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The Internationalist
February 2020

Hail 75th Anniversary of Soviet Army Liberation of Auschwitz

Expel Zionist Occupiers from the West Bank –
Defend Gaza, the New Warsaw Ghetto

No to Trump/Israel West Bank Annexation Plan!

Palestinian protesters in Gaza flee tear gas fired by Israeli troops at the border, 6 December 2019. 
(Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP)

On January 28, U.S. president Donald Trump unveiled his phony Middle East “peace” plan in a joint appearance at the White House with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This is actually a plan to escalate the imperialist-backed Zionist war on the Palestinians by annexing the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The Zionist settlements and the entire Jordan River valley would formally become part of Israel, while the supposed Palestinian “state” would have no territorial contiguity but would instead consist of a series of disconnected areas separated from each other by highways and access roads to settlements under the control of the Israeli military. Also, hundreds of thousands of Israeli Arabs would lose their citizenship and be transferred to the Palestinian entity. Trump is selling this as the “deal of the century.” It would be better described as the rip-off of the century, a naked Zionist land grab to crush and humiliate the Palestinians.

All “two-state” plans that have been floated since the Israeli army’s conquest of the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 war have been frauds to the extent that they made any pretense of fulfilling the rights of the Palestinian Arab population under the boot of Zionist occupation. Trump’s “vision” is the most cynical of all. Not only was the unilateral “deal” devised with no Palestinian participation whatsoever, it was designed to be rejected. Numerous clauses ensure that no Palestinian politician, no matter how corrupt, could agree to it, including handing all of Jerusalem to Israel. The Palestinian entity – one could hardly call it a state – would amount to a series of giant concentration camps for the Arab population. The Palestinian Authority would function as a Judenrat (the puppet councils of Jewish authorities in Nazi-controlled ghettos and concentration camps in WWII), with the PA police acting as kapos.

Internationalists at protest outside New York City Hall against the West Bank annexation plan, January 31. (Internationalist photo)

Liberal media in the U.S. and elsewhere (including Israel) noted that this non-plan was essentially a propaganda ploy designed to distract attention from the impeachment trial of Trump and the criminal corruption indictment of Netanyahu. The promise of annexing the West Bank to Israel was also clearly an election tactic, appealing to the Israeli premier’s right-wing base and fascistic settlers in the run-up to the March 2 Knesset (parliament) elections, and to further rev up the U.S. president’s evangelical Christian supporters to turn out in the November presidential vote in November. But while opposition politicians in both countries criticize its timing and ostentatiously one-sided nature, many of these same Democrats and “moderate” Zionists support the basic elements of the “deal” as the only “realistic” basis for a “two-state” solution.

That only highlights the fact that Zionism and imperialism, whether liberal or conservative, are mortal enemies of the oppressed Palestinian Arab population. The Trumpian “vision” is a total denial of Palestinians’ national rights, a continuation of their expulsion and expropriation on which the Zionist state of Israel was founded. The plan’s text makes this brutally explicit. “There shall be no right of return by, or absorption of, any Palestinian refugee into the State of Israel,” it says. And “Jerusalem will remain the sovereign capital of the State of Israel, and it should remain an undivided city.” A disjointed Palestinian “capital” would be well outside the walls of Jerusalem, relegated to the distant eastern suburbs of Kfar Aqab (next to the Qalandis refugee camp) and Abu Dis, and would be cynically rebranded Al Quds, the Arabic name for Jerusalem.  

Moreover, in this grotesque real estate mogul’s vision of a “development plan,” in the guise of a “land swap,” it would expel 280,000 Arabs from Israel by “rezoning” their communities (in the area known as the Triangle) into the Palestinian entity. This “population exchange” was a key element of the infamous “Lieberman Plan” put forward a decade and a half ago by Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the racist, ultra-Zionist party Yisrael Beiteinu, aiming to sharply reduce the number of Arab citizens of Israel. Arab residents of the nearly one-third of the West Bank to be annexed by Israel, on the other hand, would have no citizenship rights in the land of their birth. Meanwhile, a “special tourist zone” is projected, from which Muslims can be taken by tour guides to visit holy sites. Would the “other tourism facilities” perhaps include a Trump Casino?

