Why the Palestinians struggle

What is it that keeps the Palestinian people struggling?

The Israeli rulers, with the Pentagon, Wall Street and Washington at their back, are going to the most heinous lengths to break the spirit of the Palestinians with indiscriminate mass killings. Attacking Gaza mainly from the air, their bombs and rockets have murdered more than 1,000 Palestinians in this current blitzkrieg. Their targets — little boys on a beach, children in a playground, hospitals trying to save the wounded, crowded apartment buildings — seem deliberately chosen to show that they will stop at nothing in order to crush the resistance.

Yet even now Israel is wary of sending its ground troops into central Gaza City, knowing that even if just a few more are killed, the political effect will ripple throughout Israeli society and turn more people against this horror.

The imperialists and their protégés in Tel Aviv scramble to find something sinister or irrational about the determination of the Palestinians not to give in to Israeli terror. But a growing body of world opinion finds their resistance heroic and the crimes of Israel ever more despicable.

Despite all the disinformation, two things become clearer all the time.

The Palestinians won’t stop struggling because they are indigenous to the place now called “Israel,” and can trace their culture and their ancestors back for countless generations. They are rooted in the land and the soil. They know every olive tree that has been growing since before their parents and grandparents were alive. They will fight on without end for freedom and self-determination in this land that has been robbed from them.

Most of the Israelis, on the other hand, are settlers or descendants of settlers. The wave from Europe in 1948 feared a revival of the terrible Nazi Holocaust that had wiped out so many millions of Jews there. Palestine wasn’t their first choice, but the U.S. had effectively closed its borders to most of these would-be immigrants, while giving money and diplomatic support to the Zionist project.

Once Israel became wealthier, a second wave of Jews migrated there from the U.S. and elsewhere for economic and/or ideological reasons. Their colonial mentality is similar to that of the white settlers in southern Africa who benefited from domination of the Indigenous peoples and their land.

This is why, around the world, those opposed to colonialism and imperialism call for self-determination for the Palestinian people — meaning supporting their right to their own independent state in their own homeland. The Israeli regime refuses to even recognize the existence of the Palestinians as a people. The U.S. for years has been pretending to be an honest broker while trying to force conditions on the Palestinians that would make them give up their right to self-determination.

As the founder of Workers World Party, Sam Marcy, wrote more than two decades ago, about 50,000 Jews, many having immigrated from Europe with the encouragement of the Zionist movement, lived alongside 1.25 million Palestinians by the 1920s.

“If this were just an immigration of individual Jewish people seeking a haven from continual anti-Semitic outrages in Europe,” wrote Marcy, “it might be regarded from a wholly sympathetic point of view. But it was much more than that. It was part of a planned and engineered conception to take over Palestine and disperse and oust the native population. …

“Viewing it in abstract terms from the point of view of mere logic, without seeking its material roots, it could appear to be merely a fantastic plan. But this phantasmagoria was part and parcel of what by the 19th century had become a common practice.

“Is not the entire Western Hemisphere the result of barbarous invasions that resulted in the displacement and extermination of millions of native people, a process that continues to this very day?

“It is improper to divorce and isolate the invasion of Palestine from the entire course of imperialist invasion and the subjugation of oppressed peoples over several centuries.” (“Palestine and the new world order,” Workers World, Feb. 13, 1992)

Then, as now, the heroic Palestinian people deserve wholehearted support as they struggle to achieve the right to control their own destiny in their own land.