A Socialist Perspective on Palestinian Liberation

Jeff Mackler
Cagle Cartoons - Palestine liberation - hand grenade with word PAUSE

Dec. 5, 2023

US-backed Zionist Genocide of Palestinian People “Pauses” and Resumes As the World’s People Mobilize to Condemn Colonial, Apartheid Israel

The full force of the daily horror inflicted on the Palestinian people and on the world’s poor and oppressed more generally, by the US military behemoth, and by its Zionist, colonialist Middle East gendarme/killing agent – the Israel apartheid entity – is again on despicable display as the seven-day “negotiated Humanitarian Pause” unfolded and abruptly ended on Friday, December 1. The US-funded and abetted Zionist war machine resumed its genocidal terror bombing against Gaza’s starved and terrified masses with renewed intensity, adding almost instantly another 100-plus innocent victims to Gaza’s ever-mounting death toll.

The original agreement brokered between Israel and the elected Hamas government of Gaza via Egyptian and Qatari intermediaries, initially provided for 50 Hamas hostages, women and children, to be exchanged for 150 Palestinian hostages, also women and children. It was to be facilitated by a brief “pause” in US-backed Zionist saturation bombing that military specialists deemed the most intense of any in the modern era. The agreement also allowed for a limited number of UN humanitarian relief truck conveys into Gaza for the 2.3 million starving people.

Some 15,000 Palestinians have been murdered by the Zionist war machine to date, 70 percent women and children. An additional estimated 3,000 are missing and presumed dead but not formally identified, perhaps still buried in the rubble of bomb-blast leveled buildings. Tens of thousands more have been wounded. 5,000 pregnant women are without medical care. Children born prematurely increasingly die in incubators bereft of electricity. And the slaughter continues.

The destruction of Gaza’s fundamental health and sanitation infrastructure has let loose a plague of diseases for which no medicines or treatment are permitted by the all-encompassing Zionist blockade. Gaza has been reduced to a wasteland, akin to nothing reported in our lifetimes

Israel’s Hitler-ite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear that the “pause” could be extended provided that the hostage exchanges continued at a pace to his liking. Upon Netanyahu’s definition of the “completion” of this phase, that is, Hamas’s releasing all of the some 240 Israeli October 7 hostages, the bloodthirsty Zionist leader declared that his government would resume and intensify its ongoing genocidal devastation of Gaza until Hamas and all its supporters were annihilated. But Netanyahu couldn’t wait for any hostage exchange completion. He ordered the immediate resumption of Israel’s merciless bombardment of a defenseless people.

This includes the likely total pulverization of all of Gaza’s housing, more than half of which has already been obliterated, while all Gazans have been denied for seven terrifying weeks, food, water, medical facilities, electricity and all other basic means of survival.

Truth about “prisoner exchange”

On Monday, Nov. 27 Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman interviewed Jerusalem-based Orly Noy, Israeli political activist and editor of the Hebrew-language news site Local Call. Noy is also the executive board chair of B’Tselem’s (The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories). Noy told Democracy Now!:

“As soon as the exchange of prisoners deal was agreed upon, Israel came up with a list of 300 Palestinian prisoners, almost all of them minors, with a few women included, that would be the pool to be released throughout the ceasefire. When you look thoroughly at the names and the charges, many of them were never charged with anything.”

Noy’s data come directly from the official Israel Prison System (IPS) authorities that can be found online. She reports that as of the beginning of November “Israel held 6,800 Palestinian political prisoners, what Israel refers to as ‘security’ prisoners, more than 2,000 of these through administrative detention. The later [category] means that not only have they never been convicted of anything, they’ve never been charged with anything, so they never had the opportunity to defend themselves.” [Emphasis in italics added.]

Noy continued, “You look at minor Palestinian teenagers who have been arrested for throwing stones at police jeeps or army jeeps. One of the names in that list is in prison just simply for calling, with a group of his friends, ‘Allahu Akbar’ — yes, ‘God is great.’”

We would add to these figures that since October 7, according to Attorney Tala Nasir, with the Addaneer group that advocates for Palestinian prisoners, also interviewed by Democracy Now!, the Zionist regime has wantonly arrested and imprisoned 3,260 Palestinians, 80 percent of whom being held under administrative detention, that is, without charges pressed against them and without trial! Some 120 of these are women, including 41 journalists.

