Tag Archives: Palestinians

Paranoia deepens wedge between Israelis and Palestinians

We think of Jerusalem as a divided city and so it is – its Israeli and Palestinian populations are separated by language, religion, culture, politics and history.

And of course they have different political aspirations and territorial ambitions for the Holy City too.

But at times of rising tensions and rising casualty figures like this, the two populations that normally lead parallel lives share something very profound in common.

They are united by their fears for the dangers their families might face and by the deep urge that’s within all of us to keep our children safe.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34602291

Simmering Unrest in Israel

Jerusalem Seethes as Competing Claims to Holy Site Turn Violent

By Jonathan Ferziger

Shrouded head to toe in black, the women slowly circled the domed mosque in east Jerusalem’s Old City, chanting, “Allahu akbar,” the Muslim declaration of faith.

“This is our home,” said a woman who introduced herself as Oum Mustafa, speaking through a gauze veil that fully covered her eyes. “Nobody can move us from here.”

No place in the Holy Land is as fiercely contested as the 37-acre hilltop compound where the Al-Aqsa mosque stands. The sacred ground has once again become the front line in competing claims to the city, pitting Jews demanding to pray at the shrine they call the Temple Mount against Palestinians who see that demand as an attempt to cement Israel’s grip on a city they hope to make their capital.

Amid a stalemate in peace negotiations, the Palestinian outrage is growing increasingly violent, leading to clashes with police at the compound that have infuriated parts of the Muslim world.

“Jerusalem is among the most sensitive issues in the conflict and it matters to Muslims all over the world,” said Jacob Perry, Israel’s science and technology minister and former head of the Shin Bet intelligence agency. “It is vital for both sides that anything involving the al-Aqsa mosque be handled in the most careful way possible.”

Simmering Unrest

The unrest at the site is feeding off violence that has been simmering in Arab areas of Jerusalem since a Palestinian youth was burned alive in July in suspected retribution for the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish youths in the West Bank. Fanning the unrest, Palestinian leaders say, is the breakdown of U.S.-sponsored peace talks, Israel’s 50-day conflict with Gaza Strip militants and Jewish settlement on land Palestinians claim for a state.

Some analysts warn that the clashes in Jerusalem will explode into a third Palestinian uprising against Israel; others say support for another revolt just isn’t there.

Jews venerate the Temple Mount above all other holy sites, as the location of their ancient biblical temple. For Muslim faithful, the al-Aqsa complex is Islam’s third-holiest shrine, the place they believe the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven.

Political narratives collide on the mount, too. Palestinians claim all of east Jerusalem, including the Old City’s holy places, for the capital of a future state; the current Israeli government says it won’t cede Jerusalem’s eastern sector, annexed after the 1967 war in a move that isn’t internationally recognized. Peace negotiations have been tortured by disputes over control of the Old City.

Dueling Claims

The dueling claims have repeatedly touched off unrest. Rumors that Israel sought to destroy al-Aqsa to build a third temple ignited riots in the 1990s that left dozens of Palestinians dead. Ariel Sharon’s visit there in 2000 in a show of Israeli sovereignty touched off a cascade of violence that evolved into the second Palestinian uprising. Confrontations over Israeli excavation and construction at the shrine have sparked protests across the Muslim world.

After Israel captured the site from Jordan in 1967, it banned Jewish prayer there and left an Islamic trust known as the Waqf in charge of its administration. More Jews have begun questioning the ban on Jewish prayer and want to overturn it.

“I call on the public to visit the Temple Mount and on lawmakers to join the call to change the status quo to let Jews go to the Jewish people’s holiest place,” Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely said in a Nov. 4 post on her Facebook page.

