Let us stop the brutal aggression by Israel against the Palestinian people

July 08, 2006

For a week the State of Israel has been carrying out a military
incursion in Palestine. During the last few days Prime Minister
Olmert has declared that he will continue and broaden their
offensive. On Wednesday, July 5, Israeli troops began to occupy
northern Gaza, and the Palestinian Ministry of the Interior was
shelled. At the same time, the border crossing of Erez has been kept
closed, leaving nearly a million and a half Palestinians isolated and
in some cases without electric lights.

- 1 In the early morning of June 28, less than 10 months after
its "unilateral withdrawal," the State of Israel launched a brutal
military attack with shelling and missiles against the Gaza Strip and
the Palestinian people. The operation, known as "Summer Rain," began
with a siege by land, air and water, and the re-invasion of the
supposedly autonomous Palestinian territory of Gaza, with around
5,000 soldiers and 100 tanks.

With a clear policy of "collective punishment," the Israeli troops
destroyed civilian infrastructure, like bridges and the main power
plant, leaving more than a half million Palestinians without water
and light, and, with the collaboration of the Egyptian police, they
left the population virtually imprisoned, without the ability to
leave the Gaza Strip. Artillery helicopters even flew over the
residence of Syrian President Bashal al-Assad, in Damascus, whom
Israel accuses of giving protection to the political leader of Hamas,
Khaled Mesha, exiled in Syria. In an act without precedent, Ehud
Olmert’s Israeli government ordered the kidnapping of about one-third
of the government ministers of the Palestinian Authority, led by
Hamas, among them the Vice Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance
and the Minister of Labor, besides 30 members of parliament and
officials, and launched an attack with missiles against the office of
Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh. Although Olmert, of the Kadimah
party, won the elections by talking about completing the "unilateral
withdrawal" on the West Bank, and Amir Peretz, a "left-wing" Labor
Party politician and present minister of defense, declared himself in
favor of "peace," this military escalation shows once again that the
present Zionist government has no substantial differences with the
hawks of the right-wing Likud. While a small minority of pacifists
have mobilized in repudiation of these attacks, as they are doing
against building the security wall, the different wings of the
parties that dominate Israeli politics are for keeping the
Palestinian people subjugated.

- 2 This savage aggression by the State of Israel was preceded by a
sustained economic and military offensive that broke out again during
the month of June. Among the main attacks by Israeli troops are
included: the murder on June 8 of Jamal Abu Samhadana, who had been
named by the Hamas government as Chief of the Palestinian Police in
Gaza; the missile attack against a Gaza beach full of Palestinian
families, in which 8 people died, 5 of them children, and more than
30 were wounded; the missile attack against the civilian population
of Gaza City on June 13, in which 11 Palestinians died, 2 of them
children; regular air attacks against refugee camps like that of
Jabalya and Khan Yunis. According to Israeli human rights
organizations, altogether 49 Palestinians were murdered between June
1 and 25 by Zionist troops and almost 4,000 since September, 2000.

As a response to this escalation, Palestinian militias and the
military wing of Hamas considered the cease-fire that they had
maintained for 18 months, to be over. On June 25, during an attack on
a checkpoint of the Israeli army, a Palestinian group took the
soldier Gilad Shalit prisoner. In exchange for his release, they
sought freedom for 500 prisoners, 400 minors and 100 women, among the
more than 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners.

- 3 The Zionist state used the liberation of the soldier Shalit as a
pretext for launching the present military aggression. However,
Israel’s escalation of its acts of war exposed its true intentions:
attacking the Palestinian government of Hamas, to force Hamas to
capitulate completely to Israeli occupation or even, possibly, the
fall of Hamas. Since Hamas won the legislative elections by a wide
margin on January 25, 2006, a victory because of the military,
political and moral bankruptcy of the historical Palestinian
leadership, Al Fatah, and its leftist versions, DFLP, PFLP, etc., the
United States, the European Union, the Arab governments, and the
Chairman of the Palestinian Authority himself, the conciliator
Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), have been putting unbearable pressure on
the Palestinian government led by Hamas, seeking its collapse.

Precisely the post of Prime Minister had been imposed by the United
States and the famous "Quartet," which included the European Union,
Russia and the United Nations, to marginalize the then-Chairman,
Yasser Arafat, and permit power to be concentrated in those
Palestinian leaders willing to accept the imperialist plan for
Palestine. But the calculation turned out badly and Mahmoud Abbas
lost the elections because of his conciliatory policy with the State
of Israel. The Hamas victory exposed the enormous hypocrisy of US and
European imperialism, which only favors "democracy" as a form of
legitimizing its internal agents and collaborators, like Chairman
Abbas of Al Fatah.

The first act of blackmail was the suspension of international
financing, on which in large part the survival of the Palestinian
people depends, since they are condemned by Israel to be deprived of
their resources and must work as cheap labor in Israeli cities. The
State of Israel also suspended payment of the taxes it is obliged to
return to the Palestinian government. This situation of economic
strangulation nearly paralyzed the Palestinian Authority: in the last
five years around 150,000 employees of the Palestinian Authority have
been unable to collect their wages regularly, which puts the source
of survival of around a million people at risk.

