After the Carnage: What next for Arab and Jew?

Share with your friends










Submit

Begin, murderer! Sharon, monster! Resign! Resign!”

The rage of the 400,000 who jammed the Square of Kings in Tel Aviv on September 25 was uncontainable.

Their government had perpetrated a massacre of 2,000 unarmed Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Beirut, the city of death.

The Israeli David stood unmasked before the world as Goliath, the slaughterer. And Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the bloodstained leader of the expansionist garrison state of Israel stood accused of outrage.

Never in Israel’s history had such an outpouring of internal anger assailed the government. Through 35 years of anti-Arab discrimination, anti-Palestinian genocide, and foreign wars, most domestic opposition had been stifled by memories of holocaust and by certitude that everything must be subordinated to the Jewish homeland.

Israel, cried Zionists, was a “haven” for the Jews and a “moral beacon” in a world stained forever by the Nazi murder of 6 million. What lay unspoken was the reality — that the land of Israel was the exclusive outpost of U.S. imperialism against Arab revolution in the Middle East. But now this latest mass murder eats like acid at the ideological and emotional pillars of the Zionist state.

A decisive step. The Square of Kings rally was organized by a coalition that included the Israeli Peace Now movement and the opposition Labor Party. The protest stopped short of challenging the Zionist state itself, and focused on Begin and Defense Minister Sharon. Still it was a decisive rupture of the pattern of jingoist acceptance of Israeli aggression. The gates are now open to a Jewish re-examination of Zionism itself, and to the implications of an exclusively Jewish, capitalist fortress in the rebellious Middle East.

Among the crowd were Arab demonstrators, a fact of decisive significance. Heretofore, Jewish and Arab opposition to Israeli policy had been conducted separately, in obeisance to the segregation imposed by the Zionists, although Trotskyist radicals in the Committee Against the War in Lebanon have worked with both Arabs and Israeli Jews. On September 22, three days earlier, 600,000 Arabs had staged a 1-day general strike throughout Israel to express their outrage.

While there are as yet no reports of contact between the Jewish protesters and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the rally in Tel Aviv is a step toward the Arab/Jewish unity that is basic to creating change in rapacious Israel.

Lebanon. All summer long, anti-Israeli outrage has been building in Israel and around the world.

The June 6 invasion of Lebanon, the pulverization of its southern cities, and the horrific, sustained bombardment of Beirut — unequaled since the razing of Dresden in World War II — brought tens of thousands of Israelis into the streets. 100,000 women-led protesters marched in Tel Aviv in June. Women also spurred significant protests in Haifa and Jerusalem. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs also demonstrated in Jerusalem throughout the summer. And boiling protests erupted across the U.S. and in Europe.

Two groups — “Soldiers Against the Silence” and the more militant “There is a Limit for Israel” — have formed inside the Israeli military.

Begin had hoped the invasion would eradicate the PLO and all Palestinian resistance inside Lebanon and bring that country into a “Judeo-Christian alliance” against the Arab world. Then he could proceed unhindered to annex the occupied Gaza and West Bank territories.

But far from bringing an end to the “Palestinian problem,” the indiscriminate slaughter of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, and the heroic PLO resistance against Israeli tanks and artillery inside Beirut, brought Zionism itself a stunning defeat.

The Israelis were stopped at the gates of Beirut. And when the PLO, intact, evacuated the capitol at the end of August, a maddened Begin couldn’t wait to impose his own “final solution” in Lebanon.

Countdown to massacre. The PLO began its exodus from Beirut on August 20 with written assurances from Ronald Reagan and U.S. negotiator Philip Habib that the remaining Palestinians and leftist Lebanese would be protected from the Israelis and Lebanon’s fascists. French and Italian troops and U.S. Marines flew in to “keep the peace.”

But on August 23, Phalangist leader Bashir Gemayel assumed the presidency of Lebanon. He immediately called for the expulsion of all “foreigners” (Palestinians) from the country.

Gemayel’s father had molded the Phalange on the model of Hitler’s Nazis. Gemayel personally orchestrated the massacre of Palestinians and Lebanese in the 1975-76 civil war, and has since received over $100 million from Israel to terrorize the PLO and Lebanese left. This obliging president pledged a “democratic” Lebanon “friendly to U.S. interests.”

