Israeli trade union statement on the war

November 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm (class, israel, Jim D, Middle East, palestine, solidarity, unions, workers)

The following statement from the independent Israeli trade union WAC-MAAN was written before the ceasefire. But the politics of the statement and its analysis of the forces at work during the war, have been fully vindicated by events. It is also a useful antidote to those (like many in the UK Palestine solidarity movement) who write off the Israeli working class and trade union movement:

WAC-MAAN calls for an end to the war on Gaza, an end to the Israeli occupation, and a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.

The Israeli military operations that started in Gaza on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, are a result of four years of time-wasting by Netanyahu’s right-wing government. The Netanyahu government has persistently refused to negotiate with the Palestinians on withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It has continued to expand settlements on Palestinian lands, while allowing the development of fascist gangs in these settlements.

"Liquidations don't stop missiles" - spontaneous protest against the Gaza War. Tel Aviv, Nov. 14. 2012

With the peace process in deep coma, we now reach another round of violence that will not solve anything. The Israeli leaders declare that they are defending their citizens in the south, but everyone knows, in fact, that the current war can produce no more than a temporary truce. Israel’s plan is to keep Gaza separate from the West Bank, canceling any prospect of a solution while annexing the West Bank de facto. As Hamas agrees to this separation so as to keep Gaza under its own control it is a partner that Netanyhu accepts. The war is waged to terrorize the people and to push Hamas to the corner that Israel accepts.

Moreover, under cover of this war, Netanyahu’s government seeks to deflect the public’s attention from the social needs of ordinary Israelis, especially those in the south, needs which have become all the more severe since the selling of the nation’s assets to some twenty wealthy families.

In parts of Tel Aviv you might think you’re in Beverly Hills, but what one sees today in the Jewish and Arab towns of the Negev is poverty, unemployment, and the retrenchment of public services. It is well known that Netanyahu is planning a draconian austerity program. Fearful of losing votes in the coming elections, he is trying to upend the agenda by pursuing a needless war that has already led to dozens of dead and is far from over.

As an independent trade union uniting Jewish and Arab workers on an equal basis, we cannot stand indifferent to this bloody war that drags workers into supporting their real class enemy. We stand today with our Palestinian brothers and sisters – the workers and the poor in Gaza and the West Bank – who are paying this war’s heaviest price.

We all know that the war’s sole beneficiaries are the rightwing government in Israel and the Hamas government in Gaza, both of whom refuse to negotiate. The extremism continues to thrive while the workers on both sides of the 1967 lines are suffering.

It is in the tradition of the labour movement that we stand against war and for the brotherhood of Palestinian and Israeli workers. We call upon the international labour movement to take the lead in demanding a cease fire in Gaza; to take a firm stand against the Israeli occupation; and to demand progress toward a peaceful solution based on the establishment of a an independent Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital. Only when these demands are met will we be able to build our two countries, providing people with decent jobs, education and health, no longer spending billions on wars that lead nowhere.

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NB: Uri Avnery’s take on of the outcome of the war, here

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