Justice and freedom for Palestine now

Joint Statement – June 3, 2010
Protesters burn Israeli flag (Ahlulbait Indonesia)
Protesters burn Israeli flag (Ahlulbait Indonesia)
  • Stop the slaughter of the Palestine people
  • Fight Zionism and Israel’s political apartheid
  • Justice and freedom for Palestine now!

Israel’s attack on a convey of six ships transporting humanitarian assistance for Gaza, the Freedom Flotilla, in international waters, resulted in the death and injury of civilians from several countries. On one of the ships, the Mavi Marmara, carrying 600 civilian passengers, was stormed in the by Israeli soldiers dropped by helicopter in the pitch-black of night, who attacked using live ammunition. Meanwhile, of course, the passengers, although unprepared, were forced to fight back with whatever came to hand.

The Freedom Flotilla was a mission organised by a coalition of organisations from 50 countries aiming to help break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip that has been in place since 2007. Seven hundred civilian activists from 50 countries set out for Gaza with more than 10,000 tons of drugs, food, medical supplies, building reconstruction equipment and other materials that the people of Gaza can no longer obtain. For a year now the people of Gaza have not even had access to clean water and electricity because of the blockade.

How is it not possible that the attack on the Freedom Flotilla is not being condemned as a shockingly brutal and inhuman act, which has trampled on international law and human rights? It is time for the entire world’s people to condemn this act of aggression and build solidarity with Gaza until it is liberated and Palestine can stand tall as an independent country.

Tens of thousands of Turkish people immediately took to the streets following the attack on the Freedom Flotilla; 1,000 people in Britain called for “Palestine independence” and Israel’s actions a war crime; 1,200 people in Paris took to the streets to battle police blockades and call for safety of the Palestine people; 3,500 people in Greece spread through two cities in solidarity and battled tear gas fired by Greek police; thousands of Palestine refugees and Lebanese people flew the Palestine flag asking, “Were is human rights? Where is international commitment?”; in Beirut hundreds of people called for the closure of the Israeli Embassy; in Libya 3,000 protesters condemned Israel and the United States as its traditional ally; in Saudi Arabia and Amman city thousands of people took to the streets; in Iran protesters burn Israeli flags and pictures of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; in Pakistan lawyers and journalists protested; 6,000 people marched through the streets of Stockholm; and thousands of other did likewise in Belgium, Copenhagen and The Hague; there was even a protest by hundreds of people in Israel itself causing the military to increase security and declare the country under state of emergency.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Danny Ayalon stated that Israel’s military action was “self-defense” because “at least two weapons were found” and the organisers of the Freedom Flotilla “were well known and have links with international terrorist organisations”. How can such an explanation be accepted when the public was able to witness television broadcasts of fully armed Israeli troops dropping from helicopters and attacking the ships. Of course the right to “self-defense” lay with the passengers, but which was not automatically used because they were endeavoring to assure the world that the ships carried civilian passengers on a humanitarian mission. And the attack was clearly premeditated since Israel had early threatened to stop the Freedom Flotilla.

The attack on the Freedom Flotilla adds to a long series of crimes by Israel, which has its roots in Zionism, colonialism and the politics of apartheid. Before this there was the slaughter of 1,400 civilians in Gaza on December 2008 and in January 2009 there were the plainly visible crimes that pushed the international community to campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). This and other such campaigns however have not been able to force world government to condemn the Israeli government and bring it before the international court. The US, Israel’s closest patron and criminal ally, stands at the forefront in defending this perpetrator of war crimes and human rights violations.

With the support of Britain and the US, the Israeli political leadership has colonised Palestine since 1948, and forcibly established the state of Israel on Palestine land. This is the substance of Zionism that has become the source of disaster that plays the ordinary people off against each other (the Palestinian and Israeli people). The Israeli government has pushed through the expansion of Israeli settlements in areas under the Palestine authority in Gaza and the West Bank. A thick steel wall has even been constructed around Gaza; blockading the Palestinian people from access to clean water, food, medicines and even education. Tens of thousands of ordinary people in Gaza are forced to suffer and are being slowly impoverished and wiped out by the Israeli government. This is the politics of apartheid as a manifestation of racism and genocide against the Palestine nation; similar to what was done in the past by Hitler against the Jewish people – and now the Jewish-Zionists are doing the same thing to the Palestinian nation. Of course not all Jews agree with Zionism, because those that do not are challenging this within the Israeli state itself or by joining the Palestinian solidarity community in different countries.