This caricature of a “Palestinian state” would have no seaport and no airport. Moreover, “the State of Israel will maintain overriding security responsibility for the State of Palestine,” meaning that even areas nominally governed by the Palestinian entity would be “demilitarized,” under the jackboot of Israel, one of the most highly militarized countries in the world. The Palestinian security forces would basically police the Arab population on behalf of Israel. But that is, in fact, the task that they have already been performing, financed, equipped and trained by the Pentagon until Trump canceled all U.S. “aid” to the Palestinian Authority a year ago. And as a condition for a “State of Palestine,” these forces would have to seize Gaza from Hamas and other Islamist groups, as the Israeli puppet PA has unsuccessfully tried to do for years.

This is all a Trumpian fantasy, with zero chance of being agreed to by anyone. But then it’s not supposed to be. Its actual purpose is to provide a façade for the formal annexation of the West Bank by Israel. On January 28, after the White House presentation, Netanyahu said that annexation would be presented to the Israeli cabinet on February 2. Since then, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, long an admirer of the right-wing Israeli leader,1 suggested that it might be a bit precipitous for the caretaker government, which lacks a majority in the Knesset, to take such a step before the March elections. But when the annexation is formalized is just a formality. In reality, the West Bank was annexed to Israel after the 1967 war, and the charade of the Palestinian Authority under Yasir Arafat and now Mahmoud Abbas is only window dressing.

More consequentially, this is not just a Trump/Netanyahu “deal.” The leader of the Israeli opposition, Benjamin Gantz, signed off on the plan in an audience with Trump on January 27, saying only that there was no rush to proclaim annexation before the election. His party, Kaḥol Lavan (Blue and White, the colors of the Israeli flag), praised the plan as “historic,” saying that it is “entirely consistent” with the party’s “principles of state and security.” Gantz is a war criminal, who as chief of general staff of the Israeli army (2011-2015) repeatedly terror-bombed residential areas in Gaza, killing over 2,200 Palestinians, 70% of them civilians. Moreover, annexation of the Jordan River valley and one-third of the West Bank was key to the Allon Plan, drawn up right after the 1967 war by Ygal Allon, then a minister in the Labor Zionist cabinet.2

Even the “moderate” Zionist newspaper Ha’aretz (30 January) editorialized only that there was a “problem with imposing [Israeli] sovereignty at this stage” (our emphasis), while one of its columnists proclaimed Trump’s plan “not completely terrible” and “the possible basis for a negotiated settlement.” Former Labor prime minister Ehud Barak (another former Israeli Army chief of general staff) wrote that the White House plan is “the most favorable approach to Israel ever adopted by an American president” and “an important opportunity” (Ha’aretz, 28 January). In turn, the New York Times (31 January) editorialized that one couldn’t “dismiss any new initiative out of hand,” suggesting that it could be a “starting point.” In short, Zionists of all stripes and their imperialist patrons are for imposing indefinite Israeli control of the West Bank.

Internationalists at Los Angeles protest against the Trump/Israel West Bank annexation plan, February 1. (Internationalist photo)

The Internationalist Group and the League for the Fourth International have from our inception called to defend the Palestinian people and to drive the Israeli occupiers out of the territories conquered in the 1967 war. That includes expelling the Zionist settlements and settlers, all of which – including the “bedroom communities” around Jerusalem – serve the purpose of military control over the Palestinian Arab population. The IG and LFI defend the Palestinians’ right to return to the lands from which they were expelled by the Zionist forces in 1948 and 1967, forcing millions into refugee camps where those driven from their homes and their descendants languish today. And we denounce both the Trump plan and earlier Democratic initiatives which would keep the Palestinians under Zionist/imperialist control.

Zionism arose in the late 19th century in reaction to increasing anti-Semitism in the Russian empire and Europe. Against the increasing popularity among Jewish workers and youth of revolutionary politics aimed at overthrowing the old order that bred murderous repression, Zionism promised to send Jews “back” to a biblical “promised land.” From the beginning it looked for imperialist patrons, notably Britain (which promoted Zionist colonization of Palestine with the 1917 Balfour Declaration as a point of support for British colonial control of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and the strategic Suez Canal) and, after World War II, the United States. The massive post-WWII Jewish immigration to Palestine was the result of U.S. imperialism’s refusal to admit Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi holocaust.

Thus the 1948 founding of the Zionist state on lands stolen from the Palestinians was the result of the crimes of both sides in the second imperialist world war. U.S. Trotskyists at that time demanded “Admit the Refugees!” (Socialist Appeal, 26 November 1938).

