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Statement of the Christian Rakovsky Balkan Socialist Center

Stop the Zionist terror unleashed on the people of Gaza!

Israeli troops out of Gaza immediately!

Victory to the Palestinian Resistance!

Down with the Zionist state!

For a free, united, secular, socialist Republic in the entire historic territory of Palestine embracing the Arabs and the Jews!

The murderous war of extermination unleashed by Israel on the people of Gaza is testimony to the vicious nature of the Zionist state--if that kind of testimony was ever needed. Hypocritically presented as an attempt to stop the shelling of southern Israel with missiles and mortars by Hamas militants, the assault is in effect an all out endeavour to intimidate the civilian population of Gaza in order to eventually bring down the Hamas government elected through universal suffrage in 2005. So far more than 660 (up to now, January 7, 2009)Palestinians, among whom many children, elderly and non-combatant women, have lost their lives as a result of Israeli bombing and more than 3000 have been injured. The list of some of the buildings targeted by Israeli war planes is also telling: the prime minister's office and several ministries, other governmental buildings, the Islamic University, and, most importantly many mosques, six to date. None of these can reasonably be argued to belong to Hamas; they are all the common patrimony of the Palestinian people, a people impoverished by decades of ruthless colonial oppression. The ground war now targets whole cities--Beit Lahiya, Beit Hanun, Jabaliya, as well as Gaza City, the capital of the Strip. Even Rafah in the south bordering Egypt is being heavily pounded by air strikes targeting the web of tunnels that serve for provisions coming into Gaza--a vital source of supplies for the population of Gaza given the vicious economic blockade being implemented by Israel for a long time now. It is the whole population of Gaza, 1.4 million souls, including children, the elderly, women and civilians in general, that is suffering immensely as a result of this ferocious offensive by the Zionist state on the densest population settlement on earth.

A war for "regime change"

In attacking Gaza, Israel is following in the footsteps of its "big brother", i.e. US imperialism, replicating the policies pursued by the latter against Saddam's Iraq. Having received the mandate of the people of Gaza in landslide elections in 2005, Hamas has been in power in the territory ever since. The fact that Hamas does not recognise the legitimacy of the Zionist state, added to its refusal to comply, in contrast to al Fatah under the rule of Mahmoud Abbas and its stooges in the so-called Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, with the dictates of the so-called "Oslo peace process" has led Israel to adopt an outright hostile policy to the government in Gaza elected freely by the people of the territory. The complete blockade of the territory for a long time now was very much a replica of the embargo staged on Iraq in the 1990s by the US and the EU, with the seal of approval of the United Nations, that parliament of imperialist bandits, an embargo that cost the lives of nearly one million Iraqi citizens, including around 500 thousand children. Gaza, for its part, has gone with two or three hours of power daily and a meagre ration of food for a very long time now. As a result, today, under the Israeli offensive, the population has to survive without electricity, without water, without a functioning telephone network and with a dire shortage of food--and all this in terribly cold weather.

The war declared on the territory is itself very clearly a war for "regime change". Apart from dismantling a part of the military power of Hamas, the Zionist state aims to terrorise the civilian population of Gaza in order to lay the basis for the fall of the government and its transfer to "safer" hands. Naturally, all kinds of public relations ploys are being used to mask this objective. A top level Israeli official reveals, under condition of anonymity, that during a war cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said very clearly that "the objective is not to topple the government". And this crap, very visibly a manoeuvre of public relations, is spread far and wide by the international media! Unfortunately for Israel and its acolytes, deputy prime minister Chaim Ramon blundered early on and has gone on record for having declared that "the aim of the operation is to bring down the regime" (French daily Le Monde). This is definitely where truth lies: the political content of the war is the attempt by Israel to bring down the Hamas government in Gaza and replace it with a more docile government that will bend to its diktat.

The new war of aggression of Israel against the Palestinian people in Gaza is not only a sign of the barbarity but also a symptom of the deep crisis of Zionism itself. After its humiliating defeat in 2006 at the hands of the Hezbollah militia, the Zionist regime has plunged in a deep crisis affecting all the military, intelligence and political Israeli establishment while the head of the State of Israel, the head of the Kadima-Labor Coalition government and the head of the army of invasion in Lebanon had to resign under an avalanche of scandals destroying what was left of authority to these embodiments of the Zionist institutions. Over this shambles emerged Netanyahu of the right wing Likud (which includes now an openly racist-fascist wing) as the probable winner in the coming Israeli elections in February 10, 2009. Kadima's leader and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Labor's leader and Minister of Defence Ehud Barak have planned their aggression to Gaza in a timing that helps them to use war hysteria to advance their electoral chances (and apparently, in this cynical and criminal exchange of corpses with votes they succeeded according to the polls).

