On the hundredth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration: for Palestinian freedom, independence and Right of Return

In reality, Israel never considered, not even hypothetically, the possibility of renouncing racism and seeking understanding with a people seeking self-determination in its own land; and neither the possibility of acknowledging any international law that hinders their interests.

In reality, Israel never considered, not even hypothetically, the possibility of renouncing racism and seeking understanding with a people seeking self-determination in its own land; and neither the possibility of acknowledging any international law that hinders their interests.

This November marks the hundredth anniversary of the Balfour declaration: a formal letter from the Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom announcing the establishment of a national homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine. This Declaration was ingrained in the framework of the French-British agreements of Sykes-Picot of the previous year, which allowed for a division of the region among the European powers after WWI and the defeat of the Ottoman empire- this provision was itself a betrayal of the agreements reached with the Arabs who had fought with the allies. On the other hand, the Balfour promise, proclaimed by British imperialism over a land over which they had no rights, was of great importance in the posterior process of massacre, pillage and theft of Palestinian land and resources, the deliberate destruction of the social and physical structures of the Palestinian people, whose national rights were never recognised. In the following decades, British colonial politics began to lay the foundations of the Zionist state through the British Mandate for Palestine, while facing the continuous resistance of the Palestinian people. An example of this resistance, and a foundational event for the resistance, is the revolution of 1936-1939.

The creation of the State of Israel after WWII constituted the most important imperialist advance in that region of the world, with tragic consequences, including genocide, which endure even today, due to the state’s functionality for the main global powers, its formal and rhetoric only consideration of the rights of the peoples, human rights and international law, and the resulting negative correlation of forces in the national, regional and global context. The 1947 181 UN resolution foresaw the partition between an Arab state, a Jewish state and an international area. The plan, however, which was only accepted by the Zionists and rejected by the Palestinians and the Arab states, resulted in the unilateral proclamation of the State of Israel on the following year, and on its quick military victory over an Arab coalition. The Nakba (catastrophe) expelled most of the Arab population from their lands and forced 700.000 Palestinians to become refugees in neighbouring countries. Systematic and planned massacres of Palestinians were organized, before and after independence, by the Zionist army and paramilitaries. This was an authentic ethnic cleansing operation and an unanswered crime against humanity. With the Six Days War in 1967, Israel began the military occupation of the West Bank from Jordan, the Gaza Strip from Egypt, and Eastern Jerusalem (also from Jordan, although it was a UN-designated international space), as well as the Syrian Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai. This provoked a new exodus of 200.000 Palestinians. After the war Israel began the establishment of colonial settlements in the recently occupied territories in order to settle more than half a million Israelis in the West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem and Gaza, the only place where they retreated from, in August 2005.

As a result, all Palestinians that did not go into exile live nowadays in occupied land, forced into permanent confrontation and submission to a State of great military power which is also allied with the world’s major powers, and which contemplates no other option than the unconditional surrender of a whole people which it treats as an enemy and which it continuously submits to violence, occupation and apartheid, denying its very right to existence, name, identity, and a history from which it wants them forever gone.

Israel designed all kinds of attempts to neutralize Palestinian resistance. After four decades of massacres and ethnic cleansing, the State of Israel applied openly racist politics of segregation and oppression. The first Intifada of 1987 led Israel to enhance the physical and demographic separation of the Palestinian population, while it maintained direct control of the economy and natural resources.  The so-called “peace process” which was interpreted as an international diplomatic success actually reinforced the Palestinian population’s dependence, as it was used as an excuse to extend the settlements programme, land confiscations, and economic decline, poverty and unemployment in Gaza and the West Bank. These lands were divided into territorial units which remind of Apartheid South Africa’s Bantustans, over which Israel limits the freedom of movement, further undermining Palestinian unity and social cohesion. This framework of apartheid and discrimination did not prevent Israel from renewing its offensive in more recent years, as evidenced by the aggressions of 2008, 2012 and 2014 in the Gaza strip. Finally, the day to day reality of everywhere in Palestine is that of systematic, genocidal oppression: that of the millions of refugees forbidden from returning to their homes, the thousands of prisoners in Israeli jails, the torture and impunity of the occupation armies; that of destroyed homes, crops and industries and the giant walls that divide entire populations; that of structural unemployment, poverty, hunger and misery of a dependent people who are not in control of their resources or economy.