Read more » Bloomberg
See more »http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-06/wrestling-over-jerusalem-shrine-underpins-renewal-of-violence.html?hootPostID=442fb75b75af9bbc0130c6bb76704444

 

US condemns shelling of UN school in Gaza

US condemns shelling of UN school in Gaza but restocks Israeli ammunition
White House issues unusually strong rebuke after 16 deaths
But Pentagon confirms that US resupplied Israel with ammunition

By  in Washington and in Jerusalem, theguardian.com

The United States issued a firm condemnation of the shelling of a United Nations school in Gaza that killed at least 16 Palestinians on Wednesday, but also confirmed it restocked Israel’s dwindling supplies of ammunition.

The White House expressed concern that thousands of civilians who had sought protection from the UN were at risk after the shelling of the girls’ elementary school. Some 3,300 civilians were taking shelter there, after being told by Israel to leave their homes.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, which runs the school, said its initial assessment was that it has been struck by Israeli artillery.

Read more » The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/30/us-firm-condemnation-shelling-un-school-gaza?CMP=twt_gu

‘Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies’: Israelis And Palestinians show solidarity online

by Lauren O’Neil

As political tensions between Israel and Hamas continue to escalate this week in the Gaza Strip, a growing number of Jews and Arabs from around the world are coming together in solidarity against the conflict.

Read more » CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2014/07/jewsandarabsrefusetobeenemies-israelis-and-palestinians-show-solidarity-online.html

Bill Clinton: Violence in Myanmar sickens world

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said sectarian violence in newly opened Myanmar, also known as Burma, sickens the world as he met with political and civic leaders Thursday to discuss challenges facing the emerging democracy following a half-century of military rule.

The attacks on Muslims are a topic many in this predominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million try to avoid. Soon after President Thein Sein formed a quasi-civilian government in early 2011 and began making sweeping political and economic changes, deep-seated prejudices against the Muslim minority started to surface.

In the past year, more than 240 people have been killed and 240,000 others forced to flee their homes, most of them Muslims hunted down by stick- and machete-wielding Buddhist mobs. Members of the security forces have been accused of standing by, at times even abetting rioters, in some cases, but none has been punished.

And the government — together with much of the population — has been largely silent.

Clinton said the world has been pulling for Myanmar. “The whole world cheers every piece of good news and is sick every time they read about sectarian violence,” he said. “Because everywhere on earth, people are tired of people killing each other and fighting each other because of their differences.”

Continue reading Bill Clinton: Violence in Myanmar sickens world

Fisk on Syria: “Assad faces a well-armed & ruthless enemy whose Islamist supporters are receiving help from the West.”

Robert Fisk: The bloody truth about Syria’s uncivil war

Those trying to topple Assad have surprised the army with their firepower and brutal tactics

By: Robert Fisk

A few hours after the ferocious attack on Damascus by the Free Syrian Army began last month, the new Syrian minister of information, Omran Zouhbi, turned on journalists in the capital. “What are you doing here in Damascus?” he roared. “You should be out with our soldiers!” And within a day, tired images of a primly smiling President Bashar al-Assad and pictures of Syrian troops happily kissing children were replaced by raw – and real – newsreel footage of commandos fighting their way across Baghdad Street under fire from the rebel opponents of the regime, grimy-faced, running from street corners, shooting from the cover of walls and terraces. “We’ve cleaned up here,” one tired but very angry officer said. “So now we’re going to get the rest of those bastards.” Never before – not even in the 1973 war when the Syrian army stormed Observatory Ridge on the heights of the Golan – had the Syrian public witnessed anything as real as this on their television sets.

Continue reading Fisk on Syria: “Assad faces a well-armed & ruthless enemy whose Islamist supporters are receiving help from the West.”

Looks like Pakistan isn’t the only country that likes to kill its minorities.

In suspected Jerusalem lynch, dozens of Jewish youths attack 3 Palestinians

One of the Palestinians was seriously wounded and hospitalized in intensive care; eyewitness: Today I saw a lynch with my own eyes.

By Nir Hasson

Dozens of Jewish youths attacked three young Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Zion Square early on Friday morning, in what one witness described as “a lynch” on Facebook.

One of the Palestinians was seriously wounded and hospitalized in intensive care in Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem …..

