Bilan & the Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine

The articles reproduced here were originally published in 1936 in issues 31 and 32 of Bilan, the organ of the Italian Fraction of the Communist Left. The Fraction was obliged to outline the marxist position on the Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine following the Arab general strike against Jewish immigration, which had degenerated into a series of bloody pogroms.

The choice is imperialist war or class war

Over and over again, we have been told that in any military conflict there is no choice but to take sides for one or the other party in the conflict: for democracy against dictatorship, for "the people" against "imperialism". This article proposes an in-depth analysis of the tensions between the different imperialist states in the Middle East and in doing demonstrates clearly that the workers can expect nothing, no improvement in their lot, from any of the regimes in place or from any of the so-called "revolutions" of the Arab spring.

Israel-Gaza conflict - the rotten fruit of decadent capitalism

Whatever its specifics, strategies and rationales - and there are certainly plenty of those - the Israeli-Palestine conflict is first and foremost the expression of a decomposing capitalism that holds an enormous threat for the working class and the whole of humanity. This particular conflict, increasingly along with the whole geopolitical situation of the Middle East, represents the tendency towards greater militarism, imperialist war, instability and chaos. Its absurdity, intractability and irrationality perfectly sums up the future that this crisis-ridden system offers to us and the generations to follow.

Israel/Palestine: Populations held hostage by imperialist war

Once again, Israeli jets and missiles have been pounding Gaza. In 2008, ‘Operation Cast Lead’ led to almost 1,500 deaths, the majority of them civilians, despite all the claims made about ‘surgical strikes’ against terrorist targets. The Gaza Strip is one of the most impoverished and densely populated areas in the world and it is absolutely impossible to separate ‘terrorist facilities’ from the residential areas that surround them. With all the sophisticated weapons at the Israelis’ disposal, the majority of causalities in the current campaign are also women, children, and the old.

On the demonstrations on the West Bank of the Jordan

We are publishing here an article, written by a close sympathiser of the ICC in Spain, which recounts and draws lessons from the movement of workers and the oppressed in Palestine. We welcome this initiative. In a region where there is a brutal imperialist conflict which brings enormous suffering to the population, words like class, proletariat, social struggle, proletarian autonomy ...have been buried by the words war, nationalism, ethnic rivalries, religious conflicts etc. This is why these recent mobilisations are so important and need to be made known to workers in all countries. We are offered solidarity with nations, peoples, governments, ‘liberation’ organisations...we have to reject this kind of solidarity! Our solidarity can only go out to the workers and the oppressed in Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Tunisia and the rest of the world. CLASS SOLIDARITY AGAINST NATIONAL SOLIDARITY!

The anti-state option

The massive street protests in Israel seem, for the moment at any rate, to have gone into retreat; the social question, which they raised so noisily around issues of housing, inflation, and unemployment, is once again being sidelined by the national question.

US Diplomatic Quarrel with Israel Highlights Weakness of World’s Superpower

In less than a month at the time of writing, a second border clash left at least 14 dead and scores of wounded as Israeli troops opened fire on a crowd of Palestinian protesters trying to break into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights from Syria. Barely one month before, hundreds of people broke through a border fence and clashed with thousands of Israeli troops mobilized in anticipation of possible unrest as Palestinians prepared to protest the anniversary of the Arab defeat in the 1967 Mideast war. This is just a ‘skirmish’ compared to the history of violence and bloodletting that stains the region...

The Palestinian Authority: a fig leaf for naked imperialism

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.

Obama has no solutions for the Middle East

September 26th marked the end of 10 month Israeli moratorium on West Bank settlements. Since that date the media has reported anywhere between 540 & 600 new houses in the process of being built on the Palestinian West Bank by Israeli settlers. This will inevitably increase tensions between Israel the Palestinians and damage the US led peace talks.

Gaza blockade: From Israel to Turkey all states are warmongers

On 31 May, Israeli troops raided a flotilla of ships, backed by Turkey to bring ‘humanitarian aid' to the Gaza strip. The results were extremely shocking: marines from one of the best equipped and most highly trained armies in the world killed a number of unarmed members of the flotilla, most of them Turks. The Israeli authorities, as cynical as ever, claimed that they acted in self-defence.

Weakened US struggles to control Israeli gendarme

In March relations between the US and Israel reached a 30 year low. US Vice President Joe Biden was in Israel trying to push forward the ‘Israel/Palestine peace process', but the announcement of the building of another 1600 homes for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem led to the withdrawal of the Palestinian Authority.

