OKDE’s positions on Palestine

December 2023

  1. The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, in other words to have their own independent state, must be fully supported by the world labour movement and revolutionary Marxists. Apart from a national right, it conflicts with the entire strategy and policy of the Western imperialists. Therefore, it is not only a historically just demand, but it would also be a huge, probably irreparable blow to the western imperialists and a significant advance in the cause of the socialist revolution.
  2. For decades the Palestinian people have been imprisoned in a strip of land by the Zionists and are murderously attacked on a regular basis. The Palestinian people have been the first direct victim of the Zionist enterprise and at the same time the vanguard of the struggle against Zionism. This unequal struggle between David and Goliath symbolizes the struggle that the working class of the whole world must wage against the bourgeoisie and the imperialists. The liberation of the Palestinian people is a matter that concerns all of us. For revolutionary Marxists, it is self-evident that the Palestinians must be able to live in their homeland and this cannot be done unless the Zionist state is defeated and dismantled; if there is not a peaceful coexistence and cooperation of the Arab peoples and all the peoples of the region, a socialist Palestine in the perspective of a wider socialist federation of the Middle East region.
  3. Zionism and the establishment of the state of Israel. Zionism was a particular ideology, a variant of fascism. Ιt sought the solution of the Jewish question to the settlement of the Jews in the land of Palestine (an area that today stretches from the border of Egypt to the border of Lebanon and east to the Jordan River). Zionist propaganda spoke of the “historical homeland” of the Jews, who were – and still are – the “eternal and chosen people of God”. None of this has ever been true. At the beginning of the 20th century, most of the inhabitants of Palestine were Arabs, while the Jewish population was about 10%. The Zionists’ plan meant a settlement, by which they would take the land and drive the Arabs into Iraq, Syria and the Transjordan (consisting of present-day Jordan and the occupied Palestinian territories).

Palestine, since the end of World War I, was controlled by British imperialism, with the “Mandate” system.[1] The British needed a system to divide, control and subjugate the local popular masses of the Arab peoples, who, under the influence of the October Revolution, had begun to develop anti-imperialist struggles. The Communist Party of Palestine was united, workers and poor Arab and Jewish masses fought together. For these reasons, with Lord Balfour’s declaration, in 1922, Britain supported the Zionist project, that is, the “creation of a national homeland for the Jewish people”, by which of course they intended to impose a “divide and conquer” policy.

The realization of the goal of Zionism was presupposed to have the full coverage and support of imperialism. According to the Zionists’ words, to become a “watchdog” of imperialism in the region against the threat of the Arab Revolt, to protect the Suez Canal (which is of central importance on the road to India) and the oil, and at the same time to relieve the European bourgeoisie from the Jewish workers, who actively participated in the revolutionary European labour movement.

After the end of World War II, due to the new associations that had been created, the British withdrew from Palestine. They referred the matter of its status to the UN General Assembly and in 1947 a plan was adopted to create a separate Jewish state. Stalin actively supported the creation of the state of Israel and through Czechoslovakia he provided critical armaments to the Zionist organizations in Palestine. The Arabs refused but Ben Gurion (first prime minister of Israel) declared Israel’s independence in 1948. The first Arab-Israeli war followed. On May 14, 1948, the founding of Israel was announced, while the Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah (active since 1921) assumed the role of a regular army with British and American equipment.

Post-war Arab regimes, especially ‘key’ states such as Egypt, Syria and Iraq, faced with growing internal unrest were forced to support the Palestinian struggle. On May 15, troops from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq clashed with Israeli forces. Over 15,000 Palestinians were murdered, 531 Palestinian villages and towns were destroyed, and approximately 800,000 Palestinians (almost 70% of the overall Palestinian population) were displaced. It is estimated that today the refugees of the “Nakba” (Catastrophe) of 1948 and their descendants are over 5 million, scattered in the surrounding Arab countries and throughout the world, while Israel stubbornly refuses to allow them to return to their land.

