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Ch.9 The War in Palestine in 1949 (and 1956, 1967, 1973…) The ’insoluble’ conflict

posted 27 Jan 2012, 13:17 by Admin uk

War and Resistance is a translation of the Swedish book Draksådd, originally published in 2004. It analyzes the most important wars of the past hundred years. It examines the role of UN, civil disobedience and many other failed attempts to stop war. And as a contrast explains why other forms of resistance to war have been successful. This is Chapter 9.

It takes a whole night

to make a day

Javed Shaheen

Pakistani poet

The Arab people have for centuries shared a common language, reli­gion, culture and history. They lived in a territory that extended from Iraq in the east to Mauritania in the west. During medieval times their ru­lers were strong rivals to many European powers. But after that they went into a period of decline and were occupied by the Ottoman Empire, cen­tred on Turkey, and later Britain, France, Italy and Spain. To stop a new po­werful Arab nation emerging has always been a top priority of imperialism. For a long time they have skilfully used the game of divide and rule as me­ans to this end.

Various leaders in the region have played along with this, hoping thereby to maintain themselves in power. This has lead to one war after the other. But despite this, every once in a while, unity has been forged between workers of different religions and nationalities.

Divide and rule

When Turkey allied itself with Germany in the First World War, the Bri­tish promised the Arabs independence as a means of gaining their support against Germany. In October 1915, Sir Henry McMahon, the British High Commissioner in Egypt, wrote to the Sherif (Emir) of Mecca, Husayn ibn Ali, declaring that “Great Britain is prepared to recognise and support the independence of the Arabs in the regions within the limits demanded by the Sherif of Mecca”.1

In June 1916, Husayn led an Arab uprising and, together with the British, marched north to throw the Ottoman forces out of Trans-Jordan, Palesti­ne and Syria. The British forces were led by T.E. Lawrence, better known as “Lawrence of Arabia”.

But the British had no intention of allowing a strong Arab nation to deve­lop. Even before Husayn’s rebellion, they had reached a secret understan­ding with France and Russia. The Sykes-Picot Agreement, as it was known as, was made public by the Soviet government after the Russian revolution.2 Drawing lines on a map, the three big powers divided up the Arab region into spheres of interest.

Areas roughly equivalent to present-day Lebanon and Syria were to be­long to France. Jordan and Iraq fell to Britain, and Palestine was to be jo­intly administered by the British, French and Russians. The Agreement also allowed a limited autonomy for Arabs in some parts of the region, but Husayn inb Ali’s plans for an independent Arab nation were never even considered.

The British also sought the support of Jewish leaders in the First World War. After the successful Arab uprising against the Ottoman rulers, Lord Balfour, the British home secretary, wrote a letter to Lord Rothschild, le­ader of the Jewish community in Britain. In this letter , the so called Balfo­ur Declaration, he wrote that Britain would do its best to facilitate the esta­blishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.

Most Jews, however, were not interested in settling in Palestine at this time. In 1914, 660 000 of the 800 000 Palestinian population were Muslims, a tenth were Christians, and less than a tenth were Jews.3

After the First World War, the League of Nations implemented the Sykes-Picot Agreement in all but name, apart from giving Palestine entirely to the British in 1920. Arab uprisings against this continued more or less througho­ut the period between the two world wars, causing Britain and France to reli­nquish direct control of the region little by little, but not before they had fo­und dependable monarchs (often imported) in whose hands they could safe­ly place the reins of power. In 1922 they let Egypt go, in 1932 Iraq and Sau­di Arabia, in 1943 Lebanon, in 1946 Jordan and Syria, in 1967 South Yemen, and as recently as 1971, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. This enabled them to sow division between Arabs. In practice, the French and British continued to control most of the Middle East until the end of the Se­cond World War, when the US emerged as the leading power.

