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The Terrorists' Summit

The Militant, Vol.60, no.13, 1 April 1996

Washington assembled a true terrorist summit in Sharm el Sheik, Egypt, March 13—a conference aimed at backing up the main perpetrator of terror in the Middle East.

As U.S. president Bill Clinton, Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres, and a variety of other heads of state mouthed phrases about peace, Tel Aviv was sealing off villages, destroying Palestinian houses, and denying access to work, food, and medical care to 1.2 million people. At the peace meeting, Clinton took the unprecedented step of openly backing this collective punishment by the Israeli regime against Palestinians.

High-level officials from most of the Arab governments in the region participated in the gathering. This reflects the increasing end of any pretense that these bourgeois regimes stand up for the national rights of the Palestinians—the central question of the class struggle in the Middle East. Washington has sought to rely more on these regimes, in addition to Tel Aviv, to uphold its imperialist interests in the region, especially since the 1991 Gulf War. Yasir Arafat, president of the Palestinian Authority and chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, also gave credence to the summit by his attendance. While the PLO remains a national liberation organization, its central leadership has its eyes increasingly on imperialism, not on organizing an uncompromising fight against the Zionist colonial-settler regime in Israel.

In the face of systematic terror by the Zionist regime, backed up by Washington's support and the complicity of those claiming to speak for the Arab population, Palestinian workers and youth continue to resist, demanding self-determination against Israeli oppression. In the absence of a mass movement with revolutionary leadership, Palestinian fighters strike out with whatever means they can find—including the suicide bombings and attacks on Israeli soldiers occupying southern Lebanon.

The rulers are quick to hypocritically label this resistance as terror, and point to it to justify further assaults against the Palestinians. Many of those claiming to speak in the interests of the working class internationally tail after them. The March 9 issue of the People's Weekly World, the paper of the Communist Party, U.S.A., for example, declared in an editorial, The terrorist bombings that have killed 61 Israelis in the past several days arouse the indignation of all humanity. The World condemned Hamas as a group of right-wing extremists.

Working people should reject this position 100 percent. Writing in 1916, Bolshevik leader V.I. Lenin explained, To imagine that social revolution is conceivable without revolts by small nations in the colonies and in Europe, without revolutionary outbursts by a section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without a movement of the politically non-conscious proletarian and semi-proletarian masses against oppression by the landowners, the church, and the monarchy, against national oppression, etc.—to imagine all this is to repudiate social revolution. This remains as true 80 years later.

Working people the world over can breathe a sigh of relief and rejoice that the antiterrorist propaganda offensive by imperialism and its labor lackeys is met by determined resitance from Palestinian, Irish, Quebecois, and Mexican- American militants.

The Palestinian fight for national liberation deserves the solidarity of all workers and supporters of democratic rights. The task before workers around the world is to answer the propaganda of the real terrorists—those in Washington and Tel Aviv.