Down with the Blockade of Gaza!

Support the right of return of the Palestinians! Break the Israel-PA collaboration and Hamas repression in Gaza!

A Statement of the Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT Section in Israel / Occupied Palestine), 18.03.2019,

The situation of the majority of the people living in Gaza under Israeli siege is unbearable. 2 million people live in an enclave 41km long and 10km wide blockaded by Israel on one side and Sisi’s Egypt on the other side while its western shores are controlled by Israel as well.

Israel captured Gaza in 1956 but had to return it to Egypt that occupied it during the 1948 war under Soviet and American pressures. Israel occupied it again in the 1967 war. At the beginning Israel planned to annex Gaza and around 7,000 Zionist settlers were encouraged to colonize it. Then, Sharon as Prime Minister decided that it would be better for Israel to rather evict those settlers for demographic reasons of maintaining a state with a Jewish majority.

Ehud Olmert a former Prime Minister who was Sharon’ deputy explained: “There is no doubt in my mind that very soon the government of Israel is going to have to address the demographic issue with the utmost seriousness and resolve. This issue above all others will dictate the solution that we must adopt. In the absence of a negotiated agreement – and I do not believe in the realistic prospect of an agreement – we need to implement a unilateral alternative… More and more Palestinians are uninterested in a negotiated, two-state solution, because they want to change the essence of the conflict from an Algerian paradigm to a South African one. From a struggle against `occupation,’ in their parlance, to a struggle for one-man-one-vote. That is, of course, a much cleaner struggle, a much more popular struggle – and ultimately a much more powerful one. For us, it would mean the end of the Jewish state… the parameters of a unilateral solution are: To maximize the number of Jews; to minimize the number of Palestinians; not to withdraw to the 1967 border and not to divide Jerusalem… Twenty-three years ago, Moshe Dayan proposed unilateral autonomy. On the same wavelength, we may have to espouse unilateral separation… [it] would inevitably preclude a dialogue with the Palestinians for at least 25 years.” [1]

Israel evicted the settlers in 2005. In 2006 Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections because most Palestinians have realized the so called two state solution allows Israel to continue the colonization and build more settlements, while the PA armed forces collaborate with Israel against them.

Gaza: The biggest Ghetto in history

Israel’s reaction to Hamas electoral victory has been to blockade Gaza. The result is that Gaza is the biggest Ghetto in history. Most agricultural land is located in places declared closed military areas (“no go” zones) or have been destroyed during military attacks. Access to traditional fishing grounds is restricted by the Israeli navy. Development of the natural gas reserves is forbidden by the Israeli government. All of this while the movement of people into and out of Gaza is severely restricted and both the import of goods and the export of products from Gaza is strictly limited.

Military attacks over the last 12 years have resulted in the near complete destruction of Gaza’s business and manufacturing base. As a result, the unemployment rate stands at 40 percent, with few prospects for the young. More than 80 percent of the population is now dependent on international assistance for survival. Most Gazans cannot afford a generator during lengthy power cuts. In July 2014 Israeli missile fire destroyed Shifa Medical Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza City.

While Israel is the main reason for the suffering of the Palestinians, Egypt, under the butcher Sisi, in collaboration with Israel, has closed the Rafah crossing to Egypt and acts as a partner in crime.

In addition the Palestinian Authority has imposed its own sanctions on Gaza in an attempt to bring down Hamas’ government. Already in June 2018 Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets to demand an end to the sanctions imposed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and showed solidarity with the besieged residents of Gaza. The demonstration was organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and civil society activists. The banners said “No for the slow death policies”, and “The longest technical mistake in history”, indicated to Abbas statement at the end of the PNC meeting in Ramallah in early May, when he attributed the delay of Gaza employees’ salaries payment to technical error. Other banners carried slogans like “from 12-20 hours daily with no electricity, lift sanctions” , and “Gaza resists”, as well as “the injured at the fence, how do you prevent their medical treatment?

Since March 2018, almost one year ago, the people of Gaza have been demonstrating for the right to return to the lands Israel robbed from their families in 1947-1948. The last thing the Zionists will accept is the return of the refugees. Israel removed them to create a state with a Jewish majority and the return of the refugees will put the Zionist program of Jewish majority at risk. The price Palestinian and Israeli Jews will pay in blood does not seem to matter to those who cling to Zionism.

Since March 2018 Israel killed 254 and injured tens of thousands. In the Gaza Strip according to B’Tselem, Israel’s human rights organization:

“In 2018, Israeli security forces killed 290 Palestinians, including 55 minors. Of the casualties, 254 were killed in the Gaza Strip, 34 in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and two within Israel. These incidents are a direct result of Israel’s reckless open-fire policy, authorized by the government and the top military command, and backed by the judicial system. As long as Israel adheres to this policy, despite its predictable outcomes, the casualties will continue to amass.

