Via: Socialist Alternative.
The massacre of nine people on a peace ship attempting to deliver aid to Gaza is the latest demonstration that there are no limits to what Israel is prepared to do in pursuit of its genocidal war against the Palestinians.
For nearly two decades the Palestinians have been told that if only they lay down their arms and end their resistance, if only they make concession after concession, compromise after compromise – enter into dialogue after dialogue – then Israel will negotiate in good faith.
The Palestinians have obliged time and again. But for all of their concessions the Palestinians have received in return a never-ending expansion of the settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. They received the apartheid wall, hundreds of kilometres long, gouged into the dirt and splitting up their communities.
They received the invasion of Lebanon in 2006, where half of the country was carpet-bombed. They received last year’s invasion of Gaza, a bloodbath that killed 1,500, where white phosphorous was used against civilians and where hospitals were targeted.
And, of course, there is the continuing siege of Gaza, a crime against humanity that even for Israel is extraordinary in its cruelty – a situation where basic medical and supply goods are prohibited from entering the territory, resulting in malnutrition, stunted growth in children, and otherwise preventable deaths from illness and injury.
Now Israel has murdered international activists on the high seas, and applied to them all the lies and slanders that it has for so long used to demonise the Palestinian people. The label of “terrorist” – first applied to those legitimately resisting Israeli occupation, then later to every man woman and child who dared to be born Palestinian – is now thrown at journalists and international peace activists on a heroic mission to bring aid and break through an illegal and inhuman blockade.
Israel has proven that it cannot be reasoned with. It can only be resisted. That is the conclusion that urgently needs to be drawn if Palestine is ever to be free. The “peace-process” that has for so long been used to deceive the Palestinians must be abandoned once and for all. Palestinians have no hope of justice until the whole apparatus of the apartheid Israeli state is dismantled and replaced with a genuinely democratic state in the whole of historic Palestine, in which each citizen has equal rights.
That means equal rights to education, to health etc. and the granting of full political rights, unbiased by ethnicity or religious beliefs.
It is true that Israel will never countenance such a state. The Zionist project, like the former South African apartheid project, is specifically about privileging one part of the population (in this case Jews) over another (Palestinians). Zionism in practice is thoroughly racist and anti-democratic. Equal rights for all would mean the end of Israel. As former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon explained in 1998:
“It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism…or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.”
It is the height of utopianism to believe that a two-state solution offers anything but more of the same – more oppression, more violence, more unemployment, more humiliation, more indignity – for Palestinians. There are more obstacles to this two-state “solution” than there are to the creation of a single state.
The Zionists will not allow Palestinians to co-exist in a single state; they will likewise never allow a viable Palestinian state to co-exist beside Israel. The Zionists have criss-crossed the West Bank with roads and settlements, turned the entire territory into a series of villages cut off from one another. They have taken the most arable land and the water resources for themselves.
If they were finally forced to cede the right of Palestinians to form their own state, that state would endure the same treatment meted out to Gaza today. It would be a state that is economically unviable, isolated, blockaded and subject to continual assault; it would be strangled.
Recent events have also shown that the struggle for justice in Palestine will not be aided by the governments of the major powers or the mass media, who have stood by as Israel’s lie-machine has run at full speed.
It is true that the transparency of Israel’s crimes have been so great that some, like Kevin Rudd (who cheered on the massacre in Gaza last year) have been forced to issue mild-mannered criticism of Israel’s actions.
The Americans have not done even this. Barack Obama has refused to condemn Israel and the US Vice-President, Joe Biden, made a speech actually supporting Israel’s “right to defend itself”.
But those like Rudd who have made some criticisms of Israel do not deserve any credit. None of the major Western powers – particularly the Anglo alliance of the US, Australia and the UK – have any intention of seriously reprimanding Israel. The truth is that if Iran, Syria, Iraq or any other country not in favour with the West had carried out such a blatant act of terrorism and mass murder we would be at war by now.
But because it is Israel, the worst that is likely is a slap on the wrist. The relentless stream of military, economic and political aid, that only this most loyal servant of Western imperialism receives, will continue.
Calls for the “international community” – whether in the form of the UN, the EU or even the US – to “do something” will lead to disappointment again and again. Governments everywhere are either outright supporters of Zionism, or have a practical interest in seeing Israel succeed.
This is true even of the Arab League, none of whose members have lifted a finger in support of Palestine. They prefer not to rock the boat with the US.
This is why the struggle against Israel is also a struggle against Western imperialism. Without the support of the West, Israel would not be so emboldened; its existence would be quickly brought into question. Western imperialism must be driven out of the Middle East.
The hope for Palestinians on this front does not lie with grubby politicians who have long abandoned the Palestinians and aided their oppression. Instead, it rests with their own resistance, and with the resistance of the mass of people across the Middle East and the globe. This is why the protests we have seen in the wake of Israel’s latest crime have to be continued.
The blockade of Gaza will not be ended because Israel’s crimes are exposed. Report after report is written of the devastating effects of the Zionists’ actions. It has only been the practical resistance, and the protests all over the world which have led to pressure mounting for an end to the barbarity.
The only option for supporters of Palestine is to deepen and broaden the protest movement, and to set a course of uncompromising resistance to apartheid Israel and the US empire that it serves.
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- A tale of two apartheids
- Auschwitz survivor: “I identify with Palestinian youth”
- Australian Zionism is an establishment affair
- Breaking the silence about the siege of Gaza
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