A political report from the Socialist Struggle Movement (ISA in Israel-Palestine)
The following Political report was discussed and adopted by an extraordinary membership aggregate of Socialist Struggle Movement on the 24th of November. An earlier version was brought forward as a contribution to discussion by SSM’s Secretariat on November 10th and published as a draft in Hebrew on November 17th.
Socialist Struggle Movement bows its head in grief and rage, and stands in solidarity with ordinary people from all national communities on both sides of the fence facing unprecedented dimensions of grief and destruction. An unfathomable number of babies and children have died, families have been wiped out, communities have been destroyed. We stand in solidarity in face of the concern and resistance to the atrocities that continue to take place, at their epicentre are the bloodbath scenes of horror in the Gaza Strip, and in the face of the fear for the safety of the abductees.
[Update 26. November 2023]: After continuous refusal, the Israeli government finally agreed, with the ministers from the far-right strongly opposed, to a hostage-prisoner swap deal, which includes an agreement to a “pause” of several days and the release of dozens of women, children and teenagers in particular, both from Israeli prisons and captivity by Hamas. Although the Israeli government did not demand it, immigrant workers from Thailand and the Philippines are also being released from captivity. The growing pressures on the Israeli government, including under the influence of the global and regional wave of protest against the Israeli attack on Gaza, and the demonstrations led by the families of abductees in Israel, managed to bring about a few moments of relief after weeks of unprecedented killing. However, the Netanyahu-Ganz-Ben-Gvir government continues to arrogantly reject the idea of a permanent cease-fire and a comprehensive hostage-prisoner deal, and threatens, according to the Minister of war Galant, with no less than two months of a high-intensity attack on Gaza in the winter, and then a series of “operations”.
We call, as we have done from the first moment, to fight with determination, in every arena, for an immediate ceasefire, to stop the revenge attack, to release “all for all”, against the Netanyahu government which bears direct responsibility for the crisis, against the ruling elites who have perpetuated the status quo, and for a grassroots solution. Since the beginning of the war of revenge led by the Netanyahu-Ganz-Ben Gvir government under false pretences of “security”, it has been taking advantage of the shock caused by the massacre by Hamas and fueling a wave of nationalist-racist reaction in Israeli society. It was not intended to, and will not lead to a safer future for ordinary Israelis and Jews, certainly not as a result of the mass slaughter of Palestinians.
The war crisis that erupted on 7 October. It is the deadliest war between the State of Israel and the Palestinians since 1948. It represents a historic indictment against an entire system. It exposes in a gruesome manner the contradictions underlying the myths of “normalisation”, “conflict management” and “security” cultivated by the Israeli ruling class. The root of the bloody crisis is the siege, occupation and extreme national oppression imposed by Israeli capitalism, which is the strongest military power in the region with fundamental backing from American and Western imperialism, and with the cooperation of regimes in the region. A struggle aimed at addressing the root of the problem is needed.
A wave of international protest
The bloody crisis sent shockwaves around the world. Mass demonstrations of anger, some of them with hundreds of thousands demonstrators, were organised in a series of countries, from Jordan, through Iraq, Turkey and Morocco to the United Kingdom, with the aim of stopping the bloodbath in the Gaza Strip. The mass mobilisation is a source of hope and a crucial factor that exerts real pressure to stop the fire. This is precisely the reason why some capitalist governments have resorted to measures of persecution and repression against protest actions, which put a spoke in the wheels of the “Western” support campaign for the attack on Gaza.
Palestinian labour unions and professional associations came out in the first days calling on the international workers’ movement to take a stand against the attack and even actively intervene to stop the flow of weapons to Israel and to take action against corporations involved in some way in enabling the aggression and blockade against Gaza (the call was originally published on 16 October). Socialist Struggle Movement supports the call by the unions, and itself calls for demonstrations, in Israeli society as well, for an immediate ceasefire, to stop the revenge attack, to promote refusal of military service in protest against the war, and also to promote discussion and the taking of a position by the Israeli unions — expressing solidarity with the victims who are ordinary people from all national communities on both sides of the fence, and demanding a ceasefire.
At the same time, the weakness of left-wing forces around the world, the vast majority of which do not present a point of view of international class solidarity, leaves a wider opening for the global upsurge of the reactionary phenomena of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, nationalist aggression towards Arabs or towards Israelis wherever they may be and even individual acts of terrorism. The propaganda of the Israeli government creates a smokescreen of toxic incitement against the international protest wave, presenting it as anti-Semitic, that is, as an expression of racism against Jews, in order to delegitimise mass solidarity with millions of Palestinians subjected to Israeli attacks and bombings. This is happening while the Israeli “fully right-wing” government claims, allegedly, to represent the interests of Jews all over the world, but in reality it only politically feeds anti-Semitic elements. The same government is working more and more to silence and violently persecute voices opposing war and occupation “from within” among Arab-Palestinians and citizens of Israel in general.
An historical catastrophe
The balance of forces and casualties now illustrate in themselves the acute asymmetry in the war between a regional imperialist power, economically and militarily reinforced by the world’s most powerful superpower, and factions, regardless of their political characteristics, in the Palestinian national liberation movement, which is developing in the face of systematic oppression, in particular among the millions of poor whose day-to-day survival is also under organised military aggression. This shows new records of barbarism. At the same time, the war is also developing in a regional context, on a limited scale so far, but with a significant potential for eruption. The upheaval is still in full swing, so it is impossible to assess the full consequences, but the events mark a new stage in the historical national conflict and the instability of Israeli capitalism, while the dynamics of the “New Cold War” — itself a consequence of a systemic capitalist crisis that pushed the world into an era of disorder — ignites and intensifies catastrophe. The extended Netanyahu government and the Israeli generals have made it clear that they intend to lead a continuous military onslaught in stages over many months and even longer.
The war machine of Israeli capitalism, drunk on power given to it by the aggressive support campaign of Washington and the camp of Western imperialism, is executing a horrific bloodbath on an unprecedented scale in the Gaza Strip, which is under siege, and threatens to drag the region into an even more extensive war. The mouthpieces of the Israeli government who defend the attack as an expression of the “right to self-defence” seek to turn reality on its head and erase the relations of oppression and the massive systematic aggression towards millions of Palestinians, and in the process make the masses of Palestinian victims invisible.
As a result of the Israeli government’s political policy, which continues a historical process of oppression and systematic aggression, these are the deadliest weeks ever for the Palestinian population. The total number of those who have perished, as to the end of November, is estimated at over 15,000 people. In Gaza, since the start of the Israeli attack, the number is estimated at over 12,700 (19.11), while about 26% are women, about 42% under the age of 18 — with thousands (!) of children and infants among the dead. An Israeli “senior security official” even estimated, horrifyingly, that the actual figure at the start of November was already double that (5 November ). Thousands are buried under the rubble for many weeks and many of them didn’t survive. The heavy damage inflicted on the hospitals fundamentally disrupts the ability to keep track, but in a short period the official death toll may skyrocket to more than 20,000. According to the UN figures, it’s an extremely exceptional pace of death in the 21st century.
More children have been killed in Gaza since the Israeli assault began than in the world’s major conflict zones combined during all of last year, including the war in Ukraine (New York Times 25.11). The number of injured is estimated at about 30,000 not including psychological trauma, and many of them with severe injuries. The images of mutilated limbs among the ruins of the houses, small childrens’ feet amputated by the Israeli bombings, and residents trying to rescue their relatives who are crying out from under the piles of broken concrete with their bare hands are only the tip of the hell, in which the masses in the Gaza strip are imprisoned, packed in and trampled upon. Many of the dead are buried in mass graves, also because of huge difficulties of identification, without the possibility of memorial ceremonies. These crimes will be remembered as an eternal dreadful disgrace.
The Israeli attack on the Palestinians in Gaza, which is supposedly aimed at “eliminating Hamas” or “toppling the rule of Hamas”, is accompanied by a criminally cynical exploitation of the abominable massacre led by the reactionary forces of Hamas. The surprise attack by Hamas was carried out under the false pretext of a “resistance” operation. Even though the documentation of the organised breaching of the siege fence in several points has enabled Hamas to present the entire attack in a different light for Palestinian public opinion, as an act of partisan resistance against a power that has imposed the siege on the population. The enormous destruction and bereavement created by the Israeli attack, and the battles taking place against the military invasion, have even strengthened such an impression among many for the time being. However, the essence of the attack was the planned massacre in which nearly a thousand civilians from working class and middle class communities in Israel perished, including babies and children, most of them Jews, but also Palestinian Arabs and migrant workers. It was the bloodiest day ever for the Israeli population.
The massacre was carried out as part of raids on dozens of Israeli communities, including the poor “developing cities” of Sderot and Ofakim. It did not spare Jews and Arabs who worked or volunteered as part of medical teams and rescue teams that provided an initial response, while in the background there was a widespread mobilisation especially among the oppressed and impoverished Bedouin community in the Western Negev, which was affected by both the massacre and by the rocket fire (while the Bedouin settlements do not even have bomb shelters in the first place). In the shadow of the massacre, the attack included the largest ever kidnapping incident of Israeli citizens. Among the kidnapped were Jews, Arabs and immigrants — there were also babies, children and elderly people. The mass slaughter in the various areas had an extremely sadistic character and included, as it appears from the records and the forensic autopsies ( 20.10 ), a pattern of acts of torture, burning people alive, the slaughter of babies and children, the slitting of throats, decapitations, the amputation of limbs, sexual violence and rape, in addition to the mass execution at the [Nova, TN] festival.
