Manifestation antifa et antiraciste de Montréal pour s’opposer à la montée de l’extrême-droite

Les manifestantEs, estiméEs à environ 5 000 par les organisateursTRICES, ont marché dans les rues de Montréal ce dimanche 12 novembre pour s’opposer à la haine, au racisme, à l’extrême droite et à la loi sur la neutralité religieuse.

Réunis à la place Émilie-Gamelin, les marcheurs se sont rendus à la Place du Canada, au centre-ville, où la statue de l’ancien premier ministre du Canada John A. Macdonald et « Père de la Confédération canadienne » (1867) a été aspergée de peinture rouge dans la nuit de samedi à dimanche. Un groupe « antiraciste et anticolonialiste », déclarant ne pas faire partie de l’organisation de la marche, a revendiqué le coup d’éclat. L’un des Pères de la Confédération aurait été, selon eux, un « raciste ».

Par cette manifestation, les organisateurs visaient notamment les groupes ultranationalistes, tels que La Meute, et l’adoption de la loi 62 sur la neutralité religieuse, qui impose de donner et recevoir des services à visage découvert.

Des slogans ont également été scandés, notamment ceux-ci:  SoSoSo solidarité avec avec la Palestine; Make racist afraid again; un peuple uni jamais ne sera vaincu; un peuple armé jamais ne sera vaincu; À qui la rue, À nous la rue!

Abattre le capitalisme

Construire la solidarité

Publicités

Déclaration de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah – 21 octobre 2017

 

Déclaration de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah – 21 octobre 2017

Cher »e »s camarades, cher »e »s ami »e »s,

Vous savoir rassemblé-es en ces moments face à ces abominables murs et autres miradors nous apporte ici, beaucoup de force et nous fait chaud au coeur. L’ambiance, toute l’ambiance change dans ces sinistres lieux quand l’écho de la vie agissante vient percuter la platitude sans nom d’une quotidienne carcérale mortifère … ainsi, si près de nos cellules, la résonance de votre présence suscite beaucoup d’émotion et autant d’enthousiasme…

Certainement camarades, les diverses initiatives solidaires que vous avez su développer tout au long de cette 33e année de captivité, non seulement ont participé efficacement à démasquer l’absurdité de l’acharnement judiciaire et la vengeance d’État, mais surtout elles ont apporté un cinglant démenti à tous ceux et celles qui misaient sur l’essoufflement de votre élan solidaire.

Bien entendu Camarades, vous n’êtes pas sans savoir que c’est aussi grâce à cette mobilisation dans la diversité de l’engagement que les protagonistes révolutionnaires ici dans les geôles de la république ainsi qu’ailleurs, arrivent à tenir debout derrière les abominables murs en dépit des toutes ces années de captivité…

Force est de constater Camarades, que la politique d’anéantissement dont font l’objet les protagonistes révolutionnaires incarcérés, est vouée immanquablement à l’échec dans la mesure où l’on assume la solidarité sur le terrain de la lutte anticapitaliste/anti-impérialiste. On n’y insiste jamais assez camarades, ce n’est qu’en assumant la solidarité sur le terrain de la lutte de classe en cours et dans toutes ses dimensions que l’on apporte le soutien le plus efficace à nos camarades prisonniers.

À l’aube de cette 34e année de captivité, vous êtes toujours là Camarades, sur le terrain de la lutte et vos multiples initiatives réconfortent et fortifient plus que jamais ma résolution et ma détermination. À mes côtés ici des valeureux camarades basques résistent toujours, et depuis tant d’années. L’aménagement des peines ainsi que la « suspension des peines pour raison médicale » sont systématiquement refusés du moment où l’en est militant basque. Le cas du Camarade Ibon Fernandez est symptomatique à cet égard. Et pourtant on aurait pu s’attendre à autre chose suite à l’initiative toujours en cours de leur principale organisation de lutte.