“These mass arrest campaigns are still taking place in all the cities, villages, refugee camps in the Palestinian territories,” said Nasir. “And most of them are being held under administrative detention.”

Nasir added, “Six Palestinian prisoners died or were killed inside Israeli prisons in less than a month. Of these six, four were arrested after the 7th of October… Until now, we don’t know the circumstances of their death, because we still don’t have the accurate information, but the testimonies of prisoners and released prisoners affirm that they were brutally beaten inside the prisons. So, several violations have been taking place inside Israeli prisons after the 7th of October, and that’s what we have documented throughout these two months.”

And finally, 600 additional Palestinians have been arrested during the Zionist’s massacre in Gaza. These include doctors and staff at “captured” hospitals, medical facilities, journalists, UN relief workers, and other lay Palestinian institutions deemed enemies by the Zionist marauders.

History will soon affirm that the “prisoner exchange” was nothing more than a fleeting, and perhaps to be repeated, momentary agreement exacted in blood by the Zionist colonial settler entity from the Hamas fighters that allow the starving Gaza population a few days of lifesaving relief from Israel’s ongoing genocide, during which some Israeli prisoners are released.

Israeli’s largely chauvinist population

Simultaneously, Netanyahu’s neo-fascist government, has itself been driven forward in inflicting its horrors by a core layer of rabid chauvinist Zionists that tragically see their fate inextricably tied to the ongoing persecution, if not annihilation, of the Palestinian people! I hesitate to use these terrible terms, but I see no alternative. The undeniable reality cries out for horrifically frank conclusions!

This reactionary mood, among what is likely a significant portion if not a majority of the Israeli population, blames Netanyahu’s far right emergency coalition government for a massive security lapse that is purported to have allowed some Palestinian Gaza concentration camp inmates to momentarily escape and seek vengeance on their captors! To date, the voices of Israelis of conscience, not to mention in solidarity with the Palestinian genocide victims of their government, have been muted, if they exist other than among a precious few groups and individuals, likely silenced with threats of immediate imprisonment or worse.

The stark nature of all colonial states

The stark truth is that the very nature of any racist colonial settler state requires that its historic conquerors despise and degrade their victims. Not a single European settler/colonizer of Africa shunned the enslavement and associated mass murder of its conquered people. Hollywood’s kindest portrayal of a “benevolent” plantation owner, had “Out of Africa’s” star Meryl Streep being kind and considerate to her plantation’s obedient and always self-deprecating near slave workers, who cried at their master’s departure!

The mass extermination of indigenous people everywhere similarly marked the ingrained racist settler mentality.

Institutional racism and Black Lives Matter

That unprecedented millions in the US mobilized in Black Lives Matter protests against systemic and wanton – twice daily on average – racist police murders of unarmed Blacks a few years ago and against the still deeply-rooted institutionalized US racism, affirms this terrible truth, a truth that can only be fully eradicated when the “system” itself is abolished by the revolutionary action of the vast working class majority.

Indeed, it took a US Civil War and a massive Black-led Civil Rights Movement to put a significant dent in the backward consciousness of the US working class.

But the system itself, – the capitalist system – requires and promotes racist and sexist inequality and division, as well as endless foreign wars to buttress the bottom lines of the ruling elites’ profit sheets. We add here that the peculiar racist nature of the Zionist colonial racist system inherently shuns any need for Palestinian labor to exploit. History records that Palestinians are disposable! The Zionist entity itself exists qualitatively less as a viable capitalist enterprise than it does as the military extension of US imperialism’s one percent ruling elite. It would not exist as a viable entity without its massive reliance on US capital!

Marx, Lenin and Trotsky on working class racist chauvinism

We are not the first to record the deep and pervasive chauvinism that capitalism aims to instill in its own working class to achieve its divide and rule objectives. Karl Marx long ago decried the relative privilege of sections of the British working class that came with the expansion of the British economy flowing from British imperialism’s super-exploitation of its conquered colonies.

Lenin, in turn, went to the greatest lengths to steel his leading Bolshevik Party against the “Great White Russian Chauvinism” that permeated the consciousness of large sections of the Russian-speaking population, flowing from Czarist Russia’s conquest and forcible incorporation of 50 some poor nations into the Russian Empire, with its brutally exploited and denigrated peoples denied basic rights, including their very independence, along with the right to their own language, culture, religion and traditions.

