The Palestinian Authority: a fig leaf for naked imperialism
Last month, when the proletariat and masses of large swathes of the Maghreb and the Middle East began rising up against their capitalist bosses, a Palestinian demonstration was mobilised in the West Bank to march behind the banners of Fatah to protest that their Palestinian Authority had been somehow wronged by the revelations that it was the “Third Israeli security arm” (US security coordinator for Israel and Palestine, General Keith Dayton). Or as World Revolution put it some time earlier, in December 2004 in fact, “Whereas the PLO was once an agent of the Russian bloc, (the) ‘Palestinian Authority’ was essentially created to act as an auxiliary force of repression for the Israeli army”.
The role of the PA, supported by the US, Britain and the EU as defenders of their imperialist needs and thus against the Palestinian masses, has been laid bare in 1600 documents leaked to al-Jazeera and published by The Guardian towards the end of January. The documents, some redacted in order to protect sources, have been authenticated by the newspaper and have been confirmed by recent Wikileaks’ cables coming from the US Consulate in Jerusalem and its embassy in Tel Aviv. They tell a story of the totally corrupt gangsters of the Authority, set up and funded by their American, British and Egyptian godfathers, begging their Israeli masters for a “fig-leaf” in order to give them some sort of credibility.
The documents detail the complete lies and sham of any ‘peace process’, a charade that been acted out for two decades now while the Palestinian masses have been going through humiliating misery, repression and war. Such is the nature of capitalist ‘peace’. The peace process in the Middle East has been nothing else except an expression of imperialism involving all the major powers and the local gangsters of the region. Amongst other things, the anti-working class nature of national liberation, in this case the chimera of a Palestinian state, is shown not only to be a pipe-dream for Palestinians but an ideological attack on the working class world-wide.
In any event, the documents show that only a very minimal number of refugees would be allowed to return to the homes from which they were ‘cleansed’, and are still being cleansed, in the interests of Greater Israel and the wider needs of American and British imperialism. They show a not so bizarre suggestion from US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, a couple of years ago, echoing views from the west after World War II where Jews were asked to re-settle in disease-infested swamplands of South America, that Palestinians could be re-settled in “Chile, Argentina, etc.”. The lawyer, ex-Mossad agent and then Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, “negotiating” with the PA, says: “... I am against law – international law in particular”. That there’s no peace process, that imperialism knows no law, international or otherwise, is also reflected in the lawyer Tony Blair being appointed as the “Quartet’s Middle East Peace Envoy”! There is a law at work though, the law of the jungle, and Chief PA negotiator, Saeb Erekat, sums it up well: “We have had to kill Palestinians... we have even killed our own people to maintain order and the rule of law”. Added to this, in an indication of the gangster nature of the “peace process”, is the stunning revelation that in a meeting in 2005 between the Palestinian Authorities’ Interior Minister, Nasser Youssef and Israeli Defence Minister, Shaul Mofaz, Mofaz put this question to Yousef regarding an al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade commander suspected of facilitating a bombing in Israel: “You know his address... Why don’t you kill him?” Documents show Britain’s role in setting up the security force of ‘trusted’ PA contacts in clandestine operations with direct lines to Israeli intelligence. The current head of MI6, appointed by the Labour government, was himself the British ambassador to Egypt in early 2000.
Killing and torture is capitalist order, capitalist law. Further documents show that in response to the PA’s proposal to recognise all but one Israeli settlement on Palestinian land – an offer that was rejected out of hand by the Israelis – the Israelis’ proposed that Palestinians living in Israel could be “swapped”, ie cleansed, into the PA’s grip. Livni is clear that it’s been a long-time policy of Israel to take “... more and more land, day after day...” in order to create “facts on the ground”.
The Palestinian Authority, itself riven by corruption and rivalries which in turn are manipulated by the CIA, MI6 and the security services of Israel and Egypt, was also warned in advance of the Israeli invasion of Gaza, 2008/9.
Further, as The Guardian notes: “The papers highlight the far-reaching official British involvement in building up the Palestinian Authority’s security apparatus in the West Bank”. They also show that MI6 concocted its Security Plan for Palestine working with Egyptian intelligence in the British embassy in Cairo. It used EU funds and British development ‘aid’ to help bankroll these forces. There can be little doubt that Britain provided arms and training as well. These forces are praised by the Israelis and the Americans, but “they are causing some problems ... because they are torturing people” (General K. Dayton).
None of this leads us to give the least credibility to Hamas – itself a co-negotiator with Israeli intelligence when needs must and a repressive and torturing force in its own enclave. Its imperialist role is clear from its support by Iran and Syria.
The whole “Partners for Peace” process has not only been a cruel joke on the Palestinian masses and a defence of imperialism but an ongoing ideological attack against the working class world-wide. But events are stirring and the pro-Palestinian, pro-Fatah demonstration mentioned above wasn’t the only one to take place in January. Human Rights Watch, 1.2.11, reports: “On January 20, a group of young people in Ramallah who wanted to demonstrate their support for the Tunisians were thwarted by Palestinian Authority police”. A week or so later, it reports: “Hamas authorities prevented demonstrations in the Gaza Strip aimed at showing solidarity with anti-government protestors in Egypt”. Hamas police arrested three women and, in a show of overwhelming force, threatened other would be protesters. We see the clear unity of interest of all these bourgeois gangs: the PA, Hamas, the Israeli and Egyptian states in stifling protest, repressing dissent and defending ‘their’ territories. It’s a lesson that the workers’ history knows well from the Paris Commune, the Russian Revolution, Italy and France after WWII and Poland in 1980 – all examples of where imperialist forces dropped their mutual antagonisms in order to confront the threat of class struggle. In late January, this was also evidenced in the US facilitating, with Israeli agreement, Egyptian special forces being sent across the demilitarised Sinai in order to repress the uprising around the Rafah crossing and strengthen the border with Gaza; in this case, the US, Hamas, Fatah, Israel and Egypt all in perfect harmony in coordinating the forces of repression for the maintenance of the border and capitalist order. This ‘truce’ will only last as long as they are all worried about protest generalising; when it dies down they will be back to their usual tricks and rivalries.
. There were also reports of a small demonstration in support of both the Tunisian and Egyptian masses in north Tel Aviv.