End the siege of Gaza – End the occupation of Palestine

Text of Socialist Party leaflet for tomorrow’s protests in solidarity with Palestine.

Over the last two weeks we have watched in horror as the Israeli State, the fourth largest military power in the world has waged a murderous assault on Gaza. An estimated 242 Gazans have been killed over the course of 11 days, while buildings were leveled by sustained Israeli bombardment. The sight of such war crimes has become all too familiar — this is the fourth such attack since 2009.

While a ceasefire may bring an end to the Netanyahu government’s bombardment of Gaza, the assault on the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli police shows that the violence against Palestinians will continue in other forms — as of course will the occupation, the systemic racism and besiegement Palestinians face daily in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and within Israel itself. The Israeli apartheid regime will continue its brutal dispossession and colonisation of Palestinian land with horrific consequences for its people.

“None so fitted to break the chains as they who wear them” — James Connolly

This week we witnessed the historic “Strike for Dignity” by workers and small businesses in both the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and amongst Palestinian workers within Israel itself. The Israel Builders Association was forced to admit that the strike paralysed building sites on Tuesday, causing estimated losses of nearly $40 million, owing to the fact that only 150 out of 65,000 workers came to work. This is a real testament to the power of working-class people.

This strike is reflective of a new mood of defiance amongst Palestinian working and young people. These methods of mass struggle from below stand in the traditions of the First Intifada in 1987, when a mass uprising by the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza shook the Israeli occupation. A democratically organised, grassroots uprising from below can deal real blows to the Israeli regime.

International solidarity grows

An inspiring protest movement in solidarity with Palestine has resurged globally as mass protests have taken place in cities as diverse as Baghdad, Daka, New York, Cape Town, London and those here in Ireland. This movement stands in stark contrast to the approach of the imperialist and capitalist powers, such as those in Europe and the United States, who continue to arm and support the Israeli State.

The international trade union movement must organise workers to target those companies who profit and benefit from the occupation and oppression of Palestinian people. They must follow the amazing example of Italian dock workers who refused to handle armaments that were destined towards Israel.

They should also follow the courageous example of a number of Israeli Jewish workers who have taken solidarity action in recent weeks in defence of their Palestinian workmates who have faced racist attacks by far-right mobs.

End the rule of capitalist regimes

Palestinian liberation will never come about as long as the oppressive, capitalist Israeli regime is in power. Nor will it come as long as this wider region is dominated by imperialism and the corrupt, capitalist dictatorships, such as those in Egypt (which controls the Rafah border with Gaza and consequently is complicit in maintaining the siege), Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, who openly ally themselves with the Israeli State. Their rule, and that of their system, must be brought to an end and the imperial powers must be kicked out of the Middle East.

It is the working class and the oppressed masses, on the basis of revolutionary, socialist struggle from below, that can end occupation, oppression and injustice. Such a struggle could unite Palestinian, Israeli-Jewish and working people throughout the region in the fight for a society where the wealth and resources are publicly owned and democratically controlled, and utilised for the benefit of all.

The Socialist Party and Socialist Struggle Movement (our sister organisation in Israel/Palestine) stand for a truly independent and socialist Palestine, alongside a democratic, socialist Israel with free and open borders, and with the rights of minorities guaranteed. This would be linked to revolutionary socialist transformation of the wider Middle East.

A struggle for such a solution can end the nightmare of occupation, poverty and exploitation.

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