The Israeli regime’s “Hasbara” [propaganda, TN] seeks to harness the shock from this crime — whose seriousness cannot be excused or minimised by the context of the siege and brutal repression — and the fear caused by indiscriminate rocket fire in order to gather international and public support for the false “security” slogans surrounding the Israeli attack, and in fact, for the political decision to cause killing and destruction on a huge scale within the confines of the largest prison camp in the world, which Netanyahu expressed by promising to turn Gaza into rubble (7 October). Netanyahu took advantage of the fact that the massacre by Hamas forces was a horrific terrorist act of the ISIS-type in order to recycle the old fallacy that Hamas is ISIS — a demagogic reduction whose purpose is to erase the context of the brutal national oppression of the Palestinians in order to facilitate the promotion of a brutal and sick bloodbath of historical proportions against the Palestinians.
The horrors of the revenge attack in Gaza and genocidal elements
Minister Amichai Eliyahu (‘Otzma Yehudit’) toyed with the idea that his government would drop an atomic bomb on the residents of the Gaza Strip (5 November). Netanyahu and others in his government hypocritically distanced themselves from those words. But besides a reminder of the danger posed by nuclear weapons in the hands of any country, already in the first 3 weeks, bombs (mainly MK80 made in the USA) with a cumulative power of about 18,000 tons of TNT were dropped on the Strip (Al Jazeera, 3 November) — as powerful as the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and double the rate compared to the attack on Gaza in 2014, which lasted 50 days and amounted to a similar figure. In addition, Israel’s use of white phosphorus bombs has been documented, causing serious injuries to the population (12 October).
The ground invasion, which began on 27 October, continues on a large scale as for the first time since 1982, an entire reserve division of the Israeli army is in the Gaza Strip, alongside regular forces (8 November). The northern area of the Gaza Strip, which was home to over a million people, has been turned into rubble and continues to be the target of intense bombings as it is the focus of the current phase of the ground invasion by Israeli military forces.
The mass transfer of around a million residents from the north of the Strip to the south is a central strategic manoeuvre of the Israeli regime. According to reports, so far about a third of the residents of the northern Gaza Strip are still staying in the area, in the heart of the inferno. About 1.5 million (!) people, the majority of the population of the Gaza Strip, have been displaced from their homes. About a quarter of a million housing units were damaged, of which about 50 thousand were destroyed ( 16.11 ). The destruction in the north of the Gaza Strip alone, which includes whole neighbourhoods — half of buildings damaged or destroyed (20.11) — will require years of massive reconstruction to perhaps enable all the survivors to return to their residential area. There is a fear that the Israeli government will act to prevent residents from returning to their homes for an extended period of time even after the war, maybe even for years.
The residents are crammed into an overwhelming, crippling density in tents, public buildings and UNRA centres in the south of the Gaza Strip, which has been bombed since the beginning of the war on a wide scale, even if at a lower intensity. The residents of East Khan Yunis in the south have already received announcements from the Israeli army threatening them to evacuate (16 November), and dozens were killed in the bombings of the city (18 November). The displaced in the south of the strip, including in the areas that were called in Orwellian language, “humanitarian areas”, were not spared from, in addition to everything else, the strangling of the heavy siege and destruction of infrastructure including shortages of water, food and medications.
The barbaric, mediaeval “total siege” policy, as a complementary measure to the bombings and invasion, suffocates 2.4 million people, while taking actions to withhold water, food, medicine, medical equipment and fuel. In the first two weeks, supply trucks were completely prevented from entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, which was also bombed, and are still entering in small amounts. The electricity and water shortages that have been acute for years in the Gaza Strip due to the military blockade have reached record levels. Residents are forced to drink salty and polluted water in many cases in order to survive (16 October).
The severe damages to hospitals were further increased by the ground invasion and the raid by the Israeli military on the Al-Shifa and the Al-Rantisi children’s hospital. The hospitals are collapsing under the bombings. There is the surge of casualties, a lack of fuel, equipment, and medical staff. Patients are often injured and sometimes killed. The severe damage to the hospitals has been aggravated by the ground invasion. Only 9 of the 35 hospitals in the Gaza Strip are still functioning, and those only partially. According to the World Health Organization report, there are approximately 50,000 pregnant women in the Gaza Strip and approximately 180 births per day, with complications requiring medical intervention likely to develop in approximately 15% of cases. But they are forced to give birth among the ruins in poor sanitary conditions, with the danger of developing infections and complications. The Israeli attack is a death sentence for many patients who somehow managed to get medical treatment in the emergency and hospitalisation rooms. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, at the Al-Shifa Hospital, 40 patients, including three premature babies, died on 11–16 November due to a lack of fuel while occupation forces surrounded the hospital (16 November ).
The trash is piling up. Residents stand in line for hours just to get pita bread. The Internet and cellular communications were also downed on 27 October for a day and a half around the beginning of the ground invasion phase in the north of the Gaza Strip, and again during the bombing of residential buildings near Gaza City (1 November). Residents under the attack were completely helpless, unable to receive information about what was happening, to communicate with their relatives or call for help from the surrounding area and the emergency services.
The “Hasbra‘’ campaign to legitimise the bloodbath has no qualms about dehumanising the population. It trivialises mass killing as ”incidental damage“ and fabricates a narrative similar to Putin’s “war against Nazism”. Israeli government officials vilely use the memory of the Jewish Holocaust, with scandalous analogies by demagogues that have reached the point of the wearing of a yellow patch (!) by the Israeli delegation to the UN. This not only minimises the Holocaust, it borders disgustingly on its denial, the most industrial and systematic genocidal extermination in history at the hands of the historical Nazi terror regime of German capitalism. It is used manipulatively to justify the bloodbath in Gaza and to fend off the growing cries in demonstrations around the world to stop the crime of genocide against the Palestinians.
The Israeli army’s calls to Palestinian residents to flee for their lives towards the south and in general, fundamentally represent, as already mentioned, a calculated strategic move of mass transfer, which aims to continue for a significant period of time, and this alongside political fear of political and geostrategic consequences of scenarios that would more blatantly reveal deliberate mass killings. However, causing destruction and killing on an unprecedented scale is not an accident, but, as mentioned, a clear political decision to turn Gaza into a city of ruins, including through the flattening of neighbourhoods and the tearing down of buildings — actions that are nothing short of state terrorism. The Dahiya doctrine is designed to demonstrate power and sear consciousness, to convey that “The boss has gone mad!”.
Minister Eliyahu’s words about the atomic bomb were reinforced by a Member of the Knesset [MK] from his party, Yitzhak Kreuzer, who said: “The Gaza Strip needs to be flattened and everyone has one sentence, and that is death… There are no innocents in the Gaza Strip” (5 November). Not only the ‘Otzma Yehudit’ [Jewish Power party, TN] party put forward a clear political goal of people’s extermination. MK Distal of the Likud party who resigned at the beginning of the war from the position of Minister of Information called for “wiping Gaza from the face of the earth ” (1 November ), and other voices from her party, such as MK Gottlieb and MK Vaturi called for “erasing Gaza“ and ”to burn Gaza to the ground” (17 November ). Although these elements are not leading the management of the military in the current attack on Gaza, they emphasise that among the parties sitting in the Israeli government there is an open debate that includes a wing with genocidal rhetoric and even ambitions. However, the more “institutional” wing also uses rhetoric that paints the residents of Gaza and the Palestinians in general as at least a target for collective punishment. Thus, according to the President of the State of Israel Herzog, “there is an entire nation there that bears the responsibility, the rhetoric regarding citizens who are not aware and are not involved is wrong, completely wrong” (16 October). When Defense Minister Galant announced a “total blockade” and made it clear that the intention was to deprive the residents of electricity, food and fuel, he justified this by claiming that “we are fighting human animals and we act accordingly” (9 October).
The Marxist left is careful in the use of political terms in an effort to accurately refer to historical political phenomena as they develop. We unreservedly take part in an active struggle to stop the historical bloodbath in Gaza. With each passing day, as the invasion and bombings in the Strip continue, the scale of the catastrophe intensifies. Officials at the UN called for stopping the spiraling of the crisis into genocide (16 November ). The Netanyahu government, which leads the ever-expanding bloodbath in the Gaza Strip has not adopted a project whose political purpose is to “solve” the national conflict directly through mass murder and the systematic physical destruction of a nation or large parts of it — and at this stage such an idea in itself does not have a mass support base In Israeli society despite the wave of nationalist reaction. However, the same government continues to kill, and destroy the most basic living conditions of the residents of Gaza despite all the minimal “humanitarian” measures. The widespread and unprecedented extreme harm to the population in Gaza is part of a plan that knowingly perpetuates a national massacre of historic proportions. In this sense, similarly to the barbarism of many imperialist wars throughout history against oppressed nations, the attack on Gaza also blatantly bears genocidal elements, which are gaining strength. In the coming weeks, the death toll may reach 1% of the population of the Gaza Strip, and even beyond that with the expansion of the land invasion to the south compounded with the continued destruction, killing, and the danger of the even further spreading of diseases, especially in the winter, and phenomena of mass hunger and thirst. The evolving elements of genocide are in themselves a warning sign against phenomena of even more catastrophic reaction in the future, as long as the context of the jaws of capitalism, imperialism and national oppression remains intact.
