Statement by the Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT Section in Israel / Occupied Palestine), 8 May
The struggle of the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah district near Jerusalem’s Old City, the home to 3,000 Palestinians, against the eviction of four Palestinian families continues. On Monday, at least 20 Palestinians were injured in a brawl after Israeli police stormed a solidarity demonstration with the residents of Sheikh Jarrah. While the police are using extreme violence against the protesters, armed Jewish settlers protected by the police walk around to provoke more police oppression. Israeli border police have attacked the sit-ins using skunk water, tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and shock grenades over the past few days.
“Jewish settler organizations filed a lawsuit in the 1970s claiming the area belonged to Jews originally, asking for the expulsion of Palestinian families living there since 1956.These families, refugees from the 1948 Nakba, eventually settled in Sheikh Jarrah under an agreement between Jordan and the UN refugee agency.” (1)
The refugees, 28 families displaced from their homes by Israel in 1948, were able to relocate to Sheikh Jarrah in 1956 after Jordan, which had a mandate over the eastern part of Jerusalem, built housing projects for them there. An agreement between the United Nations and Jordan stipulated that the families would receive the houses in return for renouncing their refugee status with the UN refugee agency and that after three years the Jordanian government would transfer ownership titles to the families. However, that did not happen and by 1967, Israel had captured East Jerusalem.
The Zionist district court part of oppressing apparatus of the Zionist state “ruled that four families – al-Kurd, Iskafi, Qassim and Jaouni – must leave their homes for settlers to take over, or reach an agreement with these settler organizations by paying rent and recognizing them as landlords.” (2)
“In October, the Israeli magistrate court of Jerusalem ruled to evict 12 of the 24 Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah and to give their homes to Israeli Jewish settlers. The court also ruled that each family must pay 70,000 shekels ($20,000) in fees to cover the settlers’ legal expenses.” (3)
Al-Kurd was just 11 years old when Jewish settlers forcibly took over half of his home in November 2009 and described sharing it with “squatters with Brooklyn accents” as “insufferable, intolerable [and] terrible. They are just sitting in our home, tormenting us, harassing us, doing everything they can to not only force us to leave the second half of our home but also harassing our neighbors into leaving their homes as part of an effort to completely annihilate the presence of Palestinians from Jerusalem,” he said.” (4)
Dozens of Palestinians have been arrested, the struggle over Sheikh Jarrah is not only against the Zionist policy of turning east Jerusalem to a city with Jewish majority but another step in the policy of preventing a Palestinian state in the lands occupied in 1967 and the establishment of a Zionist apartheid state from the river to the sea.
“Since the 1970s, the Israeli government has been working on implementing a “demographic balance” in Jerusalem at a 70-30 ratio, limiting the Palestinian population in the city to 30 percent or less. This urban planning has been executed by a number of policies such as land confiscation, displacement, and colonization of Palestinian neighborhoods. This is part of the “silent transfer” – an intricate system that targets Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem with residency revocation, displacement through house demolitions, barriers in obtaining building permits, and high taxes.” (5)
“Social media users from the ground and around the world have uploaded and shared video content and images about the police attacks, using both English and Arabic. However, many have complained that their accounts have been censored, limited, or shut down altogether. Social media companies are silencing Palestinian voices while they’re fighting for their survival on the ground,” Marwa Fatafta, a policy member of the think tank Al Shabaka, told Al Jazeera. This is not a one-off incident, it’s a sequel to wider systematic censorship and discrimination targeting mainly those who are marginalized and oppressed, often at the behest of oppressive regimes.” (6)
“The complicity between Israel and social media companies in regulating and censoring Palestinian content and accounts is well documented. Following a visit by a Facebook delegation in 2016, Israel’s justice minister at the time stated that Facebook, Google and YouTube were “complying with up to 95 percent of Israeli requests to delete content” – almost all of it Palestinian. The Arab Center for Social Media Advancement, published a study in 2017 that found every 46 seconds Israelis post a racist or inciting comment against Palestinians and Arabs. Yet there has been little action taken against these accounts.” (7)
“On Thursday night, at least 30 people were wounded and 15 arrested. Videos emerged showing Israeli settlers deliberately provoking a Palestinian communal Iftar meal set up outside one of the houses, including using pepper spray. Palestinians responded by throwing chairs at the settlers. On Friday, tens of thousands of Palestinian worshippers packed into the mosque on the final Friday of Ramadan and many stayed on to protest in support of Palestinians facing eviction from their homes on Israeli-occupied land claimed by Jewish settlers. At the same time tens of thousands of Moslem worshipers have clashed with the police in Al-Aqsa Mosque. More than 190 Palestinians have been injured after Israeli police stormed the Mosque and dispersed worshippers elsewhere in occupied East Jerusalem, as weeks-long tensions between the Zionist state and the Palestinians over Jerusalem soared again. Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, the director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, called on Israeli police to halt their attacks and withdraw from the mosque courtyard. “Police must immediately stop firing stun grenades at worshippers, and the youth must calm down and be quiet!” (8)
“By Friday night at least 205 Palestinians and 17 officers were injured in the night-time clashes at Islam’s third-holiest site and around East Jerusalem, Palestinian medics and Israeli police said, as thousands of Palestinians faced off with several hundred Israeli police in riot gear.” (9)
Beginning of a New Intifada?
