Unending Crisis In Palestine
Unending Crisis In Palestine
(By Niran Okewole)
The wheels of history recently turned in favour of Hamas in the struggle with Fatah over the control of Gaza strip. As it obtained in the January 2006 general election, the Fatah supporters were left stranded as the leading clique in Gaza, built around Mohamed Dahlan lost the influence they had had in the last few years. The Fatah has become highly unpopular among the masses after years of extreme corruption and imperialist collaboration.
Unfortunately, however, as it has been the case since its success at the poll last year, the Hamas victory will not bring any fundamental improvement to the living standard of the long suffering Palestinian masses.
The origins of the present day Hamas can be traced back to the Islamic Brotherhood that grew in Gaza in 1948. The Brotherhood grew exponentially after the June 1967 Israeli occupation of Gaza and especially in the 1980s. Mosques proliferated, and socio-economic activities around the Islamic Brotherhood flourished, aided by its recognition as the only legal Palestinian organization by the Israeli forces, who together with the US backed fundamentalists, act as a counterweight against the Russians in Afghanistan and the PLO in Palestine. By the 1980s, the Islamic Brotherhood controlled more than 10% of real estate.
The founding of Hamas in 1988 by Sheik Yassin followed the Intifada uprising in the Occupied Territories in December 1987, which took the Islamic elite by surprise. Hamas was outlawed in 1989 by the Israeli authorities, but gained ground especially after the Oslo agreement in 1993 (with the creation of the Palestinian Authority), which Hamas opposed, and the second Intifada in October 2000.
It is important for Hamas, in its moment of victory, to realize that it is in peril of repeating the same error, which proved fatal for Fatah that is kowtowing before imperialism. The Fatah leadership blundered by laying down its arms, serving as an imperialist lackey and worked against the interest of the socio-economic and political interest of the working masses.
It would be foolhardy for anyone to regard Hamas as a revolutionary or even a consistently anti-imperialist organization. The picture is more of a populist, reactionary movement which rather than seeking the overthrow of capitalism, only wishes to dress it up in Islamic robes. History has proved that it is not possible to build a true class-based struggle on a foundation of Islamic fundamentalism. The Palestinian masses support Hamas simply because the masses have taken a decision to jettison the corrupt, pro-imperialist Fatah. However, the masses have begun to see that in Gaza will realize that Hamas in itself, has nothing fundamental, besides anti-Israeli, anti-imperialist rhetoric, to offer. At present, unemployment stands at over 60%. The mundane questions about jobs, bread, better wages, housing etc from the masses are likely to yield no answers.
The lessons that would need to be learnt revolve around the imperative of a dialectical, class-based rather than a religious or racial solution. Only this can draw the Palestinian and Israeli workers together in seeking a lasting solution. This can be achieved by a socialist con-federation of Palestine State, Israel and other Middle East nations as a step to world socialist state with the aim of suspending the present ruling elite and addressing poverty squarely.