Israel/Palestine social protests

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Sep 28 2012 22:00

A sympathiser of our Spanish section has written what looks to be a powerful and analytical article about the movement in 'Palestine':

'Protestas masivas en Cisjordania contra el coste de la vida, el paro y la Autoridad Palestina'

http://es.internationalism.org/node/3484

Any Spanish speakers here? We are aiming to translate it - any offers of help received gratefully.

Mark.
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Sep 28 2012 22:32

I guess I'm not going to translate it but I've skimmed through and it seems like a reasonable article, though there are things I'd disagree with. Maybe it should be posted up on libcom when you do get it translated.

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Sep 29 2012 11:00

OK, we will get it done and put it up when we can...then maybe you can explain what you don't agree with. But it can't be for a week or more, so other offers of help still welcome.....

Mark.
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Nov 6 2012 00:49

Alf - did you get anywhere with translating that article?

-----

From +972:

From factories to farms, labor union champions rights of Palestinians in Israel

-----

Budour Hassan wrote:

Back from an anti-Abbas protest in ‪#Jerusalem‬ where we were beaten and harassed by pro-Abbas thugs as Israeli soldiers gleefully watched.

I will write an article about what happened today in ‪#Jerusalem‬ when I calm down. I'm still a bit shocked, to be honest.

Also

Quote:
A large anti-Abbas protest was brutally attacked by PA security forces in Al-Khalil/Hebron. Two protesters were arrested.

Mark.
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Nov 7 2012 23:27

Budour Hassan: Palestinian protesters harassed, beaten by Abbas supporters in Jerusalem

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Nov 8 2012 08:22

http://supportkurds.org/news/wednesday-7-november-2012/

Quote:
PALESTINIAN INFIGHTING

Highlighting how Palestinian refugees have been drawn into the conflict, rebels killed 10 members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), which is loyal to Assad, in fighting near the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk in Damascus, opposition sources said.

Syrian rebels and pro-opposition Palestinians announced the formation of a new brigade last week to battle the PFLP-GC.

The Syrian foreign ministry said Syria would stand “with full determination against any attempt to drag the Palestinians into what is happening in Syria”, the state news agency SANA reported, quoting a ministry official.

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Nov 12 2012 13:46

Finally got the article on the west bank protests done: http://en.internationalism.org/worldrevolution/201211/5291/demonstration...

Mark.
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Nov 12 2012 21:55

Alf - thanks for the link.

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Nov 12 2012 23:25

You're welcome. Earlier you mentioned that there were some points you didn't agree with - I'd be interested in hearing what they were.

Mark.
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Nov 17 2012 12:14

.
+972: West Bank protesters show solidarity with Gazans

Mark.
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Nov 17 2012 12:06
Alf wrote:

Finally got the article on the west bank protests done: http://en.internationalism.org/worldrevolution/201211/5291/demonstration...

Earlier you mentioned that there were some points you didn't agree with - I'd be interested in hearing what they were.

I've just read through this again and I can't actually find much to disagree with. I can't remember what I picked up on before so it probably wasn't that important. It would be interesting to get reactions from Palestinians and Israelis but I suspect this kind of discussion now happens on Twitter and Facebook rather than forums like libcom.

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Nov 17 2012 12:01

The article in full in case anyone wants to comment...

Massive demonstrations on the West Bank against the cost of living, unemployment, and the Palestinian Authority

In the Middle East, so often on the front pages as a result of military massacres and barbarism, rivalries between different imperialist gangsters who have taken the civil population hostage, and of all sorts of hatreds and nationalist, ethnic, or religious movements (which the ‘democratic’ western powers foment and encourage as it suits their interests); when the bourgeois press has been preoccupied in recent days with the disturbances in the Muslim world  caused by films and cartoons caricaturing Mohammed – virtually nothing is being written about the big demonstrations and strikes during the month of September against the effects of the capitalist crisis on the lives of the proletariat and the oppressed strata in the Palestinian territories on the West Bank. And yet these have been the biggest demonstrations for years1.    
 
