By Yossi Schwartz (Member of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency [RCIT] and Central-Israel Branch of Balad), 18 January 2016, http://the-isleague.com/
Two Palestinians citizens of Israel were killed today by the police. This brutal murder took place as the Israeli government continued with the policy of house demolitions of Palestinians citizens of Israel. Last Friday, the government destroyed 11 houses in Kalansuwa. Today it moved to destroy houses in the Bedouin village of Um Al Hiran.
It is not hard to understand the reason. The government was forced to move settlers from the settlement Amona to another hill by the judgment of the Israeli Supreme Court, because they settled on proven private properties of Palestinians. The Supreme Court, unlike the government, is not ready so far to approve stealing openly private properties of the Palestinians in the 1967 occupied Palestine. Usually it will allow settlement on stolen land, declared as state property. To calm down the settlers the government is destroying houses of Palestinians citizens of Israel.
Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook after the demolitions, “I am not deterred by the criticism and as I have directed we are continuing to implement equal enforcement in Israel" (1)
Equal enforcement of law? Arabs in Israel who try to build houses on their own private properties do not get the permits. In the case of Um Al Hiram the government decided to destroy houses without permits because the government wants to settle Israeli Jews instead of the Bedouins. It is part of the plan to "Judaise the Negev".
The events of the last week bring to mind the events in 1976 known as land Day. On March 30, 1976, Palestinians protested against the decision to expropriate 20,000 Dunams (10 Dunams is one Hectare) of land around the Arab villages of Araba and Sakhnin as a part of a plan to "Judaise the Galilee".
On that day in 1976, Palestinians – citizens of "Israel” – declared that they were an inseparable part of the Palestinian people and their struggle. The Zionist state killed 6 Palestinians citizens of Israel.
Needless to say, today the Bedouins came out to defend their homes. The bloodshed, result of the decision to destroy homes, is on the head of this government.
During these protests, the Israeli police officers shot dead a Palestinian who they alleged tried to ram them with his car during the protest. A policeman, who was struck by the vehicle, later died of his injuries.
Residents of the Bedouin village of Um Al Hiran, in the Negev desert, however, said that the driver was simply heading to the scene to talk with authorities in an attempt to halt the demolitions. According to a Video shown on Haaretz "The video, shot from a police helicopter hovering above the scene, appears to show police officers walking toward al-Kian's vehicle and shooting at him as he was driving at a slow pace. Only several seconds after the gunfire his car appears to speed up and then plows through police officers. It is unclear if the driver sped up intentionally.” (2)
Another Palestinian was also killed during clashes that broke out after the incident. Palestinian Knesset member Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Joint List, was injured in the head by police during the confrontation. "They attacked the MP and other people - demonstrators - with stun grenades, tear gas directly in people's faces," Odeh's aide, Anan Maalouf, told Israeli army radio.
Raed Abu al-Qiyan from the Um Al Hiran said that: "The Israeli narrative is a lie. He (al-Kian) was a revered school teacher. He was in his car and they shot at him from everywhere.” However the police claim: "A vehicle driven by a terrorist from the Islamic Movement intended to strike a number officers and carry out an attack." (3)
If indeed, as it seems, the shooting of the police first his actions were in self defense and all the lies that he was a terrorist is another crime.
History of Landgrab
Speaking to Al Jazeera, professor of architecture Yosef Jabareen said half a million Palestinians face displacement in Israel and East Jerusalem. During the past two decades approximately 5,000 Palestinian homes in Israel have been demolished, Jabareen estimates. “There is an obvious plan to halt any prospect of Palestinian cities naturally developing and expanding as our population grows. There is systematic ghettoisation of our towns and a strategy to confine us within our existing spaces." (4)
In 1947 the Zionist owned around 5% of Palestine. Today, Palestinians have jurisdiction over only 2.3% of the entire state's land (within the pre 1967 borders), causing severe overcrowding in towns and villages and the building of houses without the required permits.
Since the creation of the Israeli state in 1948, no new Palestinian towns or cities were built, in contrast to the 600 Jewish municipalities that have been developed, according to Adalah, the legal center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.
The Palestinians citizens of Israel understand the real motivation behind the policy of the house demolitions. Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in both cases. Today, more demonstrations take place.
During a demonstration last week, while the crowd gathered in and near the rubble of demolished houses in Kalansuwa, Member of the Kneset Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) said that the demonstration “sends a clear message to Prime Minister Benjamin and his ministers that our community will not sit aside when they are planning more demolitions. As a marginalized and discriminated against community, our power is with the masses coming out and protesting and I hope this will be a beginning for more activities, including a demonstration in Jerusalem.” (5)
Rashid Baransi, an electrician from the nearby town of Taibe said: “In Amona they stole and got a million shekels each in compensation. Here we have people who invested their souls and they demolish their homes. It is the politics of Netanyahu to pour his hatred onto innocent Arabs.” (6)
Ongoing Killing of Palestinians
Killing Palestinians in the 1967 occupied land who allegedly try to attack soldiers or indeed attack soldiers with knives or cars is very common, even when it is clear that there was no actual danger to the lives of the killers. The policy of the government is to kill any Palestinians who try to attack the Israeli army or the armed settlers. It is part of the open policy of forming an apartheid state from the river to the sea.