Read more » Haaretz

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/in-suspected-jerusalem-lynch-dozens-of-jewish-youths-attack-3-palestinians-1.459002#.UC401c7aXCQ.facebook

Via – Twitter

Israel and its black immigrants

Israel and its black immigrants

Keep out – Racial tension is rising as black asylum-seekers pour in

TEL AVIV – ON MAY 28th it was the turn of Yorusalem Mestun, a 22-year-old Eritrean asylum-seeker in hot-pants. Five young Israelis smashed the glass door of her internet café and pulled a knife on her, while her Jewish neighbours looked on. The police came, checked her visa and left without, she said, offering help or sympathy.

Attacks on Israel’s fast-growing population of African asylum-seekers, mainly from South Sudan and Eritrea, are rising. Hundreds of Jews led by settlers from the West Bank, where Palestinians hope to create their state, recently marched through districts of south Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial capital, where black immigrants proliferate, chanting “Africans Out!” Pumped up with angry excitement, the middle-aged chef of a fast-food shop, in HaTikva, a working-class district where migrants are also settling in large numbers, offers passers-by “grilled kushi”, provocatively meaning “grilled blacks”, and suggests getting rid of the immigrants by throwing grenades at their tenements. In recent weeks, several homes and a kindergarten for Africans have been firebombed.

Liberal Israelis have staged anti-racist rallies. A generation after their arrival, over 120,000 Ethiopian Jews have been integrated. The country has received an estimated 60,000 black asylum-seekers. It is not the first to struggle when large numbers of people suddenly arrive.

On May 29th the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said he was adding African “infiltrators” to his list of threats to the Jewish homeland. He said he shared the rioters’ pain and promised to solve the problem by completing a wall along the border with Egypt. He said he would also build the world’s largest detention centre—and deport all those within, starting with the South Sudanese.

Until 2009 the 15,000 or so asylum-seekers entering via Sinai every year were banned from coming within a radius of 30km (19 miles) of Tel Aviv. Since the government revoked that order, the security forces, after catching immigrants crossing, verify their identity and then pack them off to Tel Aviv. Scores of destitute new arrivals bed down every night in a park near the main bus station.

Continue reading Israel and its black immigrants

A case of double standards

By Murtaza Razvi

It’s not only the West, but also Muslims who have double standards, Pakistanis and Arabs more so than others. While the West keeps mum over Israel’s excesses against Palestinians, its Nato ally Turkey’s suppression of Kurds, India’s policy towards Kashmiris, Bahrain’s and Saudi Arabia’s oppression of their Shia citizens, Western leaders cry from the rooftops for the rights of Syrian, Chinese, Iranian and North Korean people living under a tyranny.

The Yemeni president too comes across as an OK guy to Washington regardless of how much blood of his own people he has on his hands, but the Pakistan Army is singled out for assaulting the Baloch. The same army was a special, close ally outside Nato under Gen Musharraf, who had ordered the killing of the octogenarian Baloch leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti, and which in the first place sent Baloch nationalists into an open revolt against Islamabad. The US Congress back then did not give two hoots about the large number of Baloch youth who went ‘missing’— a euphemism for extra-judicial confinement or killing, which goes on in Balochistan. Ditto for the Guantanamo Bay inmates, who still languish in Camp X-Ray without trial.

And now about us and our double standards. We want our madressahs and hijabs and missionaries preaching in the UK, which readily obliges because it respects your right to practise your faith (France and even Turkey will not allow half as much freedom to their Muslim populations), but here in Pakistan we won’t have the Ahmadis call themselves Muslim even though they recite the same kalema and pray the same prayer; we won’t allow Christian missionaries either.

According to a thin but a loud minority in Pakistan, anyone who does not believe in the Taliban or the Saudi-like reading of Islam is a heretic, who must be converted or ‘banished to hell’, as the expression in Urdu goes. Farhat Hashmis of the world also go around preaching that even greeting a non-Muslim is akin to heresy.

