On September 23, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas requested recognition from the United Nations General Assembly for a Palestinian state. Regardless of the outcome, this will accomplish nothing for the Palestinian people, although for entirely different reasons than those espoused by the hypocrites in Washington who have threatened to veto the measure.
Any discussion concerning the Israeli-Palestinian question must be preconditioned by two rules if it is to be rational and honest. First, religious arguments or justifications that rely on some sort of “divine right” must be rejected out of hand.
Second, there must be a clear distinction made between the Palestinian and Israeli people and their respective governments. Furthermore, there can be no confusion that the extreme right-wing Zionists and Islamic terrorists constitute a small minority of Palestinians and Israelis.
Bourgeois nationalism has for decades betrayed the aspirations of the former colonial peoples of the Middle
East. In country after country, corrupt and despotic regimes have subjugated the population of the region to poverty and backwardness. Perhaps nowhere has bourgeois nationalism proved more tragic than in the struggle of the Palestinian people.
In January, Al Jazeera released the “Palestine Papers” — a collection of 1,600 confidential documents relating to peace negotiations between the Palestinian government and Israel from 1999 to 2010. The documents exposed the U.S.-backed peace process as a cynical charade and revealed the bankruptcy of the bourgeois nationalist leadership of the Palestinians.
According to the documents, negotiators for the Palestinian Authority (PA) were prepared to accept the ceding of almost all of East Jerusalem and renounce the right of return for almost all of the more than four million Palestinian refugees, as well as support the ethnic cleansing of tens of thousands of Israeli Arabs from Israel.
Likewise, the Zionist project in Israel has failed. More than 60 years after the establishment of the Jewish state, the country is one of the most socially unequal in the developed world with an economy nearly entirely dependent upon U.S. aid and preferential trade agreements.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, poverty in Israel increased to more than 20 percent in 2009, up 3 percent over the previous decade. In its 2009-10 Annual Social Report, Adva reported that nearly 40 percent of Israelis “find it difficult or very difficult to live on their current income.” Moreover, Israel has one of the highest child poverty rates among OECD countries.
Ha’aretz estimates the 500 richest Israelis to be worth $75 billion in a country with a GDP of only $205 billion while the wealthiest 20 families control almost half the stock market.
Massive protests to these conditions erupted throughout the summer, culminating in the 430,000-strong demonstration in early September — the largest in Israel’s history. Just as the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt demonstrated in Arab countries, the central division in Israeli society is that of class, not race, ethnicity, nationality or religion.
Not only did tent cities spring up across Israel, which openly drew inspiration from the Egyptian Revolution, but joint demonstrations were also held between Israel’s Jewish and Arab workers, providing a powerful demonstration that they confront a common enemy.
Unlike the artificial divisions of nationality and religion, the class divide is a social reality, which provides an objective basis for uniting Jewish and Arab workers. In their struggle for a meaningful and secure future, they will find no better allies than the workers of Europe and America who confront similar assaults on their living standards.
The way forward for the Palestinian people lies not through imperialist-sponsored peace talks or UN resolutions. The reactionary “two-state solution” will only serve to divide the population, reinforcing class oppression on both sides of the border while preparing for new militarist atrocities.
Jewish and Arab workers must demand a one-state solution which guarantees the full citizenship rights of all resident, establishes genuine secular democracy, eliminates social inequality and works toward dismantling all the borders which separate them from the people of the region.