The Israeli Settlement Program Must End

February 12, 2018

When Donald Trump recently acted on the will of the U.S. Congress to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, this was but one more way for the U.S. to give the green light for more Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and the terror and intimidation that go along with them.

Since capturing Jerusalem in the 1967 war, Israel has set-up para-military settlements throughout the city, and used military force to drive Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank and Gaza. Despite the fact that Jerusalem is home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, Israeli leaders have vowed repeatedly to expel the Arab masses from the city and turn it into an “undivided,” exclusively Israeli capital.

Israeli occupation of east Jerusalem and the West Bank regularly relies on such Hitlerite methods as collective punishment to create an atmosphere of intimidation. Collective punishment is a State-backed punishment inflicted against a person as if a sentence were being enforced against them for a conviction in a court of law.

Paramilitary Israeli settlers, with the full cooperation of the Israeli military, regularly carry out vigilante attacks against the Palestinians, including attacks against children and the aged. One settler has described their tactics in the Israeli press: “We enter a village, shoot a bit at windows, warn the villagers and return to the settlement. We don’t kidnap people, but it can happen that we catch a boy who had been throwing stones, take him back with us, beat him a bit and give him over to the Army to finish the job.”

As with Israeli ruling class claims to an “immutable” right to annex east Jerusalem and the West Bank, the supporters of collective punishment rely on their interpretation of the Bible to justify their terror crusade against the Palestinians. A journal published by the West Bank settlers wrote: “Those among us who call for a humanistic attitude toward our (Arab) neighbors are reading the Halacha (religious law) selectively and are avoiding specific commandments...The law concerning conquered peoples is explicit, they must not raise their heads in Israel...There is no relation between the law of Israel and the atheistic modern humanism...in a divinely commanded war one must destroy, kill and eliminate men, women and children.”

In fact, another former Israeli Chief of Staff, General Eitan, personally defended the army’s tactics of collective reprisals and indiscriminate brutality against Palestinian residents and prisoners. Eitan ordered the razing of houses and even whole villages in areas where there was resistance to the Israeli occupiers as well as reprisals against the families of students caught throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. Weeks and months of curfews, travel bans, and arbitrary round-ups and sweeps are other preferred methods of the Israeli occupationist army.

Notwithstanding the claims of Anglo-American and European chauvinism, it is clearly the expansionist Israeli State and not the Palestinian nation which is the source of violence.

This Hitlerite propaganda which blames the victims of U.S.-Israeli aggression for the poverty and violence imposed on them does nothing less than show the weakness of imperialism and zionism. This propaganda is a vain attempt to erase the ever-growing consciousness of the people of the whole world, including the American people. However, as the Palestinian people have fought for their liberation, the American people have learned about the history and truth of their great struggle. Everyday, more U.S. workers and activists come out in solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle.

In order to advance this struggle, and the struggle against the entire U.S. war program and imperialist system, the people must create their own organizations and build up their own independent political movement.

In addition to the various immediate victories which lie in the power to avert war through struggles against every new aggressive step taken by the parties of war, the basis for permanent success lies in the ever-growing consciousness and organization of the workers themselves.

Across all fronts of the U.S. war program, the essential part of orienting our anti-war struggles and developing the independence of our movement is sorting out the question: “What is the cause of war?”

In the world today, war and militarism are the inevitable products of the capitalist-imperialist system. The very social existence of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class, in particular, is dependent not only on the exploitation of the American working class but also on the super-exploitation and domination of other countries. Hundreds and hundreds of times this century, the U.S. monopoly capitalist class has launched wars and interventions precisely to grab the mineral wealth of other countries, to dominate “strategic” regions, to exploit the peoples. The present-day system of capitalist-imperialism is founded and rests on violence and war.

The imperialist warmakers themselves spend a vast amount of time and money trying to cover over the real, exploiting aims of their foreign policy and trying to cover over the source of war in the imperialist system. They advertise their wars as a way of bringing “civilization” to those who need U.S. “mentoring.” And when their chauvinism is rejected, when their real aims are exposed, and when the movements of the peoples threaten their plans, the warmakers talk about their desire for “peace” and “negotiations” in order to pursue the same aggressive, imperialist goals.

In fact, such illusions continually penetrate inside the anti-war movement, causing grave damage to our struggles. A politics is presented which claims that war is not a consequence of imperialist social relations, but is only a bad policy pursued by a few “hawks” and that the people can oppose this policy by rallying around the “doves” in the government. This politics undermines the independence of the anti-war movement and ties it to the apron-strings of the imperialist warmakers themselves. Inevitably, when the real interests of the U.S. monopoly capitalists are at stake, the “doves” lose their disguises and turn into hawks.

Recognizing the cause of war in the capitalist-imperialist system, at once, also means recognizing that it is the working class and people who are the force against war. It is only by developing the consciousness, organization and political independence of the people themselves, only by organizing ourselves in opposition to and struggle against the capitalist class that we can advance the movement against war and militarism.