In an often desperate situation, the proletariat and the exploited population in the Palestinian territories, subject to military occupation, to blockades and total contempt for their lives and their suffering by the Israeli state, finds it very difficult to escape the influences of nationalism and Islamism, to avoid being dragooned by the various organisations that wage ‘armed resistance’ against Israel – in other words, heading for the sacrificial altar faced with a vastly superior military force. But it is the precisely the struggle against the effects of the profound economic crisis of world capitalism which opens up the possibility of massive proletarian struggles on an international scale, of going beyond sectional, national, ethnic or other divisions within the working class, of breaking out of all kinds of illusions and mystifications (illusions in ‘democracy’ under capitalism, in ‘national liberation’, etc).

Strikes and demonstrations

What unleashed the wave of strikes and demonstrations was the announcement by the government led by Prime Minister Fayyad2 of an increase in the price of basic products like food and petrol. This was the spark which lit the fires of defiance towards the Palestinian Authority. The latter is more and more regarded as a nest of corrupt careerists, protecting a whole caste of Palestinian capitalists of whom Fayyad is the personification. It doesn’t even have a semblance of legitimacy: there has been no electoral circus since 2006 and it’s in conflict with Hamas. It is incapable of solving the least problem of the Palestinian economy which is totally dependent on foreign gifts, which is strangled by the military occupation and Israel’s exhaustive controls over imports and exports, prices, taxes and natural resources (thanks to the Paris accords, the economic annex to the Oslo agreement).

Already during the summer, the malaise gave rise to various protests. For example, at the end of June, a demonstration in Ramallah following the announcement of a meeting between president Abbas and the Israeli Deputy PM, Shauz Mofaz, ended with brutal repression by the Palestinian police.

With massive unemployment (57% according to the UN, and particularly heavy among young people), and a cost of living which means that the majority of population are struggling to eat, and with growing discontent throughout the population (for example, 150,000 government employees are owed back wages), the announcement of the price increases on 1st September was the detonator.

From 4 September massive demonstrations for the improvement of living conditions took place day after day on the West Bank (Hebron, Ramallah, Jenin, etc). The demonstrations were also directed against israeli control of the economy of the territories (the Paris accords), but it was clear that the discontent was not limited to an anti-Israeli or nationalist sentiment. The focus of the demonstrations were living and working conditions. In Ramallah the young people cried “Before we were fighting for Palestine, now we are fighting for a bag of flour”3.

At the beginning of the protests, Abbas, involved in a power struggle with his rival Fayyad, showed sympathy for the “Palestinian spring”. But as the demonstrations developed and the expression of discontent was aimed not only at the Fayyad government or the Paris accords, but against the Palestinian Authority itself, Fatah, which at the beginning had played a certain role in channelling and even organising demonstrations, did everything it could to prevent their radicalisation and extension.

We can say the same about Hamas, which no doubt profited from the mobilisations to try to destabilise the current PA government, but which drew back in the face of the breadth of the movement and the danger of contagion in Gaza. 

In Nablus, a demonstrator declared: “We are here to say to the government that enough is enough...we want a government which lives like the people live and eats what the people eat”4. A placard in the village of Beit Jala put it like this: “We are tired of all the talk of reforms...one government after another...one minister after another...and corruption is still there”5.

In Jenin, the demonstrators demanded a minimum wage, the creation of jobs for all the unemployed and the reduction of the cost of signing on at university. Prime minister Fayyad announced that he was ready to resign.

The massive demonstrations continued, with road blockades and clashes with the police of the Palestinian authority. On 10 September a general transport strike began on the appeal of the unions. Taxi drivers, truckers, bus drivers participated massively. Many sectors, like the employees of the day nurseries, joined the strike. The movement widened. On the 11th the students and high school pupils struck for 24 hours in solidarity with the general strike.

Workers from all the Palestinian universities, together with the students, called a general strike for September 13.

Faced with this situation, and following a meeting with the trade unions, the government announced that it was postponing the price rises, that it would pay half of the wages owed to public employees since August, and that it would make cuts in the salaries and privileges of the politicians and high officials of the PA.

