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(en) arrticle from The Utopian site http://www.utopianmag.com/ The New Intifada and the Twilight of U.S. Empire (Theses and responces) I (1/3)

From worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 14 Apr 2001 04:54:46 -0400 (EDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

[Editor Note: The majority of the palestinans of the occupied teritories
were since 1948 till 1967 war part of the Jordanin state.  (Palestinians
are still the majority of  the population in the non occupied teritories of
the Jordanean state). The other part of the  Palestinian
teritories was occupied since 1948 till 1967 war by Egipt.
The libertarian-communists of Israel - Jews and Palestinias claim
(since the 60s) that only a socialist revolution of the "Middle East"
region can really solve the conflict.
The motivation of the struggle for independance of most of the
palestinans (and their supporters from the anti authoritarian left)
is not  because of nationalism, but for the wish to end Israeli

The New Intifada and the Twilight of U.S. Empire (Theses)
Christopher Z. Hobson

  Comments on Intifada Theses with Responses     Wayne Price Response
Matthew Quest Response

Introduction: Since September 28 a second “Intifada,� or Palestinian
rebellion, has been going on in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory
and to some extent in Israel itself, among Israeli Palestinians. More than
ninety Palestinians have laid down their lives in struggle against Israeli
troops, or simply have been shot by them, like the twelve-year-old boy,
Muhammad al-Durra, who was gunned down as his father desperately shouted for
the Israelis to hold their fire. These events have captured the world’s
attention. The brutal murder of a little boy, captured on television, has
caused horror and revulsion among people who have not paid much attention to
the ongoing Palestinian struggles.

Like many other people, I have watched these images and thought much about
where the new Intifada is going and what its occurrence means for the power
of U.S. imperialism, which has seemed unassailable since the old Soviet
system fell apart in 1989-91. The theses that follow represent my own point
of view, though they result from some limited consultation among people
working on The Utopian. Like all political “theses,� they try to state
conclusions in a complicated political situation rather than to offer a full
argument for the conclusions. I and The Utopian staff invite visitors to this
site to comment on or criticize them.

It is possible that the new Intifada will turn out to be another episode of
fighting that brings Palestinians and Israelis back to negotiations; or it
may lead to a struggle without negotiations. Either way, the collapse of the
peace negotiations (at least temporarily) and the return of struggle in the
street seems to have put all the basic questions on the table again—hence
this effort to state some overall views.

1. In the event of war between Israel, Palestine, and/or any combination of
Arab nations over the issue of Palestine, I believe we should urge all people
to support Palestine.

2. I for one believe it is unfortunate that the “peace process� fell apart.
Despite its weaknesses and the illegitimate role played by the U.S. and the
Israeli government in limiting Palestinian rights, the first Intifada and the
years of back-and-forth negotiations it led to prompted a slow shift in world
opinion to recognizing the justice of the Palestinian cause and the moral
right of Palestinians to live in their own state. In my view the overall
blame for the collapse lies squarely on Israel and its partner, the U.S., for
consistently stalling and working to minimize any concessions to legitimate
Palestinian rights. And the blame for the current struggle in my view is
divided between the Israeli right with its leader, Ariel Sharon, who staged
his “visit� to a joint Muslim-Jewish holy site as a provocation to derail
the peace talks, and the gutless Barak government and the majority of Israeli
Jews, who failed to stand up to Sharon and the right.

3. In the present confrontations between the Israeli government and many
Jewish Israelis on one side, and Palestinians in the occupied territories and
Israel on the other, Palestinians are in general fighting for the just goals
of Palestinian self-determination and independence as well as Palestinian
equality within Israel. As I see it, the Palestinians are doing no more than
defending their rights and existence, in the face of an Israeli government
that even today—thirteen years after the original Intifada starting in
1987—claims the unilateral “right� to decide whether or not there will be an
independent Palestine and where its capital shall be. On their side there is
no doubt many Israelis are terrified, but in large part theirs is the terror
of the powerful who legitimately fear the violence of the less powerful.
Their efforts to deny Palestinian outrage, to distort the uprising into a
mere tactic by Arafat, and even to justify killing teenagers by blaming the
teenagers for fighting betray their own bad consciences. The brutal fact is
that Israeli soldiers and mobs have killed more than ten times as many
Palestinians (in Palestine and Israel) as Palestinians have killed Jewish
Israelis. Even mob executions like the Palestinian killing of two Israeli
army reservists are moments of uncontrolled fury in a struggle by poorly
armed oppressed people to fight back against superior force.

4. The rights of Palestinians to have their capital in Palestinian Jerusalem
and to exercise Palestinian sovereignty over Palestinian parts of Jerusalem
are part and parcel of the right of self-determination. The Israeli
government has no right to a veto in this matter.

5. Anarchists’ ultimate goal in Palestine (as elsewhere) should be a society
of equal rights for all peoples and religions, without a state. But in my
view such a society cannot be called into being by wishing for it or by
refusing to work with others who are struggling for their own democratic
goals. The struggle for Palestinian independence is an unavoidable step on
the road to a future in which Palestinians and Jewish Israelis can live
peacefully together, either in one society or two. Concretely this is going
to mean a Palestinian state.

