Stefan Engel: “Good luck and genuine freedom for Palestine!"
You have to deal with the whole situation of the war in the Middle East in a little more depth than is the case in the media. The world has changed a lot in the last two years. There is the war in Ukraine, and now Israel's war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. What is actually behind all this? You can only understand this if you know that the imperialist world system has changed. A number of countries that used to be neocolonial dependent countries have mutated to become new imperialist countries. These include Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Israel has been an imperialist country for some time, as well as Russia and China.
You have to deal with the whole situation of the war in the Middle East in a little more depth than is the case in the media. The world has changed a lot in the last two years. There is the war in Ukraine, and now Israel's war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. What is actually behind all this?
You can only understand this if you know that the imperialist world system has changed. A number of countries that used to be neocolonial dependent countries have mutated to become new imperialist countries. These include Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Israel has been an imperialist country for some time, as well as Russia and China.
These new imperialist countries are very aggressive. They want to conquer their place in the world and are causing major problems for the old imperialist countries such as the USA, France, Germany and Great Britain. In Africa, for example, Russian, Turkish and Chinese imperialism are fighting over the new influences, while the old imperialists, such as those from France, England and Germany, are more being pushed aside. It is important to know that these new imperialist countries also have certain methods that play a major role in the current war in Palestine. They have set up foreign organizations to infiltrate other countries and exert influence there. This is how, for example, the Taliban came into being, who are now in power in Afghanistan. They were originally built up by the CIA, but are now mainly supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. We see Hamas, an organization that was set up by the Muslim Brotherhood and is now supported by Qatar, Turkey and Iran. These are all new-imperialist countries. We have Hezbollah, an organization with a real army. It now controls Lebanon and was built up by Iran.
Iran and Saudi Arabia also have troops in Yemen, where they are waging a proxy war for supremacy in Yemen. These organizations generally have an Islamist-fascist character. They are reactionary and have nothing to do with the struggle for liberation from imperialism, but are direct instruments of imperialist policy. When Erdogan now suddenly proclaims his sympathy for the alleged "liberation organization" Hamas, then that is ridiculous. Because Turkey itself is a fascist country and is suppressing the Kurdish liberation movement by all means. Erdogan is trying to use the conflict between Israel and Palestine to expand his influence in the Middle East. Erdogan's declared aim is to become a leader of the Islamic world. We must therefore be very vigilant with regard to such demagogic promises.
On the other hand, a legitimate Palestinian liberation struggle has been going on for decades. A liberation struggle against a policy of oppression, against a policy of Zionism, against a policy of occupation that has kept the Gaza Strip under blockade for ten years and controls everything that goes in and out of there: food, electricity, medicine, even water. It is very complicated to improve the humanitarian situation of the masses there because Israel controls everything.
A few years ago, however, a so-called "National Authority" was installed under the influence of the UN. Shortly afterwards there were elections and Hamas won them in the Gaza Strip, partly due to the betrayal of the PLO leaders. That was in January 2006, and it was the only such election. Since then, Hamas has exercised dictatorial domination and oppressed the masses.
We are, of course, highly critical of Israel's oppressive policy towards the Palestinian people. Israel is an imperialist country. But we do not call the existence of Israel into question. After the Second World War, the former British Palestine Mandate was handed over to the UN, which drew up a partition plan for a Jewish and an Arab state in 1947. The at that time socialist Soviet Union, led by Stalin, and Gromyko as its representative in the UN, was the first country to recognize the state of Israel. However, the state and constitution of Israel then very quickly became characterized by Zionism - under the protective shield of Great Britain and the USA. Zionism is itself a racist ideology. It is the ideology of the supremacy of the Jews, the "chosen people", who would by nature be superior to the Palestinians and the Arabs. And it is clear that all Arab countries and also the Palestinians criticize and reject this policy of oppression. We support this criticism, but we do not let ourselves to be pushed into the corner of anti-Semitism. Because we communists are the ones who have always stood up against all forms of racism. We fight racism against Jews, but we also fight the Zionist racism that the Israeli government is currently practicing against the Arab population in Israel.
I remind you that the Israeli Netanyahu government rules in alliance with a fascist organization, and that the first law they passed was the abolition of an anti-discrimination law against Arabs. Just over 20 percent of the population in Israel are Arabs, and there are other minorities as well. There is a democratic movement in Israel that is fighting against this fascist tendency, which mainly expressed itself in the so-called "judicial reform" with a massive dismantling of democratic rights and freedoms. This movement against the fascism of the Netanyahu government has now been suppressed by martial law. Demonstrations are no longer allowed in Israel, and the freedom of expression is very restricted. In short, the background of the current developments is much more far-reaching than it comes across on television.
