from 3/9 25 June 2002Solidarity
Israel out of the Territories!
"Yet another nineteen innocent victims have fallen on the vain altar of the ongoing occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip", said Gush
Shalom, the Israeli "peace bloc", after a Palestinian Islamist suicide bomber killed 19 Israelis, Jewish and Arab, on 18 June.
According to Gush Shalom: "The occupation regime is the hothouse of despair and hatred, from which suicide bombers originate. The ongoing denial of basic rights to a population of three and a half million drives some of the occupied population to a despicable means of
responding - the random killing of Israeli civilians - which deserves all condemnation...
"'Operation Defensive Shield' in April failed to put an end to the suicide bombings, and the same will prove true of the even more extensive and brutal operations fervently advocated by the settlers
and the extreme right.
"The 'Separation Fence' [now being built by the Israeli government, roughly along the 1967 border, with some deviations into Palestinian
territory] will prove no real solution. The retaliatory and punitive raids by the army do manage to intercept some potential suicide
bombers - but the very same raids and incursions, by demonstrating the brutality of the occupation, also increase on the Palestinian side the motivation for retribution and help the recruitment of new suicide bombers.
"Only an end to the occupation by political means, allowing a fair expression of the basic Palestinian aspirations, can dry up the suicide bombing phenomenon at its source and provide new hope to the desperate young Palestinians from whose ranks the bombers are recruited."
Hanan Ashrawi, Sari Nuseiba, and many other Palestinian intellectuals have published an appeal against the suicide bombings.
"We call upon the parties behind military operations targeting civilians in Israel to reconsider their policies and stop driving our
young men to carry out these operations. Suicide bombings deepen the hatred and widen the gap between the Palestinian and Israeli people.
They destroy the possibilities of peaceful co-existence between them in two neighbouring states. They strengthen the enemies of peace on the Israeli side and give Israel's aggressive government under Sharon the excuse to continue its harsh war against our people."
The Islamists, and some others, promote the suicide bombings for the same political reason that Ashrawi condemns them: that they destroy
the possibility of a democratic 'two states' solution. The Islamists want to make all pre-1948 Palestine "Muslim land".
That is why many Israelis who support 'two states' also support Sharon's offensives. They know that democratic concessions will never
satisfy the Islamists.
Sharon, however, has his own agenda. Two facts highlight this.
Although Palestinian towns in the occupied territories have been encircled by Israeli troops for some time, making the most ordinary
daily travel very difficult for Palestinians, it is only now that the
Israeli government has started building barriers along the 1967
borders. Why? Because the Israeli far right sees such barriers as
conceding that the territory on the other side of the barriers is
Palestinian. Moreover, the people calling for international troops to
establish security are the Palestinians; those rejecting them are the
Under pretext of responding to the suicide bombing, but in fact with
its own agenda, Sharon's government has again sent troops into five
West Bank cities and imposed curfews there.
According to Israeli peace activists: "For the fourth time in three
months Israeli troops have re-invaded Nablus under the pretext of
fighting terrorism. The one hundred and fifty thousand residents are
forced to remain inside their homes as a strict 24-hour military
curfew has been imposed over the city.
"Mass arrests are taking place in most of the neighbourhoods of the
city. Thus far dozens of Palestinians have been seized and sent to
detention centres. The whole social, educational and medical systems
have come to a standstill; the end of year high school exam has been
cancelled due to the fact that students are unable leave their homes
to attend school.
"Medical teams are prevented from moving freely, ambulances are
frequently stopped and medical personnel are harassed".
In Jenin, "currently, the area of the refugee camp has been
completely sealed off and Israeli forces have begun to round up all
men between the age of 15 and 55".
As the conflict spirals, the bedrock truth is more relevant than
ever: there can be neither justice for the Palestinians, nor security
for the Israeli Jews, without a consistently democratic policy
recognising the right to self-determination for both nations. Israel out of the occupied territories! For an independent Palestinian state with the same rights as Israel!
Justice for the Palestinians
Left activists from Middle Eastern countries and from Britain have
come together to launch a new committee called "Justice for the
Palestinians". The committee demands no uniformity of analysis or
detailed politics, but is united around four demands:
- Immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from the occupied territories!
- For an independent Palestinian state with the same rights as Israel!
- For the right of both peoples to live at peace in their own
- Condemn Israeli state terrorism, and Islamic terrorism against
The initial sponsors are: Workers' Liberty, Solidarity,
Worker-communist Party of Iraq, International Federation of Iraqi
Refugees, Worker-communist Party of Iran, International Federation of
Iranian Refugees, International Campaign for a Referendum for
Kurdistan, Communist Party of Great Britain. Contact:
The Committee for Two States
The Committee for Two States is a new labour movement initiative
designed to combine support for justice for the Palestinians with
opposition to the demonisation of Israel that dominates so much of
the pro-Palestinian activity in Britain. At the initiative of the
campaign, a motion supporting Two States was recently passed by the
Communication Workers Union. Many trade union branches have passed
motions in support. For a copy of the model motion contact us.
Contact: PO Box 28124, London SE6 4WS. Call: 07985 256490/07904 033053.
By Mark Osborn
Marwan Barghouti, the Fatah leader in the West Bank and a member of
the Palestinian Legislative Council, has been held by the Israeli
authorities since his abduction on 15 April 2002 - without trial and
without charge. Barghouti was apprehended in the West Bank town of
Ramallah, an area under Palestinian legal jurisdiction.
Barghouti claims that he has been threatened and tortured by Israeli
security services - something which seems very plausible.
Israel accuses Barghouti of being the key leader of the second
Palestinian intifada and being the directing force behind the al-Aqsa
Brigades, who have recently carried out suicide bombing attacks
against Israeli civilians. Israel wants to break Barghouti - a highly
popular grass-roots leader, and likely successor to PLO leader Yasser
Arafat - and use his testimony to implicate Arafat in military
actions against Israel.
Barghouti, who was present when Sharon visited the Temple Mount in
September 2000, wants to: "continue the intifada - meaning the
resistance of the occupation by all means. I think this is the only
option of the Palestinian people. The shortest way to achieve
independence is to make the Israeli occupation have a high price.
Eventually the Israeli public will change its mind. This is our
strategy: to fight."
He is for two states [explaining to a hostile interviewer]: "You must
understand, once and for all, that you must end the occupation. You
must announce that Israel is leaving the territories. Present a
timetable of a month, six months, a year. The important thing is a
timetable for withdrawal from all of the territories and the
dismantling of the settlements, and announce that you recognise an
independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem.
"A solution must be found for the refugee problem. I believe that
such a solution will be found. The moment you announce the end of the
occupation and recognise a sovereign, genuine Palestinian state - not
a vassal state - at that moment everything will change. It will be
possible to solve the refugee problem as well, believe me. I mean it."
Solidarity does not support the Palestinian bombers who target
Israeli civilians. Nevertheless Israel must talk to people such as
Marwan Barghouti, not jail and torture them.
That is the way forward: dialogue and respect for democratic rights.