On the 14th, the transport union cancelled the call for a strike because “constructive negotiations” had begun with the PA.

Thus, the massive protests seemed to have calmed down, at least temporarily, but the social malaise had not gone away. The unions of the public employees and the primary school teachers announced mobilisations and work stoppages for the 17th. The unions in the health sector announced on September 18 that they would also begin movements if their demands (increased staffing, improved mobility and chances of promotion for the workers) were still ignored by the government.

The movements seem to have been limited to the West Bank area controlled by the PA.

The importance of the movement

Apart from the particular, concrete elements of the movement, its whole importance lies in the region in which it is taking place. This is a region of interminable bloody imperialist conflicts, whether directly between states or via various pawns6. It is the civil population which suffers the consequences of all this7 and has become fertile soil for the development of reactionary nationalist and religious movements. But above all we should stress that the movement is taking place at the same time as similar movements in the region and internationally. Let’s not forget the big mobilisations last summer in Israel against the high cost of living; despite its weaknesses and its democratic illusions, this movement is an important first step towards breaking the ‘national union’ in a highly militarised state like Israel. Let’s not forget the great workers’ strikes in Egypt which were a decisive moment in the fall of the USA’s protégé Mubarak.

The proletariat and the oppressed strata in Palestine, and everywhere else, need to understand that the only hope for living in peace and dignity, which is the real wish of the immense majority of the Palestinian population, lies in the development of massive struggles alongside all the exploited in the region, beyond all national or religious divisions. Breaking the Palestinian ‘national union’, uniting its struggles, firstly with the exploited and the oppressed in Israel and the entire region – that is the only weapon that can weaken and stay the murderous hand of the Israeli state and of other imperialist gangsters. ‘Armed struggle’ means submitting to the interests of the different nationalist or religious groups and can only lead to endless slaughter and suffering and the strengthening of Palestine’s corrupt exploiting class.

The exploited of Palestine and the rest of the world must have no doubt: if they don’t fight for their own class interests against capitalism, if they allow themselves to be dragged into struggles for national or racial ‘liberation’, if they submit to the ‘general interests of the country’, i.e. the general interests of the bourgeoisie and its state, the present and the future which awaits them under the capitalist system is the same that Mandela’s ANC has reserved for its ‘brothers’ and ‘fellow countrymen’ who work in the mines: poverty, exploitation, and death.

Draba 23 September 2012

  • 1. A good deal of the little information that can be found is obviously centred on the Israeli occupation and on ‘anti-imperialism’ (i.e. ‘anti-Americanism’ and anti the allies of America), like the Cuban agency Prensa Latina or the Iranian state TV agency Press TV, media which are always so comfortable with nationalist movements. The forums, in Spain at any rate, of the left and extreme left of capital (such as lahaine.org, kaosenlared.net or rebelion.org) have also not shown much interest in these events. If we understand it right, ‘solidarity with the Palestinian people’ is limited to moments when the latter are used in support of different interests on the world imperialist chess-board or to provide publicity for some patriotic cause. When they struggle against ‘their’ government and break ‘national unity’ to defend their living conditions, that struggle isn’t worth talking about.
  • 2. The IMF’s man nominated by Abbas in 2007 in the context of the war with Hamas and under pressure from the USA.
  • 3. http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=517262
  • 4. http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=517618
  • 5. http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=518944
  • 6. The links between Iran and Syria and Hamas are well known, as well as between Assad’s Syria and Russia, its main ally among the great powers, and Iran, its main regional ally.
  • 7. Let’s not forget that the war between Hamas and Fatah for the control of the Gaza strip in 2007 led to many deaths and much suffering among the civil population – the ‘collateral damage’ of ‘national liberation’. http://www.haaretz.com/news/human-rights-watch-condemns-hamas-fatah-for-..., and http://libcom.org/news/palestinian-union-hit-all-sides-25072007
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Nov 17 2012 23:27

Thanks for posting this. One thing that is crystal clear about the current military escalation is that it will run directly counter to the social movements on both sides of the divide. the Israeli state will use the 'war' to drown any protest about living standards, and Hamas and Fatah will do the same.

