Category Archives: Zionism

Palestinians protest against Israel’s role in the attack against Syria

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March 17, 2013

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM,(SANA) – The Palestinian Popular Committee for Defending Syria in occupied Palestine has organized an event in protest against the role of the Israeli entity in the attack against Syria and in supporting the terrorism which targets its resistant Arab people backed by the US and financed by the Gulf states.

The participants in the event, which took place at Kalandia Crossing to the south of Ramallah city in the West Bank, expressed solidarity with the Syrian people and army in the face of the Zionist-Imperialistic conspiracies.

They asserted that Syria will get out of the crisis stronger thanks to the unity of its people, the bravery of its army and the wisdom of its leadership.

They raised the Syrian and Palestinian flags, and they chanted slogans expressing the unity of the Arab struggle in the face of the Israeli occupation.

The Israeli soldiers tried to quell the participants as they fired tear gas and stun grenades at them injuring seven.

Palestinian Watan News Website quoted Coordinator of the Committee Sabrin Dyab as saying that what is taking place in Syria is an organized attack which aims at undermining the axis of resistance.

She affirmed that the terrorist groups backed by foreign parties are the ones who commit the crimes in Syria.

Source

Statement of the Syrian Communist Youth Union on Syria’s struggle against imperialism

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The following statement below was originally published by Red Youth, the youth organization of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)

Dear comrades and friends:

Nowadays, Syria is facing one of the most serious position in its modern history, when the world imperialist attack is increased using most reactionary forces with full support and funding of the Arab reactionary regimes who they are Imperialist agents.

Today the Syrian people and youth are facing the terrorist operations, massacres and incitement on the various components of the Syrian people, where the terrorist operations targeting civilians, soldiers, academics and active youth. These operations are carried out by terrorist groups and extremist reactionary forces especially its obscurantist Muslim Brotherhood organization with direct support by weapons and through media campaigns which are led, funded and fabricated by treason and reactionary Arab regimes especially oil Arab Gulf countries in addition to NATO interference in the region by Turkey. The treason forces who are called themselves ″The Syrian opposition″ are asking for external intervention on Syria by NATO, which means to invade our country depending upon the criminal imperialist model that we witnessed in Libya and Iraq, which means to allow NATO to invade and occupy Syria, this what the Syrian people and youth are against it and will fight it by all means and forms. In this occasion, the Syrian Communist Party and Syrian Communist Youth Union – Khaled Bagdash Youth have organized many demonstrations and sit-ins in various parts of Syria rejecting the imperialist interventions in the country affairs and supporting the Syrian national steadfastness, and our comrades is working in many region to relief and help the refugees.

Despite everything that is happening, the Syrian national steadfastness continues to face the Zionist and imperialist pressures and blackmails and still insists to restore the occupied Syrian Golan and rejecting imperialist domination plans such as the imperialist plan that so called “the new greater middle east”. This national steadfastness is the cornerstone in the victories which achieved by the national resistance in the East Mediterranean region. Syria is the stronghold facing the imperialist plans and projects in the region, and it is the main supporter to national resistance in the region, this caused it to won the hostility of imperialists, Zionists, reactionaries and their traitors.

But the neoliberal economic policies that have been applied in recent years led to impoverish the masses of people and led to increasing the unemployment status among young people and gave a strong blow to the national production, which create a breeding ground for the work and activities of reactionary forces, and established for the unfortunate events that taking place in the country. This is what Syrian communists have warned and struggled against everywhere and with various shapes.

Syrian Communist Youth Union – Khaled Bagdash Youth confirms the full commitment with the policy of Syrian Communist Party, which was adopted in his 11th Congress, and the essential orientations of the struggle of the Party in the current stage which was adopted in the last meeting of the Central Committee of the Party. As following:

1. Defending for the national independence and sovereignty, keeping back the imperialist plots and the attempts of Arab and local reactionary forces , and mobilizing the people mass under the great national slogan: “Syria will not Kneel down! “.
2. Struggling against the neo-liberal economic policies, with all its shapes and characters, defending for the national production and interests of producers, and proposing the tangible alternatives with confirming the general orientation, that adopted by th 11th congress of SCP about reinforcing the public sector and the interfering role of the state in the frame of national state capitalism that has a social character and tasks.
3. Defending firmly for the toiling popular mass and escalation the class struggle.

Dear comrades and friends:

The Syrian communist youth union – Khaled Bagdash youth struggles through the direct mass activity, demand petitions, trade unions, students union and through all fields of work and study to maintain the Syrian national steadfastness against the plans and conspiracies of imperialism, Zionism and reactionary Forces. And also against the neoliberal economic policies, to support the national production and to maintain the social rights of Syrian people and youth especially free education, free health care, and to find work opportunities, adequate housing of youth, to widen the democratic freedoms, and to achieve the students and workers youth demands.

Dear comrades:

Nowadays, when we are confronting the terrorist groups, massacres and sabotage actions that are organized by the mercenaries and supported by imperialism, we confirm our firm position:

No revolution with world imperialism. No revolution with NATO. No revolution with the reactionary regimes of mercenary and national treachery of rulers of gulf who steal the wealth of the people of Arab peninsula. No revolution with reactionary and treachery forces. Because a revolution that its first slogan is not the liberation of the land and face the imperialism and Zionism is not a revolution. A revolution who does not raise the banner of national independence and prevent external intervention is not a revolution.

We shall struggle against the terrorist groups and imperialist death machines, for independence and sovereignty, for the freedom of homeland and good life of people.

Our battle is long and hard, but we progress in the path of honorable struggle and we’ll win..
Homeland or Death!

Syrian Communist Youth Union
– Khaled Bagdash Youth-

 

Dudley Do-Right Gets the Wrong Man

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By Stephen Gowans
September 10, 2012

Dudley Do-Right was a well-intentioned, but dull-witted Canadian Mountie, who in the late 1960s battled his arch-nemesis Snidely Whiplash on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. The Mounties are said to always get their man, but Canada, home of the crime-stopping icon, has recently come up with the wrong man.

Ottawa has severed diplomatic relations with Iran, a country it decries as “the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today,” and it has done so as part of the Harper government’s re-orienting Canada’s foreign policy to more vigorously back Israel. But it is Israel—which daily clamours for an attack on Iran and threatens to undertake one itself—that is the greatest current threat to world peace and international security.

Canada has withdrawn its diplomats from Tehran and ordered Iran’s out of Canada. Ottawa says it has suspended diplomatic relations because Iran is:

 Providing military assistance to the Syrian government;
 Refuses to comply with UN resolutions pertaining to its nuclear program;
 Routinely threatens the existence of Israel;
 Engages in racist anti-Semitic rhetoric and incitement to genocide;
 Is among the world’s worst violators of human rights;
 Shelters and materially supports terrorist groups.

