The following is the translated text of a leaflet (in Arabic) that is being distributed in Beirut today by supporters of the CWI in Lebanon during a mass protest against the massacre of peace activists by the IDF last weekend.
The Committee for a Workers International (CWI) in Lebanon, and internationally, offers sincerest condolences to family and friends of the activists murdered by the reactionary Israeli army while on a humanitarian aid mission. We salute the courage of all those activists, who organized this aid intervention, and we demand a safe passage through to Gaza for the 750 people from 40 different countries intent on breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade.
The boats that the Israeli soldiers attacked were carrying food, medicines, and materials to build prefabricated homes for the people of Gaza. One and a half million Palestinians remain prisoners of the largest open-air jail on earth, since Israel’s siege on Gaza began in December 2008. The blockade of Gaza has meant unemployment rates of over 50 percent. The World Bank has stated that 90 per cent of water in Gaza is not suitable for human consumption, 80 per cent of the population lives on less than a dollar a day and 70 per cent depend on charity for food supplies. Chronic malnutrition affects 15 per cent of Gaza’s children and its serious consequences for their cognition and growth will be felt for years to come. Israel’s army has demolished 15,000 homes, destroyed schools, factories and services, and even demolished minarets from mosques. The illegal weapons used against the people of Gaza have killed hundreds and wounded thousands of civilians, including children.
The attack on the freedom boat is just the latest act of the Israeli regime’s violence and more evidence of the mad aggression of the Israeli government. Now there are angry protests in the streets of Gaza, Palestine and all over the world by many thousands of people demanding an end to the Israeli regime’s brutal oppression of Palestinians. The CWI is participating in these protests internationally and is part of building a mass movement against the racist, repressive and vicious Israeli regime. This capitalist government is supported by many regimes, both Arab and Western, in its repression and exploitation of the Palestinian masses and in its continuous military occupations and economic sanctions.
Arab regimes fail Palestinians, again
For Palestinian workers and the poor, this is the time to be united, in an independent mass movement of workers and the poor, inside and outside of Gaza. Such a movement is the only force able to break the siege and to open the borders. It would appeal to workers and the oppressed in the region to join the struggle for liberation and for an end to capitalism and barbarism. The Palestinian political factions have show, once again, that they are incapable of leading the Palestinian masses to liberation and workers and the poor, those paying the price for the policies of the ruling elites; need to rise up against the system of colonial wars and mass poverty. All Arab regimes, and all mainstream parties, are unwilling to call for the masses to break the siege on Gaza, as they fear that this will lead to an independent mass movement that will swipe them away from power. They are unstable and unpopular regimes, which are tied to the political and economic pressure of the big corporations.
The slaughter carried out by the Israeli armed forces on the freedom boats has drawn condemnation around the globe. But statements made by embarrassed UN diplomats and politicians all fall short of forcing an end to the siege, as they all, including the outspoken representatives of Turkey and Lebanon –two countries in conflict with Israel - are ruled by big capital and await a green light from US imperialism.
Protests erupted on the morning of this brutal slaughter, with hundreds of people in Lebanon, and tens of thousands across the region, taking to the streets, horrified by the senselessness of the Israeli regime. And while many feel that a war is unlikely at this moment in the region, during ‘negotiations’, most people would still not rule out the risk of another Israeli military attack on any resisting force in the region. What is clear is that the weakened Israeli government is trying to re-establish itself as a military might in the region, and for domestic reason, sending a message out that no one can break the sanctions which are aimed at Hamas and which are punishing civilians for supporting Hamas.
While Hamas’s popularity has been decreasing recently because of their domestic policies (mainly economic but also social), these sanctions and this new slaughter will, if no mass movement is built and no socialist alternative is on offer, lead a number of desperate youth to look to the policies and methods of Hamas. This shows, once again, the urgent need for a socialist alternative to help build a mass workers’ movement to break the siege and for the overthrowing of the brutal capitalist system in the region and internationally.