Yossi Schwartz, ISL/RCIT in Israel/Occupied Palestine, 28.12.2021
The settlers’ attacks on Palestinians in the West-Bank
On August 12, the Chief of the Zionist army Aviv Kochavi announced that the army will come down harshly on combat soldiers who do not follow regulations in the field. This was a response to the many killings of Palestinians by soldier’s fire in the West Bank. 40 Palestinians were killed by the soldier’s fire in the West Bank from May 2021 until August 2021. [i]
According to B’Tselem the Israeli human rights organization’s report from November it has recorded 451 incidents of settler violence on Palestinians since early 2020, with Israeli forces not intervening to stop the attacks in the majority of cases, and in many cases, the soldiers have joined the settlers in shooting the Palestinians. In 170 of the cases where the army did arrive, troops either chose not to intervene to protect the Palestinians or actively joined the attack. Only in 13 cases, the Zionist army took action to prevent the settler violence. [ii]
Kochav’s statement is empty words as since August the settlers have continued their attack and the soldiers have joined them. As B’Tselem says: “Settler attacks against Palestinians are a strategy employed by the Israeli apartheid regime, which seeks to advance and complete its misappropriation of more and more Palestinian land. When the violence occurs with permission and assistance from the Israeli authorities and under its auspices, it is state violence. The settlers are not defying the state; they are doing its bidding.” [iii]
Under the new right-wing government, the violence of the settlers backed by the army has increased by 50%[iv]. On December 24 Israeli settlers attacked the northern village of Burqa in the West Bank. The attack came after a settler rally had turned violent against the protesting Palestinians with Israeli forces using tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against Palestinians. Dozens of Palestinians were wounded.
“The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) told Wafa news agency that 42 Palestinians, including a journalist, were wounded after being hit with rubber-coated steel rounds, while another 83 sustained suffocation from inhalation of tear gas fired by the Israeli army.” [v]
“Since the killing of far-right settler Yehuda Dimentman by two Palestinian gunmen who opened fire on his car on December 16, attacks on Palestinian villages near the northern city of Nablus have multiplied. Several Palestinian civilians in Qaryout, south of Nablus, sustained wounds and fractures in a pre-dawn attack by Israeli settlers on December 17, Wafa reported. Settlers this week also attacked Palestinian homes in the village of Silat ad-Dhahr, the news agency said, blocking a section of the Nablus-Jenin Road and denying access to Palestinian vehicles. Last week, a group of settlers vandalized many cars in a town near Ramallah, and in September, dozens of settlers attacked a Bedouin village in the southern West Bank, leaving several injured, including a Palestinian toddler” [vi]
Yehuda Dimentman was a student in Homesh Yeshiva that for over 15 years has existed on private Palestinian land that even according to the Zionist state was illegal. He was an activist in the most extreme part of the settlers that are stealing Palestinian private lands and attacking the Palestinians opposing these thefts. Thus, he has no claim as an innocent bystander.
The growing Palestinian resistance
Against this background of violent attacks on the Palestinians, the resistance of the Palestinians is growing. On December 26, the Zionist army clashed with Palestinians in the West Bank in the area of Homesh nearby the Palestinian village of Burqa, whose ownership was certified in the land registry that has been one focus of resistance to the oppression. We witness other clashes with the Zionist army and settlers in other parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem.
According to the Zionist army, hundreds of Palestinians threw rocks and burned tires, and shots were fired in the area. The Zionist army responded with live fire tear gas and stun grenades The Zionist army also says that shots were fired from a passing vehicle toward a military post near the West Bank city of Nablus.
It is too early to know whether we see the beginning of a new Intifada but the resistance is growing.
At the same time a few days ago the Palestinian resistance factions launched a joint military drill in the Gaza Strip The factions said in a joint statement that the exercise aims to exchange expertise and enhance combat preparedness. The military training is the first between Palestinian factions since the last Zionist offensive on the Gaza Strip in May, in which more than 200 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured while thirteen Israelis were also killed by Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. [vii]
Another attack on Syria, an indirect attack on Iran
Meanwhile, the Zionist army attacked once again Syria:
“Israeli warplanes fired several missiles at the port of the coastal city of Latakia early Tuesday morning, causing large explosions and fires, in the second alleged Israeli strike in a month on the key facility. For years, Israel avoided conducting strikes against the Latakia port due to the large presence of Russian forces nearby, despite Iran allegedly using the terminal to transport advanced munitions through it to its proxies in the region, notably the Lebanese Hezbollah group” [viii]
The Zionist state attacked Latakia on December 27 is a reflection of the Zionist’s frustration with the discussions in Vienna between Iran and the three European states while the USA participates indirectly.
Vienna talks resumed on Monday 27 December. The JCPOA Joint Commission met to discuss and define the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“Diplomats from the three European countries involved said after the talks adjourned last week that negotiators in Vienna were “rapidly reaching the end of the road.” They have expressed frustration with Tehran’s new demands in recent weeks but pointed to “some technical progress” so far. Russian delegate to the talks Mikhail Ulyanov said on Twitter that “usually it isn’t popular to engage in serious business” between Christmas and the new year. But he said that “in this particular case this is an indication that all negotiators don’t want to [waste] time, and aim at speediest restoration” of the nuclear deal” [ix]
However, following the discussion on the 27 at the Palais Coburg, Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani said the delegations agreed that “good progress” was made during the seventh round that ended 10 days earlier and there is now a “suitable framework” to take the talks forward. [x]
From the Zionist perspective, a deal will end their hope for a joined war together with the USA and NATO against Iran. To further escalate the tension in the Middle East the Israeli government announced that it will double the size of the settlements in the occupied Syrian heights the Zionists call the Golan.
