Israel-Gaza war: What we say
Some say that the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East would not have happened if the State of Israel had never been founded. But it was and it exists. And the same kind of thing could be said about countless conflict situations in the world today. So we must look at the situation as it is and, if we do, we find that, as in other such conflicts, the underlying cause is not undying enmity between two groups – Jews and Arabs – but a fight between different capitalist factions, via their respective governments, over land, resources and strategic routes.
In Gaza, the Hamas organisation, who are both anti-Israeli and anti-semitic, came to power via elections in 2007 with the stated aim ‘to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine’. But that was the end of any form of democracy there and, in their time in office, they have crushed multiple protests against them by rivals, expelling their officials to make sure there would never be another round of elections and killing dozens of their own people, many of them civilians. During that time the people of Gaza have been plunged increasingly into poverty with, for example, 40 percent unemployment, with their leaders enriching themselves assisted by backers from other Arab countries and enjoying multi-million-dollar land deals, luxury villas and black market fuel from Egypt.
The continuing oppression by Israel (a country by the way where 22 percent of its own households live in poverty) has also of course been a significant factor, as its government has sought to facilitate the enrichment of its own capitalist class by grabbing land and keeping a tight lid on protest. Now the lid has come off – and in the most horrific way.
There is no excuse for the horrors unleashed on innocent people by Hamas nor for Israel’s savage retaliation, killing thousands, depriving a land of food, water and power and threatening to flatten its infrastructure regardless of what may happen to the inhabitants in the short and long term. Of course Israel’s government will support its own capitalist class to the hilt – after all that is its role.
And it is all part of a play book, which we see played out time and time again as governments representing their capitalist classes fail to resolve conflicts by diplomacy and resort to horrifying violence. We can only repeat the same thing we have always said when this has happened – that workers (in this case Arab and Israeli ones) have no interest in fighting one another but have a common interest in uniting with other workers to abolish capitalism and establish socialism.