MK Ariel Kellner (‘Likud’) called for a “Nakba that will overshadow the Nakba of 48” (8 October). This is a continuation of the shift of Israeli ultra-nationalist right-wing elements in recent years from denying the historical Palestinian Nakba to openly promoting a policy in its spirit, that is, the ethnic cleansing of a massive area. The extreme right, such as Minister Eliyahu, openly calls for the return of permanent direct Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip and the colonial settlement project, which in itself strives for a creeping ethnic cleansing. A junior officer was recorded expressing the fanatical agenda of the extreme right in a speech to the soldiers when he said that if he “moves the Israeli victims off the screen“, the first month of the war was ”the happiest month of my life“, in fact because the war provides a leeway for a reactionary vision of Jewish supremacy, as he implied, and the territorial expansion of the State of Israel, to ”the whole land, all of it, including Gaza, including Lebanon, the whole promised land” (4 November). MK Ze’ev Elkin (“National unity” party) seemingly offers a more pragmatic strategic line for the Israeli regime, saying that “I don’t know how realistic it is to talk about returning to Gush Katif, and how much this idea will gain a majority in Israeli society“, but repeated the call of his fellow parliamentary group member minister Gideon Sa’ar for shrinking the besieged Gaza Strip — which suffers from one of the highest population densities on the planet — ”When you take away their territory, this is the language they understand” (26 October).
The Ministry of Intelligence under Minister Gila Gamliel (‘Likud’) already formulated a document on 13 October proposing a mass permanent transfer of the population of the Gaza Strip to North Sinai as a preferred alternative for the Israeli regime. Although this is a recommendation by a junior ministry, Netanyahu himself, according to reports, promoted international lobbying to put pressure on the Egyptian regime including through a proposal for a deal that would include writing off Egyptian debt to the World Bank (31 October) in order to allow the transfer of large numbers of Palestinian refugees to Sinai. This is a particularly cynical threat of a second Nakba towards a population whose main origin is the refugees of the 1948 Nakba. Given the extent of the devastation in the north of the Gaza Strip and Gaza City, the pressure for a mass transfer that will diminish the population of the Gaza Strip will continue for a period of time, even after a phase of ceasefire.
The revenge attack in the West Bank
While the revenge attack is focused on the Gaza Strip, there has been a sharp escalation in the scope of deadly raids by military forces on Palestinian communities in the West Bank. The number of casualties as a result of combined aggression by military forces and armed gangs of the extreme right settlers is increasing. Since 7 October, around 200 Palestinians have been killed by the fire of military forces and settlers, including dozens of children, as well as women with special needs (16 November ). This is a doubling of the number of deaths registered until then from the beginning of 2023, and cumulatively the highest number of deaths in the West Bank since 2002 (Betzelem database).
The Netanyahu-Ganz-Ben Gvir government has sent thousands of weapons to the “territorial defence forces” of the settlements (armed forces of settlers, who are supposedly not supposed to leave the settlements). In Area C, the far-right settlers are taking advantage of the fog of war to establish facts on the ground to accelerate the creeping ethnic cleansing. By the end of October, over 13 Palestinian communities were expelled and 5 communities were partially displaced — about 850 people. In the two years before the war, 6 communities were displaced, numbering about 450 people.
Under pressure from the Biden administration to pay lip service, Netanyahu was urged to condemn “a handful who take the law into their own hands” in a meeting with the heads of the settlement authorities, and allegedly promised to act against that handful, but on the same day he made sure to release a statement in which he claimed to have told Biden that “the accusations against the settlements are baseless” (8 November). Beyond Netanyahu’s attempt to appease part of his base, there is essentially a de facto division of labour between the state forces and the settler forces where the Israeli government’s policy decisively leads to the dispossession and oppression of the residents, and nurtures the extreme right-wing gangs, while the latter often receive direct assistance from military forces. This allows the state to disclaim official responsibility.
The military raids throughout the West Bank include mass arrests, with around 1,700 residents arrested so far (14 November). It is not impossible that the mass arrests were also intended to be used as “bargaining chips” in negotiations on deals for the release of Israeli hostages. Horrifying videos and testimonies revealed the abuse of Palestinian detainees by soldiers as well as settlers (sometimes as soldiers themselves). One of the cases involved injury with burning cigarettes and sexual assault (19 October). Haaretz quoted a “senior government source” who claimed that since the beginning of the war, the local authorities of the settlements in the West Bank also direct actions of the army.
At the same time, solidarity demonstrations with the residents of Gaza have been organised in cities in the Palestinian Authority territories throughout the West Bank in the last few weeks. They are facing heavy police repression from the PA government, including live fire against demonstrators. The global and regional protest wave highlights the potential for the development of an uprising on a larger scale, particularly in the West Bank, to stop the military attack on the Palestinians, the bloodbath in Gaza and against the occupation. This trend, which in itself should earn international solidarity, is a source of concern for the Israeli ruling class and for its allies throughout the region and the world.
Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh warned that the displacement of the Palestinian population from Gaza or the West Bank would be considered a “declaration of war“ by the monarchy and that ”all options are on the table” after the recall of the Jordanian ambassador (11 November). In parallel, Egyptian President Fattah el-Sisi is afraid of the repercussions of accepting Palestinian refugees and has not submitted to the firm pressure to do so. The Egyptian regime has been a fully fledged partner in the imposition of the military blockade on the Gaza Strip over the years. Even now it does not actively intervene and does not even threaten to cancel the peace accord with Israel, but it is afraid of the effects of the Palestinian issue. It is clear to him that the solidarity demonstrations with the residents of Gaza that have been organised throughout Egypt can turn against him and even ignite a renewed mass uprising, certainly if he is perceived as an active contributor to Israeli aggression.
The regimes in the region that maintain strategic ties with Israel under the auspices of American imperialism, officially or unofficially, are now under increasing pressure from a tide of mass sentiment of rage against Israel and the US. They are anxious about the possibility that they will be exposed as accomplices in crime in view of the horrific images from Gaza. That is why the Saudi monarchy was pushed to announce the freezing of the normalisation talks with Israel. Jordan, Bahrain and the Emirates recalled their ambassadors, and in Jordan the summit that was supposed to be held with the participation of Biden was cancelled, fearing mass outrage. At the same time, the small humanitarian aid deliveries under the flags of Jordan, Egypt, Turkey aimed, from the standpoint of these regimes, to serve as “humanitarian-washing” for lack of real actions to stop the Israeli onslaught, and for the upholding of strategic ties with Israeli capitalism.
At the emergency meeting of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on 11 November in Riyadh, which was also attended by Iranian President Raisi, Turkish President Erdogan, the Butcher of Damascus Assad, and as a symbolic guest Palestinian Authority President Abbas, it became evident that the rulers in the region are under pressure and fear the consequences of the continuation of the crisis and its expansion. They are not in a hurry to “tear the stitches out”, and they hope that the world powers will reach an agreement on the UN “Security Council” on calling for a ceasefire. Most of them are afraid of the masses who are breathing down their necks and also of damage to their economic and geo-strategic interests. The regimes strategically close to American imperialism in particular have something to lose, and according to reports they also torpedoed an agreement on symbolic measures such as freezing ties with Israel and using oil as a weapon (11 November). The fact that the summit resulted in no concrete steps drew resentment from Osama Hamdan, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, stationed in Lebanon (12 November).
However, the Ayatollah regime in Iran is also well aware that a full-scale regional war scenario will not only return and exacerbate tensions between it and its Saudi counterpart, but will also add more complicated military, economic and political pressures to its own instability. Hezbollah Secretary General Nasrallah spoke on the same day at the same time as the summit and called for it to “adopt a unified position that will demand that the Americans put an end to this attack and these crimes and take action… All the pressure should focus on the American government first” (11 November), thereby demonstrating how his own party’s strategy for curbing the bloody crisis in Gaza ultimately depends on the decisions of the global imperialist powers, and is completely detached from relying on the struggle of the masses in the region.
The summit of Arab-Islamic rulers was portrayed as a move of PR delinquency and lobbying, while waiting for the readiness of the Biden administration to support a ceasefire. In the final months leading up to the war, the Biden administration worked to build a counter-movement in the region to the growing influence of Chinese imperialism in the form of the infrastructure corridor project and a “security” deal with Riyadh, which was also intended to include a formalisation of the tightening strategic relations between the monarchy and Israeli capitalism. The war interrupted these plans and it threatens their future as long as it continues. The strategists of American imperialism are certainly not satisfied with Washington’s identification with support for mass killing in Gaza, which only increases the mass aversion to the US in the region. At the global level, there is an undermining of the image that American imperialism cultivated around the war in Ukraine as the “defender of democracy” and as a force “fighting war crimes”.
However, the fabric of geostrategic and political interests requires the Biden administration to intervene assertively to back up the Israeli military attack, to erase any idea that the State of Israel — the most stable foothold for the strategy of American imperialism in the region — has shown weakness or is losing control of events. They strive to project power in order to re-enforce regional influence and deter interference from rival parties, starting with the Iranian regime and its allies, and in the process send a message to the Arab regimes, and ultimately to China and Russia, that the crisis will be decided in Washington. They aim to turn the crisis into a historic turning point for the re-tightening of loosened regional influence, and in the process, also to warn the Israeli regime not to overdo it and to demonstrate greater flexibility in the quest to ultimately put the genie of the Palestinian issue, which spur masses to action, back into the bottle, as much as geo-circumstances will allow. This is also hinted at by Sisi and Abdullah in their repeated calls for a “two-state solution” — while in reality they are cooperating with the perpetuation of the occupation and have no interest in a truly independent Palestinian state, which would be free from the control of Israeli capitalism, the regimes in the region, and the world imperialist powers.
For Chinese and Russian imperialism, the crisis involves complicating factors. On the one hand, it distracts attention from the war in Ukraine, adds to the pressure on the US to prioritise resources in favour of the Israeli attack in the short term, and provokes a wave of global outrage against American imperialism. On the other hand, the assertive American intervention signals to the Arab regimes — despite the popular pressure it rouses against American imperialism — that contrary to the trend of the past decade, Washington and not Beijing is the patron of “security” in the region against the Iranian regime and its allies. The crisis involves economic and political crisis processes that undermine Beijing’s deals in the region, in particular, a significant expansion of the crisis will again sharpen the conflicts of interest between Riyadh and Tehran, and undermine the détente that has formed under the auspices of China in the direction of increasing its regional involvement at the expense of the USA.