The Gulf is another story altogether. Most our of brotherly oil-rich people — read very honourable men, for women hardly count — have their rules of engagement listed according to your nationalities, rather the race. A white man from the US, say a doctor, draws a much higher salary than his plebian Bangladeshi counterpart even if both are graduates of the same American medical school! But neither can go to church in the holy kingdom, for no such place exists there.

A friend narrates that whilst he was in Riyadha, a Hindu chap was picked by the religious police along with him because they were found loitering in the marketplace while a muezzin had already called the faithful to the prayer. The Muslim friend says that he went down on his knees and begged forgiveness for his felony from the officer who hit him on the head and let him go with a warning that next time Allah will not forgive him, while the Hindu fellow found himself in a bigger mess. When he, too, was tauntingly asked if he was Muslim, he replied in the negative and prompt came the next question in all its fury: ‘Why are you not Muslim?’ To which the poor chap had no answer. He too was eventually let go with a long and hard kick in the back, but with the warning that next time if he dared say he was a non-Muslim, he’d have to face a bit more than the wrath of Allah. This, my friend says, is not Islam but is definitely quite the Muslim conduct, for which many will, perhaps very wrongly, cite the backing of their religion.

Double standards abound. In the UAE Muslims can drink alcohol in a bar, but taking liquor is a punishable offence for them; in Qatar, it is your nationality, and not your faith, that decides whether you can legally consume alcohol: a Muslim from UAE, Turkey, Indonesia or India can, but a Muslim from Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia or Iran cannot.

Yes, Islam emphasises on equality in social justice, as was enshrined in the de facto constitution which the Prophet of Islam hammered out in consultation with all concerned, and which became the basis of running the first Islamic state at Madina. He declared the neighbouring Jews and Christian tribes with whom he entered into a truce as part of the Ummah, in which each individual was bound by the same set of rules, obligations and privileges regardless of his/her faith. This was a true pluralistic aspect of Islam which its Prophet implemented and enforced by consensus in his own lifetime in the 7th century CE.

Today the word Ummah has been robbed of its original meaning and popularly connotes Muslims only. Muslims who feel free to discriminate against non-Muslims in Muslim-majority countries, whilst demanding and enjoying equal rights in Muslim-minority countries. Thus, the modern pluralistic, secular state is more Islamic in its social justice regime than the few Islamic republics which have their minorities on tenterhooks.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

Musharraf’s Interview with Israeli Daily Haaretz

Relations with Israel could help Pakistan, says former president Musharraf

In his first interview with an Israeli newspaper, former president Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan tells Haaretz about Pakistan-U.S. relations, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and how he would solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

By Danna Harman

Excerpt;

And I have read about all the Israeli-Arab wars and that is how I know about Ariel Sharon,” he says. “I know how he contributed toward the victories of the Israelis. In every war it was his contribution that counted. Every time this man contributed. He is a great military leader … My admiration comes from a place of realistic assessment of his military exploits, which were very impressive. I think he was a great military commander and I appreciate that.” ….

Read more » Haaretz

The Long Overdue Palestinian State

By MAHMOUD ABBAS

Ramallah, West Bank:SIXTY-THREE years ago, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was forced to leave his home in the Galilean city of Safed and flee with his family to Syria. He took up shelter in a canvas tent provided to all the arriving refugees. Though he and his family wished for decades to return to their home and homeland, they were denied that most basic of human rights. That child’s story, like that of so many other Palestinians, is mine.

This month, however, as we commemorate another year of our expulsion — which we call the nakba, or catastrophe — the Palestinian people have cause for hope: this September, at the United Nations General Assembly, we will request international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and that our state be admitted as a full member of the United Nations.

Many are questioning what value there is to such recognition while the Israeli occupation continues. Others have accused us of imperiling the peace process. We believe, however, that there is tremendous value for all Palestinians — those living in the homeland, in exile and under occupation. …

Read more : The New York Times

UN investigator: Israel engaged in ethnic cleansing with settlement expansion

U.S. academic Richard Falk spoke to UN Human Rights Council as it prepared resolution condemning settlement building in East Jerusalem and West Bank.