One of the conditions of the British mandate from the League of Nations was that a homeland was to be created for the Jews. Despite this and the Balfour Declaration the British government did little to honour this pledge. As early as 1921, Winston Churchill, then minister for colonial affairs, issu­ed a White Book which declared that Jews would never be allowed political supremacy in Palestine (nor Arabs, either, for that matter).

United struggle

Arab and Jewish leaders had conflicting national interests, yet Arab and Je­wish workers often joined together in their struggle to win better terms from the colonial administration and private employers. One example is the conflict at the Nesher quarry and cement factory in the mid-1920s. When the factory was being built in 1924-25, Jews working there were paid 20 pia­stras an hour and worked an eight-hour day. The 80 Egyptians employed at the site were paid only 10 piastras an hour and had to work for nine or ten hours a day. When the Jewish workers went on strike, demanding 25 pia­stras an hour, recognition of their trade union and other improvements, they asked for and received the support of the Egyptian workers. After a two-month strike, most of the Jewish workers’ demands were met, but the Jewish owner fired the Egyptians. The Jewish workers then voted 170 to 30 to stay out until the Egyptians had been reinstated.

However, the Jewish trade union confederation Histadrut (which denied Arabs full membership until 1959) pressured the Jewish workers into re­turning to work. The Egyptians were sent back to Egypt. Jewish leaders were not the only ones to oppose all forms of joint struggle. The Arab le­adership was equally anxious. Nonetheless, in the decades up until the par­tition of Palestine, joint actions were also staged by Jewish and Arab bake­ry workers, railway workers, bus and taxi drivers, dock workers, oil workers and others.4

In the 1920s, Communist parties often played a crucial part in bringing Jews and Arabs together. Leopold Trepper, himself a Jew, and later to become a Soviet master spy in Hitler’s Germany, describes how in his memoirs.5 The party, originally dominated by Jews, founded an organisation called Unity (Ichud in Hebrew, Itachat in Arabic). Its programme was very simple.

> Fight to open up Histadrut (the Israeli trade union confederation) to

Arab workers and create an international trade union.

> Create opportunities for contact between Jews and Arabs, especially b

means of cultural events.

Unity was an immediate success. Towards the end of 1925, it had branches in Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv and in farming villages where Arab and Je­wish labourers worked side by side. The branches multiplied in number. In late 1926, the movement held its first national conference, attended by over a hundred delegates, of which forty were Arabs. The influence that the mo­vement began to exert on the kibbutz’s worried the Histadrut leaders, who failed to understand how Jews and Arabs could wage a joint struggle.

Unity was persecuted by the British occupying power, and opposed by Zio­nist organisations and reactionary Arabs. Trepper himself was constantly in and out of prison. But it was Stalin, not domestic repression, that destroy­ed the movement. Everywhere, Stalinist bureaucrats were replacing Ma­rxist internationalism with their own narrow nationalist policies. The Co­mintern (the Communist International) adopted a resolution in 1928 cal­ling for the “Arabisation” of the Palestine Communist Party. This was in line with the theory of “socialism in one country”, which meant that each nation was to pursue its own struggle. Accordingly, Stalin dissolved the Co­mintern in 1943.

More British deception

In 1936, Arab opposition to the British occupation escalated, resulting in what has been described as the first Intifada. In April, a general strike deve­loped into a full-scale uprising. The Arab leadership just managed to bring the movement under control. In October the strike ended. The British go­vernment responded with brutal repression. Among its tactics was one that has become highly popular with the present Israeli government – the de­molition of Arab housing.

The British government then set up the Peel Commission to determine how to gain control of the situation in Palestine. In 1937, the commission proposed dividing the country into a Jewish part (involving the forced re­settlement of a quarter of a million Arabs), an Arab part, and an area that the British would continue to rule themselves. The Arabs refused to accept the Peel plan, and local uprisings continued until 1939.