Thus, Israel was born as a settlers’ state, basing its existence on a perpetual expansion war and an essentially fascist ideology.

  1. The War of 1967 – The “Two States” Question. Israeli capitalism was initially created “from scratch”: an “artificial economy”, based on the importation of foreign capital and mainly on financial assistance from American imperialism. In essence, it was more like maintaining an army.

In 1967, with the Six Day War, Israel occupied the remaining Palestinian territories, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, as well as the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria. This victory established the military hegemony of the Zionist state in the region and was a defeat for the Arab revolution. It created a new reality inside Israel, allowing an internal economic growth and enrichment, a formidable equipment and development of its own industry and technology – and, unfortunately, the strict chaining of the local Israeli working class to Zionism. All this will develop into relentless invasions and massacres, constant settlement and grabbing of the Palestinian land, etc.

  1. The development of the Palestinian movement. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964 by Arab states so as to establish an independent state of Palestine. However, after the defeat of 1967, it will be transformed into a front for Palestinian political organizations and will become the main body of the Palestinian struggle against Israel. For the first time the Palestinians take over their own struggle, independent of the Arab regimes, and for the first time they claim that the struggle should also be armed. This development will be a turning point in the development of the Palestinian movement. The PLO was designated by the US and Israel as a “terrorist organization” (until 1991).
  2. Towards the Oslo Accords (1993). In 1980, Israel declares the “undivided” Jerusalem as its capital, blatantly ignoring the UN resolutions, which tend to be nothing but a show. In 1982-1983, Israel also invaded Lebanon (the “Operation Peace for Galilee”, as they initially called- it will be later called as the Lebanon War) with the aim of clearing PLO bases on its soil, so as to weaken the organisation’s leadership and lead it to submission. Syria was involved by having taken over the protection of Lebanon from Israel and playing an important role in the political affairs of this small country. After fierce fighting and intense resistance, Israel captured southern Lebanon, encircling the PLO forces and parts of the Syrian forces.

In 1987, the first Palestinian Intifada (“Uprising”) begins against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with over 1,400 Palestinians dead.

This period will last until 1993, when the Oslo Accords were imminent [2] (and were concluded in 2003). To understand this development, we must mention that the negotiations began after the collapse of the USSR, in a period of retreat of the labour and national liberation movements, where the global balance of power tilted sharply against the proletariat, due to the already accumulated defeats of the neoliberal attacks but also the defamation of socialism and the confusion it spread in the global labour movement (which has not been overcome to this day).

Despite the objective difficulties and defeats that the world labour movement had suffered at that time, the Oslo Accords were from the beginning a death trap for the Palestinians and essentially a betrayal of the Palestinian cause (similar was the development of many national liberation movements at that time ). They were granting the Palestinians a fictitious “autonomy” without any real authority. Orchestrated by the USA (it was then the undisputed hegemonic power of the capitalist/imperialist world, which sought the solution of other such ‘’loose ends’’ e.g. in Ireland), the Oslo Accords included: a) The recognition of the Zionist state. That is, not in general of an Israeli state or of the Israelis (the PLO, to its credit, had accepted the abidance of the Israelis in the territory of free Palestine since the early 1970s), but of a fascist state. b) The PLO’s repudiation of the armed struggle. c) Israel’s recognition of the PLO as the only interlocutor and representative of the Palestinians. d) There was no mention of a Palestinian state. e) There was no mention or commitment to Israel’s future behaviour (if it continues the attacks and settlements). g) The PLO undertook the task to police the Palestinians under Israeli instructions.[3]

  1. The rise of the Islamists – Hamas. In 1987, at the beginning of the first Intifada, Hamas was founded. After Oslo Accords, the prescribed degeneration of the PLO and Fatah (which was in the leadership and was bearing responsibility) began along with the gradual weakening of the left or anti-capitalist organizations within it, the Islamic organizations were strengthened, among which Hamas was dominant. Hamas, on the one hand, undertook the armed resistance, from its own point of view, and on the other hand, the support of the Palestinian population (campaigns, schools, etc.) dealing with the repression, economic suffocation, unemployment and the enormous shortages imposed by the Israeli occupation. This influence is also based on the dominance in the wider region of the religion of Islam, which has been linked to the “idea” of a single modern Arab nation.

