The new Israeli government, a shock to the entire region. More than ever, we must defend the cause of Palestine
1. In a particular expression of global political polarization, last November the legislative elections in the State of Israel were won by the Likud: the ultra-right and anti-Palestinian party led by Benjamin Netanyahu. In the parliament (Knesset), Likud allied with five ultra-right and ultra-religious forces: Shas (Sephardim), United Torah Judaism (Ashkenazis), Religious Zionism and Jewish Power (racist and anti-Muslim) and Alegría (anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT). With a majority of 64 deputies out of 120 in total, this ultra-Zionist coalition formed a government and appointed Netanyahu prime minister, for the third time in that position.
This election was the fifth in three years given Israel’s high economic and political instability. As the previous government of Yair Lapid applied austerity plans and aggravated the crisis, there was a punishment vote that favored the right. The There is a Future party, of the secular center-right, has 24 seats out of the 56 of the opposition. Another 18 are held by two similar forces: National Unity and Israel Our House (of Russian origin). And the entire Zionist “centre-left” lost votes and seats: Labor dropped from 7 deputies to 4, the two Arab lists dropped from 12 to 10, and the Social Democrats and Islamists were left out of Parliament by not reaching the 3.25% threshold.
2. Among the actions and projects of the Netanyahu government, whose discourse is the most openly fascist since the State of Israel was created in 1948, we can highlight:
• Since he took office at the end of the year until March 5, Zionist forces have killed some 60 Palestinians, including 15 minors, in bombardments of the Gaza Strip, armed operations in other refugee camps and violent evictions in the West Bank to continue annexing Palestinian territory.
• He subordinated the police to Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, convicted eight times for inciting racism and anti-Palestinian terrorism, who also controls the National Guard: an “anti-terrorist” civic-military force. Ben-Gvir proposes to facilitate police use of firearms.
• Nine Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which had been declared illegal by the Court, were legalized, and 10,000 new homes for Zionist settlers are expected to be built. He formally banned Palestinians from living in Jewish-only cities or neighborhoods. He denied building permits to Palestinians and Syrians in Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Negev and the Golan Heights.
• The removal of Israeli citizenship or residence to whoever receives any subsidy from the Palestinian government was approved.
• The Supreme Court was subordinated to Parliament: by simple majority, the latter could annul rulings or validate laws that the Court deems unconstitutional. And the position of Attorney General will be eliminated. Netanyahu will be able to appoint the state attorney and thus avoid prosecution of himself for corruption.
• The Kan public news station was shut down.
• Palestinian flags were banned in universities and other institutions financed or subsidized by the Israeli state. Without yet being prohibited, the police remove them from the public space.
• The ban of any electoral list or candidacy “that denies the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic State or supports terrorism” and the permission of lists and candidates that raise Jewish supremacy.
• Imposition of the death penalty on Palestinian “terrorists,” a definition that includes those who throw stones at armed Israeli soldiers.
• Increase of state subsidies to Jewish schools, subsidizing of events segregated by sex and refusal to allow Israel to sign the International Istanbul Convention against gender violence.
• Taxing of foreign donations to NGOs in peaceful solidarity with Palestine. This would hurt the liberal, mixed, or anti-occupation Zionist groups: Peace Now, New Israel Fund, Breaking the Silence, Standing Together, Looking the Occupation in the Eye.
3. These ongoing measures and plans of the Israeli government deepen a reactionary offensive that reached a milestone in 2018, when Netanyahu was also Prime Minister, when the parliament tightened several of its so-called basic laws of constitutional rank:
• Israel defined itself as the national State of the Jewish people.
• Hebrew is the only official language, no longer Arabic, which was also official before.
• On Israeli territory, only Jews have the right to self-determination.
• Illegal Zionist settlements in Palestinian areas are in the national interest.
• The Israeli capital is the entire Jerusalem, which violates the UN criteria that make the city shared with Palestine.
Moreover, since 2016, the Zionist International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) has been promoting a tricky definition throughout the world that considers anti-Zionism anti-Semitism. In this way, it seeks to silence all criticism of the State of Israel, as demonstrated, for example, in Argentina with the lawsuit filed by the DAIA against our comrade Alejandro Bodart for his tweets in repudiation of the murder of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh months ago.
This entire offensive by the Zionist ultra-right is directed against Arabs and Palestinians, but at the same time against Jews who oppose Zionism, whether they are secular or religious. For example, weeks ago, rabbis from the Neturei Karta orthodox group -which opposes the State of Israel- after meeting with Palestinian leaders in Jenin, were detained by the Israeli police. The Israeli police also repressed Jewish pacifists who stood in solidarity with Huwara, a Palestinian city attacked by Zionist settlers, and perpetrated dozens of arrests and injuries in a violent repression of the opposition march on March 1 in Tel Aviv.