Killing of Palestinians citizens of Israel is less common but still happen. In 1947-48 Israel carried out massacres. In 1956 it killed 47 people in Kafr Qasim. It killed 6 Palestinians during the land day in 1976 and 13 in 2000.
The Right to Armed Resistance and the Perspectives of the Liberation Struggle
Let us be clear: colonized people have the right of armed resistance. Armed resistance against the army or the police of the colonizer is not terror. Terror is an action against uninvolved civilians.
Mass resistance to the most right wing government in the history of Israel is a must and we fully support it. However the Palestinians by themselves cannot defeat the brutal beast. Most of the Israeli Jews – like most of the whites in South Africa – will not take the side of the oppressed. Even most of the liberal Jews side today with the government. At the moment, the Arab masses in the Arab states cannot come to help the Palestinians. This will come with the renewal of the Arab revolution, especially if it will win.
To win a revolutionary working class parties are required. Nevertheless, many things can be done already now. First of all, it is necessary to unite the Palestinians citizens of Israel on the ground. Spontaneous actions are very good, but they cannot win the struggle. To win, it is necessary as the first step to form an elected popular committee in each village and in every neighborhood. Its task is to mobilize the residents. The elected leaders of these committees must be part of the Arab Higher Committee.
Secondly, it is necessary to forge closer relations with the ordinary Palestinians in the 1967 occupied Palestine. It is the same struggle. The idea that a solution can come in the form of two states is an obstacle to common actions of all the Palestinians. The collaboration of the Palestinian Authority with Israel has brought nothing except corruption.
In addition, it is necessary to forge closer relations with the opposition movements in the Arab countries and the workers and the poor in the world.
The struggle is going to be hard because as long as Israel – a state of settler colonialists – will exist it will destroy, steal and kill Palestinians. It is necessary to replace the apartheid state with the truly democratic state of the exploited and the oppressed. Such a state can only be created if the Palestinian workers and peasants – as part of the Arab Revolution and with the support of a progressive sector of the Jewish workers – will take power and build a workers and fellahin republic in the whole of historic Palestine from the River to the Sea. (7)
Mass protest actions of Palestinians and progressive Jews must not only be organized, but organized wisely. The government will not hesitate to use brutal force. However, it will hesitate to shoot to kill if in the front line of the demonstrations democratic and revolutionary Jews will stand.
The UN Security Council may condemn the settlements, and this is nice, but it will not act against Israel because the imperialists and their servants still see Israel as a useful tool to control the region. Illusions are dangerous. The real allies of the Palestinians are the exploited and the oppressed. The workers, the peasants and sections of the lower petit bourgeois who struggle everywhere against the reactionary capitalist class.
As to the question of boycotting the racist Israeli Knesset, it is a question that must be considered. It is not a principle question, but a tactic. Clearly, what is necessary is to replace the Knesset with a revolutionary Constituent Assembly to form a truly democratic constitution of all who live in this country and the Palestinian refugees. However, at the moment this idea is not yet popular. It will come with the organization of the Palestinian masses in democratic forms. There are no popular mass forms as yet and they must be first formed. To form them real democratic discussions must take place among the Palestinians and those Jews who had enough with this racist state and side with the Palestinians.
* For Mass Democratic Popular Committees!
* Turn the Arab Higher Committee into a true Democratic Popular Organization!
* For United Massive Protests against Killing Palestinians!
(2) Almog Ben Zikri, Jack Khoury, Yaniv Kubovich and Jonathan Lis: Israeli Bedouin, Police Officer Killed During Violent Clashes in Southern Israel, 18.1.2017, http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.765752
(3) AFP: Police say they shot dead Israeli Arab car attacker, 18.1.2017, http://al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2017/01/israel-arabs-demolition-unrest-israel-arabs-demolition-unrest-israel-arabs-demolition-unrest.html
(4) Al-Jazeera: Palestinians killed in Israeli home demolition raid, 18.1.2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/palestinian-killed-israeli-home-demolition-170118043846949.html
(5) Ben Lynfield: Thousands Protest Demolition Of Houses In Arab Town, Jerusalem Post, 13/1/2017, http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Amnesty-International-slams-Israel-for-Kalansuwa-house-demolitions-478318
(6) Al-Jazeera: Palestinians killed in Israeli home demolition raid, 18.1.2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/palestinian-killed-israeli-home-demolition-170118043846949.html
(7) We refer readers to the RCIT’s fundamental documents on the history and the current perspectives of the Palestinian liberation struggle:
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, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/israel-s-war-of-1967/
Summary of the Program of the Internationalist Socialist League, February 2014, http://www.the-isleague.com/our-platform/
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, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/permanent-revolution-in-palestine