Middle East

On the Confrontations in Gaza and the West

July 08, 2007

Down with the economic, political and military blockade of Gaza and the democratically elected government of Hamas!

No separation of Gaza and the West

Down with the collaborationist leadership of Abbas, agent of the Zionist state of Israel and the United States!

Imperialists out of Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and the whole Middle East.

On Thursday, Hamas militiamen captured the last bastion of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, his residence and installations located on the Mediterranean coast of Gaza after negotiations with his guards. With the conquest of this position, the militiamen of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) have finalized control over the Gaza Strip, a territory of 330 square kilometers and a million and a half inhabitants after five days of bloody combat with the militiamen and security forces of Fatah.
In marked demonstration of the new reality on the ground, a masked combatant of Hamas sat at the desk of the president of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Mahmoud Abbas, known also as Abu Mazen and declared an end to the Western-backed authority in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in turn, dissolved the national unity government formed by the nationalist movement Fatah and the Islamist Hamas and has appointed an emergency cabinet lead by the economist and ex-World (anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-Bank)))))))))))))) official Salam Fayad who holds scarcely any support among the Palestinian masses.
Change in the relation of forces in the Palestinian territories.

The events in the Gaza Strip point to a change in the relation of forces in the Palestinian territories. After the latest provocation in which the Abbas’s presidential guard forces [1] attacked the home of the prime minister Haniye, Hamas, aware of the weakness of Fatah, confidently took the offensive.

From their perspective, these gains in terrain, aim to pressure Fatah into ceding a majority of control over the Palestinian security forces, which at the same time means controlling the direct and indirect tax collection and international aid which represents the principal source of resources for the PNA. Despite coming to power after a decisive victory in the legislative elections of January 2006, Hamas has been unable to move forward in its ultimate goal of replacing Fatah as the principal Palestinian political actor. This is primarily due to the absolute opposition of the “international community†which applied severe sanctions intensifying the suffering of the population, blocking international aid, and holding back, among other things, the payment of salaries for state workers which translated into various strikes. Despite not sharing the same strategic orientation towards the region, the imperialist governments as a whole, in particular the U.S. and the major powers of the E.U. agreed to build an iron circle around Hamas in order to break the democratically elected Palestinian leadership throughout the PNA territories. What’s more, Fatah’s control of the presidency and therefore the security forces (the very same which the historical party of Arafat tried to use to dissolve the armed organizations linked to Hamas, which Haniye of course rejected) forced Hamas to give in and share power, in spite of having a clear majority in Parliament and form a national unity government together with Fatah in March of this year. With these latest actions, Hamas tries to impose its authority in Gaza and to extend its influence into the West (anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-Bank)))))))))))))).

Strengthened by the support of Syria and Iran, Hamas has ended its defensive attitude towards Fatah. The lack of credibility in the historical leadership of the national Palestinian movement after the announced collapse of the Oslo process of which it was the principal author and which lead to the present situation, its collaboration with the CIA and the Mossad (the Israeli intelligence agency) against Hamas and the fact that an incursion into the Gaza Strip by Israel to contain Hamas would be perceived in the territories and the entire Arab world as a rescue by the Zionist state of Fatah, encouraged the party of Haniye to advance. With this in mind, Hamas believed Abbas would have no alternative but to negotiate and agree to their demands in order to avoid a civil war. It also hoped to demonstrate that a continued embargo against its democratically elected government could only create more problems and prepare the ground for the militia and criminal groups to enroot themselves. Its aim is to be seen as a determined political force by the imperialist states and could force them to negotiate in order to avoid an even greater revolt. It is believed that the main gang, Dugmush, has aligned with militants linked to Al Qaeda. It suffices to consider a few examples to see how Hamas seeks to position itself as a serious negotiating partner towards the imperialist powers: it announced a few hours after controlling the entire Gaza Strip its willingness to free the kidnapped BBC journalist. Days before, it distanced itself from the Fatah al-Islam militias, a group that carries out adventurist actions and it is concentrated in the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp (Lebanon), which means that it has joined to the sacred union behind the government of Siniora as the PLO had already done [2]. However the initial responses of Abbas, the U.S., the E.U., and the Israeli state have not played out as Hamas expected.

Hamas accepted many concessions to Israel but was backed into a corner by the positions of the U.S. and the Zionist state which incited civil war.

The PNA, the government and the Palestinian National Assembly (parliament) are all creations of the Oslo Accords and not only recognize the state of Israel but fortify its control over the West (anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-Bank)))))))))))))) and Gaza. This facade of government does not exercise the slightest sovereignty, does not possess an Army, does not have control over its own borders, does not have independent income, etc. Hamas’ shift from a resistance movement against the Israeli occupation [3] to participating in the material results of the Oslo Accords signals a move towards the movement’s accommodation and gradual abandonment of its initial strategy.

