Right of Israel to exist is at the heart of Mideast fights

By Terry Evans
June 4, 2018

The recent barrage of Hamas-organized attacks on the Israel-Gaza border, alongside concerted efforts by the counterrevolutionary rulers of Iran to deploy their military forces and Hezbollah allies within striking range of Israel, reflect how the Jewish question is at the center of conflicts in the Mideast today. This involves Israel’s right to exist as a place of refuge in the midst of a worldwide capitalist economic and political crisis that has bred new rounds of Jew-hatred.

Acting in the interests of the U.S. imperialist rulers, the Donald Trump administration is working with both Israel’s rulers and Sunni Arab regimes in the region to push back Tehran’s recent advances and broker a deal between the Israeli government and Palestinian officials.

Hamas mobilized its fighters and other Gaza residents to join provocative attacks against the well-fortified Israeli border. They consciously misled participants to think they could do so without Israeli reprisal. But Hamas Prime Minister Yahya Sinwar described the real aims of their actions: “We will take down the border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies.” Since March 30, some 116 Palestinians have been killed, mostly by Israeli army gunfire.

Much of the U.S. liberal press falsely blamed the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem for the confrontation and prettied up the inflammatory character of the Hamas-organized actions. “Battle Weary, Hamas Gives Peaceful Protests a Chance,” headlined an April 16 New York Times article.

Since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, thousands have died as the result of its strategy of sacrificing Palestinian lives in provocations that draw brutal reprisal from Tel Aviv. Hamas’ strategy is to win sympathy and support in bourgeois public opinion for its goal of destroying Israel and driving the Jewish people there out.

The capitalist rulers in Egypt and Israel have maintained a virtual blockade of Gaza, causing severe shortages that are felt most sharply by working people.

Following Hamas-led charges on the Israeli border May 14 that led to the killing of over 60 Palestinians, the Egyptian government pressed Hamas to halt the actions. Hamas promptly did so, in exchange for Cairo opening a border crossing and allowing aid deliveries. Egyptian government officials hung out the promise of additional assistance to Gaza to encourage the reactionary Hamas group to negotiate with Tel Aviv.

The Egyptian government has deepened its links with Tel Aviv, opening its airspace for Israeli airstrikes on Islamist forces operating in the country’s Sinai desert and against weapons smugglers in Gaza.

Washington presses peace deal

The Trump administration is pushing Cairo, the Saudi monarchs and its other allies in the region to press Palestinian authorities to agree to talks with Tel Aviv.

Speculation is rife among Israeli capitalist politicians about the Trump administration’s coming peace plan proposal and the possible location of a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem. Yair Lapid, leader of the Israeli Yesh Atid opposition party, claimed the U.S. plan, due to be announced in June, would include the neighborhood of Abu Dis as the site of a Palestinian state’s capital.

An emergency May 17 meeting of the Arab League heard a call from Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki for all league member states to withdraw their ambassadors from the United States following the opening of the new U.S. Embassy. So far none of the bloc’s 22 members have done so.

For years many of these governments as well as the rulers in Iran have postured as defenders of the Palestinians. They use their demagogic “support” for the Palestinians to point away from class exploitation at home and bolster the rule of the capitalist class.

The Iranian rulers, their ally Hezbollah and the leaders of Hamas all falsely claim the conflicts in the region stem from Israel’s existence. In reality these clashes are fueled by imperialist competition and intervention alongside the region’s rival capitalist rulers vying for profits and influence.

Jewish leaders declared the state of Israel on Palestinian soil in 1948 coming out of the Holocaust by the Nazi regime in Germany that slaughtered over 6 million Jews, abetted by Washington’s and London’s refusal to allow any significant Jewish immigration. The Israeli rulers consolidated their state in the course of a series of devastating wars against neighboring Arab rulers.

A statement by the Socialist Workers Party issued last December — and available on the Militant’s website — explains there is only one road forward for the toilers in the Middle East, for the contending regimes to recognize both Israel and an independent Palestinian state. Along that course, it says, working people can “defend their space to speak, organize and begin redressing the blood-drenched legacy of imperialist domination and capitalist exploitation.”

The statement adds that this includes the “national oppression across the Arab and Muslim countries as well as the genocidal crimes of the Holocaust, the murderous pogroms preceding it across Eastern and Central Europe and Russia, the enduring reality of Jew-hatred in today’s crisis-ridden capitalist world.”

U.S. to expand Iran sanctions

Washington says it will reimpose sanctions on Iran following its decision to pull out of the 2015 deal struck among the Barack Obama administration, Tehran, and the governments of China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K. That deal eased sanctions in exchange for restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear weapons program.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced May 21 that the administration plans to expand sanctions on the Iranian rulers, part of the White House’s efforts to force Tehran to accept new, more long-lasting restrictions. Above all the U.S. imperialists want to end the Iranian rulers’ expanding reach in the region — a result of its intervention in the wars in Syria and Iraq.

Pompeo said Washington would impose the “strongest sanctions in history” on Iran. The effect of Washington’s moves will fall most heavily on working people, who also bear the deadly brunt of being the cannon fodder for the Iranian rulers’ wars.