The differences between the Israeli government and the White House over the new settlements of Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem (an area of the Palestinian population) that caused the most severe crisis in relations between these allies for decades, were raised in a meeting between Netanyahu and Obama in Washington on March 23 and 24. While President Obama was asking for “gestures” and an Israeli commitment to “freeze” the new settlements, the Jerusalem city government was announcing that the historic Hotel Shepherd, in the eastern part of the city, would be demolished, in order to build 20 new buildings for settlers, which constitutes a new attack on the Palestinians, and, in fact, a defiant stance by means of a “fait accompli” towards the US government’s policy of resuming some kind of negotiations with the Palestinian authorities through the “two-state” proposal. At press time, the result of the meeting in Washington was still unknown, so we will present an analysis in the next issue of La Verdad Obrera. Next, we report on the significance of the policy of settlements for settlers that Israel has been implementing in Palestinian territories.
The announcement by Netanyahu’s government that it would build 1400 apartments intended for putting new Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem is a new step forward in the strategy of the State of Israel, based on the colonization of Palestinian lands through hundreds of settlements that already house more than a half million settlers, which is a new, effective demonstration of the actual inviability of establishing real peace accords between Israelis and Palestinians based on the two-state proposal.
The Palestinian people’s right to claim East Jerusalem as their capital city collides with Netanyahu’s announcement, that is only the prelude to a plan to build 50,000 housing units with Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem, with the aim of demolishing the Palestinian neighborhoods of that Arab area (even the historic construction from the time of King Saladin during the Crusades), occupied through blood and fire by the Israelis in the 1967 Six Day War. Although after that war the Jewish state moved forward by confiscating 87% of East Jerusalem, Netanyahu’s initiative aims at expelling the 245,000 Palestinians who live in the remaining 13%, making Jerusalem “the total, indivisible and eternal Jewish capital,” as the Menachem Begin government certified with legal status in 1980.
The situation on the West Bank, where Netanyahu plans to build 73,000 living units, according to the Israeli group Shalom Achshav [“Peace Now”] is similar. In that region, the Zionists moved forward by taking 50% of Palestinian land by force, establishing 120 official settlements, plus a hundred unofficial ones, with thousands of Orthodox Jews, armed to the teeth. Those settlements are interconnected around Maale Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel, the three biggest Jewish cities, that define a system of roads controlled by the Israeli army, which restricts the movement of the 2.5 million Palestinians of the West Bank, by every type of obstacle. The US has been financing the building of these settlements for 42 years.
The situation turns out to be worse in Gaza, an open-air ghetto of 360 square kilometers, separated from the West Bank, where 1.5 million Palestinians live packed in together and isolated from the world by the Zionist blockade they have suffered under for three years.
Even if the State of Israel were to agree to “freeze” the new settlements, how is it possible to establish an independent Palestinian state in two small strips of land without territorial unity, crossed by hundreds of Zionist settlements and the Apartheid Wall, without the right to have its own armed forces, where control of the borders, of energy and water is monopolized by the Jewish state? What kind of independent state could Palestine be without the right of return for the 4 million Palestinians who live in the diaspora? The hypothetical creation of that “independent Palestinian state” in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem would be a political fraud by imperialism and its Zionist allies against the national interests of the Palestinian people.
For a workers’ and socialist Palestine
In 1947, the UN enacted the partition of Palestine, by granting the Zionist settlers, who formed less than a third of the population, more than half of the territory. But since its foundation in 1948, the Jewish state has expanded by occupying 80% of historic Palestine. Consequently, this colonialist policy has been inherent in the nature of the State of Israel since its very beginning, based on an army of permanent occupation that maintains perpetual war against the oppressed Arab peoples of the Middle East, depending on the needs of US imperialism. An artificial state, powerfully armed with a nuclear arsenal, which threatens not only the Palestinian people, but the rest of the peoples of the region.
The capitulation of Al Fatah, the governing party in the Palestinian Authority, by recognizing the State of Israel, with the acceptance of the two-state proposal, after Yasser Arafat signed the 1993 Oslo Accords, can in no way be overcome by Hamas and its reactionary policy in pursuit of an Islamic state based on the Sharia [Islamic law], which discriminates against Christian Arabs, women and homosexuals, and is a barrier preventing Jewish workers from breaking with Zionism and its bellicose policy.
We socialists of the PTS are fighting for the destruction of the State of Israel, in order to end this colonialist and racist policy, through a workers’ and socialist Palestine occupying all of its historical territory, in which Palestinians and Jews will live together, the only solution to guarantee entirely and effectively both the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and the genuine aspirations for peace between Arabs and Jews, an aim that can only be achieved with the mobilization of the workers and peasants expelling imperialism from the Middle East.