In the US, to paraphrase Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky commenting on the historic racism of large sections of the US white working class: “Until the white racist beast of the US working class understands that it can never advance its cause at the expense of its Black brothers and sisters, there will be no revolution in the US.”

Here, we aim to simply record another historic truth, that however momentarily backward any section of the working class anywhere may be, the almost complete domination of every aspect of their lives by their ruling class capitalist exploiters inevitably leads them to unite against their common enemy, the ruling rich that dominate the capitalist state.

The formation of massive trade unions around the world, provides adequate testimony to this elementary proposition, and even more so when the unions are democratically organized and led by conscious revolutionaries.

The day will come again in the US, AND also in Zionist Israel, when today’s small minority of socialist fighters, inspired by the courageous Palestinian masses and the never unrelated worldwide working class rebellions against every form of capitalist injustice, dramatically impact on and change their current backward consciousness.

Zionists ban Palestinian prisoner release celebrations

Israel’s current National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was himself convicted 15 years ago by an Israeli court of aiding terrorism and inciting hatred of Palestinians, instructed Zionist police to use an “iron fist” against Palestinian attempts to celebrate prisoner releases. “My instructions are clear,” said Ben Gvir, “There are to be no expressions of joy. Expressions of joy are equivalent to backing terrorism; victory celebrations give backing to those human scum, for those Nazis.”

Ben Gvir’s words were met with vicious deeds. Democracy Now!’s Army Goodman reported:

“I’m going to talk about several violations after, or in the past three days, within this exchange deal, starting with the West Bank. The Israeli forces deliberately assaulted the released prisoners and their families during the prisoner release operations. They first delayed the release of prisoners until late at night. They released the child prisoners wearing clothes that are too big for their size, and some of them were barefoot. Additionally, the clothes did not provide adequate protection from the cold weather on these days. Forces also used gas bombs, the rubber bullets, live ammunition in front of Ofer Prison, where families were gathered to meet with their children and loved ones.”

Regarding the release of Palestinians in East Jerusalem Goodman reported:

“The Israeli forces raided the homes of the prisoners before their release in the occupied Jerusalem. They prevented them from any signs of celebration upon reuniting with their loved ones, sons and daughters. The families of the released prisoners were summoned to Al-Moscobiyeh center, where they were subjected to harsh and arbitrary conditions that prohibited them from gatherings, banned them from marches and fireworks, prevented them from chanting slogans, in addition to confiscating the sweets that were inside the houses.”

Goodman continued, “Also, there were assaults on journalists who were present at the homes of the released prisoners, and that was by physically assaulting them and expelling them out of the houses, prohibiting them from media coverage.”

Zionism’s monstrous future perspectives

We can only conclude that when the current and violently terminated hostage exchange is resumed, likely in the days, perhaps weeks, if not months ahead, the Zionist regime will continue not only its mass incarceration of Palestinians in Gaza, but now, according to Netanyahu’s pledges, resume its genocidal war against all Palestinians until Hamas and its supporters are all slaughtered, and all of Gaza is leveled. Perhaps then, Israel’s racist butcher will decide to convert tiny Gaza into a single massive fossil fuel refinery to extract, process and export the newly-discovered massive undersea oil and gas reserves a few miles off the Gaza coast!!!

Visiting Israeli troops on the fourth day of the “pause” Netanyahu stated, “Israel will continue until the end. Nothing will stop us.” Indeed, the stated endpoint of the Zionist objective, as articulated by some of its leading spokespersons, is to remove all of Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians and “relocate” them in a still to be constructed “tent city” in Egypt’s Sinai desert, to be financed by Egypt and Qatar!

US complicity

To date the Biden administration has been fully complicit in Netanyahu’s repeatedly announced Palestinian extermination project, agreeing to allow the Israeli Army to instantly replenish its military apparatus from nearby US facilities. Indeed, US military commanders have been actively engaged in the ongoing Zionist onslaught.

Israeli’s public genocide vs. US covert genocide

That the US military behemoth, with its 1,100 military bases in over 100 countries, daily inflicts unprecedented pain and suffering in “defense” of US corporate interests is not in dispute among serious political people. Why else are US troops deployed everywhere other than to forcibly impose the ever-touted “national security” interests of the US imperial empire? And, simultaneously plundering US working people to pay for its most profitable “business,” making war on poor and oppressed nations abroad.