Beijing and Moscow are working in full coordination around the crisis, despite differences in secondary interests. Both promote the traditional rhetorical line of striving for “peace” and a “two-state solution”, while pointing an accusing finger at Washington’s responsibility for the crisis. Added to this is the effort to harness the crisis to strengthen the false reputation of China and Russia in the region and throughout the neo-colonial world as an alternative to Western imperialism, which is why their talking points tend to avoid criticism of Hamas and emphasises criticism of the Israeli attack. Erdogan in Turkey, although he has moved towards warming relations with Israel in recent times, has aligned himself with this campaign in face of the mass solidarity with the residents of Gaza.
The Kremlin organised a high-profile meeting between the representatives of the Russian and Iranian governments and the representative of the political bureau of Hamas, the billionaire Musa Abu Marzouk, supposedly to help release 8 hostages with Russian citizenship, but in practice also to emphasise that, contrary to the American intervention, the Russian patron does not side with the slaughter of the Palestinians and allegedly strives to resolve the crisis “peacefully”. Putin is trying to portray himself in a hypocritical manner— and while he continues the brutal war in Ukraine, in which about 10,000 Ukrainian citizens have already been killed — as the defender of the Palestinians in the context of the global power struggle. Thus, according to Putin, “The Palestinians can only be helped by fighting against those who are behind this conflict — and we are fighting them in Ukraine“, and ”The ruling elites in the US are the main factor that benefits from global instability. They and their emissaries are behind the massacre of the Palestinians and behind events in the Middle East, Ukraine, Iraq and Syria” (30 October). In response to the Kremlin’s position on the crisis, the Israeli Air Force refrained from updating Moscow, through the coordination mechanism between the countries, on at least some of the attacks on Syrian territory against Iranian forces and their allies (3 November), and gave the green light to Zelensky’s planned visit to Israel. During Putin’s visit to Beijing on 17 October, the Russian government announced that, unlike the European Union, it would no longer promise to refrain from exporting missile technology to Iran after the expiration of the UN Security Council sanctions on the subject (18 October). However, the Kremlin has no interest in a significant escalation of the conflict in the region, which, if it spreads, will take an economic toll and may even militarily complicate Russia and its allies.
As part of the campaign to support Western imperialism in the Israeli attack, the chain of well-publicised “solidarity” visits by Biden and representatives of capitalist countries from the “West” was organised, and the Biden administration dispatched two aircraft carriers, a nuclear submarine, warships, a force of 2,000 Marines to the region — and already during the first days, arms shipments were flown in from the U.S. to Israel, including armaments for attack aircrafts. In the meantime, a grant of US$14.3 billion dollars for the military needs of the State of Israel was passed in the US House of Representatives (and is awaiting Senate approval). This is part of Biden’s promise of a huge combined package of US$106 billion to finance various “security” needs, including the continued arming of Ukraine and Taiwan, with half of the amount actually going to subsidise the US military industry (20 October).
The danger of the conflict expanding
However, Washington has conflicting interests in the developing crisis, resulting in conflicting policies. While the campaign of support by the Biden administration and the camp of Western imperialism for the Israeli regime will fuel the military attack against the Palestinian masses, it is accompanied by crocodile tears over the situation for civilians in the Gaza Strip and gradually increasing pressure on the Israeli regime to partially curb the military campaign. Western imperialism has no interest in a drastic expansion of the military conflict in the region, which would entail direct active military intervention by the US and intensify the wave of mass protests in the world. For Biden and the Democratic Party, standing by the Israeli attack means losing support in the presidential race against Trump.
Biden participated in a meeting of the Israeli “War Cabinet” on 18 October during his visit to Israel with a clear double message, of support with light pressure for a certain military restraint. In his speech, he repeated the parallel between the surprise attack by Hamas and the attacks of 11 September 2001, and went over Netanyahu’s head to warn Israel against military adventurism of the type to which American imperialism turned at the time with the catastrophic bloody occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq, which amounted to a historic setback for the occupying forces. Washington’s regional influence weakened along with the weakening of the regional order. The Taliban regime that collapsed during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 is back. Netanyahu was one of the voices in the Israeli regime that originally supported the occupations and the “global war on terror” led by the Bush Jr. administration, and he echoes the rhetoric against the “axis of evil” in the vile demagogic labelling of Gaza City as the “city of evil”, as an ideological justification for the bloodbath among its residents.
The intensity of the tensions between the imperialist blocs in the world surrounding the crisis is admittedly still moderate compared to the 1973 war, the regional results of which were shaped by American imperialism to its will, including through arms shipments and the raising of nuclear alerts to deter the Soviet Union at the time. However, a drastic expansion of the military conflict in the region will put the geo-strategic interests of the world powers at stake more sharply. It will increase the potential tensions and frictions and may involve each of the parties in a long-term military campaign, similar to the war in Ukraine. No global or regional power has an interest in such a scenario, and each side is taking restraining measures that try to maintain a balance, but a clear process of regional expansion, however restrained it may be for the time being, has accompanied the crisis from the start, and has a stubborn spiralling internal logic that could still lead to major escalation in the area.
Pro-Iranian militias have attacked US military forces in Syria and Iraq with minimal force but frequently since the beginning of the crisis, cutting a de facto ceasefire between the forces for months while Washington held indirect negotiations isolated deals with Tehran. The US Air Force retaliated by bombing ammunition warehouses of the Iranian regime guards (Pashdran) in eastern Syria. In the Red Sea, US Navy forces intercepted cruise missiles and UAVs launched by Houthi forces from Yemen allegedly towards Israeli ships. Later, on 31 October, the Houthis carried out an unprecedented launch of an Iranian-made ballistic missile from Yemen to southern Israel — probably the longest operational ground launch range ever — which was intercepted by the Israeli ‘Arrow’ system. Despite the Houthis’ limited military capability, some of whose launches hit Taba and South Jordan, this was another step towards a scenario of widespread regional escalation (2.11).
The Iranian Ayatollah regime is the main patron of Hamas, and in particular of the military wing with financial, technological support and assistance in military training. The Iranian delegation to the UN denied the report in the Wall Street Journal about its active involvement in planning the surprise attack by Hamas, including a series of meetings in Beirut during the two months preceding the event, with the participation of Nasrallah and the commander of the “Quds Force” of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (8 October). That is, Tehran prefers to avoid getting involved in an all-out war against the US and Israel at this time as Raisi’s visit to Riyadh also hinted. In fact, both the Biden administration and even the Netanyahu government feel the need to claim that they have no evidence of Tehran’s direct involvement in planning the attack — this is a signal that Washington and the Israeli regime have no interest at this stage in a direct “pretext for war” against Iran, although the dynamics of the crisis may change this from the point of view of the Netanyahu government and finally draw in the USA as well.
Nasrallahon’s first speech on 3 November which came after a silence of about a month, happened against the backdrop of rising tensions on the Israel-Lebanon border. It reflected a reluctance on the part of Hezbollah and its patronage in Tehran to enter into a full-scale military conflict with Israel despite the political interest in portraying itself as the supposedly intervening force for the defence of Gaza and the Palestinians against Israeli aggression. Among the Lebanese public, in a cross-community way, the idea is not particularly popular — according to a survey by ‘Al-Akhbar’, while about half side with the limited fighting along the border with Israel, only 32% support opening a full front with Israel (30 October). Despite this, the battles on the Israel-Lebanon border, so far of low intensity, in the pattern of a war of attrition between Hezbollah forces and Palestinian militias in Lebanese territory and Israeli military forces, and while harming civilian populations, are already the fiercest since the second Lebanon War in 2006. Dozens were killed, including a number of civilians (including children) in Lebanese territory and two working civilians in Israeli territory. Thousands of civilians were evacuated or fled on both sides of the border.
After the differences between the US and China and Russia in the “Security Council” of the UN blocked a joint resolution, in particular due to the US’s opposition to the call for a ceasefire, the US and Israel remained almost completely isolated at the vote at the UN General Assembly on 27 October, which adopted the proposed resolution under the sponsorship of Jordan and Turkey, calling for an immediate and lasting ceasefire while condemning “Violence directed against Palestinian and Israeli citizens, including all acts of terrorism and indiscriminate attacks“. Of course, Beijing, Moscow and Ankara are working to protect their own interests and power. Although the Biden administration opposes a ceasefire and is content with demanding ”pauses“ for so-called ”humanitarian“ needs (a washed-up formula for support and the supply of weapons to continue the bloodbath), between Washington and the expanded Netanyahu government there is a slight but growing tension surrounding the management of the Israeli military offensive. Under the mounting pressure of mass protests, the momentum of Western imperialism’s campaign of support for the Gaza massacre is eroding. But the Israeli regime strives for a militarily ”victory image” against Hamas.
The centrality of the Palestinian question in the region
The Palestinian issue has returned with full force to the agenda on the global level, as a focal point for the masses to challenge oppression and against imperialism, and it spurs action and even urges the radicalisation of political conclusions. This fact represents a threat to the agenda of the ruling classes, which is met in some cases with delegitimisation and repressive measures against solidarity demonstrations. In Germany, for example, in some cities the police prevented demonstrations under titles such as “Peace in the Middle East”, “Solidarity with citizens in Gaza”, and the authorities imposed a ban on the waving of the Palestinian national flag, as well as the use of words and slogans such as “massacre”, “Israel” and “Free Palestine” — in one case in Berlin, influenced by the Ministry of Education’s directives, a teacher physically attacked a student who waved a Palestinian flag during recess.
