Zulemma | 14.01.2009 22:34
But that's not all there is to say about the situation. On both sides of the conflict, the idea that opposing Israel has to mean supporting Hamas and its ‘resistance’ movement is worryingly common. We totally reject this argument. Just like any other set of rulers, Hamas, like all the other major Palestinian factions, are happy and willing to sacrifice ordinary Palestinians to increase their power. This isn’t some vague theoretical point – for a period recently most deaths in Gaza were a result of fighting between Hamas and Fatah. The ‘choices’ offered to ordinary Palestinian people are between Islamist gangsters (Hamas, Islamic Jihad) or nationalist gangsters (Fatah, Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigades). These groups have shown their willingness to attack working-class attempts to improve their living conditions, seizing union offices, kidnapping prominent trade unionists, and breaking strikes. One spectacular example is the attack on Palestine Workers Radio by Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, for “stoking internal conflicts”. Clearly, a “free Palestine” under the control of any of these groups would be nothing of the sort.
As anarchists, we are internationalists, opposing the idea that the rulers and ruled within a nation have any interests in common. Therefore, anarchists reject Palestinian nationalism just as we reject Israeli nationalism (Zionism). Ethnicity does not grant “rights” to lands, which require the state to enforce them. People, on the other hand, have a right to having their human needs met, and should be able to live where they choose, freely.
Therefore, against the divisions and false choices set up by nationalism, we fully support the ordinary inhabitants of Gaza and Israel against state warfare – not because of their nationality, ethnicity, or religion, but simply because they're real living, feeling, thinking, suffering, struggling human beings. And this support has to mean total hostility to all those who would oppress and exploit them –the Israeli state and the Western governments and corporations that supply it with weapons, but also any other capitalist factions who seek to use ordinary working-class Palestinians as pawns in their power struggles. The only real solution is one which is collective, based on the fact that as a class, globally, we ultimately have nothing but our ability to work for others, and everything to gain in ending this system – capitalism – and the states and wars it needs .
That this seems like a “difficult” solution does not stop it from being the right one. Any “solution” that means endless cycles of conflict, which is what nationalism represents, is no solution at all. And if that is the case, the fact that it is “easier” is irrelevant. There are sectors of Palestinian society which are not dominated by the would-be rulers – protests organised by village committees in the West Bank for instance. These deserve our support. As do those in Israel who refuse to fight, and who resist the war. But not the groups who call on Palestinians to be slaughtered on their behalf by one of the most advanced armies in the world, and who wilfully attack civilians on the other side of the border.
Neither one state nor two states, but no states
Whoever dies, Hamas and the Israeli state win
The Gaza slaughter: Europe's hand is bloodied too
Hundreds of dead and thousands of injured, sacrificed on the altar of Zionist expansionism and fundamentalism. In Europe, the foreign ministers of every EU country talk about an "exaggerated", though "legitimate", reaction on the part of Israel, reversing the true situation with an operation that would make the most cynical illusionist feel proud by making the aggressor, the State of Israel, appear to be the victim.
They continue to pretend that they do not remember that Gaza - one of the most densely-populated regions with around one and a half million inhabitants, about half of whom are children - has been the object of a total embargo for years, an embargo which includes medicines and basic necessities and which is supported by the entire "civilized" western world, imposed by Israel and the West as a result of the Hamas election victory, thanks to the mixed electoral system of majority and proportional representation. Just as they pretend to forget that Hamas was once financed by Israel as a way of countering the PLO.
Despite a 6-month truce, the embargo was not even slightly relaxed and not one of the Western powers even timidly suggested relaxing it. The State of Israel has returned to its strategy of military control over Gaza and the West Bank. All Europe's useless, hypocritical proclamations of a desire for peace systematically forget to mention that for 60 years Israel has been blithely violating countless UN resolutions and continues to occupy the territory militarily, with Israeli colonies spreading throughout Palestinian land day by day, building walls that segregate entire villages and prevent millions of refugees from returning to their land, uprooting olive groves and killing livestock, day after day humiliating anyone who tries to cross the segregation walls in order to go to work, to hospital or to school.
And not only that: they hide the fact that the truce was broken by the Israeli State on 4th November 2008 when its army killed a 22-year-old Hamas militant.
But aside from the false, hypocritical proclamations of pacifism, what is the reason for this unconditional support for such an aggressive, warmongering State by practically every major Western power?
As far as the USA is concerned, there is no doubt. Apart from the important strategic and territorial alliance that Israel represents for American imperialism in the Middle East, it also has to deal with the powerful US pro-Israel lobby, which is strong enough to bring about a strong influence on US foreign policy. And what is happening today comes across as a clear warning to the president-elect, Obama.
