This document is to the best of our knowledge published here for the first time.
Transcribed by Daniel Rubinstein.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for REDS – Die Roten.
1. Following the Sharm el Sheikh fraudulent “cease fire” talks and the Arab Summit, the Zionist regime of General Ehud Barak has launched Stage II of its war of aggression against the oppressed and revolted Palestinian population. The heroic Palestinian people must not remain alone in face of the imperialist Zionist terrorism!
We make an urgent appeal to the international working class and all its organizations and forces, to all the oppressed masses of the world and their popular movements, particularly we call the radicalized youth which has already proved its militant internationalism in the battles against the IMF and world Capitalism in Seattle, Washington, Melbourne and Prague, to mobilize all their strength in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom and justice.
After Ariel Sharon’s provocation on September 28, the mass protests, the massacre and the upsurge of the new popular intifada in occupied Palestine, the whole international political scene has changed dramatically. In an unprecedented popular mobilization, hundreds of thousands, even millions of people have demonstrated in all the Arab and Muslim world, from Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, even Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to Iran, Philippines, Indonesia, and furthermore in France and the United States itself.
This cause is not only the cause of national emancipation for the Arab and Muslim peoples oppressed by U.S. and European imperialism with the help of the local ruling classes. It is also our cause, the cause of all those exploited and oppressed by a historically decayed and barbaric social system, world capitalism. It is the cause of the working class and of all those fighting for universal human emancipation. We are all Palestinians today!
2. The warmongers of the Zionist regime, in the Labor Party and in the Likud, are closing ranks – whether they eventually form a “National Unity” government or not – in order to impose on the Palestinians a totally insane plan in cold blood. The ultimate objective of the attacks against the Palestinian residential areas by the Israeli Army and far-right gangs of settlers-pogromists is to terrorize and carry out a massive “transfer” (ethinc cleansing) of people with the pretext of “protecting” the Jewish settlements from war. The few remaining Palestinians will live in dispersed “cantons” controlled by heavy Israeli military forces and administered by a corrupt and brutal “Palestinian Authority”. This is one version of the so-called “new” or “unilateral” or “Final Solution” of the Palestinian Question, advanced after the collapse of the Clinton/Barak “Peace Plan” of July 2000. Inescapably it will fail as the previous one.
Already last June, before the July Camp David meeting, Ehud Barak had expressed his fears about “Palestinian unrest” and asked the green light from Washington for an offensive against the lands under the Palestinian Authority and against Southern Lebanon, from where the Zionist army had to withdraw last May.
Barak has reversed the old dictum “If you want peace, prepare yourself for war;” he wants war and prepares for it by talking about a “peace process. “
The Camp David “negotiations” between Clinton, Barak and Arafat led to a “Peace Plan” equivalent to an open provocation. The Plan was to reduce to 20 percent of historical Palestine the area under Palestinian authority recognized by the Oslo Agreements and to leave in the hands of the Zionist State more than 10 percent of the fertile lands in the West Bank and the control over 93 percent of the water resources. 80 percent of the Israeli Jewish settlements in the Territories were to remain in place and new settlements were to be established in Gaza, which was to be divided into three parts, in order to make easier its control by the Israeli Army. The right of the Palestinian refugees to return was not recognized and Jerusalem, including the part of the city with a Palestinian Arab majority, was to remain under Israeli sovereignty.
The 1993 “Oslo Agreement” reached the climax of its absurdity with the 2000 Camp David “Peace Plan”: what was proposed, with the arrogance of a conqueror, was the creation of artificial Palestinian “Bantustans”, completely controlled by the Israeli security forces. At the same time, the legitimacy of the Zionist State as the undisputed and official imperialist gendarme of the Middle East oilfields was established by the “good will” of the Arab rulers and Arafat.
The “Peace Plan” is the real casus belli, the cause of the massacres and of the popular uprising.
It was prepared to prevent this explosion but it became its detonator. Arafat had accepted 99 percent of the Plan but hesitated to take the final step. As he said to Clinton “That means, Mr. President that you are preparing to come to my funeral!”
Because of these hesitations, Barak thought that he could accelerate the course of events by a provocation, leading to a controlled explosion of Palestinian popular anger and Israeli intervention. Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to the Temple Mount on Thursday, on the eve of the Friday prayers by Muslims, as a symbolic gesture of declaration of Israeli sovereignty over the Islamic site of El Aqsa, would have been impossible without the political and security cover given to him by Barak himself, the Army and 1000 policemen.
