This article was written and published in The Socialist before the killings of Palestinians on the 14th of May
On 30th March this year, Land Day protests took place to commemorate the Palestinian people who were killed on that date in 1976 and demand an end to the siege of Gaza by Israel and Egypt. This was the start of a series of planned protests leading up to the 15th May which aims to see a million march to mark the seventieth anniversary of the Nakba (disaster), the forced expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes which laid the basis for the establishment of the Israeli state.
The Land Day protests saw violent repression from the Israeli state. 18 Palestinians were killed and around 1,500 demonstrators were injured by live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas. Israel’s nationalist media – acting as the mouthpiece for the right-wing Likud government – denounced and labelled this non-violent protest as “a violent terror attack”. True to form, this is the propaganda machine in full force. Western media outlets labelled them ‘clashes’, implying some equality of force on both sides. We must call out these despicable lies against the Palestinian people – protest and self-defence against an occupying force is not terrorism.
The daily subjugation and military aggression meted out on the population of the oppressed must be challenged. For many Israelis, the seventieth anniversary of the state is a time of great celebration, but if it is on the back of suffering and degradation there should be little to celebrate. Israel’s military machine is without any shadow of a doubt the aggressor in the picture. The Israeli working class should consider the inhumane and insidious policies of Netanyahu’s government. What they inflict upon the Palestinian people is a vision of the methods they would use against any struggles of the Israeli workers that threatened the establishment’s privileged position.
The anti-corruption protests that have been a thorn in Netanyahu’s side should be widened out to challenge inequality, poverty and austerity but also, crucially, links up with the protest movement against the occupation of the Palestinian territories and all forms of oppression meted out as part of the Israeli ruling class’s divide-and-rule policies. Only a united struggle for socialist change in the region can provide the basis for a future in which both the Jewish and Palestinian masses can live free from conflict, with the rights of all guaranteed.
By William Brooks