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The Middle East Crisis

28th. July 2006

Hostilities have broken out again in this volatile region leading to more death, injury, and destruction. At the time of writing some 600 mostly innocent civilians have been killed, over 20 000 injured and at least 500 000 people displaced. This has sparked cries of war crimes and contravention of modern war codes of ethics for targeting civilians and necessary infrastructure, as if war itself is acceptable if fought in the right way! War seems to be an almost permanent feature in this region although it is not alone. So, what’s going on? The history of the region is well documented and known. Jews and Arabs had lived in Palestine peacefully for centuries. Agitation and guerilla warfare by factions of the Jewish minority for an Israeli state came to fruition just after WWII when Britain and the United States agreed to and pushed for the immigration of Jews displaced by the war to Palestine and the partition of the area to create a homeland for the Jews. This act was opposed by the Palestinians and the ensuing conflict resulted in the US backed and financed Israeli forces clearing their territory and pushing millions of Palestinians into refugee camps. At least three million were forcibly removed from their homeland. Thus the stage was set for an enduring conflict with little chance of peace given the economic forces that were applied to the region.

The Jewish/Zionist lobby in Washington was a large factor in persuading President Truman to support the Israeli state. The American Palestine Committee of Notables set up in 1941, contained, by 1946, 68 senators and 200 congressmen. Truman’s run to the presidency was funded to such an extent by Jewish businessmen that he declared, If not for my friend, Abe, (Abraham Feinberg) I couldn’t have made the (whistle-stop train) trip and I wouldn’t have been elected.” ( webmaster@globalcircle.net, July 22 2006). Despite this, if the Middle East had contained little economic value, it is unlikely the support necessary for such a drastic move would have been assembled. Lord Balfour, whose Declaration committed the British government to supporting a Jewish state in Palestine remarked, “ I do not care under what system we keep the oil, but I am clear that it is all important that this oil should be available 25 years later.” US Secretary of State, Hull, confirmed this sentiment by stating. “There should be full realization of the fact that the oil of Saudi Arabia constitutes one of the world’s great prizes.” (Introduction, “Middle East Illusions”, Noam Chomsky). Israel continues to be financed and furnished with the latest state of the art weaponry by the US to the tune of $3 billion per year, representing 20% of the total Israeli defence budget, and the surrounding Arab states are no match for the Israel Defence (!) Forces, especially in the air. In return, Israel carries out the important role of policeman in the area on behalf of the US. It can keep the Arab world divided and subjugated while Western, mainly U.S., capitalists are able to control the flow of oil and profits. It can be used as an excuse to threaten or attack any country, region, or organization with any aspirations of staking a claim in the region.

The Socialist Party of Canada has always maintained that war is an inevitable consequence of the capitalist mode of production and that its competitive drive for the domination of markets, trade routes, favourable treaties, and possession of valuable resources is the root cause of all wars. The Middle East conflagration is no exception. The capitalist system’s dependency on oil and its products means that control of this region is of vital importance to the machine for producing vast profits that benefit the tiny minority who own the means of production. War holds no interest for the working class, except they will be the ones dying, injured, and displaced, as even a victory will not change the system of exploitation and wage labour. Only a victory in the class war can do that.

Due to their military inferiority, the Arab organizations have resorted to guerilla tactics through such organizations as PLO, Hamas, and Hezbollah. They have been able to invoke nationalism and religious fervour to keep a steady flow of recruits to send to the front lines, including teenage suicide bombers who target fellow workers only. Socialists believe that workers have no country, only a common interest with all other workers of the world and religious promises of pie in the sky when you die are not compatible with historical materialism and finding human-made solutions. Thus, we roundly condemn the state terror of Israel, backed by the US and supported by most industrial countries and equally, we condemn the above-mentioned organizations of the Arab world. Both sides are quite content to murder fellow workers in the name of nationalism and religion. Israel and the surrounding Arab states are not run on socialist lines, nor would a Palestine state, if successful. Neither side in this everlasting war puts forth a socialist solution, nor do they work towards a socialist world of common ownership of the means of production, administered democratically in the interests of all. We do support both Jewish and Arab workers in their class struggle to overthrow the capitalist system that is responsible for the many conflicts and blights that affect humanity. Only when the Arab and Jewish workers realize that their struggle is not based on national or religious lines but on the class struggle between worker and capitalist, and, along with other workers of the world, they unite to create a cooperative, democratic world will wars such as this one be relegated to the annals of human history.

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