In that year, the British government changed its mind once again about the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. In another White Book, it offered Pa­lestine the prospect of independence in ten years time. This was partly due to the mass struggle of the Arab people, but also because Britain once aga­in wanted the support of the Arabs in the fight against Hitler. Jewish sup­port in the war was taken for granted.

The British declared that they would retain power in Palestine until such time as the Arabs were ‘ripe’ for independence. The 1939 White Book was incompatible with the mandate issued to the British by the League of Na­tions, and was denounced by the League’s Permanent Mandates Commis­sion. But the big powers were now preparing to settle their differences with war, and the League of Nations had become an anachronism.

During the Second World War the British government stopped Jewish emi­gration to Palestine, sometimes with catastrophic results. The Struma, a scarcely seaworthy ship, overcrowded with approximately 790 Rumanian Jews fleeing from Nazi persecution, arrived in Istanbul in December 1941. The Turkish authorities did not allow the refugees ashore and asked the Bri­tish if the ship could be allowed to sail to Palestine. Churchill’s government refused. The pro-German authorities in Bulgaria would not let the ship re­turn to their country. A two-month stalemate was ended when the Turkish authorities towed the ship out to sea without a proper engine, a sail or an anchor. After a night adrift on the open sea, the Struma sank, following an explosion. A Soviet submarine may have torpedoed the ship by mistake. Only one person survived. 6

An upswing for Zionism

Despite such tactics, the British imperialists failed in their bid to stop the flow of Jews to Palestine. During the Great Depression of the 1930s the US imposed tougher restrictions to halt the flow of immigrants, and with the German Nazis trying to annihilate the Jewish people altogether, many Jews considered resettlement in Palestine the only safe alternative.

Some Zionists organised themselves into guerrilla groups such as Irgun and Stern, and in pursuit of a Jewish state launched a violent campaign against both the British and the Arabs. Under Menachim Begin, who later beca­me prime minister, Irgun was responsible for the bombing of the King Da­vid Hotel in Jerusalem, where the British military HQ was located. Some 90 people died. Nor did Irgun and Stern hesitate to use terror tactics aga­inst the Arab population. In November 1947, they began driving Arabs out of towns where the population was mainly Jewish. Five months later, Irgun terrorists entered the village of Deir Yassin west of Jerusalem and slaugh­tered at least 150 people, mostly women and children. The Stern group was responsible for the murder of Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN’s emissary in the region. One of the Stern leaders was Yitzhak Shamir, who later succeeded Begin as Israeli premier.

Many Jews in Palestine were against both the practices and the aims of the two gangs. The leftist Zionist organisation Hashomer Hatza’ir (and a number of liberal Zionists) wanted to establish an independent secular Palestine.

More workers unity

After the Second World War, people revolted throughout the world against tyranny and colonialism. In Palestine, too, the struggle exploded. In April 1946, a major strike was launched in Palestine that developed into the lar­gest manifestation of solidarity between Jewish and Arab workers ever seen in the country.

Jewish and Arab postal, telephone and telegraph workers initiated the stri­ke and rapidly extracted far-reaching concessions. However, against the re­commendations of the union leadership they overwhelmingly turned the offer down. Then Jewish and Arab railway workers also came out on strike. A united struggle of all railway and postal workers was unprecedented, even middle and lower level white-collar government employees took part in the strike. Less than a week after the first postal workers had come out, around 23 000 government employees were on strike. Tens of thousands of wor­kers employed at British military bases, along with the petroleum workers in and near Haifa, considered joining the strike.7

This could have been the final nail in the coffin of the colonial administra­tion. However, the movement was quashed through the joint efforts of the Histradut leadership, right-wing Zionists, Arab nationalists, and PAWS’ (Pa­lestinian Arab Workers Society) conservative wing. Consciously or uncon­sciously, their actions paved the way for the bloody partitioning of Palesti­ne. Immediately after the strike ended, there was an upsurge in violence be­tween Arabs and Jews.

Independence and Israel becomes the US’ most trusted ally in the Middle East

To escape the mess they had created, the British raised the Palestine qu­estion in the newly-formed United Nations. The UN’s Special Committee for Palestine voted 33 to 13 in favour of splitting Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab part. Ten countries abstained from voting, among them Britain. In practice, therefore, Israel was created against Britain’s will. On 14 May 1948, the state of Israel officially came into being.

Encouraged and armed by the British, Arab states around Israel launched a war against the embryonic Jewish state. The Jordanian army was equip­ped and trained by the British and was led by a British officer, John Bagot Glubb. British Royal Air Force planes took part in the war. On 7 January 1949, the Israelis shot down four RAF planes.8 The British refused to com­ply with UN recommendations and open the country’s ports to Jews. They maintained their blockade of the Mediterranean to prevent reinforcements from reaching Israel.

Initially, the American administration also backed British policy in the re­gion. The Americans imposed an arms embargo on the new Jewish state and maintained it throughout the early stages of the war between Israel and the Arab states. Saudi Arabia was the United States’ largest and most impor­tant ally in the Middle East. That was where the oil was, then as now. The Americans had strongly backed the al-Saud family when it seized power in Saudi Arabia and proclaimed independence in 1932.

The American elite, however, were split on the issue. Some sympathised with the Israelis, and they were backed by others who viewed support for the Jewish state as a way of reducing Britain’s influence in the Middle East and thereby strengthening America’s position in the region. When a truce was declared, the US lifted its embargo.

Despite British military assistance, the Arab states were soundly defeated in the war. Israel seized more territories than had been allotted to it in the 1947 UN resolution to divide Palestine. By way of revenge, Jews who had long been living in Arab countries were brutally driven out. Arab Jews be­came an underclass in Israel.

For many years it was claimed that the Soviet Union supported the Palesti­nian cause from the outset, but this is not true. The Soviet Union voted for the creation of the state of Israel. After the Second World War, the Stalinist regime found itself at odds with its former ‘allies’ and cast around for sup­port elsewhere. As Britain was against the establishment of Israel, the Sta­linist bureaucrats saw the creation of the Jewish state as a blow to British aspirations in the region. Accordingly, they sent weapons to Jews in Palesti­ne via Czechoslovakia.

Later, the roles were reversed. In the 1950s, Egypt seemed to be planning to abolish capitalism. When Egypt nationalised the Suez Canal in 1956, Bri­tain, France and Israel invaded Egypt. The Soviet Union supported Egypt against Israel.

The Americans were totally against the invasion of Egypt, as it risked dama­ging their oil dealings in the region. President Eisenhower threatened a boy­cott unless Israel withdrew its troops from Sinai. In the end Israel complied.

However, in the 60s the US shifted its stance more firmly in favour of Isra­el. In Syria, capitalism and feudalism were abolished following a military coup in 1963. Iraq also began to shift towards the Soviet sphere. Saudi Ara­bia was a highly unstable, despotic state in which slavery was not formal­ly abolished until the 1960s. Revolution threatened the whole region. The US concluded that Israel was the state that would be its most reliable ally in the Middle East.

Israel was granted special privileges. The US providing it with the largest per capita amount of aid for civilian purposes ever granted to any coun­try. Israel has received seventeen times as much money per head of popu­lation as other countries received under the Marshall Plan for post-war re­construction in Europe. In addition, Jews outside Israel donate huge amo­unts to the Israeli economy every year.

In contrast to most poor countries, Israel has been permitted substantial trade restrictions on imports. At the same time, it has benefited from favo­urable export terms, particularly for exports to the US, which was its princi­pal trading partner for many years. In contrast to most poor countries, Isra­el could therefore develop into an industrialized country.

