Statement of the Israeli Communist Forum (11/2009) Denounce War Crimes and not Those Who Expose Them

The Israeli Communist Forum condemns the ongoing incitement campaign by the Israeli establishment against the Goldstone Report.  This report has once more exposed the horrific war crimes that were perpetrated as part of the recent massive military attack on the Gaza Strip.  Over 1,300 people were killed, including many women and children; thousands more were wounded; and there were widespread destruction and devastation that will take many years to repair.

It is not those who uncover and censure the crimes who should be attacked but rather those who committed them, first and foremost the political leaders who stood behind these atrocities.

We commend the adoption of the Goldstone Report by the UN General Assembly by a vote of 114 in favor and 18 against, with 44 abstaining.  Adoption of the report constitutes an important contribution to the efforts to prevent a further recurrence of such war crimes as have been committed in Gaza.

The way to extricate ourselves from the ongoing cycle of wars eventually lies only through a political agreement based upon an Israeli withdrawal to the lines of June ’67, and the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state within those lines and alongside the state of Israel.  The policy of the present rightwing government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu pushes away any possibility of achieving agreement and creates the danger of eruption of more violence.  The illusory hopes certain Israeli peace forces placed in the new US president, Barak Obama, have proved to be totally disappointing.  In spite of pronouncements, that have been less one-sided than those during the Bush presidency, fundamentally, US policies in the Middle East have not changed, and there have been no signs of any intention on the part of the new US administration to apply serious pressure upon the Israeli government to change its course of action.  Even in the matter of cessation of building in the settlements – about which Obama speaks often – no real pressure has been applied upon Israel, and the construction continues without letup, even now.  Neither has there been any pressure on Israel to end the blockade of Gaza, which continues to cause tremendous suffering to local inhabitants, and is likely to cause additional humanitarian catastrophes in the course of the coming winter.

This being the case, Israeli peace forces must continue and expand the difficult struggle against policies of the hawkish rightwing government that continue to create new pressure points.  Take, for example, the most recent acts of the government in East Jerusalem during which brutal force was used against Palestinian demonstrators and many Muslims were deprived of their right to pray in their holy places on what is called the “Temple Mount”.

At the same time a severe attack is also underway against the Arab population inside Israel and against its political leaders.  There are more and more incidents lately of home demolitions, land confiscations, and additional damage to Arab property, especially In the Negev, Galilee, the mixed cities, in Umm al-Fahm and all through Wadi Ara area. Recently plans have been accelerated to establish a new ultra-orthodox city in Wadi Ara, intended for no less than 20,000 residential dwellings, all in order to stop what is referred to as the “expansion of the Arab presence in Wadi Ara…”.

During recent months a series of decisions have been taken that are intended to prevent the Arab population from commemorating the day of the Naqba (the Catastrophe), and special sanctions have been determined for violations.  There is a plan to compel the singing of “Hatikva” in Israeli Arab schools, and there is even the intention to Hebraize  the names of Israeli Arab towns.

Against this background, the leading institutions of the Israeli Arab population called for a general strike.  A successful general strike of the Israeli Arab population took place on October 1 this year.  On that day also marked the ninth anniversary of the events of October 2000 during which thirteen Israeli Arabs were murdered by Israeli security forces.  Despite all the committees and all the investigations that took place following these events, not even one official has been brought to trial for his part in the killings.

At the same time baseless charges have been filed against Arab Leaders. We condemn the new decision of the Attorney General to indict MP Muhammad Barakeh, Chairman of DFPE (HADASH) and call for immediate lifting of all judicial measures which were taken against him and against other Arab leaders, and also to cancel all charges against Jewish and Arab peace activist who "dared" to protest against the last war and war crime, which were committed in Gaza.

The steps against the Arab population are accompanied by the severest anti-Arab incitement, undertaken by the highest government officials, whose long range goal is to implement a political transfer of the leadership of the Arab population in Israel as a prelude to an actual transfer of Arab population later on.  The proposal to separate parts of the Triangle region from Israel in a future political arrangement is part of the incitement campaign which presents the Israeli Arab population as a “demographic threat” that “must be held in check at any price.”

In this political situation we believe it is very important to have united action of all the Arab and Jewish forces who consistently oppose the present policies of ongoing occupation and oppression, of igniting new flashpoints and wars, of discrimination against the Arab population and marginalizing it until it lies completely outside the political arena.  In this context the possibility needs to be explored of cooperation with various political forces both within the Arab and Jewish populations.

Such united activity can create a stronger opposition to all the present government’s dangerous schemes and its socio-economic policies, expressed in large cuts in health, welfare, and education budgets, and imposition of a series of new decrees that hit hardest the workers and the weakest classes while at the same time granting additional benefits to capitalists and adding a considerable increase to security and war budgets.