Emergency statement by the Trotskyist Fraction - Fourth International
By placing on both the oppressors and the oppressed the same level, the imperialist countries and the UN are actually supporting the slaughter perpetrated by the Zionist state.
On the night of December 27th, the Israeli air force unleashed Operation Cast Lead, one of the most criminal ever, and the worst since 1967. The victims of air strikes on Gaza and Rafah now reach more than 400 dead and 2000 injured. The Israeli government has today launched a ground operation: calling up thousands of reservists. That carnage presented as a response to Hamas’s missile-firing is not only an escalation and part of the ongoing election campaign in Israel, but a largely foreseen plan to definitively break the resistance of the Palestinian people, implemented with the green light of the alleged "international community": the UN, the imperialist countries, as well as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen and Kuwait, the four latter having begun a process of "normalisation" of relations with the Zionist occupier despite their formal protests after the start of the onslaught by the Israeli armed forces.
Gaza: a true ghetto
For years now, Gaza has existed as a true ghetto. A ruthless economic, political and cultural blockade isolates it from the world. A million and a half people are prisoners of the Israeli army and deprived of everything: food, fuel, electricity, medicine, school supplies ... The population under the yoke of the 60 year-old barbaric colonial oppression, now suffers savage ’punishment’ for having collectively voted "in the wrong way” in a democratic election: for Hamas. Taken to its full conclusion, this means the total destruction of Palestine and particularly Gaza. It is a slow death which the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip suffer. About 80% of the population lives on the brink of poverty and unemployment has reached 65%. The average income is 443 euros a year, that is, 1,36 euro a day. 60% of children suffer from malnutrition. Freedom of movement from the Gaza Strip, to the West Bank, Jerusalem and the outside world is blocked. About 260 people died last year, either because they were forbidden from having medical care abroad, or lack of medicines. The only medicine factory that was functioning stopped because of the shortage of raw materials. More than 1,500 cargo containers and raw materials are stranded at Israeli ports. Construction and development projects of hospitals, clinics and educational facilities are suspended. Energy cuts occur daily.
Nevertheless, this hideous barbarity can only be perpetrated due to the total impunity assured to this Zionist colonial rule and even by the active support that it has received from the European Union. Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president and president of the EU at the moment of the attack, has called for the "deepening of cooperation with the EU” on December 8th. It was also decided to enhance the political relations between the EU and Israel, allowing a wider participation of the Zionist state in the European Community programmes. By giving such an advantage to a state that’s pursuing an expansionist policy, colonising new Palestinian territories, looting, killing, ghettoizing, Sarkozy has granted a blank check to the hawks, and bears a heavy responsibility in this new Zionist war crime.
Once the mass murder is perpetrated, all these good fellows, like professional mourners, seemingly cry for Gaza. Mahmoud Abbas, for instance, denounced the
Israeli offensive. However, he is one of the most responsible for the situation that Palestinians are living, for his collaboration with the Zionists and his valuable loyalty to the imperialist plans. Israel relies not only on its military force, but also on the cowardice and duplicity of the Arab governments which, while making statements against the attacks on Gaza, are blaming Hamas for the conflict. This is the case with the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, who criticised the Palestinians for failing to unite behind Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The latter has been an instrument of the US and Israel to undermine Hamas since the Islamist organisation won the elections in 2006. Hence, the Saudi call for "unity" is an attempt to further isolate Hamas, in line with the efforts of the Egyptian regime who has collaborated closing its borders with Gaza, thus strengthening the economic blockade of Israel. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, declared himself to be "deeply disturbed" and has called for "an immediate cessation of violence" putting at the same level the oppressors and the oppressed. The United Nations shows once again to be a faithful instrument of imperialism and colonialism of all kinds. The United States begged that Israel’s incursions do not bring about civilian casualties ... while warning Hamas to stop its rocket attacks in order "to cease the violence." President elect Barack Obama, with his audible silence, has shamelessly supported the Bush government’s backing for the Zionist aggression. Sarkozy shows himself to be uneasy and his foreign minister Kouchner has literally repeated the US statement.
The strategy of Israel and its difficulties in achieving its reactionary goals
The Zionist state is using this conflict to rehabilitate Israel military’s deterring capability in the Middle East, heavily damaged after its failure in the Lebanon war of 2006. Its aim is to show that Hamas is exposed to implacable vengeance if rocket-firing continues. The devastation in Gaza is also a message to the Shiite Hezbollah militia and to Iran. The Israeli coalition government of Kadima and the Labour Party, in an internal and external contest - this one with the Likud Party - as the February elections are approaching, seeks to profit from the current US "transition" to force its main ally and to act with total impunity, unleashing a brutal, lesson-teaching offensive against the Palestinian people and the countries of the region, both those that are most pro-Israeli and those that keep a hard line on Tel Aviv.
