Everybody to the demonstrations and marches
in parliament square Athens Monday 16/8 18:30
against Israeli neo-nazi NETANIAXOY. is coming
today in Greece. KILLERSare no welcome!
Still now, with no title at all
There is one thing about the struggle of the Palestinian people that has touched and fascinated all those who have approached it: on the other side of the barricade are the Jews, the persecuted of all times.
There is nothing strange about this, the persecuted have often become persecutors. Just think of what happened to the early Christians in the space of three centuries after they gained power and systematically began to repress all dissonant voices. There have been many such cases of about turns throughout history. Today’s prisons are built on the temples of the past. No political force in recent times has been able to resist throwing itself into ruthless repression as soon as it reached power, no matter how travailed its history. But the voice of reason is not enough for us to gain an understanding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Jews have always been at the centre of attention and given rise to either suspicion or sympathy, usually the former. Thrown out from wherever they happened to be as a consequence of insinuation and dreadful accusations, they always gained the sympathy of anyone with any feelings—anyone, that is, who is against pogroms, mass murder, the massacre of innocents and summary judgements based on impressions and hearsay. The mental rigidity of the Jews, their vision of life based on religious righteousness that sees the rest of the world as impure or sinful, has often put such sympathies to the test. But the enormity of the historical debt owed them, which in the second world war grew to the point of becoming a methodical procedure that surpassed anything that had ever been ever dreamed of till then, revived these sympathies and constituted a new force of international cohesion capable of supporting the case for Jewish settlements in Palestine.
Israel became a focus of international support for many reasons. The massacre in the Nazi concentration camps, the socialist and libertarian character of the early settlements, the theories of the first kibbutzim based on libertarian communism, the original peaceful cohabitation with the Arabs in response to the latter’s traditional hospitality. Then interests emerged, particularly at the end of the Second World War. They were based on the world’s division into two opposing blocks, with American interests on one side and Soviet ones on the other. It was a question of economic interest in a geographical area which was rich in oil fields, thereby attracting the attention of the great imperialist States.
The Israelis accepted their role as gendarme of the western project of world dominion, and began keeping an eye on the movements of the surrounding Arab States. The latter often fought each other about the management of the immense revenue from oil and became players on the international chessboard, at times supporting, at others contrasting, the opposition of the great States. It was the Zionist movement along with the great Jewish-American and international, but mainly American, lobbies that pushed the Jewish people along this road in the land of Israel. They lead to an extremism hitherto unequalled in the whole of political-religious history. The lobbies, which were capable of conditioning American politics, particularly during the long years of Republican power, forced the United States to push the small but fierce Israel into the role of policeman of the Middle East.
All this rekindled anti-Semitism at world level, leading to an indigestible collection of anti-Jewish theories. In this concentrate of stupidity we find such historical revisionism as the theory that the holocaust never existed, or that of Arab nationalists are incapable of considering Israeli people as possible brothers and pacific cohabitants of the same territory. For their part, the latter have survived a thousand years of persecution and massacres yet have not benefited from past experience. They have become hostages in the hands of a theocratic State, one of the worst kinds of organisation to emerge from the mind of man. Fear of being cast into the sea to take up the path of exile yet again has thrown them into the arms of internal and external meddlers: Zionist schemes at local and international level, and the strategies of US world dominion.
An evil crescendo has been set in motion that nothing other than a revolutionary process will be able to halt. No discussion is possible and anyone who has experienced the concrete and theoretical reality of the Jews, e
ven for short spells, can confirm this. No theoretical proposal will ever be able to undo the mechanism of encirclement and fear. That situation has remained unchanged, even since the fall of the Berlin wall and the thaw that came about after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact at the end of the twentieth century. Arab nationalist claims in general and those of the Palestinians in particular cause too much fear, and there is no lack of those who support the facile but treacherous idea of ‘let’s throw them all into the sea’ on both sides.
The experience of the Palestinian State, or of the ‘Palestinian authorities’ as some prefer to refer to it, also demonstrates this impossibility. They failed to propose cohabitation based on reciprocal respect along the lines of the libertarian communes, a sentiment that has not completely disappeared in a certain Israeli left. This corresponds in a slightly different way to the tradition of hospitality and freedom of the Arab peoples—in the first place the Palestinians. Instead they have taken the road mapped out by the politicians of the PLO, in particular Arafat, true killer of the Palestinian people’s real desire for freedom and artificer of a phantom State fit only to guarantee the personal power of a little man afflicted with delusions of grandeur.