The US daily enforces deadly sanctions against some 44 nations. It daily employs “secret operation wars,” drone wars, and death squad assassinations wars, that is, wars against any and all nations and people that challenge its imperial hegemony. Why else would its troops be stationed around the world?

Biden himself, in a compulsory report required annually by Congress, reported that the US military is involved in 139 “military operations” around the world. Between 1991and 2022, according to the Congressional Research Service, a US government institution that compiles information on behalf of Congress, the US launched at least 251 overt military interventions. Needless to say these figures exclude the countless daily US “covert or secret wars,” drone wars, “special operation wars,” and more.

Worldwide opposition to the US-backed Zionist genocide

Only the unrivaled contempt of the world’s people for the current US-backed Zionist genocide has evinced a few words from Biden urging a bit of Zionist restraint. But these have not been matched by deeds. Biden and his team just demanded another $14 billion in military aid to Israel while US warplanes and US offshore aircraft carriers assist in the present massacre.

Israel ranks first in the world in receipt of US military “aid,” proof positive that it is US imperialism’s prime enforcer in the region. Its bombs rain death and destruction on US “enemies,” from Syria to Iran and Iraq and beyond. US officials, including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, have made clear to every government in the region, and far beyond, that any attempt to aid the beleaguered Palestinians will be met with the full force of the US machine.

The unprecedented worldwide mass mobilizations of humanity – in the tens of millions everywhere in solidarity with the Palestinian people – have been matched with only token statements of concern by the various capitalist governments everywhere. The Arab and Muslim governments that just yesterday made plans to normalize relations with Israel, including full recognition, have momentarily retreated in the face of the millions of their peoples in the streets, who are stunned and horrified by the US-backed Zionist bloodletting. But whether the official empty statements of concern emanate from the Arab monarchies, or from China or Russia or BRICS, or from the European Union, NONE are matched by concrete acts of solidarity, including delivering material aid to Gaza’s starving people. That kind of solidarity would require a direct confrontation with the present encircling forces of US imperialism and its allies.

One can only imagine, however, the earthshaking effect of a consciously organized Palestine solidarity campaign of the world’s people and friendly governments via a massive internationally-organized flotilla loaded with food, fuel, doctors and medicine bound for Gaza’s shores intent on saving the lives of its courageous and embattled people. But again, the flow of empty words of solidarity from the Arab monarchies and beyond, are the common coin of today’s diplomacy, void of all concrete content. Tragedy indeed!

But such a flotilla would no doubt render the US and Zionist forces hard pressed to interfere. Wild hope and dreams aside, I am compelled to conclude that our central understanding of the terrible nature of the times, makes any serious institutional solidarity with Palestine unlikely at best. Only the world’s people hold out hope for the courageous Palestinian masses! We are all morally and politically obligated to make every effort to be part of this struggle.

The “two-state solution”

Meanwhile, a Barcelona meeting of European Union (EU) leaders voted a few days ago for a “two-state” solution to the current crisis. Their resolution recommended that their projected “new” undefined Palestinian “state” be headed by the twice and thrice discredited Palestinian Authority, the latter for decades complicit with the Zionist objectives today and financially and politically dependent on EU and associated funding.

The so-called two state solution has long ago lost any credibility with the Palestinian masses. Today’s “Free Palestine From The River to The Sea!” banners carried in the mobilizations around the world reflect the opinions of the vast majority of the Palestinian people, evidenced by every poll over the past decades.

History of Zionist Conquest of Palestine

Palestinians, historically the vast majority in their own land, along with the surrounding Arab nations, rejected the 1948 UN-imposed, 52-48 Israeli/Palestine partition of historic Palestine. Prior to this partition, Palestine was a British “mandate,” a polite or diplomatic word for colony, that British imperialism carved out of the Ottoman Empire following the latter’s WWI defeat and subsequent imperialist dismemberment. Much of the Middle East at that time was ceded to the French and British imperialist victors; the conquered nations had no say in the matter.

The departing British turned over their weapons to the Zionist armies, which proceeded to defeat the resisting poorly-armed indigenous Palestinians and the objecting Arab nationalists. Within a year 72 percent of historic Palestine was in Zionist Army control. This was the infamous “Nakba” or “Catastrophe” wherein the Zionist armies drove some 750,000 Palestinians from their lands, murdered countless others and obliterated hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns, turning them over to the Zionist settler-conquerors. The fleeing and scattered Palestinians were “relocated” to exist in poverty ravaged refugee camps throughout the Middle East, but mostly in Gaza, then under Egyptian hegemony and in the West Bank, a region of Jordan.