Then they tried to make control of the security forces and formation
of a future army the possession of the executive branch of the
Palestinian Authority, in the hands of Al Fatah, taking this function
away from the Hamas government.

This situation resulted in confrontations between Al Fatah and Hamas
and deepened the divisions between the political wing of Hamas, more
inclined to accept negotiations, and the military wing of Hamas.

- 4 Chairman Abbas, trying to derive an advantage from this chaotic
situation, pressured Hamas to accept a document, written by
Palestinian leaders imprisoned in Israel, in which building a
Palestinian semi-state in the territories occupied at present is
accepted, an implicit recognition not only of the State of Israel but
also of its territorial conquests up to the Six-Day War in 1967;
resistance against Israel would be limited only to the occupied
territories, the formation of a "national unity government" is called
for, and only the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Abbas
are authorized to negotiate in the name of the whole Palestinian
people. Faced with Abbas’ threat to call a referendum on this
document, the Hamas government ended up accepting and signing it.
Thus the political wing of Hamas renounced one of the foundational
demands of the Palestinian national liberation movement, following
the path of capitulation traveled earlier by the PLO itself, which,
under Arafat’s leadership, ended up surrendering the struggle of the
Palestinian people and their legitimate right to national self-
determination, in the Oslo accords, by accepting the so-called "two-
state solution."

- 5 This, however, was not enough for the Olmert government, which is
trying to extract bigger concessions with the military escalation of
the last few days, like, for example, explicit recognition of the
Zionist state by Hamas and the most radicalized sectors. Resorting
once more to the brutal methods of occupation armies, the Zionist
state is trying to break the will of the Palestinian population
to resist, through hunger, lack of water and electricity, attacks
against cities and densely populated zones like the Gaza refugee
camps, murdering popular leaders, women and children, preventing
the Palestinians even from being able to work for miserable wages in
Israel. The Zionist state continues to build the separation wall that
surrounds Palestinian cities, openly showing its racist and
colonialist character, and moving forward with its plan to annex to
the borders of Israel, once and for all, the territories occupied by
the settlers’ communities in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

- 6 The so-called "two-state solution" has proven to be fatal for the
Palestinian people. From the signing of the Oslo agreements in 1994,
passing through the "road map" to the "unilateral withdrawal" by
Sharon and Olmert, the "two-state solution" has always had as its
premise the renunciation by the Palestinian people of their most
fundamental democratic rights like the right of thousands of
Palestinian refugees expelled from their lands by the Zionist state,
to return, and the right to have their own state in the whole of its
historic territory. The supposed "Palestinian state" would be no more
than a series of isolated cities, encircled by the security wall,
lacking both territorial continuity and economic viability, without
the possibility of controlling its borders or scarce resources like
water. The obvious conclusion is that the democratic rights of the
Palestinian people are incompatible with the existence of the Zionist
state, a racist and colonial enclave, founded in 1948 on the basis of
expulsion and ethnic cleansing of the Arab population that was living
in Palestine. As a result of different wars, like the so-called "war
of independence" in 1949 or the Six-Day War in 1967, and of its
policy of occupying territories with settlers of the extreme
religious right, Israel has continued extending its borders,
incorporating each time more parts of the so-called occupied
territories. The State of Israel is an unconditional ally of the
United States, which has financed and armed it with nuclear weaponry,
to act as a gendarme for imperialist interests against the peoples of
the Middle East. Faced with this reality of oppression and
capitulation by the historic bourgeois nationialist leaderships, like
the PLO, radical Islamic organizations like Hamas, that propose
resistance against the occupation, have grown stronger. As
revolutionaries, we defend the militants of the Palestinian
resistance against the Zionist state, and also the right of the
Palestinian people to choose its own government, but we clearly state
that the strategy of the Islamic leaderships, like Hamas, of
transforming Palestine into a theocratic state, is completely
reactionary. This strategy not only destroys basic democratic
liberties, but the illusory idea of a "community of believers,"
conceals the obscene class divisions in Islamic societies, and is
against the working class, at the head of the oppressed masses of the
region, confronting imperialism and its local servant governments
with independent politics. Against this policy that leads the
struggle for national liberation to a dead end, we revolutionary
Marxists are for the destruction of the reactionary Zionist state of
Israel, and for the establishment of a workers’ and socialist
Palestine, where Arabs and Jews can live together in peace, with the
perspective of a Socialist Federation of the Middle East, as the only
progressive solution to the brutal oppression that the Palestinian
masses are suffering.

Right now, it is essential to promote the broadest unity of action in
defense of the Palestinian people. What is needed is a workers’ and
popular mobilization, not only in the Middle East, but on an
international level, to condemn and stop the Israeli military attack.