Murderous occupation

The recent and dramatic upsurge of violence in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has sent world imperialist opinion into near panic. The painfully constructed Oslo Accord, hatched in secret by faceless emissaries of United States imperialismand then presented as a fait accompli to the Palestinian masses, has been blown apart. The smug self-satisfaction of the ‘liberal’ bourgeois media has also been dealt a severe blow in the process, its pseudo-pacifist sermons on the horrors of ‘violence’ and ‘extremism’ now look shallow and deceitful.

This was an uprising waiting to happen. The decision by Mayor Ehud Oimert to re-open a ‘tourist tunnel’ underneath what the Muslims call al-Haram al-Sharif (the noble sanctuary), where the Mosque of Omar and the al-Aqsa mosque have stood for almost 1,500 years, was only the most immediate cause of outrage. Behind this arrogant and contemptuous gesture by the Israeli authorities lay much deeper resentments, which have been simmering away constantly since the Accord was signed under the full glare of the bourgeois media.

Binyamin Netanyahu, divorcee and Western playboy ultra-Zionist, cut through the dense fog of half-truths and weasel words when he stated that the decision to open the tunnel in the Old City “expresses our sovereignty over Jerusalem”.  The oppressed Palestinian masses on the West Bank know from bitter experience that this was yet another step towards ‘Judaizing’ all that was formerly Arab/Palestinian about East Jerusalem.

The Zionist colonisation of the Old City has continued unashamedly since 1967, despite the mountain of UN resolutions denouncing it. The Oslo Accord did not put an end to this callous truimphalism - far from it. Jewish settlements on the West Bank increased in numbers and belligerency during the Rabin/Peres ‘peace in our time’ period.

The most grotesque, and insulting, example is to be found in Hebron. Guarded by the Israeli army, a group of 400 settlers squat menacingly in the middle of this solidly Arab town - whose 200,000 inhabitants are punished round the clock by curfews, barricades, closure of the central markets, and general Zionist intimidation. All this in the town which saw the murderous Jewish fanatic Baruch Goldstein massacre 29 Muslim worshippers in cold blood at the Hebron mosque.

The recent events represent a furious cry of despair by the Palestinians - and not just against the Israeli/Zionist occupation forces. The Palestinian writer and radical Edward Said, whose works have been banned in the West Bank by the Arafat ‘administration’, has pointed to the fact that we are witnessing an “intifida against the Oslo Accord, and against its planners and participants, Israeli as well as Palestinian” (The Observer, September 29).

The imperialist powers are fully aware of this and are horrified by Netanyahu’s ‘blunder’ - in reality a deliberate provocation, which has the potential to destabilise the entire area. Egypt, which has been courted closely by Israel and the US, feels betrayed and humiliated by recent events, with very aggressive anti-Israeli remarks appearing in the official press.

 In turn, this has caused a serious rift between the USA and the EU powers, with the latter feeling that Clinton is not treating the matter seriously enough. Indeed, the EU powers are particularly conscious of the fact that this was just the latest in a series of macho provocations staged by the bullish Netanyahu. This despondency was reflected in The Guardian, which grumbled: “Washington should take more seriously Mr Netanyahu’s recent threat to put his ‘holy’ claim to Jerusalem ahead of good relations with the US” (September 27).

This area now has the clear potential to slide into barbarism. Israeli forces may yet resort to even greater brutality, with the ‘abandoned’ Palestinian masses being driven into the arms of Hamas and Islamic reaction.

We are seeing the reality of the so-called ‘two states’ solution, as the imperialist-backed and armed Zionist state devours the fake ‘autonomous’ Palestine.

Eddie Ford