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New Israeli atrocities on the border hide a desperate fear of Intifada

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The Israeli killing machine slaughters more peaceful protesters, writes Dave Stockton, as a growing mood of resistance sweeps the Palestinian people

The self-styled "only democracy in the Middle East” has demonstrated its credentials once again by shooting down unarmed demonstrators at the border fences with Syria close to the frontier village of Majdal Shams. Unconfirmed first reports say 14 people were killed and over 220 wounded. "Anyone who tries to cross the border will be killed" Israeli soldiers shouted through loudspeakers.

They were as good as their word. Israeli TV covered the scene with reporters expressing delight as Israeli snipers targeted individual demonstrators. After the lethal volleys failed to disperse the crowds, the soldiers fired tear gas over the border. Israel's chief military spokesman, Brigadier-General Yoav Mordechai, said, "It's a message to anyone who tries to violate Israel's sovereign borders," In fact these borders are recognized only by the expansionary Zionist colonial settler state.

The protesters were marking the 44th anniversary of the 1967 war when the Zionists occupied the whole of Palestine as well as the Syrian Golan Heights.

On 15 May - Nakba Day the commemoration of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland - demonstrations thousands strong took place on the Golan Heights border, in Lebanon and in Gaza, and the West Bank. In early March a group of Arab and Palestinian youth activists created a Facebook page calling for a third Palestinian Intifada to begin on 15 May In a matter of weeks it attracted thousands to the call. They also called for an end to the division between the Fatah regime of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.

Catching the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) by surprise thousands of demonstrators tore gaps in the border fence and marched in. The Israelis then opened fire, killing of at least 12 demonstrators. The governments forcibly prevented simultaneous Nakba Day border demonstrations in Egypt and Jordan.
Inspired by the Arab Spring young Palestinian in the refugee camps in surrounding countries, in the West Bank and Gaza, and in post-1948 Israel too, are organising, using the internet.

American freelance reporter Anna Therese Day reports the following statements.

Therese Day reports the following statements. (
"This will be the most glorious of the Intifadas. We are more organized than ever, we protest non-violently for years now, no matter what they do to us. But now we know how to get the media to watch us," said Fahed K a 24-year-old Palestinian activist and engineer from the West Bank. "Israel only knows violence. They don't know what to do when we don't behave violently, so they get scared that the world will figure out what they're doing. They can keep trying to kill us and steal our land, but the world is watching now because of what those terrorists did to Gaza. They will see who are the real terrorists now."

And in the surrounding countries youth are organizing too.

"In the new Egypt, we will no longer let our government support this injustice against our Arab brothers in Palestine. We are here to tell Israel that this game is over," said Mohammad S, 22, who studying at the American University in Cairo. "The crimes against the Palestinians end now. They can have Israel, they can have West 'Jerusalem,' and they can do what they want there, but we will have Al Quds [East Jerusalem], and it will be the capital of Palestine."

Hebaa A, a 19-year-old student and activist in Damascus, a child of Palestinian refugees from the 1967 Arab-Israeli War said: "I am happy for this new intifada to awaken the Arabs and the people of Palestine to Israel's terror. What they did to Gaza...They bomb families in Gaza, they terrorize the West Bank, they bomb the UN even, they bomb refugee camps even here in Syria," She added; "What about the Israelis? Are they not terrorists because they have planes and USA [American] weapons to kill innocents?"

In Gaza - where more than half the 1.5 million population is under 18 a Facebook a group called Gaza Youth Breaks Out has issued an angry Manifesto for Change. It expresses rage against the occupation but also again the repressive regimes in Gaza and the West Bank. "Fuck Hamas" begins the text. "Fuck Israel, Fuck Fatah, Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community!"

It goes on: "Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed. We are afraid of living, because every single step we take has to be considered and well-thought, there are limitations everywhere, we cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want, sometimes we even can't think what we want because the occupation has occupied our brains and hearts so terrible that it hurts and it makes us want to shed endless tears of frustration and rage!"

The manifesto ends: "We want three things. We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask?"

The desperate anger of this call is no surprise given the genocidal actions by the Zionists and the horrific four year siege of Gaza, its toleration by Obama, Cameron, Merkel and Sarkozy. For all their talk of support for "Arab democracy" it clearly does not include the people of Palestine. Not surprising too is the rage of the youth against Hamas whose forces suppressed demonstrations in support of the Egyptian revolution in Gaza, just as Fatah forces die on the West Bank.

The eruption of the Arab revolutions has horrified the Zionists precisely because of the danger that democratic regimes in the surrounding countries will not continue the de facto collusion with Israel and the USA; seen most disgustingly during the bloody siege of Gaza - but in the general besieging sealing off of all the occupied Palestinian lands. The first step is the Egyptian government- forced at last to open the Rafah border crossing.

