The Hope for the Middle East

Not the Peace Process, But the Palestinian People's Just Struggle!

From the Information Bureau of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement

Revolutionary Worker #1141, March 3, 2002, posted at

We received the following statement which was released by the Information Bureau of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM):

The Palestinian people, though they number only a few million, have continued to be a focal point of world history as they struggle unflinchingly against the storm-troopers of the US outpost in the Middle East known as Israel. Over a year ago, Israeli hardman Ariel Sharon led a thousand armed soldiers and police into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a key symbol of the Muslim religion in East Jerusalem, which is itself viewed as the historic capital of Palestine by the Palestinians and the Arab world generally. Flaunting Israel's control of this key Palestinian site was designed to humiliate the Palestinian people and assert Israeli unchallengeable supremacy.

The response of the Palestinian people came immediately in the form of the "second Intifada": this region will never know peace until there is justice.

For over 50 years, the Israeli rulers, backed and armed to the hilt by the world's most powerful imperialists, have carried out repeated military aggression and wielded their overwhelming military superiority throughout the region. They have attacked and defeated the neighbouring Arab regimes in a series of aggressive wars (1956, 1967 and 1973), and annexed more Palestinian territory to beef up the security cordon around the territory seized in 1948 upon the creation of Israel. Labour Party and Likud Party alike erected settlements throughout the occupied territories, despite the unanimous condemnation of the international community, including in UN resolutions. Internally they imprisoned tens of thousands of Palestinians over the decades; they tortured thousands, in defiance of condemnation by international human rights groups; they carried out a campaign of state-sanctioned death squad assassinations of their opponents; they bombed outposts of the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority with F16 fighter-bombers; they razed thousands of Palestinian homes, making over 40,000 homeless. They threaten anyone who defies them in the region with their vast arsenal of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons built up under the protection of the US imperialists.

This is a settler colonial state that has stopped at almost nothing to subdue its opponents. And yet they know no peace. Fifty years after setting out on their blood-soaked trail of terror and death, the US imperialists' Zionist henchmen are no closer to squashing opposition to their rule than when they first set out. This is powerful confirmation of the truth of Mao Tsetung's observation that wherever there is oppression there is resistance.

Faced with this reality, ten years ago US imperialist chieftains George Bush and Bill Clinton pushed hard for a peace process in the Middle East that was supposed to do for that region what the change of the guard in South Africa accomplished there. A dynamic was set in motion that promised the Palestinian people an end to their degradation and oppression. The process was agreed in Oslo, sealed on the White House lawn by the Arafat-Rabin handshake, ratified in seven meetings, recorded in innumerable documents and trumpeted to the world.

The peace process has proved to be a trap. Now the whole world is seeing that the honey- coated words of the imperialists were merely fancy cover for a means of getting Arafat and the Palestinian compradors and their henchmen to do the dirty work of suppressing the Palestinian masses themselves. Arafat's Palestinian Authority was not even given control of the flow of water into the Occupied Territories. They were allowed just enough guns to suppress internal opposition to the Israeli occupiers, but nothing that would even remotely challenge the Israeli arsenal. The detection of a single boatload of weapons to Palestine that wouldn't come close to equalling Israel's daily arms imports brought howls of rage from the imperialist media.

A year ago, impatient with Arafat's inability to rein in the Palestinian people's resistance, the US-Israeli rulers brought in as head of state Ariel Sharon, the Butcher of Beirut who presided over the slaughter of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the refugee camps at Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon in 1982. Sharon's troops have invaded much of the territory supposedly "governed" by the Palestinian Authority, showing that all along it was but an empty shell, devoid of what the Russian revolutionary leader Lenin long ago pointed out as the crux of state power: armed forces.