Given rampant speculation in Canada about the real reasons Ottawa has suddenly broken off relations with Iran, it’s clear that Ottawa’s purported reasons have been dismissed as empty rhetoric.

And so they should be.

If Ottawa were genuinely concerned about the world’s worst violators of human rights giving military assistance to tyrannical regimes to put down peaceful uprisings, it would have shut its embassy in Saudi Arabia long ago. Human Rights Watch describes rights violations in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy that refuses to tolerate meaningful democratic reforms, as “pervasive.” And when Bahrainis rose up in peaceful protest against their country’s despotic rulers last year, Saudi troops and tanks spilled into the country to help Bahrain’s absolute monarchy violently suppress the uprising. Canadian diplomats remain on station in both countries.

The United States refuses to comply with innumerable UN resolutions to lift its illegal blockade on Cuba, and yet Ottawa continues to maintain diplomatic relations with Washington. UN resolutions in connection with the Palestinians are regularly ignored by Israel, but all the same Canadian diplomats are not withdrawn from Tel Aviv.

Indeed, Israel offers multiple reasons for Ottawa to close its embassy in that country and boot Israeli diplomats out of Canada. Human Rights Watch describes conditions in territories occupied by Israel as a “human rights crisis.” Within Israel proper, Arabs are treated as second-class citizens, subordinate to the favoured children, the Jews.

Israel’s record of furnishing military aid to repressive, retrograde regimes is long and shameful. After the Carter administration suspended military aid to the Chilean regime of Augusto Pinochet in 1977, Israel stepped in to become the dictator’s major arms supplier. Israel ran guns to Iran soon after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, to fan the flames of war between Iran and Iraq, and before that was a major supporter of the Shah’s dictatorial, human rights charnel house. [1] In the 1970s, it entered into a secret military alliance with South Africa’s racist apartheid regime, offering to sell it nuclear weapons.

As for the Canadian government’s professed opposition to nuclear weapons proliferation, Tel Aviv’s nuclear program should be ringing alarm bells in Ottawa. Israel is estimated to have some 200 nuclear weapons. It refuses to hear any discussion about giving them up, won’t join the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, and bars international inspectors from entering the country.

By contrast, the Iranians have no nuclear weapons—and as US military and intelligence officials continue to affirm—there is no evidence they’re working to acquire them (see hereherehereherehere, and here.) More than that, there is evidence of absence. “Certain things are not being done,” a former US intelligence official told the Washington Post, that would have to be done were the Iranians working to weaponize their civilian nuclear energy program.

And unlike Israel, Iran is a member of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Its nuclear facilities are regularly scrutinized by international inspectors. And while it is true that Tehran refuses to comply with some UN resolutions related to its civilian nuclear program, it does so because the resolutions would uniquely deny its right to process uranium—a right the non-proliferation treaty guarantees.

And as for supporting terrorists, in the early 1980s Tel Aviv groomed Christian Phalangist right-wing militias to act as Israel’s proconsul in Lebanon. When a bomb killed the Phalanges’ leader Bashir Jumayal, who had been recently elected president, the militias went on a rampage, terrorizing Palestinians and Shiite Lebanese in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut. As the Phalanges rampaged through the camps, killing men, women and children, the Israeli army threw up a cordon around the camps, firing flares into the night sky to provide illumination to help the terrorists do their grisly work. [2]

Far worse is the reality that the Israeli state was founded on terrorism. For one thing, Zionists used terrorism to try to drive the British out of mandate Palestine, bombing the King David hotel, headquarters of the British mandate authority, in 1946. But that was small potatoes compared to what was to come. Exhausted, and no longer willing to administer Palestine, the British transferred responsibility to the UN in 1947. Over the objections of the majority Arab inhabitants, the UN developed a partition plan which would allocate 56 percent of mandate Palestine to a Jewish state. Jews made up only one-third of the population. The Arabs, two-thirds of the population, would receive only 42 percent (Jerusalem, the remaining two percent, would become an international city.) The Jewish state would have a rough demographic balance of 500,000 Jews and 400,000 Arabs (the Arab state 800,000 Arabs and 100,000 Jews.) Recognizing that a democratic Jewish state could not long exist without a preponderance of Jews, Zionists terrorized Arab villages to depopulate them, sending hundreds of thousands of Arab Palestinians fleeing for safety. They were later barred from returning. Zionists claim the Arabs fled only to get out of the way of advancing armies from neighbouring Arab states. But the terror, formalized as Plan Dalet, was well underway before the Arab armies intervened. In end, the Zionists seized 80 percent of Palestinian territory, and were only prevented from seizing all of it by the intervention of Egypt and Jordan. [3]

What’s more, Canada might consider its own support for terrorists. Some Canadian military officers who had participated in last year’s NATO air war against the government of Libya referred to NATO jets bombing Gadhafi’s troops as “al-Qaeda’s air force,” a recognition that Islamist terrorists made up part of the opposition that NATO, with Canada’s participation, intervened on behalf of.

As for the Canadian government’s claim that Iran “routinely threatens the existence of Israel,” this is pure wind. Tehran is certainly hostile to Zionism—the idea that European Jewish settlers, through a program of ethnic cleansing, have a legitimate right to found a state on someone else’s land. And there can be little doubt that Iran is ready to do all it can to facilitate the demise of the Zionist regime. But the notion that Iran has the intention—even the capability—to bring about the physical destruction of Israel is absurd in the extreme. Iran is severely outclassed militarily by Israel, and its possession of a handful of nuclear weapons—if it were ever to acquire them—would be no match for Israel’s hundreds, or the formidable military might of Israel’s sponsor, the United States. The idea that Iran threatens Israel is a silly fiction cooked up by Israeli warmongers to justify an attack on Iran to prevent the latter from ever acquiring even the potential to develop nuclear weapons in order to preserve Tel Aviv’s monopoly of nuclear terror in the Middle East. Canadian politicians simply ape the line that Israel is threatened, a canard Zionists have used since 1948 to justify their aggressions. On the contrary, it is Israel—a super-power-sponsored nuclear weapons state—which threatens Iran, to say nothing of Syria and Lebanon.

So why has Ottawa really suspended diplomatic relations with Tehran? Iran’s foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi says Canada’s government is “neo-conservative”, “extremist”, and “boundlessly defending international Zionism.” These are apt descriptions. Canada has practically outsourced its Middle East foreign policy to Israel, letting it be known that it will unquestioningly prop up Israeli interests. Extremist? Since Ottawa’s outsourcing of Middle East foreign policy to Israel yokes Canada to a bellicose regime with an atrocious human rights record, how could it be otherwise?

But Salehi’s description, no matter how apt, does not explain why Ottawa has severed ties with Iran now.

