Israel: Hands Off Hamas!

by Yossi Schwartz, Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT-Section in Israel/Occupied Palestine), 25.6.2014, www.thecommunists.net and www.the-isleague.com

 

During the past week and a half, the attention of Israeli society has been focused on the reported abdication of three young settlers and the barbaric actions of the Israeli army against the Palestinians, actions which most Israelis support under the pretext of searching for the missing three.

It is possible that the three young Israeli settlers were kidnapped, but this is not at all certain. Even the UN cast doubt on this, as was reported by the Fox News:

Israel ripped the United Nations on Thursday after the international body claimed it had “no information to confirm” that three Israeli teens were kidnapped last week in the West Bank. Algemeiner.com reports that the UN initially condemned the kidnappings. However, Secretary General Ban’s deputy spokesman, Farhan Haq, quickly withdrew the statement, claiming that the UN could not confirm the kidnappings.” (1)

The New York Times wrote:

Israel insists that Hamas is responsible for the abduction but has offered no proof. Three other groups have made dubious claims of credit. Hamas officials have generally cheered the capture without saying who carried it out. A spokesman on Thursday night praised “Palestinian resistance,” but added, “if it truly is behind the kidnapping of the three teenagers.“ (2)

In the past, the Israeli government has been caught lying or conveniently distorting the truth. If the government is lying this time, it will likely be discovered in the future; but for now, Israel feels free to go on, terrorizing the Palestinians.

 

Terror against the Palestinians

 

Kidnapping civilians with the aim of forcing the exchange of prisoners is, by definition, a terrorist act. Terror is any violence used against civilians for political purposes. In the context of Palestine, there are two types of terror. One is small-scale terror carried out by one or a number of individuals or by an organization, and has been used by some Palestinians in their struggle against oppression. The other type of terror is state terror, used by Israel on a massive scale with the aim of destroying all forms of opposition to the apartheid state. Today, Israel views Hamas as the more dangerous of its Palestinian enemies, and so it is not surprising that most of the hundreds arrested in the last week and a half have been members of Hamas, including activists and political leaders. Among them are ten members of the Palestinian parliamentwho clearly had nothing to do with kidnapping the three settlers. The Israeli army raided over 800 locations, storming through Palestinian homes and searching public institutions, in the cities of Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem, Tulkarem, and Jenin.

Among those arrested were fifty-one affiliated with Hamas who were among 1,027 Palestinian prisoners released in the deal between Israel and Hamas in the 2011 exchange for Gilad Schalit, a former tank crewman who spent five years captive to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Since the first announcement of the abduction of the three young settlers, Israel has arrested 355 civilians in the West Bank, has imposed a curfew on Hebron and other places, has bombed Gaza, and has killed four Palestinians in the West Bank. Jihad Mohammed Dodin, 15, was shot dead by army forces during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Dura early on Friday. Another Palestinian, aged 22, was critically hurt by the army gunfire in clashes near the Qalandiyah checkpoint. He was transferred to the government hospital in Ramallah and later to the intensive care unit at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, but died of his wounds. The latest death brings to four the number of confirmed fatalities since Israel started its oppression. .On Friday night alone Israeli troops arrested at least 25 Palestinians in the West Bank and raided 15 charities and 146 homes. Palestinian sources reported 37 arrests, 20 of them in Bethlehem, 11 in Hebron, 3 in Jenin and 3 in Jericho.

If indeed a Palestinian group abducted the three settlers, this was almost certainly not done by Fatah or Hamas but by a small unknown organization, probably in an attempt to release Palestinian prisoners including those under administrative detention, and those who have been on a hunger strike for more than fifty days. However, very strangely, no group has yet made any demands. We cannot know why, but among other possibilities is that no Palestinian group kidnapped the three. One of the teenagers called a police hotline and whispered, “I’ve been kidnapped,” but the authorities thought it was a crank call and did not begin their search for hours. It is possible that indeed it was a crank call.