But the attempt by the war in Gaza to re-stabilize the Zionist State after the Lebanese 2006 debacle and to re-elect a Kadima-Labor Coalition to continue the fraud of a "dialogue" with the puppet Abbas in Ramallah while eliminating Hamas (including a new Hamas electoral victory) is condemned to fail. Credibility to Israel's deterrent power could be further damaged, particularly "if they enter the deadly labyrinth of Gaza City and its refugee camps, as they were suckered into the treacherous ravines of South Lebanon"( Financial Times, January 4, 2009) Gideon Rachman, a columnist of the Financial Times characterises the aggression as "Israel's self-defeating Gaza offensive" ( FT January 5, 2009).

The war in Gaza destabilizes further an already chaotic Middle East and produces new explosive problems for the Zionist regime and its allies in the West and in the Arab world in the middle of the worst world capitalist crisis in history.

Universal complicity

The whole of the so-called "international community" has a share in the responsibility regarding the death of hundreds and the untold misery of the entire population of Gaza. The international media are adamant on attributing the blame on the missiles and mortars fired by Hamas into Israel, thus balancing out the occasional death of an Israeli citizen every so many months against the death of more than 660 Palestinians (and still counting!) within 10 days! The talk on the "disproportionate use of force", rampant in the media, is still another smokescreen that justifies, rather then condemns, the murderous acts committed by Israeli forces, implying as it does that, in itself, the onslaught is justified, but that Israel should be a bit more restrained. The question that naturally arises is how many Palestinian casualties would make the Israeli assault more "civilised" and "proportionate"?

United States imperialism must surely have been consulted by Israel before the decision to attack was made. In any event, the Bush Administration is now standing squarely behind the massacre of the Palestinian population. It has even blocked the meek UN Security Council draft resolution on the issue, lest this should pave the way for a ceasefire and get in the way of Israel in achieving its aims. The EU, as represented by its present official Czech presidency, has come out unequivocally on the side of Israel, as has the German government. Sarkozy, in a familiar show of French and personal illusion de grandeur, is posturing for a ceasefire, making it clear, nonetheless, that what is needed is a "durable ceasefire", i.e. one that has tamed Hamas into accepting Israeli conditions.

The Security Council staged a show on the 12th day of the massacre, trying to make the peoples of the world believe that it is really concerned about what is going on. The live broadcasting of the speeches of Mahmud Abbas and the UN representative of Israel by international network channels was part of the farce being played out. Abbas, a traitor to the Palestinian cause, cannot, et this point, in any manner be considered to be providing the viewpoint of the people of Gaza (or of the Palestinian people at large, for that matter-he is now, incidentally, jockeying to extend his mandate, which expires at the end of this month of January.)

Russia manoeuvres between imperialism and its local would be allies, particularly Syria. It refused to take a stand in defense of the embattled Palestinian people. To show its resurgent geopolitical role, it moved in the region in crisis two important ships of the Russian Fleet, a missile destroyer escorting Russia's only air carrier "Admiral Kuznetsov", which has anchored offshore the southern coast of Turkey.

The reactionary Arab states, from medieval Saudi Arabia and the Gulf sheikhdoms to the more "modern" dictatorships such as Egypt and Jordan have not yet lifted a finger in order to help their Palestinian brothers and sisters. Livni had announced Israel's coming war while she was on official visit in Egypt, and Mubarak's regime not only keeps the Egyptian borders with Gaza closed but also its troops fired against the Palestinians assisting Zionist fire. As the Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed on January 5 Hosni Mubarak had told European officials that Hamas must not be allowed to win the conflict in the Gaza Strip . No wonder then that even Condoleezza Rice "commends" the resolution proposed by Egypt concerning a diplomatic solution to the war: Mubarek's stand can only play into the hands of Israel. The Arab League has not even made the most formal hypocritical noise of protest in the face of the Israeli atrocities. All these reactionary states are tied hand and feet by their utter servility to US imperialism, depending as they do on its support for their survival. They are also dead scared by the prospect of a Palestinian victory against Zionism, since this would trigger a massive revolt against their hold on power.

Closer to home, Greece and Turkey bear responsibility for the atrocities committed by Israel as well. Both countries have military pacts and close military and intelligence cooperation with Israel A few months ago, Israel-Greek military exercises took place in Crete having as a declared target Iran. The US military bases in Crete and other US/NATO facilities in Greece, as well as in Turkey and the British bases in Cyprus are crucial for any imperialist intervention in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. The Karamanlis right wing government, which still faces the upheaval from the December 2008 popular revolt, shares all the hypocrisy of the dominant European Union powers; it "regrets" the Israeli invasion and condemns the "violence" of...Hamas.

