The Palestine Question Returns
US hypocrisy, double-dealing and duplicity is recognised by the Palestinian as well as other peoples in the area. While the US had hoped, after the July Camp David summitís failure, to isolate the Palestinian leadership, the unfolding events have merely served to strengthen it. According to Joel Peters, political science analyst at the Ben Gurion University, Arafat has gained from the latest developments because, "after being pushed into a corner at Camp David, now neither the Arabs nor the US and Europe will try to shove a peace deal down his throat." "Israel," he continues, "has lost a massive amount. It has exposed itself as a country which hasn't come to terms with making peace with the Arab world and hasn't come out from the idea of projection of force."
The refusal of the US to condemn Israeli brutality has enraged public opinion throughout the Arab lands. Even if the reactionary Gulf states many not go to the length of an oil embargo, they will be under pressure from the masses not to increase production to ease the jittery market, which went into a panic in the wake of Middle East developments. There is a good chance that the price of oil will reach levels which could plunge the imperialist economies into a recession, even a downright slum.
The strength of public anger at Israeli actions, and the US imperialist backing for Israel, forced the Arab League to hold, after a break of nearly two decades, a Summit on 21 October. Significantly, it was attended by Iraq and Kuwait as well. This gathering condemned Israel and expressed its support for the Palestinians. Relations between Syria and Iraq, as well as between Iraq and Iran, have registered a marked improvement in the face of the common danger confronting these countries. The Anglo-American attempt at the economic strangulation of Iraq has suffered a severe setback with these developments. Demonstrations of international opposition to the UN† sanctions regime against Iraq are growing, with the UN flights ban tested by an increasing number of flights into Baghdad from Russia, France, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, UAE, Algeria and Syria.
As if all this were not enough, Turkey has decided to start pumping Iraqi oil through the pipeline in Turkey. As a further
thorn in the US side, Turkey has threatened to deprive the US of the use of its air bases by US warplanes to enforce the illegal no-fly zone over northern Iraq.
Thus it is clear that with the latest developments US policy in Palestine, and in the wider Middle-East region, is ending up in smoke-delivering a blow to the imperialist-contrived status quo and stability.
As for Israel, she has threatened retaliation against Lebanon, and Israeli helicopters and artillery have attacked (on 20 October) a broad region in southern Lebanon. In reply, Hizbollah have shelled settlements in northern Israel. In desperation, Israel has threatened to attack Syria. Should the Zionist state go ahead with this mad plan, it will be cruelly disappointed with the results of such an attack. Even if one were to grant, for the sake of argument, that no Arab army is a match for the Israeli army in a conventional war, supplied as the latter is with the most sophisticated armaments by US, one would nevertheless have to admit that Israel is no match for the Arab masses. Just as Hizbollah fighters have inflicted a most humiliating defeat on the Israeli army which occupied southern Lebanon for nearly two decades, the Arab masses in other countries too will doubtless deliver deadly blows against the Zionist invaders. As things stand, a peopleís war on the part of the Arab masses stands the best chance of defeating Israel and its imperialist masters. From a long-term point of view, Israel is threatened with disintegration if she makes peace; she is equally threatened with disintegration if she does not make peace. In the latter case, the burdern of carrying on a ceaseless war of oppression and occupation is bound to exhaust her treasury and sap the morale of her soldiers and civilians, alike leading to collapse in the end. If she makes peace, the absence of the common Arab foe, the only factor which gives some cohesion to Israeli society, would make for disintegration and prepare the ground for conflicts between secular and religious Jews and, more importantly, between rich and poor Jews.
In the end, only a secular Palestinian state, in which Jews and Arabs live as equals, with neither side oppressing the other, is the proper solution. That, however, can only come about through separation and the creation, as a preliminary to it, of an independent Palestinian state, side by side and next to Israel.