Palestinian resistance begins

The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) was founded in 1964 at the initiative of Egypt’s President Nasser. It is an umbrella body for a wide ran­ge of organisations. The largest of these is al-Fatah, which has links to the Socialist International. Some of the other groups used to call themselves Marxist. The PLO has never had a cohesive ideology, apart from its earlier objective of crushing the state of Israel. Prior to 1967, the PLO had little support among Palestinians. It was not until after the Six-Day War in 1967, when many Palestinians came under Israeli occupation, that the PLO ga­ined mass support.

The PLO began its struggle with a guerrilla war, inspired by Vietnam and Cuba. Their base were the refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon that grew up when many Arabs were driven out of Israel in 1948 and 1967. But the si­tuation differed considerably from Vietnam or pre-revolutionary Cuba. The PLO attacked a state that enjoyed the support of most of the population. There were no mountains or jungles for the guerrillas to hide in. Only open ground lay between the refugee camps and the guerrillas’ targets in Israel. Guerrilla war had no chance of succeeding.

The PLO’s reliance on guerrilla warfare, and later diplomacy, also made it eco­nomically and militarily dependent on the Soviet Union and reactionary Arab states. All the dictatorial Arab governments in the countries surrounding Isra­el treated the Palestinians badly seeing them merely as a means of diverting the struggle against their own regimes into a struggle against Israel.

The PLO soon fell out with the Jordanian king. He found the presence of another armed force in his territory unacceptable. It represented a threat to his despotic rule. In September 1970, “Black September”, he launched his armed attack against the PLO. Many Palestinians died, all were disarmed, and the PLO was thrown out of Jordan.

The PLO headquarters ended up in Tunis. Driven out of Jordan, defeated by Israel in Lebanon, isolated from the Palestinian people, their leader Yas­ser Arafat survived on handouts.

The Intifada

This was not the end of the struggle. On the contrary, it was the beginning of the real struggle. In December 1987, the Intifada began. The PLO’s ter­rorist activities had caused most Palestinians to become passive. Why do anything when there were heroes doing things for you? It was enough to cheer them on. But once the PLO was defeated the majority of Palestinians began to take control over their own fate.

The Palestinians were spurred to action by the terrible situation they fo­und themselves in (and still find themselves in). All Palestinians in the occu­pied territories, apart from a small middle-class, lived in abject poverty. Mil­lions were stuck in giant refugee camps. Those who did not live in the refu­gee camps were not much better off, usually occupying tumbledown houses with no sanitation. Unemployment was very high and poverty appalling.

On top of all this, the Palestinians had no legal rights whatsoever and were brutally repressed by the Israeli army. They had to put up with confiscation of their land, the destruction of homes belonging to the families of suspec­ted terrorists, arrests without trial for up to twelve months (and subject to extension), and curfews of up to 40 days’ duration.

It was the Palestinians themselves who financed the oppression. Two and a half times more was sucked out of the occupied areas in the form of ta­xes than was returned in the form of public investments. The tax authori­ties collected tax under military escort.

The Intifada was very different from the guerrilla warfare that had prece­ded it. It mainly took the form of large demonstrations and throwing sto­nes at Israeli soldiers. Between 1968 and 1975 there was an average of 350 ‘violent incidents’ a year in Israel/Palestine. During the first six months of the Intifada, there were 42 355 such incidents. The Intifada was an uprising that involved the entire population and was organised from the bottom up, without any interference from the PLO. Neighbourhood committees were set up to organise the protests and began to develop along democratic lines. Women were brought into the struggle. When the Palestinian economy col­lapsed under pressure from the Israelis, the neighbourhood committees be­gan organising community services such as food supply, education and he­althcare. It was the start of a revolutionary movement.

Israel responded by raising the level of oppression. In 1988, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (who was later awarded the Nobel peace prize) ordered Isra­eli troops to “break demonstrators’ bones”.9 Amnesty International repor­ted that medical staff in prisons often found themselves “in conflict with medical ethics”.10 Torture was even sanctioned under Israeli law, which is unique for a supposedly democratic country. Since 1987, Israelis are allo­wed to exert “physical and psychological pressure against Palestinian deta­inees”.11

The Israeli violence failed to deter the Palestinians. Instead, it strengthened their resolve, and cemented a Palestinian national consciousness. Previously Arabs living in Palestine had seen themselves more as a part of the Arab nation than as specifically Palestinians.

