In this reality, the Israeli arena is divided between two positions: the right refuses any serious solution and insists on maintaining the current situation, while the left aims for an agreement with the Saudi axis. The former base their position on the continuation of anarchy in the Arab world and on the rift between Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and note the rise of ISIS and the al-Nusra Front to evade Israel’s obligation to put an end to the occupation. They claim the Arab rift and the internal fighting among Palestinians justify their position, since there is no partner for peace. The latter, those who seek peace and an end to settlement in the West Bank, put their trust in Abu Mazen, Sisi and Saudi Arabia. They thus stand with anachronistic forces which are suppressing the democratic movement in the Arab world, since they stand in complete opposition to the peoples’ demand for freedom and social justice. The lack of a strong democratic alternative in the Arab world has a negative effect on the Israeli arena, which goes from one extreme to the other. Neither side proposes a real solution apart from continuing the status quo, ongoing settlement and suppression, and yet more rounds of war and destruction.
Daam Workers’ Party at the head of the anti-war movement
Daam’s position against the war was unequivocal from the start. It was based on a position of principle which places responsibility for the war and continued occupation at the feet of the extreme rightwing government, because of its ongoing refusal to countenance any peace agreement which would halt the settlements. The war on Gaza was a direct result of the failure of the nine months’ negotiations with the Palestinians, and revealed the deceit of the government and Prime Minister Netanyahu who declared in his Bar-Ilan speech that he accepts the principle of the two-state solution. Israel has no intention of going up against the settlers, halting the settlement of the West Bank and enabling the Palestinians to build their own independent state. Events in the West Bank – daily killing of youths and civilians, the hounding of political activists, theft of land, and settlement construction – are crimes against humanity by any yardstick. In this situation, Israel can wage no “just” war against the Palestinians, even if the Palestinian front uses violence in its struggle.
The Hamas movement, like all extreme religious organizations and movements, arose because of the collapse of democratic solutions, and the deadlock reached by the political “peace process”. Hamas’ wide influence is the direct result of the Oslo Accords, which foisted onto the Palestinian people an authority which cooperates with the occupation while settlements continue to expand in all areas under Israel’s control. The war today is between the extreme ideological rightwing in Israel and the Islamic movement which is no less extreme. Both sides take the same approach – us or them – and reject the idea that there is a place for both peoples in the same land.
Hamas’ armed resistance against Israel in the current conditions, exposing the Palestinians time and again to suppression, massacre and destruction yet unable to offer them any protection, is irresponsible and criminal. Our resolute opposition to the extreme rightwing government in Israel does not in any way imply political support for Fatah or Hamas or identification with one of the axes, whether Qatari or Saudi.
While others called for unity and support for the army to bring down Hamas and prove that its rockets were not undermining morale, the Daam Workers’ Party organized demonstrations in Tel Aviv at the height of the fighting to express a clear anti-war position. It was extremely important to expose the fact that Netanyahu’s policy has no political horizon and amounts to nothing more than the continuation of those same wars which solve nothing and merely put the Israeli public at risk again and again. The rightwing tried to persuade Israelis that the occupation is a natural state of affairs and that it can be lived with, until the rockets came and showed that the Palestinian people will never accept siege and occupation.
The Daam Workers’ Party supported the Arab Spring which expressed democratic movements in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria, and we supported the youth movements which managed to draw the masses onto the streets in calls for freedom, bread and social justice. The power of the Arab Spring explains what we see in the Arab world today, including the anarchy and civil wars. The Saudi attempt to turn the clock back and the Qatari attempt to paint the Arab Spring in green by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood are both doomed to fail. There is no going back to the situation before the Arab Spring. True, the youth in the Tamarod movement made a grave mistake in supporting the army against the legal government of the Muslim Brotherhood, and perhaps the