Stop the Massacre of the Palestinian People!

PRESENTATION

Please find below and attached two important statements on the unfolding ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their villages and homes, especially from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

The first text is the May 14, 2021, Statement by the Organizing Committee for the Reconstitution of the Fourth International (OCRFI) titled, “Stop the Massacre of the Palestinian People!” (We also are sending it to you for broader distribution as attachments in English, Spanish and Arabic.)

The second text is an article by Dominique Ferré that is reprinted from the May 12, 2021 issue of Tribune des Travailleurs / Workers Tribune, published weekly by the Democratic Independent Worker Party of France (POID). It is titled, “ The Tragedy of Sheik Jarrah Sums Up the Tragedy of All Palestine!”

Without making its political positions on Palestine a prerequisite for common action, the OCRFI is calling on its organizations and activists to participate in mobilizations throughout the world for the immediate end to the massacre of the Palestinian people, raising the following slogans:

– Immediate end to the repression against Palestinian demonstrators!

– Immediate end to the bombing of Gaza! No to the ground offensive!

– Immediate halt to the expulsions in Sheikh Jarrah!

– Freedom for the Palestinian people! Right of return for all refugees!

In the United States, we also will be marching to demand that our own government: “End All U.S. Aid to Apartheid Israel!”

The OCRFI statement explains why this demand is so urgent:

“The State of Israel has become at each stage little more than the subsidiary instrument of imperialism, particularly U.S. imperialism. The whole world knows that the State of Israel could not pursue its policies without U.S. funding and without U.S. armaments — US$3.8 billion yearly in U.S. military aid, and US$8 billion in U.S. loan guarantees. The State of Israel acts more and more as a military outpost for U.S. imperialism in the Middle East.

“That is why it is not surprising that on this issue, as on many others, the Biden administration is in line with Trump’s foreign policy. Trump had proclaimed ‘Jerusalem the capital of the State of Israel’; Biden concurred, declaring that ‘Israel has the right to defend itself,’ the age-old refrain of all the upholders of the colonial-settler State of Israel. It is in the name of this policy that Netanyahu, relying on hordes of fanatical settlers, is organizing the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Jerusalem.”

• The time is now to end all U.S. aid to Apartheid Israel!

• The time is now for a Democratic and Secular Palestine on all the historic territory of Palestine!

In solidarity,

The Editorial Board of The Organizer Newspaper

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Statement by the Organizing Committee for the Reconstitution of the Fourth International (OCRFI)­

Stop the Massacre of the Palestinian People!

The latest act in the tragedy of the Palestinian people that humanity is witnessing today is in continuity with what’s been unfolding over the last 75 years.

The tragedy of the Palestinian people is the result of the counter-revolutionary alliance between British imperialism, U.S. imperialism and the Stalinist bureaucracy of the USSR, which, for the sake of preserving the world order, jointly organized the partition of historic Palestine, sealed by United Nations Resolution 181 of 29 November 1947. The resolution denied the right of the Palestinian people to freely decide their own fate. It sought to divide the land of Palestine into two States, including an “Arab State” that never came into being.

All the so-called “peace plans” that followed, from Camp David to the 1993 Oslo Accords, were based on the same denial of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. And it is again in the UN Security Council that the current aggression against the Palestinian people has been covered up. This is why the appeals of the “Socialist” International and the former Stalinist parties to “international law” or “UN resolutions” are ludicrous, because it is precisely this “international law” of the Great Powers and of the UN that have victimized the Palestinian people.

It is significant that the families that the State of Israel is in the process of expelling from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in Jerusalem all settled there in 1948 after being expelled from Jaffa and Haifa. As Palestinian activists wrote: “The tragedy of Sheikh Jarrah fully sums up the tragedy of all Palestine since 1948.” They are right: The logic of Zionism is to expel the Palestinian people from their lands, to deny their existence, and to drown in blood any and all Palestinian demonstrations for their national rights.

The policy that the State of Israel is carrying out today is not unique to Netanyahu, even if he pushes it even further than his predecessors. It stems from the very nature of this State founded in 1948 on the basis of the expulsion of 850,000 Palestinians from their towns and villages during the Nakba. This is a colonial, theocratic State, based since its creation on discrimination against, and expulsion of, the Palestinian people.

For Marxists, Zionism has always been a reactionary, minority current among the oppressed Jewish populations of Europe, having turned its back on their democratic struggle for equal rights. After 1945, fraudulently using the tragedy of the extermination of 6 million Jews by the Nazi regime, it became an instrument of imperialist policy in the Middle East.

As a “death trap” for the Jewish populations who were pushed ­­to emigrate to Palestine, often against their will, the State of Israel has become at each stage little more than the subsidiary instrument of imperialism, particularly U.S. imperialism. The whole world knows that the State of Israel could not pursue its policies without U.S. funding and without U.S. armaments — US$3.8 billion yearly in U.S. military aid, and US$8 billion in U.S. loan guarantees. The State of Israel acts more and more as a military outpost for U.S. imperialism in the Middle East.

That is why it is not surprising that on this issue, as on many others, the Biden administration is in line with Trump’s foreign policy. Trump had proclaimed “Jerusalem the capital of the State of Israel“; Biden concurred, declaring that “Israel has the right to defend itself,” the age-old refrain of all the upholders of the colonial-settler State of Israel. It is in the name of this policy that Netanyahu, relying on hordes of fanatical settlers, is organizing the “ethnic cleansing” of Jerusalem. In this effort, Biden is supported by all the imperialist governments: Macron in France, Merkel in Germany, Johnson in Britain, etc. – and by the European Commission which, as usual, places the oppressor and its victim on equal footing.

