody wars, massacres, and suppression—or with honeyed words of "peace" and "compromise" that mask the reality of injustice. But the dream of a liberated Palestine still burns strong in the hearts of millions of Palestinian people. And the oppressors continue to be haunted by the spirit of Palestinian resistance.

The question facing the people is: how to make the dream of a free Palestine a reality?

The "Peace" of the Oppressors—and the
Real Road to Liberation

The U.S. imperialists, Zionists, and the established Palestinian leadership under Yasser Arafat have their answer. They claim that the current "peace process" is a way to a "just settlement" that reconciles everyone’s interests—the Palestinians, the Zionists, as well as the U.S. and other major powers. They tell the masses of Palestinian people to "face reality" and resign themselves to live in the shadows of the monstrous super-militarized fortress known as Israel.

But what is truly unrealistic is the idea that the just and legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian people can be somehow reconciled with the interests of the imperialists and the Zionist rulers. The state of Israel is a linchpin of U.S. imperialist domination of the Middle East—and the existence and continued survival of the Zionist state is based fundamentally on the dispossession and oppression of the Palestinian people.

The imperialists and the Zionists may talk of "peace." But what they actually mean is the "peace" of the oppressors. They are pushing for an acceptance of a humiliating surrender agreement that legitimizes Israel’s dominant position as a pro-U.S. military outpost in the region. They want the people to swallow a "deal" that rewards Israel for decades of aggression, occupation, and arrogance.

The U.S. and Israel may even agree to some compromises over control of sections of Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip by a Palestinian "state." But such an imperialist-created entity will be a way to contain and suppress the struggle of the Palestinian people. And it will mean the cruel abandonment of millions of refugees whose homes and lands were seized by Israel’s predatory warmakers.

There may be promises of economic "aid." But the U.S. and other major powers expect the flow of money to prop up the Palestinian Authority who serve as local policemen over the people. And the imperialists spin visions of economic "enclaves" and "export zones"—where Palestinian workers can be drawn into the global capitalist economy and exploited like the workers in Mexico’s maquiladoras or the sweatshops of Southeast Asia.

How can the Palestinian people really be free if they are surrounded by a hostile oppressor state armed to the teeth by U.S. imperialism—while the people themselves are disarmed? How can the Palestinian nation be truly independent when Israel has tight control over the economic lifelines—like the water resources so crucial to agriculture, industry, and the daily life of the people?

The U.S., Israel, and Arafat are negotiating the details of the "final agreement." Whatever the actual terms they end up with, the signing of the pact by Arafat will be a shameful betrayal of the Palestinian cause. It is a betrayal that has been long in the making—even before the signing of the 1993 Oslo Agreement that began the current "peace process" or Arafat’s 1988 recognition of the state of Israel. As other examples around the world have shown, this history of capitulation by Arafat makes it clear that the bourgeoisie of an oppressed nation cannot lead a genuine, thoroughgoing struggle for liberation.

The Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (CoRIM) said in a statement issued shortly after Arafat and Israel signed the Oslo Agreement: "The great strength of the Palestinian people’s struggle and the support the struggle has received from revolutionary and progressive people around the world has come from the fact that the Palestinian people have been a shock brigade in the international struggle against imperialism and reaction. Today the Palestinian people are being asked to turn their back on this proud heritage while Arafat polices the streets and begs the imperialists and Zionists for a bowl of soup.... This type of leadership is based upon the interests of a minority of exploiters, and its class nature makes it drawn like a magnet toward capitulation and betrayal."

Some people think that the problem is the U.S. government is too "one sided" toward Israel and that it should be more of an "honest middleman" in the negotiations. They have the idea that U.S. favoritism toward Israel is a product of the "Jewish lobby" and that this could be changed by lobbying and enlightening U.S. policymakers about their "true" interests. This is an illusion—a dangerous illusion.

The U.S. is not a neutral party in the Middle East. They are imperialists, and they are acting on their imperialist interests as they direct the Israel-Arafat negotiations. These imperialist interests are completely against the interests of the masses of Palestinian and Arab people. Any Palestinian "state" created through such imperialist-orchestrated negotiations would be part of U.S. plans to suppress the just struggle of the Palestinian people and to protect the Zionist state—in order to strengthen the overall U.S. control and domination over this part of the world.

The imperialists have never willingly granted freedom and liberation to the oppressed—the people can only liberate themselves by force, through revolutionary armed struggle. The reality of continued subjugation of the Palestinian nation cries out for a people’s war to overthrow the imperialist-backed Zionist settler state and establish a democratic, secular state on the entire territory of Palestine.

This road to liberation is tortuous and difficult—and any serious struggle for Palestinian liberation must develop military strategy and tactics appropriate for fighting and defeating the Israeli military. But this is the only realistic path to a truly free Palestine.

Today, there are such Maoist people’s wars being waged in different parts of the world. In Peru, the Communist Party of Peru has developed and sustained a people’s war for over 20 years in the face of vicious attacks by the U.S.-backed Peruvian regime. And in Nepal, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is leading the poor peasants and others in a people’s war that has spread to large areas of the country since its initiation three and a half years ago.

Oppression and Resistance

Any "final agreement" that the U.S., Israel, and Arafat may come up with will not end the oppression and injustices that have given rise to repeated storms of Palestinian struggle. And, as the great revolutionary Mao Tsetung put it, "wherever there is oppression, there is resistance."

The CoRIM statement pointed out: "It is high time the revolutionaries in Palestine went about building a genuine Marxist-Leninist-Maoist vanguard party. Only such a party is capable of standing up ideologically, politically and organisationally to the threats and bribes of the imperialists and reactionaries. Only such a party can correctly situate the struggle of the Palestinian people as a vital link in a worldwide chain which unites the proletarian and oppressed all over the globe. Only such a party can lead the masses of people in carrying out the long and bitter struggle for genuine national liberation as part of the world proletarian revolution.

"The capitulationists claim that the Maoist path is ‘unrealistic.’ But…what is truly unrealistic is to expect that the Palestinian people can ever achieve justice at the hands of the imperialists and Zionists. The capitulationists say we are for war and not peace. But we know that there will never be peace in the region as long as the imperialists and their Israeli hooligans run roughshod over the people. The capitulationists say that now is the time for construction. But we know as Mao taught us that there can be no construction without destruction. A bright red Palestine, a Palestine of the proletariat and the people, can only be built upon the ashes of imperialism and Zionism."

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497
(The RW Online does not currently communicate via email.)