The fact that the Israeli government has chosen this opportunity to allocate an additional five millions shekels to the settlement activities shows that Israel is using the alleged abduction to expand the settlements instead of providing medical care and housing to its needy citizens. As always, we see where the clear priorities of the government are. Hopefully, the Israeli workers and poor will eventually, if not now, understand that until they break with Zionism, many of them will never be able to achieve a decent level of living.

 

Netanyahu hopes to destroy the Palestinian unity government

 

It is also clear that the Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has used the abductions in an attempt to destroy the Palestinian unity government formed with Hamas backing earlier this month.This is not the first time that Israel has tried to destroy Hamas and failed, and the results will be no different this time around. Ironically, what potentially could cause real damage to Hamas is precisely the unity government with Abbas which Israel is attempting to sabotage.

As in the past, the Palestinian president continues to collaborate with Israel. Abbas declared in Saudi Arabia: “The three teens are human beings like us and they should be returned to their families.” He added: “Those who kidnapped the three teenagers want to destroy us. We will hold them accountable.” Abbas’s comments drew sharp responses from Hamas, underscoring the fragility of the recent reconciliation of the rival Palestinian factions." (3)

Abbas told the Israeli daily Israel HaYom that he seeks a proof that Hamas is behind the abduction in order to end the unity government (4)

The collaboration of Abbas and his clique with Israel repressive forces has raised the anger of many Palestinians. A glimpse of this anger was reported by Al Jazeera: “Shortly after the Israeli troops withdrew, angry Palestinians reportedly attacked a police station, chanting against security coordination. The Palestinian Authority officers fired warning shots injuring two other Palestinians, witnesses told Al Jazeera.” (5)

Abbas can only blame himself for his difficult situation. No one is forcing him to serve Israel. On this, Haaretz reports:

In a conversation with senior Haaretz correspondents ahead of the Israel Conference on Peace in Tel Aviv on July 8, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he wanted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the killing of three 16-year-old Palestinian boys, who were shot by Israeli soldiers over the past week, just as Abbas himself denounced the kidnapping of the three Israeli youths in Gush Etzion. ‘I said the kidnapping was a crime, but does that justify the killing of three Palestinian teens in cold blood?” Abbas asked, adding, “What does Netanyahu have to say about the killings? Does he condemn it? Look at what’s happened all over the West Bank over the past days, the violence and the destruction of homes. Is that justified?” Abbas continued that Netanyahu needed to “see how his soldiers behave toward Palestinians. What will I tell the families of the three Palestinian teens who were killed? Why were they killed? We’re human beings, just like you. Can the Israeli government demonstrate the same feelings and say they are human beings and deserve to live?” (6)

Abbas’s begging Netanyahu to denounce what the Israeli army is doing, as if Netanyahu doesn’t really know by himself, has the Palestinian president, in the best case, playing the village idiot.

The anger against the collaboration was expressed most sharply by Hanin Zuabi, member of Balad party in the Israeli Knesset, who called him a “traitor to the Palestinian people.” (7)

 

Palestinian President Abbas collaborates with Israel

 

While we support unity in the struggle of all oppressed peoples, as we explained in our previous article dealing with the new Palestinian unity government, we cast serious doubt about its possible longevity. When Hamas and Fatah struck the deal last month which resulted in an agreement on elections in six months time and the forming of an interim government of “technocrats,” Israeli officials denounced these signs of Palestinian unity. Nonetheless, the Israeli government has not cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority. The reason that Israel’s blood money continues to flow to the PA could be seen in the wake of the reported abduction of three Israelis young men. On this point Alex Kane correctly observed:

In fact, PA security forces are working closely together with the Israeli troops that have ransacked homes and arrested hundreds of people alleged to be members of Hamas, as well as others with no affiliation to the movement. The close coordination has always been the rub in the unity pact. How do you reconcile factions when one faction is working with an occupation force bent on destroying the other faction?

The PA-Israeli security coordination that is targeting Hamas is weakening the unity pact – which may be Israel’s real goal in carrying out such a wild military operation that has reached into major cities far away from the Hebron-area where the teens are said to have been taken from.

