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“Tomorrow, there's no school in Gaza”

The Gaza strip is a concentration camp with concrete and steel walls bordering Egypt and posts, sensors and buffer zones on lands adjacent to Israel. And now Gaza is made up of a fast decreasing population currently being displaced, injured and killed by the Israeli military in an attempt to impose discipline and control over a disputed border. The Gaza strip has become a killing ground for Israeli tanks, artillery and mortar rounds; a site for indiscriminate navel bombardments and rocket attacks from overhead jet planes where the death of Palestinian children and screams of bereaved mothers is met with the cruel chant of Israeli fundamentalists: “Tomorrow, There’s no school in Gaza, there are no children left” (CHANNEL 4 NEWS 30 June 2014).

Not that Socialists have any time for the, albeit democratically elected, terrorist organisation known as Hamas. Rockets, some allegedly stored in schools and Mosques, fired at civilians in Israel are acts of terrorism no different in intent and violent consequence than those shells and missiles fired by the Israeli military into homes, schools and hospitals; so too is the use by Hamas in the past of car bombs and suicide bombers to kill and maim as many people as possible in crowded civilian areas of Israel. Nationalist struggle are nasty and unpleasant.

Democracy is a double-edged sword and can be used for freedom from capitalism, nationalism and racism, or, as in the case of those living on a wage and salary in Gaza; it can be used to cut their own throats. Socialists offer Hamas neither support nor encouragement in their struggle to establish a Palestinian state. We oppose all nationalist groups, whether Zionists or Palestinians, as harmful to the interest of the working class. The working class has no country to die and kill for. The objective of the working class should be consciously and politically to establish Socialism.

Hamas has been branded a terrorist organisation by the US and the European Union but not Israel whose state terrorism remains largely unquestioned even though it has led to the killing of over 1,700 men, women and children up to the beginning of August 2014 as opposed to 67 Israeli deaths of whom three were civilians (BBC NEWS3rd August 2014). Israel with its sophisticated weapons imported from the US and Britain act with impunity. Little is said and done about the blockade which has turned the Gaza strip into a ghetto of poverty and human degradation.

As a client state of the US, Israel can do what it wants, when and how. Even when the Israeli missiles and grenades have been exhausted by the continuous onslaught of death and destruction, the US government allows the Israeli government to buy more weaponry from its US suppliers. Israel serves the interests of the US in the Middle East by virtue of being a land-based air-craft carrier useful to protect US oil interests in the region and has to be supported at all costs even though the images of dead and dying children might turn President Obama’s stomach.

What of Hamas? Hamas wants a Palestinian state based on the borders of 1967. In this aim they are supported by liberals and the capitalist left notably the array of disreputable Trotskyist organisations like the Socialist Workers Party. The SWP are nationalists by proxy, supporters of a Palestinian State, not because they have any interest in Palestinians per se but because the conflict is part of a wider “Imperialist” struggle against the US and its client state, Israel. The SWP subscribe to the doctrine of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” even though this means giving support to religious obscurantism, dictatorship, prison camps, genocide, torture, terrorism and violence.

The conflict in Gaza has predictability led to racist attacks elsewhere in the world. Socialists are saddened by and condemn the racism which flows from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Anti-Semitism by pro-Palestinian supporters and hatred from some pro-Israeli groups who view Arabs as untermenschen and celebrate the death of Palestinian children, do not develop Socialist awareness and the necessary political action to replace capitalism with socialism. Racism only serves the interest of a ruling class. A divided working class cannot establish socialism.

So, to re-use a well-known Shakespearean phrase, we say to the Israeli and Palestinian ruling class and their allies: “A plague on both your houses”. Socialists do not take sides in the disputes between factions of the capitalist class and their politicians and neither should the working class.

Hamas represents the interests of a would-be Palestinian ruling class. Only a minority of Palestinians would ever benefit from the marine gas fields containing 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas which exists off the coast adjacent to the Gaza strip or from the deposits of oil located elsewhere in the region - while the majority of the population will be living in the same poverty as they do now; forced to sell their ability to work for a wage and salary and exploited in the process of commodity production and exchange for profit.

The Palestinian state will be a capitalist state in international competition with other capitalist states and required to play its own role in global politics. Israel and other Arab states will be seen as rivals for raw resources, mineral, trade routes and spheres of political influence so there will be no enduring peace even if a Palestinian state were to be established. We only have to look at Iraq and Syria to see what capitalist future will bring the Palestinians.

Just as socialists opposed the North Vietnamese nationalist struggle against the US during the 1960’s, the Cuban revolution between 1953 and 1959 which did not result in the establishment of socialism, the various nationalist movements in Africa, including the ANC as well as the so-called “democratic movements” in Eastern Europe which replaced one form of capitalism with another, so socialists oppose Hamas as a nationalist movement that puts forward capitalist not socialist solutions in a world of national conflict and war. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian capitalism can serve the interest of the vast majority of the population. The workings of world capitalism in the Middle East, as it does elsewhere on this planet, shows that peace and prosperity in the region are only possible within a world-wide socialist framework provided by the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production and distribution by all of society.

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