Former Canadian ambassador to Iran John Mundy raises the possibility that Ottawa is pulling its diplomats out of the country in anticipation of a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran. Since Canada has offered unqualified support to Israel, Canadian diplomats would be in danger if Israel followed through on its threats. Britain recalled its diplomats when, last November, protesters stormed the British Embassy in Tehran. Canada may be seeking to avoid a similar occurrence. Ottawa may have no specific knowledge of an impending Israeli strike, but may be playing it safe all the same. Or it might be participating in an Israeli-sponsored ruse to ratchet up psychological pressure on Tehran, withdrawing its diplomats to falsely signal an imminent Israeli strike.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that Canada has adopted the extremist position of supporting a rogue regime in Tel Aviv that, to quote Ottawa’s misplaced description of Iran, is “the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.”

Perhaps the Mounties always do get their man, but Canada’s extremist, pro-Zionist government, is more apt to nab the victim.

1. Patrick Seale. Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East. University of California Press. 1988.
2. Seale.
3. Ilan Pappe. The Ethnic Cleasning of Palestine. One World. 2006.

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How leftist “anti-zionists” are allied with Israel against Syria

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By Mimi Al Laham (aka “Syrian Girl”) and Lizzie Phelan
July 19, 2012

The Myth

There has been a ridiculous notion amongst numerous left groups and those opposed to the Syrian government, that the Israeli regime does not want to see Assad fall. As self-professed “anti-zionists”, many in these groups are content to delude themselves into believing that both their enemies are on the same side. In the case of several socialist groups, they believe that this forcing of the Syrian crisis into their blanket “anti-authoritarian” narrative (regardless of the state in which they are applying that narrative to) enables them to maintain a façade of anti-imperialism.

London based socialist newspaper The Socialist Review writes: “Israel, although hostile to Syria, could depend on the Baathist regime to keep the frontier quiet. Thus criticism of Bashar is more muted in Tel Aviv.”

And Simon Assaf of the Socialist Worker writes:

The notion that ordinary Syrians struggling to change their country are the pawns of a ‘Western plot’ is absurd…In fact the Arab League is attempting to throw the regime a lifeline.

This view is also pervasive amongst the Islamic opposition to the Syrian government. Rafiq A. Tschannen of the The Muslims Times writes:

Israel believes that it would be safer under Assad regime than the new government whose credentials are unknown or the new Islamic extremist regime that would open a new war front with the Jewish state.

Israeli state media has actively fuelled this manipulation, as it has been beneficial to the Israeli state to both discredit the Syrian government in the eyes of Syrians and Arabs amongst whom cooperation with Israel has historically been a red line. Therefore the goal of these reports has been to create the false perception that Israel is uninvolved in the insurgency against the Syrian government. Similarly to how the NATO powers were keen to portray the Libyan insurgency as a “home-grown revolution”.

In this early 2011 Haaretz article entitled ‘Israel’s favourite dictator’, great lengths are taken to paint the Syrian president as a weak stooge of the Israeli state. The article regurgitates common Syrian criticisms and sources of frustration about the Syrian government’s failure to take back the Golan Heights. It even goes as far as to chastise Assad for not attacking Israel. The irony that an Israeli paper would be critical of a president’s failure to attack Israel is apparently lost on many. All the more incredible that these anti-zionist groups have chosen to believe the spin of Israeli state media.

The Turkish based Syrian opposition, the Syrian National Council (SNC), also jumped on this bandwagon. The now deposed leader of the SNC, Burghan Ghallion told Israeli paper Ynetnews “We are convinced that the Syrian regime’s strongest ally is Israel”.

Debunking the Myth

However the following facts expose all of the above as merely a part of the psychological warfare machinery directed from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the NATO countries, which is an essential part of the overall aggression against Syria, and that such leftists have willingly become a part of:

Israel’s most important ally, the US, has been amongst its other allies repeatedly calling for regime change in Syria

Israel’s strongest ally the United States has been pushing for regime change in Syria since before the first signs of insurrection began. Most famously in 2007, General Wesley Clarke, who served as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander between 1997 and 2000 said he had received a memo from the US Secretary of Defense’s Office which read that the Syrian Government would be one of the seven governments the US would destroy in the subsequent five years.

The Guardian’s recent headline “Saudi Arabia plans to fund Syria rebel army” is in the typical style of the liberal media based in the NATO countries a malignant manipulation. The text of that article is specifically about plans by the US’ and by extension Israel’s most important regional allies, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, to pay the salaries of insurgents. But buried further down the very same article also reports that such support began months before. A less misleading headline therefore would replace “plans to fund” with “increases support for”, however a truthful headline would suggest external control over Syria’s insurgency has existed since its onset.

Indeed both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have a long history of hostility to the Syrian Ba’ath Party and Syrian foreign policy, a fact which is reflected in both of their leading medias (Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya respectively) severely distorted coverage of events in Syria from the outset.

But to highlight this context would give too much weight to the Syrian government’s consistent analysis that the crisis within its borders is externally created. A fact which leftist groups also fall over themselves trying to downplay or dismiss with the result of boosting the opposing narrative which imperialism has made dominant through its media machinery.

Why did that same Guardian article, and western leftists who claim that Assad is good for Israel fail to mention that for example in early April, the US openly pledged to double its assistance to the insurgents to the tune of an additional $12 million, under the cover of “humanitarian aid”? Or the recent US admission that it is actively arming the insurgency using Qatar as a proxy? Or that in February, solid Israeli ally British Foreign Minister William Hague pledged more equipment to the insurgents, insisting there was “no limit on what resources” Britain would provide?

It shouldn’t have to be explained to anti-Zionists that US and Israeli foreign policy is one and the same.

Axis of Resistance

Syria is a member of the Axis of Resistance, which is the only effective military resistance to Israel left. It is made up of Syria, Iran and the resistance inside Lebanon with Hizbullah at the helm. Far from being a ‘safe’ option for Israel, as Al Akhbar writer Amal Saad-Ghorayeb sets out in her three part critique of the third-way position that has seized much of the western left, Syria has consistently put itself on the frontline, risking its own survival, and has been involved in every Arab-Israeli conflict since they took power. Syria has been the strongest supporter of the Lebanese resistance movements against Israeli occupation; Hizbullah has repeatedly unequivocally attributed its ability to effectively win the 2006 war against Israeli invasion of Lebanon to its support from Syria and Iran.

A year since the beginning of the insurrection in Syria, the ridiculous notion that Israel was not pursuing regime change in Syria began to crumble. Israeli Intelligence Minister, Dan Meridor was quoted on Israeli radio, pointing out what was obvious all along: Regime change in Syria would break the Iran-Syria mutual defence pact thereby isolating Iran and cutting the supply of arms to Hezbollah. Finally, Israel’s greatest adversary, Syria, would be crippled.

