by Ellen Isaacs
February 3, 2020
Trump has unveiled his new Israeli “peace” plan, proposing much increased territory for Israel and an even smaller piece for Palestine. What used to be Areas A and B of Palestinian territory in the West Bank (WB) would now have great holes in it carved out by annexed settlements and a strictly Israeli Jerusalem. The Jordan Valley, militarily controlled by Israel as Area C, but home to 65,000 Palestinians, would be entirely in Israeli territory. The non-contiguous Palestinian areas would be connected together and to Gaza by as yet unbuilt roads or tunnels, and the so-called state would be under Israeli control of its security, water, borders and air space. A poor suburb outside of Jerusalem would serve as the Palestinian capital.
Israel would have even greater latitude to deprive six million Palestinians of freedom of movement, speech, or even the wherewithal to survive. Palestinians would continue to suffer under a separate military “justice” system, under which children are routinely arrested, prisoners tortured, and detention without access to lawyers or trial is routine. Apartheid, plain and simple.
The U.S. hopes to strengthen its nuclear-armed ally as a bulwark against Iran and the growing Russian and Chinese presence in the region. Trump also rushed his long-awaited plan in order to distract from his impeachment trial and to help his fellow criminal and embattled right-wing friend Netanyahu win re-election.
How it All Began
In 1948, the new Israeli state murdered or expelled over 750,000 Palestinians, 85% of the population. In 1967 they took over more territory and left only 22% of the land in Palestinian hands, albeit occupied, and exerted complete militarily control over 30% of the territory and nearly all of its water, its borders and security. The WB has now been illegally militarily occupied for 53 years. Military incursions into Gaza have killed over 7000 since 2000, wounded thousands more, and left that area “uninhabitable,” according to the United Nations. The 20% of Israeli citizens who are Palestinians have markedly fewer rights than Jews. With its declaration of itself as a “Jewish State” in 2018, Israel has officially embraced racism.
Nationalism and Opportunism Doom Opposition
The surrounding Arab nations have voiced mild criticisms of the “peace” plan, but basically their rulers are too loyal and dependent on U.S. support to object. From Egypt to Jordan to Saudi Arabia, to Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, what is most important to them is U.S. aid and protection from Iran.
Palestinians are outraged and thousands have demonstrated in the last few days, but they are essentially powerless as long as their leadership is by two competing bodies, the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the WB and Hamas in Gaza. The PA, led by Abbas who was last elected in 2006-no elections since-represents the small ruling capitalist elite in the territory, in which inequality is as great as within the U.S., and has a long history of cooperating with Israel to suppress dissent. Hamas is a fundamentalist party that rules Gaza since the last vote there, also in 2006, and is also corrupt but gains some support by inciting doomed armed actions against Israel. (For a more detailed discussion see One State in Palestine/Israel Cannot Bring Equality as a Capitalist State on this blog.) For the last few years there have been very large peaceful weekly demonstrations at the Gaza border, but the Israelis have responded with deadly force, unopposed by Israelis made murderous by racism.
Working Class Unity is Needed
Even in Israel, inequality is very high, with shortages of housing, jobs and good schools. Yet Israelis are blinded by their fear of resurgent anti-Semitism and hatred of Arabs, which is pounded into them from infancy, from recognizing capitalism, racism, and militarism as the source of their problems. Palestinians too are bombarded with nationalism, loyalty to the unity of all Palestinians regardless of their class, and many focus on desiring unity between Hamas and the PA and having their own state.
As in all capitalist states, that is all states in the world today, workers are misled into loyalty –call it nationalism or patriotism- to the local rulers, in the name of whom they fight and die in wars and accept a poor standard of living. No national liberation struggles, from South Africa to Nicaragua to Sudan, have succeeded in bringing equality or freedom from want to the workers of any nation. Even workers in the richest capitalist countries like the US suffer from patriotic illusions about democracy and divisions sowed by racism, as this blog discusses in many articles. Thus we say it is essential that Palestinian and all Arab and Jewish workers in the Middle East unite together, and with allies around the world, to reject nationalism and capitalism and fight for an egalitarian and anti-racist system.