On Oct. 7, Palestinian military forces from Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, carried out a surprise attack on Israel, taking up to 100 hostages, including an Israeli military commander, and killing at least 400 people. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has announced that Israel has begun a “long and difficult war,” and promises to turn Gaza into “rubble.” Israeli airstrikes have already killed 400 Palestinians in Gaza.
This conflict is sometimes portrayed as a clash of two equivalent powers, but this hides the hideous reality. The state of Israel was founded in 1948 on the historic land of Palestine. While Zionists claim that the land belonged to them because of their particular reading of history and especially that Jews had just suffered the Holocaust, that did not give them the right to begin their process of genocide against the Palestinians. Since 1967, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank have been militarily occupied and controlled by Israel. Israel has used the occupation to further its genocidal erasure of the Palestinian people to take more of their land, and force Palestinians to live restricted lives, under constant threat of violence, or trapped, as they are in Gaza, with little access to food, water, regular electricity, or medicine, under a constant state of siege.
For months, Israel has been in a state of political crisis, led by far-right, religious and settler parties. Settlers illegally take Palestinian land while the Israeli military protects them. Since January, many Israelis have erupted in protests against this power grab by the far-right, which seeks to impose an authoritarian, religious regime in Israel to further their goals. Israel is divided between the old order that was secular, liberal, and more democratic for the Jewish citizens of Israel, and the new far-right order, which is religious, authoritarian, and repressive. But neither side has anything to offer Palestinians, including the two million Palestinian citizens in Israel who live as second-class citizens, with the worst jobs and the worst education, and suffer discrimination and racism in their daily lives.
The Israeli army wasn’t prepared when the attack from Hamas came. It was too busy protecting the nearly one million Israeli settlers in the West Bank, while they wreaked havoc on Palestinian communities, encouraged in their racist rampages by Netanyahu’s right-wing ministers. Hamas’s attack has embarrassed Netanyahu’s government, and has pushed Saudi Arabia to back off from their shameful dealings with Israel’s government. But, ultimately, Hamas has no solution to the occupation. They are the rulers of a prison, seeking only to maintain their credibility, and pressure the Arab states to maintain their minimal material support for Palestine.
The problem from beginning to end is the colonial, genocidal state of Israel and its occupation of the Palestinian people with, in the words of Biden, “rock solid and unwavering” support coming from the U.S. The U.S. and other imperialist powers have funded and supported Israel for decades as a military ally in the Middle East. In spite of the growing consciousness of millions around the world of this injustice, the occupation and Israel’s racist regime remain in place.
But the Palestinians are not alone. The people of the Middle East understand that their lives are intertwined. The same imperialist powers that support Israel dominate the people of the Middle East. Already, hundreds of thousands of people have turned out in demonstrations from Iraq to Tunisia. If the poor and working people of the Middle East have their say, then the Palestinians will find their liberation alongside the Egyptians, Iraqis, Syrians, Tunisians, Lebanese, and all those who share a common history in the struggle against imperialism, against Israel and the shameful governments that oppress the people of the Middle East for the benefit of imperialist powers, like the U.S. Faced with this scenario, the population of Israel would have a choice. To renounce their past, oppose their government, and build a peaceful future in equality in the Middle East, or to live in permanent military conflict, ruled by an increasingly authoritarian government.
The Palestinians deserve every bit of solidarity we can offer. We can support their call to boycott, divest from, and sanction the state of Israel. We can demonstrate in the streets to show they aren’t alone, and denounce any support of the Israeli regime. But these are not enough. In a real sense, their struggle is ours because we have the same enemy — the capitalist class and its governments in the U.S. and elsewhere who dominate the Middle East while we live under ever-increasing exploitation. The deepest act of solidarity is to struggle against the capitalist system, and to build a world free from exploitation and oppression.
END THE ISRAELI WAR AND OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE!