August 26, 2014—At a time when the workers and peoples of the whole world are gripped by the war of extermination being waged by Israel against the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza… At a time when the rights of the Palestinian people are being trampled upon, everybody is asking themselves the same question: Is there a solution?
Sixty-six years ago, the Palestinian Trotskyist group said the following regarding the State of Israel in January 1948:
“Even leaving aside the question of the attitude of the great powers, this State has no historic future. Subject to permanent crises and convulsions—permanent civil war having been avoided only by the complete purging of all the Arab villages on its territory—it will collapse into terrible slaughter in a new stage of the Arab Revolution if the Jewish proletariat does not break with Zionist chauvinism in time. The task of Jewish revolutionaries in Israel is to prepare this break. Their political line should remain unwaveringly that of struggle against the partition of Palestine, for the reintegration of the territory of Israel into a united Palestine, within the framework of a Federation of Arab States of the Middle East which will guarantee the Jewish minority all the rights of national cultural autonomy.”
As far as the militant activists of the Fourth International are concerned, only the proletarian revolution—bringing down imperialism—will allow the national questions left outstanding by history to be resolved completely, including the aspirations of the Jewish population that has settled in Palestine which, as far as the Trotskyists are concerned, cannot in any way be counterpoised to the Arab masses’ aspiration for sovereignty.
The partition of Palestine in 1946 by the imperialisms that were victorious in the Second World War, supported by the Stalinist bureaucracy and ratified by the UN in 1947, and the founding of a so-called “Jewish State” in the very heart of the Middle East could only result in wars and acts of destruction for the peoples of the region, beginning with the Arab people of Palestine. The position of the Fourth International has been unequivocal since 1948:
“Down with the partition of Palestine! For a united independent Arab Palestine, with full national minority rights for the Jewish community. Down with the imperialist intervention in Palestine! All foreign troops, UN ‘mediators’ and ‘observers’ out now! For the right of the Arab masses to self-determination. For the election of a Constituent Assembly on the basis of universal secret suffrage! For revolution of the land! Down with the Arab League, the tool of imperialism! Down with the corrupt feudal exploiters! Long live the Arab socialist revolution in the Middle East!”
“There is no other solution than the democratic solution”
Some 70 years have passed, over the course of which so many leaders of the international labor movement, from the “Communist Parties” to the “Socialist International,” have explained to the workers and youth the world over that these slogans were not “realistic,” that the only “realistic” solution was a “two-state” solution in Palestine.
It was to this objection that the Fourth International leader, Comrade Pierre Lambert, responded during a rally called by the PCI (French section of the Fourth International) in June 1982—shortly before the Sabra and Shatila massacre. Accusing Begin-Sharon, he said:
“Where have the realists, those who explained to us that our position and our fight were utopian, where have they led the people? Where are they leading that part of the world today, where fighting, massacres and destitution continue unabated? No, there is no other solution than the democratic solution, and the only democratic solution that can bring peace to that region involves the disappearance of the State of Israel; it involves the Palestinian Constituent Assembly, building the Palestinian nation with its two component parts. All the plans, all the solutions that do not have as their starting-point this democratic solution can only have as their reality one massacre after another. There was war in 1948, there was war in 1956, there was war in 1967, there was ‘Black September’ in 1970, that dark September which saw the King of Jordan use the strength provided to him by U.S. imperialism to crush, or attempt to crush, the Palestinians. There was war in 1973; there was Tal el-Zaatar in 1976. Maintaining the State of Israel can only lead to war.”
The settler state, the segregationist and theocratic state has never been so weak!
How is this question posed today, after a month-and-a-half of the worst kind of massacre organized against the Palestinian population of Gaza, continuing the practice of ethnic cleansing begun in 1948?
Of course, the military forces of the State of Israel have an overwhelming superiority. And yet, the truth of the matter is that the settler state, the segregationist and theocratic state has never been so weak!
By unleashing its unprecedented onslaught against the civilian population of Gaza, by indiscriminately killing women, children and elderly people, it has rallied the people of Palestine, from Gaza to the 1948 territories (State of Israel) via the West Bank and the refugee camps scattered throughout all the countries of the region. It has rallied the people of Palestine around resistance. It has delivered a major blow to the so-called two-state “solution”—and to what is left of the Oslo Accords (1993)—by turning Gaza into the model for that second state: a ghetto.