Late last week, an Israeli military official told the New York Times’ Isabel Kershner that “ongoing security coordination” with the PA was continuing. Today, Abbas defended the security coordination in front of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation as “in our interest and for our protection.” The trouble with Abbas’ statements is that it has become increasingly clear that Israel is exploiting the opportunity to strike a major blow at Hamas, which has denied carrying out the kidnappings. Former Israeli intelligence officials have explicitly contradicted Netanyahu’s claims that Hamas is the party responsible. There have been no facts presented to the public that than based on fact.” The doubts about Hamas’ involvement – or at least doubts that an order to kidnap came from high-level Hamas officials, and not from a rogue faction – haven’t stopped PA officials from floating the possibility that they will cut off the unity pact.” (8)

 

Forward to a Red Palestine!

 

Trotsky’s theory of the permanent revolution concisely explains the backdrop for Abbas’ treason. The Palestinian capitalist class, which developed too late in history, is deathly afraid that the masses will take up a truly revolutionary democratic struggle, one in which democratic revolutionary tasks are achieved by the working class on the way to a socialist revolution.

While we do not give Hamas, a populist movement committed to capitalism, any political support neither do we support the strategy of small scale terror in the just struggle of the Palestinians. This is because such terror only provides Israel with the excuse to use state terror. However, we do support a new massive uprising, like the Intifada which began in December 1987.

We say to the Israeli government: “It is you who are responsible for the abductions, because you repress the Palestinians, steal their land, and arrest and hold those who oppose your repression without trial. You are only killing time and young Palestinians. It is you who are pushing for such actions of small scale terror. You are the big time terrorists.”

* Israel: Hands off the unity government! Hands off Hamas!

* Release all Palestinians political prisoners!

* For a Free, Red Palestine from the river to the sea!

 

Footnotes:

(1) Fox News: Israel rips UN for saying it cannot confirm 3 missing teens were abducted, 20 June 2014, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/06/20/israel-rips-un-for-saying-it-cannot-confirm-3-missing-teens-were-abducted

(2) Jodi Rudoren: Netanyahu Says Three Were Taken by Hamas, New York Times, June 15, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/16/world/middleeast/netanyahu-blames-hamas-in-kidnapping-of-israeli-youths.html

(3) Batsheva Sobelman: Palestinian President Abbas demands release of missing Israeli teens, Los Angeles Times, 18 June 2014, http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-abbas-palestinians-abduction-hamas-20140618-story.html

(4) See Israel HaYom, 22 June 2014

(5) Al Jazeera: Palestinians die in clash with Israeli troops, 22 Jun 2014

(6) Jack Khoury  and Barak Ravid: Abbas to Haaretz: Netanyahu should denounce deaths of three Palestinian teenagers, 22 June 2014, www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.600256)

(7) See Israel HaYom, 22 June 2014

(8) Alex Kane: How Israel is exploiting the reported kidnapping to weaken Palestinian reconciliation, 18 June 2014, http://mondoweiss.net/2014/06/exploiting-palestinian-reconciliation.html

 

For additional RCIT historic analysis of Israel as a Zionist Apartheid state and the revolutionary programme for the Palestinian liberation struggle in numerous documents and articles. See among others:

Yossi Schwartz: Israel's War of 1948 and the Degeneration of the Fourth International, in: Revolutionary Communism, Special Issue on Palestine, No. 10, June 2013, www.thecommunists.net/theory/israel-s-war-of-1948-1

Yossi Schwartz: Israel’s Six-Day War of 1967. On the Character of the War, the Marxist Analysis and the Position of the Israeli Left, in: Revolutionary Communism, No. 12, July/august 2013, www.thecommunists.net/theory/israel-s-war-of-1967

Michael Pröbsting: On some Questions of the Zionist Oppression and the Permanent Revolution in Palestine, in: Revolutionary Communism, Special Issue on Palestine, No. 10, June 2013, pp. 26-28, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/permanent-revolution-in-palestine