The process of normalisation between Israeli capitalism and the Arab oligarchies under the cover of American imperialism was promoted with a clear ambition of the ruling classes to kick the Palestinian issue to the margins and allow in general terms the normalisation of the Israeli occupation. Their basic premise was that under the continuous pressure of shaky crises, the solidarity of the masses in the region with the aspirations of the Palestinians for freedom from national oppression has diminished, and that these aspirations in themselves will fade over time under discouraging pressures in the face of a region that is seemingly embracing the regime of national oppression. They made light of the centrality of the Palestinian issue in the consciousness of the masses in the region, and it being the number one obstacle to the normalisation process, just as they made light of the potential of the Palestinian masses themselves to struggle with the many oppressive measures of the occupation regime.
For years, the Israeli regime has moved in an increasingly arrogant and uncompromising direction with regard to the possibility of any substantial concessions to the Palestinians, certainly territorial ones, and continued to strive to despair and subjugate the national liberation movement in the face of a growing hunger to strengthen the settlement project to the point of official threats of annexation, and to deepen discriminatory legislation even within the territories of ’48. Among the Israeli ruling class and at the top of the state apparatus and the military, concerns have developed, which also formed the basis of some of the confrontations with Netanyahu, that if the Israeli regime does not show more flexibility in relation to maintaining the occupation, the blockade and the control over millions of Palestinians, it will fall into strategic crises.
The tailwind received by Netanyahu and the perpetuators of the occupation during the Trump administration, while the Israeli army is lethally shooting unarmed protesters in front of the fence in Gaza, led to the promotion of annexation plans in the West Bank for a long time until an unofficial freeze in exchange for the “Abraham Accords”, which Netanyahu presented as another step in the realisation of Jabotinsky’s “Iron Wall‘’ strategy towards an imagined subduing of the Palestinians. During the normalisation process, construction in the settlements also progressed, as did the attacks carried out by far-right settler squads against Palestinians throughout the West Bank, the siege of the Strip was maintained.
However, the frequency of the “rounds” of military escalation crises between the Israeli regime and Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad kept increasing. Hamas, with a grip on the local government in besieged Gaza, recuperated from every tactical military blow it received, and its military arm, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, became a factor that the Israeli regime had to take into account as a significant complicating factor in the equation in any scenario of military escalation, despite a military inferiority by an astronomical gap. At the same time, the normalisation agreements remain unpopular, and the historic agreements in Egypt and Jordan arouse even more domestic distaste than their new counterparts.
During the events of 21 May, the Israeli regime’s aggression towards the Palestinians was met with a trend of popular uprising among Palestinians. Hamas seized the initiative and intervened militarily in the events with indiscriminate rocket fire in order to be portrayed as an apparent protective force for the Palestinians in all arenas and for the Al-Aqsa Mosque as a religious and national symbol. In a typical manner, Hamas diverted the struggle to a path of military conflict, which is preferred by the Israeli regime due to the military force relations. In addition the reactionary political nature of Hamas, including political positions, propaganda and methods of operation, is a political aid in itself for Israeli capitalism to mobilise support for brutal attacks on the Palestinians. Yet the intervention then caught the Israeli regime by surprise. It launched a military attack in Gaza. The military commentator Ron Ben-Yshai wondered, “Why did they assess in Israel all the time that Hamas does not want an escalation […] This is a question that is being examined by the entire intelligence community“, after discussing the bombastic goals of the fifth Netanyahu government during the military campaign at the time, including: “A devastating blow to their ability to rehabilitate the military formations, thereby damaging their ability and motivation to confront Israel for years” (11 May 2021).
The military escalation was then accompanied by murderous violent attacks and clashes on the streets of cities in Israel — and Jewish extreme right-wing forces on the streets are already demonstrating a similar danger in the current crisis — but also with solidarity initiatives against the national schism in workplaces and schools. At the same time, the trend of the Palestinian uprising reached its peak with the general Palestinian strike on both sides of the Green Line (the “strike of dignity”). The message to the rulers of the region was that the Palestinian issue is not going anywhere. The normalisation process slowed down, but continued, under the auspices of Washington, with mutual explorations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Hamas was then once again able to slightly restore its political support for a certain period following the confrontation with Israel, because it was portrayed as a force that, unlike the Palestinian Authority, dares to challenge the occupation regime. A short time later, it seems that preparations for the surprise attack began, even before the Israeli “full right-wing” government initiated a period of record levels of official dismissals of and provocative arrogance towards Palestinian national aspirations, together with a gallop in the trend of attacks on the Palestinians.
“We managed to bring the Palestinian issue back to the table”
Even in the current huge crisis, Hamas managed to tighten and re-harness political support among broad strata at this stage, despite the voices of criticism that arose among many Palestinians and throughout the region in response to the massacre of Israeli civilians. Among the Arab-Palestinian community in Israel, the rate of opposition to the massacre was estimated at 80% (‘Agam Institute’, 12 October). Unlike the massacre, which was a completely reactionary action and the dominant one in the surprise attack, the breach of the siege fence on the one hand, and the strength of the Israeli attack on the other, made it easier for Hamas to cultivate an impression, or rather a misrepresentation, as if the strategy of Hamas shows a way forward for the fulfilment of the aspirations for liberation from the siege and for national and social liberation. Mainly, while the Hamas action will in turn ignite the nationalist reaction in Israeli society, which creates a mass support base for the Israeli revenge attack in Gaza, the bloodbath in the Gaza Strip is strengthening the image of Hamas as a supposedly protective force in the immediate term in the eyes of large sections of the Palestinian population.
In a survey conducted in southern Gaza and the West Bank in recent weeks, 47% of respondents in Gaza and 68% of respondents in the West Bank are “very supportive“ in what was presented as”The military operation carried out by the Palestinian resistance led by Hamas on October 7” (AWRAD, 14 November). While the global protest wave inspires hope in the future of humanity among two-thirds of the residents of the Gaza Strip, about 90% have diminished confidence in the idea of coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis, and of a peaceful solution. 29% and 31% in Gaza see the role of Hamas as “very positive“ or ”moderately positive“ respectively, while in the West Bank the figures are 62% and 26%. In the same way, 80% are ”very supportive“ of the idea of a total ceasefire, and only a few percent would prefer to return to the Hamas government the day after the war, while the majority are interested in a ”government of national unity”.
A survey conducted in Gaza in the days leading up to the war and recently published reflected the ongoing trend of criticism among large parts of the population of the Gaza Strip of the local government of Hamas under the siege (Arab Barometer, 25 October), where 67% said that they lack any or much trust in the government, 72% identified corruption in the government institutions to a significant degree, only 27% identified party-wise with Hamas (compared to 34% in 2021), and the poorer supported less. The severe poverty in the Gaza Strip, under the siege imposed by Israel in close partnership with Egypt, has gotten worse at a rapid pace in the last two years. The percentage of respondents who said that they ran out of food during the month preceding the interview without having the money to buy more jumped from 51% in 2021 to 75%. A similar rate cut back on meals. On the eve of the Hamas surprise attack, only 20% supported the idea of a “military solution” and 54% supported the idea of a solution that would include two states (in fact, emphasising national independence and rejecting the ideas of an Israeli-Palestinian confederation or a binational state). Now, in the shadow of the Israeli attack, the support for the idea of ”Two states for two peoples“ dives to 23% in Gaza and the idea of ”One state for two peoples” to 2%, while 70% support the idea of a single Palestinian nation-state from the Jordan to the sea (AWRAD survey).
Over the years, Hamas, with a programme of the Islamist right, whose local government is an embryonic form of an authoritarian capitalist state was not able to to offer any effective strategy for overcoming the siege and occupation, and the economic crisis, while its senior officials, similarly to the senior officials of the Palestinian Authority, have amassed considerable wealth. The Hamas leadership knew that the Israeli regime would respond to the massacre by opening the gates of hell, and wreak havoc and bereavement on the residents of the Strip. Nevertheless, Hamas decided on its own that this price was politically worth it. The deputy leader of Hamas in Gaza, Khalil al-Hiya, said this clearly in an interview with the New York Times in Qatar that “What could change the equation was a great act, and without a doubt, it was known that the reaction to this great act would be big”, and according to him, “We succeeded in putting the Palestinian issue back on the table, and now no one in the region is experiencing calm …. Hamas’s goal is not to run Gaza and to bring it water and electricity and such, It did not seek to improve the situation in Gaza. This battle was not because we wanted fuel or labourers… we woke the world from its deep sleep” (8 November). In doing so, the representative of Hamas admits that his organisation, led by a privileged pro-capitalist clique, does not offer any horizons for a Palestinian revolution and does not rely on the power of the Palestinian masses in the struggle, but rather reveres the massacres, at the price of a readiness for a catastrophic bloodbath in Gaza, with the political goal of “waking up the world” and in fact, to push the capitalist world powers to supposedly solve the problem.
Even though politically, the majority of the population does not identify with the entirety of Hamas’ agenda, as mentioned, it manages to take advantage of the crisis in the meantime to restore support for it. Yet Hamas, as a right-wing Islamist force, offers a dead end to the struggle. The struggle against military aggression is part of the struggle for national and social liberation, and as such it is first and foremost a struggle on the political level. The strategy and tactics for self-defence should be derived from the goals and plan of political change. The socialist left that orients towards class struggle insists that residents of the Gaza Strip have a legitimate right to self-defence, including by community watch organisations, Palestinian “Rapid response teams” and partisan warfare, as part of the struggle of the entire population — and such a struggle should be organised on a democratic basis, through elected popular committees, which can both ensure democratic control of any defence operation, and also help lead a response to other aspects of dealing with, and organising under the catastrophic situation in the Gaza Strip, while making an effort to mobilise forces from within the community and international solidarity, to respond to emergency needs, and to increase pressure against the bloodbath and against the siege.
