On the side of the Palestinians

19 May 2021

On Tuesday Palestinian workers in Israel and on the West Bank went on unprecedented general strike. They were protesting against the bombing of Gaza and the (yes!) “apartheid” system under which they are forced to live. And under which Palestinians in Israel have been living for 73 years, since the state of Israel was established, at the cost of their eviction from their land and at the cost of successive bloody wars.

    The latest and lethal outbreak of violence - consciously initiated by the Israeli police in East Jerusalem, just before the end of Ramadan (they began by exploding stun grenades inside the al-Aqsa Mosque and evicting 15 Palestinian families from Skeikh Jarrah neighbourhood) - has inevitably escalated.

    This serves the cynical interests of right-wing former PM and convicted fraudster, Netanyahu, who cannot form a government. After the 3rd election in 2 years failed again to provide him with a majority, what better strategy than to create a state of emergency and provoke mortal fear among Israelis who might otherwise oppose him?

    As for the British commentators and politicians who continue to blame “Hamas”, which responded by firing missiles into Israel, this is no surprise. For Johnson, and indeed Starmer’s Labour, just like for Biden in the US, the state of Israel is to be supported no matter what.

    They helped to create it in order for it to uphold their own interests in the region. So they never put into question the virtual concentration camp which constitutes Gaza, where today over 200 ordinary Palestinians have already been killed by Israel’s latest shells and bombs.

    It is obviously impossible to “target Hamas militants” as the Israeli regime claims, in this, the 3rd most densely populated area in the world, where 2m Palestinians are crowded into an area 25X4-7 miles, enclosed by barbed wire and surrounded by Israeli guns.

    In fact British politicians are now hiding behind their defence of Jewish people against anti-Semitism - which, unfortunately, is also provoked by the Israeli state’s brutal policy. But in the current context this defence is just a convenient cover for their own covert support of the Israeli state’s repressive policies against the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank.

    Will this recurring violence ever stop? Well yes, when class interests become much clearer to all populations of the region, it will. Because then the working classes, regardless of borders and artificial divides (like religion!) - including the Israeli working class - will go on strike together against the region’s imperialist proxies, of which the corrupt capitalist, Netanyahu, is only the latest example.

    In the meantime, yes, there is a side to be taken. And that is with the Palestinian people as a whole against their oppression and for their equal right to move, live and work freely, anywhere in the territory called Israel, or indeed anywhere they choose.