Of course, as revolutionary Marxists, we cannot identify with this “idea”. Although we support the armed resistance, we cannot but highlight the necessity of the socialist revolution, the only solution and idea that will be able to unite all the exploited poor and oppressed of the Middle East, whatever religion they follow (Muslims, Jews, etc. ) and  which will clash with the reactionary local bourgeois and ruling classes.

8.After Oslo Accords – Israel’s new attacks.  In 1996 the Israeli occupying forces proceeded to massacre several hundred Palestinians in the refugee camp in Qana, Lebanon. In 2002 the second Intifada took place, while in the spring of 2002 Israel launched an attack and began the construction of a wall in the Gaza Strip. Today the “wall of shame” is 708 km long. The second Lebanon War will follow in 2006-2007, which almost ended in Israel’s defeat by Hezbollah.

In 2017, the “devilishly good” American president Trump recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which will signal a new aggression of the Zionists. On March 2018, tens of thousands of Palestinians gather near the Israeli border to protest against the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The protests continued for several months, during which Israeli troops did not hesitate to fire upon the protestors. At least 189 Palestinians were killed and more than 6,000 were injured during these protests from late March to late December 2018.

In May 2021, Palestinian clashed with Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem after weeks of escalating tensions. Hamas fired a barrage of rockets into Israel after demanding Israeli forces to withdraw from the Temple Mount. Israel responded with airstrikes in Gaza, sparking an 11-day conflict and killing more than 200 people.

In August 2022, Israel launched airstrikes in Gaza, killing a senior Islamic Jihad official and triggering retaliatory rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave. At least 40 Palestinians were killed during the fighting that lasted three days.

In January 2023, Israeli forces killed nine Islamic Jihad Palestinians during a raid on an occupied West Bank city. The Palestinians responded by firing two rockets, prompting retaliation from Israel.

  1. The reasons for the Palestinian attack on 7th of October 2023. In the context of the realignments and upheavals of our time (with the war in Ukraine having marked the beginning of a new World War III with specific characteristics), a number of countries are moving to join the BRICS – among them Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the U.N. Arab Emirates. These countries (formerly fully controlled by American imperialism) are tightening their ties with the new imperialist powers of Russia and China (which has also a strong economic presence in the Middle East region).

With the Abraham Accords, Israel aimed to normalize relations with the Arab countries without obviously resolving the Palestinian issue. These Agreements were heavily weighted by the US, which, in addition to strengthening Israel as its traditional geopolitical support, are linked to broader plans in the confrontation with China and its plan for the “New Silk Road” (which also passes through M. East).

Such a development, apart from the fact that it would upgrade Israel (creating a more favourable environment for it in the region), had as an implicit condition the definitive end of the Palestinian issue, the complete abandonment and extermination of the Palestinians.

Faced with this situation, the Palestinians were forced to react. Their move on 7/10 was a political move, which sought and succeeded in severing Arab states’ relations with Israel and bringing the Palestine issue back to the fore. From a military point of view, the operation on 7/10 (probably organized by Palestine alone) managed an unprecedented blow to the Israeli army (1,400 dead, thousands wounded, 200 hostages by whom high-ranking military officials were among them).

  1. The Zionist genocide, the machine of propaganda and repression (political, ideological, etc.). Israel, one of the most powerful military machines in the world, launched an attack that amounts to ethnic cleansing, with the full support of the US and the EU and with an incredible propaganda, which is nothing but smoke and mirrors so as to blame Hamas for all the crimes committed by Zionists. They have cut off water, electricity, fuel, feeding (famine has spread), bombarding incessantly and mercilessly, especially hospitals and schools, having thus murdered over 16,000 Palestinians (mostly civilians, women, children, and the elderly). At the same time, they are holding more than 12,000 Palestinian hostages in Israeli prisons. The Zionist plan is now clearly visible: the complete displacement of the Palestinians from Gaza and then the continuation of the same attack in the West Bank, with the aim of their total persecution.