Internationalistische Gruppe in Berlin: “For an Arab/Hebrew Workers State in a Socialist Federation of the Near East,” "Drive the Zionist Occupiers out of the West Bank - Defend Gaza, the New Warsaw Ghetto,” February 2. (Permanente Revolution)

The Russian Bolsheviks under V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky fought anti-Semitism tooth and nail under the tsarist empire, mobilizing to crush anti-Jewish pogroms. At the same time, the Bolsheviks opposed the Zionists, who rather than seeking to combat anti-Semitic terror, saw it as a spur to emigration, and sometimes tactically collaborated with the perpetrators.3 The founding of a self-proclaimed “Jewish state” was opposed by many Orthodox Jews at the time, and some still do today, as do many secular Jews who have played a prominent role in leftist parties. Nevertheless, a Hebrew-speaking nation was consolidated that occupies the same narrow strip of territory along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea as the Palestinian Arab nation it has dominated since the foundation of Israel.4

So for the past seven decades there have been two nations – one the oppressor, the other the oppressed – existing on and laying claim to the same territory. Moreover, their populations always have been and still are deeply intertwined. In this situation of interpenetrated peoples, the respective rights of national self-determination cannot be equitably resolved under capitalism (in which competing nationalisms will always result in the domination of one or the other), but only through a common internationalist struggle for socialist revolution. The framework for such a struggle must extend throughout the region, with its myriad peoples, ethnic/linguistic and religious minorities, as well as powerful proletarian concentrations in Turkey, Egypt, Iran and elsewhere. For all of them, only revolutionary internationalism shows a way forward.

A “two-state” solution in Palestine under capitalism is inevitably discriminatory against the Palestinian Arabs, who will always be at a disadvantage compared to the stronger Israeli Zionist state when it comes to competing for scarce resources such as water and arable land. Thus we in the League for the Fourth International have denounced “The Oslo ‘Peace Process’ Hoax” and called for a binational Arab/Hebrew workers revolution. Unlike those who describe Israel as a “settler-colonial state,” we have pointed to the class contradictions between Hebrew-speaking workers and their Zionist capitalist rulers. But the poisonous nationalism of the oppressor nation can only be defeated through an international struggle of the toilers and oppressed populations against the Zionists, imperialists and Arab, Turkish and Persian military, monarchist, Islamist and authoritarian capitalist rulers who oppress them all.

It is particularly grotesque that today, as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet Red Army which smashed the genocidal Nazi regime, Zionists and their imperialist godfathers cynically seek to use the memory of the Holocaust to justify destruction of the Palestinian Arab nation. Moreover, the plan for a “final solution” to the “Palestinian question” is accompanied by the international campaign of Trump, Netanyahu et al. outrageously equating opposition to Zionism with anti-Semitism, beating the drums for the U.S./Israeli war on Iran. Thus today, defense of the Palestinian people must go hand in hand with defense of Iran, even under its despotic Islamic Republic, against imperialism. This includes defending Iran’s right to nuclear weapons, faced as it is with the constant threat of annihilation by the far stronger nuclear-armed Zionist and imperialist warmongers.

The League for the Fourth International says:

For an Arab/Hebrew Palestinian Workers State in a Socialist Federation of the Near East
Defeat U.S. Imperialism – Defend Iran and its Right to Nuclear Arms!
From Turkey to Egypt and Iran – For Workers Revolution Against the Capitalist Regimes
For International Workers Action to Drive U.S./NATO Imperialists Out of the Middle East
Republican/Democrat Imperialists Support Zionist Israel – Build a Revolutionary Workers Party!

  1. 1. Kushner’s father Charles is a real estate developer like Donald Trump and was a Democrat until 2016 (as was Trump until 2009), who went to jail for illegal campaign contributions to Democratic campaigns. He is also a right-wing Zionist and more than once invited Benjamin Netanyahu to his home in New Jersey, where the Israeli leader slept in the bedroom of teenager Jared (“Kushner and Israel: A Personal Bond,” New York Times, 17 April 2017).
  2. 2. Ygal Allon was a commander of the left-Zionist Palmach, the elite Zionist fighting force which carried out the first mass expulsions of Palestinian Arabs during the 1948 war; a founder of the Mapam party, which claimed to combine Marxism and Zionism; and later a leader of the left-Labor Ahdut HaAvoda party.
  3. 3. See Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators (1983)
  4. 4. See “Defend the Palestinian People! For an Arab Hebrew Workers Republic in a Socialist Federation of the Near East,” The Internationalist No. 9, January-February 2001, as well as several additional articles in the same issue, including “Arab/Hebrew Workers’ Struggles Before the Birth of Israel,” “Zionism, Imperialism and Anti-Semitism,” “Zionist Complicity in the Destruction of Hungarian Jewry,” and others.