No to Netanyahu, no to Hamas!

Submitted by AWL on 11 May, 2021 - 5:58 Author: Martin Thomas
Sheikh Jarrah protest

Hamas, the political-Islamist group ruling the Gaza Strip, and allies, fired some 480 rockets at civilian targets in Israel on 9-11 May. The Israeli government responded by bombing hundreds of targets in Gaza. Escalation looks likely to continue.

Solidarity argues for “two nations, two states”. Israel should withdraw from the West Bank, end its blockade of Gaza, and concede the right of the Palestinians to an independent state of their own alongside Israel.

The surrounding states should recognise the right of Israel to exist, i.e. the right of the Israeli-Jewish nation to self-determination. The large Palestinian minority in Israel should have full equal rights there.

The bombing of Gaza by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is a characteristically disproportionate and brutal use of overwhelming military superiority (it is reported to have killed ten children so far). Israel has a right to defend itself, to deter attacks on its civilian population like the rockets of Hamas, but that general right does not justify the escalation.

Nor do the real Palestinian grievances justify the Hamas rockets. Hamas’s aim is not liberation, but conquest of Israel and imposition of an Islamic state in the area (even if its forces are far too weak to achieve that).

The pretext for the rockets was heavy-handed Israeli police action round the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem during Ramadan and threats to evict 13 Palestinian families from homes in a district of East Jerusalem which Jewish chauvinists have been targeting for decades on the grounds that the buildings were Jewish-owned before 1948.

That doesn’t justify the rockets, though. In fact, before the rockets, big protests inside Israel had pushed the Israeli authorities to postpone a court hearing on the evictions and re-route then block a provocative planned Jewish-chauvinist march in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu has a political interest in keeping military conflict “hot”, within limits, so as to derail moves to form an anti-Netanyahu coalition to replace him after the recent Israeli elections. Hamas has chosen for its own reasons to play its part in that game.

Neither Hamas nor the Israeli chauvinists! Two nations, two states!


Submitted by Paul Norton (not verified) on Sat, 15/05/2021 - 07:43

While I come from a different socialist tradition (i.e. Eurocommunist) to the AWL, I respect the clarity of thought and the commitment to socialist and democratic principles that AWL brings to many issues. The article by Martin Thomas on the latest escalation of the Israel/Palestine conflict is a good example of this.

Hamas is not an organisation that deserves aid or comfort from anyone who subscribes to the original democratic and humanist principles of the socialist project. Of course, neither is Netanyahu's Likud or its hard right allies in Israel. What should be supported are the rights to democracy and equality, and to national self-determination, of the Palestinians and the Israeli Jews. The entire left and labour movement should support initiatives by Palestinian and Israeli Jewish groups and movements that support these goals, rather than picking sides between rival gangs of ultra-nationalist and religious fundamentalist right-wing terrorists and state terrorists.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 16/05/2021 - 20:01

A disgraceful pro Zionist article by the awl. Frankly disturbing that supposed "materialist"and "leninists" could actually believe that Israel and palestine are two equal states.

Submitted by cathy n on Tue, 18/05/2021 - 09:07

The article doesn't say there is equality between Israel and Palestine, it says there *should* be. We're socialists. We want equality, democracy, peace, co-existence.

Submitted by Jason Schulman on Sun, 23/05/2021 - 00:01

It's no longer clear that a two-state settlement -- at least one that socialists could support -- is feasible anymore. This the conclusion that most Marxists in the "third camp" condition have come to. For example, Sam Farber in Jacobin:

"The current military control of the West Bank and Gaza has sharpened the perennial contradiction between democracy and Zionism, in Zionism’s efforts to maintain the ethnic and religious definition of Israel and thus to limit the number of Arabs — a desire explicitly manifested by David Ben-Gurion. In light of the practical demise of the two-state solution at the hands of Israel, the Zionist oppressor state by definition cannot accept the only remaining desirable alternative: a fully democratic and secular binational state comprising Green line Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza with full equality for Palestinian Arabs and Jews."

I don't know if a binational state of all historic Palestine is more likely than a genuine two-state settlement. I wish socialists in general would simply be clear that both Palestinians and the "Hebrew nation" inside Israel (as Matzpen put it long ago) both have the right to national self-determination and leave it at that, without exhibiting absolute certainty over what form that can take. 

Also, it's an error to focus on Hamas -- a reactionary organization -- without mentioning Israel's role in fomenting Hamas's existence in order to render secular Arab nationalism and official Communism irrelevant as trends in Palestinian politics. And Israel's crimes against Gaza exponentially dwarf those of Hamas firing rockets into "Israel proper." 

I realize that the UK Left is overrun with "destroy Israel" types but the AWL tends to bend the stick a bit too far the other way.

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