At the height of the revolutionary wave in the region in 2011, Israeli capitalism’s leeway for an attack on the Gaza Strip was strongly reduced. Now, along with the continued expansion of demonstrations around the world, and intervention by groups of workers with measures to increase pressure, demonstrations and mass actions in the region, including on the the borders with Israel are potentially capable of dramatically influencing the dynamics of the war. Among other things, they might succeed in forcing the transfer of aid measures to the population, pressure the regimes in the region who have relations with Israel to cease cooperation, drastically accelerate the ceasefire, and even force the transfer of all resources from the hands of the oligarchies in the region and in Israel for the restoration of the Strip and the protection of its population.
At the same time, contrary to the direction suggested by the strategy and methods of Hamas, the wave of global protest against the bloodbath is able to provide a tail wind for building a Palestinian mass struggle to end the attack, the siege and the occupation, which can also draw inspiration from the traditions of the struggle of the first intifada — which was born in Gaza — of mass struggle, which included demonstrations and strikes, and of elected popular committees. Such a development in itself, including the development of the all-Palestinian “strike of honour” on 21 May 21 change the balance of power and sharply put the demands for national liberation on the agenda. Socialists support the path of struggle of a democratic, broad intifada for national and social liberation, and the building of international solidarity in the workers’ movement, including calling on ordinary Israeli workers to combine forces and fight for a radical solution based on zero oppression and full equality, and in particular the right to exist, to self-determination, and to live with dignity, in well-being and with personal security. This struggle is fundamentally part of the struggle for socialist change at the regional level and in general. It is vital in order to lay the foundations for an existence with equality for millions of Palestinians and millions of Israelis, to uproot the relations of oppression and hostility, and also for a just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees through an agreement that will include recognition of the historical injustice and the right of those who wish to return, while guaranteeing a life of welfare and equality for all residents.
Objectives and limitations of the occupying power
The Israeli regime is in a strategic trap. It politically strives to tighten its grip and restabilise its control over the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian population and the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through military means. But through the causing of bloodshed, it tightens its grip on instability and undermines the basis for the “day after” arrangements, which at this stage are no more than speculation for it. The only stated goal repeated by Netanyahu and his partners is, in varying formulas, is the “elimination of Hamas” or its elimination as a military force and as a local governing force under Israeli control.
The Israeli regime has already tried to eliminate the Hamas movement in the past, including through rounds of military escalation and through assassinations of key political and military leaders, but Hamas has mostly grown stronger, in particular militarily. The more sober strategists in the service of the Israeli ruling class know that it has no ability to uproot a movement with a significant support base, and currently the strongest Palestinian militia. Even the “collapse of Hamas rule” in the Gaza Strip, which was Netanyahu’s election promise back in 2009 was not seen as a serious strategic goal among the top of the Israeli military-security system until 7 October. And yet, the dialectic of the crisis of the occupation regime led them to reverse it. The goal is exactly for calling the battle now. Until 7 October, the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip was considered “the lesser evil” for the Israeli regime, as it was officially defined even in the purpose of the attack on Gaza in 2014: “Establishing peace, security stability in the Palestinian arena over time, and on the basis of Hamas as a militarily weakened, restrained and restraining responsible force in Gaza” (July 2014).
According to information available in the meantime, the operative organisation of the surprise attack by Hamas began shortly after the events of 21 May (9 October) with a high level of compartmentalisation, and included a force of about 3,000 men, the size of a small military brigade. The raid was executed by land and partly by sea and air (1 November). It dealt a blow to the prestige of the strongest military in the region and the Israeli intelligence agencies, and in a single moment it shot down the “regulation” doctrine, which promoted temporary arrangements, modus vivendi, and a stabilisation of the order of the siege regime with the help of Egypt and Qatar between the military rounds (“mowing grass”) .
As we previously explained in relation to a possible attempt by the Israeli regime to militarily overthrow the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip: “In contrast to the military defeat of the ‘Tamil Tigers’ [LTTE] by the Rajapaksa regime in the Tamil territories of Sri Lanka at the end of a long war in 2009, the interest of the Israeli regime is in ‘disengagement’ and not in direct control of the Strip, due to the demographic consideration. Therefore, it will again and again raise the question regarding the nature of the political forces that will control the territory upon its eventual withdrawal” (Perspectives document, Socialist Struggle Conference, 2017). In 2014, the Israeli army warned the political-security cabinet that it estimates that such a military move would involve “A complete occupation of the Strip for a period of at least five years, with thousands of dead Palestinians, hundreds of dead Israeli soldiers, a direct economic cost of ten billion shekels, international isolation of Israel and the potential for the cancellation of the peace agreements between Israel, Egypt and Jordan“.
The surrender of the LTTE in May 2009—which was a military force comparable in size to the military wing of Hamas today—came after months in which the Sri Lankan government escalated a military offensive with genocidal elements that included massive shelling and bombing. It claimed the lives of 40,000–150,000 civilians, mostly Tamils, in a less dense population than the Gaza Strip. And that is in addition to a quarter of a million residents who fled from the inferno and were put in detention camps. Even in a similar horrific scenario, it is unlikely that Hamas and its military wing will announce surrender even if they suffer substantial organisational blows while they maintain a significant support base, continue to operate in the West Bank and Lebanon, and as the mass protest wave in the region and around the world continues against the Israeli attack. Moreover, not only Hamas forces are participating in the fight against the ground invasion, but all the Palestinian militias, who in this context rely on popular support among the besieged population against the aggression of the invading force.
The Israeli regime is trying to regulate the international pressure applied so far through tactical (“humanitarian”) truces, as recommended by the White House. And so, after a month it has been reported that it agrees to daily truces of only 4 hours in the north of the Gaza Strip, and all the way to a first abductees-prisoners-”truce” deal (22 November) which is supposed to include the release of children and Palestinian youth from Israeli prisons, women and children from Hamas, and a “Pause” of several days.
At a later stage, there may be a transition to trying to redeploy a permanent military presence in parts of the Strip while continuing military operations of varying intensity over months and possibly even years. Netanyahu claimed in an interview with ABC and in a meeting with heads of local authorities, that after the “elimination of Hamas”, there would supposedly be “total Israeli security control over the Gaza Strip, including full demilitarisation to ensure that there would no longer be a threat from Gaza to Israeli citizens” (10 November). The Israeli occupation regime failed to implement the idea of “full demilitarisation” even under the direct occupation of the West Bank. So far, even according to reports of the Israeli military, the vast majority of those killed are not from Hamas’ military wing, which in the meantime has also managed to keep its top command safe. In addition, within four weeks of a ground invasion, dozens of Israeli soldiers had already been killed. As time passes, the Israeli occupation’s attempt to crush Hamas’ military and organisational power, particularly in the southern Strip, will be revealed with a double-edged sword.
The Israeli protest movement that erupted against the Israeli occupation of Lebanon and the mass demonstration in response to the Sabra and Shatila massacre in 1982 shows the potential for the development of “Mekhdal 23” [Scandal ‘23, TN] demonstrations and the demonstrations for the release of the Israeli abductees, against an unpopular government that, until the war, faced an unprecedented mass movement from the outset. Another complicating factor for long-term occupation plans is the mobilisation of masses of reserve soldiers amounting to an unprecedented number of 360,000 — four times as many during the second Lebanon War — which is already crippling parts of the Israeli economy and similarly to the 1973 war, most likely won’t last more than a few months. Already now, a process of economic crisis is exacerbating sentiments of helplessness and rage towards the government and the capitalists.
A comprehensive survey conducted among the Jewish population in Israel (‘Agam Institute’, 22 October) in the first three weeks of the war showed a clear drop in support for the idea of returning the direct Israeli occupation to the Gaza Strip for years to come, from about 63% to about 47% — which is about 34% of the general public. It is likely that among the Israeli ruling class there is a hope that they will eventually manage to get out of the crisis into the bosom of a political agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia on the lawn of the White House. In the meantime, it does not seem that they have an orderly exit strategy from the stage of ruining the lives of the residents of the Gaza Strip in the name of “fighting Hamas”.
However, while the path to displacing the population from the Strip seems still blocked for them, other central ideas that have come up in the meantime from various elements in the Israeli establishment included the transfer of the administration in the Strip to a multinational occupation force, for example of Arab countries, as a step on the way to returning the Palestinian Authority under Israeli bayonets. This idea also seems to be liked by the Biden administration, which also scolded the Netanyahu government for the decision to cut (rob) tax money that was supposed to go to the Palestinian Authority after a delay (4 November). In protest of the separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the PA government refused to accept the transfer. At the same time, the fact that there was an attempt at all to transfer the funds, despite the opposition of some ministers, reflects the pressures on the government from within the ruling class and the military-security establishment, as well as from Washington, due to their concerns about the ongoing weakening of the Palestinian Authority.
The Palestinian Authority and President Abbas, who are themselves suffering from an acute legitimacy crisis among the Palestinian masses, understand very well that such blatant cooperation with the occupation regime on the back of a mass slaughter in Gaza would be a political death sentence for them. As the PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said in an interview with The Guardian, it will be seen “As if this Palestinian Authority arrives on top of an F-16 plane or an Israeli tank“, unless Israel supposedly recognises a Palestinian state (29 October). Shtayyeh also referred to the PA’s role under the occupation in the West Bank against the backdrop of growing anger among Palestinians in the PA’s enclaves, and claimed that the PA is “Caught between a rock and a hard place“, between the population and the Israeli government. The repression of Palestinian protests by the forces of the PA emphasise its fundamental role: at the end of the day it is a subcontractor for the Israeli occupation and an embryonic form of a capitalist police state.
