The catastrophic escalation [of the Israeli army in Gaza] comes after a long period of struggling between Israel’s military and Hamas. Due to its commitment to the US imperialism and its loyalty to the Bush administration which carries forward the Road Map plan, Israel refused to acknowledge the Islamic rule in Gaza strip and accept the Hamas proposal for Hudna, ceasefire, which meant recognition of Hamas rule.
Under the imperialist pressure, Israel has been willing to negotiate only with Fatah, which is very weak… The influence and support given to the Fatah amongst the Palestinian masses was heavily reduced after the party accepted negotiations with Israel although there was no commitment from Israel to evacuate all settlements as it promised to do since September 1993, stop the expansion of the current ones as it committed to do for years, accept the partition of Palestine into two sovereign states and agree to the establishment of two capitals in Jerusalem/Al-Quds.
In spite of all placatory rhetoric of Hamas, it was clear-cut that any concession it might give — e.g. no more firing on the Southern cities of Israel in return to an end of Israel’s military actions — would have to be accompanied by a de facto recognition by Israel of the legitimacy of the ruling murderous clique of Hamas. That was the diplomatic achievement Hamas wanted. The Israeli government, ruled by the neo-liberals of Kadima and the collapsing Israeli Labour, advanced military operations in order to intimidate Hamas and bring about an end to the daily abuse of inhabitants of Sderot city. Israel wanted to avoid the political implication of recognising the rule of Hamas, a step that will completely undermine Fatah.
The firing at the city of Ashkelon saw Hamas testing Israeli patience and, while completely ignoring the suffering of the unemployed, impoverished and tortured masses of Gaza, carried forward a severe attack on Israel. Hamas, basing itself upon massive financial and military support from Iran and Syria, clarified here that it is willing to fight Israel by massacring its citizens until its rule is recognised and as long as Israeli occupies the West Bank. Support to Hamas was given also by the Hezbollah, whose leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasarallah, has been declaring recently his organization’s intentions to destroy Israel completely, in spite of the fact that there is no Israeli presence in Lebanon.
There is no doubt that Israel — after years of refusing to accept the formula of two states in the historic territory Palestine — is responsible for the tragedy; not only the Palestinian tragedy but also the tragedy of the abused people of Sderot and Ashkelon.
During the late 1970s and the mid-1980s, Israel helped build Hamas as alternative to the PLO, hoping it would bring about internal factional struggle within the Palestinian national movement. However, no matter what the Israeli ruling elites have done in the past, Hamas represents a reactionary tendency in which jihad as political and military strategy plays a crucial role in the struggle against the Zionist and Jewish “heretics”. Hamas has no will to compromise with Israel or bring about genuine progress and tranquility. It is willing to transform every Palestinian girl and every Arab baby into a martyr, a living bomb, a trained soldier in the army of Allah. This is a recipe for bloodbath, the same one that exists in today’s Iraq which is torn into pieces by the Islamists and the armed phalanges.
Decades of brutal oppression and expropriation of Palestinian lands, along with dozens of barriers within the West Bank and miserable life in refugees’ camps, has brought the masses to express their despair, by voting to the Hamas, considering it as the best oppositionist to Israel. However, the Palestinians will not win their liberation by allying with the coarsest reactionaries and abandoning the secular and democratic program of Fatah. Their misery, hardship and poverty will not be removed by armed struggle against the Israeli poor. The inhabitants of Sderot are not settlers; they’re not war criminals. They’re not the problem of the Palestinians. They have lived in terrible economic condition for decades, discriminated by the Israeli bourgeoisie. Most of them are first, second and third generation of Jews who migrated to Israel from North African countries like Morocco and Tunisia.
An armed resistance, if it is to bring about positive outcomes, is justified only against the occupying army or the settlers’ movement while the strategy is directed at liberating the masses and founding a democratic state. South Africa, despite all of its problems, got rid of apartheid and enslavement without murdering hundreds of whites. Although the ANC did use terrorist measures during its history, the policies of the ANC were never terrorist in principle.
The Palestinians could have been unified around the democratic demand for two states and full evacuation of the settlements. Their cause could have been adopted as true, positive and proper by many, many Israelis. Thus, a democratic left opposition could have been created in Israel for an end of the conflict. There is an embracing support within Israel fora two states solution. Nevertheless, the only thing the Hamas is fostering by its military bloody operations is a lurch to the right among Israelis, empowerment of the fascistic Israeli right and a heavy blow to the Israeli left. Even the Communist Party of Israel, one of most veteran Communist parties in the west (founded in 1919), is suffering a major crisis in which the Party is divided between internationalists and nationalists.
Palestinians and Israelis should go out onto the streets under the slogan of “ceasefire now”. They must force the leaderships to stop the war now. Only the masses, not the imperialisms of the US or the EU, not the UN den of thieves, can stop the current bloodshed in the region. The current leaderships are bankrupt and have led the masses to living hell.
In the current situation, all democrats, all secularists, all socialists, should build a mass united front for ceasefire and true, sincere and principled negotiation for a national peace in which there is a future to Israeli and Palestinian workers’ movement.
The fundamentalists should be removed from power by the masses; the secular and democratic cadres of the Fatah should be reinstated. National elections should be held within the West Bank and Gaza and the program of the two states in Palestine must be re-advanced as a unifying political agenda that can bring about international solidarity with the Palestinians and consolidate an international camp for a two states solution in which the trade unions and the world labour movement will play a major role.
Only this can resolve once and for all the Palestinian question on a democratic, progressive and humanistic basis and pave the way toward a socialist united states of the Middle East.