This was not reported in Israeli mass media, which ensured that the lid was kept on the obvious, clearly in the knowledge that it would make the position of the insurgent’s self-professed anti-zionist cheerleaders in the west and Arab world more untenable. Yet those cheerleaders who maintain that Assad is good for Israel have been unable to reconcile then why Israel relentlessly beats the war drums against one of Syria’s most important allies, Iran.

Aside from wanting to get rid of Assad to secure military hegemony of the region, Israel also has an economic interest in scarpering the Syria, Iran, Iraq oil pipeline which would rival both Israel’s BTC pipeline and the eternally fledgling plans for Europe’s Nabucco pipeline.

Pro-Israel Opposition

With increasing momentum, the already tenuous facade of being pro-Assad in the Israeli media began to crumble and increasingly, voices within the Syrian opposition have been crossing the red line of sounding friendly towards Israel.

MK Yitzhak Herzog, who has previously held ministerial posts in Israeli parliament, said that Syrian opposition leaders have told him they want peace with Israel after Syrian President Bashar al Assad falls.

Indeed, SNC member Bassma Kodmani attended the 2012 Bilderberg conference where regime change in Syria was on the agenda. Kodmani has previously called for friendly relations between Syria and Israel on a French talk show, going as far as to say: ‘We need Israel in the region’.

Another SNC member, Ammar Abdulhamid declared his support for friendly relations between Israel and Syria in an interview with Israeli news paper Ynetnews.

Earlier this year a telephone conversation between the SNC’s Radwan Ziyade and Mouhammad Abdallah emerged where they begged Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack for more support.

Outside the SNC the children of former leadership figures now in opposition have joined the pro-Israel rat race. Ribal al-Assad, the son of Bashar Assad’s uncle and exiled former vice-president Rifaat al-Asaad welcomed the possibility of Syria making peace with Israel. And son of former Syrian prime minister Nofal Al-Dawalibi, said in an interview on Israeli radio that the Syrian people want peace with Israel. Dawalibi formed the “Free Syrian Transitional National Government”, another external opposition group rivaling the SNC for power in a situation where the Syrian government falls. This sectarian infighting and disunity, that is a mirror of post-Gaddafi Libya, is now threatening to plague the Syria.

Lower down the opposition hierarchy, pro-Israel voices are still to be found.

Syrian Danny Abdul-Dayem, the almost one-hit-wonder unofficial spokesman for the FSA, appeared on CNN begging Israel to Attack Syria.

And in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2, Sheikh Abdullah Tamimi, an exiled Imam from the Syrian city of Homs, said that the Syrian Opposition does not have any enmity towards Israel. Tamimi proceeded to request monetary and military support for Sunnis in Syria and Lebanon.

Anti-Assad Zionists and Israeli Leaders

Socialists chosen to be blind to the fact that prominent Zionists have been backing the Syrian insurgency since its inception.

US Senator John Mccain and Joe Lieberman, both well known to be close friends of the zionist entity, met with the SNC and Syrian insurgents on the Turkish border, then called for the US to arm them. In fact Joe Lieberman has been calling for war against Syria since 2011.

Another well known zionist Bernard Henri-Levy, who spear-headed the destruction of Libya by NATO aerial bombardment, has also called for an attack on Syria.

More recently voices within the Israeli government have been more vocal and demanding in their desire to see the Syrian government’s replacement with a more friendly puppet regime.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, upon receiving the ‘Medal of Freedom’ from US President Barack Obama, said that the world had to get rid of Assad. That he was receiving such a medal requires its own article dedicated to psychoanalyzing such an event, but that he could also claim, while being part of a system that is responsible for some of the gravest abuses to humankind in history, that from a “human” point of view Assad must go, should really get so-called anti-Zionists thinking.

Other members of the Israeli government, such as Israeli Vice Prime Minister, Shaul Mofaz, urged world powers to mount a Libya style regime change in Syria.

And Israeli defense minister Ehud Barack called for the ‘world to act’ to remove Assad while Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon accused the “world” of wrong doing for failing to act against the Syrian government and then offered Israel “assistance” for Syrian ‘refugees’.

Finally, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon accused the ‘world’ of wrong doing for failing to act against the Syrian government. Then offered Israel offered ‘assistance’ for Syrian ‘refugees’. Thinly euphemism for arming insurgents on the border.

Conclusion

In spite of the overt desire of the US government for regime change in Syria, which they have made clear time and time again, Israel has obvious economic and military interests Israel has for pursuing regime change in Syria, most notably the the break up of the Axis of Resistance and the destruction of plans for rival oil pipelines. Despite numerous public statements by Syrian opposition members that they are pro-israel and the multitude of Israeli government officials calling for the fall of the Syrian government as well as zionist lobbyists and key zionist figures like Bernard Henri-Levy backing the insurgency, so called ‘anti-zionist’ Socialists and Islamic groups persist in their claim that Israel has no stake in regime change in Syria and that the insurgency inside Syria is from the grass roots. Though all information contrary to this delusion is in clear sight, it seems that the socialist and Islamic groups are willingly blind.

This position becomes increasingly untenable however, most recently in light of the murder of Syria’s Deputy Defence Minister Asef Shawkat, which along with the simultaneous murder of Defence Minister Raoud Dajiha and Assistant to the Vice President Hassan Turkomani, which the Syrian government laid the responsibility for squarely at the doors of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as new information has come to light as revealed by Al Akhbar editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin.

In an article published today, Amin writes of Shawkat, that in spite of the incessant attempts by the US, Israel et al to demonise him, he in fact,

played a major role in resisting Israeli occupation in and around Palestine. Right to the end, he took practical charge of meeting the needs of the resistance forces in Palestine and Lebanon, and of their members and cadres in Syria. He oversaw everything from their accommodation and transportation, to their training camps and provisions, and arranging for cadres from inside Palestine to come to the country secretly for training.

For the resistance in Lebanon, Shawkat was a true partner, providing whatever assistance was needed without needing orders or approval from the leadership. He was a central player in the June 2006 war. He spent the entire time in the central operations room that was set up in line with a directive by Assad to supply the resistance with whatever weapons it wanted, notably missiles, from Syrian army stocks. Shawkat and other officers and men of the Syrian army – including Muhammad Suleiman who was assassinated by the Mossad on the Syrian coast in 2008 – spent weeks coordinating the supply operation which helped the resistance achieve the successes that led to the defeat of Israel.

Despite the accusations levelled against Asef Shawkat regarding security, political or other matters, for Imad Mughniyeh, the assassinated military leader of Hezbollah, he was just another comrade, a modest man who would bow when shaking hands with Hassan Nasrallah, and liked to hear the news from Palestine last thing at night.

