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Gaza Suffers Again

( July 18, 2014, New York City, Sri Lanka Guardian) Once more death has come to the people of Gaza. Yet again, according to Israeli propaganda, it was the only way to stop rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza. The message is drummed into people that “we” have no choice but to defend ourselves against an enemy bent on genocide. In the Western media the word “terrorist” routinely precedes any reference to Hamas. Of course, both sides are terrorist in the sense of targeting civilians. Israel uses terror on a much larger scale than Hamas, though that is solely because it has much greater military capacity. People in Gaza, however, have been subjected to starvation, bombing, and other forms of harsh punishment in effect for having a government that the US/EU/Israel/Egypt do not want.

Peace is always better than war. Because wars are never fought in the interests of ordinary people. And because in wars it is always ordinary people who suffer. So, irrespective of the issues involved or the terms agreed, Socialists can only welcome the ending of any war in any part of the world. Stop the killing is our permanent policy. It has been suggested as part of the peace process Palestinians accept the reality of Israel’s de facto control over the whole of what used to be Palestine and then demand citizenship rights within a single secular state. Not that the emergence of this one-state solution is easy to envisage at present in view of the prevalence of ethnic-supremacist, sectarian and even racist outlooks in both Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian society. Formally, Israel is a European-type parliamentary democracy and there is more freedom of speech and of organisation there than in any other state in the Middle East. But is also a sectarian state –‘A Jewish State for Jewish People’–where its non-Jewish subjects, mainly native Arab-speakers who make up 20 percent of its population, are second class citizens. Its rulers, with the support of most of their Jewish subjects, are not going to consent to ending its sectarian character as it is the basis of their power. This is why one proposed solution –a single, non-sectarian, democratic state made up of the present Israel and the west bank of the river Jordan –is not on the agenda.

Our opposition to Zionism does not mean that we support the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. Unlike some, we don’t single out Jewish nationalism for special condemnation. We condemn all nationalisms equally. The “Palestinian nation” is just as much a myth as the “Jewish nation”, or any other nation. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian capitalism can serve the interest of the vast majority of the population. In principle, either side could have avoided the war by submitting to the other side’s political demands. It was a war of choice on both sides. Hamas could probably have saved “their people” from the fury of the Israeli war machine by ceding power in Gaza to the Palestine Authority. We make this point not to diminish Israel’s direct responsibility for its atrocities, but rather to highlight how little Hamas as well as Israeli leaders really care about ordinary people. We condemn both Hamas and the political elites in Israel for having failed to find a political solution for the long-waged war.

SOYMB can only express its sympathy for all victims of needless wars. The workings of world capitalism in the Middle East show that peace and prosperity there are only possible in a world-wide framework - socialism. Only the realisation of our common class interests as workers, the ending of all states and the establishment of a socialist society can free the people of the region from this cycle of violence.

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