Ceci dit Camarades, des geôles sionistes à celles du Maroc, des cellules d’isolement en Turquie à celles encore plus sombres en Grèce, aux Philippines et ailleurs en Europe et de par le monde, c’est toujours le même constat : au fur et à mesure que la crise du système s’approfondit et se généralise, l’acharnement judiciaire devient un simple élément d’une large panoplie mise à disposition de la contre-révolution préventive. Bien entendu cette panoplie des mesures et des lois ne cesse de s’étoffer toujours plus Camarades en ces temps de crise générale où l’on transforme les mesures de l’État d’urgence en simple loi du droit commun.

Camarades, les conditions de détention dans les geôles sionistes ne cessent de s’empirer de jour en jour en dépit des accords conclus lors de la dernière grève de la faim. Et comme vous le savez Camarades, pour y faire face, la solidarité internationale s’avère une arme indispensable…

Bien entendu les masses populaires palestiniennes et leurs avant-gardes révolutionnaires peuvent toujours compter sur votre mobilisation. C’est une belle occasion pour dire au criminel Netanyahou et ses consorts que le peuple palestinien n’est pas seul.
Peut-être faut-il toujours rappeler que plus de 300 enfants, des Fleurs et des Lionceaux, croupissent dans les geôles sionistes dans des conditions particulièrement difficiles.

Peut-être faut-il rappeler que le nombre de détenus administratifs ne cessent de se multiplier. Et certainement le Camarade Salah Hamouri ne sera pas le dernier du moment où l’occupant n’a pas à rendre compte devant les instances internationales de la barbarie et de ses mesures arbitraires qui frappent au quotidien tout un peuple.

Que mille initiatives solidaires fleurissent en faveur des Fleurs et Lionceaux palestiniens !
Que mille initiatives solidaires fleurissent en faveur des masses populaires en lutte !
Que mille initiatives solidaires fleurissent en faveur des révolutionnaires qui résistent dans les geôles sionistes et dans les cellules d’isolement au Maroc, en Turquie, en Grèce, aux Philippines et ailleurs de par le monde !
À bas l’impérialisme et ses chiens de garde sionistes et autres réactionnaires arabes !
Honneur aux martyrs et aux masses populaires en lutte !

La solidarité, toute la solidarité avec la lutte du peuple palestinien et ses résistants incarcérés !
La solidarité, toute la solidarité avec les camarades grévistes de la faim dans les geôles marocaines !
Honneur aux valeureux combattants du PKK !
Le capitalisme n’est plus que barbarie !

Ensemble camarades et ce n’est qu’ensemble que nous vaincrons !
À vous tous camarades mes plus chaleureuses salutations révolutionnaires.

Votre camarade Georges Abdallah

 

Source: http://liberonsgeorges.samizdat.net/ses-declarations/declaration-de-georges-ibrahim-abdallah-21-octobre-2017/

Pour une Campagne unitaire pour la Libération de Georges I. Abdallah

Le Parti Communiste Maoïste se joint à la campagne internationale pour exiger la libération immédiate du prisonnier révolutionnaire Georges I. Abdallah

 

 

Georges Ibrahim Abdallah entrera le 24 octobre dans sa 34e année de détention !

Arrêté en 1984, puis condamné à perpétuité pour complicité dans des actes de résistance revendiqués par les FARL, alors que son pays était occupé par les troupes sionistes, notre camarade Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, âgé de 33 ans lors de son arrestation, aura passé autant d’années dedans que dehors, sans jamais renier son engagement politique.

Que toutes celles et ceux qui comme nous, sont aux côtés des peuples en lutte, au côté de la résistance palestinienne, qui combattent le capitalisme, l’impérialisme, le sionisme, le colonialisme, se joignent à nous dans l’exigence de sa libération.

Venez nombreux et nombreuses samedi prochain, devant la prison de Lannemezan (Hautes Pyrénées).

La manifestation partira de la gare à 14h pour aller devant la prison.

Cars et covoiturage partiront de Paris, Toulouse, Marseille, Pau, Tarbes…et d’autres villes encore.

A Paris, rendez-vous vendredi 20 octobre, à 21h, au pied de la statue de la République, pour un départ en car à 22h. Retour à Paris dimanche vers 6h.

Vous n’avez pas encore réservé votre place ? Faites-le vite !