However anti-zionist one proclaims to be, there are few in this world that can claim to have done as much as the above for the Palestinian Resistance to the zionist entity. But having proven to wilfully ignore all of the facts and history of Syria’s long history of resistance to Israel, it is a great tragedy that those who cling on to the argument dealt with in this essay, would only perhaps be able to let go of it should Syria fall and then the reality of Palestine’s total military abandonment would be all to devastatingly clear to see.

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Supporting Resistance, Not Regime

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By Amal Saad-Ghorayeb
July 5, 2012

A handout picture released by the Syrian opposition’s Shaam News Network on 4 July 2012 shows Syrian rebels allegedly taking over an outpost belonging to government forces in Idlib on July 3. (Photo: AFP – SHAAM NEWS NETWORK)

Though far outnumbered by supporters of the Syrian uprising on the one hand, and Third Wayers who reject both the opposition and the regime on the other, a significant minority of Arab leftists, nationalists and even Islamists have sided with the Assad regime’s struggle against the imperialist-Zionist-GCC onslaught being waged against Syria.

I will articulate the position of this “resistance camp,” which is closely identified with Hezbollah’s position on Syria, and explain the rationale behind its controversial and unpopular position. It is important to clarify here that this position is not synonymous with those who support the Assad regime per se or with those who support it for reasons unrelated to anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist considerations; as its name suggests, it is a position which is defined primarily by the prioritization accorded to the liberation of Palestine and, more generally, the liberation of the region from imperialism, and Assad’s value to both of these objectives.

This position is underpinned by a resistance logic or rationality – a way of thinking which, to borrow Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah’s words “views events in the region through the [lens of] the Israeli issue…how it evaluates threats and dangers, how it acts and what it considers opportunities.” In the case of Syria, this resistance rationality “takes a step back from the details and looks at the bigger picture,” to quote Nasrallah again. And the bigger picture is one that prominently features the US and Israel as they relate to the struggle for Syria’s political identity and foreign allegiances.

Assad’s ouster serves US-Israeli interests

While some have argued that Israel and the US would prefer that Assad remains in power, as it is easier to deal with the “devil you know than the devil you don’t,” their active political and military support for elements in the Syrian opposition – support which predates the establishment of the SNC and FSA by several years as revealed by leaked US embassy cables published by Wikileaks – in addition to their official rhetoric, has proven the reverse.

Indeed, the ideal case scenario for both imperialists and Zionists is one involving an eviscerated, submissive and hence, manageable Assad. But given that the regime has refused to capitulate to US-Israeli longstanding demands to relinquish its support for resistance movements and divorce itself from Iran, its overthrow is viewed as the next best scenario.

Former Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee at the Knesset, Tzachi Hanegbi, acknowledges that the Syrian crisis represents a great opportunity for furthering Israel’s interests: “Events in Syria will have a more decisive impact than those in any other Arab country,” in that “the ouster of the Syrian president would significantly improve Israel’s strategic situation.” The collapse of the Assad regime would strike “a major blow to the radical axis” said Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak. In so doing, it would drastically alter “the entire balance of forces in the region” as elaborated by former Mossad chief, Efraim Halevi.

Halevi continues: “Iranian-sponsored terrorism would be visibly contained; Hezbollah would lose its vital Syrian conduit to Iran… Hamas fighters in Gaza would have to contemplate a future without Iranian weaponry and training; and the Iranian people might once again rise up against the regime…” In a similar vein, Washington envisages Assad’s downfall as “the biggest strategic setback for Iran in 25 years” and the most efficient means for cutting off Iran’s lifeline to Hezbollah, according to General James Mattis, commander of US forces in the Middle East.

Such strategic benefits for the US and Israel outweigh any risks and uncertainties surrounding Syria’s future, and specifically, the role of Islamists in shaping it. Echoing Nasrallah’s assertion that “There is a consensus in Israel that any alternative in Syria is better than Bashar al-Assad’s regime,” Halevi declares “the way things are at present, any replacement of Assad is better.”

This assessment is also shared by a number of Israeli officials including Israeli president, Shimon Peres who described Assad on Israeli Channel 2, as “the worst there can be” of all alternatives, as well as by Barak in his CNN interview with Christiane Amanpour.

As contended by Hanegbi, fears of Sunni Islamists wreaking havoc on Israel’s doorstep were completely unfounded as it was “more likely that Assad’s successors will first seek to sideline the devoted supporters of the hated duo, Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad.” Like Hanegbi, Halevy also envisages a post-Assad Syria that is dominated by a “moderate” and Empire-friendly Sunni Islamist force who “won’t come to power in order to launch an effort against Israel.”

Such predictions do not appear far-fetched when one considers former head of the SNC Burhan Ghalioun’s assurances to his foreign sponsors that one of the first orders of business for a post-Assad government would be “breaking the exceptional relationship” between Syria and Iran and Hezbollah. Israeli and US assessments are further substantiated by the very public and well-documented “semi-official” contacts between various members of the SNC and Israel.

Even if the Syrian opposition figures collaborating with Israel belong almost exclusively to the foreign-funded, externally-based opposition, the fact remains that the uprising as a whole enjoys the support of the same array of forces who backed Israel and urged it to finish off Hezbollah in 2006 and Hamas in winter 2008/2009. It is for this reason that the US- Israeli-NATO-GCC- backed Syrian insurrection is viewed by the resistance camp as an extension of both of these wars against resistance movements, and an attempt to “reintroduce” the “New Middle East” project “through other gates” such as Syria, to cite Nasrallah.

In effect, to support Assad’s overthrow is to align oneself, whether by accident or design, on the same side of the trench as oppressive and reactionary powers. Given that justice is almost always situated in diametric opposition to wherever imperialism and Zionism stand on a given issue – considering that both forces are the clearest embodiments of injustice – such an alignment can never be dismissed as an undesirable coincidence or as strategically benign.

While an infrequent occurrence, one can conceivably share a political interest with the US or Israel without allowing either power to benefit from the convergence itself. One such example is the overthrow of Iran’s longtime enemy, Saddam Hussein, by the US, which clearly benefited the Islamic Republic. But despite the shared interest in his removal, the strategic objectives of the US in Iraq did not require Iran’s shared interest in Saddam’s ouster for their fulfillment. In fact, many in Washington lamented the extent to which Iran was empowered by Saddam’s overthrow, even before control of Iraq fell into Iran’s hands after the US withdrew the bulk of its troops.

By contrast, if resistance forces were to share the Empire’s interest in toppling Assad, they would directly play into its hands as his overthrow is conceived as a means for divorcing Syria from the resistance axis and for weakening Iran and resistance movements. In this connection, the resistance camp’s abandonment of the lynch-pin of the resistance front would only expedite US-Israeli strategic designs on the region and undercut the resistance project in Lebanon, Palestine and beyond.