The Intifada created major problems for the Israeli regime. For the first time since the partition of Palestine after the Second World War, Palestinian protests found a big response among Jews. Three years (for men) or two years (for women) of military service in the occupied territories – during which the soldiers were exposed to the hatred of the entire population, stone-throwing young Palestinians, and having to regularly beat and shoot civilians – took its toll. During and after the Intifada, tens of thousands of Israelis left the country on completion of their military service to try and find peace of mind in countries such as Thailand, Japan and the US.

The Israeli peace movement experienced an upswing and organised mass demonstrations that drew crowds of between 50 000 and 100 000, in a country of little more than four million people. Senior military officers also expressed strong doubts about the possibility of a military solution to the conflicts on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. They saw how the whole army was being demoralised.

The ground was prepared for the two movements to link up. But it never happened. Because on what program should they have fused? Dividing the area into a Palestinian state and a Jewish state? Or creating a secular state in which Palestinians and Jews have equal rights? Neither were, or are, a realistic alternative.

Two states?

As a result of the Intifada an agreement was reached in 1993 providing for a transitional period of Palestinian self-rule on the West Bank and Gaza. This was an extremely limited form of autonomy, and there has been no transition to independence. In fact, since then the possibility of achieving Palestinian independence has receded. Israel did initially agree to provide a certain amount of weapons to a Palestinian police force in the autonomous areas, as long as the police was controlled by people that had allied themselves with Israel. However, they will never be prepared to accept the presence of anything that could be a threat. Consequently, the Israeli army intervenes time and again in Palestine.

Nor does Palestine stand a chance economically. There is scarcely a Palestinian economy worth speaking of. About a third comes from foreign sources (foreign aid, Palestinian guest workers in other countries, etc) and a third from exports to Israel. Palestine is an economic dwarf compared with Israel. Israel has a population almost twice the size of Palestine and a GDP almost forty times as large.12

To get their economy moving, the Palestinians need help. The US is not going to provide it, and nor are the other rich countries. Olive oil is not as attractive as crude oil. Also, capitalism is currently undergoing a phase of economic decline, mass unemployment and crisis in the rich countries as well. In the absence of economic progress, poverty will continue and with it popular revolt. And further Israeli interventions.

Then there is the crucial problem of water. Many of Israel’s freshwater re­serves are in Palestinian territory. Of the West Bank’s water, 86% goes to Israel, ten per cent to the Jewish settlers and just four per cent to the Pale­stinians. The water is already beginning to dry up. As a result, saltwater is entering the wells. On the West Bank, Palestinians are having to buy 70% of their water from the Israelis, at a high price. In the Gaza Strip, a million Palestinians have to share 55 million cubic meters of water while 7 000 Je­wish settlers have 20 million cubic metres at their disposal.13Israel would ne­ver accept an independent Palestinian state taking control over the water in Palestinian territories.

There is also the problem of the many Palestinian refugees. Jews are auto­matically entitled to settle in Israel, but Israel has always refused Palestinians the same right. The UN refugee organisation UNRWA has more than three and a half million Palestinian refugees on its books. A third of them are in UNRWA camps.14 Israel is not going to accept them coming to live in an independent Palestinian state as this would mean that Palestine had a larger population than Israel.

Finally, there are 1.4 million Palestinians living in Israel itself. On what side of the border should they live if two truly independent states were establi­shed? During the latest uprising many Palestinian Israelis begun to take a more active part in the protests. Not surprisingly, the Israeli government views Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship with suspicion. Many have lost their jobs and been denied access to higher education.

