The slaughter in the Middle East didn't begin on October 7. Last weeks' developments have been in gestation in the womb of a colossal injustice experienced by an entire people. The Palestinian people.
The reality is one and indisputable: The occupation of Palestinian territories by the Israeli state and the absence of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state are the source of the evil, which has been perpetuated since 1948, thus leading to millions of victims and displaced people.
However, the Middle East issue isn't limited in the just demand for the creation of a Palestinian state. It has extensions which today must be thoroughly examined through the lens of the fierce intra-imperialist competitions that are escalating, with the epicenter being the imperialist war in Ukraine.
1 ) The recent escalation of war in the Middle East that is leading to the leveling of Gaza by the Israeli Army (IDF) isn't irrelevant to the broader imperialist conflict between the Euro-Atlantic bloc (USA, NATO, EU) and the emerging Eurasian one (Russia, China, Iran).
2 ) The security and stability of the bourgeois Israeli state is vital for the promotion and expansion of the US and EU interests in the region. That explains the hustle of the US government and the EU member-states, including of course the Greek government, to defend in every possible way the “right of Israel in self-defense”.
3 ) Of particular significance is the role of Iran, a rising regional capitalist power that maintains strong economic and political ties with China and Russia. Within this context, the governments of Iran, as well as the one of Qatar, finance and arm Hamas, actually using the Palestinian struggle as a “Trojan Horse” for the advancement of their own geopolitical interests in the region.
4 ) The far-right, racist regime of the Israeli deep state, which is behind the government of “butcher” Benjamin Netanyahu, is an enemy not only of the Palestinian people, but also of the people of Israel. While with one hand it massacres women and children in Gaza, with the other hand it implements harsh anti-worker policies at home, while at the same time attempts to silence any disturbing voice (e.g. Communist Party of Israel, Hadash) that speak for a peaceful coexistence of Jews and Arabs.
5 ) Hamas does not express and cannot express the genuine desires and expectations of the Palestinian people for freedom and independence. Being a deeply reactionary group with roots in fanatic Islam, Hamas is dependent, economically and politically, on sectors of the bourgeois classes in Iran, Turkey and other muslim countries. After all, lets not forget that while the people of Gaza die from war, occupation and poverty, leading members of the Islamist party are living their luxurious lives in Beirut and Istanbul. Therefore, it must be clear that the jihadists of Hamas do not represent the Palestinian people as a whole.
6 ) The stance of the Greek government, which through Prime Minister Mitsotakis rushed to offer its support to the state of Israel is beyond despicable and shameful. Even in the case of the bombing of Saint Porfyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza, the Greek PM didn't even bother to protest the brutality of the Israeli Armed Forces. Obviously, this doesn't make any impression. The Greek government has long since established itself as a “standard-bearer” of the USA-NATO interests in Eastern Mediterranean.
7 ) The totally just demand for the creation of an independent Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, shouldn't be disconnected from the struggle for the overthrow of capitalist barbarism and the prospect of socialism. After all, the issue of national self-determination was treated by V. I.Lenin's himself as a demand linked with the socialist revolution. It is, therefore, necessary to support those progressive forces of the Palestinian people which express a course of rupture not only with Israeli occupation, but also with the domestic establishment that is nourished and reproduced by the perpetuation of the war in the Middle East.
8 ) Every so often, in the context of the inter-imperialist competitions, various powers attempt to associated themselves with the drama of the Palestinian people, pretending to be protectors and supporters of their rights, with the actual aim of gaining geopolitical benefits. Today, such powers are Khamenei's Iran and Erdogan's Turkey, two deeply reactionary regimes that internally persecute, imprison and sometimes even assassinate their political opponents.
9 ) On the other hand, it is not a coincidence that the far-right Ukrainian regime hastened to side with Israel. In doing so, Zelenskyy administration tries to persuade both the powerful US Israeli lobby, as well as those members of the US Senate and the House of Representatives who are concerned about the continued military assistance to Ukraine.
Based on the above, we underline the following:
A prerequisite for peace in the Middle East is the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the occupied territories and the return of refugees to their ancestral homes.
This exploitative system is served and defended by the political elite of Israel, as well as by the leading cadres of the Palestinian political leadership, primarily Hamas but also Fatah.
The just demand for the self-determination of the Palestinian nation acquires meaning and true value when it is accompanied by the struggle for the social liberation of the long-suffering people of Palestine.
* Nikos Mottas is the Editor-in-Chief of In Defense of Communism.