Moreover, considering that the US-Israeli scheme requires a weakened Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Palestine axis for the fulfillment of its strategic objectives, the resistance camp’s forsaking of the Assad regime would be tantamount to political suicide on its part and hence, a de facto handover of the Levant to the Empire on a silver platter.

The Uprising is Not a Revolution

From the resistance camp’s perspective, it is precisely this US-NATO-Israel-GCC line-up supporting the uprising which renders it far less a popular revolution than an insurrection that is bankrolled by petrodollars and piloted by the Empire.

Although there is an acknowledgement that part of the opposition is a legitimate, homegrown movement which views its revolution as having been “hijacked” by these foreign powers and their Syrian proxies, the logic of resistance dictates that any cause hijacked by Zionism, US imperialism and Arab “moderation” effectively stops being a just cause and becomes somebody else’s reactionary and imperialist agenda.

Furthermore, having the leader of the world order on one’s side surely means that the “revolution” will be only used to perpetuate that world order – in other words, it will only serve as a counter-revolution to thwart any genuine attempts to redress the vast political and economic imbalances which characterize the prevailing global status-quo.

As such, leftists who support the Syrian opposition cannot, by any Marxist definition, consider themselves part of a Gramscian counter-hegemonic “war of position” when they are aligned with the same position as the hegemonic powers.

This would remain the case even if we were to assume hypothetically that the opposition enjoys as much popular support as the regime does and was led by the working class. As underlined by David Fennell in his illuminating essay on counter-revolution in Libya, “Marxism understands that a thing is determined by the totality of the forces acting in it.” Fennell goes on to quote Lenin’s definition of totality as one which takes account “of all the forces, groups, parties, classes and masses operating in a given country’.”

In other words, when formulating a political position, an analysis of the working class’ situation alone does not suffice, but must involve all social contradictions, with special emphasis on social contradictions which occur on the world system’s level.

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb is a Lebanese academic and political analyst. She is author of the book, “Hizbullah: Politics and Religion”, and blogger at ASG’s Counter-Hegemony Unit.

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Assad Foreign Policy (I): A History of Consistence

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By Amal Saad-Ghorayeb
June 19, 2012

Bullet casings are seen near sandbags in the center of Houla, near Homs 1 June 2012. (Photo: Reuters – Saria Al-Houlani – Handout)

Chief among Third-Wayers’ denunciations against the Assad regime’s foreign policy record are accusations that relate to its alleged history of defeat, and later quietism, vis-à-vis Israel, as well as its persecution and cynical use of Lebanese and Palestine groups resisting the Zionist state. For these detractors, the Assad leadership’s anti-Zionist and anti-imperialist stances amount to little more than public posturing intended to preserve its popular legitimacy and is therefore of negligible strategic value to the resistance axis. While many of those making this argument are merely engaging in ex-post facto rationalization – that is, formulating retrospective explanations to justify their current position – this depiction of the Syrian regime as having “colluded” with imperialism in the past, warrants a comprehensive response, if only to underline the centrality of Assad’s Syria to the resistance project and the Palestinian cause generally.

Realism Versus Constructivism

The core problem with the Third Way historical meta-narrative is that it rests on political Realism, a school of thought which dominates the American tradition of the International Relations discipline. The Realist school views states as essentially self-interested actors, who pursue their security and the same predefined economic, political and military interests at the expense of ideological values and principles. While Realism is a useful theoretical tool for explaining some aspects of Syrian foreign policy, by no means does it account for it in its entirety, and even less so in the case of Bashar al-Assad’s regional policy. However, most Third Way intellectuals who study Syria adopt the Realist approach and consequently, reduce all Syrian foreign policy to power politics, while viewing the regime – a view which invariably conflates Hafez al-Assad’s with Bashar’s rule – as governed by considerations of crude realpolitik and regime/state interests, which it would readily sacrifice its ideological principles for.

A more discerning examination of Syrian foreign policy requires a paradigm shift from Realism to Constructivism. The latter approach is based on the ontological premise that reality isn’t only material but also ideational; both the social world and knowledge are socially constructed, and as such, “a state’s interests are not just out there waiting to be discovered,” but are shaped by identities which define political actors. These identities are constructed through foreign policy discourses which “shape the identity of the state, its ‘rationality’, the ‘reality’ it defines, and its interests and preferences in its interactions with the world.”

In short, interests are defined by identities and are hence, not predefined universal givens. Hafez al-Assad said as much in this excerpt from 1994 : “There has been much talk about interests in this historic stage of international development…We say that when we talk about interests we mean…not just economic interests, but…[national] sentiments and common culture and heritage.”

Syria’s Political Identity

Only by interrogating the Syrian state’s identity, can we make meaningful sense of what its foreign policy interests are and how it pursues them. As Hussein Agha and Ahmad S. Khalidi have observed in their book “Syria and Iran: Rivalry and Co-Operation”, published by Chatham House, both national identity and the definition of the “national interest” in Assad’s Syria, can best be described as “Syrio-centric Arabism”, that is, a confluence of pan-Arabism and Syrian nationalism.

In turn, this identity has been shaped by an irredentist and revisionist drive following western colonialism’s dismemberment of historic Syria, “Bilad al-Sham”, into 4 mini-states – Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. The usurpation of Palestine and creation of Israel in its place, added a staunch anti-Zionism to Syria’s pan-Arab, anti-imperialist identity, an identity which was only reinforced by the loss of the Golan in the 1967 war.

Beyond preserving its physical security, the Assad leadership’s mumanaa has also become a principal source of its ontological security. That is, security of its identity as a resistant state and champion of Arab rights. According to Constructivism, ontological security is a defining feature of all foreign policy; like humans, states are social actors which have both physical needs and social drives. Thus, in addition to the need for physical security, states also strive for a security of their identity. This characteristic of states is often lost on Third Wayers who oversimplify Syria’s national security policy as a pursuit of physical [regime] security, or its mere survival as an institutional entity, to the exclusion of the security of its identity or being as a particular kind of actor.

Anti-zionism and anti-imperialist Syrio-centric Arabism were the founding principles of the Assad regime. As depicted by the scholars Anoushiravan Ehteshami and Raymond A. Hinnebusch: “Hafez al-Assad’s seizure of power in 1970 aimed to unify [the] regime and country for the struggle to recover lost Arab territories from Israel; he designed his regime to carry on this struggle.” The ensuing military and economic costs wrought by the 1973 and 1982 wars with Israel (20,000 reported military casualties and military spending that reached over 50% of Syria’s GNP by the end of the 1980s) routinized the conflict as a stable fixture of the Syrian national identity.