By unleashing its unprecedented onslaught, it has declared loud and clear to the whole world what maintaining the imperialist order, of which the State of Israel is an underling, means: the extermination of a people who refuse to bow down to oppression and exploitation.
By unleashing its unprecedented onslaught, in the eyes of the world it has shattered the State of Israel’s claim that it embodies the defense of democratic values—as pointed out in a dignified manner in a letter entitled “Not in Our Name!” written by hundreds of Jewish survivors of the Nazi concentration camps.1
It has exposed the hypocrisy of the complicit imperialist governments, beginning with the Hollande, Cameron and Merkel governments, showing this to be their true nature.
Provoking the outrage of the world’s peoples, Netanyahu has forced Obama to go through the motions, for the world’s benefit, of wishing to “restrain” him, whilst continuing to supply him massively with weapons.
Hindered by Obama in his offensive of extermination, Netanyahu has triggered the most serious crisis in the history of his state and its military apparatus.
All the conditions are coming together for a major turning point
All the conditions are coming together for a major turning-poin, so that, in the near future, sectors of both societies will link up, especially among the youth, who have been condemned by the State of Israel to a war without end, to killings and acts of barbarism against the Palestinian people on both sides of the wall.
The resistance of the Palestinian fighters and their heroic struggle have delivered a fatal blow to the myth of the invincible Israeli army. They have delivered a fatal blow to the myth of “the army cementing together the Israeli nation” that was fed by the euphoria following the army’s successes. The Palestinian people have just forced a climb-down, with the ending of the bombardments triggering joyful demonstrations throughout Palestine, including among the Jewish population.
Of course, it was only a few hundred people who defied the military command and refused to serve in Gaza, and only a few thousand people who demonstrated, most notably in Tel Aviv. Nevertheless, by taking their courageous position they have opened up an important breach.
As for the layer of Palestinian activists engaged in struggle, a far-reaching movement is emerging among their ranks. They have experienced the treachery of the heads of Arab states, with the head of the Egyptian state foremost among them. They have experienced Fatah’s so-called “peace program,” they have seen what recognition of the State of Israel and renouncing the PLO Charter has meant. They have rejected every attempt to give up the refugees’ right of return. They understand that the two-state “solution” (including the Islamic state of Hamas) would shut them up in an open-air concentration camp, like in Gaza, forever. They are watching with a great deal of apprehension as U.S. imperialism employs makeshift grand maneuvers in an attempt to end the collapse it has triggered in Iraq. They understand the risk posed to them by the closer ties between Iran and the United States, and by the closer ties being sought by the United States with Bashar al-Assad.
The idea is taking root that no solution can be delivered to the Palestinian people if it is subject to the current diplomatic-military maneuvers. It is in this sense that one can say today that the question of the struggle for a united Palestinian nation, a secular democratic Palestinian republic in which all citizens will enjoy equal rights irrespective of their religion or ethnic origin, is about to arise in a recognizable way in the near future.
In opposition to the Palestinian people gaining its sovereignty, on every side there are calls being made on the workers—including by their leaderships—in every country, especially in the imperialist countries, to support the campaign to “put Gaza under UN protection” and the crossing-points under the supervision of European Union inspectors, all in the name of “realism” and emergency humanitarian demands which trample underfoot the Palestinian demand for an “unconditional lifting of the blockade!”
On the contrary, concrete solidarity with the Palestinian people means the broadest possible unity of the democratic and labor organizations throughout the world for an immediate and unconditional end to the Israeli attack, and for the immediate, total and unconditional lifting of the blockade of Gaza.
This solidarity is part of the struggle to help our class bring down the governments acting on behalf of finance capital and the war policy of U.S. imperialism.
It is part of the struggle to strengthen the organization of the conscious vanguard of the working class.
It is part of the struggle to strengthen the Fourth International!
—IS, August 26, 2014
1 “Jewish Survivors and Descendants of Survivors and Victims of Nazi Genocide Unequivocally Condemn the Massacre of Palestinians in Gaza,” Socialist Viewpoint, Vol. 14, No. 5