Representatives of the Zionist state and their supporters claim that their brutal attacks on Gaza over the last few days are retaliation for the supposedly “unprovoked” wave of armed attacks against Israelis in the south of the country, as well as the renewed firing of missiles at Israeli towns. As is often the case, they are lying.
Over the two days before the August 18 armed attacks alone, at least two Palestinians – MousaIstheiwi and Amin Talib Dabash – were murdered by the Israeli army during another missile strike by the IDF attacks on Gaza, and another – 17-year-old mentally disabled Sa’d al-Majdalawi – was shot ten times in his head by Israeli soldiers for approaching the fence between Gaza and Israel. It is a measure of the racism of the Israeli and US media that the victims of Zionist aggression are never named, and that these acts of murder are not even mentioned in connection to the attacks against Israelis.
The aftermath of the Sinai attack saw the IDF’s provocative crossing of the Egyptian border on August 18, supposedly in pursuit of the group of pro-Palestinian fighters who had launched their attacks in Sinai. In that raid the IDF killed not only seven of the fighters, but also five Egyptian soldiers. The Zionists have gotten used to disregarding their neighboring states’ borders, not to mention the lives of their citizens, without any fear of consequences. But the Arab masses no longer feel powerless in the face of their oppressors and tens of thousands of Egyptians protested outside the Israeli embassy and consulates Egypt in solidarity with the Palestinians and against Israel’s latest attacks. Fearing that the protester’s militancy could spread to the broader masses who are already growing disaffected with the Egypt’s military rulers, Israel had helt plans for a bigger offensive against Gaza and instead made the unprecedented concession of apologizing to the Egyptian government or its actions.
It is also clear that the pro-Palestinian attacks were focused on military, not civilian, targets. Zionist propagandists have made a big issue of the death of “master sniper” Pascal Avrahami, who belonged to the Counterterrorism Unit of the notoriously racist and violent Border Patrol (Magav). As always, the Zionists themselves are muddying the waters by treating the killing of soldiers and civilians in exactly the same way – thus, despite their rhetoric, they are in fact encouraging the identification of all Israelis with the state, a policy which has proven to be deadly to Israeli working class and poor people.
We condemn completely all acts of Zionist aggression against the Palestinian people, and recognize that both these actions as well as attacks on Israeli civilians are ultimately the responsibility of the Zionist state, whose brutal, unceasing oppression of the Palestinian masses drives individuals to such acts.
Having said that, we recognize that rash actions by Palestinian fighters, are no substitute for a protest campaign to mobilize the Palestinian masses on both sides of the Green Line. Instead of learning from the courageous uprisings that have taken place in the region, such attacks – even if they are aimed at military targets alone – repeat the dead-end guerrilla tactics of the PLO and Hamas. Palestinians can and should respond to Israel’s violence, but a strategy of elite military campaigns leaves the masses sidelined and nationalist leaders free to cut deals with the Zionists.
Revolutionaries are not pacifists. This year’s Nakba and Naksa day demonstrations were a reminder that any Palestinian mass movement, no matter how peaceful, will be met by brutal repression at the hands of the Zionist occupier. Palestinians and their allies have to prepare to defend themselves militarily.
The revolutions in our region have yet to overthrow the states that oppress the masses. Some dictators have been toppled, but the dictatorships remain. That is because their lack of revolutionary leadership allowed other capitalist politicians to come to power instead of the masses who carried out the revolutions. Thus, the most important task for revolutionaries today is to build vanguard revolutionary political parties which could fight to win the leadership of these movements, and use them not only in the struggle against the Arab regimes, but also against Zionist aggression.
Such parties will find great inspiration in the courageous Palestinian struggle against Israel. Unlike the bourgeois leaders, genuinely revolutionary parties will reject any compromise on the rights of Palestinians, and will demand the creation of one Palestinian state, from the river to the sea, which will welcome back all Palestinian refugees, but will also defend the right of Jews to live in peace and security and will include all Palestinian and Jewish revolutionaries within its ruling class.
However, the experience of the sellout of both the secular nationalist PLO and the radical Islamist Hamas show that bourgeois nationalism, in whatever form, can only lead to compromise with imperialism and Zionism. Thus, the movement must be led by conscious working-class revolutionaries, and the state they will create will not be a bourgeois democratic state, but a state ruled by the working class in the interest of all the masses.
We have predicted in our leaflet on the housing protest that the leaders of the movement will sell it out the moment that Israel undertakes a new act of violence against the Palestinians or one of the other countries in the region. Their contemptible response – to halt the movement in solidarity with those killed in the Palestinian attacks, while never once did they do so in solidarity with the victims of Zionist brutality – shows once more the inability of the Israeli masses to break from Zionist chauvinism on their own. Some of them will be able to do so, and this is certainly something revolutionaries should seek out, especially because splitting the social basis of the Zionist state will be extremely useful to the Palestinian revolution. However, revolutionaries in Israel must focus on the true vanguard of the revolutionary struggle in the region – the Palestinian masses. Only in this way can a revolutionary working class party, needed to lead the struggle to victory, can be created.
This is a long term perspective. But it is the only viable one. It can win over the most politically advanced elements of the regional working class, leading to the creation of what Marxists call vanguard parties, who will then fight for the leadership of the anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist struggle. But it is not enough to get rid of the old oppressors. True liberation requires that the working class is also free of the economic exploitation of the capitalists. Thus, the regional revolution will be not only anti-imperialist but socialist and proletarian as well.