Israel/Palestine: Paul Murphy MEP defends call for intifada

For mass struggle from below, major protests, strike action, marches on checkpoints – "This is what I think is absolutely needed now."

Below is a press statement by Paul Murphy MEP. It is in response to an article in the Jerusalem Post which contained condemnation from a number of MEPs (members of the European Parliament) on the call for a mass movement, similar to the first intifada to overthrow the Israeli capitalist establishment made in an interview with Russia Today. To view the news paper article click here, to view the interview please click here.

The mock outrage at my call for a mass movement to defeat the Israeli occupation by MEPs and others supportive of the Israeli elite is bolstered by reference to the "peace talks". Let’s look at the context of these so-called peace talks. Approval has just been given for the construction of another 1,000 homes for settlers between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The Israeli government is continuing with the strategy of "creating facts on the ground" in order to undermine any basis for a viable Palestinian state. Unfortunately, it is clear that, without a mass movement, demonstrations, strikes and mass resistance against the ongoing occupation and discrimination, the talks will not end with any vindication of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people

Meanwhile, within the borders of Israel itself, the oppression and discrimination against Arabs continues. The racist Prawer plan, which has been approved by the Israeli Knesset, is a plan for the destruction of the homes of 40,000 Arab Bedouins in the Negev desert.

The MEPs who have condemned my call for a mass movement along the lines of the first intifada as a call for violence and terror are either deliberately misconstruing my words or are entirely ignorant about the history of the Palestinian struggle. Intifada is simply the Arabic word for ‘uprising’, something that is entirely justified and clearly necessary when you look at the ongoing oppression.

The first intifada, which I referenced, was overwhelmingly based on the tactics of mass struggle from below – major protests, strike action, marches on checkpoints. This is what I think is absolutely needed now. The first intifada brought the Israeli establishment to the negotiation table, where shamefully the aspirations of the Palestinian people were sold out by the PA leadership, with the signing of the Oslo Accords.

The statement by Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly that "it is abhorrent to call for violence" in this situation is ignorant at best. The call was clearly for a mass movement from below and I have a history of opposing the futile and counter-productive tactics of terror. Where is his condemnation of the violence of the Israeli state against Palestinian prisoners, against the people in what is an effective open-air prison camp in Gaza and against those participating in peaceful protests in the West Bank?

The statement by Fine Gael MEP Gay Mitchell that I am "trying hard to get any publicity" with this call is baffling. Perhaps in Fine Gael circles the only reason to make a comment on issues is to achieve cheap publicity. As an internationalist and socialist, I campaign against oppression anywhere in the world and try to assist the struggles of the oppressed. The comment was made in an interview with Russia Today that was not publicised in Ireland.

Without justice, which means ending the occupation and establishing the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, there will be no peace and security. The example of the revolutionary movements in Egypt and Tunisia is an inspiration for many Palestinians. Developing a "Palestinian spring", a mass revolutionary movement along these lines is the way that the Israeli establishment can be seriously challenged.

Working class Israeli Jews, the majority of whom do not support the settlers, share a common enemy with the Palestinians in the Israeli capitalist establishment who are attacking the living standards and rights of all. A Palestinian mass movement of demonstrations and strikes can appeal to Jewish Israeli workers and lay the basis for a common struggle to ensure real security and decent living standards for all working people.

The sister party of the Socialist Party in Israel / Palestine, Maavak Sotzyalisti / Harakat Nidal Eshteraki (Socialist Struggle Movement) which has Israeli Jewish and Palestinian members is working to assist the development of such a mass struggle and a united movement that can bring down the capitalist establishment in Israel and lay the basis for a real peace based on the interests of working people. This would mean a genuinely independent socialist Palestinian state, alongside a secular and democratic socialist Israel, with a shared capital in Jerusalem as an open city for all, with full control over its resources and economy, as part of a confederation of socialist states in the region.

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August 2013