6. Supporting Palestinian independence does not mean supporting any
particular form of government or supporting the Arafat (or any other)
leadership. As I see it, we support a Palestinian state simply as part of the
Palestinian people’s just demands. We are free to attack any particular
policy of a Palestinian government or the government as a whole. Any time we
support other people’s demands we do so from our own independent

 Palestinian wounded by Israel rubber bullet
(Nasser Shiyoukhi-AP Photo)

7. In two articles in The Torch/La Antorcha, newspaper of the Revolutionary
Socialist League, in 1989, I argued that a “two-state� policy—Palestine
alongside Israel—was the best short-term goal on the way to a secular,
inclusive Palestine. I continue to believe this, even though it involves some
real compromises. Zionists settled in Palestine from the 1880s to 1948 with
the aim of creating an exclusively Jewish state, and forced tens of thousands
of Palestinians from their homes to do so. These facts make a struggle for a
single Palestine—expelling the present Israeli state from Palestine—a just
fight. Nevertheless this would be, even if successful, a long and horribly
bloody conflict that would leave another dispossessed nation in the world. In
my eyes a Palestinian and Israeli compromise, accepting an independent
Palestine in part of Palestine and leaving an Israeli state in the rest, is a
better way to move toward peace between the two peoples. A “two-state�
policy is not in any way an overall long-term solution. The resulting
Palestinian state would be weak, dependent on outside aid, and economically
and militarily dominated by Israel. However, semi-peaceful relations between
two entities, with cultural, political, and economic contacts across the
borders, are at least no worse than decades of war as a basis for struggling
for a future single, nonreligious Palestinian society.

8. In the same articles I argued, and I continue to believe, that even though
Israel’s creation resulted from unjust aggression, the present-day Israeli
people have a right to live in Palestine, and to have a state of their own;
but only if they accept the right of Palestinians to independence and settle
all relations between the two peoples on a basis of equality. In my
perspective, anarchists should not favor an Israeli Jewish state but should
recognize that nearly all Israeli Jews do favor it. Therefore accepance of
such an Israeli state is part of the compromises making peaceful relations
possible, provided that the acceptance goes both ways, i.e., also from Israel
to an independent Palestine.

9. I believe the responsibility for making a “two-state� solution
possible—and ultimately making peace between the peoples possible—now
squarely with Israel’s government and its Jewish people. Most Palestinians in
the occupied territories and in Israel have long since accepted this policy.
But time and again, the Israeli government, backed by the U.S., has balked at
taking the reciprocal step. The responsibility is with Israelis to accept
Palestinians’ right to independence. If they do not, struggle by any and all
means for Palestinian independence either within the West Bank and Gaza or in
Palestine as a whole (i.e., the destruction of the Israeli state) is

10. While supporting the Palestinian struggle as a whole, I believe
anarchists and democrats should condemn the few instances of destruction of
Jewish religious sites by Palestinians. Palestinians should distinguish
between Jewish religious sites and sites and agents of Israeli state
oppression, even if some Israeli citizens and officials negate the
distinction by using religious sites for provocations and attacks.
Provocations and attacks should be answered; religious sites should be
respected. Though this principle may at times be difficult to apply in
practice, the principle is valid, and, I believe, largely accepted by

 Body of Israeli soldier killed by Palestinians 10-12-00
(AP-Mediaset TV)

11. Despite the real danger of war and/or another protracted period of
killing, I welcome the failure of U.S. efforts to impose its own version of a
Palestinian settlement on Palestine and the resumption of direct struggle by
the Palestinian people to determine their future. It is the right of
Palestinians to make use of U.S. or any other mediation or pressure to move
closer to self-determination. Nonetheless, such mediation reflected and
reinforced the U.S. position as the world’s imperialist master. Events as
diverse as the antiglobalization protests, the revolution in Yugoslavia
(against a U.S. enemy but led by a critic of the U.S.), and the mass gas
price protests in Europe show that this stranglehold may be weakening. The
failure of U.S. settlement efforts reflects the waning ability of U.S.
imperialism to dictate to the world’s people, increases oppressed people’s
ability to struggle for justice, and is a sign of hope in the current world

12. “Why,� my young friend said, “does everyone hate so much? It
seems there
is no limit to hate.� That is a real truth. But the absence of hate has to be
based on social justice. In fact, absence of justice creates hate: defensive,
repressive hate on the part of the oppressors and beneficiaries of oppression
(in this case the Israeli right wing and much of the Israeli public), and
rebellious hate on the part of the oppressed. However much hate they may show
and however unjustified some specific action may be, the Palestinians have
right on their side; Sharon, Barak, and the majority of Israeli Jews who are
now self-righteously judging whether they have “partners for peace� (for the
continuation of their power) are wrong. I continue to favor a compromise
based on social justice, if the Israelis can wake up and accept it; but the
fight for justice is fundamental. Forward through social justice to a world
without hate.

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