A BRITISH humanitarian aid convoy managed to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip last week. Viva Palestina vehicles brought much needed food and medical supplies to the defiant Palestinian Arabs of Gaza who have been under Israeli siege since 2007.
Breaking the siege, which Israel maintains with the compliance of the Egyptian government, was a significant first step. It was symbolic because the supplies in themselves cannot possibly meet the needs of the million and a half Palestinians crammed into the 360 square kilometres of land that is supposedly “autonomous” but in practice faces diplomatic and economic isolation because the population is led by the militant Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, which the Israelis want out.
Breaking the news blackout on the plight of the Palestinians imposed by the bourgeois media was the second step. George Galloway, the Respect MP who led the convoy, achieved it when he was deported from Egypt after he left the Strip. We have to ensure that pressure on the British government goes far beyond the limited resources of the current solidarity campaign.
Self-styled Middle East “experts” tell us that the Palestinian question is intractable. Some blame the Palestinian Arabs for their own misery. Others claim it can never be resolved. But all they are really doing is supporting Israel’s intransigence and providing an alibi for US imperialism’s wider ambitions in the Middle East.
In fact the solution to the Palestinian problem is well-known and has been on the table since the end of the first Arab-Israeli war in 1949. At that time the United Nations accepted the right of the Palestinian refugees who had been driven off their land by the Zionists to return to their homes or be given adequate compensation if they so wished. Time and time again through continuous confrontation and four further major Arab-Israeli wars the UN Security Council has endorsed this demand. Anglo-American and Franco-German imperialism all paid lip-service to past UN resolutions to end the fighting but when it comes to talks all the Arabs get are the prevarications, lies and broken promises that distinguish imperialist diplomacy throughout the Middle East.
The State of Israel is the creation of the United Nations which partitioned Palestine in the first place. The Arab states and the Palestinian authorities have showed their willingness to compromise by accepting the UN resolutions that partitioned Palestine in the first place and accepting the 1949 armistice line that gave the Zionists far more territory than had been originally been awarded by the UN.
The Israelis, however, have put little or nothing on the table. They are only prepared to allow a fraction of the refugees to return to their homes and the current government in Tel Aviv won’t even contemplate the establishment of a genuinely independent Palestinian state in the “autonomous” zones established in the 1990s.
A just and lasting peace in the Middle East can only be achieved by restoring the legitimate rights of the Palestinian Arabs that were accepted by the UN 1947 Partition Plan in the first place.
Israel is an economic and military dependency of the United States. It provides a reliable strategic base for US imperialism in the oil-rich region that the Americans believe is the key to world domination. But it is also the key to the violence and terror which has now spread across the entire world.
Imperialist politicians who bleat on about the “war on terror” and the “Christian values” they themselves do not possess say that the hatred of the West on the Arab and Muslim street is due to some sort of “clash of civilisations”. But the kernel of the problem is the monstrous injustice done to the Palestinian Arabs and their determination to reclaim their legitimate rights. These rights must be restored.