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A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people
Vol. 66/No.14April 8, 2002

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Front page editorial
U.S. must end all aid to
murderous Israeli regime
For a democratic, secular Palestine!
Photo - see caption below
Palestinians rally in Jabaliya refugee camp, Gaza Strip, on February 8. Their struggle against Israeli occupation is having a deep impact among Israeli working people.
Working people in the United States should demand an immediate end to Washington's aid to the Israeli regime, which in the last month has escalated its murderous attacks on Palestinians. U.S. funds and military equipment continue to pour into Israel, even as the U.S. government presents itself as a neutral party in the efforts to force the Palestinian leadership to halt the nearly one-and-a-half-year period of heightened Palestinian resistance.

The intolerable conditions imposed on Palestinian working people, from the mounting death toll to the wholesale destruction of farms, homes, and public buildings, and the lockdown imposed on an entire people, underline the pressing need to build a movement to overthrow the Israeli state and establish a democratic, secular Palestine. Only through such a revolution will Palestinians and Jews be able to live as equals, regardless of race or creed. A principal demand of such a struggle is the right of all Palestinians to return to their former family homes.

As U.S. government officials apply pressure to cobble together an agreement to tamp down the fighting, all they have to offer are variations of the deals signed in the last decade, built on attempts to divide the Palestinians and stifle their resistance by setting up a "statelet" on tiny areas of land. The resulting enclaves are surrounded by fortified Israeli settlements, military installations, and army-controlled roads. The Palestinian people are at the mercy of Israel for jobs, funds, and even water.

Future cease-fires and "peace agreements" based on concessions from either side will be more short-lived than the Oslo, Wye, or other accords, and the explosion of new intifadas and resulting Israeli assaults will be more fierce.

Today the Palestinian struggle is having an immense and deepening impact inside Israel. War-weariness has affected many; in this highly militarized country such moods have even infected the army, some of whose soldiers have rejected their assigned role as assassins and jailers of an entire people.

The Israeli military is being used as a police force, causing even further demoralization among troops. From the other side of the growing polarization, voices are calling for all-out war and the total expulsion of all Palestinians.

Suicide bombings and increasingly effective guerrilla attacks are wreaking a real toll inside Israel. One in four of those who have died in the current conflict have been Israelis. Fifteen years ago, during another period of heightened struggle, the proportion was one in 25. In a boost to Palestinian morale and an equal blow to Israeli confidence, Palestinian fighters have destroyed two "invincible" Merkhava tanks. Meanwhile, researchers predict that within eight years Palestinians will outnumber Jews in the area west of the Jordan river.

In this situation, some Jews in Israel are drawing far-reaching conclusions. A growing number are asking themselves, "can the Jews survive," as they see the jaws of the Israeli death trap opening further. In explanation for his refusal to serve in the occupied territories, one military reservist wrote, "the 'sterile' Jewish space created by the state of Israel is a ghetto for its Jewish residents. It prevents them from integrating into the Middle East. Nobody is safe in this space--either Jews or Arabs."

The young soldier's words illuminated the perpetual state of Israel, founded on the dispossession of the Palestinian people who have never stopped fighting for their land. For the peoples and countries of the Middle East, the existence of this garrison state means permanent war, including a number of full-blown conflicts with surrounding countries.

In spite of the myth that it provides a refuge for the Jewish people from the horrors of fascism, Israel is in fact a death trap for the Jewish people.

Both history and contemporary experience show that there is no possibility of ending anti-Semitism while capitalism holds sway. Only the overthrow of this rotten system will end the ever-present scourge of Jew hatred fostered under capitalist rule.

While some Jews may nurture illusions of assimilation, such dreams are quickly shattered as sharp economic and social crises develop and rightist movements are sponsored by the leading capitalist families. Fascist gangs, used by the bosses as battering rams against the labor movement, inevitably scapegoat the Jews to divert mass anger from the capitalist system and the unemployment, ruin, and brutality it brings with it.

The national struggle of the Palestinians is an important front in the worldwide fight against the imperialist order. They and the great majority of Jewish people in the Middle East have a solid basis for common action. The Israeli state and its imperialist backers are the enemies of both. It will suffer the same fate as Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa, other racist colonial-settler states established by the imperialist powers.

Through their struggle, the toilers of the region will determine the shape of a democratic, secular Palestine, including the fate of regimes and countries like the majority-Palestinian territory of Jordan, and the pro-imperialist monarchy that rules it. Already the deepening Palestinian struggle is destabilizing the imperialist order throughout the Middle East, and putting bumps in the road of Washington's preparations for war against Iraq.

Working people in the United States and around the world need to get out the truth about the Palestinian struggle and its historic line of march. Pathfinder books, the Militant, and Perspectiva Mundial are invaluable tools in this effort. Public forums and discussions about revolutionary perspectives for the Middle East, and how the anti-imperialist struggle there intersects with the fight against capitalism around the world, are also needed today. As we engage in this discussion, working people should demand: End U.S. aid to the Israeli regime! Stop the Israeli assaults! Israel out of the occupied territories! Self-determination for the Palestinian people! For a democratic, secular Palestine!

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