Some 19 years later during Zionism’s “Six Day” or “Arab Israeli War” or “June War of 1976,” what remained of historic Palestine – the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem – at that time 22 percent of historic Palestine, was similarly conquered, giving Israel, then and now, effective control of 100 percent of historic Palestine.

Since then some 700,000 Zionist settlers, with Israeli government complicity, have seized additional parts of the West Bank as well as East Jerusalem. Gaza, among the poorest and most densely populated regions on earth, five miles wide and 25 miles long, has effectively been reduced to a concentration camp. Its residents are denied the right to leave and dependent on Israel, United Nations relief organizations and international charity for the basic elements of survival – electricity, fuel, food, medical care and elementary sanitation and water purification systems. Its youth unemployment rate exceeds 50 percent. Its poverty rate is among the highest in the world.

Further, today’s unfolding genocide witnesses an emerging Zionist policy of not only additional West Bank settlements but the planned removal of all Palestinians from Gaza, if not their complete expulsion from what remains of all of historic Palestine. From the vantagepoint of today’s Zionist apartheid racists, and appallingly in accord with the views of the majority of Israelis polled, there is no viable “two-state solution,” other than perhaps a tiny non-viable prison-like area even smaller than what’s left of Gaza and the West Bank. Multiple and token UN General Assembly resolutions, supporting “two state solutions” have been routinely ignored with impunity. The Zionist leaders, with US support, have ignored all previous vaguely formulated commitments to a “two-state solution” while daily establishing via force and violence new West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements. Today’s Gaza genocide looms as perhaps the “final solution.”

Similarly, few, if any serious observers, consider President Biden’s recent call for an undefined “two state solution” anything other than empty rhetoric. How could it be otherwise as Biden, publicly embraces the butcher Netanyahu on the one hand and arms him to the teeth on the other? The day after Netanyahu resumed the Zionist entity’s genocidal bombing of Gaza CBS News reported that Biden had cautioned Israel “to be more selective in its targets, to be less inflammatory in its rhetoric, and to avoid further settler attacks on the West Bank.” How considerate!

At best, today’s “two-state” advocates envision the creation and recognition of an “independent” divided, Palestinian mini-state in parts of destroyed Gaza, parts of the West Bank and little or nothing in East Jerusalem, the latter occupied by Israel since 1967 and formally “annexed” by Israel in 1980 – an action internationally condemned, but once again, acceded to by the world’s great powers. At best, the “two state solution” today amounts to a still hypothetical formation of an economically, geographically and ecologically non-viable prison camp for the Palestinian masses on perhaps, some 10-15 percent of historic Palestine, or perhaps even as a Sinai Desert “tent city,” in Netanyahu’s words, totally dependent on international charity! Few, if any two-state advocates have proposed anything more, knowing full well that even a Palestinian mini-state constructed on the borders of pre-1976 Israel, that is, on some 22 percent of historic Palestine, is unacceptable to the Zionist occupying entity. I repeatedly use the word “entity” here and always, to denote my historic rejection of granting any legitimacy to the 1948 UN-imposed colonial partition of historic Palestine, not to mention the Zionist entity’s 75 years of ongoing abject colonial conquest, domination, persecution and slaughter of the Palestinian people. I will only add for the information of newcomers to this debate, that Stalin’s Soviet Union, then a wartime and hoped for permanent “peaceful co-existence” partner with US and British imperialism, voted for the UN partition. To assure US imperialism of its sincerity, few years earlier, on Stalin’s orders, US Communist Party head, Earl Browder formally dissolved the CPUSA stating that he was ready to “shake the hand of JP Morgan and all other progressive Americans who sought friendship with the USSR.”

Palestine Liberation Organization’s One State Proposal

Some half century ago, the Palestine Liberation Organization, then inclusive of all Palestinian organizations and factions and led by Yasser Arafat’s Fatah organization (in Arabic, “victory” or “conquest”) significantly altered its 1958 founding position rejecting any legitimacy for the Zionist colonial apartheid state. As with all national liberation struggles at that time Palestinian freedom fighters aimed at liberating their lands from the conquering racist settlers.

