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Behind Sharon's bloody rampage

Zionism is racism in the service of imperialism.
Support the Palestinian masses!
Sharon Goes on a Murderous Rampage While Bush Pretends to "Bring Peace"

During past weeks we've witnessed the horror of U.S.-supplied Israeli aircraft strafing impoverished Palestinian refugee camps with bullets and missiles; hundreds of Arab Palestinians being murdered in just a few hours; tanks smashing their homes to rubble; whole cities being starved; thousands of men between 15 and 40 ordered into the streets, stripped, blindfolded, and hauled off to be tortured for information; men, women, and children tied to armored personnel carriers and used as human shields; planned attacks made on hospitals and clinics, education facilities, mass media, agencies with social statistics; and more. At some point the rulers of Israel will declare "victory" from all this, and implement new plans for "administration" of the people they murder and oppress. And they'll continue the debate over whether "separation" (setting up vast ghettos surrounded by barbed wire and concrete), or "transfer" (expulsion of Arabs) is the ultimate "solution". Meanwhile the Arab Palestinians will be dealing with basic issues of mere survival---where to live, where to get medical help, where to get money, where even to get water---under conditions of intense military/police repression.

Denial of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination

Zionist denial of the right of the Arab Palestinians to self-determination is the cause of this nightmare. In the late 1940s the big imperialist powers connived through the U.N. to partition the British Mandate (colony) of Palestine, and handed part of it to the political Zionists. The Arabic people had no say over this, nor did the national minorities. But political Zionism is racist and expansionist by nature (which the imperialist powers knew very well). According to its ideology Arabs were "native germs", subhuman, something to be cleared out of the way according to the needs of Jewish capital. (Related to this has been the need for the Zionists to keep a Jewish majority in Israel in order to justify their theocratic state.) And the new Israeli state the Zionists built up was founded on massacres of the Arab Palestinians, and driving out huge numbers into refugee camps in the surrounding countries. Meanwhile, from 1948-1973 the surrounding Arab states fought several wars against Israel. These brought them into contradictions with the West, but their pragmatic motivations were not to let the Arab Palestinians decide for themselves their political future. For its part, the U.S. government has never been interested in Palestinian self-determination either. As part of its imperialist strategy of dealing with the Arab regimes in this oil-rich region it cemented an alliance with the Zionists. Today it annually hands them $billions as part of maintaining it. Thus "our" government shares full responsibility for the oppression of the Palestinian Arabs, and all the slaughters of them when they've risen in struggles for democratic rights.

What denial of Palestinian national rights has meant for the working class---

Inside Israel the Jewish workers are supposed to satisfy themselves with the fact that they're privileged in comparison to the Arab workers, and "guest" workers brought in from around the world. But being satisfied with this "privilege" only drags them down. They pay for the huge military machine the Zionist overlords use to suppress Palestinian resistance, but they pay more by not uniting with their Arab and "guest" worker comrades in common struggle against their capitalist exploiters. But such unity can be built only if they struggle against the national oppression of Arabs themselves.
Such an outlook goes against the Zionist ideas poured forth not only from the regime, but from the oppositional bourgeois politicians, and the trade union leaders as well. Hence the workers need to develop an opposing politics and inclusive organizations. In Israel, as elsewhere, this won't come easy. Yet there is a basis for it. Despite the huge amount of U.S. aid the economy goes from crisis to crisis, and these are shifted onto the backs of the working people. Jews enticed to Israel from many countries find themselves discriminated against. And there has always been opposition to the oppression of the Arab Palestinians. During the past few months this has been exhibited by many hundreds of Israeli troops refusing to serve in the occupied territories, and publicly denouncing the crimes they've witnessed there. These "refusnik" soldiers have not been opposing the existence of the Israeli state itself, only its policies. Yet their statements and actions in defense of the Arab Palestinian masses against indignities, torture, and murder go directly against the racist premises upon which that state is based (and several have been jailed for it). Moreover, even now in Israeli society there are public voices crying for the destruction of the Zionist state, and its replacement by one democratic capitalist Palestine from the River Jordan to the sea, a secular Palestine with equal rights for its Jewish, Arabic, and other citizens. These voices are a small minority. To our knowledge they present this as a final aim (which it cannot be if the workers are to achieve their class liberation). But only work under the orientation of destroying the Zionist state can lead to the oppressed Palestinians being freed.
The situation with the Arab workers is very different than with the Jewish workers. They're part of an oppressed nationality, which is oppressed as a nationality: exploiters and exploited, well-off and dirt poor. They can only gain equality with the Jewish workers by throwing off this national oppression (which the Jewish workers should support), yet they're part of a national movement which has been dominated by other class forces, and the politics of these class forces (the PLO, Hamas, and other groups).