It is provocative that blood-soaked Israel and the EU governments (including the Greek one with K. Mitsotakis) talk about “Israel’s right to self-defence”. On the other hand, the Palestinians themselves have the right to armed resistance and in their struggle all peoples must stand in solidarity. The fact that it all started with the pogrom of Israeli soldiers and settlers against Palestinians in East Jerusalem is carefully concealed by Western imperialist propaganda – as, of course, are the decades of Zionist oppression, massacres and looting against the Palestinians. At the same time there is a huge ideological attack against the resistance of the people of Palestine. The accusations of “Islamic fundamentalism” obscure the history and progressive traditions of the Palestinian people. Afterall, Hamas, despite its religious reference, is one of the organizations of the Palestinian resistance and its massive growth was a consequence of the chronic inefficiency of the “secular forces” to lead the anti-occupation and social struggle of the Palestinian people to victory.

  1. The attitude of the remaining states. Risk of ignition in the Middle East and generalization of the war. Israel’s strikes have already extended to Lebanon and Syria and are targeting Iran, which is one of the main competitors of the Western imperialists and Israel. USA-NATO and the EU, so as to serve their interests in the Middle East and face their continuous degradation, do not hesitate to create another dangerous front (after Ukraine), which may even trigger the generalization of the war. It is obvious that if the Zionists succeed in completing their current military and political plans, they will extend their attacks to Lebanon and Iran (a development that is anyway part of the US plans against its Russia-China-BRICS rivals) .

The open supporters of Israel, almost without any differentiation, are the USA, Great Britain, the leading powers and generally the members of NATO except Turkey (which is trying through the Muslim populations to promote its own autonomous agenda and establish itself as a major regional power) and  the EU member states. The Greek government seeks to play a special role in this Euro-Atlantic bloc.

Despite their confrontation with the US and their verbal declarations, China and Russia are not really on the side of the Palestinian people. They are cautious in their support to Palestine, while being clear in their support to Iran. What they are seeking is not a vindication of the Palestinians and a real solution, but at most a “superficial solution”, which will allow them to create a framework to promote their own plans and interests (within an emerging Eurasian bloc) . As they are imperialist and reactionary forces, they are not going to identify with the Palestinian cause. Let alone  with a new radicalization of the Arab masses and a rise of the global labour movement (due to an eventual Palestinian victory) – something that the “emerging” imperialist countries hate to death, as well as the “old” western imperialists.

The move by Hamas brought to the surface Israel’s conflict with the rest of the states. In Lebanon (of which Israel also holds territory), Hezbollah, which maintains close relations with Iran, has begun (in a small-scale so far) hostilities with Israel. There is the possibility of its full involvement in case of generalization of the conflict (perhaps it is just an assumption ,  because this has not already been done). In Syria (where Israel holds the Golan Heights) hostilities have also expanded. A generalization of the conflict would almost certainly involve Iran, Israel’s main regional rival. Saudi Arabia suspended the restoration of its relations with Israel, in which the US invested heavily. The same goes with Turkey since the plan to transport Israeli natural gas through Turkey to Europe was also frozen. Still, the bourgeoisie and the Sisi regime in Egypt, which is at risk of accepting the bulk of Palestinian refugees, are hesitant as they have outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood (linked to Hamas).

This situation proves once again the reactionary nature of the Arab governments and regimes of the Middle East. It is not only the historical responsibilities they have for the development of the Palestinian issue.[4] Once again, they shed crocodile tears but do nothing in practice to stop the carnage (they could, for example, declare an oil embargo and blockade of Suez for Israeli ships, which would put a lot of pressure on Israel).