And those in the know held their breath as the countdown to an Israeli/Phalangist bloodbath ticked away. On September 10, as if to speed the inevitable, the French, Italian, and U.S. troops began to depart Beirut.

Exit Gemayel. Four days later, on September 14, Gemayel was assassinated when a bomb destroyed the Phalangist headquarters.

The violent removal of this führer gave Israel its pretext to storm the city on September 15, in violation of the Habib agreement. The Israelis, said Begin, would oust Palestinian guerrillas who had “cheated the U.S., Israel, and Lebanon by remaining behind.”

The Zionists quickly mopped up last-ditch resistance by the leftist Maurabitoun Militia, and were in control of the city by the following day, Thursday, September 16.

That same day, the massacre in the Sabra and Chatilla camps started.

“We are slaughtering them.” The massacre lasted until Saturday the 18th-36 hours during which women, old men, and children were hunted and butchered like animals by Phalangist militiamen and troops under Christian fascist Major Sa ad Haddad, an old Israeli proxy.

Israel, at first, denied any knowledge of the killing until it was “too late.” Begin rejected “with contempt” any Israeli responsibility for the carnage. But persistent on-the-scene reports, first published in Israel’s own press, told a different story. And in the following days, a far more sinister and horrifying disclosure of Israeli stage management of the massacre was pieced together in the world press.

This is what happened: On Wednesday, September 15, the Israelis met with the Phalangist high command in Beirut to plan the fascist invasion of the camps.

On September 16, with the approval of the Israeli cabinet, the Israeli army ushered the Christians into the camps and the slaughter commenced.

Israeli officers and troops watched it all from an observation post not 250 yards away, their vision aided by flares they lit to facilitate the murders.

From time to time, the fascists would come out to rest. The Israelis stoked them with food and water. Newsweek reporter James Pringle, blocked from entering the camp by Israeli troops, asked about the sound of grenades and rifle fire. Said a Haddad militiaman cheerfully, “We are slaughtering them.”

The killing continued systematically through Friday and into Saturday.

As reports of the carnage sent shock waves around the world, the Israelis claimed that on Friday, “as soon as the [Israeli army] learned of the tragic events,” they’d ordered an end to the bloodbath. But why, then, did the Israelis allow the fascists a leisurely twelve extra hours, until Saturday morning, inside the camps?

More bloodbaths in store. Four days after the Square of Kings rally, on September 29, after first having tried to stonewall an inquiry, Begin was forced to call a “full judicial investigation” of the killings.

Nothing, however, has changed in Lebanon.

The Israelis remain there in force, warring on PLO and Syrian troops entrenched in Eastern Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. They vow to stay until the PLO and Syrians have left. Amin Gemayel — a nicer fascist than his brother, according to the western press — has succeeded to the presidency. The Christian wolfpacks of the Phalange and Haddad roam at will through Beirut and southern Lebanon.

The U. S., financier and armorer of the Israelis and the Phalange, is scrambling to wash its hands of the blood and stench. But Reagan has not lopped off a dime from military aid to Israel. And Marines were sent back to Beirut on September 29 to help the fascists consolidate power.

The fascists wasted no time tightening their grip on the city, sweeping the Moslem sectors, rounding up Palestinians and Lebanese by the truckload, and razing refugee dwellings. On October 11, fascists again entered Sabra and Chatilla with masked informants and took away people the informants pointed out.

Clearly, the half-million Palestinians left in Lebanon are as imperiled as the slaughtered refugees.

Begin’s plans for a “Greater Israel” remain the same. Annexation of the West Bank proceeds apace. And Gemayel or Haddad are slated for junior partnership with Israel.

The real Israel. From its birth as a child of British and U.S. imperialism, Israel has echoed and advocated the most malignant features of the capitalist west. And its entire history refutes the notion of Zionist “liberals” that, given “security,” Israel could settle into benign “coexistence” with its Arab neighbors. Israeli security has always depended on encroachment, war, and genocide. Begin’s policies are the fulfillment of Zionism, and not an aberration of the dream.

In 1948, the Zionists declared that Palestine would henceforth be the exclusively Jewish state of Israel. They then drove one million Palestinians from their homes to clear the way for Jewish settlement.