This accommodation after its electoral triumph in January 2006 was taken further in the face of enormous international pressure.

As the Economist notes “Moreover, it did start groping, albeit in a maddeningly crabwise manner, towards meeting those conditions. On the question of ending violence (the first of the three big ones), it had generally upheld a unilateral ceasefire which it unwisely broke earlier this year because, it says, of Israel killing too many Palestinians; and it has stopped its vile habit of suicide-bombings. At a meeting in February in Mecca, under the auspices of Saudi Arabia, as part of its agreement to join a Palestinian government of national unity with Fatah, Hamas said it would “honour†previous agreements made by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (the second big demand), which in turn implied at least a de facto recognition of Israel (the third and perhaps most momentous demand) [4].

Throughout the Mecca accords, sponsored by Saudi Arabia, which gave way to the formation of to the now-defunct national unity government, Hamas spoke not of liberating the whole of Palestine but rather only a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. But in spite of this accomodationist shift under the pressure of the “international community†and the Zionist state, the formation of this government was openly boycotted by Israel which refused to recognize it and levelled sanctions, encouraged by the stance of the US and the conservative and pro-Zionist American Right-wing. Deterred by the military failure in Iraq and that of the Zionist army in Lebanon to impose a relation of forces in its favour, the US as well as Israel have tried to prevent other regional actors from taking advantage by applying the traditional colonialist policy of divide and rule, sometimes with results other than those expected [5], such as the current military offensive by Hamas in Gaza or the failure that present chaos in Iraq has created for the US administration. The US has done all it could to avoid both defeats being taken advantage of by the mass movements of the region. It conceded, in part, control of operations for the occupation of Lebanon to the EU, supported by the Siniora government to contain Hezbollah at all cost. In Iraq, however, its policy is based on the wearing down of the strength of the mass movement and encouraging the viscous cycle of ethnic and inter-religious confrontations in order to limit the impact on the American and British occupation forces from the legitimate Iraqi resistance, which has as its principal target the occupiers and their local allies in the puppet government and the security forces. In the case of Gaza and the West (anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-Bank)))))))))))))) they have looked to divide the Palestinian national movement.

This policy has come out following declarations made by the former UN Middle East envoy, à lvaro de Soto, to the British newspaper The Guardian [6], during the confrontations in the Gaza Strip. “Disappointed and frustrated, de Soto presented a devastating account of the conflict in Middle East, in a confidential document that it is not intended for publication. It is dated May 5 this year, just before Mr de Soto stepped down and tow years as a UN’s Middle East envoy. In Mr de Soto’s "End of Mission Report", he condemns US, Europe and the UN for the Middle East failures. Mr de Soto blames Bush administration as the main responsible and condemns the Bush Administration for pursuing a policy that lead to a deadlock situation. He also argues that it is systematically promoting radicalism and pushing violence between the Palestinian people that ended in an Islamist offensive by Hamas.

What is à lvaro de Soto arguing? The chaos and violence are not only linked to a corrupt Al Fatah ruling, but also to the extremely short-sighted position adopted by the international community after Hamas won elections last year. He blames overwhelming influence exerted by the US, aligned with Israel, for opposing “constructive ambiguities†- the only way to convert Islamists to realpolitik - and for promoting confrontation between Hamas and Al Fatah. In the report, the former UN Middle East envoy, echoes a senior US envoy who said, referring to fratricide fighting, “I like this violence†, convinced that it would have lead to the defeat of Hamas.

American’s obstinacy lead to failure Palestinian National Unity Government and hindered Saudi proposal of a global agenda for peace based on complete normalization of relations between Arab countries and Israel as an exchange for the creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. Mr de Soto stated that it is more and more difficult to achieve a Palestinian state - moreover, it is impossible - and condemned the situation in Gaza, which he refers as an “open air prison†. The UN official criticized a facto accompli policy and that the UN has treated Israel with extreme consideration, moreover, in a very kind way. His report continues: “I don’t think that Israel is doing any favour to Israel by not being honest and open about Israel’s mistakes in the peace process†[7].

The American and Zionist strategy: continue the isolation
Tel Aviv, together with Washington and the EU has without wasting time, redoubled its efforts against Hamas [8]. The US and EU lifted the embargo which prevented aid to the PNA in a quick and clear show of support for the battered president Abbas who unconstitutionally dissolved the government of Haniye and did not vacillate in officially declaring a state of emergency in the territories still under its control as well as the outlawing of Hamas’ armed brigades. It additionally dissolved the National Security Council, lead by Mohammed Dahlan (a figure in Fatah hated by Hamas), leaving open the possibility of an eventual negotiation between both factions, conscious that the separation of the PNA into two territorial entities would allow Israel to avoid all serious negotiation on a Palestinian state and would weaken both parties. Not by accident did Israel free up to $850 million withheld in taxes demanding Abbas take the strategic decision to completely cut all ties with Hamas. Thus, the American and European imperialists with their endorsement seek to create a Palestinian government totally docile to its dictates while isolating Hamas internationally and forcing its economic collapse. The US has already asked Egypt to reinforce control of the border in order to stop the crossing of contraband of all sorts, especially arms.