There are many open fronts all over the planet, real powder kegs that unfortunately can be ignited through chain reactions (in the Caucasus, the Balkans, Taiwan and more generally in the Indo-Pacific where there are “unfinished businesses”), given the accumulation of many and strong military forces of the US and other imperialists in the region.

  1. The attitude of the Greek government. Complicit in the Zionist genocide are the Mitsotakis/ND government, the bourgeois media and all the bourgeois parties (SYRIZA, PASOK), which reproduce the most vulgar, racist and imperialist propaganda against the Palestinians, in complete contrast to the feelings of solidarity of the vast majority of the Greek people for the ‘’free Palestine’’ just struggle.

The Souda base has taken on a key role in supporting the American war armada with two aircraft carriers in the South-East Mediterranean. Greek frigates patrol missions in the SE Mediterranean with an imperialistic attitude. The 112th Fighter Wing at Eleusis has been turned into a US bridgehead for the transfer of supplies, weapons, ammunition and even Israeli support forces! The Mitsotakis government has been directly and deeply involved in the carnage!

The military cooperation with Israel is ongoing: construction of military systems, promotion of the “anti-missile shield” (which Greece is discussing with France and Israel, especially after the visit of the head of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff during summer in Israel and the presentation of the system there) etc. The same goes with the deeper involvement of Greece in the economic-energy war (transfer of Israeli LNG as a future plan, transfer of electricity, etc.).

As always, the consequences of war worsen the repercussions for the workers and the poor strata, with the upsurge of high prices, poverty and repression. This harder and harder situation places new ideological, political and organizational tasks on the activists and organizations of the labour movement.

  1. The response of the international anti-war, anti-imperialist and labour movement. All over the planet, large demonstrations and mobilizations broke out in defence of the Palestinians, showing the existence of important reflexes of the movement as well as the deep imprint of the Palestinian cause on the collective consciousness of the peoples. In the countries of the Middle East and in general in the Muslim world, the demonstrations are large, confrontational and with vivid anti-imperialist characteristics. Many American, Israeli, and European embassies were forced to close due to fear of widespread incidents outside them.

The demonstrations in the countries of the Western imperialists, in addition to being massive, are also against the governments’ unprecedented bans, especially in France, Germany and Austria. In the US, the protests are perhaps the largest, with building occupations (even at the Capitol), road blockades, protests at the offices of the Democratic Party. Recently the UAW, the auto industry union (where workers succeeded a major victory, winning serious wage increases after holding a long strike), expressed their support to the cease-fire call. The attack of the Starbucks employer on the workers’ union, because of its support for the Palestinians was preceded . The situation in American universities is also indicative, where , for instance, Columbia suspended two student unions so as to quell the protests. The demonstrations in England, Belgium, etc. are massive. These mobilizations can help to exacerbate the crisis of the political scene in these countries, paving the way for a renaissance of an anti-war and anti-imperialist movement. The mobilizations of practical opposition to collaboration with the Zionists are also extremely important, reviving some of the best traditions of the labour movement. For example: a) The English workers of the city of Leicester blocked the entrance to an arms factory of Israeli interests. b) In the US, workers at an Israeli weapons systems company boycotted its Cambridge offices. c) In Belgium, transport unions are calling on workers to refuse any participation in the transport of military equipment to Israel.

It should also be noted that the demonstrations are also actively supported by Jewish organizations (at least in the US). This is extremely important as it shows an understanding of the impasses and disasters where Zionism is leading. A process that, perhaps, is not only unfolding in the Jewish migration groups but has also begun inside Israel. Examples of this are the questioning of Netanyahu (regarding the management of hostages, but this could also lead to a broader questioning of the maximalist goals of the Zionist project), as well as the opposition to the installation of an extreme Bonapartist, quasi-fascist regime of Israel by abolishing the independence of the judiciary (which had sparked significant reactions, despite being interrupted by developments).

