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The Middle East Road Map is destined to fail

by Yossi Schwarz in Israel Tuesday, Jun. 10, 2003 at 5:58 PM

Middle East

In Defense of Marxism-

Workers International League-

In spite of Abu Mazen's attempts to cosy up to imperialism

The Middle East " Road Map" is destined to fail

By Yossi Schwarz in Israel

After two and a half years of a desperate uprising in which 2,500 Palestinians and more than 700 Israelis have been killed, the Palestinian capitalists and petit bourgeois are crawling on their stomachs before the US and Israeli rulers. Once again history has proven, as the Marxists had always predicted, that the methods of individual terror are leading only to defeat.

The Barbarian prince, George W. Bush president of the US, and his servants Mahmoud Abbas, the most unpopular non-elected Palestinian Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister of Israel, the butcher Ariel Sharon, ended summit talks in Aqaba, Jordan on Wednesday of last week with a joint promise to use state terror against the Palestinian opposition. They made some references to a "democratic independent state" , by which they mean a mini Palestinian dependent state, providing cheap labor to the capitalist class.

During his speech Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen) promised to end the "military Intifada" against the Israelis, "wherever they are" - thus not only against the residents of Israel proper but also against the armed settlers acting as a paramilitary militia as well.

"We will exert full efforts to ending the militarization of the Intifada .The armed Intifada must end and we must resort to peaceful means to achieve our goals," he said. Adding that the Palestinians, "do not ignore the suffering of the Jews throughout history. It is time to bring this suffering to an end."

Until he made his speech, Sharon was expected to accept the formula of equation between terror and settlements, however in his speech today he emphasized that his primary duty was to work for the security of Israel that according to the Zionist myth is the land which is the cradle of the Jewish people. As if the ancient Jews and the European Jews were the same. He further said that, " there can be no compromise with terror. It is in Israel's interest not to govern the Palestinians, but for the Palestinians to govern themselves in their own state. A democratic Palestinian state fully at peace with Israel" . He even explained the role of this state: "It will promote the long term security and well-being of Israel as a Jewish state." He added that "We can also reassure our Palestinian partners that we understand the importance of territorial continuity in the West Bank for a viable Palestinian state." In other words he avoided the issue of the settlements and, like Abu Mazen, he did not say a word about the Palestinian refugees expelled by Israel in 1948.

Bush, closing the round of declarations, stood behind Sharon and declared that he and America as a whole were committed to Israel's security as a "vibrant Jewish state." After a reference to a democratic Palestinian state he made his intentions for the role of this state clear when he said: "My government will provide training and support for a new, restructured Palestinian security service, and we'll place a mission on the ground, led by ambassador John Wolf."

Clearly this is putting on a show and the message is that the US and Israel will put trust the Palestinian bourgeois and will arm it to fight against those who oppose US and Israeli domination in the Middle East.

It was hardly mentioned in the mass media, but part of the discussions in Sharm el-Sheikh with the five Arab rulers was aimed at getting their approval for a new Iraqi government totally controlled by the US. Only five Arab states were present. Syria and Lebanon, that are insisting on the right of return of the Palestinian refugees, were absent. They were deliberately not invited to the summit. According to an Egyptian source, Mubarak made it clear to Bush that the composition of the summit meeting "embarrassed the Arabs. People are talking about how we are dividing the Arab world into two. There are those who meet with you and those you boycott, those you threaten and those who go with you in a golf cart." (what he probably meant to say was " those you intend to rob and those who push your golf cart" )

In the meantime the entire population of the Middle East, Arabs and Jews alike, know that the outcome of this summit is not going to be peace. An opinion poll carried out in Israel shows that although a clear majority of the Jewish public in Israel supports the idea of peace , an even larger majority tends to believe that the plan will not bring a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The poll published last Wednesday revealed that while a clear majority among the Jewish public supports the "road map" , a larger majority does not seem to put high hopes in its results. To the question: "Do you believe the road map will achieve the goal of a total and ultimate resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2005 or close to it?," 32 percent responded that they believe this and 66 percent that they do not.

The general population in the Arab countries is even more than sceptical. They are upset and angry. An indication of this was the Jordanian king who was ready for the worst and had had made sure that there was a heavy army and police presence everywhere in Aqaba.

In Israel the left and liberal Zionists have capitulated to Sharon. Mizna the former leader of the Zionist Labour Party recently announced that only a right wing government can make peace. These Zionist lefts are helping to create the impression that they believe in what Sharon himself said in his election campaign, i.e. that "Only Sharon can do it."

Crucially for the right, the road map states that as part of an initial phase, the government of Israel "immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001," and "freezes all settlement activity [including natural growth of settlements]."

The immediate consequence of Sharon's embrace of the road map was the appearance of signs pronouncing him a "traitor", a term that has borne a dark meaning since it gained a wide currency among far-right circles in the tumultuous weeks preceding Rabin's assassination. Another reminder of the pre-assassination period was the scheduling of a mass right-wing protest to take place hours after the Aqaba summit in Jerusalem's Zion Square, the site of a virulent anti-government rally held exactly a month before Rabin was gunned down by religious militant Yigal Amir.

Anger on the right has reached levels unseen in years, said Haaretz commentator Daniel Ben Simon. "I don't remember settlers and the right so shaken and so agitated since the Rabin era." The significant difference between anti-Rabin and current anti-Sharon fury, Ben Simon believes, is that "the right viewed Rabin as a traitor in the sense that he did what he did as a secular man and a leftist, and thus a betrayer of the Jewish heritage. They hated Rabin, not only because he was a man of the Zionist left and a 'defiler of tradition,' but because he represented a New Israeli with whom they could not identify." The problem now is that Sharon is seen as one of them. They are so disconnected from reality that they really believe that this is a betrayal and that he is turning out to be their Judas Iscariot.