The tragedy of the Palestinian people also indicts the Arab League and all the regimes in the region, without exception. From the Gulf petro-monarchies to the “Arab nationalist” regimes: all play their part against the Palestinian revolution. This includes the Lebanese regime that discriminates against Palestinian refugees; the bloodthirsty regime of Marshal Sissi in Egypt, the keystone of the Gaza blockade; the Gulf monarchies; the Kingdom of Morocco, whose recent “normalization” of diplomatic relations formalizes older ties. … Whatever their rhetoric, past and present, these regimes have never been allies of the Palestinian people; they have been its executioners.

Despite the betrayals and tragedies that have marked their struggle since 1948, the Palestinian people have never renounced their national rights. From Gaza under blockade, to the West Bank divided by settlements, from refugee camps to Jerusalem, through the uprising of the Palestinians of the “1948 territories,” in Haifa, Umm Al-Fahm, Lod, and beyond, the Palestinian people are once again demonstrating their unity and their historic struggle to fulfill their national and democratic aspirations.

Because their aspirations are confronted by an Apartheid State, as well as by global imperialism and the corrupt regimes that are subservient to it, the Palestinian people can only find allies in the international working class and the oppressed peoples, who are also confronted with the barbarism generated by the survival of the regime based on the private ownership of the means of production. This is why it is the responsibility of workers’ organizations around the world to stand unconditionally with the Palestinian people.

In the recent period, voices ­– albeit a minority – from the Israeli Jewish population have been raised forcefully against the latest massacre of the Palestinian people. One example is the renowned association for the defense of human rights, B’tselem, which states: “Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea: it’s apartheid.” Another example: the 60 young Israeli Jewish high-school students who, refusing to serve in the Israeli army, proclaimed: “We are asked to wear a bloodstained uniform. With the Nakba and the occupation, Israeli society was built on rotten foundations and this reflects in all aspects of life: racism, political hate speech, police brutality.”

At this writing, citing a risk of “civil war,” Israeli leaders are on the verge of yet another massive ground attack on the Gaza Strip to supplement the relentless aerial bombardment.

More than ever, the only possible democratic solution, the one that the Palestinian national movement formulated at its founding congress – only later to abandon it, declaring it “null and void” in the wake of the so-called “peace agreements” – is the establishment of a single secular and democratic Palestinian State on the entire historic territory of Palestine, guaranteeing equal rights to all its citizens, regardless of their faith or origin.

Without making its positions a prerequisite for common action, the OCRFI calls on its organizations and activists to participate in mobilizations throughout the world for the immediate end to the massacre of the Palestinian people, raising the following slogans:

– Immediate end to the repression against Palestinian demonstrators!

– Immediate end to the bombing of Gaza! No to the ground offensive!

– Immediate halt to the expulsions in Sheikh Jarrah!

– Freedom for the Palestinian people! Right of return for all refugees!

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“The Tragedy of Sheikh Jarrah Fully Sums Up the Tragedy of all Palestine since 1948”

By Dominique Ferré

[reprinted from issue no. 289 (May 12, 2021) of Tribune des Travailleurs (Workers Tribune), the weekly newspaper of the Democratic Independent Workers Party of France]

Sheikh Jarrah is the name of a neighborhood in Jerusalem. For several weeks now, the State of Israel, its courts, its police, and its army, often accompanied by hordes of fanatical and armed settlers, have been rampaging through the neighborhood.

The objective? To evict, one after the other, Palestinian families from their homes, to replace them with Israeli settlers.

For months, however, the inhabitants have been organizing and resisting. The Palestinian inhabitants of the neighborhood, joined by many others and sometimes by Jewish militants, are standing up to those who want to expel them.

Then the repression struck: Over the weekend of May 8-9 alone, more than 300 people were injured, and dozens of young Palestinians were arrested. In the middle of Ramadan, the Israeli army attacked the al-Aqsa mosque, while the Gaza Strip was bombed again. In Haifa, hundreds of Palestinians who were demonstrating, in particular protesting U.S. support for the occupation policy, were also brutally dispersed by the Israeli police.

But for millions of Palestinians around the world, and also for all workers attached to democracy and the rights of peoples, Sheikh Jarrah has become a synonym for the will of the Palestinian people not to give up their national rights.

For the Palestinian families who live in this neighborhood settled there in 1948, after being expelled from their homes, particularly in Haifa and Jaffa. And 73 years later, there is a new attempt to drive them out, to expel them.

As intellectuals and activists, who initiated one of the many solidarity petitions, put it:

The tragedy that the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem is currently experiencing fully sums up the tragedy of the whole of Palestine since 1948. When 28 Palestinian refugee families (which became 38 over time) settled in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in 1948, they hoped that it would be a temporary stay before returning to their homes in the Palestinian territories, which have become Israeli. … These families will be expelled again in a second act of ethnic cleansing. This is a continuing catastrophe, with the aim of expelling all Palestinians from their lands and homes. This colonial project aims at the exclusive ethno-religious purity of the State of Israel, the last contemporary Apartheid state, whose characterization is shared by the Israeli human rights association B’tselem and more recently by the American NGO Human Rights Watch.”

Recalling that in 2005 the Israeli Supreme Court had rejected the complaint of a Palestinian resident asserting the rights of the inhabitants of the neighborhood, the authors of the petition added:

Beyond this legal issue, which is essentially political, the law and its jurisdictions in Israel are marked by structural racism towards Palestinians … . One of the families that will be expelled in the coming days, the Al-Sabbagh family from Jaffa, consists of 32 people, including ten children. For many years, this family has feared becoming refugees again for the second time since 1948.

Humanity must side unconditionally with the residents of Sheikh Jarrah against those who seek to expel them.

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