This could be the beginning of a new Intifada in the heroic struggle of the oppressed Palestinians against the state of the settler colonialists. Once again, the battle cry of the oppressed is heard: “With blood and fire we will redeem Palestine. “With our soul, with our blood, we will redeem you, oh Aqsa.”
A new Intifada is a possibility, especially as on Monday, there is what Israelis call the Jerusalem Day, when the right-wing Zionists protected by the police marched in the old city chanting “death to the Arabs”. It coincides with Laylat-ul-Qadar, which is the holiest night during Ramadan.
As could be expected the Zionist’s apartheid foreign ministry said on Friday that Palestinians were “presenting a real-estate dispute between private parties as a nationalist cause in order to incite violence in Jerusalem”.
Some MK from the predominantly Arab Joint List and the Zionist left-wing Meretz party attended the protests in Sheikh Jarrah.
While we have some respect for Offer Cassif, the only Jewish MK in the Joint List who speaks the truth about the role of the police, we harshly criticize Hadash and Tibi’s position of recommending Lapid as a Prime Minister together with two right wing parties and for calling on the Zionist police to defend the Palestinians citizens of Israel. The only party that has the correct position is Balad led by Sami Abu Shehadeh, that refused to endorse the two Zionist blocks, but even he has still illusions in the UN and the EU.
Fearing a new Intifada Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, the collaborator with Israel, who cancelled the scheduled national elections said in a televised statement that the Israeli government is fully responsible for the recent incidents in Jerusalem, as well as any repercussions that result from the continuing escalation.
Hamas’s military wing leader Mohammed Deif warned Israel will pay a heavy price if attacks against Sheikh Jarrah continue. In any clash with Israel the interest of the international working class is to see a defeat for Israel without giving Hamas political support.
Fear of Rulers in the Region
King Abdulla of Jordan is worried of an uprising warranted Israel from escalation of the tense situation. He is not alone. “Turkey condemns Israeli raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque: Several senior Turkish officials condemned the raid by Israeli police on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. Turkey called on Israel to abandon its policy of building illegal settlements in East Jerusalem. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called in a televised address for continuing armed “resistance” in the Palestinian territories and urged Muslim nations support it.” (10)
Even the U.S that provides Israel the most sophisticated weapons to kill the Palestinians, “called for de-escalation in occupied East Jerusalem, and warned against carrying out a threatened eviction of Palestinian families. “We’re deeply concerned about the heightened tensions in Jerusalem,” said Deputy State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter. She said it was “critical” to “de-escalate tensions” and avoid any unilateral steps that could worsen the situation – such as “evictions, settlement activity and demolition.” (11)
“The spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said the evictions, “if ordered and implemented, would violate Israel’s obligations under international law” on East Jerusalem territory it captured and occupied in the 1967 Middle East war. “We call on Israel to immediately halt all forced evictions, including those in Sheikh Jarrah, and to cease any activity that would further contribute to a coercive environment and lead to a risk of forcible transfer,” spokesman Rupert Colville said.” (12)
Down with Zionism!
These are all empty words without any deeds. This is the time to organize self-defense of the Palestinians in every village and every district. The place of any Israeli Jew who supports democracy or socialism is with the Palestinians against the Zionist state.
We of the ISL the section of the RCIT in Israel (Occupied Palestine) stand from the very beginning without any conditions on the side of the heroic struggle of the Palestinians. We call for a red democratic Palestine from the river to the sea, a state to which the Palestinian refugees will return and the Israeli Jews will have equal rights but not the right to form a new Zionist state.
For this a real working-class revolutionary party composed mostly of Palestinians is required fighting for a victory of the Arab revolution.
Down with Zionism!
Break the fascists who march on the “Jerusalem day”!
Israel hands off Sheikh Jarrah and Al Aqsa!
For a Red Democratic state in Palestine from the River to the Sea!
3) Al Jazeera, 8 May 2021
4) Linah Alsaafin, Al Jazeera, 29 Nov 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/11/29/eviction-of-palestinians-in-sheikh-jarrah-part-of-israeli-policy
6) Al Jazeera, May 7 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/7/palestinians-criticise-social-media-censorship-over-sheikh-jarrah
8) Al Jazeera May 8, 2021 https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/7/al-aqsa-worshippers-protest-palestinian-evictions-in-jerusalem
11) Al Jazeera, 8 May 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/7/jerusalem-dozens-of-palestinians-hurt-in-al-aqsa-clashes
Additional Documents from the RCIT
Yossi Schwartz: The Zionist Wars, RCIT Book, 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-zionist-wars/
Yossi Schwartz: Israel’s War of 1948 and the Degeneration of the Fourth International, http://the-isleague.com/1948-war-5-2013/ and https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/israel-s-war-of-1948/
Michael Pröbsting: On some Questions of the Zionist Oppression and the Permanent Revolution in Palestine, http://the-isleague.com/zionist-oppression-and-permanent-revolution/ and https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/permanent-revolution-in-palestine/
Yossi Schwartz: Israel, the Least Safe State for Jews! Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT Section in Israel / Occupied Palestine), 2 May 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/israel-the-least-safe-state-for-jews/