Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting
Irish Labour movement 1889-1924: Lecture Five - 1913 Lockout 09:47 Fri Oct 17, 2014
Global Finance, Money and Power: Lecture Six - Tax Havens 07:09 Thu Oct 16, 2014
Irish Labour Movement 1889-1924: Tutorial - Erin?s hope & Class in Ireland 13:44 Mon Oct 13, 2014
Irish Labour Movement 1889-1924: Lecture Four - Jim Larkin and Larkinism 09:15 Fri Oct 10, 2014
Global Finance, Money and Power: Lecture Five - Market Institutions 19:48 Wed Oct 08, 2014
Dublin Opinion >>
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
The Changing Pattern of Foreign Investment in China Wed Oct 22, 2014 13:36 | John Ross
Welcome to the New Tax Avoidance Scheme, Same as the Old Tax Avoidance Scheme Mon Oct 20, 2014 16:26 | Michael Taft
Revealed: EU science chief promised to be ?flexible? towards Israel?s war crimes Thu Oct 16, 2014 15:21 | David Cronin
Austerity is Over? Now Back to the Real World Wed Oct 15, 2014 17:21 | Michael Taft
A New Kind of Trade Unionism Emerging Wed Oct 15, 2014 16:24 | Irish Left Review
Irish Left Review >>
The Extraordinary Synod in Rome. Will it bring extraordinary times? Wed Oct 22, 2014 07:09 | GuestPost
A new Constitutional Settlement for Northern Ireland: Queries from International Law Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:27 | Aoife O'Donoghue
Why Budget 2015 must be that last of its kind Fri Oct 17, 2014 08:36 | Liam Thornton
Socio-Economic Rights & Budget Analysis: Some Notes on Available Resources, ?Progressivity? and Non... Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:55 | Liam Thornton
Legal pathways to reproductive justice and abortion rights #repealthe8th Mon Oct 13, 2014 15:00 | GuestPost
Human Rights in Ireland >>
Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake
Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake
Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake
NAMA Wine Lake >>
Hamas Discussion touches on North in 1971 period and IRA.
Sunday August 10, 2014 18:49 by john throne - Facts For Working People.
Tactic of firing missiles into Israel
While unconditionally opposing the policies of Zionism and their slaughter in Gaza it is important to look at the tactics of Hamas. Does their political, ideological and military tactics, such as firing rockets in Israel weaken or strengthen the Palestinian struggles. There is a difference between an offensive tactic like firing rockets into Israel and a defensive military strategy such as organizing a new intifada around mass collective workers organizations and from this base defend the Palestinian people with armed struggle. John Throne.
Sent: Sun, Aug 10, 2014 12:13 pm
Subject: Hamas discussion. Touches on events in North in 1970 period and IRA.
DEBATE ON HAMAS
What effect is the conflict in Gaza having on world opinion? It seems to me that the battle is being won by the Palestinians through this heroic struggle in the face of an onslaught by a most brutal enemy. In terms of loss of life, the Palestinians have suffered greatly, but as the Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal explains in this interview with Charlie Rose, “The Palestinian people have had enough. They do not make distinctions between slow death and instant death.” It might be said that the Catholics of Northern Ireland felt the same way when they blockaded the Bogside in 1972, they had enough.
Norman Finkelstein has referred to Israel as a “Lunatic State” (watch him demolish the pro-Zionist BBC interviewer below Rose’s interview) and there is certain truth to this. There are those in Israel, in positions of power that are crazed there is no doubt about it. Their intention is to destroy every remnant of Palestinian culture. But Israel’s polices, its racism and violence directed at the Palestinian population as shown in the slaughter in Gaza are undermining support world-wide. The mass media, and serious journals of the US capitalist class like the Wall Street Journal rarely, if ever, stray from the Israel the victim line. The elected government of Gaza, Hamas, was labeled terrorist by the US in order to isolate them from world opinion. The Palestinians did not elect the government Washington and Tel Aviv wanted.
But what is happening in Gaza is all over social media, it makes restricting information more difficult. Even the New York Times has had to open up a bit. For the Zionists there is no way out of this mess but to annihilate the Palestinian population, to kill them all. The present policies are threatening the entire region and also increasing support for religious fanatics like ISIS for example. What if Jordan falls, and other Arab regimes? The US capitalist class, including its Jewish members can see no light at the end of the tunnel through Zionist policies. That this interview appears in BusinessWeek, owned by the ardent Zionist Michael Bloomberg who is worth some $30 billion, is significant in my humble opinion as they say. I say this because it is is very favorable to Hamas for the US big business press. This is no accident.
