The Zionist colonization project, sponsored by the imperialist powers and at their service, has subjugated Palestine; it has persistently made every effort to displace the indigenous masses out of the area ruled by it, or at least to concentrate them in confined enclaves.
A section of the Palestinian people evaded the efforts to expel them and became citizens of Israel, suffering discrimination by law and customary practice. The State of Israel persists in measures aimed at dispossessing them. Lately these measures are focused on the Prawer Plan for the Negev, which evokes the 1970s plan of Judaizing the Galilee, and the events of Land Day (30 March 1976). Another section of the Palestinian people, in the territories occupied in 1967, live for the most part under military rule. The Israeli military authorities have much greater freedom of action in displacing the Palestinians or concentrating them in enclaves than is possible inside Israeli sovereign territory. As well as gradually seizing most of the Palestinians’ land, Israel obstructs their individual and collective economic development; denies their freedom of movement, assembly and speech; and suppresses by various means their resistance to the ongoing colonization and occupation. However, it should be noted that in Palestine there are not two separate economies: the Palestinians in the 1948 areas are fully integrated in the Israeli economy – as discriminated wage workers and as residents of towns and villages suffering from under-development; and a considerable part of the Palestinians in the West Bank work for Israeli owners or for local business enterprises, which sell their produce in the Israeli market – whether in the settlement projects in the West Bank or in the Israel’s official sovereign territory.
Most of the Palestinians driven out of the country and their descendants, as well as many of those who have evaded the waves of displacement and expulsion, live as refugees or internally displaced persons – whether in the territories conquered in 1948 or 1967 or in the neighbouring countries.
Over the years, the Palestinians have resisted their displacement, oppression and exploitation. In their various locations, resistance takes various forms: some demonstrative or symbolic, some direct action; some armed, some non-violent, some violent but unarmed. Most acts of resistance do not involve cooperation with Israelis opposed to Zionist policy, but some do involve cooperation with such activists. The multifarious resistance of the Palestinian toiling masses over the years has mainly succeeded in retarding and curbing the processes of subjugation, but regrettably it has generally been unable to turn the clock back.
We do not share the illusion of some sections of the Palestinian and Israeli toiling masses that in the present sorry situation the ‘two-state solution’ must be accepted. Partition of Palestine into two states has been promoted for about a hundred years by world powers including Britain, France, the US and the USSR. This is part of their general meddling in the Middle East, which has condemned it to an impasse, to despotic regimes, to ethnic and religious hostility and warfare, stymieing the economic and political development craved by the region’s inhabitants. Establishing a Palestinian state, whether it will be allocated 15% or 25% of the territory of British-mandate Palestine, will not resolve the fundamental problems of the country, and will certainly not ‘terminate the conflict’: at best it will be a compromise settlement between the Israeli capitalist elite and the collaborator regime of the Palestinian Authority; local agents will acquire a franchise for directly oppressing and exploiting the Palestinian population for their own benefit and for the benefit of foreign interests.
True, Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967 would put a brake on the direct processes of dispossession and oppression of the Palestinians living there by Israel’s armed forces. It would presumably reduce the friction and confrontations between the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the Israeli armed forces and settlers, as well as the Israeli military offensives, which inflame widespread hatred and reinforce nationalism among both conquerors and conquered. Such withdrawal may also make possible a limited return of refugees to the territory of the Palestinian state.
However, an accord establishing such a Palestinian state would bestow on Israel international legitimation of its conquests in the 1948 war and the nakbah – the dispossession, uprooting and expulsion of hundreds of thousands (by now millions). Such an accord would also reinforce the political and economic separation between the two parts of the country, in both of which there are Palestinian inhabitants, as well as separation between the Hebrew and Arab populations. This would hinder the struggle for a just conclusion of the ongoing confrontation with the Zionist movement – whose main victims are the Palestinian toilers, but which also harms in various ways the Hebrew toilers within Israel. So long as the refugees have not returned and retrieved what they had been robbed of; so long as the nationalist-Zionist Israeli regime – which excludes, discriminates and oppresses its Palestinian subjects and citizens – still exists, there will be no ‘termination of the conflict’.
Other sections of toilers, especially among the Palestinians, stand for establishing one democratic state for all the inhabitants of Palestine–Israel.
Should a single democratic state be established, it could provide equal civil rights to all its citizens, and put an end to the official institutional discrimination against the Palestinians. It would quite probably enable the return of the refugees. Also, setting up such a state would require dismantling the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, in defiance of the aims of the imperialist powers. So this programme is based on a measure of hope rather than despair and acquiescence in the existing political order.
However, this hope is misguided, because so long as the capitalist-Zionist elite ruling Israel has not been defeated, the only single state that is attainable is the actually existing one. Even if the attempt to establish a single democratic state would succeed, let us not forget that states in general, and democratic states in particular, are political forms established and maintained by minority ruling classes, for maintaining oppressive and exploitative systems of social relations. The character of oppression and exploitation varies and becomes sophisticated in more developed countries, but its fundamental nature does not disappear even for one moment. In such a state the Palestinian and Hebrew toilers can look forward to living in a society like that of South Africa, where a small minority of white capitalists and their non-white junior partners possess most of the means of production and land, and multinational corporations enjoy ample freedom of action.
We reaffirm the conclusion reached by our predecessors in the struggle: defeat of the capitalist-Zionist ruling class and its project of colonization and dispossession requires a profound social revolution, not merely a political revolution but a transformation of the relations of production and all other fundamental social relations. Moreover, it is reasonable to assume that such a revolution will only be possible on a regional scale, in several neighbouring countries concurrently rather than separately in Palestine–Israel on its own. Only such a transformation will make it possible to construct a non-authoritarian society free from exploitation; in which liberty, equality and fraternity will really prevail; in which the accumulated nationalist hostility will dissipate.
Along with what has been said above, let us state the obvious: we shall participate, as an organization and individually, together with the Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank and with Israeli and other activists, in the daily struggle against all aspects of the occupation and oppression in the 1967 occupied territories; we shall support and cooperate to the best of our ability with the struggle of the inhabitants of Gaza against Israel’s aggression and the Israeli–Egyptian siege; and shall be active inside the 1948 borders against the discrimination, oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian toilers who have Israeli citizenship.