The hypocrisy of the semi-Islamist government of Turkey has reached disgusting proportions. Prime Minister Erdoğan's first reaction to Israel's onslaught was: "This is an affront on our respectability", a reaction that would make him the laughing stock of the world, since his "respectability" pales into insignificance when compared to the death of a single Palestinian child. However, there also resides in this comment the tragedy of a politician reared in the anti-Semitic environment of the Islamist milieu, where the whole world is considered to be ruled through a Jewish conspiracy, the same politician now finding himself exposed as a friend of Zionism against the Palestinian people. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had visited Erdoğan barely four days before the air bombardment began and, given the close collaboration between the two countries, the question is rightly being asked whether Olmert let Erdoğan in on his plans to attack Gaza, an extremely embarrassing situation for the latter. Having tried to pursue a policy of "regional power" mediating between contending forces in the Middle East and the Caucasus (the most ridiculous instance being the attempt to establish a non-aggression pact between Caucasian states and Russia in the aftermath of the Russian-Georgian war last summer), Erdoğan has now visited Damascus and Amman in order to promote détente, whereas any policy that does not confront the brutal Israeli aggression head on really plays into the hands of the aggressor. Turkey has become, in the course of the last two decades, a quasi-strategic ally of Israel, holding common war games with the Zionist state, allowing Israeli pilots to train in Turkish airspace, signing a multiplicity of military agreements, and entrusting many different military renovation projects to the Israeli military-industrial complex.

Freudian slip: who is Barack Obama monitored" by?

Since his victory in the US presidential elections, Barack Obama has been the darling of the reformist and pacifist wing of the antiwar movement in the United States and the West in general. The Stop the War Coalition of Britain (sister organization of the organization with the same name in Greece and other countries) made its nature clear for all to see by declaring that it was "delighted" to see Obama elected. For days and weeks after Obama's victory, the democratising and liberal left worldwide clamoured to convince ordinary people that Obama was the hope of all, both in the economic area and regarding US foreign policy, including the question of war. Given Obama's own statements on the different aspects of foreign policy and his choice of personnel (e.g. his promise of a "surge" in Afghanistan, his threat of bombing Pakistan, something even George W. Bush has been doing under cover, his all too clear allegiance to Israel, his pick of Joseph Biden, a resolute friend of Zionism, as running mate, his prevarications on the question of withdrawal of troops from Iraq late in the campaign, his choice of Emmanuel Rahm, a notorious Zionist, as White House Chief of Staff, and the final nail in the coffin of illusions, the nomination of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State), the ingenuous deception of the reformists and the pacifists can only be termed shameless.

It is this very president-elect, the peace-lover championed by the reformists and the pacifists the world round, who carefully kept his mouth firmly shut for the first ten days during the tragedy being played out in Gaza! And when he opened it, he was only able to mumble "concerns" about the situation and pontificate on how "engaged" he would be once he takes office, leading all mainstream commentators to agree that what he said amounted to nothing. Most telling in his words was not what he wanted to say, but something he did not wish to say but escaped his mouth! Having started out one of his sentences as "I'm being fully briefed on the events", he finished it by adding "and monitored", then hastening to correct himself by saying "monitoring the situation". The original utterance, that Barack Obama is being monitored, reveals his real "concern". Taking over the presidency in the midst of the worst economic crisis world capitalism has experienced since the 1930s, haunted already by scandals arising within the Democratic establishment, i.e. the sale of the Senate seat in Illinois and the Mexican connection of Bill Richardson, the would-be Commerce Secretary, Obama is extremely concerned not to alienate the Zionist establishment so powerful in the United States even before he has been inaugurated president. He is thus painfully aware that he is being closely "monitored" by this powerful establishment and, most immediately, by his Vice-President and his Chief of Staff!

In effect, Israel has done Obama a great favour by starting its war of aggression three weeks before the inauguration of the president-elect. In the (improbable) case where the Israeli war attains its objectives or in the (more probable) case where an international intervention establishes, under the threat of extermination for the Gazan population, a new status quo by the 20th of January, Obama will have been exonerated of the murder of hundreds or even thousands of Palestinians in the eyes of a large constituency as he is taking over the presidency. Not in our eyes! Every day that passes by without a clear protest by Obama adds to his exposition as a shameless supporter of the massacre and a reliable friend of Zionism!