A Palestinian state would give the Israeli government an excuse and an op­portunity to throw them out. In all probability, the two-state solution would lead to a bloody wave of ethnic cleansing.

Secular state?

The PLO’s earlier call for a secular state with equal rights for Jews and Pa­lestinians is also doomed to failure. It is no surprise that the PLO has now abandoned the idea. Israel is even less likely to accept a state in which Jews are in a minority than to agree to a separate Palestinian state with a popula­tion larger than Israel’s own. Also, the Israelis had good reason to view the PLO’s ‘secular state’ with suspicion. A closer look at the proposal shows that it would mean a majority of the Jews being thrown out of Palestine.

The PLO Covenant from 1969 states: “The Palestinians are those Arab na­tionals who, until 1947, normally resided in Palestine regardless of whether they were evicted from it or have stayed there. Anyone born, after that date, of a Palestinian father – whether inside Palestine or outside it – is also a Pa­lestinian”. But in Article 6, it states: “The Jews who had normally resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered Pa­lestinians”. This means that the millions who arrived after 1947 could not become Palestinian citizens. Where would they go? And how would they be ‘convinced’ that they have to leave Palestine?

Jews and Palestinians cannot be brought together in a secular state unless the fundamental social and economic problems of the area are solved. Ten­sions are too great. That is why virtually everyone is seeking a way out by dividing the country. But a genuine two-state solution could cause a major disaster. There is no ‘practical’ solution to the problem – within the frame­work of the capitalist system.

The solution is a set-up that may appear ‘abstract’ or ‘theoretical’ today. The only kind of unity that is possible in the Middle East is working class unity across all national, ethnic and religious boundaries. Only the working clas­ses share a common interest. Beneath all the prejudice, disappointment and fear, this truth remains. Suspicion and hatred can be overcome through jo­int struggle against a common enemy and for a socialist future. There is no alternative if the goal is peace and prosperity. All tyrannical regimes in the region must be overthrown. Only the working class has the strength to ac­complish this, and its strength has grown in the half-century that has passed since the state of Israel came into being. Today, the majority of Jews and Palestinians in the region are no longer peasants and farmers but workers.

Marxists in the 1920s, convinced of the need for a joint struggle for so­cialism, found ways of uniting Jews and Arabs. They simply followed the example of the Russian Bolsheviks. Before 1917, Russia was a country wracked by anti-Jewish pogroms. But in October of that year the Russian working class massively supported the Bolsheviks, half of whose central committee members were of Jewish origin.

If the workers used their strength to establish a socialist federation thro­ughout the Middle East, with self-determination for all national and ethnic groups, the region’s economic problems could be solved. Turkey uses only a small part of its water reserves. In pursuit of a better society for all, pe­ople could share Turkey’s water, Israel’s technological expertise, the sheiks’ riches, the oil, and all the money that would otherwise be wasted on we­apons. The problem is not a lack of resources but who owns them and how they are used. A region torn apart by imperialism has to be reunited.


1 From Great Britain. Parliamentary Papers, 1939, Misc. No. 3

2 Ronald Stockton: Teaching the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1993

3 Justin McCarthy: Population of Palestine, 1990

4 Yossi Schwarz: Arab-Jewish Workers’ Joint Struggles Prior to the Partition of Palestine, June 2003.

See www.marxist.com/MiddleEast/arab_jewish_struggles1.html

5 The Great Game, 1975

6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struma

7 www.marxist.com/MiddleEast/arab_jewish_struggles2.html

8 Mitchell Bard: The war of 1948, 2003

9 www.cnn.com/WORLD/9511/rabin/profile/

10 Amnesty International Country Report: Under Constant Medical Supervision, 1996

11 ibid

12 CIA World Fact Book

13 Evert Svensson: Vägen till Palestina, tvĺ folk och ett stycke jord, 2002

14 www.shaml.org/resources/facts/palestinian_refugees_fact_sheet.htm