No U.S./UN/EU Intervention in the Near East! U.S. Hands Off Iraq!

Defend the Palestinian People!

All Israeli Troops, Settlers Out of the Occupied Territories!

Statement of the Spartacist League/U.S., 30 March 2002

The international working class must urgently rally to the defense of the Palestinian people against the Zionist military terror machine. Seizing on the killing of 22 innocent Israeli civilians at a Passover Seder in the working-class town of Netanya by a Hamas suicide bomber—a criminal attack worthy of the murderous nationalist mindset of the Zionist rulers—Israeli prime minister Sharon unleashed hundreds of troops, dozens of tanks, and helicopters in an assault on Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah, where Yasir Arafat has been confined since December. After a fierce firefight, Israeli troops occupied Arafat’s compound, forcing the PLO leader into almost complete solitary confinement in a windowless room. Meanwhile, Israeli troops have made other incursions into Palestinian towns throughout the West Bank.

The Zionists’ genocidal impulses were captured in the headline for an op-ed piece by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the 29 March Jerusalem Post: “End Game.” Sharon has called up more than 20,000 reservists for active duty in the Occupied Territories. Taking aim at the Palestinian Authority, which was created by the sham Oslo “peace” accords in order to police the Palestinian ghettos for the Zionist rulers, Sharon’s bloody incursion into Ramallah could very well be a first step toward a complete Israeli re-occupation of the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip. The logic of reactionary Zionist nationalism has always been equivalent to Hitler’s lebensraum (“living space”), i.e., the clearing of areas occupied by Israel of all Palestinians. The fascistic settlers, armed to the teeth, are the advance guard of this policy. The Spartacist League stands in defense of the Palestinian people against the Zionist occupiers! All Israeli troops and settlers out of the Occupied Territories now!

The response of Palestinian spokesmen to this desperate situation has been to mount impotent appeals to everyone from the Arab bourgeois regimes to the United Nations, the European Union and the U.S. imperialists to rein in the Zionist butchers. In building for today’s nationwide demonstrations in support of Palestinian rights, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee makes a direct appeal to the Bush administration to “be actively engaged in the full implementation of International Law and UN Resolutions calling for an end of the Israeli Occupation and self-determination for the Palestinian people.” It is a measure of the utter bankruptcy of any nationalist solution to the plight of the Palestinians to appeal to the U.S. imperialists who have bankrolled and armed Israel to the hilt and who, at home, are rounding up and detaining hundreds of Arab and Muslim immigrants as part of the “war on terror.”

It is widely recognized that Bush’s recent turn to a diplomatic solution is purely in the service of a massive U.S. attack on Iraq. The latest Israeli attacks come in the wake of the Arab League meeting which opposed any U.S. attack on Iraq.

The United Nations is hardly an “alternative.” It was the UN that ratified the very foundation of the state of Israel; whose troops oversaw the disarming of Palestinian militants who were then slaughtered at the hands of fascistic Lebanese militias mobilized by Sharon at Sabra and Shatila in 1982; and which has sanctioned the more than decade-long starvation blockade of Iraq that has killed over one million people. As for the European powers, their current objections to Israeli and U.S. policies are simply in the service of trying to reassert their own imperialist interests in the region they once controlled. All U.S./UN/NATO forces out of the Near East now!

While the Arab League meeting in Beirut passed empty resolutions supposedly in defense of the Palestinians, the policy of the Arab regimes has always been to suppress Palestinian refugees in their countries. In 1970, some 10,000 Palestinian militants were slaughtered by the Jordanian monarchy in the “Black September” massacre. In fact, such support that exists for the Palestinian “right of return” by these regimes is aimed at driving the Palestinians out of these countries. Immediately following the 1991 Gulf War, the Kuwaiti regime expelled nearly 200,000 Palestinian workers and their families.

The Zionist occupiers and their imperialist backers have destroyed any semblance of a livable life for the Palestinians entrapped in the ghettos. Many feel like they have nothing left to lose and are prepared to strap their bodies with explosives to get the perceived “enemy,” which in the minds of anti-Semitic outfits like Hamas includes the entire Israeli Jewish population. Indeed, the Zionists look to these atrocities to advance their aims. In fact, until Sharon’s provocative visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque/ Temple Mount, which set off the current intifada, the wave of suicide bombings had all but disappeared. Now, not just Islamic fanatics but secular Palestinians, including women, see no other option than to immolate themselves and random others in suicide bombings. But such attacks only serve to seal any fissures in Israeli society, such as the recent protests among Israeli army reservists and their supporters against the occupation, and drive the Hebrew-speaking population into the arms of the Zionist nationalist madmen.

Various putative leftists such as the International Socialist Organization and Workers World Party have called for a secular democratic state in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Positing a democratic solution within the framework of capitalism (with socialism removed to some far distant future) recalls the program of the Stalinist-led Communist parties in the region which posited a “two-stage” revolution—the first being to install the local ruling class in power supposedly to set the stage for socialist revolution. In reality, this played out in the Communist parties allying with the Arab nationalists, who subsequently massacred the Communists and their working-class followers. In contrast, Trotskyists have always fought for the political independence of the working class, which, as the tribune of all the oppressed, is the only force that can open the road to liberation from imperialist subjugation in the “Third World.”

There can be no justice for the Palestinian people within the framework of capitalist rule. On the contrary, the system of private property and private ownership of the means of production necessarily contains within it the components of nationalism and religion, which make impossible the settlement of the conflicting national claims of the Palestinian Arab and the Hebrew-speaking populations. Only through the overthrow of both the Israeli bourgeoisie and all the Arab ruling classes can the right of national self-determination for these peoples and the many other peoples of the region be equitably realized. This necessarily calls for the leadership of internationalist Marxist workers parties, not least to defeat the intruding foreign imperialisms, particularly the American. Defend the Palestinian people! For a socialist federation of the Near East!

30 March 2002

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