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75 Years of Israeli Violence against Palestinians

75 years since the Nakba, it is increasingly clear that Israel is a violent occupier of the Palestinian people. In the last three quarters of a century, it has also served the interests of U.S. imperialism and trained and aided other capitalist states in methods of violence and repression.

Samuel Karlin

May 14, 2023
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Over the last week, Israel has launched yet another round of bombings on Gaza. The attacks have destroyed civilian infrastructure and killed at least 31 Palestinians, many of them women and children. This terror is not the exception, but the rule of Israel’s history.

75 years ago, the apartheid state of Israel began its decades-long history of oppressing, occupying, and killing the Palestinian people. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to leave their homes at gunpoint, and to this day are fighting for the right to return. Israel has only taken more Palestinian land since the original expulsion in 1948.

The violence that the Israeli occupation forces use to enforce their colonial project has no limits. Israel deprives Palestinians of medicine, regularly murders Palestinian children and journalists, bombs Gaza while using it as an open-air prison for Palestinians, labels Palestinian NGOs as terrorist groups, attacks Palestinian mosques, and demolishes Palestinian homes, sometimes forcing Palestinians to destroy their homes themselves. These are all just a few examples of the constant horrors Israel inflicts on Palestinians.

Support for Palestine has long been suppressed in the United States. U.S. imperialism relies on Israel to maintain its interests in the Middle East. This is why Israel’s crimes are armed by the United States to the tune of $3.8 billion annually, while American critics of Israel often face retaliation from their workplaces and are smeared as antisemitic, despite antisemitism and anti-Zionism being completely different.

In recent years, however, the Palestinian cause has gained support even within the heart of imperialism. 2021 saw massive international mobilizations in solidarity with Palestine after attacks on the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah caught the world’s attention. The surge in support for Palestine came one year after the 2020 Black Lives Matter uprising which politicized many young people against racist state violence. Many activists connected the struggles of the Black working class in the United States to the Palestinian struggle, strengthening support for Palestine within the heart of imperialism.

But another reason that support for the Palestinian cause has grown is because Israel has grown increasingly shameless in its expansion of its reactionary, racist project. This is making it easier for anyone paying attention to see Israel for the settler-colonial project that it always has been. 75 years and the unflinching backing of the United States — world’s biggest imperialist power — have given time for the most racist, violent elements to fester. The regime, under the presidency of Benjamin Netanyahu, is currently governed by its most extremist cabinet in its history.

As Israel is increasingly being condemned by an international movement and even mainstream institutions like Amnesty International, and as even more reactionary figures take control of the project, the Zionist project is taking more abrasive measures to maintain itself. Even the bourgeois press and top officials in the Biden administration have had to condemn the escalation of Zionist settler violence at the start of this year. Of course, the condemnation from the U.S. and bourgeois papers is about concern for the stability of the Zionist project and how the Far Right is disrupting imperialism’s interests. Still, this is a testament to just how extreme Israel has become.

Beyond posing a greater threat to the Palestinian people, Israel’s Far Right has shown itself to be especially escalatory towards Iran, the main rival to U.S. imperialism in the region. As Israel acts more aggressively, it pushes conflict with Iran in a direction that could spark a regional war, which would have the support of some sectors of U.S. imperialism. In this way, Israel not only poses an increasingly dire threat to the Palestinian people, but to all the people of the Middle East who might be dragged into a regional war.

Israel has also become an exporter of state repression. It is a leader in surveillance technology and violent policing tactics. After 75 years of testing its repressive measures on Palestinians, Israel now provides its expertise to U.S. police and border patrols. Israeli surveillance software has been used in some of the most egregious examples of state surveillance against political dissidents.

Every day that the project of Israel continues is a day that threatens the lives of Palestinians and advances the worst forms of state repression internationally. Israel continues to be an integral asset to U.S. imperialism’s interests. For these reasons, there can be no internationalism or anti-racism without solidarity with the Palestinian cause against the apartheid state. This is why, as a socialist group in the heart of imperialism, Left Voice stands in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle in all its forms, from militant self-defense to the BDS movement, from the mass protests to their general strikes.

However, this fight must be taken within the framework of class independence from all imperialist and regional bourgeoisies. Therefore, we believe that only a workers’ government — made up of Arabs, Jews, and all those who are against the colonial state — can guarantee that Palestinian and Jewish people live in peace, as they did for centuries before the imperialist offensive. This is the strategy we put forward in our Fighting Program for a Free Palestine.

After three quarters of a century of the violent Israeli project in service of U.S. imperialism, it is just as essential as it has ever been to remember the Nakba and fight for Palestinian liberation.

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Samuel Karlin

Samuel Karlin is a socialist with a background in journalism. He mainly writes for Left Voice about U.S. imperialism and international class struggle.

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