Communist and workers parties of Palestine and Israel on Jerusalem

Special interview with the Palestinian People's Party, the Palestinian Communist Party and the Communist Party of Israel on the Jerusalem issue and the future of the struggle.

ICP, 25 December 2017

ICP interviewed the Palestinian Communist Party, Palestinian People’s Party and the Communist Party of Israel on the Jerusalem issue. Common questions were posed on the consequences of the US decision on the Palestinian resistance and the new position of US regarding the “peace” process. The parties also anwered specific questions on the regional situations they face regarding the future of the struggle.


Palestinian People’s Party (PPP)

ICP: How will the decision of US to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital influence the Palestinian resistance? Is there a possibility of a new intifada?

PPP: The United States' recognition of Jerusalem as its capital for Israel will have a two-way effect: The first is the official Palestinian leadership's conviction that the United States has not been a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians for the past 20 years. It is a party in the conflict, which is biased towards Israel and the occupation of Palestinian land, offering political cover in international forums and using negotiations to give Israel the opportunity to implement its plans, the seizing of land, the expansion of settlements, disposing the possibility of the establishment of a Palestinian state and therefore prolonging the occupation. The US has been seeking to manage the conflict, not to wait for the right moment to solve the Palestinian case.

On the other hand, this recognition will lead to the escalation of the resistance of the Palestinian people and unite them in the face of this step and increase the conviction of the importance of the popular resistance against the occupation and the importance of international solidarity with the just rights of the Palestinian people. There will be a return to the Palestinian issue, confronting the effort of Israel, the United States and its allies in the region to marginalize the case and to form an alliance that includes Israel and some Arab countries in the so-called war on terrorism and against the so-called Iranian threat.

As for the possibility of a new Intifada, the resistance of the Palestinian people has never stopped in this way or that, either in the face of attacks by the settlers or defending the land against its seizure and the settlements as well as against the continuous violations and the profanation of the holy sites in Jerusalem. This resistance can take different forms and does not necessarily have to be copies of previous experiences in terms of methods or continuity. It will focus on the popular resistance as a fundamental factor, taking into account the lessons of previous uprisings.

ICP: What will be the role of the United States in the Palestinian-Israeli "peace" process after this decision?

PPP: It is not easy to remove the United States from the political process as a major country and a permanent member of the Security Council and an ally of Israel. But even if political conditions are restored, the US will not be the exclusive sponsor of any political process and will not be able to talk about a political process or try a solution in isolation from what is happening in the region, especially in view of the emergence of new players and the serious achievements on the ground in Syria and Iraq. These will have an important role in determining the fate of the region in general.

ICP: In what way will the decision on Jerusalem influence the division in the Palestinian resistance? 

PPP: Logically Trump's decision on Jerusalem will hasten ending the division and maintaining the unity of the Palestinian forces during the process of national liberation. The Palestinian land - the West Bank and Gaza - and the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority – are all under occupation. The previous phase, called the peace process, must be ended and the Oslo Accords and more than 20 years of negotiations, as well as its resistance experience in the Gaza Strip must be assessed. This means formulating a new Palestinian political strategy based on this assessment and taking into account the many changes that have taken place in Palestine, in the Arab world and internationally over the past two years. The two sides are unified to implement this strategy in order to end the occupation, establish an independent Palestinian state according to the borders of June 4th with East Jerusalem as its capital, solve the refugee issue in accordance with Resolution 194 and other relevant international resolutions, including those dealing with East Jerusalem as occupied land.

ICP: Is it possiblefor a secular and anti-imperialist political line to gain strength in the Palestinian resistance?

PPP: There is no doubt that there is great importance in strengthening the anti-imperialist secularist line in the Palestinian "resistance", bearing in mind that all Palestinians are hostile to the occupation and hostile to the American position that is biased towards Israel. However, it is not possible to describe the secular trend as the strongest, as there is a strong influence of the religious movement, which grew during the past decades as a result of the policies adopted by the Arab regimes in general suppressing the leftist and secular forces. On the other hand, the largest force in the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Fatah movement, which is supposed to represent the secular trend is blocking the way in reaching a political solution through a political process. In addition, the leftist forces, which are supposed to raise the banner of secularism, the civil state, the separation of powers and the peaceful transfer of power etc. are weak in the Palestinian arena.

Anti-imperialism is not clear or easy to define in the Palestinian case which is undergoing a national liberation process confronted with a great imbalance of power. This drives the political leadership to look for other players even within the imperialist camp, taking advantage of some differences in the positions of these parties from the US position, such as the European Union, to modify this balance. However, the strong religious trend and part of the secular trend, while being at odds with the capitalist world because of the current political situation, the existence of occupation, the support of Israel etc. is not hostile to the capitalist system which represents imperialism as the head of the war.