The Palestinian national movement---

In the late 1960s the PLO was a revolutionary nationalist trend which expoused the goal of overthrowing the Zionist state, and replacing it with a secular democratic state where Arabs, Jews, and the national minorities would have equal rights. This one-state solution attained great popularity, and it involved reaching out to build alliances with the ordinary Jews in Israel. But in the 70s the petty-bourgeois PLO leaders became bourgeoisified, and went over to the politics of a section of the Palestinian capitalists. They eventually sought a national-reformist compromise: two states, Israel and Palestine, existing side-by-side, with the PLO ruling the Palestinian mini-state (essentially a Bantustan) on behalf of the Arab capitalists. Under this conception, the Zionist lion would allegedly peacefully lie down next to the Palestinian lamb.
In these conditions, in 1983 another important trend to arise was the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas. It too represented a section of the Palestinian capitalists, as well as having ties to fundamentalist forces internationally. It continued the stand for one state, but rather than a democratic secular Palestine, it agitated for an anti-democratic one-state solution: replacement of the Zionist theocracy with an Islamic theocracy which would "rule over the Jews".
Meanwhile the Zionists continued to suppress the strivings of the Palestinian people for national freedom. This gave rise to the first Intifada. Arafat and Co. hadn't planned this uprising, and were in many ways on the sidelines of it. But they used it to press their reformist demands on the Israeli government. Hard-pressed by the mass struggle, the Zionists responded by agreeing that they might pull out of most of the occupied territories. As an interim arrangement, under the Oslo accord in 1993, they agreed to setting up the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to administer Gaza and parts of the occupied West Bank, hinting that they might eventually recognize a Palestinian state in this territory (if the PNA was effective enough in suppressing the mass struggles), etc. This was a maneuver by the Zionists, a way of co-opting the PLO leadership into a proxy administration over territories that they could no longer administer openly themselves. As the Intifada died down the pieces of paper which the Zionists had signed were one after another tossed to the wind. Their half-hearted promises became qualified by extra conditions and carefully worded exceptions, and significant Palestinian Arab demands like the withdrawal of the settlements, the return of the refugees, and a capital in East Jerusalem, were both bluntly ignored, and used as bait for prolonging the negotiations. This fueled a new mass upsurge against Israeli oppression. The Zionists couldn't stop it from outside the occupied territories, nor could their PLO/PNA helpers stop it from within --- even though they took many measures to do so. The rage of the masses at having been stalled and frustrated for so long was too intense by this time. The increasingly frustrated Israeli government struck out by sending "messages" in the form of bullets at the PNA itself ("we'll destroy what you've built up, and kill you too, if you don't stop this rebellion"), while making repeated raids into the Palestinian reservations. The masses resisted, and driven to the wall, the PNA has fought back, but only from the perspective of somehow going back to another vain reformist compromise (which is where we are today).
For the workers, the first years after Oslo were a good time for them to gain a better understanding of the class trends in the Palestinian national movement. While they slaved in factories, fields, and construction, Arab capitalists were enriching themselves. Meanwhile PLO leaders grabbed percs, built little empires, drove around in fancy cars, and there was almost no democracy. And the present fiasco of their "two-state" solution teaches that as long as the Zionist state exists the Palestinian Arabs will be oppressed. So though the reality is that the Arab workers have established no significant political trend until now, they have a lot of experience to be thinking about. The development of an independent political trend of Arab workers out of this would be a significant development.
Related to this is the fact that it's a terrible thing that young Arab men and women are today having their dreams repeatedly crushed by the Zionist overlords, and that a few see no way out other than blowing themselves up in order to kill innocent Jews. The over-riding issue with this is the politics which have dominated the movement. While the PLO leaders painted rosy pictures about how through just the next (and the next, and the next...) round of negotiations with the imperialist powers and Zionists something good would come, the oppression of the masses worsened. In these conditions Islamic and other demagogues could gain an ear for their message that "the Jews" were the enemy. And there was no working class political trend emphasizing the necessity to struggle to build ties with (and united efforts with) Jewish workers, and with progressive trends inside Israel.

To oppose national oppression in Palestine we must build the anti-imperialist movement

The Washington politicians are complicit in every nazi crime Sharon is committing in Palestine; their hands drip with blood too! From their standpoint, the Israeli government is only another tool to be used to achieve the economic and political interests of U.S. monopoly capital in the Middle East---hence the "strategic alliance" between the U.S. and Israel. From this framework Bush and Powell mildly posture against Sharon's violence, while also justifying it by "understanding the need to deal with terrorism". Meanwhile they bring diplomatic pressure on Arafat to accede to even more Zionist dictates. To support the Palestinian masses we therefore need to build the anti-imperialist movement here at home. This involves clarifying the facts behind what is presently taking place to the masses of people, and it involves ourselves struggling to gain a better understanding of what the imperialist system is, and why and how it must be overthrown.
Support the Struggles of the Palestinian Masses!

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