Also alarming to Israel's rulers is the agreement signed in Egypt in early May between Fatah and Hamas to form a joint-caretaker government and hold elections After the signing, the head of the Palestinian National Administration, Mahmoud Abbas, discredited by the Wikileaks revelations about how he was offering concessions on all the main issues in the last round of talks Abbas' was obliged to talk tough. He announced that if there was no progress towards talks by September, he would go to the UN General Assembly in New York with a plan to get their independence recognised.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal welcomed the peace deal with Fatah with the words "Our first and true battle is with the Israeli enemy and not with Palestinian factions or among sons of one homeland," The first thing these gentlemen should do then is to unconditionally lift the ban on demonstrations and political activity by the youth and workers in their own territories.

Abbas and Mashaal’s gestures of defiance led to Barack Obama rushing to assure Israel that the US will veto any such move. At the same time he ventured to suggest that Israel must eventually accept negotiations with the Palestinians - but not with a government that included Hamas - for a state based on the 1967 borders "but with territorial swaps." This was instantaneously reject by Netanyahu during his visit to Washington when he effectively slapped down the hapless Obama in front of Congress and received 30 standing ovations for his work. "Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967" he stated adding "You have to understand this - in Judea and Samaria (Zionistspeak for the West Bank), the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers."

Some of the biggest applause from the Israeli war criminal came when he listed the things Palestinians would have to accept before any deal was on offer from him. He went on "Jerusalem must never again be divided, it must remain the united capital of Israel" and ruled out any right of return of Palestinian refugees, Moreover that any Palestinian statelet would be disarmed and its border on the Jordan garrisoned by Israeli troops.

Obama quickly corrected any misunderstandings about forcing Israel back to its pre-1967 borders. At a May 22 meeting of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) he reasserted that the "commitment of the United States to the security of Israel is ironclad", and that any Palestinian state would have to recognize "the new demographic realities on the ground" doublespeak for the illegal settlements which have taken the best land, sized strategic points on roads and hilltops and would make a future Palestinian state non-contiguous and non-viable.

But what the Israeli’s most fear is not Hamas and Fatah or the Arab regimes, but the mass revolutionary movements of youth and workers in the region will indeed inspire a Third Palestinian Intifada. That this in turn will mobilize mass actions across the region and beyond, in solidarity with it.

In fact behind Netanyahu's arrogance the Israeli ruling class elite is increasingly divided about how to respond to changes in the regions geopolitics caused by the revolutions. In an interview in the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth former Mossad chief, Meir Dagan, who retired in January, described the cabinet of Binyamin Netanyahu as "irresponsible and reckless." He described other high placed retirees from the state forces - Yuval Diskin, the head of the Shin Bet internal security agency and IDF head Gabi Ashkenazi - as having previously been able to restrain Netanyahu on the issue of attacking Iran. This might seem a "way out" for the perplexed but vicious right wing government but it could bring down the house down about their ears. Dagan warned that if Israel attacks Iran, it will find itself at the centre of a regional war that would endanger the state's very existence

This caused angry accusations from government ministers accusing him of betrayal and saying he should be arrested. But Rami Igra, another former senior Mossad official, then told the Jerusalem Post that Dagan "has a right to say what he thinks, and his view is based on many years of experience in security". Dagan also said that Israel is in a dangerous and weak situation if the Palestinians push for U.N. recognition of a state in September. He endorsed Saudi Arabia's "peace plan" which offered Israel normal relations with all Arab countries if it reaches a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

The next few months could prove a historic opportunity for the Palestinians. Everything depends on the successful launching of a new mass Intifada, both within and outside the 1967 and 1948 borders. It will necessitate mobilising the youth, seeking links with and action from workers. It must focus in the first instance on democratic rights - including the right to demonstrate, the release of all political prisoners, , the withdrawal of the IDF from the West Bank and the border crossings with Gaza, the right to self-determination.

It should support an immediate and unconditional declaration of Palestinian state on the West Bank and in Gaza and demand its recognition by the world without "recognising the state of Israel to exist" - abandoning the historic demand of a secular democratic state in whole of Palestine.

It should seek the support of Israeli peace activists and trade unionists making clear it will have no truck with anti-Semitism and that it supports complete and equal rights for Jews.

Such an Intifada must be supported not only by the Palestinian exiles in the Arab world but also by the mass democracy movements there, above all by the working class movement and the independent trade unions. In Europe and North America the youth, antiwar and labour movements must mobilise to prevent the imperialist rulers from coming to Israel's aid to launch a workers and youth boycott of Israel.