By Reuters

Israel’s expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem and eviction of Palestinians from their homes there is a form of ethnic cleansing, a United Nations investigator said on Monday.

United States academic Richard Falk was speaking to the UN Human Rights Council as it prepared to pass resolutions condemning settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The “continued pattern of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem combined with the forcible eviction of long-residing Palestinians are creating an intolerable situation” in the part of the city previously controlled by Jordan, he said.

This situation “can only be described in its cumulative impact as a form of ethnic cleansing,” Falk declared. …

Read more : Haaretz

States formed on the basis of religion can never survive a peaceful future (Bertrand Russell) e.g Pakistan and Israel!

Gandhi’s Advice for Israelis and Palestinians

By ROBERT MACKEY

Writing from the West Bank town of Bilin, where there are weekly protests against the path of Israel’s separation barrier, my colleague Nicholas Kristof has sparked a discussion of “the possibility of Palestinians using nonviolent resistance on a massive scale to help change the political dynamic in the Middle East and achieve a two-state solution,” in a column and a blog post.

As my colleague Ethan Bronner reported in April, some Palestinians have explicitly endorsed just that approach and Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, visited Bilin three months ago. Mr. Gandhi toured the West Bank with Mustafa Barghouti, a leader of the Palestinian nonviolent movement who explained the approach in an interview on The Daily Show last year.

Although Mahatma Gandhi died in 1948, Pankaj Mishra pointed out in an essay last year on “the eerie echoes between the formative and postcolonial experiences of India and Israel” that the Indian leader did speak out against the resort to violence by both Jews and Arabs in mandatory Palestine in the 1930s and 1940s.

Gandhi told London’s Jewish Chronicle in an interview in 1931: “I can understand the longing of a Jew to return to Palestine, and he can do so if he can without the help of bayonets, whether his own or those of Britain… in perfect friendliness with the Arabs.”

In 1937, after Arabs tried to stop Jewish immigration to British-administered Palestine by force, Gandhi repeated his view that a homeland for Jews in the Middle East would only be possible “when Arab opinion is ripe for it.”

In his most extended treatment of the problem, an essay called “The Jews,” published in his newspaper Harijan in 1938, Gandhi began:

Several letters have been received by me, asking me to declare my views about the Arab-Jew question in Palestine and the persecution of the Jews in Germany. It is not without hesitation that I venture to offer my views on this very difficult question. My sympathies are all with the Jews.

That said, he counseled Jews in both Germany and Palestine to avoid violence, writing:

If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this, I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance but would have confidence that in the end the rest are bound to follow my example. […]

And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it in the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart. The same God rules the Arab heart who rules the Jewish heart.

Read more >> The New York Times

Ahmadis are Pakistan’s Palestinians!

I never really cared for Ahmadis – By Fasi Zaka

Tribune

I have never really been vocal about rights for Ahmadis, even privately, but my compassion trigger is easily pulled if there are atrocities against Pakistani Hindus and Christians. Part of this can be ascribed to my belief in the prejudice that the Ahmadis are a relatively well-off community, making the Christians and Hindus of Pakistan uniquely guilty of a double crime, first for not being Muslims and second for being poor. These two communities seem especially vulnerable. I have changed my mind. And it’s not because of the attack in Lahore that killed so many Ahmadis. The whole country, Muslim and non-Muslim, is under attack by the Taliban.

What really helped me see the inhuman treatment of the Ahmadis in Pakistan is the absence of condemnation for it. Nawaz Sharif in his condolence message said Ahmadis were our brothers; it’s been enough to get the Pakistani religious world on his case. While sympathy is not outlawed for Ahmadis, it may as well be.

Continue reading Ahmadis are Pakistan’s Palestinians!

The Earth Is Closing on Us – Mahmoud Darwish

The Earth Is Closing on Us

– Mahmoud Darwish, Translation by Abdullah al-Udhari
The earth is closing on us, pushing us through the last passage, and
we tear off our limbs to pass through.