The provocation has backfired. The popular explosion after the massacre of the civilians became uncontrollable. Not only the Palestinians in the Territories under the control of the Palestinian Authority, including the Tanzim militias of Arafat’s Al Fatah, have revolted, but also those living in Israel itself, including the big cities where Jews and Arabs live together like Jaffa, Haifa and Acco, and even the Bedouins in Rahat and the whole Galilee. The Second Intifada has begun – at an incomparably greater scale than the previous one.
3. The so called “peace process” initiated in Oslo in 1993 was a U.S.-Zionist imperialist maneuver to confront the revolutionary popular intifada of 1987-93, to divert and “highjack” the Palestinian national movement through its historical leadership.
This imperialist maneuver aggravated all the contradictions in Israel and among the Palestinian population. It polarized an Israeli society already in crisis, deepening all the divisions between the different segments, between religious “fundamentalists” and secular “post-Zionists”, between warmongers and the pro-Oslo camp, as the Rabin assassination had dramatically demonstrated. On the other side, the appalling social conditions of the Palestinians in the Territories has deteriorated further, with the installment of an apartheid regime which led to a growing gap between a frustrated population and a corrupt Palestinian Authority of Shin-Bet/CIA collaborators.
The conspiracy against the Intifada of 1987-93 totally failed. It finally led to the present revolutionary Second Intifada and to the total collapse of U.S. imperialist strategy in the Middle East in the post-Cold-War and post-Gulf-War period.
4. Imperialism has re-organized its strategy to take full advantage of the collapse of Stalinism, the implosion of the Soviet Union and the open turn by the ruling bureaucratic elite towards Capitalist restoration.
The collapse of the so called “socialist camp” closed the space of maneuver between imperialism and Kremlin diplomacy traditionally used by bourgeois and radical petty bourgeois nationalism in the Arab countries and the “Third World”. This bankruptcy of radical nationalism in favor of an accommodation to imperialist interests became a worldwide trend from Latin America to South Africa, from Ireland to Palestine.
The U.S. strategy in the Middle East during the last decade had two main targets: the destruction of Iraq as a center of resistance to U.S. plans in the region and the subjugation of the Palestinian national movement by the fake “peace process” initiated in Oslo. Imperialism has totally failed to achieve both aims.
Nearly a decade after the Gulf war, despite uninterrupted “low intensity” warfare, the air raids and the enormous sufferings caused which the Iraqi population experienced as a result of the sanctions imposed by imperialism, Iraq remains an uncontrollable factor.
Now the Second Intifada gives the deathblow to the Oslo/Camp David “peace process” conspiracy and destabilizes completely the Middle East as a whole.
The destruction of the U.S. destroyer in Aden, Yemen, is a clear indication that nowhere in the region the American military forces can be secure or shield themselves from the attacks by the rapidly growing new anti-imperialist movement of the Arab masses.
The unprecedented mass demonstrations and anti-imperialist anti-Zionist demonstrations in the Arab world are a direct threat to the corrupt and weak Arab regimes tied to the Western interests. After a long pause, the Arab Revolution is on the march again!
5. The new political explosion in this strategically crucial oil-rich region intensifies enormously the world economic crisis of Capitalism.
The oil prices had already skyrocketed in 1999, before the new dramatic political events, as an unavoidable reaction by the oil-producing countries of the periphery to the shock of the international financial maelstrom of 1997-99. The rise of oil prices came as a necessary compensation for the depressive effects on the world economy of the Asian 1997 Crash.
There is an analogy between this phenomenon and the quadrupling of the oil price in 1973. Then its was a reaction to the uncontrolled inflation unleashed internationally after the 1971 collapse of the Bretton Woods post-war settlement. The 1973 Yom Kippur War gave the impetus for a reply to the Western imperialist powers. The “oil shock” itself became the detonator for a series of revolutionary explosions in Europe (fall of the right-wing governments in Britain and Germany, of the dictatorships in Portugal, Greece and Spain, etc.), in Africa (Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, etc.) and all over the world.
The turn towards the “liberalization” of international capital movements and financial globalization in the ’80s and ’90s represented an attempt to halt the revolutionary social implications of the crisis of over-accumulation of capital which had exploded in the early ’70s. The 1997 Asian crisis marked a new turning point, demonstrating that the limits of that effort were reached and the world Capitalist crisis entered a new explosive stage.
This is the driving force behind the new international wave of struggles, from Latin America to Palestine and from Seattle and Prague to Melbourne and Seoul. The ruling classes know it very well.
Now the reactionary Arab regimes are afraid to use again the “oil weapon” against imperialism, despite the calls coming from the Palestinians. They know that they rely on imperialism for their survival from the just wrath of their people. For this reason in the last Arab Summit they confined themselves to the usual empty rhetoric about the rights of the Palestinian people.