This is what we see clearly in the policies of many countries in the region; they may be in conflict with the United States and NATO not because it leads the imperial war but because of US policies towards these countries or regimes, while at the same time they establish the best relations with other capitalist poles in the world.

To strengthen and activate the role of the Palestinian left, to unify its political vision and activity on the ground, to renounce its differences will be the premises in strengthening the anti-imperialist movement in the Palestinian arena.

In order to reinforce the anti-imperialist position in the Palestinian arena, it is also important to clarify the backgrounds and objectives of the American and Western positions in general since the Balfour Declaration and the Sykes-Picot Agreement as part of imperialist policy. These are the rings in a chain that aim to preserve the interests of these imperialist countries. It is something irrelevant to religion or passion or the ignorance of reality, as some portray it.


Palestinian Communist Party (PCP)

ICP: How will the decision of US to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital influence the Palestinian resistance? Is there a possibility of a new intifada?

What is thestatus of Jerusalem among Jewish and Palestinian people in the one-state solution of the PCP?

PCP: The recognition by the United States President Donald Trump of Jerusalem as the capital of the Zionist occupying state reflects the retreat from all international resolutions relating to the Palestinian cause. The foremost is the Resolution 181 on the partition of Palestine which considers Jerusalem to be united under international supervision, and the UN General Assembly Resolution 194 on the return of all refugees to the land they had abandoned, which was the condition for Israel's acceptance to the United Nations, approved but not implemented by Israel. It also goes beyond the other resolutions on the Palestinian issue calling for Israel's withdrawal to the borders of June 4, 1967, which includes the city of East Jerusalem, and goes beyond the international recognition of the state of Palestine as an observer member of the United Nations General Assembly with East Jerusalem as its capital. The two-state solution is in great trouble and the program of our party, which was adopted at our conference on 12/2016, on the progressive democratic state of all its people on the entire historic land of Palestine, is at the forefront.

This illegitimate recognition calls for the unity of all Palestinian factions to confront this new aggression and gives the incentive to escalate the resistance, all forms of resistance in the face of occupation. The Intifada may have objective and subjective conditions to start and continue. This decision may be a spark for the outbreak of the Intifada, but there must be material and moral support and cooperation among all the factions for its continuity. It seems that the regional reality does not provide such support unless there is a regional battle between the resistance forces and reactionary forces.

ICP: What will be the role of the United States in the Palestinian-Israeli "peace" process after this decision?

PCP: The decision of the President of the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Zionist occupying state brings the United States out of being an honest party to the peace process -if so?- and reveals its true colonial role in the region. Recognition of the Jewishness of the state is tantamount to a dagger in the Palestinian cause, ending any peaceful and honest role that the United States may play as it has clearly become a party to the conflict rather than a mediator.

ICP: Could socialist revolutionaries become more effective within the PLO after the Jerusalem decision?

PCP: The issue of the revolutionaries who are involved in the PLO deserves a long debate and raises the following questions:

1) Are there revolutionary participants in the PLO

2) If there are revolutionary participants, who are they and what was their role in the ongoing conflict and the development of the organization?

The history of the so-called revolutionary social organizations shows that these organizations have been and still are the bridge between the revolutionary movement and the Palestinian right. Their role in the Oslo authority has emerged both directly and indirectly by participating in the government through their presence in sensitive positions within ministries. For example, the ministers from those so-called revolutionary organizations working in the Oslo authority signed all the agreements that restrict the Palestinian people either in the Israeli economy (the Paris economic agreement) or in the Israeli security (security coordination) binding the hands of the Palestinian Arab people in the face of the occupation.

Our position on the PLO is that it is an organization that lost its revolutionary character after it renounced the provisions of the Palestinian National Charter. What is required is to restructure the Palestine Liberation Organization on a revolutionary national democratic basis. Our position is to support the PLO after its restructuring.

We hope that this will help us clarify our position on the situation in the region, not just about the decision of US President Donald Trump.


Communist Party of Israel (CPI)

ICP: How will the decision of US to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital influence the Palestinian resistance? Is there a possibility of a new intifada?

CPI: To begin with, this decision should be viewed as a first rank colonial, imperial decision, since it grants those who are not entitled to own it. In other words, the United States does not have any right in Jerusalem to grant it and recognize it as the capital of Israel, especially as this city has its political and religious status in the midst of the Palestinian-Israeli and Arab-Israeli conflict.

The other side of this decision, which is no less serious, is that it undermines all possibilities for a peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue and undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. The Palestinian people will not accept any other state with East Jerusalem as its capital. We know that the United States is well aware of this and has yet it made this colonial decision. This decision is no less dangerous than the Balfour Declaration exactly 100 years ago when British Foreign Secretary Balfour issued a promise to the Zionist movement to give Palestine as a national homeland.

