Barbarity in Gaza: caused by the dominance of major world powers

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
October 16, 2023

In the aftermath of the atrocities committed by Hamas, Israel is openly sowing terror in Gaza, in plain view of the entire world and even with the approval of the imperialist powers including France.

Deprived of electricity, food, and water, over a million Palestinians are being forced to flee the city towards the south of Gaza through a hail of bombs that has already claimed 2,700 lives, including 700 children. Where are they to go? How will they live? No one knows. The Gaza Strip was an open-air prison, now it’s turning into a graveyard.

Both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples will pay the price of this recent bloodbath for many years to come. But it’s the imperialist powers which have plunged them into this tragedy.

The war between Israel and Palestine is not the result of ancient hatreds or religious conflict. Like the war in Ukraine, it is the result of the conflicting interests, calculations, and rivalries of major world powers.

To understand this tragedy, we must trace history back to World War I when France and Britain divided up the Middle East, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire.

In 1917, Britain, through its Foreign Secretary Balfour, promised Zionist organizations the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. At the same time, it made a commitment to the Arabs to create a vast Arab kingdom which would include Palestine after the war. Palestine thus became a promised land twice over! And it wasn't done to help foster good relations between the two peoples: it was done to use them against each other, just as European powers had done in so many other colonies.

And in a further act of cynicism, from 1939 onwards, British leaders closed their doors to Jews persecuted throughout Europe and then to those who had survived extermination by the Nazis. This time it was to gain the favor of the Arabs.

In 1948, the United States, which had become the new leading world power, recognized the establishment of Israel against the will of neighboring Arab states. Palestinians were forcibly driven out, turned into lifelong refugees in overcrowded camps or into second-class citizens in Israel.

The United States knew very well how it could benefit from having a state like Israel in this oil-rich region, but one with deep inequalities and immense poverty. So they made Israel their ally and primary defender in the region.

The imperialist powers didn’t do so out of humanity or to acknowledge the genocide, as they claim today. They did it for the sake of oil and trade.

And they have backed Israel’s policy of oppression, dispossession and terror against the Palestinian people ever since. And they continue to do so today by supporting the Israeli army's bloody vengeance against the civilians of Gaza.

It is in the name of this revolting policy that Macron is calling for national unity. We mustn’t fall for it. Hamas has indeed committed atrocities, but that's no reason to support those committed on a much larger scale by the state of Israel with the complicity of our own political leaders. This reign of terror is precisely what enables Hamas to gain new recruits.

The leaders of the major world powers are adding fuel to the fire all over, in the Middle East, in Ukraine, in Asia. They are leading us down the catastrophic path to war.

The recent deadly attack on a teacher in Arras in the North of France is a terrible repercussion of this. Again, the government is calling on us to defend “our values”, whereas its entire policy consists in adopting far-right positions and stigmatizing Muslims and immigrant workers.

Workers in France, Palestine, Israel, the Arab world and Africa alike are being led by their respective political leaders into an economic, social, and war-torn dead end.

Through migration and because of the economic interdependence between countries that capitalism has brought about, the peoples of the world have never been more closely intertwined. But the policy of the ruling class, which aims to divide and conquer, is driving a wedge of hatred and bloodshed between neighboring peoples and even among workers within the same country.

This policy simply leads to disaster. Karl Marx's call, “Workers of the world, unite!”, must be relayed by all conscious workers.

We must unite to overthrow the bourgeoisie and take society into our own hands on a worldwide scale. This is the only way to achieve a truly humane society, free from exploitation, poverty, war, and all its horrors.

Nathalie Arthaud