But despite the strength of the first days of the first attack, the Israeli strategy is starting to show signs of difficulty. Hamas has continued launching missiles. As the air assault has failed to achieve its goals, Israel has launched a ground offensive that could be enormously costly in terms of their troops’ lives. This is because a war of attrition in a city so densely populated as the Gaza Strip strengthens the capabilities of large and irregular forces such as Hamas, but it is detrimental to an Israeli military heavily dependent on high technology, with very limited in the use of manpower. This is what the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon had already showed and what lay at the basis of the doubts and hesitations of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in his last onslaught on that country, which led to the first Israeli military setback in its history in 2006.
In this context, although the Israeli political landscape has moved strongly to the right, the Zionist state’s strategic drives are not easy matters. Last week’s cabinet decision allows the reoccupation of Gaza and its delivery to Abbas’s Palestinian National Authority, either directly or through a pan-Arab or international force to continue the fraudulent Annapolis Peace Process. This drive has been suggested by the Likud candidate, Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke of "eliminating the Hamas regime in the long term." However, a similar attempt failed in Lebanon in 1982 when Israel wanted to impose its local servants. As for Abbas, despite his treacherous role, he would hesitate in returning to Gaza in an Israeli tank, and even if he does, he will have huge problems in governing it. Another envisaged alternative, is supposed to encourage man-of-the-hour Defence minister Ehud Barak, who would seek for a new ceasefire with a beaten Hamas. But this option, as with Hezbollah in Lebanon, grants legitimacy to Hamas, which would continue as the Gaza government. The third alternative, is to carry until the end the disengagement plan of former prime minister Sharon, ending Israel’s responsibility with the Strip, encouraging the latter to look for resources and supplies via Egypt. Some people such as the current foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, who attach a great importance to international support for the cause of Israel, would favour this option, in the belief that Gaza is a heavy burden rather than an asset for the survival of the Zionist state. But this drive could (represent) a difficult issue for Cairo, since it will severely trouble its relations with Israel at a particularly sensitive moment: the declining days of the Hosni Mubarak regime, which is complicated by the economic crisis, the working class resistance of the last years and the Islamist opposition. As we see, despite the first heavy blows it is not an easy matter for Israel to find a strategic solution for the problem of its southern border, which the current Zionist government, as part of a divided Israeli leadership, in the face of the upcominng elections and a government change in Washington, cannot resolve and will leave as a legacy to the new government emerged after the elections.
The Zionist state is racist and colonialist
It is an indisputable historical fact: the Zionist State of Israel is based on racism and colonialism. By 1885 Herzl envisaged the colonization of Palestine and the creation of a "Jewish national homeland." He decreed that "the people of Israel, as a superior people and a modern continuation of the Chosen People, [should] also become an actual order" and to do this, "to be useful to the imperialist State that protects its existence." Israeli racism and colonialism are the foundations of a State which is not defined by reference to a nation, but to a religion and an ethnic group. A State which claims the right of "their" people to the sole ownership of a land inhabited and exploited by other people. The founding texts of Zionism shed a light on the existing policy. When Herzl in 1897 addresses the French government, hoping to gain its support for the founding of Israel, writes: "The country that we intend to occupy includes the Lower Egypt, southern Syria and southern Lebanon. This position will make us masters of the trade in India, Arabia as well as Eastern and Southern Africa. France should have no other longing but to see the path of India and China occupied by a people ready to follow her until death. " The Sykes-Picot agreements made the same promises but in this case to the UK. The process was launched. The imperialist powers would use the monstrous policy of the Holocaust as a justification for its completion.
Israel is to the Middle East what apartheid South Africa used to be for sub-saharran Africa: a colony that has imposed on an domination along racist lines on an indigenous people, and whose very existence would be impossible without the material aid of the imperialist powers ‘in exchange for rendered services’, in this case to the United States and the European Union.
When a government considers that the life of a Jewish soldier is more important than the lives of hundreds of Palestinian children and civilians, then the state represented by that government is a racist one, when the armed forces in the territories they illegitimately occupy forbid civilians to commute, to look for water in wells and sources, to work their fields, to visit their families, to attend to school or to go to work, to move from one village to another, to have medical care for their children ... then the state represented by that government is racist and colonialist. When this Zionist government builds the wall of shame to make a ghetto for the Palestinian people, wrecking havoc on houses and olive plantations, displacing, evicting, imprisoning, torturing, starving the population... then this government and its army are those of a racist and colonialist rule.
Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister of the Zionist colonial entity, has a clear vision for the future of the Jewish state: a purely Jewish state, without Palestinians, which means in concrete and clear terms: to expel the Palestinians from their lands and their properties, into the West Bank and Gaza, or elsewhere. It is not the first time that Livni makes such prophecies and she is not the first high-ranking Zionist politician to do so (Golda Meir had acted in the same way). What is new is that these announcements are repeated regularly. By their very repetition, they aim to become normal and acceptable (a Jewish and democratic state = eviction of the Palestinians = ethnic cleansing) and spread the word to anyone who has not yet understood what the Zionist dream is like. The Zionist leaders do not speak of ’ethnic cleansing’: they practice it.