The earth is squeezing us. I wish we were its wheat so we could die
and live again. I wish the earth was our mother

So she’d be kind to us. I wish we were pictures on the rocks for our dreams to carry As mirrors. We saw the faces of those to be killed by the last of us in the last defense of the soul.

We cried over their children’s feast. We saw the faces of those who’ll
throw our children Out of the windows of the last space. Our star will hang up in mirrors.

Where should we go after the last frontiers? Where should the birds fly after the last sky? Where should the plants sleep after the last breath of air? We will write our names with scarlet steam.

We will cut off the head of the song to be finished by our flesh.

We will die here, here in the last passage. Here and here our blood will plant its olive tree.

Continue reading The Earth Is Closing on Us – Mahmoud Darwish

Arab Israel conflict- Who is to blame?

by: Dr Nutan Thakur, Editor, Nutan Satta Pravah, Lucknow

So much has been written about the Arab-Israel conflicts. It is almost universally accepted that this small piece of the Land on the meeting point of the two continents of Asia and Africa is the greatest flash-point in the world- the most violent, volatile and dangerous one. While at the basic level, it is a dispute between Israel and Palestinians, on a broader level it can be extended and linked to the so-called “Clash of the Civilizations” as enunciated by Huntington. With wars in 1948 (the Arab-Israel war), 1967 (the six-day war),1973 ( Yom-Kippur war), 1982 (the Lebanese war), the first and the second Intifada (in 1987 and 2000 respectively) and an innumerable number of continuous attempts and counter-attempts, violent episodes, terrorist and extremist activities, civilian and military skirmishes one can easily gather the potentiality and intensity of these conflicts.

Continue reading Arab Israel conflict- Who is to blame?

Israeli barbarism in Gaza

By Dekel Avshalom in Israel

In a surprise attack last week, Israel’s air force infiltrated the Gaza Strip and started blasting away. On Saturday, the air force was accompanied by blasting from the navy and infiltration of tanks and foot soldiers into the Strip causing death and destruction in horrifying dimensions. Up to this time, the death toll for Palestinians stands at 526 people, with 2500 injured. Israeli officials, in particular Defense Minister Ehud Barak, keep reminding us that “this is just the beginning”. Israeli media is overjoyed in stressing the claim that the “majority” of the victims are Hamas soldiers. We do not exactly know how they define a “Hamas soldier”, but the fact that 107 of the murdered victims were children, makes it very hard for us to believe such claims. This attack is overwhelming in nature. It has been reported that since the 1967 war Israel had never used such a massive air attack.

This attack was preceded by a series of deceptive manoeuvres on the part of Israel in order to keep Hamas off guard. Israel kept up the pretence of negotiations on the ceasefire and even allowed goods to enter the Strip. This deception should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows Ehud Barak’s tactical mind. Just a short while ago, Barak used the same deceptive tactics in order to lull some entrenched Rightist Jewish settlers in Hebron before evacuating them by force.

A statesman in such a high position does not normally use such tactics unless he is desperate. And Barak’s desperation is what lies behind such an unprecedented attack. Barak apparently saved the attack for a special moment in which he could improve his position in the polls for the upcoming national elections. These polls consistently show that the party under his leadership will receive its lowest number of votes to date.

For a long time Barak postponed the attack so it would not seem that he was working under the pressure of his opponents. He wanted the credit all for himself. Now, the Israeli masses, worked up by the media, got what the media told them they wanted: revenge. Barak plans to surf on a wave of Palestinian blood into a position of larger number of seats in parliament.

In many ways, this attack has similarities with the Lebanese fiasco in 2006. It also is a staggering failure for Israel from the very moment it was concocted in the twisted minds of Barak and the army generals. Just as in Lebanon, also here the army has failed to stop the rocket launching into Israel. Hamas launched hundreds of them uninterruptedly, killing 3 Israelis in one day and wounding several others. It would also not be surprising if it comes out that the army wanted this result in order to incite Israelis against the Palestinians and to maintain support for the current operation. Just as in Lebanon, also here the operation has no concrete purpose. It is obvious that it cannot destroy Hamas, which will surely rearm itself within a few months of the operation ending. So it all seems just like an unleashing of random violence by the army for no obvious reason other than crude revenge. The difference between the current operation and the Lebanese one is that now the media is full of praises for the Defense Minister and the army on the exact level of performance that was shown in Lebanon.

