Seventy two years after the founding of the State of Israel, the only solution is still to destroy it and replace it with a single secular, democratic and non-racist Palestine.
By Vicente Gaynor
For the Palestinian people, the establishment of Israel is known as the Nakba, the catastrophe. On May 15, 1948, Zionist troops backed by British and American imperialism, invaded Palestine and began a genocide that is still being perpetrated today.
Since then, the Palestinian people have never stopped fighting, repeatedly carrying out historic intifadas (uprisings). Unfortunately, their leadership has consistently given in and gradually retreated toward the acceptance of the State of Israel and the disappearance of Palestine as accomplished facts.
A Colonial and Imperialist Project
Zionism emerged as a political and ideological tendency in central and eastern Europe at the end of the XIX century, as a reactionary response to the anti-Semitism of European governments. Welcoming the racist and mistaken idea that the Jewish people cannot coexist with other peoples to justify the need for an exclusively Jewish State, that is racist and oppressive of other peoples.
From the beginning, Zionism was a colonial and imperialistic project. After considering various possible sites, including Madagascar and Patagonia, and soliciting the support of the German, Russian, and Ottoman monarchies, the Zionists decided to settle on Palestine soil, once English imperialism supported the idea.
The British since 1917 and the Americans since the end of WWII, have been providing enormous military, economic and political support to the Zionists in exchange for having an unconditional ally in the strategic Middle East
As part of the Yalta and Potsdam agreements, the United States, along with the United Kingdom and Stalin’s Soviet Union, decided to establish two states in Palestine, though it quickly became clear that the partition was little more than a smoke screen for the Zionist colonization of Palestine .
Israel’s first head of state, David Ben-Gurion, had no doubts: “There is no room for two peoples living side by side in Palestine. We will not achieve our goal of being an independent people with the presence of Arabs in this small country. The only solution is a Palestine, or at least a western Palestine, without Arabs. And there is no other way than to transfer them from here to neighboring countries, to transfer them all. No village or tribe must remain.”
A Zionist document of the time, the “Koening Report” anticipated how the “transfer” of Palestinians that Ben-Gurion intended would be carried out: “We must use terror, murder, intimidation, confiscation of land and the blockade of all social services to rid Galilee of its Arab population.”
In 1948, this policy was ruthlessly applied, expelling more than 700,000 Palestinians at gunpoint and massacring entire villages along the way.
Since then, generations of Palestinians have lived in subhuman conditions in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. Many still keep the keys to their houses. Those who remained in the Palestinian territories, have been victims of attacks, military occupation, economic blockade, indiscriminate bombing, constant segregation and displacement. And those who have remained within the limits of the State of Israel have been reduced to second-class citizens, discriminated against and oppressed.
Although Jews represented 31% of the population in Palestine in 1948, the agreement at Yalta and Potsdam gave Israel 54% of fertile land. However, the Zionists occupied over three quarters of the country. It would be the starting point of a long history of ignoring international agreements and resolutions, permanently reaffirming that Israel´s true objective is the displacement of the population and the colonization of all of Palestine.
The Suez War of 1956, the Seven Days War in 1967 and the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 served to annex more land and establish a permanent military occupation in the rest of the Palestinian territory, that continues today. This offensive has also been driven by a permanent policy of establishing illegal colonies on Palestinian soil that are then connected to Israel by exclusive Jewish roads, dividing the Palestinian territory into innumerable isolated enclaves, like in apartheid South Africa.
A Heroic People With a Cowardly Leadership
At every turn, Israel has faced stubborn and heroic resistance from the Palestinian people. The first intifada broke out in 1987 and forced Israel to enter into negotiations and recognize the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) as a semi-state of part of the Palestinian territories. However, in the same negotiations, which concluded with the Oslo Accords, the historic leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) abandoned its position against the State of Israel and accepted the creation of two States. The agreement demobilized the Palestinian people and allowed Israel to continue advancing.
The second intifada broke out in 2000 and lasted five years. The hesitation of the PLO allowed Israel to prevail again, definitively isolating Gaza, which has since become a large open-air prison. Disillusionment with the Arab nationalism of the PLO allowed the rise of political Islamism, whose main Palestinian organization, Hamas, won the ANP elections in 2006. However, the bourgeois and reactionary nature of the Islamist leadership led them as well to give in to a new Israeli offensive.
In 2018, Israel passed the infamous “nation-state” law that defines Israel as the “national state of the Jewish people”, reserving the right to self-determination exclusively for Jews. The law also establishes Hebrew as the only official language (previously it was also Arabic), defines illegal settlements of exclusively Jewish communities as “national interest” and ratifies the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In 2019, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump announced the “deal of the century” that aims to consummate the colonial, racist, genocidal and ethnic cleansing project that began with the establishment of the State of Israel under imperialist protection 72 years ago.
The “deal” foresees the imposition on the Palestinian people of all the expansionist claims of the racist and genocidal State of Israel, and it kills any possibility of establishing a Palestinian state, giving up, even in appearance, the deceitful “two-state” project. It acknowledges the Israeli settlements in occupied territories and allows their annexation along with 30% of the West Bank, including the entire border with Jordan; It establishes the capital of Israel in a unified Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. The Palestinian “state” it proposes would be reduced to a set of scattered ghettos, divided and entirely surrounded by Israeli territory, with its capital “on the outskirts” of East Jerusalem, without its own security and entirely dependent on Israel for its security, economy, transit, access to water and other necessities.
The Palestinian people responded to the new Zionist offensive with a new demonstration of its unshakable courage. From March 30, 2018 to the end of 2019, they held the “Great March of Return” every Friday from Gaza to the Israeli border, facing a fierce repression that claimed at least 312 lives.
Unfortunately, the major political leaderships, once again, backed down. Though they reject the “deal of the century” from whose negotiations they were excluded, and reaffirm that their project continues to be the establishment of two States living peacefully side by side, they have begun to formulate the idea that, if two states were to result impossible, they would be willing to discuss how to democratize the State of Israel in such a way that it include Palestinians. It is the ultimate capitulation, accepting the full colonization of Palestine and begging a genocidal state to include them.
The history and present of the State of Israel, as well as of the Palestinian resistance, reinforces two conclusions that revolutionary Marxism has defended since 1948. First, that there is no possibility of peace, freedom or dignity for the Palestinian people as long as the colonial, genocidal and racist enclave of Israel exists. That there is no solution without a revolution that destroys that State and builds, over its ashes, a new democratic and secular Palestinian State, in which everyone can live in peace, as they did for centuries until Israel established its colonial enclave.
Second, that though the Palestinian people have plenty of predisposition, strength and revolutionary abnegation to fight, they cannot win isolated from the rest of the Arab people, nor under bourgeois leaderships that negotiate and give in to Zionism at every turn. They can only achieve this with a unified revolutionary mobilization against Israel and the reactionary bourgeoisies and states of the region, with a leadership that fights for a socialist Middle East. Because today, only the revolutionary left defends this policy. Because the Arab bourgeoisies fear their own mobilized peoples more than Israel, with whom they have joint businesses. Because the historical leadership of the Palestinian people and the Stalinists that participated in the founding of the State of Israel, have long accepted its existence and are beginning to abandon the chance of any type of Palestinian state. Because Israel is a key stronghold of imperialism and only a socialist revolution that confronts the whole system will be able to end Zionist oppression and build an egalitarian and democratic Middle East.