The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) stands unequivocally in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their struggle for freedom. The Zionist Israeli settler colonial state, today led by Benjamin Netanyahu and his extreme right wing coalition, have for more than seven decades, dispossessed, oppressed, murdered, massacred, brutalised, tortured and imprisoned Palestinians in Gaza. The Palestinian people have been dehumanised and killed like flies. The Western media takes the lives of Israeli’s seriously, and it treats them as full human beings. However Palestinians are treated as sub-humans, and their lives are disposable.
The oppression of the Palestinians is an ethical crisis for the whole world. It is also a global issue in another way as Palestine has been a testing ground of all sorts of weapons and technologies which are then exported around the world, including South Africa, the U.S. and elsewhere.
It has been sadly predictable to see Western governments lining up to describe the attack on Israel by Hamas as ‘unprovoked’. When Israel the oppressor, brutalises the oppressed, forces them from the land, maims and kills them indiscriminately and robs of them of their dignity for decades, it is inevitable that there will be counter-violence from the oppressed. Justice is the only road to peace.
There are many political currents among the Palestinians, including those that support non-violent forms of resistance such as the BDS movement. However, even these forms of nonviolent resistance have been treated as illegitimate by the Israeli state and in many parts of the world. Under these circumstances, in which people are subjected to wretched forms of oppression organised through an extreme form of racism, the response to their resistance is received through the barrel of a gun, and counter-violence by the oppressed is as inevitable as the rising sun.
It is our firm view that this is what has happened this past weekend. Children have been killed on one side of the border. Now they have also been killed on the other side. We really regard what is happening as a tragedy that could have been avoided by simply giving Palestinian people their long fought for freedom.
In South Africa we avoided a cataclysmic war and forged a democracy in a unitary state. There is no reason why the same cannot be achieved in Israel and Palestine. Of course we have failed to address the class question in South Africa and the oppressed masses of Palestine should learn from this, and avoid placing their faith in nationalist elites. They should work to build a mass socialist organisation.
As usual the response to this current outbreak of terrible violence has been met with crude double standards in the Western media, and among Western politicians. We are particularly angered and dismayed by the irresponsible, senseless and insensitive responses of the President of the United States, Joe Biden. The self-righteousness of a man that leads the country that recently destroyed Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq is grotesque. He has demonstrated consistently both in the NATO war against Russia, which is presented as a Russia-Ukraine war, and now, in the war breaking out between Palestine and Israel, that he is incapable of taking positions in conflict situations that can lead to peace and end wars.
NUMSA calls on all people of the world to condemn the reckless statements made by President Biden, in this Israel and Palestine war where, if anything, instead of addressing the crisis that has engulfed the lives of both the people of Israel and Palestine, he chose to take sides indiscriminately with Israel when he said,
“The United States Stands with Israel. We will not ever fail to have her back.”
This statement by the President of the Empire, the United States of America, is absolutely reckless and he continues to present the United States of America as a bully and as the international police of the world that dictates what is good and what is bad. We reject the idea that America has the sole right to define democracy, development and justice, and how to be good citizens of the world, out of its own interests and image. There is absolutely nothing democratic about this. This attitude of the U.S. dictating to other nations of the world, must be rejected and condemned with the contempt it deserves. There is nothing democratic about it. The fundamental question is: where was Biden when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were brutally killed by the racist Zionist settler state over seven decades?
The decision by the United States to send, in the face of this bloody war, the latest military ships, including an aircraft carrier and additional aircraft, to move closer to the Eastern Mediterranean is a violent act that encapsulates this culture of promoting wars and sorting out national conflicts with the barrel of the gun and bombing those who have different views, or simply imposing sanctions against them for choosing their path of development.
This political posture of the United States of America contributes nothing to the necessary effort by civilised people of the world to do everything to find a peaceful solution in a permanent raging war, which has been permanently unleashed by Israel on the people of Palestine. The U.S. both in Israel and Palestine, and in the war between Russia and NATO, is a culprit that is permanently fuelling violence and war, instead of cultivating peace and driving negotiations with the sole intention that all of these wars must come to an end.
At the back of the United States of America’s support to Israel, we have witnessed the vicious indiscriminate bombing of Gaza. When it comes to the lives of Palestinians, unleashing violence upon them, maiming and killing them, by Israel does not attract the same sympathy by the U.S. which it accords to the people of Israel killed by Hamas. Why? Are Palestinians less human than Israelis in the eyes of the U.S.? All this reminds us of what we witnessed from the US when they bombed Afghanistan and Iraq, as the people of the world asked, “What about women and children that are killed in the name of fighting terrorism and the destruction of weapons of mass destruction which actually never existed?”
The standard response of the U.S. was that their deaths constituted inevitable “collateral damage”. All the indiscriminate attacks on unarmed civilians are war crimes. We cannot allow the double standards that give impunity to the U.S. and its proxy, Israel, to continue.
We repeat: we are of the view that the recent actions of Hamas in Israel are a result of an accumulation of the many years of violence unleashed against the Palestinian people by the fascist, racist Israeli regime. It is our firm view that this crisis, just like every great problem, must deliver great solutions. This crisis must not make us lose faith in humanity, justice and peace. We must do everything to negotiate a just political solution to the raging war between Hamas and Israel, which is now resulting in the total destruction of Gaza. There are great dangers of escalation in the coming days as Israel bombs and flattens Gaza.
NUMSA salutes the bravery and the courage demonstrated by the people of Palestine, who for decades, have had to suffer daily degradation and violence at the hands of the fascist regime in Tel Aviv. Israel has stolen land from Palestine; it has built what the U.N. calls, a permanent ‘open air prison’ where Palestinian people are abused and their basic human rights have been stripped by the vicious Israeli, Zionist state. The Israeli state has actively denied Palestinian people their basic rights to health care, they have deprived them of water, and now fuel, food, medicines and electricity. They jail people, even children, without trial. They have embarked on a decade’s long campaign of ethnic cleansing. The right-wing Zionist forces in Israel would like to wipe Palestinian and Palestinians from the face of this earth. This has been state-sanctioned genocide that makes sense only to the President of the U.S.A. Joe Biden. We further condemn any suggestions within the EU to withdraw aid to Palestine. As Gaza is attacked, there is nothing more provocative and inhumane than the deliberate cutting of water, food, fuels, medicines and electricity, as conscious acts imposed on Palestinians by Netanyahu backed by Joe Biden.
NUMSA calls for an end to all wars and this includes the war between NATO and Russia, the war between Palestine and Israel, all wars on the African continent, the war in Sudan and the war in DRC. We are making a clarion call for peace negotiations to end all wars and to silence the guns, in favour of a just peace for the working class and the poor rural people of the world. Progressive forces around the world need to mobilize to demand that United Nations impose an immediate ceasefire and compels Israel to begin negotiations. Of course this will mean confronting Biden and the US government as they are the key backers of the fascist regime in Israel.
It will be interesting if the people of the world were to take stock and do an international audit, that over and above the lives that we continue to lose, who are the beneficiaries of these wars? In other words which countries’ arms industries are the beneficiary of these wars? Which countries and their political elite make money out of these wars that are killing innocent people, and women and children of the world? We therefore call upon the workers of the world to unite and to double their efforts, to fight to abolish capitalism, and the racism and sexism that sustains it, because capitalism is ultimately the source of all wars!
The struggle continues!
Issued by Irvin Jim
NUMSA General Secretary
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