The End of (The War in) Gaza

Today a friend asked me what I thought the end game in Gaza would be. That’s a hard question, but I can’t think of any possible good outcome. I go to many demonstrations and hear that Palestine will be free, but I’m not sure what that means to the marchers or what is the path to get wherever that is. I know what I think – that without widespread revolutionary movements, slaughter will continue in Gaza, in Sudan, Burma and many more places to come.

Why am I so cynical about Gaza? Well partly because there is no end to Israeli state brutality. Ethnic cleansing was always the plan, as a recent article on this blog documented, and the Israeli government is delighted with the possibility of actually achieving that, at least in Gaza. Mass killing, mass starvation and disease, and mass expulsion into the Sinai for survivors seems to be the current Zionist plan. And no one is stopping it.

The US, whose support is necessary to carry out this genocide, shows no sign of limiting its aid despite growing protest, despite being run by “liberals.” Egypt, while proclaiming it will not accept refugees, is already building a walled refugee camp. Makes me think that some backroom discussions must have gone on between Israel and Egypt, or maybe the US and Egypt. Gazans say they will not leave, but what will people facing certain death of themselves and their families do in the end? Probably try and survive.

And who do Palestinians have to fight for them? Hamas may not actually be wiped out, but they cannot win a war against Israel. Why not? Haven’t guerilla armies defeated great powers before, as in Vietnam? But there’s a basic problem in Gaza. Hamas never represented the broad will of the citizenry nor did it fight in their interests in its 16 years in power. Hamas leaders lived in luxury while 65% of Gaza lived in poverty. Good paying jobs, permits to work in Israel, and land were reserved for their supporters. Aid was stolen to build up their forces and the population was taxed at exorbitant rates.1,2 Opponents were punished or jailed. Hamas was not widely popular in Gaza before the war, getting 30% approval versus the Palestinian Authority (PA) in a recent poll.3 It may be that it has gained popularity now as the only armed group able to mount any resistance to Israel’s merciless attack, but that represents more a vacuum than adoration.

In the West Bank, the PA is led by a small group of wealthy families and businesses. It has continued its policy of repressing dissent at the behest of Israel. Most Palestinians are indebted to the PA controlled banking system, which certainly discourages opposition.4,5 Meanwhile, Israel continues its campaign of settler expansion and Palestinian displacement as the PA looks on.

Since 2018 there has been a leftist opposition coalition, now called the Democratic Group, made up of five opposition parties: the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (the largest of the five parties), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian National Initiative (recently established with a focus on resistance to corruption and support for national struggles against the wall), the Palestinian People’s Party (a tiny communist party allied with Israel’s Communist Party), and the Democratic Union (FIDA, which split from the Democratic Front in the early 90s).6 The opposition might call them communists, but they do not call for communism, socialism or revolution.

In fact, this coalition declares that “the Palestinian Liberation organization (PLO), [the umbrella organization of the PA], is the sole representative of the Palestinian people….The alliance does not aim at replacing the PLO but at developing and activating its institutions.” Hamas is also said to be ready to cooperate with this alliance. 7

Where are we Going Now?

As Gaza faces annihilation, Israel is also accelerating its program of destruction, killing and arrests in the West Bank. There are said to be over 500 deaths and 5000 arrests to date.8 The current count of over 700,000 settlers is steadily increasing and the displacement of Palestinians is progressing with assistance from the army.

Various politicians talk about, indeed demand, two states, but the idea is more and more ridiculous. Not only does Israel declare that it will never accept a Palestinian state with control over its own security, but Netanyahu is adamant that there won’t be one at all. Moreover, Israel now controls so much territory in the WB, that there are only small islands of Palestinian controlled land left. There is a small One Democratic State movement, that has existed in various manifestations for about twenty years, but it calls only for unity and democracy, without any comment on the economic or political nature of social organization.

What Must Be Done

What is desperately needed is a movement of Palestinians that is truly radical, that calls for worker-led struggle against imperialism, fascism, and for a non-capitalist, a communist society, in alliance with international workers. That must include workers in neighboring countries, workers in the nations that support Israel and even Israeli workers. Only then would there be a chance of creating a society that prioritized a safe and good life for the occupants of Palestine. Just declaring that all Palestinians are good and to be supported is both wrong and useless. This is true of all nations today, from Israel to the US to Palestine, for all are run by capitalist classes that exploit their own workers and bring death disability and war. We international workers are the ones who must bind together and rely upon. That must be our identity.

As we decry and hope to limit the horrors now occurring in Gaza, we must become anti-capitalist activists ourselves, wherever we are. If we do not, in large numbers, then Gaza shows us what is in store for workers everywhere who live in this increasingly racist and fascist world. Workers of the world unite!





5.The Battle for Justice in Palestine, by Ali Abunimeh




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