Israel had designs on Lebanon at least as early as 1954, according to Israel’s Sacred Terrorism, a Study Based on Moshe Sharett’s Personal Diary. Former Prime Minister Sharett quotes then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan in 1954: ” … find an officer, even just a major [Haddad!]. We should either win his heart or buy him with money, to make him agree to declare himself the savior of the Maronite [Christian] population. Then the Israeli army will enter Lebanon … and will create a Christian regime which will ally itself with Israel. The territory from the Litani southward will be totally annexed … everything will be all right.”

The Study makes it clear the Zionist policy from the beginning was to create a “siege mentality in Israeli society … to complement the prefabricated myth of the Arab threat.”

In 1956, Israel joined the British and the French in attacking Egypt to keep open the Suez Canal — and Mideast oil fields — for imperialism.

Israel supported the fascist French Secret Army Organization (OAS) against the Algerian liberation struggle in the ’50s and ’60s, cheer-led the 1958 U.S. intervention in Lebanon, and backed the U.S. in Vietnam.

Israel occupied the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai during the 1967 war. Permanent settlements were started and the Palestinians told to seek solutions outside their rightful homeland.

Israel was the first state to recognize the CIA-backed Chilean coup that overthrew Allende in 1973. It supplied 98% of the arms to Somoza in Nicaragua. And today, Begin arms the most brutal dictatorships — El Salvador, Guatamala, and South Africa.

Is it any wonder that more governments have diplomatic relationships with the stateless PLO than with the reactionary government of Israel?

Enter the godfather. Israel, for all its depredations, could not survive one day without U.S. military and economic aid.

In the first quarter of 1982 alone, the Israelis received $218 million in U.S. arms — nearly ten times that delivered to Israel in the first quarter of 1980, and 400/0 more than in the first quarter of 1981. Most of that $218 million ravaged Lebanon this summer.

Throughout the bombardment, the U.S. was Israel’s godfather in the UN, vetoing every anti-Zionist resolution — including one to allow water, food, and medicine into Beirut.

Reagan’s show of disapproval of the massacre was merely a Hollywood performance. Aid to Israel remains intact to the last cent.

Israel continues to be the strongest outpost of imperialism in the Mideast. And the U.S. will remain the life support to Zionism until it finds a replacement among Arab bourgeois governments.

The tightrope walkers. It is not inconceivable that the U.S. will now strike a deal with the Arab bourgeoisie that leaves out Israel. Anti-Begin anger in this country is mushrooming and is potentially explosive.

And Big Business is loath to jeopardize its relations with the oil-rich Arab sheikdoms.

Arab rulers, for their part, are anxious to reach a back-scratching agreement with the imperialists, one that includes co-existence with Israel, if necessary. It was no accident that none of them came to the aid of the PLO during the siege of Beirut. They fear revolution at home, sparked by the Palestinians, far more than they fear Israel, which, after ail, is capitalist like themselves.

But Israeli/bourgeois-Arab coexistence is unthinkable without addressing the question of Palestinian statehood which cannot be resolved without eroding the Zionist state. That is why Begin insists on Palestinians settling in other Arab lands.

Israel’s savagery in Lebanon was a message to the Arab capitalists: there will be no Zionist coexistence in Israel with other Semitic peoples.

U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz, who is chummy with Arab potentates and sensitive to impending upheavals in Arab countries, now calls for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinians, he says “deserve a place.” He rejects a Palestinian state, but his desire for a halt to Israeli settlement of the occupied territories will likely edge the U.S. closer to confrontation with Begin the Conqueror.

Oil and anti-Semitism. If the U.S. does try to jettison the Israelis, it will undoubtedly grease the wheels with anti-Semitism — the traditional linchpin of reaction and a basis for rightwing growth.

What other recourse for capitalism than anti-Semitism? Capitalism can no longer survive without imposing fascism around the world. The fascist bombings in France, as well as the growth of Nazis and Klansmen in the U.S., are a taste of what capitalism has in store for the Jews.

How ironic that Zionism is a bulwark of Wall Street, which threatens nothing but holocaust revisited for world Jewry and for all people.

Empty promises. Nothing can be more spurious than for Zionist hacks to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

The two are opposites. Zionism is a death trap for the Jews and is objectively anti-Semitic itself.

The day of the colonial settler state is over. Ultimately, Israel cannot prevail against the Arab revolution. Israel hasn’t the human or material resources to stand by itself, and its military and economic pipeline to the U.S. is increasingly tenuous. Further, the cost of maintaining a capitalist garrison state is stepped-up privation and misery for both Jewish and Arab workers within Israel.