In reality, Israel never considered, not even hypothetically, the possibility of renouncing racism and seeking understanding with a people seeking self determination in its own land; and neither the possibility of acknowledging any international law that hinders their interests. Each and every one of their non-negotiable conditions -opposition to Palestinian sovereignty in Jerusalem, opposition to the refugees’ right of return, opposition to a return to the 1967 borders, opposition to the dismantling of settlements- stand directly against the immediate and urgent needs of Palestinians, as well as infringing a large number of UN resolutions, such as 181, 194, 242 and more. Neither Israel nor its main patron, the United States, have any interest in acknowledging a legislation that is powerless to enforce itself. On the contrary, the use of force is Israel’s main resource; inasmuch as the people of Palestine resist and do not forever forfeit their freedom.

In the meantime, the old Zionist slogan “a land without a people for a people without a land” stands in stark contrast not only with the existence, but also with the continued resistance of the Palestinian national and popular movement.  Despite all manner of difficulty, due to the power of the enemy as well as historic internal faction disputes (themselves fed and encouraged by Israel), this is a heroic struggle for national liberation which lives on despite the enormous initial disadvantage of forces, the absence of whatsoever human rights concerns on the enemy side, and the subsequent enormous human sacrifice it implies, including death, torture and decades long imprisonments.

In this context, the Galician Movement for Socialism wants to use the shameful anniversary of the Balfour declaration to make the following considerations on the subject of the Palestinian national liberation struggle:

— We reaffirm our permanent solidarity with the cause of the Palestinian people, which we also define as the heart of all national liberation struggles in the Arab region, against the reactionary regional regimes as well as against imperial interests in a central space of global geopolitics. The weakening and ultimate defeat of NATO-Zionist hegemony in the region represent a common goal for all the revolutionaries of the world.

— We support and reclaim for the people of Palestine their right to exert self-determination and build their own unitary state in all historical Palestinian land, we consider this an inalienable right which would furthermore fully achieve the aspirations of freedom, independence and return of the refugees. Nevertheless, we also denounce the infringement of the UN resolutions which would allow to create a sovereign, independent state within the 1967 borders,  with Jerusalem as a capital and without the forfeiting of the right of return.

— We denounce the alliance of the capitalist powers with Israel, namely, the United States of America, NATO, the State of Spain, the European Union and their regional allies. Far from meaning any support for the Palestinian cause, these powers are complicit with Israel and are necessary agents in the perpetuation of occupation and apartheid. The hundred year old crimes are deeply intertwined with imperialist interest and imperialist political, economic and military strategy.  

— We recognize the legitimacy of any and all means of resistance employed by the Palestinian people  to achieve liberty for as long as the occupation lasts We strongly condemn the attempt by the imperialist powers to impose false agreements that disregard the right to self-determination and avoid putting and end of occupation and impunity.

— We would most earnestly show our solidarity    with all of the prisoners who continue the anti-imperialist struggle for national liberation from within Israeli prison, and with all of the refugees, within or without UNRWA facilities, who aspire to return to the lands and homes from which they have been banished.

— We commit to reinforce this solidarity and anti-imperialist action, by improving our knowledge of the principles, strategies and initiatives of the Palestinian resistance.   We also want to call on the Galizan people to spread and to strengthen the traditional bonds of friendship and solidarity with the Palestinian people as well as to reinforce the anti-imperialist organizations and movements that stand in solidarity with the Palestinian cause and with the rights of the peoples of the world against the NATO-Zionist hegemony, namely the international Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which enables to weaken the normalization of a racist, genocidal regime based on ethnic cleansing.

No centenario da Declaración Balfour: Independencia, Liberdade e Retorno para a Palestina

En realidade, Israel nunca considerou, nen como mera hipótese, a posibilidade de renunciar ao racismo e entenderse cun pobo que aspira á autodeterminación na súa propia terra, nin tampouco respeitar aquela lexislación internacional que prexudique os seus intereses.

Neste mes de novembro cúmprese o centésimo aniversario da Declaración Balfour, carta formal do Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores do Reino Unido que anunciaba o establecemento dun fogar nacional para o pobo xudeo na Palestina. A Declaración podía formularse no marco dos acordos franco-británicos de Sykes-Picot do ano anterior, que prevían a partilla da rexión entre as potencias europeas tras a I Guerra Mundial e a derrota do Imperio Otomano, incumprindo así, por outra parte, os compromisos acadados cos árabes que loitaran cos Aliados. En cambio, a promesa de Balfour, realizada polo colonialismo británico a custa dunha terra que non lle pertencía, representou un acontecemento de extraordinaria importancia no posterior proceso de masacre, espolio e roubo da terra e os recursos, e en definitiva a destrución deliberada das distintas estruturas sociais e físicas do pobo palestino, cuxos intereses e dereitos nacionais nunca foran recoñecidos. Nas décadas seguintes, a política británica preparou a infraestrutura do Estado sionista por medio do Mandato Británico, a pesar da continua resistencia do pobo palestino, nomeadamente na revolución de 1936-1939, fito fundador da resistencia.