Collaborating democracy with imperialism

How do we explain a situation where the Israeli masses have been whipped up into such a state of mind of a vengeful and shortsighted focus of their political worldview on “getting back” at the Palestinians? What should not be underestimated here is the psychological warfare the Israeli ruling elite has been waging against the Israeli masses. The media, the military and the politicians have been collaborating to create the impression that the rocket launching from the Gaza Strip has made the surrounding Israeli settlements look like a war zone. In actual fact, since 2004 to just before the recent operation began, the number of Israelis killed by such rockets is less than 15. To put things in perspective, the number of Israeli workers that died because of accidents in their workplaces during this period, was over 10 times that number. This number also resembles the number of Israelis that die in traffic accidents in less than two weeks. So if Barak is really so eager to protect Israeli lives through military means, he should be mobilising the air force against the Israeli bourgeoisie and the state bureaucrats responsible for transport safety rather than against the Palestinian masses!

The military is making the lives of the Israelis in the settlements around Gaza as fearful as it can be. It is inducing a feeling of panic among the public using every means including loud sirens, arbitrary “defence” measures such as ducking and hiding, and forcing people into bomb shelters, all in response to rockets that pose a minimal security threat. All this horror show is designed with one aim in mind: to make ordinary Israelis support the continuity of Israel’s control over Gaza, and thus to pressure or to help democratically elected politicians to fall in line with imperialist interests.

In the current economic crisis, control over Gaza is crucial to Israeli imperialism more than ever since the first Palestinian uprising in 1987. First of all, it satisfies the military’s hunger for state spending on arms. The military, and the politicians under its influence, have proven themselves eager to do battle in any period in which their fiscal prerogatives are at jeopardy.

The most crucial thing for Israeli imperialism, however, is to maintain stability for the “moderate” PLO in the West Bank which provide Israel with numerous resources in terms of one of the cheapest workforces in the world, a captive market that is dependent on absorbing Israel’s surpluses, and land and water resources that Israel desperately needs. It requires the “pacifying” of Gaza in order to make sure that the terrorism it hosts will not slide over into the West Bank and undermine the PLO regime.

This is not to say that Gaza is meaningless to Israel in its own right. Despite its massive levels of poverty, the fact that the Gaza masses depend on goods coming through Israel gives the Israeli capitalists an advantage in terms of a captive market as well, that is, as a long-term perspective. This may also explain why the Israeli army has made much more of an effort to destroy the tunnels that smuggle goods from Egypt than it has to destroy the rocket launchers which were the formal reason for the operation in the first place!

What does Hamas want?

Unlike common-sense economic reductionism held by many on the Left, terrorist groups don’t simply grow out of poverty. Just as the PLO, Hamas emerged from within the Palestinian petty bourgeoisie. They use the masses and their plight mostly as a tool to achieve their class interests which in this context usually include more lucrative jobs and positions. After Israel co-opted the PLO into collaboration with it in exchange for jobs created especially for the PLO members (the jobs created under the cloak of the “Palestinian Authority”), Hamas wanted its peace of the pie as well.

It started to gather support from many frustrated Palestinians in the face of the PLO’s betrayal using, among other things, vengeful acts of terrorism against Israelis. In parallel, it used similar tactics of terrorism in order to lure Israel into negotiating with it, carrying the risk of Israel’s military, rather than diplomatic, retaliation.

Just like Israel’s ruling class, Hamas also benefits from the occupation. It uses it in order to gather support by the same populist means of violent rhetoric and actions used by the Israeli politicians. It also enjoys political and economic benefits via its control over smuggling commodities into the Strip: just like Israel, it to can benefit from the captive market in Gaza.

