Statement of the Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT Section in Israel / Occupied Palestine), 26 May 2020, http://the-isleague.com
Last week, "Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the Palestinian Authority will end all agreements and understandings signed with Israel and the United States, including security agreements, in light of Israel's intent to annex parts of the West Bank." (1)
27 years have passed since the Oslo agreements that were designed to end the second Intifada came into force. Since then Israel has expended the Zionists settlements and the new government has plans to annex a large part of the West Bank and the Jordanian valley that is a major source of water for the settlers. Even worse is the fact that these agreements have been an obstacle to the Palestinian resistance to the oppression of the Palestinians by Israel.
Needless to say, Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West bank and the Jordanian valley are backed by Trump who claims hypocritically that he supports the human rights of the people of Tibet. In reality his position on Tibet is part of the new cold war against China.
The annexation of parts of the West Banks will be the last nail in the illusions of Hadash, Mertz and Maavak Socialsiti (part of the ISA that split from the CWI) and other supporters of the illusion that the solution to the conflict between imperialist Israel, a state of settler colonialists, and the oppressed Palestinian people, is a mini Palestinian state alongside Israel.
In February this year the ISA criticized Trump for his support for the Israeli annexation “that reduced the two state solution to absurdity”, and yet due to their right wing centrist political nature they could not point out to a real solution to the oppression of the Palestinians. In Israel they simply ignored the question. Their program has remained: “Enough with the denial of the right of self-determination - Yes for an independent democratic and socialist Palestinian state with equal rights where its capital is East Jerusalem alongside democratic socialist Israel with equal rights to all.” (2)
What these centrists ignore is that Marxists do not advocate the rights of self -determination to imperialist nations nor to a state of settler colonialists, but only to oppressed nations. This was the position of Lenin and of Trotsky, who opposed putting the oppressed and the oppressor nations on the same level.
Lenin in “The Socialist Revolution and the Rights of Nations to Self-Determination" (1916) wrote that there are 3 types of nations.
“First, the advanced capitalist countries of Western Europe and the United States. The tasks of the proletariat of these ruling nations are the same as those of the proletariat in England in the nineteenth century in relation to Ireland." (i.e., the support for the right of self determination of Ireland)
Reads carefully and you will not find a word about the right of self-determination of British imperialism.
“Secondly, Eastern Europe: Austria, the Balkans and particularly Russia. Here it was the 20th century that particularly developed the bourgeois-democratic national movements and intensified the national struggle. The most difficult and most important task in this is to unite the class struggle of the workers of the oppressor nations with that of the workers of the oppressed nations."
Again, not a single word of support for the right of self-determination for the oppressor nations.
“Thirdly, the semi-colonial countries, such as China, Persia and Turkey, and all the colonies which have a combined population of 1,000 million people. Socialists must not only demand the unconditional and immediate liberation of the colonies without compensation … they must also render determined support to the more revolutionary elements in the bourgeois-democratic movements for national liberation in these countries and assist their uprising—or revolutionary war, in the event of one—against the imperialist powers that oppressed them.” (3)
Once again, not one word of support for self-determination of the oppressor nations.
Trotsky wrote in a letter to the Trotskyists in South Africa: "When the thesis says that the slogan of a “Black Republic” is equally harmful for the revolutionary cause as is the slogan of a “South Africa for the Whites,” then we cannot agree with the form of the statement. Whereas in the latter there is the case of supporting complete oppression, in the former there is the case of taking the first steps toward liberation. We must accept decisively and without any reservations the complete and unconditional right of the blacks to independence. Only on the basis of a mutual struggle against the domination of the white exploiters can the solidarity of black and white toilers be cultivated and strengthened. To push aside or to weaken the national slogans with the object of not antagonizing the white chauvinists in the ranks of the working class would be, of course, criminal opportunism." (4)
The joint List Chairman, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) that keeps believing in the illusion of the two states said on, May 21, that if Israel goes through with its plan to annex parts of West Bank, a massive Palestinian uprising would only be "a matter of time." “Every person who wants peace and believes in the rights of all peoples – both Palestinians and Israelis – says that every nation has the right to self-determination,” Odeh told Ynet in an interview. “The Jews exercised this right in 1948, but there is nation fighting for its independence,” Odeh added. “The Palestinians deserve a place under the sun.” (5)
There are three major problems with his position. The first one is the claim that in 1948 the Jews exercised the right of self-determination. This implies that the war of 1948 was a war of national liberation of the Zionists rather than a war of occupation and ethnic cleansing-the Nakaba. Secondly in spite of his understanding that Israel annexation of parts of the West Bank and the Jordanian valley that will turn Israel to an openly an Apartheid state he refused to conclude that the solution to the struggle against an Apartheid state is one red democratic state from the river to the sea. His position is appreciated by the liberal Zionists but it is worse than useless for the struggle of the Palestinians struggle for freedom. Thirdly he acts as an adviser to the Israeli state rather than a revolutionary Palestinian leader.
If indeed Mahmoud Abbas will end the so called “security agreements" with Israel, it will open the road for the struggle for one red democratic state from the river to the sea in opposition to the one apartheid state.
However, this is not the first time Abbas announce the end of the agreements with Israel and has not kept his promise. The reason is very simple he and his supporters are not less afraid from a new Intifada than Israel. Yet it seems that the pressure on the PA is so strong that this time he may keep his promise.
Whether a new Intifada will break out depends on the struggles of the Arab masses in the region – the renewal of the Arab revolution.
So far we see demonstrations of those who oppose Netanyahu and those who support him. Those who oppose him are mainly middle class Europeans among them former heads of the Secret Service and those who support him are mainly Jews from Arab countries - Arab Jews, it is mostly a struggle over ethnic domination. The issue of the repression of the Palestinians is ignored.
Time will tell whether there will be real opposition in the streets of the working class and the poor as a combination of unemployment and the Arab and Iranian revolutionary struggle in the region.
4) Leon Trotsky: Letter to South African Revolutionaries (April 1933), https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1933/04/safrica.html
For other articles from the ISL and the RCIT on Palestine see:
Yossi Schwartz: Trump’s “Peace” Plan: Only a Successful Intifada Will End the Crooked Deal of the Century, 05.02.2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/only-successful-intifada-will-end-the-crooked-peace-plan-of-trump/
Adam Smith: Israel / Occupied Palestine: Trump's "Peace" Plan, 29 January 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/israel-occupied-palestine-trump-s-peace-plan/
The ISL’s program can be read here: http://www.the-isleague.com/our-platform/ and https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/summary-of-isl-program/
Yossi Schwartz: Israel's War of 1948 and the Degeneration of the Fourth International, http://the-isleague.com/1948-war-5-2013/ and https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/israel-s-war-of-1948/
Michael Pröbsting: On some Questions of the Zionist Oppression and the Permanent Revolution in Palestine, http://the-isleague.com/zionist-oppression-and-permanent-revolution/ and https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/permanent-revolution-in-palestine/