Socialist Worker

David versus the goliath

Issue No. 1717


David versus the goliath

THOUSANDS OF Palestinians took to the streets of Jerusalem this week in the face of brutal repression from the Israeli security forces.

The Israeli troops used anti-tank missiles, rubber bullets and live ammunition against Palestinians who were armed only with rocks. Israeli rulers attempted to blame the Palestinians for the clashes and even called for a ceasefire.

"A ceasefire? How can you have a ceasefire between stones and guns? It's a joke," said Brigadier-General Osama al-Ali, who is in charge of security cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli forces.

Fifty one people had been killed in the clashes by Tuesday of this week, 48 of them Arabs. Israeli troops shot and killed Mohammed Jemal al-Durah, a Palestinian boy aged 12. They also shot his father and the ambulance driver who tried to rescue Mohammed.

Pictures of Mohammed's murder have shocked the world.

There were protests across the Middle East against the Israeli repression, including a general strike in Lebanon's 13 refugee camps, where the majority of the nation's 400,000 Palestinians live.

The riots by Palestinians were provoked by the visit of Ariel Sharon-leader of Likud, a right wing Israeli party-to a sacred Muslim site in Jerusalem last week.

Arabs across the Middle East despise Sharon for his role in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. As an army general at the time, Sharon allowed Israeli-backed Lebanese militiamen to massacre thousands of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Beirut.

Even an Israeli inquiry found Sharon indirectly responsible for the massacre. The stalled Arab-Israeli peace process is also creating huge bitterness amongst ordinary Palestinians.

The talks between Ehud Barak, Israeli prime minister, and Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, broke down at Camp David in the US in July this year because Israel refused to make concessions to Palestinian demands.

Palestinians have been fighting the Israeli state repression ever since the Israeli state was founded in 1948. Israel was formed on the back of the bloody eviction of Palestinians from their homeland.

At the same time Israel has been the watchdog for US interests in the Middle East. Years of Israeli repression have created resistance amongst Palestinians.

As long as Palestinian demands are ignored, and right wing Israelis like Sharon continue to flaunt Israel's oppression of the Palestinians, resistance from ordinary people will continue.

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Sat 7 Oct 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1717
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