For all these reasons the “solution” of two contiguous states, one Israeli and one Palestinian, coexisting in peace, is a complete fallacy: the nature of the oppressor is always to subdue the oppressed.
4. The State of Israel was born in blood and fire in 1948, with the support of all world imperialism and Stalinism, expelling more than 700,000 native Palestinians, murdering some 15,000, destroying almost 500 villages, stealing their ancestral lands and committing a genocide that continues to this day, in a clear Nazi style.
Since then, it has usurped more and more territory from them, confining them to Gaza and the West Bank, areas of extreme poverty whose borders, roads, water, electricity, supplies and airspace are under Israeli military control. Israel has breached the Oslo Accords and more than 30 UN resolutions, whose Human Rights Commission explicitly recognizes that the State of Israel commits apartheid, that is, ethnic cleansing. The same is denounced by the two main international human rights organizations: Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Out of some 200 countries in the world, Israel ranks 148th in area, 97th in population and 30th in economy, but it rises to 18th in military power and 6th in nuclear weapons. With 180,000 active soldiers and 560,000 reservists that can be mobilized in 48 hours, its armed forces comprise more than 10% of the 7 million Jewish inhabitants.
A hyper-militarized, theocratic and racist pro-imperialist enclave, Israel is also the only state on the planet where torture is legalized, under the euphemism of “moderate physical pressure.” It also uses the so-called renewable administrative detention to hold almost 700 Palestinians for three to six months without legal charges. In total, Israel currently holds more than 4,500 Palestinian political prisoners, generally under trial by military courts, including minors. With such a totalitarian monstrosity, there is no possible coexistence or real peace.
5. The measures and plans of the far-right government are acting as a shock throughout the Middle East, which in turn has global repercussions. The Biden government itself, the European Union, Latin American countries and the Arab League have had to issue critical statements, preventing a third Palestinian Intifada from starting. As first symptoms, there were already some isolated actions in response to the Zionist attacks. In particular, the possibility of a third Intifada concerns the Arab countries, whose monarchies and bourgeois democracies in general, with exceptions such as Algeria or Lebanon, recognize Israel and have diplomatic or commercial relations with it.
Since the leadership of the PLO-Al Fatah betrayed the Palestinian historical cause and recognized the State of Israel in 1993, the erosion of its popularity has not stopped. It still governs the West Bank, where it collaborates with the Israeli police, but for years it has refused to call elections because it fears its defeat at the hands of the Islamist Hamas, as happened in 2006 in Gaza, or the secular Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, both more radical. New combative groups have emerged, such as the Lion’s Den, the Balata Battalion or Black Cave. Palestinian youth today do not have a hegemonic political direction, they completely disbelieve in “the two States” and their legitimate desire is liberation from the Israeli occupation.
As for the Israeli population, there have already been six consecutive weeks of massive mobilizations in opposition to the new government and its plans. The first five had their center in Tel Aviv, with up to 110,000 people in a city that does not reach half a million. There were anti-war Palestinian and Palestinian-Israeli flags, LGBT pennants and banners comparing Justice Minister Levin to Nazis. The sixth march was on February 11 in Jerusalem, with more than 70,000 people. Then, on the 13th, there was a general strike before the start of the parliamentary debate on judicial reform. Former minister Tzipi Livni, a Zionist and former ally of Netanyahu, described it thus: “This madness has a name: fascism.” For his part, Netanyahu’s son accused the Jewish protesters in Tel Aviv of “terrorists who must be jailed, twins of their Palestinian barbarian brothers.” The social and political tension threatens to deepen, within the framework of a region of permanent instability and a developing people’s rebellion in Iran.
6. The only strategic solution to achieve a genuine and definitive peace in this whole troubled region is to dissolve the genocidal and racist State of Israel, establishing in its place a secular and democratic Palestine in all the historical territory, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, with its capital in Jerusalem, to which the more than five million Palestinian refugees could return, especially from Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and live in peace with the Jewish population and those of other religions. This will only be possible if the socialist revolution advances throughout the region. We conceive a future socialist Palestine as an integral part of a federation of socialist republics in the Middle East.
The way to achieve this result is the joint struggle of the heroic Palestinian resistance and the Arab peoples of the region, stepping over their Israeli-complicit governments, with the support of anti-Zionist democratic Jews who are among those mobilizing in Israel today against the Netanyahu government and the extreme right and, in the process, building a strong revolutionary party.
In this perspective and based on the policy proposed here, the International Socialist League (ISL) and its national sections promote a permanent campaign in solidarity with the Palestinian cause and supports international democratic campaigns such as BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israel; for the freedom of Georges Abdallah, Ahmad Sa’adat and other Palestinian political prisoners, against the Zionist lawsuit against Alejandro Bodart and similar initiatives.