I have mentioned before that the US ruling class, overwhelmingly Gentiles, have no love for their Jewish competitors. Their support for Israel is a political and economic decision as Israel up to now has been the most reliable ally in an oil rich region between two continents. Increased public opinion and weakened support from American Jews for the policies of Israel will, as Finkelstein points out, act as a counter to the powerful Israeli lobby also. Here is the interview with Meshaal, it’s short but Meshaal’s answers are powerful and to the point. Do check out the interview with Finkestein as well.
Thanks for posting the text of the interview between the Hamas leader and Charlie Rose.
Unfortunately, I have considerable reservations about the Hamas leader’s replies. He constantly refers to the Israeli’s as “the enemy” and “the occupiers”. In this he is not referring to the Israeli settlements but to their presence in the whole of Palestine. This fits in with Hamas’s position that the Jews have to go back to where they came from in Eastern Europe, Russia etc. Of course, racism expressed by the oppressed cannot be put on the same level as the racism of their oppressors. But in this case, the reactionary propaganda and military strategy of Hamas only plays into the hands of the Israeli right and make it easier for them to pursue their policies. For example, from what I understand, since the Israeli army invaded 40% of Gaza has now been turned into a buffer zone where Palestinians are not allowed. The justification of the Israeli army is that this will make it much more difficult for Hamas to dig fresh tunnels. So one fears that the permanent result of the current conflict will be that the Palestinians will lose almost half of its territory, and the Israelis will be able to justify this in its fight against the rockets.
On the Palestinian demand for the lifting of the siege, there is no way that Israel will concede this given the fact that Hamas has fired thousands of rockets into Israel. The Israelis will argue that they can’t allow free trade into Gaza as it will only give Hamas more opportunities to restock its rockets and acquire or build more effective weapons.
Thus while we must have all the sympathy in the world for the cause of the Palestinians in Gaza, the current military course and propaganda of their Hamas leadership is taking them down the road to disaster. All the talk of ‘world opinion’ will not change these facts on the ground.
You make the comparison with the Catholics in Northern Ireland. But the equivalent position would have been the IRA calling the presence of the Protestants in the North an “occupation”, calling them “the enemy”, “the occupiers” and so on. Obviously the implantation of the Protestants in Northern Ireland was an occupation when it originally took place enturies earlier, but even the IRA were not stupid enough to publicly call for all the Protestants to leave, which is the policy of Hamas.
That said, the IRA’s military policy while not as stupid as Hamas, was itself a dead-end. As we pointed out time and time again. And it took a whole generation before the IRA realised their strategy could not work. Unfortunately, during this period the majority of the British Left under the slogan of “unconditional support” just acted a cheerleaders for the IRA which if it made any difference only encouraged them to carry on their suicidal policy.
Key to the success of the Palestinian struggle must be to split the Israeli aggressors. Unfortunately, I believe that the policy aims of Hamas, its propaganda and its military strategy do the opposite, helping to bind the Israeli population to its war-mongering and racist leadership and maintain its support among the political classes in Washington and Europe.
On the question of world opinion, while the majority of the world’s population is clearly in support of the Palestinians and opposes Israel’s aggressive policies of settlements, the siege etc. I believe that they see no effective solution emerging from the current situation.
We have to show that there is an alternative way forward which can offer hope to the Palestinians and all their supporters around the world. But of course this has to be done from the standpoint of solidarity with the Palestinian people and condemnation of Israeli aggression and brutality. And also in the context of a solidarity campaign that is pushing for a boycott of Israeli products, divestment, isolation and so on.
I realise that for some this is a difficult approach to take and is risks going against the stream of progressive opinion, but socialists should never shirk from telling the truth or pointing out when a policy or a strategy is counter-productive.
I would like to think about this more. A mass uprising would of course be best. But the Zionists using the excuse of the killing of the 3 boys invaded. Yes I think we should have probably proposed a new intifada but there was no leadership there to organize this and the Hamas moved in clearly with the support of the mass of the Palestinians. Should we now say that Hamas should lay down their arms. I am not sure.