The dice has been thrown, based on the fear that has intensified in the Israeli field. An extension of the civil war in course right to the centres of Israeli power could push things beyond the present level of conflict. Each side is afraid of the other. The Israelis fear Palestinian demands that would threaten their privileges (cheap labour, houses expropriated from Arabs who were forced to leave, State benefits, etc.). The Palestinians fear the Israelis who want to get rid of them, and want to throw them off their land (and in large part already have done), forcing them into exile in the concentration camps of the Lebanon and Jordan. Fear is exacerbating the conditions of the conflict. Palestinian suicide bombers packed with dynamite blow themselves up in Israeli markets, buses and schools. The exalted Israeli religious Right Wing in power have shown that the weapons with which they intend to face ‘cohabitation’ with the Arab world—exploitation, control, repression,—are just as bad.
It is impossible to turn the clock back. Too many dead in each family, in each family group, in every sector of social life. Too much blood, too much pain. All that cannot be eliminated with a handshake, or some Camp David. In spite of the existence of the Israeli Left, yesterday in power, today in opposition, the most emarginated class of Israelis, the Sephardi (Jews originally from Africa therefore with a darker skin colour but still of Jewish religion), are taking refuge in extreme Right Wing positions rather than favouring talks and agreements based on equal rights with the Palestinians. They are afraid they will lose the right to stay in Israel and be forced back to the countries they came from, where most of them would meet certain death. So it is not difficult to understand why the most extreme members of the Jewish religious organisations are of Sephardic origin and constitute the most ferocious henchmen of the army and police employed in the repression.
On the other hand, there are the new Palestinian police—the politicians of the PLO. These ill-omened offshoots of the new State have taken up positions in the government of a people tormented by forty years of exile and persecution, and are putting power in all its forms into effect. They torture, kill, judge and sentence their own people without hesitation. Comrades in struggle who participated in extremely risky actions up until a few years ago have become judges, prison guards, policemen, army commanders, bodyguards, secret services agents. In the territories liberated by concession of the Israeli government, the PLO has become the repressive force of a State that has not yet reached the maximum of its governing capacity, but which has already embarked on the road of all States. The roles are reversing, power is renewing itself but the methods remain the same. But for the millions of Palestinians still in the camps, the permanent exiles who have had their land and identity taken from them, this way of doing things is called betrayal. Hence their fear of seeing themselves imprisoned in concentration camps for another half century, betrayed by their own representatives (something that is very painful, I can tell you), as well as being under the attack of Israeli raids and drawn into a political game which they do not understand and whose possible outcome they fail to see.
Once again the future is being conditioned by fear on both sides, pushing them blindly forward in a clash that is getting worse. The insurrection of the Palestinian people scares the politicians of Gaza and the West Bank. More than anything it scares Arafat, as he is unable to control it. It scares the Israeli government, but also scares the Israeli people, and this is the important thing. Seeing themselves under attack in their own homes where anyone likes to feel safe, they are appealing to their governors and asking for stricter controls and a more systematic repression. The circle is closing in.
It is not possible to make forecasts and anyway they could always be refuted by unforeseen events.
To abandon a people’s dreams of freedom as they are being attacked and destroyed by a theocratic State leaves a bitter taste in one’s mouth. Can so much blood, so much sacrifice, so many dead, all have been in vain? Were we fooled into choosing which side to support in our more or less radical intervention more or less in first person, once upon a time, and are we still deluding ourselves today? Can it be that the problem in finding the courage to attack the mechanism of the Israeli war (the Jews again, or a poor persecuted people subjected to the expansionist and military aims of a group of criminals in power?) is that it has been faced the wrong way? Have the efforts of the past only led to the shiny buttons of the new Palestinian police or the ferocious sneer of a Sephardi Jew screaming ‘throw them all into the sea!’? I don’t know.
This booklet does not attempt to give any answers. I thought it would be more interesting to simply take up the problem once again.
I have aired these doubts in my heart over the past ten years in which many of the following pieces were written, sometimes looking up at the night sky and singling out stars of times gone by one by one. Their light continues to shine unperturbed upon the woes of men.
Alfredo M. Bonanno