The scenario of bringing a multinational occupation force into Gaza to help the occupation regime stabilise the situation in the territory “the day after” will provoke resistance and conflicts in itself, and certainly will not offer a future for the masses in Gaza and on both sides of the fence. Even then, will the Saudi monarchy be able to afford to walk hand in hand openly with Israeli capitalism just after a historic bloodbath in Gaza? This will also depend on the further development of the regional and global protest wave, on the possibility of the development of a trend of Palestinian popular uprising, and also on the question of the composition of the Israeli government post-Netanyahu.
The most likely scenario for Netanyahu is that the war will lead to his political demise — even more than half of the Likud voters in the last elections support the idea of his resignation at the end of the war (‘Agam Institute’, 22 October). Precisely because of this, he is in a bruised and desperate position. He would like to present “accomplishments”, so he may now become one of the more hawkish elements in the Israeli regime who may look for opportunities to initiate further escalation moves, including against Hezbollah and Iran. In a speech marking one month since the beginning of the war, Netanyahu declared that the Israeli attack “[Will] eliminate the military and governmental capabilities of Hamas. Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel” (7 November). The security demagoguery presents the historic bloodbath that the siege regime organises against the residents of Gaza as an action supposedly aimed at improving the personal security of ordinary Israelis — after all the regurgitated demagogic promises that accompanied the bloodshed in Gaza over the years were, and will keep getting shattered due to the limitations of the occupying state’s power.
Already after the bloodbath of 2014, which is dwarfed by the current one, we warned that the Israeli regime seeks to perpetuate the siege and occupation, and in its attacks on the Palestinians will continue to escalate the bloody national conflict into new abysses. It is estimated that the status quo may lead to a bloody crisis that will include an attempt to recapture the Strip in order to “restore order”. The occupation and the bloodbath in the Gaza Strip strive to set back the degree of organisational-military development of Hamas more deeply than in previous rounds, under the pretence that it will not be able to develop again, but of course Netanyahu does not offer a horizon for peace in Gaza, but rather for an even more terrible inferno with the aim of protecting the continuation of the national oppression of the Palestinians and the colonial control of the State of Israel of the lives of the residents of the Gaza Strip.
As a result, the catastrophe it creates will also tragically spur revenge attacks against ordinary Israelis, and will inevitably pave the way sooner or later for the next bloody crises, which will have an unbearably heavy price for Israeli masses as well. Expanding and escalating the global protest wave against the Israeli attack is also necessary from an overall perspective on regional peace.
“All for all”
The savage nationalist incitement on the part of all the Israeli establishment parties that glorifies the Israeli attack and the bloodbath in the Gaza Strip across the board succeeds in continuing to fuel the explosion of nationalist reaction in Israeli society — thus, with a nationalist blindness of the kind that the ruling classes in the world manage to inflame in the early stages of wars. About 84% of the Jewish population (about 6% of the Arab population) believe that the Israeli attack “does not need at all” or “needs to a rather small extent” to take into account the suffering of the residents of the Gaza Strip (‘Israeli Institute for Democracy’, 23 October). Almost half of the Jewish population (about 15% of the Arab population) favours the idea of a proactive Israeli escalation against Hezbollah. Among the general public in Israel, only about 17%–18% support the idea of immediate negotiations on a deal with a ceasefire. According to the ‘Maariv’ survey, as of the beginning of November, only 3% of the general public supports “A humanitarian ceasefire regardless of the abductees“, 30% oppose in any situation (6% among Arab respondents), 39% support in exchange for the return of all the abductees, and similar to the survey mentioned earlier, 16% in exchange for the return of some of them (10 November).
However, the contradiction between the regime’s security demagoguery and the feeling of insecurity among the Israeli masses is particularly acute, and unlike previous periods of war crises that were accompanied by shock and fear, the level of trust in the Israeli government is at a dramatic low: only 18% in the general public in Israel (20.5% in the Jewish population, 7.5% in the Arab population) indicate trust in the government. This is the lowest figure measured in the public trust surveys of the ‘Israeli Democracy Institute’ since they began twenty years ago (ibid.). The Likud collapses to about 18 seats and Netanyahu’s coalition, as it was on the eve of the war, has shrunk to 42 seats (‘Maariv’, 3 November). The surge in the polls of the ‘National Unity’ party under the leadership of the well-fed generals Gantz and Eisenkot was not undermined despite them joining the government. It seems to have been perceived in the eyes of layers inclined to the “centre-right” as a reasonable factor intervening in the government, which is seen as a temporary, more reliable “default”. Even though in the recent past it was kicked to the sidelines, it is in a position to make political capital by rejecting the Likud and other parties. The phenomenon of ministers from the Netanyahu bloc being thrown out by angry people reflects the tip of the iceberg of mass anger that threatens to erupt “the day after”.
The Netanyahu-Ganz-Ben Gvir government refuses a ceasefire, supposedly demanding the release of the abductees. In practice it’s not far-fetched that some of them perished in the bombings, which might have also harmed the abductees who are being held in underground tunnels. The issue of the abductees is a thorn in the side of the Israeli regime as a special source of public criticism regarding the state’s inability to guarantee personal security for ordinary citizens. Meanwhile, the release of 4 out of about 240 abductees only increased the pressure on the Israeli government. The first were released through the intervention of the Biden administration through the Qatari channel, because they held US citizenship. This happened without active Israeli involvement and confirmed the effective potential of promoting deals. After that, the release of 85-year-old Yochaved Lifshitz embarrassed those who are playing the drums of war because she criticised the Israeli government for “abandonment” and described the reasonable treatment she received from the kidnappers on live TV.
This, at a time when the Knesset approved the worsening of prison conditions of Palestinian prisoners. Documents reveal a flood of cases of abuse of Palestinian detainees and prisoners at the hands of Israeli soldiers, police and prison guards (29 October) as well as 4,500 Palestinian workers from Gaza who worked in Israel at the beginning of the crisis and were imprisoned for a long time in harsh conditions. Some of them revealed signs of beatings and complained of abuse. Around 3,000 of them were returned about a month later to the territory of the Strip in a 6 km journey on foot to the Kerem Shalom crossing, to survive under the Israeli bombings. “Boys my children’s age stripped us and urinated on us“, one of the workers told ‘Al Jazeera’, ”No one mentioned us, the workers held in Israel, not the Red Cross; The Palestinian Authority betrayed us, the whole world betrayed us” (3 November). The return of the workers took place after a government decision that included the loss of livelihood of 18,500 Gazans who have work permits in Israel, with the announcement that workers from the Gaza Strip will no longer be allowed to enter (4 November). In recent weeks, the Israeli government has banned the entry of 130,000 workers from the West Bank, mainly in the construction and agricultural sectors. Billionaire Economy Minister Nir Barkat is demanding that the government use immigrant workers instead (30 October). Thus, under the pretext of the war, Israeli capitalism deepens the economic strangulation of thousands of the Palestinian working class.
The government bragged about the release of abductees by military means—and at a catastrophic human cost—of one female soldier held in Gaza in an effort to fend off pressure for deals to release the Israeli abductees. Netanyahu, the government and the Israeli regime in general, have neither the political will nor a real interest in adopting the demand “everyone for everyone” presented by the “headquarters of the families of the kidnapped and missing”, even though the body — which represents some of the families and is led by “professional” strategists with an agenda from nationalist institutions — promotes a reactionary political line of collective punishment and opposition to any ceasefire and any element of relief in the situation of the residents of the Strip. Admittedly, a hypothetical scenario of emptying the overcrowded Israeli prison facilities of thousands of non-criminal Palestinian prisoners in the context of the siege, occupation and national conflict, will not prevent a rapid reversal of the picture through mass arrests. However, in terms of political consequences, it will present the very institution of Israeli prisons as more brittle than ever and will also serve as a victory image for Hamas. However, even Hamas, which supposedly presents the same demand, has no interest in such a comprehensive deal outside of the context of a ceasefire arrangement with guarantees. Both parties at this stage have an interest in kicking the can down the road and prefer one-off transactions that will be examined each time on their merits. Meanwhile, according to reports, the Israeli government has refused various proposals for specific deals that have come up through the Qatari mediation channel.
An agreement to the demand for an “all for all” deal will require the building of great pressure on the Israeli government through an extensive struggle, and as opposed to the proposals of the right-wing strategists of the ‘Family Headquarters’, it is also necessary to bring forward the demand for an immediate and permanent ceasefire. Among the Jewish population, support for the aforementioned ceasefire is still low, although if the great resources of that headquarters had been directed to propaganda in favour of a ceasefire in the first place, they would probably have been able to significantly influence the rate of support for the idea at this point. But that is not enough. It should be mentioned that the policy of mass incarceration of Palestinians, for the purpose of maintaining the blockade and the occupation and the national oppression of millions, is what underlies the political motivation for the kidnapping of hostages. In particular, administrative detention must be opposed and it must be made clear that there cannot be a fair procedure in the context of occupation and mass incarceration, without a trial or with a military trial, including of children. Instead, in the context of the end of oppression and the national conflict, it will be possible to hold a fair trial, in a dedicated procedure, under the supervision of independent labour and human rights organisations from all communities, for Israelis and Palestinians suspected of responsibility for atrocities related to the national conflict.
