Against the reactionary war, Against the brutality of capitalism, Workers have no country!
The flames of conflict are once again burning in the Middle East. The people of Palestine and Israel are being slaughtered. The brutality of capitalism is again showing its ugly face in the form of war. On 7 October 2013, the military wing of Hamas launched thousands of rockets towards Israeli cities in a surprise operation called the “Al-Aqsa Storm” and continued military raids in Israeli towns and cities while infiltrating inside Israel. Other Palestinian militant groups then joined the “Al-Aqsa Storm” offensive. The Israeli army also started a destructive campaign involving the extensive aerial bombardment and suppression of Palestinian militias under the name of “Iron Swords”. Up to this point, thousands of dead and wounded, the majority of them civilians, of course, have been the result of this reactionary war.
Both sides resort to the brutality of the other to justify the war, and accordingly, they consider the destruction of the adversary their natural right and view it as a legitimate defence. Both groups have committed crimes against humanity during these conflicts.
This war should be examined within the framework of global capitalism as the expansion of military tensions to the ends of the earth. Great imperialist powers are responsible for this brutality and this war. The roots of the current disputes go back to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Great imperialist powers divided the various important and strategic parts of the Middle East among themselves based on their interests. The British bourgeoisie, in line with its famous divide and rule policy, prepared the ground for the establishment of a “Jewish homeland” in Palestine through the Balfour Declaration. At the end of the Second World War, the victorious powers, in line with their imperialist interests, separated hundreds of thousands of victims of concentration camps and other Jewish refugees from their countries and arranged for them to be transferred to Palestine. In 1947, the Jewish refugees who were transported to Palestine by boat installed a banner on the ship in which they expressed their hopes as follows:
“The Germans destroyed our families and homes – don’t you destroy our hopes”.
As soon as Israel’s independence was announced, all the victorious powers involved in the Second World War recognized it in line with their imperialist interests. The Soviet Union was one of the first countries to recognize Israel, just three days after declaring its independence on 14 May 1948. With the development of the Cold War, Israel gradually became not only a sphere of influence of the West, but also its most important ally in the Middle East. First, the British and French and then the Americans armed Israel to the teeth in line with their imperialist goals. Israel was equipped with an atomic bomb with the help of the French. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union, in line with its imperialist aims, defended national liberation movements as well as countries that followed the “non-capitalist growth path”, for example, Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc. It was in this context that the Palestinian liberation movement became more left-wing. The Soviet Union, which sought to arm the Arab states under its jurisdiction, which were pursuing the “non-capitalist growth path”, cut off diplomatic relations with Israel following the six-day war of 1967 and Israel’s military victory. Russia established diplomatic relations with Israel again in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union.
During the Cold War, national liberation movements with a radical nature played an important part in imperialist tensions, and the Palestine Liberation Organization with its secular ideology and nationalism was a key player. In order to weaken the position of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel helped to create Hamas, with its Islamic ideology, and they later became each other’s blood enemies. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, national liberation movements no longer played their former role. It was in such contexts that the conditions for concluding the Oslo Accords were prepared. But the Oslo agreement existed only on paper and showed the corruption and bureaucracy of the paper government of the Palestinian Authority. This issue paved the way for the growth of Hamas, which used radical phrases.
Nationalism is one of the most harmful bourgeois ideologies and national hatred is a product of the capitalist social system. The ruling class always uses nationalist illusions to mobilize the masses and this has been a problem for the exploited. Both parties involved have a religious ideological superstructure, one Islamic and the other Jewish. They incite religious fanaticism, in which Jews are told to defend the Western Wall and Muslims are told to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It is suggested to both sides that although they live a hellish life on earth, they know that they will achieve salvation by defending the wall of Western and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Contrary to nationalist illusions, Palestinian workers have not been massacred by Arab governments any less than Israel. During Black September in 1970, at least 3,500 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were slaughtered by King Hussein’s Arab army. In September 1982, Arab militias (Christians and allies of Israel) massacred Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon.
Supporting a Palestinian homeland is as non-proletarian as endorsing a Jewish one, as it is defending a bourgeois state that will serve the exploiters. It is painful that Palestinian and Israeli workers are constantly brainwashed and tainted by nationalism and religion, and consider each other their enemy instead of striving for class solidarity. It is troubling that Palestinian and Israeli workers have been poisoned by religious and nationalist ideology for more than 70 years, and view each other as adversaries instead of seeing their common class enemy. This issue means that the performance of Palestinian and Israeli workers is not in line with the interests of the exploited, but at the service of the exploiters.
But it has not always been like this. If today Israeli butchers are slaughtering innocent Palestinians on one side, and on the other, Palestinian religious criminals are killing blameless Israeli people, in 1947, Arab and Jewish workers together and with shared class solidarity organized a strike in Haifa and collected aid for the workers’ families. It was the Arab and Jewish bourgeoisie who, with the help of the British bourgeoisie, crushed the workers’ strike. The Arab (Palestinian) and the Jewish (Israeli) states are like any other bourgeois ones working against the exploited, that is, reactionary and repressive.
In this same summer of 2023, thousands of people across Gaza protested their living conditions with the slogan “We want to live”. They entered the streets and demonstrated in the same way as in the protests of 2019. In 2018, civil servants in the Gaza Strip went on strike, asking the Hamas government to pay their wages, which had been unpaid for several months. Before that, similar strikes were held in 2014 and 2006.