Mark.
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Nov 19 2012 00:39

IlanS: Palestine-Israel, the joint struggle and the attack on Gaza

Afed statement on Israel's attack on Gaza in 2009:
http://libcom.org/library/no-state-solution-gaza

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Nov 19 2012 08:59

World Have Your Say recently had a discussion between Israelis and Palestinians about the conflict, including input (starts around 10:00 in) from Leehee Rothschild of Anarchists Against the Wall.

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Nov 19 2012 11:26

Anti-war protest in Tel Aviv with pro-war counter protest.. the pro-war folk are completely nuts and their rhetoric so plainly fascist ("expel the leftists", "we celebrate the Naqba" etc etc), it's a bit of a shock to watch..

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Nov 21 2012 21:04

We've produced an article on the current conflict, contrasting the dynamic of war with the hope offered by the social movements on both sides. We will also try to produce a more analytical article about why the conflicts in the region have been exacerbating in the recent period.

http://en.internationalism.org/forum/1056/red-flag/5345/israelgaza-attac...

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Nov 22 2012 09:28

News of the protests spread through social media, echoing a successful Facebook campaign last month when consumers forced down the spiralling price of dairy products.

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Nov 22 2012 20:27

Sorry, this is the correct link - the other one was to a dscussion on our forum

http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/201211/5352/israelpalestine-pop...

wojtek
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Dec 1 2012 12:45
Quote:
Munib al-Masri is one of the most famous and influential Palestinians, but you may never have heard of him.

Often called 'The Godfather' Masri, on no fewer than three occasions, turned down the premiership of Palestine.

He has a fortune estimated at $1.6 billion, and is chairman of the powerful Palestine Development and Investment Company (Padico), a firm whose interests respresent an estimated one-quarter of the whole Palestinian economy.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/frostinterview/2012/11/2012111215181...

Mark.
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Jul 15 2013 10:05

Marking two years since J14, thousands demonstrate, block Tel Aviv roads

Mark.
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Jul 20 2013 11:28

Palestinian anarchists in conversation: recalibrating anarchism in a colonized country

Yaser Tineh: Why I oppose political institutions in Palestine

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Jul 30 2013 08:15

Interesting but....the central issue in "breaking the nationalist habit" is to challenge the division between Irsaeli and Palestinian proletarians. A huge problem on both sides of the divide and probably even harder for Palestinian comrades. The interviewed Palestinian anarchist doesn't deal with the question directly and the second piece identifies Israel as THE problem.

Highlander
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Jul 30 2013 09:26
Quote:
I understand RT is a Russian, English-language news channel, a kind of Aljazeera or CNN? Anybody knows more about this channel?

They have some quite good anti-Western features, but of course their coverage of Russian news is almost non-existant.

Quote:
And I'm not talking about one with Lebanon - Iran is more likely

The entire Persian Gulf, the Caucasus, and much of Central Asia actually belongs to Iran. It would be a superpower but for the opposition of America, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Since this suppression has apparently been successful these nations fondly imagine that they can go still further and actually attack Iran in order to create a convenient enemy for their domestic political agendas. In fact Iran is merely dormant and its right to global superpower status is not simply based on ancient history or the possession of strategic territory.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2097087/Irans-female-ninja-assassins-3-000-women-training-defend-Muslim-state.html
(Seems like a joke but it really isn't...)

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Jul 30 2013 09:44
Highlander wrote:
Quote:
I understand RT is a Russian, English-language news channel, a kind of Aljazeera or CNN? Anybody knows more about this channel?

They have some quite good anti-Western features, but of course their coverage of Russian news is almost non-existant.

according to a friend basically Russian state propaganda (financed by the state) but with some good documentaries on ethnographic, nature, historical stuff

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Jul 31 2013 08:01

RT's definitely good for more in-depth (and critical) perspectives on Europe, Israel, and America. To it's credit, it really avoids the soundbite news coverage of most mainstreams media channels.

Just don't expect the same when the topic is Russia.