The Israeli government repeatedly says that it will attack Iran even by itself. But this is not very likely to happen soon as a war with Iran with its allies will cost Israel too many deaths and destruction. Iran is saying that in case Israel will attack its nuclear facilities it will strike the nuclear center in Dimona.
“Iran has published and distributed a video of rockets and drones being used to attack Dimona in the Negev Desert. It says the attack took place during the recent 17th Great Prophet drill with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the IRGC Air Force.
Tehran says it “simulated a missile and drone attack on the Dimona nuclear center using 16 ballistic missiles and five suicide drones, successfully,” according to its semi-official Fars News Agency, [xi] Israel claims that Iran will cross a significant nuclear threshold by the end of January if no deal is reached.
The isolation of Israel is growing
“The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has voted to fund unprecedented open-ended war crimes probe against Israel, with the backing of 125 countries ץThe probe, called a Commission of Inquiry (COI), had initially been approved in May by the 47-member UN Human Rights Council in the aftermath of the 11-day Gaza war, known as Operation Guardian of the Walls. Its broad mandate – approved 24-9 with 14 abstentions in May – allows for an investigation into any alleged Israeli human rights violations on either side of the Green Line. This would include sovereign Israel, as well as the West Bank and Gaza.” [xii]
A Pie in the Sky
Today you have to be stupid to believe that a two states solution is possible. Some Palestinian middle-class intellectuals are calling in their despair for a UN army to protect the Palestinians. For example, Daoud Kuttab an award-winning Arab journalist and former Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in an article published in Jerusalem post wrote: “In the absence of a desire for peace by the Israeli occupiers and a rejection of the globally accepted two-state solution, a period of chaos and the absence of any semblance of tranquility is bound to take place. Israeli Jewish settlers living illegally in the Palestinian territories are armed to the teeth and, as Israeli human rights organizations have documented, are supported by the Israeli army. In fact, it is now clear that what Palestinians have always said was true: Settlements and settlers are part of Israel’s long-term occupation strategy. Settlements are built in strategic locations to cut off a contiguous Palestinian state and make the Israeli army’s work easier. The violence by Jewish settlers is not going to stop no matter what Washington says and regardless of the lip service that some Israeli defense officials pay to the concept of rule of law. What is needed is a neutral armed force that will ensure that the Jewish settlers stop their violence; their burning and destroying of Palestinian farms; and their almost nightly raids on unarmed Palestinian homes. United Nations-sponsored blue helmets are needed now more than ever in the occupied territories” [xiii]
This is “pies in the sky” as Joe Hill wrote in “The Preacher and the Slave” in 1911. Israel backed by other imperialist states will prevent it. Only the Arab revolution will put an end to the Zionist apartheid state together with the Arab reactionary rulers and there are signs that a new wave of the Arab revolution is coming.
A new wave of the Arab revolution?
Let us see what the IMF that cannot be suspected of pro working-class sentiment has to say about the social unrest in the region:
“A rise in social unrest in 2021 that could pick up further due to repeated infection waves, dire economic conditions, high unemployment, and food prices ץAlgeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and other countries have witnessed protests by thousands of angry citizens demanding reforms, better jobs and services. Unemployment increased in MENA last year by 1.4 percent to reach 11.6 percent, a rise exceeding that seen during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis and 2014-15 oil price shock, the IMF said. About seven million more people in the region are estimated to have entered extreme poverty during 2020-21 compared with pre-crisis projections, according to the IMF. They are grappling with rising prices as inflation in the region is projected to increase to 12.9 percent in 2021 from 10.4 last year, pushed by higher food and energy prices in some countries, before subsiding to 8.8 percent in 2022. “Inequities are increasing. The low-skilled, the young, women, and migrant workers have been affected the most by the pandemic, as have smaller firms, particularly those in contact-sensitive sectors. The corporate sector has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, but smaller firms and those in “contact-sensitive sectors” are lagging behind.” [xiv]
The crisis of humanity is the crisis of working-class revolutionary leadership
What is missing for the Arab revolution to win is the revolutionary leadership of the working class. The previous revolutionary wave failed because the Stalinists supported Assad in Syria and Al Sisi’s coup in Egypt, because of the so-called Revolutionary Socialist in Egypt, a section of the British SWP tailed first Morsi and then the liberal capitalists, and because various centrists turned their back on the Syrian revolution once the Islamists started fighting Assad the butcher and Russian imperialism.
As the transitional program says and it is very actual today:
“The world political situation as a whole is chiefly characterized by a historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat. The economic prerequisite for the proletarian revolution has already in general achieved the highest point of fruition that can be reached under capitalism. Mankind’s productive forces stagnate. Already new inventions and improvements fail to raise the level of material wealth. Conjunctural crisis under the conditions of the social crisis of the whole capitalist system inflict ever heavier deprivations and sufferings upon the masses. Growing unemployment, in its turn, deepens the financial crisis of the state and undermines the unstable monetary systems. Democratic regimes, as well as fascist, stagger on from one bankruptcy to another.” [xv]
Down with the Zionist apartheid state!
Down with the Arab reactionary ruling classes!
For a Palestine red and Free from the river to the sea!
For the victory of the Arab revolution!