Israel: The imperialist strategy behind Obama’s talk of peace

On 4 June, in Cairo, the US president made a speech which all the main western capitals described as historic. In short, he presented the US as a friend of the Palestinians. He called on Hamas to recognise the State of Israel but he did not describe this organisation as terrorist. Even more remarkable is that he compared the struggle of the Palestinians with that of the slaves in America or the blacks of South Africa in the time of apartheid.

Gaza – the carnage continues

Gaza is still being bombed and the Hamas rockets are still being fired, showing that nothing has been solved by this brutal, one-sided war: over 1300 dead, mostly civilians and foot-soldiers, thousands more wounded and traumatised; over 20,000 houses partly or totally destroyed.

Anti-war’ demonstrations: a call to arms

Those attending the demonstrations against the recent massacres in Gaza, because they wanted to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people or with humanity in general, needed more than a warm coat, hat and scarf to participate. A strong constitution was also required to stomach what turned out to be an orgy of nationalism.

An internationalist voice in Israel

This article was originally published on Israel's Indymedia site and on It was written by a comrade in Israel who, despite being in an extreme minority, felt the need to respond to the patriotic war fever sweeping Israel/Palestine in the wake of the Israeli assault on Gaza.

Gaza: Solidarity with the victims of war means class struggle against all exploiters!

After two years of strangling the economy of Gaza - blockading fuel and medicines, preventing exports and stopping workers from leaving Gaza to find work on the Israeli side of the border - after turning the whole of Gaza into a vast prison camp, from which desperate Palestinians have already tried to escape by breaking through the border into Egypt, Israel's military machine is subjecting this densely populated, impoverished area to all the savagery of a virtually continuous aerial bombardment.

Palestine: imperialist rivalries behind the Hamas/Fatah conflict

While Tony Blair lends his smile to the job of envoy, the situation in the Middle East has become increasingly complicated with the divisions between Hamas and Fatah in Palestine. Fighting between them has paused since Hamas took control of Gaza and Fatah consolidated in the West Bank. Palestine is now divided politically as well as geographically.

Military conflicts spreading across the Middle East

It is now 40 years since the Six Day War of 1967, in which Israel gained a great deal of territory. The media coverage of this anniversary has had little choice but to register the almost unending conflicts that have come in the wake of that war. Indeed, these conflicts had already been sustained for 20 or 30 years before then, and have continued ever since...

Middle East: An absurd spiral of violence

Recent developments in the conflict between Israel and the various Palestinian factions, who have also been at each others’ throats, have reached the height of absurdity. What’s striking is the way that the different bourgeoisies involved have been pushed by the force of circumstances to take decisions which are altogether contradictory and irrational, even from the standpoint of their short-term strategic interests.

In Lebanon and Gaza, the conflict continues

Israeli troops have quit Lebanon but the country is once again on the verge of chaos. The assassination of the Christian minister for industry, Pierre Gemayel (the sixth political leader to be assassinated in a year) has exposed the deep divisions in the country. Hundreds of thousands of people used his funeral to express their opposition to Syrian interference in Lebanon. At the time of writing, there are hundreds of thousands on the streets of Beirut in a Hezbollah counter-demonstration which the government has already denounced as a threat to democracy and a Syrian/Iranian plot.

Middle East: A hunting ground for imperialism

The region around Israel, Palestine and Lebanon has long been a focus of rivalries between great Empires: Babylon, Persia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome; in the epochs of the ancient world; the Caliphate and the Crusades in the mediaeval period. At the beginning of the era of capitalisms decline, marked beyond any shadow of a doubt by the outbreak of the First World War, the geopolitical importance of the region was magnified by the new importance of oil, above all for the maintenance of a functioning war machine.

War in the Middle East: What alternative to capitalist barbarism?

Yet another barbaric checklist in the Middle East: 700 airstrikes on Lebanese territory; over 1200 dead in Lebanon and Israel, over 300 of which were children under 12; more than 5000 injured; a million civilians forced to flee their homes in the combat zones, while many others were too poor or weak to flee and had to endure the daily terror of the bombardments. Whole neighbourhoods and villages reduced to rubble; hospitals full to bursting. Without including the military cost of the war, the economic damage is estimated at 6 billion euro.

Internationalists in Turkey against the Lebanon war

Although the political horizon seems to be darkened by war and barbarism, the proletarian perspective is still alive and growing. This is demonstrated not only by the development of workers’ struggles in numerous countries, but also by the appearance around the world of new groups and politicised elements trying to defend the internationalist positions which are the distinguishing mark of proletarian politics.


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