Such a development would be of extreme importance, as it would strike at the most basic pillar of Zionism (besides the support of the Western imperialists). That is, the acceptance by Israeli workers and Israeli society that their own salvation does indeed go through the repression and persecution of the Palestinians, their embrace and their active participation in the ongoing war against the Palestinians, in the settlements, etc. . And so such a development would open real prospects for a sustainable solution, for a future of cooperation of peoples throughout the region, which is internationalist and socialist.

  1. The duties of practical solidarity in Palestine. The Palestinian struggle is objectively directed not only against Zionism but also against the imperialist order throughout the world, of course also in our country. The ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, a victory for Israel and the Western imperialist camp will open the back door for even greater aggression against the entire working class and peoples.

The workers, the poor and the youth must embrace the heroic struggle of the Palestinians as their own. The Mitsotakis government has fully sided with the Zionists and the imperialists and has turned our country into a stronghold against the Palestinian people. We must stop them. With demonstrations and marches, with blockades and occupations, with the collection of money and solidarity items, with all kinds of help, with the decisive rejection of every attempt to intensify the repression (e.g. the use of the Palestinian flag or the prosecution of 22-year-old Palestinian). The perspective of this struggle – in order to really stop the support-collaboration of the Greek government to the Zionists – must be the development of political actions of the movement, workers and youth, such as work stoppages and strikes, occupations in universities, etc.

The situation that prevails in our country has the following characteristics and presents serious obstacles for the development of such a movement [with the decisive responsibility for this situation of the reformists/KKE (Greek Communist Party) and with the quite weak presence/intervention of the forces of the extreme and radical left presenting], which need to be overcome: a) There are protests, some quite large, and this is positive. But they are sparse and irregular, not enough to create a greater dynamic, a real political pressure on the government. b) In order to create such a movement, we need both continuity in efforts and strengthening of their political characteristics. For instance, the lack of such political actions by the student movement (there were no sit-ins or abstentions, for example in solidarity with our colleagues who are persecuted in Britain and the USA and for the demand to stop every cooperation of the university institutions with the Zionists, or collecting money for the persecuted who raised Palestinian flags, etc.) and of course by the unions (where the “political strike”, declaring positions, calling rallies, etc. should be set as a task and direction – something to which all the formal trade union forces and leadership bureaucracies avoid) is typical.

We must at all costs strengthen the demonstrations and try to give them a basic plan, a rudimentary framework of unity, organization and coordination (e.g. through the Anti-War Initiative of Organizations). To put forward a series of demands that respond to the historical continuity of the Palestinian struggle and the current situation that has developed:

  • An immediate end to Israel’s murderous intervention in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Immediate withdrawal of Zionist troops from the Gaza Strip.
  • Immediate realization of the Palestinian right to a homeland of their own, to a state of their own. To abolish the Zionist state, which is the slaughterer of the Palestinians and the oppressor of the Israeli workers.
  • For a socialist Palestine free from the imperialists, where Palestinian and Israeli workers will coexist peacefully, part of a Socialist Federation of the Peoples of the Middle East
  • Immediate withdrawal of the Greek “Psara” frigate, to cease all facilitation and cooperation with Israel and the USA.
  • Immediately stop all economic, political, military cooperation with the murderous state of Israel.
  • Down with the Mitsotakis government. Out with Bases and Nuclear Weapons.

[1] Mandate of the then League of Nations, which defined the legal regime, according to which its member countries took over the governance of the former German colonies and territories of the Ottoman Empire after the end of the First World War. The mandate was given to an imperialist country to “legally” take over a region or country of the world.

[2] The agreement came after the long-term struggles mentioned, where the Palestinian leadership was dominated by Fatah led by Arafat ( who died under unclear circumstances in 2004, trapped in Ramallah by the Israeli army).

[3] In 2004, the Zionists led to the murder of Arafat, because they were already planning to put “their own leader”, Abbas in charge.

[4] Starting with the way they conducted the 1948 war, by not allowing the Palestinians to arm themselves and fight, leading them to defeat. Then, by trying to control or suppress the Palestinians so as not to disturb their relations with the American and European imperialists and not to be challenged by the radicalization of the Arab masses.