Analysis Imperialism Middle East National Question

Palestine’s Arduous Struggle for Liberation

By Lal Khan

Prime Minister Hamdallah, who heads the Palestinian Authority ‘government’ based in the West Bank town of Ramallah, survived a bomb blast attack during his visit to Gaza on March 13. This incident exhibits the convoluted and chronically disrupted struggle for the ending of Israeli occupation and the socioeconomic liberation of ordinary Palestinians. It’s not just the brutal oppression of the Zionist state and its imperialist backers that are responsible for the grotesque plight of the Palestinians, but the ruling elite and capitalist states all over have been complicit in this protracted subjugation. The internecine conflicts between today’s dominant Palestinian parties in the occupied territories are also a hindrance.

After the attack, Hamdallah said, “It is a cowardly act that does not represent our people, nor does it represent the people of Gaza.”His party the Fatah that governs West Bank called the incident a “terrorist attack” and blamed it on Hamas. Fatah’s information department stated, “Hamas has completely failed in providing security in Gaza, just as it has failed in providing a decent life for our people in the strip.” Hamas’s Iyad al-Buzom, Gaza’s interior ministry spokesman retorted, “This act of placing blame has a political dimension. Here in Gaza, we take all the security precautions and an investigation to find out who was behind the explosion is underway.” Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement on October 13, 2017 in Cairo, to end a decade-long antagonism between the two parallel governments operating in Gaza and the West Bank and form a unity government. It is proving to be another failed attempt at a compromise.

The harsh reality is, that both Fatah and Hamas actually represent the Palestinian elite’s factions. Palestinian occupied territories are economically dependent on the Israeli economy and foreign aid. The ruling cliques are funded by different regional regimes and world powers that have used the Palestinian issue as a pawn for their state interests. To some extent, the conflict between Hamas and Fatah is also the consequence of the sharp contradictions and enmities of these financier regimes such as the tensions between Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE and Qatar.

However, what the Palestinian struggle of the last seventy years has proven is that a negotiated settlement or urban guerrilla tactics have failed to bring about Palestinian liberation. The acts of religiously incited terrorism by Hamas and others have damaged the Palestinian cause. The opportunistic coaxing of Mahmood Abbas, the President of Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, with the imperialists has only ended up in the Zionist occupiers gaining more space and time to impose their brutal hegemony.

Without the covert and sometimes overt support of the Zionist colonisers, these elites’ existence and privileges would be in jeopardy. The Israeli state even provokes the fundamentalist terrorist outfits to hurl ineffective rockets into desolate Israeli territory and uses this phenomenon as justification to unleash more atrocities on the Palestinian people. Palestinian leaders overtly continue to hurl vociferous condemnations of the Israeli tyrannies, but they are often in connivance with the Zionist state to police and crush the Palestinian youth and masses when their stirrings threaten another intifada.The repression of the ordinary Palestinians by Hamas’s Islamic fundamentalist regime in Gaza and corrupt Fatah ‘government’ in the West Bank is treacherously grotesque.

The Israeli occupation of Palestine is the longest occupation in recent history. Eighty percent of Gaza’s population receive food through charities and only 10 percent have access to any proper water supply. Gaza’s electricity crisis means that power was not available for up to 20 hours per day in 2017. Meanwhile, unemployment and poverty are also on the rise. Besieged Gaza is the largest open-air prison in the world. The West Bank has been fractured and fragmented by the monstrous ‘Occupation Wall’ being constructed by the Zionist state inhibiting ordinary Palestinian’s living in the different towns from meeting families and friends.Travel through Gaza’s Erez Crossing into Israel, West Bank, and outside world, is limited to “exceptional medical patients” and of course “prominent businesspersons”.

Although Trump has callously debased the Palestinians like no other US President in history — his predecessors in every US administration also vehemently backed the oppressiveness of this Middle Eastern imperialist outpost- Zionist Israel. Empathy of the European rulers towards the Palestinians is duplicitous to the core. They tacitly supported the Zionist regime all along. The Russian and the Chinese elites’ policies are determined by their vested interests to compete with Western imperialists’for geopolitical and strategic interests in the region. Their ‘support’ has brought no respite to the Palestinian masses either.

The attitude of the Arab regimes and the so-called Islamic states is outrageous. These rulers have used and abused the ‘Palestinian issue’ for domestic consumption. Their verbosity of condemnations of Israel and ‘support’ for the Palestinian cause was deceitfully used to crush dissent and manipulated the widespread mass sympathy for the Palestinians to subvert movements against their exploitative rule.Now their collusions with the Zionist rulers have been laid bare.

For generations, the Palestinian masses have defied the Zionist repression despite the excruciating suffering they have faced. The two intifada’s since the 1980’s shook the Israeli state and forced the Imperialists to grant some concessions. But as soon as these movements ebbed, harrowing economic and military aggression reverted.

The Palestinian struggle had far more regional and international support when it was on the radical left and devoid of religious bigotry.Incongruously, in the 1970’s and 80’s, it was the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad that engineered and nurtured Palestinian religious outfits to sabotage the struggle. These groups dominate occupied territories today.  To be victorious, ordinary Palestinians can only rely on the support of the working classes and peoples of the region and beyond. Capitalist elites and states will only use them for their vested interests.Paradoxically, a greater and wider Palestinian uprising can catalyse class struggle in the whole region. Such movements can cut across the religious sectarian, ethnic and narrow nationalist divisions and unite the oppressed toiling masses into a revolutionary class struggle to end this system of occupations, repression and exploitation.

Published in Daily Times, March 19th 2018.