Contact : campagne.unitaire.gabdallah@gmail.com

Le texte fondateur de la Campagne unitaire pour la libération de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah :

LIBERTÉ POUR GEORGES ABDALLAH !

IL EST DE NOS LUTTES ! NOUS SOMMES DE SON COMBAT !

L’année 2015 a été une année où la population civile en France métropolitaine a subi des attentats massacres. L’État français s’est servi de cette situation particulière pour amplifier son système répressif sur le plan intérieur et guerrier sur le plan extérieur.

Notre réponse à cette situation extraordinaire doit être la convergence des résistances qu’elle implique : combat contre l’impérialisme et le terrorisme d’Etat (notamment celui de l’Etat sioniste) ; contre la violence d’État (militaire, policière, administrative), le racisme d’État, la répression et la fascisation de l’État en général, dirigées contre les peuples et les classes populaires des quartiers en particulier ; combat pour le droit juste et légitime à la révolte et à l’émancipation ; combat pour la libération des prisonniers politiques révolutionnaires.

Georges Abdallah – militant communiste libanais combattant pour la lutte de libération nationale de la Palestine, incarcéré dans les geôles de l’État français depuis plus de 31 ans – concentre en lui-même l’ensemble de ces luttes politiques. C’est en cela que nous disons qu’il est de nos luttes et que nous sommes de son combat, et que s’il est un état d’urgence à décréter, c’est bien celui pour la libération d’Abdallah !

ABDALLAH : TOUTE UNE VIE DE COMBAT

Contre l’impérialisme

Le 13 novembre 2015 restera la date, sur le plan de la politique extérieure de la France, de l’aval donné aux forces militaires françaises pour intensifier les bombardements et les attaques menés en Syrie et dans la région. L’impérialisme français sous couvert de la lutte contre le terrorisme déploie tout son arsenal de guerre pour asseoir son hégémonie et préserver ses intérêts. Les populations civiles massacrées, déplacées et niées dans leurs droits les plus essentiels ne sont pour les fauteurs de guerre que des dommages collatéraux. Ce chaos et cette terreur sont imposés aux peuples aux seuls bénéfices d’intérêts stratégiques et de guerres de pillage de l’impérialisme. Georges Abdallah durant toute sa vie a lutté et lutte encore contre l’impérialisme et les guerres faites aux peuples, et en cela il est pleinement de nos luttes.

Pour la Palestine

Le combat de Georges Abdallah est aussi celui de la résistance armée – celle à laquelle il a participé activement pour défendre le Liban contre l’agression sioniste et pour la lutte de libération nationale de la Palestine. Cette lutte reste au cœur de l’actualité. Le peuple Palestinien ne cesse de résister et de combattre, s’engageant aujourd’hui dans la voie d’une troisième intifada et appelant la résistance populaire à développer ses attaques contre l’occupant sioniste sous toutes les formes de lutte possibles. La résistance armée populaire est l’une de ces formes de lutte, pour la libération de toute la Palestine.

Contre la répression et pour le droit à la révolte

La violence et la répression d’État ne cessent de se renforcer, se militarisant même sous couvert de l’état d’urgence – véritable arme coloniale utilisée durant la guerre contre le peuple Algérien, contre le peuple Kanak et plus récemment (en temps de paix !) en 2005 contre les quartiers populaires. Perquisitions à toute heure, assignations à résidence, répression préventive, mise en garde à vue en masse d’opposants politiques, fichage et flicage à tout va, amplification des violences policières, utilisation immédiate et sans contrôle du droit à tuer donné aux forces de répression, contrôles au faciès institutionnalisés et généralisés : tout cela est devenu la normalité qu’ils imposent et que nous combattons.