In the early 1970s the PLO proposed instead the establishment of a “Democratic, Secular Palestine,” that is, a united Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, inclusive of all people regardless of religion, nationality or national origin. The PLO only added that all dispossessed Palestinians were to be granted the right to return to their lands.

At that moment in history Arafat was widely seen as the central leader of the Palestinian freedom struggle. Fatah and Arafat were recognized worldwide as having fought against the 1948 UN-imposed partition. Fatah, largely social democratic reformist in political orientation, was designated “terrorist” by the Zionists. Other PLO components were openly socialist.

At that time Fatah led fighting Palestinian forces in neighboring Lebanon, Jordon, Tunisia and Egypt, all capable of and sometimes arousing mass support not only against Zionist Israel but also against some of the region’s local dictators. Arafat and his Fatah organization’s headquarters were periodically welcomed or shunned by the various Arab regimes depending on Fatah’s agreement or disagreement to accede to the repressive policies of their hierarchies.

Revolutionary socialists in the US, including Socialist Action’s then revolutionary socialist predecessor party, the Socialist Workers Party, supported the PLO’s “Democratic Secular Palestine” proposal, simultaneously adding that we supported this new proposal in the context of the struggle for a “united socialist federation of the Middle East.”

By this we registered our view that the various and unfolding national liberation struggles in the region, at a time when movements for Arab unity and solidarity were at a highpoint, could only effectively advance via socialist perspectives. To date, all of these former national liberation struggles, whether in the Middle East or Africa, have culminated in the establishment of “formal independence” from previous colonial control. BUT the “peace and independence accords” negotiated by the various national liberation leaders always included the right of the previous imperialist colonial conquerors to largely retain the nation’s land, factories, vital resources and overall national wealth. Their “liberation” from formal colonial status thus assumed their current form as neo-colonial capitalist states, nominally politically independent but in fact still subject to the exploitation of their previous colonial masters.

The example of Revolutionary Cuba

I will only add here and digress for a moment in passing, but emphatically, to assert that the only exception to this terrible outcome of past national liberation struggles is the magnificent Cuban Revolution of 1958-59. The Fidel Castro leadership team, soon after declaring its socialist perspectives, not only defeated the US-backed Fulgencio Batista dictatorship but abolished capitalist rule in its entirety, granting Cuba’s rich land free to the oppressed Cuban masses and nationalizing all capitalist resources and factories in the context of creating a workers’ state based on the satisfaction of human needs not capitalist profit. That revolutionary Cuba today, blockaded, embargoed, sometimes invaded and otherwise threatened by US imperialism, nevertheless affords its people the highest quality of free medical care, quality free education at all levels and in a society that constantly advances respect for human rights, opposes racist, sexist and anti-LGBTQI discrimination in all its forms, promotes varied cultural pursuits in the arts, theater, music, and sports, while solidarizing with every liberation struggle worldwide, can only be explained by its consciously-led abolition of the rapacious capitalist system.

For a Democratic Secular Palestine

Our conception of a Democratic Secular Palestine with the right of return of all dispossessed Palestinians is combined with our view that only a socialist federation of the Middle East can provide for economically viable societies. At the time this view was in accord with the various Arab nationalist, quasi-socialist, efforts to construct integrated regional alliances, if not new states, aimed at ending the previous European imperialist divisions of the regions into tiny economically unviable nations dependent on foreign resources.

To help advanced our perspectives, we aimed to deepen our solidarity with revolutionary socialist currents throughout the Middle East. We aimed at, and still do, building mass revolutionary parties, including in Israel, aimed at winning mass support for socialist revolution.

Arafat and the PLO’s evolution

As the years passed Arafat’s increasing isolation in the Arab world, a product of the brutal crushing of revolutionary currents by the various regional monarchs in consort with their former imperialist rulers and by US imperialism, devolved from the PLO’s advocacy of one democratic secular Palestine to a “two-state” solution, to be “negotiated” by the PLO in the context of the PLO’s formal recognition of the Zionist state.

This new “two-state” perspective, never codified, was presumed to be constituted along the lines of the pre-1976 June War’s borders, that is, borders that granted legitimacy to the Zionist conquest of some 72 percent of historic Palestine. Thus, Arafat’s formal and public participation in negotiations with Israel were predicated on the PLO’s recognizing the “legitimacy” of the pre-1976 Zionist conquests, then amounting to some 72 percent of historic Palestine. This PLO recognition sharply divided Palestinian liberation forces.