The possibility of developing the current struggle against Trump's decision to a new Palestinian uprising is very likely in the current circumstances. It is important to note here that the uprising and its outbreak is not bound by the decision of this or that Palestinian organization, but is entirely dependent on the popular situation, the extent of inclusiveness, the deployment and preparation for confrontation, the creation of a cumulative combat situation. Perhaps the current movement of resistance rejecting Trump’s decision might be an advanced situation towards the outbreak of a new intifada, in addition to the continuation of the occupation, the abuses committed against the Palestinian people and the absence of any political horizon to resolve the Palestinian issue because of the intransigence of the Israeli right-wing extremist.

Therefore, this decision opens the way for the Palestinian national forces to play their national and liberating role by confronting this decision, breaking the stalemate in the Palestinian cause and restoring it by bringing to the fore the cause of the people deprived of the national right of self-determination.

ICP: What will be the role of the United States in the Palestinian-Israeli "peace" process after this decision?

CPI: The United States, unfortunately, is considered the "mediator" of peace in the Middle East, and from the very beginning not a single day has it been objective and neutral. But it has completely adopted the Israeli narrative and position, focusing all its efforts on pressuring the Palestinian side to accept the conditions of the Israeli side.

This pressure was not only on the part of the United States and was shared by all the leaders of the Arab reaction in the Arabian Gulf, headed by Saudi Arabia and Egypt as well.

But the current US administration and its right-wing, extreme right and religious affiliation have adopted Israel's absolute position and entered the arena of conflict not as a mediator but as a side to the US President’s decision to transfer the US embassy to Jerusalem. Therefore, US has become totally unqualified, not a mediator of the already stalled peace process.

It is time for the entire international community to return to its role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hence, we reiterate our firm position to call for an international conference to resolve the Palestinian issue, which will impose its will on the Israeli side and to rid the Palestinian people of suffering and oppression and realize their legitimate rights in the independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital and the return of refugees in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy.

ICP: What is the attitude of the Jewish people regarding thedecision on Jerusalem?

CPI: Israeli society is still subject to the influence of radical Zionist ideology and embraces the entire religious narrative with regard to Jerusalem. Therefore, the position of Israeli society is centered on supporting this decision. Even the forces that may consider themselves rational have adopted this decision despite knowing that its timing serves the government of the extreme right and its leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

With the exception of our Communist Party, our Democratic Front for Peace and Equality and the joint list which opposed this resolution and considered it a flagrant violation of the basic rights of the Palestinian people, all political parties in Israel welcomed this decision.

The Israeli Communist Party and the Palestinian People's Party issued a joint statement on this resolution: The US policy in support of the Israeli occupation of the territories occupied in 1967 will only fuel chaos and instability in the region and the world. The United States of America is part of the problem, not of the solution; there is no solution but to end the occupation, to exercise the right to self-determination by the Palestinian people and to establish an independent state in the 1967 territories with Jerusalem as its capital and resolving the refugee issue in accordance with UN Resolution 194.

This decision is completely ignores and contradicts all resolutions of international legitimacy and those of the Security Council, violating the law and the international consensus that Jerusalem is an occupied territory. Therefore we have to make an effort to isolate and confront this policy and to bring down this decision.

ICP: Has this issue influenced the attitude towards the Israeli government just at a time when Netanyahu is passing through an investigation on corruption?

CPI: There is nodoubtthatthisdecision has had a positiveeffect on theposition of theright-wingIsraeligovernment, especiallythe Prime Minister, Netanyahu. He has temporarilyturned a blindeyetoallinvestigationsintocorruption. But Netanyahuknowsthatthisdecisionwillservehimwhenever he needs it, in face of theinvestigations, and he is tryingtogarner "achievements" thatmayservehim in theupcomingelectionbattles.

Among these achievements are the campaign of racial and fascist incitement against the Palestinian Arab national minority, citizens of the State of Israel, and the enactment of racist laws that promote the phenomena of fascism in Israeli society, including the National Law, which gives a clear preference to the Jewish citizens against the Arab citizens of Israel.

Netanyahu knows very well to fuel nationalist feelings and animosity among Jews and this serves his extreme rightist agenda. Therefore Trump's decision also facilitated this in addition to what he seeks to incite.

But the most dangerous thing is the possibility of these rapid investigations to lead to a military adventure towards the Gaza Strip. This possibility is still in the minds of the government and its extremist rightist prime minister.

Therefore, our party seeks to deepen and develop the struggle to hasten the overthrow of this government. It is working on the widest cooperation to propose the only solution that guarantees the rights of the two peoples: Ending the occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state within the borders of June 4th with East Jerusalem as its capital alongside the State of Israel with West Jerusalem as its capital.