People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 16, 2007
Bring Palestine Issue Back Into Focus: CPI(M)
N S Arjun
THE Communist Party of India (Marxist) has called upon all democratic sections of people to bring back the issue of Palestine into focus in the ongoing anti-imperialist struggle. In this connection it has also called for a popular struggle against the Indian government's increasing security and military colloboration with Israel.
Addressing a seminar on 'West Asia: After Annapolis' organised by the 'Committee for an Independent Foreign Policy' in New Delhi on November 8, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat asserted that popular pressure can indeed be brought upon the government to stop this colloboration with Israel till it comes to a negotiated settlement with Palestinians.
Acknowledging that there are sections in our country who see Israel as our “natural ally” and that both Congress and BJP are united in seeing the strengthening of this relationship, Karat said the recent fight against Indo-US nuclear deal gives us enough confidence that people can be mobilised on this issue also. Strongly disapproving the UPA government's continuation of the early 1990s policy of developing closer ties with Israel, Karat said today real strategic alliance has already been forged with Israel. “Our three and half years of experience has told us that the UPA government will not move an inch from this alliance. This is a serious problem for us”, he said. India striving to become a strategic ally of the US is also linked to its relationship with Israel, he felt.
On the recent Annapolis conference hosted by US, Karat termed it as a farce which has been further proved by the fact that days after the conference Israle is expanding its illegal settlements. He said the Palestinian people cannot expect much from this meet. Questioning the role of Bush as an arbitrator in this peace process, Karat reminded that it was the same Bush who changed the contours of US stand fundamentally by endorsing Sharon's move of settlements and disallowing return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. A lame duck president who is in the last year of office with plunging ratings is teaming up with the most discredited Israeli prime minister (with 10 per cent ratings) to arbitrate in this matter. With Blair also involved in the process, he wondered how the same duo who wrought havoc on Iraq would bring peace to Palestine.
Prakash Karat referred to the division in Palestinians and said this was giving hope to Bush-Blair to pull off their gameplan. Linking this situation in West Bank and Gaza to the divide and rule policy of US, Karat hoped that the Palestinian people will overcome this phase and advance in the struggle unitedly. He expressed total solidarity with the Palestinian people who are facing daily attacks, arrests, demolition of homes etc.
Dr Ahmad Maslamani from Beit Hanina, Jerusalem in his intervention painted a vivid picture of the struggle of Palestinians to carry on living. In a powerpoint presentation, Dr Maslamani, who is also director general of the Health Work Committees, showed how almost 99 per cent of the resistance was civilian resistance. Mighty armoured vehicles, automatic rifles, bull dozers, tanks etc were being valiantly fought by women, men and children with just stones! The terrible impact of the Apartheid Wall on the lives of the Palestinian people, including the harassment, humiliation at the numerous check points was depicted. He said this harassment was ten times more than what the Blacks in South Africa faced at the height of apartheid. The video shots of a demolition of a Palestinian house showed the use of high powered explosives with utter disregard to casualties. He said that 1200 houses were demolished in Nablus alone.
Dr Maslamani charged the Americans of conspiring along with Israelis to completely crush the resistance. He said the presence of CIA office in Ramallah is a part of this design. In significant remarks, he said the recent conference in Annapolis was linked to American efforts to isolate Iran, particularly in the background of the severe setbacks to US-Israel in Iraq and Lebanon.
Professor Aijaz Ahmed in his speech found fault with the US hosting this conference and said that any notion of international law has been abolished by imperial project and replaced by 'international community'. He felt this is an extremely dangerous development in modern bourgeoisie society and called on countries like India to insist that every discussion must take place under law. He felt the Annapolis conference was merely a photo op for Bush and Co with nothing substantial emerging except for reiteration of the need to continue the Road Map. Professor Ahmed also felt that this conference was also intended to show the breadth of Arab fangs against Iran. He asserted that the so-called two State solution is a demand against Palestinians living in Israel and therefore this demand is totally untenable.
Retired diplomat M K Bhadrakumar said that Indian foreign policy has been changed beyond recognition over the past few years and that there are fundamental wrongs with it. He felt flexibility in diplomacy does not mean lack of principles. He warned against allowing Israelis any foothold in our trouble-spots like Kashmir, where they were invited by the government recently. He said Turkey made similar mistake by taking the help of Israelis in dealing with Kurds. Today Turkey is paying the price because the steel framework for separatist Kurdistan movement is Israel. “Israel is nobody's friend”, he said.
Activist journalist Seema Mustafa and Delhi Science Forum activist Prabir Purkayastha participated in the seminar as organisers.