The US and Britain are the guard dogs of Zionist-Israeli interests in the international community, while Israel is the guard dog of US and British capitalism in the Arabian peninsula, and the United Nations a pawn controlled by the kings and queens of the US and Britain, which has been unable move in this case. A criminal alliance, which for the sake of its continuity, spreads the politics of the “war against terror”, which in turn spread hatred against the Arab people and distrust against Islam (Islamaphobia). This “war on terror” further complicates broadening solidarity for Palestinian independence, because Israel and pro-Israeli governments arbitrarily declare that it is the Palestinian people who are carrying out acts of terror so they construct a wall and carry out attacks. The armed resistance carried out by the Palestinian people is a direct consequence of colonialism, Zionism and Israeli apartheid, not the cause. Yet Israel’s acts of terror, both through arms and the expansion of Israeli settlements – which is causing the Palestinian land to progressively shrink – continue to occur without the predicate of political terrorism in the US and its allies’ “war on terror”.

There is already enough evidence; the slaughter of the Palestinian people must stop; Zionism and Israeli apartheid must be opposed; the US and British governments defense of Israel must stop.

In our country meanwhile, is the condemnation against Israel and the support for Palestinian independence by the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Boediono and the House of Representatives (DPR) evidence that they are pro-Palestine? No. They do this simply to curry favour with the Muslim community. This is because the government and the political parties, the ruminants of former Suharto’s New Order regime and the fake reformists in the DPR, are all pro-US. How is it possible to support Palestinian independence while supporting US policies? This is a double-standard and an opportunist stand on the Palestinian people’s human rights. Similar behaviour has also occurred in many other Arab countries. Not one of the capitalist countries and governments in the world has an interest in opposing the governments of Israel, the US or Britain.

For these governments, the interests of capital are number one and stand above human rights anywhere. So they close their eyes to Zionism, dictatorships, Apartheid, genocide and gross human right crimes. Except when the people mobilise to voice their demands – and the interests of capital are threatened – only then they are they forced to take action. They will not take any action whatsoever for humanitarian reasons, but will do so in the interests of capital. Such are the world’s owners of capital, the world’s capitalists.

Only two countries have been consistent, courageous and concrete in defending Palestinian independence in world forums. They are Cuba and Venezuela. This has ranged from sending doctors and medical assistance, to walking out of UN sessions and anti-Palestine US government speeches. Not one Arab country, countries which are Islamic, has been prepared to take such courageous action. Not one Arab country, except Iran, has been prepared to say NO to the capitalist US. As long as the Arab countries and the Muslim majority countries of the world remain loyal to capitalism, then Palestine will unable to be free.

This is why solidarity with Palestine must be placed within the context of the fight against international capital. This is why we need to replace the pro-capitalist governments in our respective countries. So that a new international social system can be created, and all colonialism on the face of the earth be eliminated.

These are the solidarity campaigns that we can carry out in cooperation with the world’s poor for Palestinian freedom and to fight against global capital:

1. A boycott campaign and sanctions against Israel;
2. Build even more Palestinian solidarity committees;
3. Build the movements against policies that are pro-capitalist and pro-the governments of the US and Britain in our own countries;
4. Build the solidarity movement in support of those countries fighting against capitalism and supporting Palestinian independence such as Cuba and Venezuela;
5. Build the movement to fight against the domestic capitalist agents: the Yudhoyono government, the Now Order remnants and their parties and the fake reformists in parliament.
6. Participate in the international fight for Palestinian liberation, ending the terror in Iraq and Afghanistan and the economic blockade against Cuba.

True, the problems within our own country are still huge with the lives of Indonesia’s poor and working class steadily worsening. But who will help us if we do not first help others? It is precisely because we face a common fate that we must unite with the poor throughout the world to fight the cause of oppression and global poverty: capitalism. And most of those currently fighting for this in the world – students, the working class, women and so forth, are the ordinary people who are being impoverished by international capital.

Because of this therefore we call for the world’s poor and working class to unite in struggle!

Jakarta, June 3, 2010

This joint statement was issued by:

  • The Political Committee of the Poor-Peoples Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD),
  • The Indonesian Labour Movement Union Preparatory Committee (KP-PPBI),
  • The Political Union of the Poor (PPRM)
  • The Center for Student Mobilisation for National Liberation (PEMBEBASAN, formerly LMND-PRD),
  • The Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Women) National Network (JNPM)

[Translated by James Balowski.]