We, of course, criticize the fascist attack by Hamas because it was indiscriminately directed against the civilian population. We are familiar with this from the criminal activities of ISIS or the Taliban. These people are enemies of the people and have no regard for the masses. And if they are so-called "disbelievers", then any means will do. The working-class movement cannot support such fascism and that is why we fundamentally criticize this direction, because it has nothing to do with the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people!
The Palestinians are the original inhabitants of the region; it is their land and they have the right to live there - just as the Jews have since the founding of the state of Israel. But our proposal has always been that there should exist a unified Palestine/Israel, where the Palestinians and the Jews live together as equals under socialist conditions. This is the proposal that we have been advocating for decades. But it is not being implemented because the USA and Europe have an interest in Israel existing as a kind of watchdog in the Middle East and representing their interests there.
In the meantime the situation is very exacerbated. An extensive and brutal forced displacement from northern Gaza to the south is taking place. But also the south is being bombed, and thousands of people have already died as a result, who actually have nothing to do with Hamas. Hamas is oppressing the Palestinian population. Israel is also taking barbaric action against the civilian population, constantly violating international law, as it has been ignoring every one of the about 200 UN resolutions for years. What is supposedly "values-based" about this behavior of the Israeli government? No country in the world could behave like Israel! That must be rejected!
We know, of course, that the Jews were among the main victims of the fascist system, alongside the communists and the working-class movement. Six million Jews were killed. That is inexcusable! But the Holocaust cannot be a justification for the government of Israel today to trample on human rights and use this fascist attack by Hamas to attack the Palestinian people and basically deprive them of their livelihood - their medical care, their food and drink, electricity and their homes. That is why we demand that this war must be ended immediately and that Israel's invasion of Gaza, which violates international law, must be stopped immediately! The Israeli troops must withdraw completely! This also applies to the areas illegally occupied by settlers.
Israel always justifies itself by claiming that Hamas is hiding in hospitals, kindergartens, schools and tunnels and that therefore these places, such as kindergartens and schools, must also be included in the fighting. Of course, under the existing international law, Hamas does not have the right to include schools etc. in its war logistics. This is undisputed, and it is typical of their fascist ideology that they disregard all democratic and human rights. At the same time, Israel does not have the right to attack and bomb schools and hospitals so that people no longer have any medical care at all. There is not one single functioning hospital left in the entire Gaza Strip, even though the dead and injured through Israel's attacks have to be treated there all the time. Israel does not have the right to attack hospitals and ambulances. This cannot be accepted under any circumstances! That is why justified mass protests are taking place all over the world today against Israel's actions. I cannot accept the policy of the German government, which is practically using this attack by Hamas to grant Israel rights that have nothing to do with democratic rights and human rights, but which basically also represent a fascist, imperialist policy. That is why we criticize Israel without calling the state of Israel into question.
Such a problem can only be dealt with using a dialectical method. That's why I'm also going to say something about dialectics. If you take an undialectical approach, then Hamas = the Palestinians. No! Class contradictions exist there, the same as they do here in Germany. There are other religions - such as Christians, for example - and there are people who criticize Hamas. It is a diversified society and you can't simply fight "the Palestinians" or even portray "the Palestinian liberation struggle" as anti-Semitic, as is sometimes done in the media. And we must also take a differentiated approach to Israel. Today, Israel is an imperialist country that pursues a very massive, aggressive and brutal policy. And yet the working class and the broad masses in Israel also have the right to exist. In the end, the problem can only be solved in a socialist society.
As an interim solution, we are definitely of the opinion that the two-state solution can also be proposed. But the Netanyahu government is completely opposing this! He has already declared that the war will not end with the continuation of the National Authority, but that he wants Palestine to be a new vassal state of Israel. This is now even being criticized by the international bourgeois world community. Crimes are being committed here that are changing the entire world order in a reactionary way. We must change the world by taking up the cause of freedom, democracy and socialism and resolutely declaring to fight all forms of exploitation and oppression!
Therefore: Freedom for Palestine! Criticism of the fascist organizations Hamas, Islamic State, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Taliban, which are all fascist organizations. There is no alternative. These organizations must be fought and suppressed. A demonstration of 3000 people in Essen called for a Greater Arab caliphate. This demonstration was allowed, while demonstrations in solidarity with Palestine were suppressed. Such a caliphate is nothing else than a fascist dictatorship. It stands for a fascist and absolutist form of rule. There are no democratic rights, no rights for women. Surely this cannot be the aim of a liberation struggle and these organizations disqualify themselves as a result! Good luck and genuine freedom for Palestine!