THERE IS a very simple reason why Arabs and Jews have been unable to live in peace together for the past 100 years, and it is summed up in the phrase "the Iron Wall". The Iron Wall is the title of Professor Avi Shlaim's exhaustive and brilliant history of Zionism. Jabotinsky, a right wing Zionist leader and fan of the Italian fascist Mussolini, coined the phrase in the 1920s.
Yasser Arafat's story mirrors that of the Palestinian people. He was born in 1929 into a middle class Palestinian family and spent his early years in Jerusalem which, like the rest of Palestine, was then under British rule. Jews and Arabs had long lived in Palestine, but tensions were increasing as the Zionist movement, which wanted to create a Jewish state in Palestine, grew in strength.
LEADERS ACROSS the Middle East are terrified that Israel's war on the Palestinians will provoke wide scale revolt. Representatives from Egypt and Jordan have pleaded with Bush to help them quell unrest by appearing to check Sharon's excesses. Anne Adams has just visited Egypt. She says the Arab rulers are right to be fearful of the pro-Palestinian movement.
EVERYONE IS wondering what will happen next in Argentina. It is a country where everybody is talking politics. Fifteen weeks ago a popular uprising overthrew the president, De la Rua. His successor was forced from office a week later. Since then the country has been run by a coalition of the two traditionally powerful parties, the Peronists and the Radicals. The coalition is presided over by the Peronist Duhalde. But this has not brought stability. Argentina has been hit by an economic crisis not experienced by any industrial country since the 1930s.
THE STAKES are rising in the rail industry. Three strikes last week showed the growing readiness of rail workers to fight the private bosses who run the fragmented industry. That is combined with a deepening hostility to New Labour, which continues to get thousands of pounds from the rail unions.
Is crime going up or down?
One in ten people in one of the world's key industrial countries say they will vote in two weeks time for a socialist who calls for "revolution" to sweep away a "bankrupt capitalist system". That poll finding is sending shockwaves through the French political establishment as the country gears up for the 21 April presidential election. Paul McGarr reports from France.
THREE MILLION Italian trade unionists, students, immigrant workers, unemployed people and pensioners defied Tony Blair's key European ally last Saturday. Six huge feeder protests marched to the centre of Rome to demonstrate against Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's plans to "reform" laws protecting workers. Some 9,200 coaches, 61 special trains, five aeroplanes and four boats brought people to Rome from across Italy.
Tony Blair has formed an unholy alliance with the two most right wing leaders in Europe to drive through an assault on workers' rights across Europe. Blair's friends-Spain's leader Jose Maria Aznar and Italy's Silvio Berlusconi – want to push through privatisation, deregulation, more flexibility and attacks on trade unions.
The kids in Jenin camp look like kids in any deprived area in the world. They have that knowing look in their eyes, a look that says, "I know something you don't know"-a look of pride, anger and defiance. The eyes of battle hardened veterans that belie their age.
Twenty years ago this week the Falklands War began. During 74 days of conflict 255 British servicemen and around 800 Argentinians were killed. Most of the Argentinian dead were young conscripts. Thousands were injured. Those who were there write of "the ballooned faces of badly burned men" and of the "screams in the night in the dormitories acting as refuges for the wounded". The suffering has continued since.
The biggest conference of rank and file trade unionists for two decades took place in London last Saturday. Over 1,000 trade unionists from across Britain came to the event organised by the Socialist Alliance, which will be standing hundreds of candidates at the May local elections. The Scottish Socialist Party also supported it. The conference signalled a further step in the deepening rift between the government and trade unionists.
How significant do you think the Stop the War Coalition demo at the beginning of March was?
THE DEMO last November was very big-about 100,000-and that was when the war in Afghanistan was just beginning. Then, inevitably, the war was presented as a military victory. Now people are just waking up to the fact that there is another, bigger war on the way. So to get 20,000 out in March was very, very good.
The deaths of over 160 Palestinians and more than 30 Israelis in 12 days at the beginning of this month shocked people across the world. Socialist Worker looks at the roots of the conflict.
"We protested against the war in Afghanistan, but we could not stop it happening. This time we have a chance to stop it, and to create a big crisis for Blair."
The US government is unleashing a flood of lies to pave the way for attacks on Iraq. We are told that Iraq threatens the world with weapons of mass destruction. But a US State Department official revealed four weeks ago that the US wants war even if Iraq allows weapons inspectors in. He said of discussions between Iraq and United Nations officials over inspections, "We will not take yes for an answer."
This month sees key battles in a largely unreported war over the future of one of the pillars of the welfare state. Tenants of Britain's two biggest landlords, Birmingham and Glasgow councils, will vote on New Labour plans to hand their homes to private housing companies. Thousands of tenants in Crewe are already voting in a similar ballot, and Bradford council tenants will also vote this month.
Why should we continue to fund those who support privatisation? Hundreds of trade unionists will be debating this question on Saturday at what promises to be one of the biggest rank and file trade union conferences for years.
DO YOU feel tempted to write a satirical novel about Blair's Britain, as you did Margaret Thatcher's Britain?
I AM looking forward to writing that. It is where the sequel to my current novel The Rotters' Club is going. The horrible young Thatcherite in the new book will grow into a Blairite whizz-kid MP for a West Midlands constituency.
Socialist Worker sellers were out last week campaigning against Sharon's onslaught on the Palestinians. In just three days over 500 copies of Socialist Worker were sold on the streets in central London. In Kensington on a new sale nine sellers (including five new members) received a brilliant reception-160 copies of Socialist Worker were sold and four people joined the SWP.