O establecemento do Estado de Israel tras a Segunda Guerra Mundial representou o máis importante paso do imperialismo nesta rexión do mundo, con consecuencias tráxicas e xenocidas que perviven até o día de hoxe debido á súa funcionalidade para as principais potencias, á súa consideración formal e retórica dos dereitos dos pobos, dos dereitos humanos e da lexislación, dereito e acordos internacionais, e da negativa correlación de forzas nos planos nacional, rexional e global. A Resolución 181 das Nacións Unidas, de 1947, prevía o reparto entre un estado xudaico, un árabe e unha zona internacional, mais o plano, que só fora aceptado polos sionistas e non polos palestinos nin os estados árabes, derivou na proclamación unilateral do Estado de Israel ao ano seguinte e na rápida vitoria deste na guerra frente a unha coalición árabe. A “Nakba” (catástrofe) expulsou á maioría da poboación árabe das súas terras e obrigou a 7000.000 palestinos a se refuxiar nos países veciños. Os masacres de palestinos foran sistemáticos e planificados, organizados antes e despois da independencia, por paramilitares e polo exército sionista, e representaron unha auténtica operación de limpeza étnica e un crime impune contra a humanidade. Tras a “Guerra dos Seis Días” de 1967 Israel ocupou militarmente a Cisxordania (de Xordania), a Faixa de Gaza (de Exipto) e Xerusalén Oriental (tamén de Xordania, se ben fora designada como espazo internacional pola ONU) así como os Altos do Golán sirios e o Sinaí exipcio, e provocou un novo éxodo de 200.000 palestinos. Tras esta nova contenda Israel iniciou tamén o establecemento de colonias nos territorios recentemente ocupados, para instalar máis de medio millón de israelitas na Cisxordania, Xerusalén Oriental e na Faixa de Gaza, único lugar de onde se retiraron, en agosto de 2005.

Así, todo o pobo palestino que non se exiliou até o exterior do país vive até o día de hoxe en territorio ocupado, sometido e enfrontado de forma permanente a un Estado de grande poder militar e aliado coas maiores potencias do planeta, que non contempla máis opción que a rendición incondicional de todo un pobo tratado como inimigo, sometido á violencia continua, ocupación, colonialismo, discriminación e apartheid, e para o que se nega mesmo o dereito á existencia, ao nome, á identidade e á historia da que o queren borrar para sempre.

Israel deseñou todo tipo de tentativas para neutralizar a resistencia palestina. Tras catro décadas de masacres e limpeza étnica, o Estado de Israel aplicou políticas abertamente racistas de segregación e opresión. A primeira Intifada en 1987 levou a Israel a acentuar a separación física e demográfica da poboación palestina, á vez que mantiña o seu control directo dos recursos naturais e da economía. O chamado “proceso de paz”, interpretado como un éxito diplomático internacional, en realidade reforzou a dependencia da poboación palestina, ao aumentar a extensión das colonias, as confiscacións de terras e o declinio económico, pobreza e desemprego na faixa de Gaza e na Cisxordania. Os territorios de Gaza e Cisxordania foran dividos en unidades territoriais que lembran os bantustáns sudafricanos, sobre os que Israel limita a liberdade de circulación, enfraquecendo aínda máis a unidade e as relación sociais da Palestina. Nin sequera este marco de apartheid e discriminación evitou a renovación das ofensivas israelitas nos últimos anos, como demostran as agresións de 2008, 2012 e 2014 na Faixa de Gaza. Por último, a realidade diaria de Palestina, en cada momento e en cada curruncho do país, é a da opresión sistemática e xenocida: a dos millóns de refuxiados que teñen prohibido o retorno aos seus fogares; a dos milleiros de presos en cárceres israelís; a das torturas e a impunidade das forzas de ocupación; a das casas, colleitas e industrias destruídas; a dos xigantescos muros que dividen poboacións; a do desemprego, precariedade, fame e miseria estrutural dun pobo dependente que non controla os seus recursos nin a súa economía.