I know that this is probably not the correct time to raise this, right in the middle of all the terrible destruction and loss of life that is going on in Gaza, but do any of the comrades on this list think like I do that Hamas is pursuing a hopeless and self-destructive military strategy. A strategy that is just playing into the hands of the most reactionary elements of Israeli society.
For example, Hamas is quite correctly demanding the lifting of the siege. But by firing off thousands of rockets into Israel, almost of all which have no effect, they make it a complete certainty that Israel will not lift the siege – with most Israelis thinking that opening the border to trade would just allow Hama to more easily restock itself or get even more dangerous weapons.
I do not. I would have to ask what alternative do they have? The rockets do have an affect. They disrupt the economy, they undermine this view among Israeli’s that their militry is invincible and they are safe as that young secular Lebanese singer pointed out. The death toll among IDF soldiers has shocked the Zionists, it was completely unexpected. I saw a video recently about the West Bank and why there is no major Intifada there (did the comrades watch the Hebron tour that I put on the blog) and this Palestinian was saying that the enemy is so iinvincible people just cannot see any chance of a victory. I think Hamas would win an election in the West Bank today oif it was held.
I also think this conflict has really weakened the Zionists regime and will also undermine some nations like Jordan that support the US/Israeli axis. The WSJ this morning has a front page photo of an Israeli soldier walking by a tank as they search for their “lost comrade” and the Review supplement has a big piece “In defense of Zionism”. It sickens me to be honest.
I am open to an alternative to what Hamas is doing but as far as I can see the only alternative other than this is to resign oneself to the status quo. Also, Israel provoked this conflict. Any act of defiance will bring this response I don’t see what alternative Hamas has.
Thank you P for raising this. I cannot see what alternative they have. Invaded by the Zionist state. If they had not fought back would they not have lost all their base in Gaza. I would like to hear more views on this as i am not certain. I think more important is that Hamas should have had a secular appeal to the working masses who fueled the Arab spring all over the region to rise up against their regimes and a similar appeal to the non Zionists in Israel and abroad and the anti Zionist non Jewish people abroad. To me the non rising of the masses in the other Arab countries and also the Palestinian people and non Zionist people in Israel is most important in allowing the slaughter to go on.
I agree with all of the criticism of the Zionists and their brutality towards the Palestinians. Without doubt, the Palestinians are the oppressed here, the victims. And the overwhelming balance of blame must lie on the Israeli side and their backers in the West.
But I think we also need to honestly look at the faults on the other side.
As S points out, the anti-secular muslim fundamentalist position of Hamas does not help. Nor does its continuing policy that the Israelis should all leave Palestine.
Sadly, we don’t have a mass democratic socialist movement leading the Palestinian people. If we did I am sure that its propaganda and strategy would be radically different from Hamas (or Fatah for that matter) and would have far greater appeal throughout the world and even in Israel.
Incidentally, it was not long ago that an “occupy” movement surfaced in Israel with massive support. But all the reports I am hearing is that the mood in Israel is far worse right now and far more anti-Arab than for decades.
I also see on Russian TV that the Israelis are mounting rival counter-demonstrations in many countries fuelled by their arguments that Hamas don’t care about their own people who they are effectively using as human shields.
All I know is that the Hamas political line and military strategy play right into the hands of the Zionist right.
What a shame that the poor Palestinian people are the ones who have to suffer from all this.
What are the implications of all this?
I think that in addition to criticizing Israel’s actions and defending the Palestinians, we have a duty to go beyond this and argue for an anti-racist, pro self-determination, pro-secular position put forward in the context of a democratic socialist future across the region. We need to raise people’s sights and show them that another perspective is possible instead of the nightmare that currently presents itself.
Good BBC interview from Gaza.
Was it so good? Yes it confirms what we already know which is that attacks on a country only serves to increase the support of its government, in this case Hamas. People rally to its support. But that in itself makes no fundamental difference.
If you follow what the man is saying in the interview it is so contradictory. He starts off declaring that the Israelis "are losing the war. “ But he then he goes on to to complain that “The Israelis are mad. And they are doing it with impunity in front of the whole free world. The free world is watching and they are approving their actions…The world is failing Gaza...”
And his closing remarks are just so despairing: “Here in Gaza we are defying the world... We either live free or we die here.”