The wartime government increases persecution
The Israeli government relies on extremely contradictory, perhaps unprecedented support among the Israeli masses. Already from its founding stage before the war it faced a mass protest movement in Israeli society. Although the mass movement was cut short by the war, the government is in an acute crisis of legitimacy, from which the “establishment” right, led by the generals is completely excluded. It receives widespread support only in relation to the operation of the war machine. Even in this aspect, there are clear layers of mistrust. Only about 9% in the general public say “We are sure that the government has a clear plan of action” (‘Israeli Institute for Democracy’, 23 October). Even in relation to Gantz, who has the highest level of trust in the government, only half of the Jewish population trusts him to manage the war “to a large or very large extent” (‘Agam Institute’, 22 October).
Ministers Smotrich and Ben Gvir are at the bottom in this respect, with over half of the Jewish population saying that they are “Not at all” trusted in the context of the war. In fact, despite the aggressive nationalist reaction, the far-right parties in the government are not at their peak at this stage. The critical sentiment towards the settlements and the extreme right, which characterised the Israeli protest movement for months, remains the same. This is even expressed in the statements of some of the relatives of kidnapped or murdered Israelis. Thus, the grandson of one of the abductees, from Nir Oz, although he did not express opposition to the military attack in Gaza, said in his speech on 11 November at a rally in Tel Aviv demanding the release of the abductees, that it was the government “which abandoned the residents of the south for so many years… which strengthens settlements and weakens the peripheries… a government without a solution or political horizon, only wars, military operations, rounds — rinse repeat” (11 November).
Despite the mass outrage against the government, it is hiding behind the general campaign of the ruling class for “national unity” and support for the war machine, while resorting to increasing measures of repression and persecution against voices that do not align with the support for the war, and first and foremost against the Arab-Palestinian community. Admittedly, the faltering government is in a distinctly weaker position than Putin’s Bonapartist dictatorship in Russia, which brutally represses any oppositional voice, and therefore it is forced to take a more cautious approach in relation to the protests for the return of the abductees and the “Scandal 23” protests.
However, among the Arab-Palestinian community in Israel — which managed to organise a number of initial local demonstrations, the largest of which was attended by hundreds in Umm al-Fahm, and protest convoys against the war — the levels of oppression are reminiscent of the days of the military rule. Commissioner Shabtai, Ben Gvir’s poodle, openly declared that “There is no permission to carry out protests“, when the intention is specifically for protests against the war — ”Whoever wants to become a citizen of Israel, welcome. Anyone who wants to identify with Gaza is welcome. I’ll put him on the buses heading there now” (18 October). In particular, the Ben Gvir police refused Hadash’s request to hold a demonstration in Umm al-Fahm, claiming that it will “nearly certainly cause a severe and serious harm to public order and public safety” (5 November). In contrast, a colonial far-right demonstration in Tel Aviv in favour of “occupation, deportation, settlement” received police approval.
The High Court, judging as a supporter of war, rejected appeals in the first weeks against the police ban on anti-war demonstrations in Arab townships (8 November). This revealed once again that contrary to the liberal myth, it is not a bastion of democracy or justice, but rather a governmental authority that acts at the end of the day in accordance with the interests of the ruling class and perpetuates the existing social order of inequality and oppression. Under the protection of the High Court of Justice, the Ben Gabvir police arrested the chairman of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, former MK Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash) and 3 other former MKs, due to the intention of the monitoring committee to hold a small protest vigil in Nazareth against the war. Even after a petition to the High court to hold a demonstration against the war in Tel Aviv on 18 November, the police acted as a political censor at the entrance to a closed and isolated area, and prevented entering with some signs for political reasons.
Meanwhile, Ben Gvir tried to pass in the government a renewed permit for the police to open fire on civilians blocking roads under the cover of emergency regulations. Such a shooting would be the first time since the police massacred the demonstrators during the events of October 2000. The speaker of the Knesset, whom the liberals view as a miracle due to her debates in the government, supported the proposal which was blocked in the meantime due to Gantz’s opposition. Communications Minister Karai (‘Likud’), who dismissed public calls from ministers to apologise for the crisis by asking “what for?” passed an emergency regulation to close down foreign media bodies, and introduced regulations for the confiscation of equipment and the imprisonment of ordinary citizens for publications that would be considered harmful to the morale of the army (15 October).
Already, the police and the Shin Bet are conducting a brutal nationalist witch hunt for posts by Arab-Palestinian on social media, including dozens of arrests, including for example a post with the statement “The eye cries for the residents of Gaza”, or a photo of graffiti “The heart is with Gaza”, or detention for a week, with the approval of a judge, for a post by a candidate for mayor of Rahat, Amer Al-Huzail, who talked about different scenarios for the continuation of the Israeli attack in Gaza. The intervention of the Minister of Health Buso (Shas party) led to the suspension of the director of the intensive care unit at Hasharon Hospital due to posts that included verses from the Quran and a dove with an olive branch (2 November). This event joins the measures of nationalist persecution against a series of Arab workers in the healthcare system — in which 40% of the workforce is Arab — and the attack of the Kahanist filth of ‘La Familia’ at the Shiba Medical Center.
In the background, extreme right-wing forces are attacking passers-by and Arab workers with backing from government policy. In Netanya, a mob of hundreds of extreme right-wing supporters, with the involvement of a “Torah nucleus” got themselves fired up with the racist barking of “Death to the Arabs” (29 October) and tried to attack Arab students who had to barricade themselves in the dormitory until a police forcefully evacuated them from the city (They didn’t go back to the dormitory). None of the Jewish rioters was arrested. The incident ended with no injuries, but there is a real danger of developments similar to the May 2021 lynching attempts.
The firearms spreading operation, with thousands of weapons handed over to Israeli citizens (19 October), and the establishment of over 600 “Rapid response teams” of reservists in the various cities add to, and exacerbate the national divide, and the danger of attacks on a national basis. The distribution of weapons is on an unprecedented scale and even drew reservations from Commissioner Shabtai and others at the top of the police, who are worried about a potential loss of control later on. Also, in the context of a social crisis that has been going on since before the war, the drastic expansion of the distribution of weapons in Israeli society will add to the danger of the deterioration of violence in the community in general, and of gender-based violence in particular, and can strengthen anti-social elements of gangs and organised crime.
In the workplaces and on campuses, the nationalist witch-hunt is promoted by the government, employers, managers and ultra-nationalist elements, including “liberal” establishment elements who, until recently hitched a ride on the mass movement against the “legal coup”. They are now a sick, anti-democratic, mobilised force in service of the war machine of Israeli capitalism, even if some of them are reluctant to serve in the government.
While the right-wing, pro-capitalist leadership of the Histadrut led by Bar David leads an active cooperation with the witch hunt, the task of workers’ representatives, and of trade union activists, committed to the interests of workers in a cross-community manner, is to swim against the current and insist on an alternative.
We need to demand from all the workplace committees, unions and professional associations in all sectors of the Israeli economy, as well as protest organisations of workers against the “legal coup” to intervene in an active, blatant, unambiguous way, against the nationalist persecution, against racism and against the “divide and rule”, including through publishing statements and convening assemblies, emphasising that the anti-democratic and racist attacks under cover of the war should be met with a wall of solidarity and be fundamentally understood as attacks on the rights and conditions of everyone in the workplace and educational institutions.
However, the necessary task in terms of the workers’ movement and the left is not only opposition to persecution and “divide and rule‘’ in the shadow of the war, but also economic attacks on workers and women in the shadow of the war. It must also advance the struggle to stop the war itself, as part of a struggle for a deep change in the reality of life. Socialist Struggle Movement is committed to this and will continue to act accordingly.
The upheaval in consciousness among the Israeli masses, with its contradictions, has been ongoing since 7 October, and in particular when alarms were frequently heard in the north and in Eilat as well. Despite the campaign for “national unity”, the crisis ideologically challenges to a certain extent not only illusions in “conflict management”, but also the myth cultivated by Zionism that the capitalist state of Israel would be supposedly the safest place for Jews in the world — a promise that the Marxist left has historically warned that leads not only to disaster for the Palestinians but also to a cycle of bloodshed for the Jewish working class. In the context of national oppression, capitalism and imperialism, there is no basis for a fundamental alternative for millions of Palestinians and Israelis. A struggle is needed for a root solution to the problems.
The lack of trust in the government, and the fact that the army generals, despite the “intelligence failure”, do not attract the intensity of criticism that is directed at the government, reflects not only the nationalist reaction but also, in a skewed way, an initial conclusion among the Israeli masses that the root of the crisis is political and requires a political response.
However, a real political solution cannot come as a result of more deals between the oligarchies in the region, but only as a result of a struggle against them and against the agenda that led to the bloodshed.
This struggle is part of a cross-border struggle for socialist change, which will make it possible to harness the resources of the region on a democratic basis with equality, to ensure the general well-being, while guaranteeing equal rights for all nations, including the right to self-determination and not to live under siege, occupation and bombings. Socialist Struggle Movement is fighting for the establishment of a democratic, socialist, state of Palestine with full equal rights, alongside a democratic, socialist Israel, with two capitals in Jerusalem and full equality for minorities, as part of a socialist regional confederation. In the face of the catastrophic pro-capitalist nationalist politics, it is necessary to place ideas of an internationalist, class, socialist struggle on the agenda on both sides of the national divide.
The atrocities and oppression will not break us. They illustrate the vitality of the struggle for the only ideas that offer a horizon and hope. We will promote these ideas while committing to building the resistance and the struggle against the bloodbath in Gaza, against the Israeli disaster government, Israeli capitalism and all the establishment parties that serve it and the extreme right that it cultivates, and against the ruling classes that continue to sink the masses around the world into new abysses of disasters, oppression, and distress, and an inferno of wars, massacres, destruction and mourning on a huge scale.