Israel killed young children, journalists and paramedical staff. WHO – the World Health Organization – reported:

On 2 June 2018, United Nations officials and agencies have expressed their outrage in the face of yesterday’s killing of Razan An Najjar, a 21-year-old female volunteering as a first responder, while carrying out her humanitarian duties with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS). Razan was hit by live ammunition fired by Israeli forces while trying, with other first responders, to reach those injured during the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations close to Israel’s perimeter fence around 18:30. She was taken immediately to a trauma stabilization point, and then to the European Gaza Hospital, where she died just after 19:00. Three others in her team were also injured.” [4]

The UN inquiry commission issued its report on February 2019. According to this report Israeli security forces “killed and maimed demonstrators who did not pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury to others…nor were they directly participating in hostilities.” [5]

Israel’s hypocrisy

Israel’s position regarding Gaza is that first of all, Israel has no responsibility for Gaza since it withdrew from Gaza in 2005. It simply secures its own borders from terrorists who want to kill Jews.

There are four problems with this flimsy argument. The first one is that most people who live in Gaza are refugees who have the right to return to their lands stolen from them during the ethnic cleansing of 1947-1948.

Secondly, Israel has not withdrawn from Gaza but has imposed a siege on it.

Thirdly, Israel has destroyed the conditions for normal life in Gaza. In addition, by killing people who were not even close to the fence among them reporters and medics, Israel has committed war crimes.

Finally, while it is true that Hamas has used terrorist actions against Israeli unarmed civilians that only serve Israel, Israel has been using a much wider scale of state-terrorism against Palestinian civilians.

Protests in Gaza

To make thing worse, in the past few days, Hamas security officers have used force to disperse hundreds of protesters in different parts of the Gaza Strip. According to Palestinian journalists, dozens of protesters have been beaten and arrested by Hamas policemen and militiamen.

The protesters are demanding that Hamas rescind its decision to impose new taxes, the high rate of unemployment and the continued shortage of electricity supply. Most of the protests are taking place in Jabalya, Deir al-Balah, Khan Yunis, Nuseirat and Al-Bureij.

The protests, held under the banner “We Want to Live!” are organized by youth movements and several Palestinian groups opposed to Hamas’s rule over Gaza Strip. The widespread protests are seen as a major challenge to Hamas.

A statement purporting to be from the organizers said the protests were non-political and against the rising cost of living and taxes in the Strip. The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network, which includes more than 100 charities, said in a statement it “strongly condemned the campaign of arrests and aggression that the security forces launched in Jabaliya in northern Gaza against the right of dozens of citizens.” It said the protesters were “gathering peacefully to demand an improvement in the life quality in the Gaza Strip.” [6]

According to a report by Khaled Abu Toameh, several Palestinian factions on Saturday called on Hamas to withdraw its security forces from the streets and main squares and to release Palestinians who were arrested for protesting high prices and taxes in the Gaza Strip. [7]

The factions that attended the meeting are: Fatah, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Palestinian National Initiative, People’s Party, Arab Liberation Front, Palestinian Liberation Front, Arab-Palestinian Front, Popular Struggle Front and Popular Front – General Command.

The faction representatives said after the meeting that they were categorically opposed to “all forms of repression and assaults on freedoms, including arrests and the use of force.” 

On Saturday, Hamas supporters took to the streets to protest against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The protesters said that Abbas was responsible for the economic crisis because of the sanctions he imposed in 2017 against the Gaza Strip, which include cutting salaries to thousands of Palestinian employees and poor families. A Hamas spokesman said that Abbas’s sanctions constituted a “political, national and moral crime” against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Our position

The ISL as a working class revolutionary organization and a section of the RCIT has a long history of standing with the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza against Israel. A history in which we have taken the position that in military clashes between the Palestinians and Israel the interest of the international working class is to see the revolutionary military defeat of Israel regardless of the nature of the existing leadership of the Palestinians.

At the same time we have said that we do not have any political support either for the PA or Hamas. Thus, while we are condemning Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians and see it as the main force responsible for the terrible inhuman conditions in Gaza, we condemn as well Sisi’s government and the Palestinian Authority that collaborates with Israel and imposes sanctions on Gaza.

At the same time we condemn Hamas’ violence against the demonstrators. The workers, the Fellahins, the unemployed, women and youth have all the reasons not to trust politically the PA or Hamas. They have no program nor strategy or tactic to win the important demand of a one democratic state of all the Palestinians and the Israeli Jews who live in the country.

The struggle for one democratic state in Palestine from the river to the sea is part of the Arab revolution. To win this struggle it is necessary to return to the popular uprising of the first Intifada that was interrupted by the Oslo agreement. For this, a united front of all the organizations that fight the oppression of the Palestinians is needed. For this, a truly revolutionary internationalist party is needed.













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