What kind of bankrupt leadership is it which pushes its people into such a hopeless position? That devises a strategy based on firing thousands of rockets indiscriminately? Rockets that don’t land but just provoke the Israeli population into giving their full backing to the mass bombardment of Palestinian homes and the military invasion of their areas.
Compare this to the huge success of the first Intifada (uprising) between 1987-91 which consisted of general strikes, boycotts of Israeli civil administration institutions, civil disobedience, an economic boycott consisting of refusal to work in Israeli settlements on Israeli products, refusal to pay taxes, refusal to drive Palestinian cars with Israeli licenses, repeated demonstrations, street barricades and so on. In other words, the methods of mass action. This Intifada did not just win the support of world opinion but it forced the UN to intervene in support of the Palestinians, it split the Israeli state and led to the Olso agreements that established the Palestinian Authority and the acceptance by Israel of the principle of a separate Palestinian state.
Of course, action is needed to force the Israelis to implement their earlier agreements. But the firing of rockets by Hamas militants cannot be a substitute for the mass action of the Palestinian people.
One of the good aspects of the old CWI was its opposition to the methods of terror and its commitment to the methods of mass action. In my view, what is happening in Israel is just one more confirmation of the correctness of such a position.
I know I've been silent on this list for a while. I agree with P here.
I don’t think we disagree here on the question of methods etc. I am not defending Hamas and its political program and strategy. If the leadership of the Palestinian people in Gaza or the occupied territories were socialists it would be different, but they are not. Perhaps a socialist leadership could have prevented the quarantining of 2 million Palestinians in Gaza and another huge number guarded by troops in the occupied territories, but that’s what we have. As far as I understand it, it is not the firing of rockets that caused this slaughter. From what I have read, the Zionists shoot as many as 3 children a day, this along with the abuse etc, that they face daily from the neo-Nazi settlers, three settler kids were kidnapped in the West Bank, Israel blamed Hamas, Hamas denied it. I think Israel used this rocket claim is as an excuse to attack Gaza.
And let’s not forget what has happened in the last 20 years. We have the wall, the importation of thousands of immigrants to replace Palestinian labor. The checkpoints everywhere, the introduction of thousands and thousands more Jewish settlers, the Jewish Taliban. There is the incredible technology, the retina scans, the drones, the ability as that Israeli woman said on the video I put on the blog, to detect the color of the soccer ball on the beach at which those kids were killed, knowing what everyone is doing by reading their texts. As far as removing license plates, I guess that can work up till the next checkpoint.
So rather than try to find a reason as to why Hamas attacks Israel using false methods and tactics, I believe that the Zionists are determioned to obliterate these people and their culture, remove them from sight no matter what.
I agree fully that suicide bombers and such are not methods of people that believe there is a future. Perhaps I am being overly pessimistic but while I agree with our long held position, uniting the working class, strikes, mass action, etc. I think the Israeli’s have shut that down with the help of US weaponry and technology. I think this can work from the outside if forces powerful enough take it up. The trade unions for example should not only call for a boycott but should call a blacklisting of all Israeli goods, “don’t touch them” “Don’t unload them” etc.
I am very pleased with the discussion, especially the tone of the discussion, we are having here. Thanks to all the Comrades for posing the issues. They are not simple ones.
I agree with P that we should clearly separate ourselves from the political ideas of Hamas. That we should put forward the idea of a secular socialist federation of the middle east with the right of self determination for all. This of course would mean the throwing out of imperialism and all its stooges in the region. I think we should emphasize that this is what we believe the struggle in Gaza and the Arab masses as a whole should put forward. I feel I have not emphasized this enough. I apologize to the Comrades for what I consider is my mistake.
But and as Comrades who know me know there is usually a "but". It is of course the dialectic.
In the case of Gaza now we do not have any forces putting forward what we advocate. We have the invasion by Zionism and the slaughter that comes with it. We have the mass of the Gazan population increasingly supporting Hamas in their fight back. And doing so even though Hamas is much much weaker than the Zionist forces. As far as I can see this is the situation. This mood of the Gaza masses to fight back cannot I believe be ignored.