Europe has partially regained its unity on foreign policy and is probably playing the card of active diplomacy in order to strengthen its role in the Mediterranean and to warn the USA that it cannot act alone in the Mare Nostrum area. But one must not forget arms sales, an area where States are always ready to hide the truth under the blanket of "State secrets" and support the orders of those companies who produce arms and support systems. And these businesses are never biased. They are quite happy to sell arms to opposing parties, as long as they can pay for them. Italy, for example, is one of the biggest arms suppliers to Iran and Lebanon, but has also supplied the Israeli army for years with arms technology through companies like Oto-Melara, Beretta, Borletti and Selenia. And the other countries in Europe do likewise.
Palestine is cynically used as an experimentation ground for deadly new technologies which are increasingly specialising in "urban warfare" and in which every arms company is interested: from US and Israeli companies to English, French, German, Italian, and so on.
So, in this tortured land where men, women and children, crushed by the wargames of the powerful, seem to have no future, new arms are tested, from cluster bombs to impoverished uranium bullets, the effectiveness of UAVs (pilotless aircraft) - able to launch remote controlled missiles - is studied, Achzarit tanks able to withstand landmines are experimented, Namer armoured vehicles with Continental Motors (US) or MTU (German) engines are tested, as is the efficacy of avant-garde systems such as Italian added protection and remote-controlled turrets mounted on Puma armoured vehicles, and Alenia's futuristic robotic war systems such as Sky-X, the first system in the world able to refuel pilotless aircraft in flight.
All this on the shoulders of a people who have always been used in clashes between States and others, cynically used even in the political clashes between the internal factions of one State, as in the case of Israeli political machinations connected with the electoral struggle both within the governing coalition between the hawkish Kadima, responsible for some of the most extreme acts - like the evacuation of the Strip proposed by the MK Yisrael Hasson - on the one hand and the Labour doves, in favour of a more measured approach, on the other, and between Kadima and the Likud super-hawks, increasingly moving towards ultra hardline positions.
We certainly do not expect the Arab and/or Islamic States to do anything, divided as they are or intent on strengthening their prestige and their influence in the area, even if it comes at the cost of the Palestinian people. Like the case of Iran, that uses the Palestinian tragedy to publicise itself as the only bulwark against the hated American imperialism and set itself up as the emerging power in the region.
But beyond all the international political conjecturing, the situation of the Palestinian population today seems bleak, with few prospects for reaching a solution that can give them a chance for a life with even a minimum of dignity, both from the point of view of social security and from that of guaranteeing respect of the minimum rights of survival.
Today perhaps the only guarantee that the Palestinian people may, as quickly as possible, find even a little respite and peace is that the marauders of all shapes and sizes - physically or ideologically thronging at their borders, or engaging in political speculation inside - reach a new, precarious balance.
The only real prospect for emancipation that we can glimpse in the near future is a growth and spread of the sort of self-organisation that many Palestinian villages practise, encouraged by the solidarity between Palestinian popular committees and initiatives such as Anarchists Against the Wall, involving internationalists from all over the world and anti-Zionist Israelis, who fight the arrogance of the Israeli settler colonists and the army that supports them using prevalently peaceful resistance. And it is not by chance that in these villages another road has been chosen and not the militarism of Hamas.
As class-struggle anarchists and libertarians we will continue to denounce Zionist settler colonialismm as we denounce all forms of imperialism and fundamentalism that oppress the liberty and dignity of every people. We will go on denouncing the fact that huge swathes of the world's proletariat suffer under the oppression and misery that results from inter-imperialist clashes and the cynical political games of powerful local oligarchs who are in turn used, knowingly or unknowingly, as pawns in the international chessboard of imperialist disputes, marked with the blood of the proletariat.
We will continue to support the struggles and act of solidarity with the Palestinian people, supporting all those embryonic manifestations of self-determination that typify the struggles of whole villages in Palestine, convinced that only if they can free themselves of the malicious influences of all State or para-State oligarchies can the working men and women begin to hope for a more dignified life.
2 January 2009
Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici (Italy)
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (South Africa)
Common Cause (Ontario, Canada)
Members of Anarchists Against the Wall (Israel)
Alternative Libertaire (France)
1. Literally "our sea", used by the imperial Romans with reference to the Mediterranean. The suggestion is that the modern European powers want to control the Med as the Romans did 2,000 years ago.
Related Link: http://www.anarkismo.net
glad I didn't join the AF