It is not just a repetition of the traditional cowardly attitude that the Arab rulers have always adopted towards the cause of national emancipation of the Palestinian and all Arab peoples. It is an acknowledgement that the popular struggle for national emancipation from imperialist – Zionist oppression is intimately connected with the struggle for social emancipation from all the parasitic bourgeois elites, the Monarchies and Sheikdoms in the Arab world.
6. The new Intifada gives a powerful blow to the capitulation of the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois leadership of the Palestinian national liberation movement. This leadership has lost control, for the moment at least, over the new popular uprising, including the “loyalist” Tanzim-Al Fatah forces. Barak’s claim that Arafat is responsible for the revolutionary upsurge and “violence” is a calculated propaganda trick aimed at:
a. Justifying the brutality of the Israeli Army attacks against the Palestinian residential areas by helicopters, tanks and air raids, and hiding the support given to the pogroms by far-right Jewish settlers such as those in Beit Jala, Hebron and Jenin;
b. Strengthening the “national consensus” among the Jewish population to unite against the “Arab threat”;
c. Keeping and intensifying the pressure on the Palestinian bourgeois leadership to obtain a total surrender;
d. Giving to Arafat’s fictitious Authority a credibility that it lacks.
But neither the propaganda tricks can fool everybody all the time nor Arafat’s leadership can restore its credibility to the pre-Oslo levels. Nobody among the Palestinians believes that Arafat can change his political course under popular pressure. His security services still operate together with the Israeli security services and the CIA. There is a huge crisis and vacuum of leadership in the Palestinian movement that Islamic fundamentalism tries to fill. But the road towards a free Palestine cannot be the road of Afghanistan’s Taliban obscurantism.
Islamic fundamentalism is a form of nationalism, open to imperialist manipulation by its own obscurantism and hatred of socialism, which divides the oppressed masses along religious lines. This backward form of nationalism is revived again today by the crisis of nationalism itself, both moderate and radical, which is organically incapable of resolving the national problem in the epoch of imperialism.
The present Palestinian rebellion comes out of the wounds and frustrations generated by Oslo, and Oslo is the result of the bankruptcy of nationalism. Within Israel, the traditional leadership of the “Israeli” Arabs has also shown its incapacity to obtain equality for the Palestinians which in 1948 remained within the borders of the Zionist state.
Victory is a strategic task. Only a new revolutionary strategy and organization, going beyond the limits of secular or religious nationalism, can lead the oppressed masses in victory.
That strategy and organization has to be international in its nature and scope because the main factors and driving forces determining the Palestinian and the whole Middle East problem are international.
7. Crucial to a new revolutionary strategy for Palestinian freedom is to find the ways and means for a grass-roots unity between the Palestinian people and the Jewish workers, youth and intellectuals opposing Zionist barbarism.
It appears extremely difficult. The majority of Jewish people in Israel and in Diaspora see, as in the past, the “enemy” on the “Arab side”. The Zionist Left (Meretz, the “Peace Now” movement) takes an equal distance from both the victims and their butchers, considering as responsible for the massacre both the Israeli Army and the Palestinians. Only a brave minority of the Left in Israel (the “Peace bloc”, the Sons of the Country, the Communist Party, the Committee of Action for a Democratic and Secular Republic, the Militants for the Fourth International, etc.) has organized demonstrations against occupation and war, in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
But even as a minority, this movement towards a grass-roots Jewish-Palestinian unity is alive, it fights and it can grow. The bright example of the Israeli soldier Noam Kuzar who was put on martial court and sentenced to prison because he refused to participate to the repression of the Palestinian population in Jericho demonstrates it. As Noam’s father, proud for his son, said “his family receives many messages of support and solidarity, including fathers who do not want that their children to risk their lives in a senseless mission to repress the rebellion of a people.”
The Israeli Army with all its destructive capacity could defeat regular Arab armies but never can defeat little Palestinian Davids armed only with stones! As the previous examples of the 1987 Intifada and Southern Lebanon demonstrate, the revulsion generated inside the Jewish population and among the soldiers by the massacres of civilians and kids is devastating for Zionism’s plans.
Even that unstable majority which is now hostile to the “Arab threat and violence” is in an impasse: they know that the “peace process” is dead and at the same time they recognize that a military solution to the problem is impossible. Genocide, a “Shoah” for Palestinians, is not an option. They must eventually find a way to create conditions of peaceful cohabitation, co-operation and mutual respect.