Then in Israel we have some small forces demonstrating against the slaughter in Gaza. Obviously we want to assist these. But we also have as far as I can see up to 90% in Israel in favor of the slaughter in Gaza. Obviously we want to reduce these numbers. As far as I can see the way to do this best is call for a secular socialist federation of the middle east and an end to the invasion and occupation of Gaza and the embargo of Gaza. That is give a program and alternative to the anti slaughter forces. I do not think it is justifiable to try and strengthen these forces by calling on the forces in Gaza to halt armed resistance.
My understanding is that P says that we should come out clearly against Hamas firing rockets as this weakens the anti slaughter people in Israel and our propaganda to these forces. I am not sure if P is saying that the people of Gaza should end any armed resistance. I think we have to see there can be a difference between firing rockets into Israel and armed resistance. I am not convinced that this is the way to see this. I am convinced as I say that I should have given more emphasis to the secular socialist federation position. But as to the armed struggle of Hamas against the invasion. I feel that any call for this to be called off this would get no echo at all amongst the people of Gaza. How would people in Gaza, for example Hamas, who have weapons justify to the Gaza population now not using these weapons? I cannot see how they would. I feel that if Hamas tried to do this they would just loss their base to a more extreme Hamas like group. As far as I can see firing rockets into Israel was never the reason for the invasion and slaughter. If it was not this or the killing of the three boys Israel would found another excuse. I repeat again what would Hamas say to the population of Gaza to explain which they were not fighting back when they have weapons. Would they just say that we are not doing it as it will weaken the anti slaughter forces in Israel. I am not convinced of this. I would also repeat that maybe we should make a difference between firing rockets and armed resistance organized around mass workers committees.
Back to the North of Ireland again. In 1969/70/71/72 the Catholic youth enraged by internment and Bloody Sunday demanded the gun. The two wings of the IRA, the Officials and the Provisionals gave them the guns, that is armed struggle. The Officials were Stalinist. The Provisionals Nationalists. Seeing the way things were going, that is religious sectarianism developing the Officials called off their military campaign. They had 15 branches in Belfast at the time. In a year or two they were insignificant. Politically with their two stages theory they offered nothing to the Catholic or any section of the youth. Militarily they offered nothing. They became irrelevant and basically disappeared. The Provisionals became a mass force. They filled the vacuum with their military campaign. I real we have to clearly differentiate ourselves from the program of Hamas and the other non secular groups , argue for mass opposition built around elected workers committees. link these with the anti slaughter forces in Israel and throughout the region. However in doing so not raise the call for a stop to armed resistance in Gaza. Maybe we have to make a difference here between armed resistance and firing weapons into Israel. This is a logistical question. It would be best if armed resistance could be organized without firing missiles into Israel but if it cannot then I feel we would have to take the stand that the people of Gaza have the right to defend themselves in the way they best see is effective.
Let me put it this way. The Zionists invaded not because of the rocket fire from Hamas. They invaded as part of their long term project of wiping the Palestinians off the face of the earth that so-called Abraham gave them. It does not matter what the Palestinians do if Zionism can drive them out they will do so. Zionism did not invade because of Hamas rocket fire. I believe it is a mistake to give any credence to this. Nor did they invade because of the killing of the three boys. They invaded because they wanted to invade to clear the Palestinians out and seize the Gaza and the West bank.
I think about Ireland again. We had about 6 or 7 members in Ireland in 1970. We could not influence events. But if we had had 100 or 200 we could have. Then with rising sectarian military forces on both sides we would have had to take them on militarily or we would not have survived. I feel we are into a discussion of military and political strategy in the Gaza and middle east and this is necessary. I feel that if we are ever to have significant forces in any country again that we will have to be sure that we do not over estimate these forces nor that we do not rely on "patient explanation" when the most powerful and vital forces are moving for action, whether they are doing so out of despair or determination to change things for the better. Despair can be changed into something positive if the correct alternative with sufficient forces exists.
I've been away on a brief holiday so I'm only now just catching up on emails. I have to go out quite soon but just to very briefly say then that I think Sean's analysis and points about a programme for the Palestinian masses here is excellent. I will make more detailed points later.
S raises the experience of the struggle in Northern Ireland. The danger here is one of suddenly putting oneself into a particular point in the struggle when the choices were already too far gone. If on the other hand, we had had a significant socialist force in the North in the mid to late 1960s, the whole civil rights movement could have taken a very different course. Instead of the movement ending up being mainly for improving the rights for Catholics, it could have been broadened into a more united struggle for civil and economic rights for all the working people of Northern Ireland.