In such a situation it is puzzling why, some among the international Left are tempted to take a supportive stance towards Hamas. They usually state that despite Hamas’ reactionary ideology, it should be supported because of its “progressive fight against Israeli imperialism”. The folly of such an idea becomes obvious if we look at Hamas from materialistic lines and ask ourselves what would happen if Hamas were to win this conflict? Will it weaken Israeli imperialism as the idealistic Leftists assume? A victory for Hamas could only mean that Israel would be forced to negotiate with it and give it similar political concessions as it gave to the PLO. The imperial relation of Israel towards the Palestinians may take a different form, but it will remain intact. Because under capitalism Palestine cannot be completely cut off from Israel, and will always be dependent on it, a national liberation movement that limits itself to struggling within the confines of capitalism cannot go in any other direction.

Furthermore, bourgeois or petit bourgeois national liberation leaders have usually tended to push the proletariat in the oppressed nation into accepting their leadership because they became aware of the potential power of the workers. Such was the alliance between the South African workers and the ANC leaders who brought down the apartheid regime. But Here, Hamas has made very little effort to create an alliance with the Palestinian workers. Until now it has mostly just harassed their trade unions. Hamas thus have only the power of terrorism and collisions with the Israeli army to get concessions from Israel. Relying on this broken reed, its “anti-imperialist” credentials appear as somewhat exaggerated.

Is there a way out?

We are entering yet another cycle of violence between Israel’s ruling class and Hamas. Such cycles began with Israel’s opening up to the PLO in 1994. Each cycle brings Israel to a more violent response. However, the army has no intention of remaining entangled in the Strip for too long. This operation may last a bit longer and be much more violent than its predecessors because Barak’s election campaign has to be taken into consideration. Although it is also true that once it ends, the operation always leaves behind the preconditions for the next operation.

The Zionist chauvinism that characterized the first days of the operation is gradually being replaced by fear of yet another debacle such as in Lebanon. Journalists are constantly asking political and military leaders for the actual goals which this operation intends to achieve. The answers are always vague and illusive, such as “to radically change the array of deterrence”. In that background, the announcement of Barak on Saturday was especially alarming. He said that the operation would take a long time and would have numerous victims. With no one knowing what this operation is for, this holds a puzzling future for the stability of the political system in Israel: after the chauvinism fades away, the death toll will keep increasing and many questions will be raised by the masses.

To the dismay of the Israeli ruling class, thousands of Jews and Palestinians came this Saturday to Tel Aviv for a mass demonstration against the war (see video below). This is unprecedented. In the Lebanese war it took two months of bloody entanglement for so many protestors to show up. The protestors were constantly harassed by Zionist counter-protests which show just how frightened they are of the emerging protest movement in Israel. Small as it is now, the Zionists are instinctively aware of the fact that it holds the only real key to their downfall.

As this website has repeated many times over, there cannot be a solution within the confines of bourgeois politics to this or any other major political conflict in the world. However, for the moment Israel and Palestine are deprived of any other form of politics. As long as this situation persists, these cycles of violence will continue. We can be sure, though, that from the impossibility of a solution to the situation under capitalism, new political forces are bound to emerge on both sides. The nature of these new forces is impossible to predict at this stage. But if they do not base themselves on the revolutionary collaboration of Israeli and Palestinian workers and poor against their mutual oppressors, no progressive change can be forthcoming from within the Israeli-Palestinian borders.

Tuesday, 06 January 2009

Courtesy: http://www.marxist.com/israeli-barbarism-in-gaza.htm

Israeli bombing, Hamas and Gaza

by Tarek Fatah

… As Palestinans die, we all suffer, but at some stage one has to ask, what have been doing wrong that even after 60 years we do not see anyhting other than sloganeering and suffering of common people. And now we hear the dead Hamas leader died alongisde two of his four wives. Is this how national liberation movement have been led anywhere else? Four wives?

Continue reading Israeli bombing, Hamas and Gaza