Almost overnight, the world’s corporate media and world imperialism transformed Arafat from a Zionist-designated “terrorist” to a world-recognized Palestinian Arab “peace-seeking” diplomat. He was awarded co-winner, along with Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. Yet, he died in a coma in 2004 in relative obscurity, confined by the Zionist Army for two years to Gaza’s Ramallah compound. Increasing viewed, along with his largely and imperialist-dependent Palestine Authority, as corrupt and conciliatory, his PLO lost much of its credibility to Hamas and more militant rivals.

During that period to the present – from the 1991 Madrid Conference, to the “Oslo Accords” of 1993 to the 2000 “Camp David Summit” – not a single binding agreement has been reached by the PLO or any other Palestinian organization with the Zionist entity.

Until the October 7 desperate Hamas-led act of resistance, the Zionist entity has continued to expand in accord with its Zionist tyrants’ references to the 2,000-plus year old biblical myth of the creation of an Israel “From the River to the Sea.”

In recent decades the Palestinian freedom struggle has repeatedly fractured, with its shifting components, including Hamas, sometimes bending, under pressure of ongoing Zionist persecution coupled with concessionist pressures from the various Arab monarchies and world imperialism, to vague two state formulations, none of which are given the slightest consideration, until now, by the Zionist leaders, or the US government.

As we write the unfolding horrors daily inflicted on the Palestinian masses have no doubt deepened the conviction that there will never be a just peace with the Zionist leaders. But how a real justice can or will ever be achieved remains an open question.

Free Palestine From the River To The Sea

That the daily multiplying and worldwide mass solidarity mobilizations for the Palestinian people increasingly press forward with the demand, “Free Palestine From The River To The Sea!” is undeniable. This heart-rending solidarity expression with a beleaguered people is widely seen as in accord with the demand for a single democratic secular Palestine, to be constituted in all of historic, that is, a pre-1948 but free and independent Palestine. This is the essence of the two words emblazoned on millions of placards everywhere, “Free Palestine!”

It is at the center of the growing and increasingly popular politics of the Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition in the US that proudly and emphatically declares in its literature, “We organize for the liberation of Palestine and for all Palestinian refugees’ inalienable right to return home.”

How this democratic, secular Palestine is to be realized, however, is far from clear and especially so given the undeniable fact that the vast proportion of the Israel Zionist population is steeped in reactionary prejudice, if not fear, hate and racist contempt for the oppressed Palestinian masses.

There has never been a darker time for the Palestinian masses. Yet another Nakba/Catastrophe is bring [being] orchestrated by Zionism’s racist, reactionary settler state colonialists, with US complicity.

But, there has never been a Palestinian liberation/solidarity movement of the depth, scope and moral outrage as we are experiencing today. The world’s people, in unprecedented numbers, in the millions and billions, are saying NO! to the US-backed Zionist genocide.

They are increasingly chanting to all ears that will listen and to the high heavens where our beloved ancestors look on with inspiring hope.

“Palestine, Palestine Don’t You Cry! We Will Never Let You Die!”

These are the mass, loving, moral sentiments of a new liberatory movement for human freedom. In time it will take form internationally and in Palestine itself. Join in to helping to give it power and unity!

We demand:

For a Permanent CEASEFIRE NOW! Stop the Zionist Genocide!

• End all US Aid to Zionist, Apartheid Israel!

• For Ongoing US and Worldwide United Front Mass Mobilizations to Stop the Zionist Genocide and in Solidarity With the Palestinian Masses!

• Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Zionist Israel! (BDS)

• For a Democratic, Secular Palestine With The Right Of Return Of All Dispossessed Palestinians!

• For a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!

Join Socialist Action! socialistaction.org socialistaction@lmi.net

The opinions expressed here are solely the author's and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of the LA Progressive.


Jeffrey Mackler is the National Secretary of Socialist Action and twice its U.S. presidential candidate. He is a founder and Administrative Committee member of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC). He is a National Steering Committee member of the Assangedefense.org, the Director of The Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal/Northern California and a founder of the Northern California Climate Mobilization. He can be reached at socialistaction.org or at jmackler@lmi.net

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