En realidade, Israel nunca considerou, nen como mera hipótese, a posibilidade de renunciar ao racismo e entenderse cun pobo que aspira á autodeterminación na súa propia terra, nin tampouco respeitar aquela lexislación internacional que prexudique os seus intereses. Todas e cada una das súas condicións innegociábeis -oposición á soberanía palestina en Xerusalén, oposición ao dereito de regreso dos refuxiados, oposición ao retroceso ás fronteiras de 1967, oposición ao desmantelamento das colonias- están en directa oposición coas necesidades palestinas imprescindíbeis e premente, á vez que violan as distintas resolucións alcanzadas nas Nacións Unidas, como a 181, a 194 e a 242. Nin Israel nin o seu principal protector, os Estados Unidos, teñen ningún interese en atender una lexislación que non ten ningún instrumento para se impor. Polo contrario, o uso da forza é o principal recurso de Israel mentres o pobo palestino defenda a resistencia e non renuncie para sempre á liberdade.

No entanto, o vello slogan do sionismo –“un pobo sen terra para unha terra sen pobo”- contrasta non só coa existencia, senón coa resistencia continuada do movemento nacional e popular palestino. A pesar das dificuldades de todo tipo, debidas tanto ao poder do inimigo como ás históricas desputas internas entre faccións (á súa vez alimentadas e propiciadas por Israel), trátase dunha heroica loita de liberación nacional que perdura a pesar da xigantesca desigualdade inicial de forzas co inimigo, da ausencia de consideracións humanitarias de calquer tipo por parte deste, e dos consecuentes enormes sacrificios que implica, que inclúen a morte, a tortura e o padecemento nas prisións durante décadas.

Así, o Movemento Galego ao Socialismo quer aproveitar o vergoñento centenario da Declaración Balfour para emitir as seguintes consideracións sobre a loita de liberación palestina:

— Reafirmamos a nosa solidariedade permanente coa causa do pobo palestino, á que ademais definimos como o corazón de todas as loitas de liberación no mundo árabe, tanto contra os réximes reaccionarios na rexión como na resistencia anti-imperialista nun un espazo central da xeopolítica global. O debilitamento e  posterior derrota da hexemonía atlantista e sionista na rexión representan un obxectivo común para todas as revolucionarias e revolucionarios do mundo.

— Reclamamos o dereito do pobo palestino a exercer a autodeterminación e constituír o seu propio Estado unitariamente e en toda a Palestina histórica, ao consideralo un dereito inalienábel que ademais permitiría plenamente acadar as aspiracións de liberdade, independencia e retorno dos refuxiados.  Non obstante, denunciamos tamén o incumprimento actual das resolucións das Nacións Unidas que permitirían crear un Estado soberano e independente nas fronteiras previas á guerra de 1967, con Xerusalén como capital e sen o abandono do dereito ao retorno como contrapartida.

— Condenamos a alianza das potencias capitalistas con Israel, en particular dos Estados Unidos de América, a OTAN, o Estado Español, a Unión Europea e os seus aliados na rexión. Lonxe de proporcionar calquer apoio á causa palestina, están comprometidas con Israel e son axentes imprescindíbeis na perpetuación da ocupación e o apartheid; os crimes cometidos desde hai cen anos contra o pobo palestino son absolutamente inseparábeis do imperialismo e das súas decisións políticas, económicas e militares.

— Recoñecemos a lexitimidade de todos os métodos de resistencia do pobo palestino para acadar a súa liberdade mentres perdure a ocupación. Rexeitamos as pretensións das distintas potencias imperialistas de impor falsos acordos que non partan do dereito á autodeterminación, o fin da impunidade e da ocupación.

— Manifestamos a nosa especial solidariedade con todas as prisioneiras e prisioneiros que continúan a súa loita anti-imperialista de liberación nacional nas prisións de Israel, así como con todos os refuxiados, acollidos ou non nas instalacións das Nacións Unidas (UNRWA) que aspiran a volver ás terras e propiedades das que foran expulsados.

— Comprometémonos a reforzar esta solidariedade e acción anti-imperialista, profundizando no noso coñecemento dos principios, estratexias e iniciativas da resistencia palestina. Chamamos ademais ao pobo galego a fomentar e ampliar os tradicionais sentimentos de irmandade e solidariedade co pobo  palestino, así como a reforzar as distintas organizacións e movementos anti-imperialistas solidarios coa causa palestina e cos dereitos dos pobos frente ao hexemonismo atlantista-sionista, nomeadamente a campaña internacional polo Boicote, Desinvestimento e Sancións (BDS) que permite debilitar a normalización da existencia dun réxime racista e baseado na limpeza étnica.