One of the principal limitations of this orientation lies in the fact that Israel has since the clear defeat of its army in Lebanon found itself in the midst of a considerable crisis. The disaster of August of last year highlighted a multifaceted crisis which has its roots in the relatively delicate economic, political and geopolitical situation of the country.

The National Unity Government lead by Olmert is challenged by the right wingers, in particular because of its policies in Lebanon. By referring to the situation in Gaza as anarchy, the right wing is promoting bloodshed in the region. The Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu have spoken in favour of an Israeli invasion in Gaza with the aim of defeating Hamas. This situation is more critical due to the resignation of Katzav - accused of corruption - who, in turn, has been replaced by one of the architects of Oslo, Shimon Perez, and a corrupt leader of the Labour Party, who is in favour or a more diplomatic solution in Palestine.
This had not prevented the Israeli Defence Forces from encircling the Gaza Strip as of 17 June in order to besiege the entire territory which is now clearly in the hands of Hamas and at the same time declaring the total blockade of all fuel bound for Gaza [9].
The reactionary governments of the region which make up the Arab League have meanwhile rushed to support the “legitimate†government of Abbas. Once more, the Arab states demonstrate their true character and reveal themselves to be the greatest allies of US imperialism and the Zionist state.

In short, the emerging American strategy is to box in Hamas-led Gaza, while attempting to prop up Abbas as the moderate leader able to “govern†and achieve peace with Israel, although it must be acknowledged that the Americans are in no condition to impose many things on the Israelis after this latest failure [10]. It remains to be seen how its plans against the national liberation aspirations of the Palestinian people are finalized in the Washington meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and the US president George W. Bush whose focus will certainly be the events in Palestine.

Down with the reactionary plans of Israel, endorsed by the US and EU!

Thus, the Zionist state seeks to move ever closer to its ultimate objective of isolating the militias in Gaza and constructing an enormous barrier of three separated blocs in the West (anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-Bank)))))))))))))), annexing all the best land and leaving the Palestinians with these “Bantustans†. This farce of a state will be a series of overpopulated and disconnected cantons with the majority of the land of poor quality without access to the water sources, crossed by Israeli military routes and militarized settlements. It will be susceptible to constant military interventions by the IDF in addition to being economically unviable and dependent on international aid for survival.

Towards this reactionary program we state:

Down with the economic, political and military blockade of Gaza and the democratically elected government of Hamas! No separation of Gaza and the West (anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-Bank))))))))))))))! Down with the collaborationist leadership of Abbas, agent of the Zionist state, the U.S. and E.U. which though its cooperation, weakens and divides the Palestinian masses.

The political orientation of Hamas, despite their armed resistance to Israel leads the Palestinian national liberation struggle to a dead end by fighting for a theocratic state, preventing them from (anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-winning))))))) over the majority of the Palestinian masses, especially the secular, Christian and non-fundamentalist Islamic elements. At the same time, it defends the collaboration of classes and negotiation with the local bourgeoisie and the reactionary Arab states of the region, from the current opponents of Washington such as Syria and Iran to the most pro-American countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Hamas, because of its petit bourgeois and clerical character is against the independent organisation of the masses and instead of trusting in the independent mobilisation of the Arab working class, as any truly revolutionary leadership would do it - the only force which can defeat the Zionist state. We revolutionary Marxists oppose this false road and advance the only true solution: the destruction of the reactionary Zionist state of Israel. We maintain that a secular, democratic and non-racist Palestine is only possible through a workers’ and socialist Palestine where Arabs and Jews can live side by side in peace in the whole of the historical territory of Palestine (which includes present-day Israel as well as Gaza and the West (anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-(anti-spam-Bank))))))))))))))) and the prospect of a Federation of Socialist Republics of the Middle East.

No deployment of an “international peacekeeping force†to Gaza as proposed by Italy, which has already sent a significant contingent to Lebanon under the government of Prodi. Imperialists out of Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and the whole Middle East! The working class and the youth, in particular in the imperialist countries, beginning with those sectors of the vanguard who demonstrated recently against the Bush’s tour of Europe and the G8 of Rostock must take up these demands, use their own class instruments and resolvedly place themselves on the side of the Palestinian people and the resisting masses of the region against US imperialism, and the powers of the EU and Tel-Aviv.