Inflation there has leaped to 130%. Unemployment is growing. And social services are falling victim to the money-eating military juggernaut.

Strikes continued or were started during the Lebanon invasion; something that had never happened in Israel’s previous wars.

Anti-Arab racism, which is fundamental to Zionism as a justification for aggression, also blights the lives of Israeli Jews. Dark-skinned Sephardic and Oriental Jews from North Africa and the Mideast — the majority of Israeli Jews — are relegated to second-class citizenship in Israel.

Israeli women, long held up by Zionist myth makers as the epitome of female emancipation, suffer acute discrimination under the religious courts, which have total control over archaic marriage and divorce laws. Women’s primary responsibility is to bear sons for Israel’s armed forces.

The state imposes upon women and Arabs the poorest-paid jobs.

Army and kibbutz women wash the dishes and do the laundry but do not fight or till the fields with the men.

Homosexuality is prohibited in patriarchal Israel. Abortions are illegal.

Zionism, the ideology of an exclusively Jewish religious and capitalist state, holds only false promises for Jewish workers. It has made them cannon fodder in doomed wars of aggression even as it exploits and divides them at home.

Capitalism has always treated its victims thus.

At the crossroads. Israeli citizens, even before the invasion and massacre, were increasingly aware of the cruel hoax of Zionist demagogy. Many have emigrated or waged sporadic protests against government policies. But the horror in Lebanon has dramatically heightened and clarified the Israeli class struggle.

The 400,000 in Tel Aviv on September 25 were 10% of the population. Imagine a numerically comparable 23 million marching in this country against foreign wars.

Israeli Jews now have a great opportunity to initiate an alliance with the Palestinians and other oppressed Arab masses. This means standing together against their rulers, against the imperialists who back them, and against any “accommodation” between Israeli and Arab capitalists.

Israeli Jews must demand a secular, cooperative, socialist Arab and Jewish state in Palestine. This is the correct program on which Jewish and Arab unity can be forged, Zionism put behind them, and the Mideast delivered from destruction.

Whither the PLO? The PLO has been forced once again to abandon a temporary land base. But this is just one battle lost in a prolonged class war that knows no national boundaries.

The PLO may have learned the cruelest lesson of liberation warfare: revolutionaries cannot count on class enemies for aid, no matter if their race or nationality is the same. The Palestinians waited in vain for support from their royalist/ capitalist “brothers” during the siege in Beirut.

Arafat vowed vengeance against these turncoats when he left Beirut. But how can revenge be exacted and liberation achieved?

Not through Arafat’s gestures of support for the Reagan-Schultz “peace initiative” that leaves Zionism intact and the Palestinians stateless. Not through back room dickering with the turncoat Arab capitalists. And not through Arafat’s visitations with reactionary Pope John Paul II.

Arafat said he would wait for “world opinion” to deal with the Israeli and fascist killers. But what will the PLO do now to avenge the dead? Most of them were women, the most intransigent opponents of the aggressors who savaged their lives and their families. Arafat sounds like he aspires to become a bourgeois “statesman.”

But Arafat is in conflict with other, more radical PLO leaders, many of whom realize that the PLO must wage an avowedly socialist, internationalist struggle if it is to survive.

The nexus of struggle. The PLO left Lebanon politically intact. And in the countries where it now resides, its respect and popularity among the masses, its social, political, and military contacts, and its political leverage are enormous.

The PLO has the support of the vast majority of the Arab world’s dispossessed. Beyond that, Palestinian liberation is a recognized nexus of world class struggle. The PLO has the power to impel the oppressed everywhere against imperialism.

Palestinian fighters must expose their enemy — the bourgeois network of the U.S., Israel, the Lebanese fascists, and the Arab ruling class that strangles the Middle East. Palestinians can rally the Arab masses and join with Jewish workers in common cause against this multi-faceted enemy.

The PLO must demand arms from the world’s workers’ states. And it must stand with the struggles of all the oppressed in every country, and demand reciprocal solidarity. Jews and Arabs lived peacefully together for centuries before Zionism split them apart. They can do so again in a multi-religious, shared Palestine, in a socialist homeland for both.

Not until then will Arab and Jew find their roots and security.

Share with your friends










Submit