Furthermore: Zionism proves again to be the best ally of Anti-Semitism. The new massacre of the Palestinian people comes in a period of growth of the Far Right and of anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe. Anti-Semitism always grows in periods of deep social and economic crisis of Capitalism. Zionism’s crimes help anti-Semites and fascists to spread their filth against Jews. Already anti-Semite attacks in France and Britain took place as a result of the recent events in Palestine. Le Pen’s National Front took the opportunity to masquerade as a “friend of the Palestinians” attacking Jewish targets. The rival fascist organization of Bruno Megret called the Jews of France to form a common front “against the Arab threat”!
This division of labor among the racists proves indirectly the truth of the basic principle: You cannot fight anti-Semitism by capitulating to Zionism and you cannot fight Zionism without fighting anti-Semitism!
8. Marxism has always insisted that Zionism is not the solution of the Jewish Question, of the problem of the persecution of Jews in class society, particularly in the epoch of imperialist decay. The great revolutionaries Leon Trotsky and Rosa Luxembourg even predicted that it would lead to a tragic historical trap both for Jews and Arabs in Palestine. Now more than ever before, from the times of the Great Depression, the emancipation of the Jewish people from discrimination and persecution, in a capitalist world torn apart by the crisis, entirely depends on the world socialist revolution and universal human emancipation. From this standpoint, we can say without any hesitation that the Jew cannot be free in a society where the Palestinian is a slave, a refugee abroad or third rank “citizen’ in a Bantustan “homeland.” The emancipation of the Jewish people depends today on the national emancipation of the Palestinian people itself.
The real solution to the present impasse cannot be the renewal in another form of the same hypocritical “peace negotiations” between the Zionist regime and their stooges in the Palestinian Authority under the auspices of U.S. imperialism- the repetition of a war game named “peace process”.
There is no peace under imperialism: in order for peace to be achieve the mases have first to free themselves from imperialist tyranny. Jewish and Palestinian toilers have to take their fate into their own hands. They have to unite and fight against the Zionist massacres, Occupation and War. They have to win mutual confidence in common struggles of solidarity. They have to win and share the future.
There is no future in the establishment of a regime of apartheid with Bantustans renamed as “cantons.” There is no future even to Partition, to a “two-State solution”, like some sections of the Israeli Left call for, either in the “bourgeois democratic” form demanded by the Communist Party or in the “socialist” version of partition into “a socialist Israel alongside a socialist Palestine”, proclaimed by the CWI supporters in the “Maavak Sotzialisti (Socialist Struggle)” group. The equality between Jews and Palestinian Arabs can be established only in an independent, democratic, secular and socialist Republic in the whole historic territory of Palestine, without any ethnic or religious discrimination for its inhabitants. This really liberated territory can and should become the cornerstone of the liberation and re-organization of the whole region from the bottom up into a United Socialist States of the Middle East.
9. This bold historical perspective has to be advanced by the vanguard of the working class in the area and internationally as the vital link between the popular anti-imperialist movement in the Middle East and the international struggle for Socialism. But that means, in the first place that this vanguard has to organize itself in an international combat organization – a Workers’ Revolutionary International.
Our movement to refound the Fourth International was launched a few years ago in order to advance this urgent historic goal.
It is very important that the Action Committee for a Democratic and Secular Republic fights now in the forefront of the struggle for solidarity to the Palestinian uprising. From its ranks comes the group of the Militants for the Fourth International, which supports the immediate refounding of the 4th International and took part in the mobilization against the IMF and the World Bank in Tel Aviv in support of the mobilizations in Prague.
We call all the vanguard fighters of the Jewish and Palestinian working class, of the militant youth and intelligentsia to be part of the new movement for a democratic and secular republic and against apartheid put forward by the Sons of the Country movement, the Anti-Apartheid movement, the Action Committee for a Democratic and Secular Republic and the Militants for the Fourth International, and to join the struggle for solidarity against the Zionist massacres and in defense of the popular uprising of the oppressed Palestinians as a first step toward the construction of a workers’ socialist organization of Arab and Jews in Palestine.
Partido Obrero (Workers’ Party, Argentina), Partido de los Trabajadores (Workers’ Party, Uruguay), Oposicion Trotskista (Trotskyst Opposition, Bolivia), Partido de la Causa Operaria (Workers’ Cause Party, Brazil), Comite Constructor del Partido Obrero (Building Committee for a Workers’ Party, Chile), En Defensa del Marxismo (In Defense of Marxism, Spain), Workers’ Revolutionary Party (Greece), Marxist Workers’ League (Turkey)
Last updated on 4.8.2001