The shameful capitulation of Mahmoud Abbas

That the process of the integration of the leadership of Al Fatah and, consequently, of the PLO into the imperialist order of things as a result of the so-called "Oslo peace process" has reached the stage of the putrescence of this leadership has been laid bare in the reaction of Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, to the Israeli aggression on Gaza. Having condemned both Israel and Hamas on the first days of the air bombardment, Abbas had to wait for a week and for the launching of a ground war by Israel to speak of a "brutal aggression" by the latter. And these are only words! While his Palestinian brethren are being decimated in Gaza, Abbas, supposedly the President also of the 1.4 million Palestinians living there has not lifted a finger so much as to organise a massive demonstration, such as the ones organised by Hezbollah in Beirut. No doubt, the real duty of Abbas, Al Fatah and the PLO is to fight the Israeli army guns in hand, in order to broaden the front on which the Zionist state has to fight. But even the demonstrations in Ramallah had to be organised by Hamas itself!

The left-wing forces in the PLO, first and foremost the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, but also living forces within Al Fatah itself, should, without delay, make a balance sheet of the record of Abbas and the PLO and break with the shameless attitude of collaboration with imperialism and Zionism adopted by the present leadership. The friends of the Palestinian people must speak the truth to its organisations and not hide it under diplomatic manoeuvres. The way forward for the Palestinian revolution and the liberation of this people with a unique destiny lies in the break from the pro-imperialist and pro-Zionist leadership of the moment. Unless this path is taken, Hamas will be the centre of attraction for those Palestinians who persevere in the fight against Zionism.

For international solidarity with the people of Gaza! For a free Palestine!

The beginning of the 21st century has seen a massive drift between the governments and the peoples of the world on the question of war and peace. Striking a chord reminiscent of the antiwar movement against the aggression on Iraq, and in particular of the more than ten million people who marched on 15 February 2003 on all continents, the peoples of the world, from Indonesia in the east to Chile and Peru in the Western hemisphere, have taken to the streets to protest the Israeli atrocities in Gaza. The peoples of the Arab Middle East have painted a striking contrast with their rulers. The people of Turkey have come out time and again to show solidarity with the Palestinians. Most importantly, the Greek people, in the context of a massive revolt that has now lasted for a month, have not neglected solidarity with the wretched of the earth that the Gazan people are. This movement should be consolidated and widened to embrace ever broader layers of the population of each country until every government realises that it has to pay a high price to support the butchers in power in Jerusalem.

Despite the technological and manpower superiority of the Israeli army over the military forces of Hamas, an Israeli victory against the people of Gaza is far from a foregone conclusion. Only two years have gone by since, in the summer of 2006, the Hezbollah of Lebanon inflicted an embarrassing defeat militarily and politically on the supposedly invincible armed forces of Israel. The Palestinian people have in the past proved their heroic dedication to the cause of their oppressed nation. Israel's exit from Gaza will certainly not be as easy as its entry.

The colonialist, racist and fundamentalist Zionist state of Israel embodies the expropriation of all the national rights of the Palestinian people, including, the rightful demand of the Palestinians refugees to return to their homeland. With Israel as a bastion, imperialism will continue to wield a weapon that serves to force the peoples of the region to submit to its dictates As Zionism plunges in crisis, it escalates the oppression and extermination of Palestinians in all occupied Palestine. The fallacy of a "two-state solution" with a Palestinian statelet composed two or more Bantustans has definitely collapsed. Its failure is obvious from the Oslo process to the 2000 Intifada, the emergence of Hamas as a leading force, the siege and now the massacre in Gaza. The Zionist State of permanent wars and terror has to be destroyed and the right of national self determination of the Palestinian people established. Only a democratic, secular and socialist republic bringing together Jew and Arab in the entire historic territory of Palestine will overcome the ordeal of the Palestinian people and put an end to the fortress-like life of the Jewish people of Israel. To present the Zionist state of Israel as the saviour of the Jewish people is an utter lie and to pretend that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism is sheer demagogy. On the contrary, Zionism is fuelling anti-Semitism all over the world and its crimes are used by the far right in Europe and elsewhere to cultivate hatred against Jews, in the current dangerous conditions of capitalist crisis. Anti-Zionist Jews all over the world, starting with the UEJF of France that organised a mass rally in Paris to condemn the Israeli assault and to display solidarity with the people of Gaza, have exposed this lie and demagoguery for what it is. Above all, the 10.000 strong anti-war demonstration of Israeli Jews in Tel Aviv during the current war in Gaza is a courageous and encouraging sign that opposition to the dominant Zionist madness is growing.

Hands off Gaza! Stop the Zionist terror unleashed on the people of Gaza! Israeli troops immediately out of the Gaza Strip!

All imperialist troops out of Iraq, the Middle East, and Afghanistan! UN forces out of Lebanon!

Down with the Zionist state! For a democratic, secular and socialist Republic bringing together Jew and Arab in the entire historic territory of Palestine!

For a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!

Christian Rakovsky Balkan Socialist Center