But that is not to say that Syrian anti-Zionism is purely reactive and the result of the perception of Israel’s threat to Syria’s security. According to Agha and Khalidi: “Assad has never severed himself from his basic ideological roots. From this perspective the struggle with Israel, although undeniably aggravated by the occupation of Syrian soil on the Golan since 1967, is not to be seen as a purely territorial issue…. this hostility also has other elements, primary among them the Syrian commitment to the Palestinian cause. From a Baathist pan-Arab perspective, the creation of Israel is not only morally unjust and a trespass against the Palestinians but a transgression against the Arab people and the greater Arab homeland.”

It is for this reason that Syria has one of the strictest anti-normalization [with Israel] policies in the region, despite its participation in the so-called “peace negotiations”. As the Israeli professor Hillel Frisch observes in his discourse analysis of over 80 issues of the Syrian military journal Jaish al-Shaab: “The basic theme is that Zionism is incorrigibly evil, whether under a right-wing Likud government or under a Labor government. Implacable hatred of the ‘Zionist enemy’ continued to prevail, and even intensify, after the Madrid peace conference in 1991”. Frisch further corroborates the main thesis of this essay when he asserts that: “even realism cannot explain the persistence of the portrayal of demonic images of the enemy (as the above quotations demonstrate) long after these talks ensued. That would require recognition of the importance of ideology, as the idealists and constructivists argue.”

Not only is the Syrian army’s military doctrine a staunchly anti-Zionist one, but its media and public diplomacy are governed by a similar legitimacy-withholding ethos. As a matter of policy, Syrian officials do not meet with their Israeli counterparts, even in the context of peace negotiations, prompting former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to complain that “Syria’s president has not done even one per cent of what President Sadat did to convince the people of Israel and in Syria that he wants peace.” Nor do they give interviews to Israeli media. A recent Times of Israel article compares the Syrian opposition’s openness to talking with Israeli media outlets with the Assad regime’s “taboo” of talking to Israeli journalists or even granting them visas to enter Syria. Moreover, Syrian censorship authorities ban all access to Israeli websites.

As decades of Syrian history have testified, the Assad regime’s identification of Arab and Palestinian rights with its national identity, also extends to its national security and foreign policy behavior. Ehteshami and Hinnebsch note that “The identification of Syrian interests with the Arab cause was no mere fiction and a purely Syrian-centred policy never took form: had it done so Asad could long ago have pursued a Sadat-like settlement with Israel over the Golan instead of mortgaging Syria’s welfare and future to a struggle chiefly in Arabist irredentism, not narrowly defined Syrian raison d’etat.”

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Statement of the PFLP Central Committee on political developments

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The following statement below was originally published by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

May 22, 2012

The Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine concluded a series of meetings inside and outside Palestine to discuss national, regional and international political developments.

At the conclusion of its meetings, the CC emphasizes that the world is witnessing the emergence of a new and multipolar world order in which groupings of major states (such as the BRICS, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are playing a greater role on political and economic fronts, including limiting the sole power of the US that has dominated over the past two decades to dominate the international environment and which has exercised its imperial powers on a global level. The CC particularly noted the key role of the US in the denial of the fair and legitimate rights of our people to liberate our land and win independence, democracy, social progress and development.

The CC noted that we are witnessing uprisings and popular movements throughout the region, and that such prove the ability of the Arab people to secure their rights and win victories over tyranny, corruption and dependency, and can establish democratic and pluralistic Arab states that respect the freedom, dignity and rights of their people, including their democratic, political, social and cultural rights. The CC noted that any attempts at foreign intervention or containment of the results of these uprisings and transitions to democracy, and attempts to undermine and tamper with the destiny of our people require forceful rejection and condemnation. The CC emphasized that the revolutions and the popular movements can achieve their objectives of change, freedom, democracy, justice, and human dignity, and protect the region and its people from further bloodshed or being drawn into civil war, the placement of military bases, and foreign intervention.

The situation of the Palestinian cause will remain central to all Arab peoples, as well as the utter rejection of US and NATO intervention as such intervention does not benefit our people and their legitimate aspirations for freedom, democracy, and social justice. It is clear that the so-called “democratization” promoted by the US is a cover for aggression, terrorism, human rights abuses, intelligence and security states, and criminal assassinations, as well as a cover for the crimes of its strategic ally, the occupation Zionist state, and supports US control over the region’s oil and domination of its wealth.

The CC also addressed the situation of the Palestinian national movement on political, official, diplomatic and resistance levels, denouncing the ‘revolving door’ situation of the parties to the Palestinian division, saying that its continuation has hindered in practice our national movement’s ability to recover and achieve national unity as a necessary objective to confront recurring crises. The inability to confront crisis has reflected negatively on our national institutions and has not supported our people in confronting the Zionist entity, its extremism and increasingly racist governments committed to the absolute denial of the rights of the Palestinian people and commitment to what it calls “the state of the Jewish people” to be built on the ruins of the Palestinian people and their rights.

The CC stressed that:

First, there is an urgent need to end the division and achieve national unity without delay, as the currnent situation is not sufficient to address the needs of the Palestinian national movement and the Palestinian people. Unity is the only option – a single glimmer of hope for national salvation and an exit from the cycle of negotiations and reliance on the US, particularly in light of the increasing and aggressive settlement expansion, the siege on Gaza, and the ongoing denial and liquidation of our people’s hard-earned struggle for freedom, independence and return under the cover of ‘negotiations’ and the ‘revival of the peace process.’

Second, it is urgent to internationalize the case of the prisoners in the framework of international and humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions. The prisoners must be at the top of the political and diplomatic agenda of the Palestinian movement as part of a comprehensive national plan to free the prisoners. This will enhance the success of the heroic battle for freedom and dignity which was fought and continues to be fought by thousands of prisoners against the violations of the Zionist prisons, dungeons and concentration camps. This is a strategic return of the Palestinian cause to the United Nations to protect the Palestinian people and their unsatisfied rights, including the right to full recognition and membership of the State of Palestine.

Third, the CC calls upon the Palestinian leadership to exit all negotiations and security and economic commitments made by reference to the US, and to end reliance on absurd negotiations and agreements, which have reached an utterly dead end and are dangerous and destructive to the national project and support only the crimes and violations of the occupation and its denial of our people’s internationally recognized rights to sovereignty, independence, self-determination and return.

Fourth, all forms of resistance must be protected in word and deed, including promoting popular resistance to confront and expose the aggression, settlements, siege and crimes of the occupation are continuing in full swing, and holding the occupation accountable before international courts. It is urgent to activate the Arab and international boycott of Israel and BDS, as well as the international fight against normalization. This is critical to a sincere and comprehensive national movement in which all can participate. After 64 years of Nakba and occupation and 20 years of sterile negotiations, the emerging shifts on the Arab, regional and international level are leading to the development of a comprehensive national resistance strategy to promote popular steadfastness. It is necessary to rebuild the Palestinian house by holding democratic elections for a new Palestinian National Council and for all Palestinian institutions, trade unions, political and local authorities according to proportional representation, in order to consolidate national unity and restore the status of the PLO as a national reference and the sole legitimate representative of our people.

