Conditions for Palestinians today are horror without end. With the recent Israeli elections giving a majority to a coalition of right-wing parties, the oppression of Palestinians looks set to intensify.
Join the national demonstration tomorrow to show solidarity to the people of Palestine!
National demonstration for Palestine
Saturday 11th May
Assemble from 12 noon
Portland Place, London
Facebook event for the Marxist Student Federation bloc
Life in the occupied Palestinian territories is a waking nightmare for millions. Unemployment is over 30% (over 52% in Gaza), and 67% for the youth. Poverty is rife. But worse still is the daily oppression inflicted on Palestinians by the Israeli state.
In the first three months of 2019 alone, Israel destroyed 126 Palestinian structures in the West Bank. Tens of thousands have had their water supplies destroyed, whilst the construction of illegal Israeli settlements continues apace.
Palestinians in the West Bank are subject to military law, with severe restrictions on their movement through a series of humiliating checkpoints and walls. Gaza – home to over 2.2 million – is widely described as being the world’s largest ‘open air prison’.
Thousands have been killed in periodic bombardments by the Israeli Air Force. Considerable sections of the Gazan infrastructure have been shattered, and the materials for their reconstruction are being blocked from entering.
In the last year alone, over 260 Palestinians - including 50 children - were killed by Israeli forces for protesting near the Gazan border as part of the ‘Great March of Return’. Tens of thousands have been injured, including thousands shot. Why? Simply for demanding an end to the blockade and for the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
We must stand in full solidarity against this oppression and echo their demands. An injury to one is an injury to all. The struggle for a free Palestine cannot be separated from the global struggle against capitalism.
The capitalist ruling class in Israel has every interest in maintaining the oppression of Palestine. With widespread poverty, high inequality, a severe housing crisis, frustration is brewing below the surface of Israel. Adding to this are the high-profile corruption scandals involving Netanyahu and the elite.
The establishment therefore cynically uses conflict with Palestine to sow division between Arab and Jewish workers. Their aim is to cut across the class struggle.
Which way forward?
How can Palestine be free? The idea of a one-state solution has long since been abandoned as a utopia. On a capitalist basis, the Israeli ruling class has no interest in opening access to its state to millions of Palestinians. Nor are the Palestinians strong enough militarily to impose this solution.
The Israeli ruling class has perfected the tactic of dividing Jewish and Arab workers within the region. A form of apartheid is practiced against Palestinians, who are subject to a whole number of racist controls. Arabs in Israel are officially second-class citizens.
If the occupied Palestinian territories were incorporated into Israel on a capitalist basis, the Israeli ruling class would escalate this oppression further, rather than cede control to an Arab majority.
A two-state solution, however, is also a utopia on the basis of capitalism. As things stand, the economy of the occupied Palestinian territory is hugely dependent on Israel. The Israeli ruling class has no intention of allowing a Palestinian state - with its own police force, military, and economy - to thrive and challenge its power in the region.
A capitalist Palestinian state would therefore have no real independence, and could only exist as a vassal state for either Israel or other imperialist powers. It would be unable to solve the problems of poverty and unemployment for the Palestinian masses.
Only a socialist federation of Israel and Palestine, as part of a wider socialist federation of the Middle East, offers any real way forward. With the working class in power, it would be possible to allocate autonomous regions for both the Jews and Arabs, with a shared capital in Jerusalem.
Of course, the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank would have to be closed down. The territory allotted to Palestinians would be greatly expanded, including into neighbouring Jordan, where 60% of the population are Palestinian.
Since it would not be possible to create two completely homogenous territories, the rights of minorities in each territory would need to be protected. Yet with a socialist plan of production encompassing the whole region, cooperation between the different autonomous groups would be made possible.
The Right of Return for Palestinian refugees could finally be respected. This couldn’t be done on the basis of giving refugees evicted in 1948 the keys back to their former homes. This would mean displacing generations of Jews who have since grown up there.
Instead, a mass programme of high-quality affordable housing could be built, available to any Palestinians wishing to return to the region, along with jobs for all. This could only be done on a socialist basis, by taking the banks, construction companies, and big monopolies into public ownership, and planning production for need.
In Britain, we must struggle to topple our own right-wing Tory government. But our fight must not stop there. A socialist Labour government must commit to taking over the imperialist banks and big monopolies which help prop up the reactionary Israeli regime. It must offer genuine solidarity to all peoples worldwide struggling for their freedom.