The peace process had taken off at a certain juncture in world politics: the Soviet social- imperialist empire had collapsed, creating a vortex that sucked under large numbers of their puppets and client states around the world. Reactionary comprador forces that had relied on the so-called Soviet Big Brother now quavered in fear at being left to face up to the US imperialists. Arafat and important sections of the Palestinian elite likewise concluded they had no choice but to jump at the bait of negotiations. And so they traded in the Palestinian revolution for a handful of promises and the trappings of power in the tiny remnants of Palestine flung to them by the imperialists. Now Arafat and the Palestinian Authority are being squeezed between, on the one hand, the increasingly aggressive demands of the US and their Israeli attack dogs, and, on the other hand, the unyielding demand for justice and liberation on the part of the Palestinian masses. Meanwhile Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Islamic fundamentalists feed like parasites on the growing disillusionment with Arafat to build up their own reactionary alternative of an Islamic theocratic regime.

The growing rage and disillusionment of the Palestinian masses at the failure of the peace process to bring a change to their lives and bring closer the moment of liberation has come at a crucial turning point in world politics. The US is facing economic crisis, and is using the September 11th events to lash out in an effort to extend its global domination and crush any semblance of opposition. They are jettisoning even the pretence of being an "honest broker" in the Middle East, a pose they adopted under Clinton, and are now urging their Israeli attack dog to strike with greater force. In recent weeks Israeli forces have occupied large parts of the West Bank and even Gaza and have used the network of settlements and military outposts to clamp down on all movement by Palestinians and to threaten the very existence of the Palestinian Authority. As Arafat and his cronies bitterly face reaping the terrible fruit of the capitulation they have sown, able to please neither the imperialist and Zionist overlords nor the angry masses, their former friends and backers, the social democrats of Europe and the reactionary sheiks and arrogant generals of the Arab world, have all suddenly discovered that silence is the better part of valour. It is no fun being a running dog for imperialism.

The struggle of the Palestinians is reaching a juncture. Arafat is less and less able to rein in popular resistance to the Israeli occupiers. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank provide a steady stream of people ready to die in the fight against Israel, and unprecedented rumblings of discontent are rising even from Palestinians within Israel, whom the Israelis arrogantly refer to as "Israeli Arabs" in a laughable attempt to distinguish them from their Palestinian kin. The Israelis have even floated plans for a system to impose total physical isolation on the Arab inhabitants of Jerusalem. The peace process itself lies in tatters. There is no end in sight for the path of kowtowing and capitulation embarked on by Arafat, while few are those who see in the attacks of the religious dinosaurs of the Islamic Hamas the path forward to liberation. The Zionists throw up the obviously reactionary features of their Islamic opponents to deride their claims to represent an alternative; but can anyone fail to note that there are few more exact counter-parts to the woman-hating, obscurantist features of the extreme Jewish fundamentalist parties at the core of the Zionist state than Hamas itself?

The problem that has plagued the Palestinian revolution has never been a lack of courage. No, what the Palestinian revolution lacks is not courage but leaders who believe and understand that the Palestinian masses can be organized into a vanguard force that can actually take on and defeat the imperialist-backed Zionist military juggernaut on the field of battle--and then go about doing just this. The Maoists have always sided with the uncompromising struggle of the Palestinian people to rise up, guns in hand, and defeat the Zionist occupiers and on the ashes of the settler colonial state erect a red Palestine, a secular democratic state in which all the masses of Palestine have equal rights and together exercise genuine power. Many now deride this vision as "unrealistic". Yet the practicality and realism invoked to justify accepting the imperialist-brokered peace process have led to nothing more than cloaking the continuing oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people in new robes. Marx long ago remarked that the proletarians must go through a revolutionary war not only to overthrow the exploiting classes, but also to make themselves fit to rule. In Palestine too, the revolutionary war of liberation that will one day overthrow the US-backed Zionist state will be a cleansing fire that will burn away the scars and horrors that infect men's souls, and what seems impossible in today's world will become a real revolutionary power that will be a beacon to the world's oppressed.

As the Palestinian people go forward into these stormy waters, the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement once again reaffirms its unwavering support for their just cause, and calls on all revolutionary and progressive people to step up their actions on their behalf.

--The Information Bureau of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement10 Feb 2002

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