Strikes have also taken place in Israel in several cases. An airport strike in 2023 virtually stopped traffic at the airport. Before that, for example, there was a general strike in Israel’s public sector, which was accompanied by the closure of airports, seaports, and government offices in 2012. In addition to this, there have been massive protests against the Netanyahu government’s plan to revise the judicial laws on Saturdays in Israeli cities for months. Hundreds of people who were considered reservists announced that they would decline to serve. Dozens of army pilots refused to participate in exercises in protest of the proposed judicial laws. Many former senior commanders of the army and intelligence and security services, former heads of the judiciary and prominent legal and business figures supported the protesters.
Following the Al-Aqsa Storm operation, the opposition cancelled the protests. Although these demonstrations were not progressive, they created serious problems for the Israeli government. More than 100,000 people from the reserve forces have returned to the service and there is talk of national unity. On the opposite front, everyone is talking about national unity against the Zionist enemy.
This is the logic of all imperialist wars, where both sides use civilians as shields and targets, and always kill more non-combatants than soldiers. The Gaza Strip is one of the poorest and most populated areas in the world. In other words, it is a big prison. Contrary to the lies and ridiculous claims of the Israeli authorities, who aim only at terrorist targets in Gaza with focused attacks, Israel bombards Gaza with banned phosphorus munitions. Approximately 450 targets are bombed daily in the narrow strip of Gaza. Most of the victims are women, children and the elderly. Israel’s policy, like that of any other occupying power, has always been collective punishment, punishing the entire population for the actions of a few, not just through general bombardment, but an economic blockade and the imposition of famine on the entire population. Israel’s defence minister has ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, stating:
“I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly”.
In line with the complete economic blockade of Gaza, the Egyptian trucks carrying fuel and food for Gaza through the Rafah crossing were forced to return to Egypt due to the Israeli air attack. When Israel bombs or imposes an economic blockade on Gaza, it creates new support for Hamas and other reactionary movements, for whom Jews and all Israelis are their enemies, just as when Hamas and other jihadi groups shoot rockets, Israelis consider Arabs their adversaries and fall further into the hands of the Israeli government.
As the West equips Israel, so Qatar, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, etc., also help Hamas. For years, Israel bombarded Iranian positions and fortifications in Syria, without Russia showing the slightest reaction. The Iranians could not respond, and were only humiliated. On the other hand, following the American mediation between Israel and some Arab countries under the title of the “Abraham Pact”, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, etc., started normal relations with Israel, and the normalization of dealings with Saudi Arabia was underway. This issue meant the further isolation of Iran. Following the recent war, Saudi Arabia cancelled the process of regularizing relations with Israel until further notice. Saudi Arabia used the word occupation and announced in a critical tone:
“Saudi Arabia had previously warned against the explosion of the tense atmosphere due to the continued occupation, violation of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and disrespect for their sanctities”.
Although the United States and Israel have ruled out Iran’s direct involvement in the “Al-Aqsa Storm” operation, Iran supports Hamas and Islamic jihad despite its differences with Hamas. Following the “Al-Aqsa Storm” offensive, firstly, the normalization of relations with not only Saudi Arabia but other Arab countries will be temporarily stopped, which is part of Iran’s demand. Secondly, Israel’s humiliation of Iranians in Syria for years has now been answered by Hamas. Although in many countries, celebrations have been held in this regard, especially in Iran, these are organized by the government and its bodies.
Due to the back-breaking Western sanctions, Iran has not been able to provide financial aid to its proxy groups as before. Hamas officials participate in corruption and enjoy luxurious lives, using private jets and staying in luxury hotels, while the majority of the Palestinian people live below the poverty line. They increasingly question the position of Hamas officials. Inside Gaza, people started protesting. Hamas and its regional allies such as Iran needed this operation to present a radical image of the “resistance”. This offensive has raised the status of Hamas in Arab countries, especially in the Gulf region, and it will continue to be an actor in imperialist tensions.
There are speculations that the United States already knew about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and allowed it to take place so that the United States would enter the Second World War. According to The Times of Israel, the Egyptian security authorities had previously informed Israel of a “major incident from the Gaza area”, but the Israeli security authorities and the army had focused on the developments in the West Bank in recent weeks and underestimated this warning. Citing an Egyptian security source, The Times of Israel wrote:
“We have warned them an explosion of the situation is coming, and very soon, and it would be big. But they underestimated such warnings”.
It is not clear yet whether Israel deliberately ignored this warning and whether Israel’s information, similar to America’s knowledge about the attack on Pearl Harbor, was in line with its interests, or whether it mistakenly underestimated it. The next developments will probably clarify the answer to this question to some extent.
The escalation of barbarism in the Middle East is part of the growth of imperialist-military tensions across the globe. Capitalism is an endless war in which lasting peace is not possible. Even if the gangsters involved reach a truce, it will be temporary, and in the future, we will see the rise of imperialist friction.
In the wake of the Hamas military operation, the United States announced that an aircraft carrier, a missile cruiser, and four missile-launching destroyers were on their way to the eastern Mediterranean. The US will also send more equipment and ammunition to Israel.
War has become a way of life for capitalism in its decadent age. Capitalism cannot provide a future, as it only spreads brutality and barbarism to more areas. Only the class struggle of the workers can offer an alternative to the brutality of capitalism, because the proletariat does not have a country to defend and its fight must cross national borders and develop on an international scale. Only the working class, by overthrowing capitalism on a global scale, can destroy the material basis of imperialist tensions and bring permanent peace to humanity.
Down with the imperialist war!
Long live the war between the classes!
11 October 2023