The threat of possible violence was voiced in an indirect but ominous manner at the weekend by cabinet minister Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the far-right National Union bloc and a resident of the West Bank settlement of Nokdim. In a television interview, Lieberman threatened that uprooting settlements touched nerves so sensitive in Israel that the step could spark off civil war. Compounding the tension, rabbis in the territories were quoted as singling out Sharon in a statement that included the phrase, "How the mighty have fallen" , something commentators have compared to a funeral eulogy.

The possibility of a civil war does exist, said Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, rabbi of the Nablus-area Har Bracha settlement, and the son of a former head of the hardline Rabbis Committee of Yesha (the West Bank and Gaza Strip). Melamed added that, "It's obvious that when you hurt people, tough problems can be created." Asked about signs branding Sharon a traitor, Melamed said that "this is quite a strong term, but it also has a degree of truth"

This right wing, that has many fascist type characteristics, was created by both the Labour Zionists as well as by the Likud. It is a another case where the Golem is rising up.

The militant Palestinian organizations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, that fully understand that the real aim of this summit was the war against them, said on Wednesday that they would not lay down arms despite an appeal from Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas. They issue a statement which said, "We will never be ready to lay down arms until the last centimetre of the land of Palestine has been liberated," (senior Hamas official Abdel-Aziz al-Rantisi talking to Reuters).

Rantisi's statement came just one day after a senior Hamas official had stated that the group would stop attacks on Israelis if it had guarantees of a gradual IDF (Israeli Army) withdrawal from Palestinian territories. The fact is that Hamas does not oppose the actual capitulation to the US, their problem is that the US is not ready to include them in the deal.

Hamas official Ismail Abu Shanab, in an interview with ABC's "Nightline" program, said the United States should give the Palestinians assurances about the outcome of the road map process. Abu Shanab said that although Hamas rejected the road map plan as a whole, the organization would welcome US assurances that the process really would end in a Palestinian state. " The road map has a chance to succeed if the Americans block Israeli efforts to destroy it," he added.

None other than the head of the Israeli Security Services, Ya'alon testified to the sincerity of this statement. He told the committee that Hamas appeared to be ready to accept the demands of Abbas and his new government for a temporary end to terror. He explained that this was largely as a result of public pressure and recognition of its weakness in the face of the army's success in battling terror. Hamas leaders, he said, believe that any rejection of a ceasefire could result in a rift with the Palestinian leadership and they do not desire a civil war among Palestinians. So much for those naïve fools who believe that the fundamentalists are anti-imperialists.

Ya'alon added that in his opinion there were still parties who were interested in fomenting terror, including Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat and parties supporting terror groups from outside the territories (like Iran, the terrorist groups in Damascus, and the Hezbollah). He added, however, that there were initial signs indicating that the PA had begun to fight terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.

Similarly the Director of (Israeli) Military Intelligence, Aharon "Farkash" Ze'evi, said last Tuesday that Abbas is interested in stopping terrorism, unlike Arafat. "He genuinely wants to stop terror," Ze'evi said at Tel Aviv University on Tuesday. In comments broadcast on Army Radio, Ze'evi said that Abu Mazen wants to say "the Intifada from our perspective has failed, we didn't manage to achieve what we wanted to achieve, and we, the Palestinians, should learn some lessons. We'll continue to struggle in the Intifada, but in different ways."

Ze'evi also added that in contrast, Arafat wants to continue terror until his demand for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is met. This statement that Arafat wants terrorism of course is simply a lie. Arafat who believed that by supporting the US in the war against Iraq he would be rewarded, is learning the hard way the lessons that other "leaders" who worked with the imperialists against " their own" people have learned before him. Once he has failed to deliver he is a persona non grata. This statement however does reveal that Abu Mazen has given up on Jerusalem in addition to the right of return of the refugees.

Meanwhile, as if to prove that the "peace" talk is only a show, IDF Chief of Staff, Moshe Ya'alon told a Knesset committee earlier in the day that he believed a Palestinian truce would start within days, but warned that he was not sure whether it would hold. To make it even clearer the army then imposed a curfew on Jenin.

Washington may hope to establish stability in the area by forcing through a compromise. However, the outcome is more likely to be another circle of state terror and in reaction to this more individual terrorism. The American imperialists now find that, having built up a client state in Israel, the Golem does not always dance when the strings are pulled. Not only does the Israeli ruling class have its own interests, but it has also created its own Golem that is threatening a civil war if the Israeli government accepts the imperialist compromise.

The only party that is clearly criticizing the road map from the left is the CPI-Hadash that denounces - and rightly so - the whole process as a sham and an imperialist plot which lead only to more bloodshed. This is a much better position than the party held in the past when it supported the Oslo agreement! The leaders of the right wing of the party do not dare to support the plan as this would lead to an immediate split. The danger of a split along Jewish-Arab lines is in fact hanging over the party so long as it holds onto its reformist programme of two capitalist states within the framework of the imperialist order. The only way the members of the party can avoid the liquidation of the party is by returning to its revolutionary roots, that is to the ideas and principles that it stood for before the party was taken over by Stalin and his hangmen.

The only force that can get us out of this insane and bloody swamp is the unified working class fighting for workers' power in the form of a federated socialist state within the framework of a socialist federation of the Middle East.

June 8, 2003

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