The U.S., France and other imperialist powers claim to be “appalled” over fighting between the Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent call for a halt to the fighting, however, is sheer hypocrisy. Washington, Tel Aviv and the European imperialist powers have used every weapon in their arsenal to exacerbate tensions between Fatah and Hamas.
In January 2006, the Palestinian people overwhelmingly voted in legislative elections for Hamas, a group known for determined struggle against occupation. Neither U.S. finance capital nor its clients in Tel Aviv accepted the Palestinian people’s choice, and have waged a most brutal campaign for “regime change” ever since.
For the last year, Israel, the U.S. and European imperialists have waged economic war on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to render it ineffective. The U.S. and Europe have withheld promised funds, and U.S. banks have imposed a financial blockade on PA banks, denying the PA funds from Arab League countries or anyone else. Israel has held back the $55 million in PA tax monies it collects monthly. These funds account for a third of the PA’s budget and pay the wages of the PA’s 160,000 civil servants, including the security forces involved in current clashes. A third of the Palestinian population depends on this money to survive.
At the same time, Israeli occupation forces—bankrolled and armed by the U.S.—have laid siege to Gaza and the West Bank, continue daily military incursions, bombings, arrests, huge land confiscations and destruction of homes, and are building the apartheid wall. Some call these assaults the most serious in the entire history of the Palestinian struggle.
It is within the context of this brutal imperialist economic squeeze, military onslaught and truly untenable situation for the Palestinian people that tensions have risen between Fatah and Hamas.
Imperialism is trying to use the weapon of “divide and conquer” to disrupt the struggle in Palestine, just as it is used to “Balkanize” Iraq. Washington and Tel Aviv now clearly favor Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, who is the PA president, over Hamas, which controls the PA cabinet and legislature. Before Hamas became part of the PA government, however, Israel vilified Abbas and refused to speak with him.
In the name of “peace,” the U.S. and Israel are waging war against the PA and the people who have elected Hamas. But the real goal is to destroy every attempt by the Palestinian people to assert true self-determination and build a sovereign Palestine. Palestinian sovereignty provides the only hope for true peace.
This is one of the most difficult times in the history of the Palestinian resistance. International support is needed more than ever to lift the siege on this heroic national liberation struggle. The anti-war movement here can be most helpful by renewing the fighting to get U.S. imperialism out of the Middle East, and to stop all U.S. aid to Israel.
Free from the bone-crushing burden of foreign interference and U.S.-financed Israeli domination, the Palestinian people can and will resolve peacefully any differences among them on how to best liberate and run their country.
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