Since then, the prospect of a two-state solution is becoming increasingly untenable because of the Zionist colonisation and the support they are given by all the imperialist powers. The Israeli state will never accept abandoning its Zionist and expansionist goals, and will not ever allow the creation of a viable Palestinian state in the whole of the occupied territories with Jerusalem as its capital, the liberation of all political prisoners and the return of all refugees. There will never be any peace unless the Israeli theocratic, colonialist, racist, apartheid state, practitioner of ethnic-cleansing, disappears.
Long live the Palestinians’ resistance! For a united front of workers’ and anti-imperialist organisations to support it, to oppose imperialism and the Zionist oppressors!
Revolutionaries unconditionally support the forces of the Palestinian resistance against Zionist aggression; we stand in their camp against the Israeli army and fight for the defeat of the Israeli State in the current war in Gaza. From this principled position for anyone claiming to be consistently anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist, we say that the policy of Hamas, despite its armed resistance against the State of Israel, leads the Palestinian national liberation struggle to a dead end, since they fight for a theocratic state that prevents from winning over a large part of the Palestinian masses, especially the secular, Christian and non-fundamentalist Muslim sectors. In turn, it advocates negotiation with the local bourgeoisie and the reactionary Arab states in the region, ranging from those that are currently opposed to Washington such as Syria or Iran to those more pro-US, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Hamas is distrustful of the independent action of the masses, essentially of the independent mobilisation of the Arab working class, the only one that through its action can defeat the Zionist state, and who a revolutionary leadership would rely on. Only by means of organising independently from all the bourgeois and petty bourgeois forces, which are unable to develop a victorious struggle against the Zionist project, for fear of unleashing forces they might not control, the Palestinian working class will be able to become the driving force of a victorious national struggle and of a revolutionary struggle for the conquest of their social demands. But this struggle can only be developed by relating (their struggle to the struggle of other working classes in the region) especially the Egyptian workers, who have been fighting in recent years against the autocratic regime of Mubarak, and also in the State of Israel, where Jewish exploited workers must break, above all, with Zionism. Only thus will it be possible to build a secular, democratic and non-racist Palestinian State, which in turn is only possible with a workers-run, socialist Palestine, where Arabs and Jews may live in peace in throughout the whole of historic Palestine (which includes both the current boundaries of the State of Israel as well as Gaza and the West Bank), and to propose the prospect of a Federation of Socialist Republics of the Middle East.
The workers and the oppressed of the world must unconditionally support the resistance of the Palestinian struggle for their legitimate national rights, against the Zionist colonisation of their lands, for the right to return of all those who have been expelled since 1948, for the right to elect their representatives freely, to demand the end of the bombing and all the plundering by the Israeli state, the immediate and unconditional lifting of the embargo that murders the Palestinian people and the immediate opening of the border between Egypt and Gaza .
The struggle against imperialism and its Israeli armed wing is an imperative duty for all the organisations that claim to be based on the labour movement and the anti-imperialist struggle: their immediate responsibility is to organise a mass uprising of workers and youth in the different countries to demand the end of the attacks and the looting perpetrated by the Israeli state. For revolutionaries in the imperialist countries where the TF-FI is active, this anti-imperialist solidarity is also a struggle against Sarkozy, Zapatero, Merkel, and other leaders and the parties of the right and all the supposed forces on the "left" that make themselves accomplices of the State of Israel. In countries like Bolivia, Venezuela, Argentina or Brazil, where their governments claim to be "progressive”, we demand the immediate break of diplomatic relations with the Zionist state, alongside the immediate withdrawal of troops of those countries participating in the military ‘mission’ in Haiti.
We, like many other organisations in the world, are calling for demonstrations and actions to condemn the Zionist massacre. We must build the broadest and most militant international solidarity possible with the Palestinian people!
Trotskyist Fraction - Fourth International (TF-FI)
January 3rd 2009
Sections: Argentina: PTS (Socialist Workers Party); Bolivia: LOR-CI (Revolutionary Workers’ League for the Fourth International); Brazil: LER-QI (Revolutionary Strategy League), Chile: Clase Contra Clase, Costa Rica: LRS (League of Socialist Revolution); Spanish State: Clase Contra Clase, Mexico: LTS-CC (Workers’ League for Socialism - Against the Current); Venezuela: LTS (Workers’ League for Socialism), Militants of the Trotskyist Fraction in Europe; France: as a sympathising section, Groupe CRI (Communist Revolutionary Internationalist Group).