Statement produced by the Manchester Anarchist Federation branch on the conflict in Gaza, in solidarity with the victims of the conflict, and for internationalism.
One thing is absolutely clear about the current situation in Gaza: the Israeli state is committing atrocities which must end immediately. With hundreds dead and thousands wounded, it has become increasingly clear that the aim of the military operation, which has been in the planning stages since the signing of the original ceasefire in June, is to break Hamas completely. The attack follows the crippling blockade throughout the supposed ‘ceasefire’, which has destroyed the livelihoods of Gazans, ruined the civilian infrastructure and created a humanitarian disaster which anyone with an ounce of humanity would seek an end to.
But that’s not all there is to say about the situation. On both sides of the conflict, the idea that opposing Israel has to mean supporting Hamas and its ‘resistance’ movement is worryingly common. We totally reject this argument. Just like any other set of rulers, Hamas, like all the other major Palestinian factions, are happy and willing to sacrifice ordinary Palestinians to increase their power. This isn’t some vague theoretical point – for a period recently most deaths in Gaza were a result of fighting between Hamas and Fatah. The ‘choices’ offered to ordinary Palestinian people are between Islamist gangsters (Hamas, Islamic Jihad) or nationalist gangsters (Fatah, Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigades). These groups have shown their willingness to attack working class attempts to improve their living conditions, seizing union offices, kidnapping prominent trade unionists, and breaking strikes. One spectacular example is the attack on Palestine Workers Radio by Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, for “stoking internal conflicts”. Clearly, a “free Palestine” under the control of any of these groups would be nothing of the sort.
As anarchists, we are internationalists, opposing the idea that the rulers and ruled within a nation have any interests in common. Therefore, anarchists reject Palestinian nationalism just as we reject Israeli nationalism (Zionism). Ethnicity does not grant “rights” to lands, which require the state to enforce them. People, on the other hand, have a right to having their human needs met, and should be able to live where they choose, freely.
Therefore, against the divisions and false choices set up by nationalism, we fully support the ordinary inhabitants of Gaza and Israel against state warfare – not because of their nationality, ethnicity, or religion, but simply because they’re real living, feeling, thinking, suffering, struggling human beings. And this support has to mean total hostility to all those who would oppress and exploit them –the Israeli state and the Western governments and corporations that supply it with weapons, but also any other capitalist factions who seek to use ordinary working-class Palestinians as pawns in their power struggles. The only real solution is one which is collective, based on the fact that as a class, globally, we ultimately have nothing but our ability to work for others, and everything to gain in ending this system – capitalism – and the states and wars it needs .
That this seems like a “difficult” solution does not stop it from being the right one. Any “solution” that means endless cycles of conflict, which is what nationalism represents, is no solution at all. And if that is the case, the fact that it is “easier” is irrelevant. There are sectors of Palestinian society which are not dominated by the would-be rulers – protests organised by village committees in the West Bank for instance. These deserve our support. As do those in Israel who refuse to fight, and who resist the war. But not the groups who call on Palestinians to be slaughtered on their behalf by one of the most advanced armies in the world, and who willfully attack civilians on the other side of the border.
Neither one stare nor two states, but no states
Whoever dies, Hamas and the Israeli state win
From Anarchists Against The Wall:
Gaza atrocities continue, and so does resistance
SOLIDARITY IN JAFFA
Tuesday saw between three and four hundred of Jaffa’s residents come together in yet another protest against the war (third one in Jaffa since the latest military offensive was launched ten days ago). Jews and Palestinians stood as one, voicing a message of resistance and solidarity with chants and placards in both Arabic and Hebrew.
The demonstration – loud, energetic and empowering – was yet another link in the strengthening chain of resistance to Israel’s war crimes from within its borders. Protesters dispersed after two hours without incident from the large riot police contingent amassed nearby.
NI’ILIN MOURNS, PROTESTS, RESISTS
Wednesday morning, Israeli and international activists joined residents of Ni’ilin in a small protest, led by teenagers, against Israel’s expropriation of over a third of the village’s agricultural land, as well as against the siege and war on Gaza. Since its struggle against the Wall began, Ni’ilin has seen 4 of its young shot dead by Israeli army and police (two of them last week) and countless others injured, curfew and all manner of collective punishments imposed, new weapon tested, night raids and arrests carried out, etc. – but its residents are determined as ever to resist Israeli land-grab and military occupation.
Protesters carrying Palestinian flags attempted to march on their own lands, but soon after they reached the village’s hilly olive tree plantations the entire demonstration was attacked by Israeli troops. Soldiers, standing so close as to be unable to shoot their teargas canisters in the required, arched trajectory, shot them directly at demonstrators’ bodies instead, who had to duck for cover behind trees and rock levees.
The demonstration was then transformed into a pitched battle between troops firing teargas canisters from two different positions in a pincer-movement, and Ni’ilin’s youth responding with slingshots as well as the occasional firecracker. One boy received minor injuries to his leg from a teargas canister hit.
TEL AVIV: SILENCE EQUALS COMPLICITY
On Wednesday evening over 50 demonstrators gathered in central Tel Aviv to make sure the general public gets to hear the other side of the story, the side downplayed or ignored altogether by the media’s “fog of war” policy: the impoverishment and hunger caused in Gaza by years of siege, and the hundreds of dead, the terror and devastation wrought by Israel’s attack.
As rain trickled down sporadically, activists representing various groups held their banners high and shouted at the top of their lungs for an end to the killing. The cry “citizens are being lied to – missiles do not bring security!” was heard by all cars and pedestrians passing through the busy intersection of King George St. and Ben-Tzion Boulevard.