Fifth, the concession of the Prison Service and the occupation authorities to the will and demands of the prisoners in the battle of the empty stomachs is an important step forward on the path of struggle and victory of the will of the people, in the epic struggle of dignity and freedom undertaken by the prisoners and their leadership. The prisoners’ struggle has involved all sectors of our people – men, women, elders, children, all national and Islamic forces and popular institutions – and the solidarity movement and allies around the world in support of the Palestinian people. The CC congratulated the prisoners’ movement who engaged without hesitation in the battle of empty stomachs, raising slogans of hunger with no surrender, victory or death. Their struggle brought an unprecedented awareness of the human struggle of the prisoners through open hunger strike and popular resistance, and the CC thanked all who contributed to this achievement. The victory of the prisoners is inspiration for our people and proof that unity of purpose, leadership and just struggle will result in victory over injustice and aggression, and that the spirit of initiative, courage and sacrifice is apparent in a leadership worthy of its mission that has earned the confidence of the people on the path of resistance and struggle and victory. The CC saluted the heroic comrades in the prison and the leadership of the prison branch, led by the General Secretary, Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat, and renewed their commitment to continue on their path of struggle.

The CC also saluted the martyrs of the Palestinian revolution and the martyrs of freedom in the world and promised to the martyrs of our people and our nation, the prisoners of freedom and their families, to remain loyal to their blood and sacrifice and to achieve the lofty goals for which they sacrificed and struggled.

May 16, 2012
Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

PFLP: Popular uprising needed to free the prisoners – Comrade Wafa’ Abu Ghoulmeh

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The following article below was originally published by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine:

May 14, 2012

Comrade Wafa’ Abu Ghoulmeh called for a popular uprising to free the prisoners, calling upon the Palestinian people to go to all of the squares and streets, march to the checkpoints, the wall, and the prisons of the Zionist enemy on the anniversary of the Nakba, calling for victory for the prisoners before it is too late. She said that the occupation will not accede to the prisoners’ demands without mass pressure inside and outside Palestine, wherever the Palestinian people are.

She emphasized that the Zionist occupation bears the full responsibility for the lives of the prisoners, noting that the health of her husband, Comrade Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, is extremely serious after the occupation rejected several times to take him to the hospital despite fainting and vomiting blood. She also said that the Palestinian Authority is directly responsible for the lives of Ahed and his comrades who were arrested by the Palestinian Authority and held in a PA prison when attacked and abducted by the occupation in 2006, saying that the PA is not taking on any signficant role toward the issue of prisoners and their suffering, and is merely issuing statements to the press despite the fact that Palestinian prisoners are entering the twenty-eighth day of open hunger strike today.

She denied reports about alleged efforts by Egypt and Hamas to resume the issue of ending isolation as part of the conclusion of the Shalit agreement, saying that such claims are not founded and that the strike continues until the end of isolation is achieved by the will of the prisoners, saying no parties should try to claim credit for the achievements of the prisoners won through their battle of the empty stomachs.

PFLP: May 1 – Palestinian working class leads the national struggle for liberation

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The following statement below was originally published by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

May 1, 2012

Statement issued by the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

On the first of May, International Workers’ Day, we salute the Palestinian homeland – the workers and peasants, men and women, youth and elders, everywhere they are, in Palestine or in diaspora and exile.

May 1 this year is a scene of struggle for the liberation of the Palestinian people, as we mark the struggle of the Palestinian national movement of prisoners who continue an open-ended hunger strike in defense of their rights, to stop the brutal racist abuses of the occupation authorities and its prisons against them. Our pioneering Palestinian working class is contributing the largest share in the national democratic and social struggle, standing with all of its strengh alongside the struggles of prisoners on hunger strike, in order to achieve their demands to end solitary confinement, isolation and the “Shalit law,” and the resumption of visits so as to maintain their human dignity, on the road to liberation from the occpation. The process of Palestinian liberation will never reach its national, democratic or social goals without the direct involvement and effective leadership of the Palestinian working class in the struggle for national liberation, for freedom and national self-determination.

The Palestinian working class in all political spheres is the basic driver for the social and democratic project of Palestinian national liberation, and we can only say that despite the long struggle ahead, the Palestinian left will build the power of hope and the will for change, for the struggle for liberation and return, and for our rights to liberty, justice, democracy and progress.

Our Palestinian working class is suffering desperately in the current conditions of the Palestinian people, reeling from the blows of occupation, siege, aggression and exploitation inside and outside Palestine. In the current conditions of the Arab peoples, it is critical to promote and develop trade union organizations, consciousness, and political unity of forces. The current moment of Arab street protests and uprisings against oppression in all forms and struggles for democracy requires a review of the role of the Arab left to promote the unity of the Arab peoples’ struggle against dependency, corruption, tyranny and foreign intervention, and for liberation, dignity, freedom, democracy, justice and social progress.

O, Palestinian workers, our heroic Palestinian people..

Our Palestinian working class in the occupied homeland are under geographical and political attack, bleeding fromm many wounds, but this does not prevent the voice of struggle of the Palestinian working class for improved working conditions and reducing unemployment which is approximately 50% in both the Gaza Strip and West Bank, and work to protect workers’ rights and serve workers’ interests.

Resisting the historical and continuing iinjustice against the Palestinian people requires us to raise the struggle of the working class and its historical perseverence as an avenue to raise its influence in national decision-making, something that would not be possible without the struggle of working class Palestinians for democracy and social rights.

On the first of May, we confirm that the first step is to end the current Palestinian division and political disintegration and put aside narrow factional interests in the interests of the unity of the people and their struggle. Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza are still suffering from aggression, siege, starvation, and crisis, and this means that unity must come first, and unity is the inalienable choice of the Palestinian people. At the same time building an economy of resistance and national steadfastness must be an economic priority before any other interest, to protect workers, economic and social rights, fight corruption, adopt the minimum wage and social protection in order to end the situation of work in the settlements and return instead to the cultivation of agriculture and protection and development of sectors, sources, and natural and productive resources, and salvation from dependence on the market and the occupation economy.

We salute the heroic prisoners who are splitting the sky to achieve their rights to dignity and freedom, and salute all progressive forces around the world who raise the banners of struggle and solidarity against the occupation and for freedom, justice, self-determnation and sovereignty of the Palestinian people.

Salute to the Palestinian working class and the working class of the world on May 1

Political Bureau, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine