Summary: Israel’s brutal war against Palestinians, including the pogroms in Israeli cities, in the context of US imperial machinations – Editors
– Approved as a statement by the Steering Committee of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization
The murderous Israeli military assaults – by land, sea and air – on the two million Palestinians imprisoned and impoverished by the Israeli/Egypt blockade in the enclave of Gaza, makes a mockery of the notion of ‘moral equivalence’. Israel is responding to Hamas’s firing of relatively ineffective rockets by razing whole areas of Gaza City in which civil society institutions, media and civilian residences are located. The liberal mantra, ‘Israel has the right to defend itself’, also rings hollow when what is happening in the West Bank and Israel itself is taken into account, and as the death toll of Palestinian civilians rises through the hundreds.
The initial cause of the current crisis may be found in the bogus ‘deal of the century’ cooked up by the previous US administration, and fronted by Trump’s crooked son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Signed on 13 August 2020 by Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States, the deal, was given the biblical appellation of the ‘Abraham Accords’. In it, the UAE and Abu Dhabi both committed to becoming major trading partners of Israel, having already bought Israeli surveillance technology, drones, and other military equipment. The UAE has also started allowing imports of goods from illegal Jewish settlements on the West Bank. Other Arab states were expected to follow the UAE’s example of normalisation with Israel: Saudi Arabia, which is itself bogged down in a barbaric war in Yemen; Bahrain which is looking forward to trade deals with Israel worth hundreds of millions of dollars; Sudan, which was removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism in return for a promise to pay $335m in blood money to US victims of terror attacks; and Morocco, which was granted Washington’s recognition of its disputed sovereignty over the Western Sahara.
The ‘deal of the century’ was intended not only to normalize relations between Netanyahu’s Israel and various compliant Arab states but also to ‘normalize’ Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. It soon became clear that as far as the Arab ruling classes were concerned, the Palestinians needed to be put under more pressure to accept Israel’s illusory Pax Romana or miss out on all the benefits which might accrue to Arab capitalists.
The phoney peace deal is now reaping what it sowed, and what was feared is now coming to pass with the potential of a full-scale military conflagration in the region. Israeli authorities have been going in for the kill: with expulsions of Palestinian residents from occupied East Jerusalem and the attack on worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan. One thing Netanyahu’s coalition has in common with US Republican Party is tolerance of, and collaboration with, out-and-out fascists. Groups of Israeli fascists, emboldened by the capitulation of Arab regimes and support from US Republicans, have marched in Jerusalem chanting ‘death to Arabs’, and have attacked Palestinian homes, motorists, and pedestrians. The fascists have been protected and aided by the Israeli police, who even use a liquid called ‘skunk’ which, sprayed from special armoured vehicles into crowds, leaves its victims in a state of nauseous stench lasting for days. The fascists are also emboldened by the enactment of the ‘Jewish Nation-State Law’ in 2018 which effectively codified the status of Palestinians as second-class citizens and was yet another manifestation of Israel as an apartheid state.
But the newest and most ominous element is the outright pogrom against Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel in Lod and other towns. Fascist Jewish gangs, some composed of West Bank settlers, have been observed marking Arab homes by day in order to target them at night. Arab counterattacks have also emerged. Netanyahu stoked the flames by declaring that Israeli Jews should ‘not be afraid to do what they need to do in order to protect their own lives’, tacitly endorsing the pogroms.
The Trump administration seems to have thought Saudi Arabia could be persuaded to openly support Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians in return for arms deals to bolster its standoff with Iran. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (who after all is himself a murderer) now has a less-friendly Biden administration to contend with; and any steps towards normalisation with Israel may further threaten the legitimacy of his rule in the eyes of Saudi subjects.
Although the Democrats in the US Congress may yet cancel the UAE’s F-35 deal and reverse the US recognition of Morocco’s seizure of the Western Sahara, the Biden administration is in essence committed to the ‘normalisation’ process. Biden has said he would keep the US embassy in Jerusalem despite, as a presidential candidate, calling Trump’s decision ‘short-sighted and frivolous’. Biden’s administration has approved the potential sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel.
Clearly, Netanyahu, Trump and Israel’s new Arab friends expected the five million Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel itself to acquiesce and roll over. But they clearly haven’t. And clearly, a large number of Jews in Israel – and elsewhere – do not support Netanyahu, his coalition partners, or his policies.
As Palestinian resistance continues with ongoing protests in town and country, and a general strike, there is an unprecedented level of support in the West, as shown by the large demonstrations and left media outrage in Western Europe and North America. In contrast, there have been few manifestations in the Arab world, where repression has been especially severe since the end of the Arab Spring; though, to be sure, opinion polls in the Arab states show that there is little support for normalization without recognition of Palestinian rights and self-determination. In Egypt, to give the most notable example, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime lives in fear of any kind of political mobilization in the streets.
Roll on the next Arab Spring! Let the Palestinian people determine their own future!