I am not against Hamas militarily defending the Palestinians. We are not pacifists. But absolutely essential is the difference between defence and aggression. If I can give the example of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution. They posed the whole October revolution not in aggressive terms but in terms of defending the gains of the February revolution. This was what won over the regiments in the Petrograd garrison.
If I can give another historical example. Connolly’s Citizen’s Army was posed in defensive terms – to defend the Dublin workers in the 1913 strike and lockout. And continued as a workers’ defence force. Connolly went wrong when he used it in conjunction with the Irish Republican Brotherhood to stage the aggressive attempt to overthrow the British occupation in 1916.
Coming back to Hamas. It is one thing for Hamas to defend Palestinian streets and houses when the Israelis invade, but quite another to fire rockets into Israeli cities, bomb Israeli buses and crowds (as they have on many occasions), or to kidnap and murder Israeli teenagers.
On the point that Sean made about the intentions of the Israelis I don’t agree with this. Sean says that:
“Let me put it this way. The Zionists invaded not because of the rocket fire from Hamas. They invaded as part of their long term project of wiping the Palestinians off the face of the earth that so-called Abraham gave them. It does not matter what the Palestinians do if Zionism can drive them out they will do so. Zionism did not invade because of Hamas rocket fire. I believe it is a mistake to give any credence to this. Nor did they invade because of the killing of the three boys. They invaded because they wanted to invade to clear the Palestinians out and seize the Gaza and the West bank.”
I don’t believe the facts back up the suggestion that the strategy of the Israelis is to kill all the Palestinians. Of course, they would like the problem of the Palestinians to just disappear. But to kill over four million people is an entirely different matter. Of course, there are extremist right-wing Zionists who would like to destroy all the Palestinians but they are a tiny minority. I say this not just from my own personal observations but also in the light of the recent survey of Israelis just before the latest conflict (http://www.timesofisrael.com/survey-most-israelis-pales...ates/) in which 62% of Israelis were in favour of a two state solution and a significant proportion of those against were in favour of one state bi-national solution.
Clearly we have to distinguish between the right-wing Netanyahu Government and the Israeli population as a whole. It is no accident that the Israeli government and Defence Force are very careful to always stress that they don’t want to kill innocent Palestinians but end up doing so because Hamas is using them effectively as human shields. We know that this is a public cover for the brutal and uncaring prosecution of the war against Hamas but the fact that they have to make such propaganda proves that the majority of Israelis are not the bloodthirsty racist savages that a section of the Left is now casting them as.
It might be argued that Netanyahus secret agenda is to kill all the Palestinians but I don’t think the evidence backs this up. Clearly, the strategy of the Israeli government is to take all the best agricultural land for the Israelis and to corral the Palestinians into crowded cities and hope to pacify them into submission. This is an appalling strategy but it is not the same as intending “to wipe them off the face of the earth”. I am not trying to split hairs here. Such distinctions are not minor. They are crucial. If we want to understand the strategy of our enemies and to undermine them we must develop sober and accurate critiques, not wild assertions that they can easily swat aside.
S wrote “It does not matter what the Palestinians do if Zionism can drive them out they will do so.” Again I can’t agree with this. The strategy and tactics of the Palestinians are very important. They can help or hinder the struggle. Otherwise, we might as well give up and go home. If the Israeli government are all powerful and have a pre-ordained strategy, and nothing that the Palestinians do will make any difference, then we have no chance.
I think that the evidence points in a different direction. I think that the Israeli government are not sure how to handle the Palestinians inside Gaza. From what I can see, they are generally approaching the situation in a reactive way trying out new military and political tactics as they go along. Unfortunately, Hamas is following a similar course, reacting to Israelis and letting them set the agenda.
Following the strategy of Hamas there seems to be no way out. Just a tit for tat round of war which just brings ever increasing misery for the people of Gaza. There must be a better way forward than this.
Looking further forward, as S says I think that we are all agreed that we need to fight for a democratic secular future throughout the Middle East. However, given the deep and long-lasting enmity between the Arabs and the Israelis, I think that the idea of a federation between them is not the best slogan to put forward in this situation, even though it is entirely logical. Better to accept the boundaries that have already been created and base our programme on moving forward from there. Incidentally, that is why all the talk of things returning to the pre-1967 boundaries is pointless and unachievable.
Thank you P for your post. It is very helpful. I made a few loose formulations in my post from which i will now try to extricate myself. i think it was a mistake where i said the Zionists want to wipe the Palestinians off the face of the earth. I think i was over stating the case. But i do think they want Gaza all for themselves. I think they want to wipe the Palestinians off that piece of earth. i think this is not unrelated to the seemingly clear evidence of gas and possibly oil off shore. I think that Finkelstien is right that Israel is a lunatic state. Amongst other things thinking that it can exist because it has masses of nuclear weapons and that will assure its future. It is insane. i think that it is very hard not to see that Zionism wants to clear Gaza of palestinians. The West Bank. I am not sure but look at the maps we and others put up. Over the last 50 years of so what has been happening. The portion the Palestinians hold has shrunk and shrunk and shrunk. To they have almost nothing left as far as i can see. It seems that Zionism is already clearing the area of Palestinians. Will Zionism at one point where the Palestinians have a minuscule part left say okay that is enough. the process has been to drive them out as far as I can see and take over the West bank.
On to Hamas. And the IRA. We and i always opposed the military campaign of the IRA. One factor was the majority in the North were Protestant and would never support it. But also related to this was how it would divide the working class. Pat you talk about what we would have done if we had had some forces in the North in the mid 1960's, or maybe it was I brought this up. Well Hamas has some forces so i think we have to consider this. We are not talking about no forces there and no arms there. Not only that but in 1969 in the North according to the three main bourgeois papers in Belfast there were 20 united peace committees set up in the city against the pogroms. There were even one in the Shankhill and the Falls and they worked together. We made propaganda to these for a trade union defense force etc. But this was a drop in the ocean compared to the silence of the union and labor leadership and also the rising sectarianism and rising republicanism and loyalism and state repression. But if we had had say 500 people what would we have done. i agree that we would not have argued for an aggressive strategy. We always argued not only against the IRA campaign but against the IRA offensive military campaign. i also agree that Hamas is wrong posing the issue and in arguing for and pursuing an aggressive strategy such as firing rockets into Israel. But what then should they do when they have weapons and focus? What would you suggest they do Comrade? I think again about the North. If we had had weapons and forces and did nothing but make propaganda while the sectarian forces were going on the offensive we would have been irrelevant in a matter of months. In Gaza i feel that we and any force that wishes to win over the masses there has to take action when the Zionist forces invaded. Just like in the North if we would have had forces we would have had to take action or we would have been rendered insignificant and the forces that united in the peace committees would have been wiped out and disappeared. We would have had to organize defensively and physically to defend the areas and take on and physically fight the sectarian killers. We would have had to pose this in defensive terms as you say Pat and i was wrong not to make this clear. But we would have had to act and especially so if we had had weapons. Hamas are a significant force. They have weapons. I feel that it is not correct for them to fire weapons into Israel as as you say this strengthens Zionism. But then what do they do/ Anything? i feel they put out the ideas we put out and at the same time organize defense committees and seek to physically defend Gaza. And seek to expand these committees and this movement into the Arab world to defend Palestinians and all the masses in these countries and bring down the Arab regimes.
Thanks again for your post P.
I agree entirely with what S writes. There comes a time when one has to defend oneself and one’s community. I agree with that. For this I would not criticise Hamas.
However, it is something else to move on from a defensive position and start to militarily attack the other side. In many cases it only ends up strengthening the enemy which in the case of Israel it clearly has, judged in military terms and in the level of support Israel is currently getting from its population and international governments. Clearly we agree on this.
On Gaza, there is oil and gas offshore – it’s a continuation of Egypt’s fields. However, that bastard Tony Blair has already helped Israel to get their hands on it. So this is not an issue in the current Gaza campaign or a motivation for it.
Clearly the Israeli government see Hamas as an anti-Israeli armed resistance and wishes to crush them as far as it can. I don’t think we need to look for other motivations unless someone can come up with some secret information that we don’t currently know. We always have to keep our minds open to other possibilities which might emerge years later. But in the meantime, I think it is sensible to try to base our assessments on the logical explanations.
For me this discussion has been extremely useful and far better than the one-sided depressing material I am reading in much of the left press which seems to offer no way out.