Un des objectifs des gouvernants est de faire régner sous couvert d’une haute tension sécuritaire un climat de peur toujours plus intense, en utilisant notamment l’arme de l’islamophobie pour orienter le mécontentement populaire contre les étrangers, les immigrés, les sans-papiers, et en fin de compte diviser les exploités alors qu’ils ont tout intérêt à s’unir. Ce harcèlement et cette répression sont principalement dirigés contre les habitants des quartiers populaires et en particulier contre leur jeunesse discriminée et contre les militants. La fascisation du pouvoir s’appuie sur le racisme d’État et le chômage de masse organisé ; il s’agit de diviser pour mieux opprimer et exploiter. La criminalisation de l’action sociale et syndicale – comme les lourdes peines infligées dernièrement aux syndicalistes d’Air France et de Good Year – va aussi dans ce sens. Face à un tel État répressif et liberticide, un seul mot d’ordre se doit d’être opposé : celui du droit juste et légitime à se révolter. C’est ce terreau qui unit aussi nos luttes à celle de Georges Abdallah.

Pour la libération des prisonniers politiques révolutionnaires

Le combat de Georges Abdallah est celui d’un combattant communiste en prison, arrêté et détenu pour la lutte politique qui a été la sienne, pour les idées et les idéaux qu’il n’a eu de cesse de proclamer et de ne jamais renier. Sa résistance s’inscrit pleinement dans celle de tous ceux qui combattent aujourd’hui le système et rejettent sa domination sur la société et sur les peuples. C’est pour ses idées d’émancipation que Georges Abdallah s’est engagé dans la lutte. Ce sont pour elles et son combat révolutionnaire qu’il est encore détenu aujourd’hui. Pour cela nous exigeons sa libération immédiate et inconditionnelle.

Georges Abdallah s’est battu et continue de se battre en prison, pour la lutte émancipatrice du prolétariat et des peuples du monde. Il se bat pour un monde débarrassé du système capitaliste et de l’impérialisme et des rapports de domination qu’ils engagent et qui sont responsables de la misère de milliards d’hommes. Georges Abdallah se bat en tant que combattant communiste.

Lutter pour la révolution, c’est poursuivre le combat de Georges Abdallah ! Luttons pour exiger sa libération et luttons ainsi pour notre propre liberté, pour notre propre émancipation.

LIBERTÉ IMMÉDIATE ET SANS CONDITION DE GEORGES ABDALLAH !

VIVE LA RÉSISTANCE LIBANAISE ET PALESTINIENNE !

VIVE L’INTIFADHA !

PALESTINE VIVRA ! PALESTINE VAINCRA !

A BAS L’IMPÉRIALISME, LE SIONISME ET LES ÉTATS RÉACTIONNAIRES ARABES !

Campagne Unitaire pour la Libération de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah

 

Source: http://www.pcmaoiste.org/actunationale/georges-abdallah-toutes-et-tous-a-lannemezan-samedi-21-octobre/

Qui est Georges I. Abdallah ? – une biographie du Secours Rouge

À l’occasion de l’approche de la 34e année d’emprisonnement de Georges I. Abdallah, et des manifestations de solidarité internationale que cette anniversaire nous amène année après année, nous publions la biographie du révolutionnaire produit par le Secours Rouge (APAPC) 

 

 

Jeunesse

Georges Ibrahim Abdallah est né à Kobayath – Akkar, dans le Nord du Liban, le 2 avril 1951. Il a suivi ses études à l’Ecole Nornale à Achrafieh, et en est sorti diplômé en 1970. Georges Abdallah a grandi à une époque où la crise structurelle de l’entité libanaise devenait de plus en plus insurmontable. C’est l’époque où pour conjurer tout changement et contrer la radicalisation du mouvement des masses populaires et de la jeunesse, la bourgeoisie n’hésita pas à pousser vers la guerre civile confessionnelle.

L’affirmation de la réalité révolutionnaire palestinienne sur le devant de la scène régionale et libanaise a démultiplié la portée des diverses
luttes sociales au début des années 70. A la veille de la guerre civile de 1975, la crise du système a changé de nature et la portée des enjeux s’est modifiée. Les ’ceintures de la misère’ autour de Beyrouth, les villes et les villages du Sud et les camps de réfugiés aux abords des principales villes incarneront dès lors et pour de longues années les enjeux locaux, régionaux et internationaux du mouvement révolutionnaire…

Massacre de la Quarantaine, Beyrouth 1976 Beyrouth, janvier 1976. Les milices fascistes chrétiennes rasent le quartier palestinien de la Quarantaine, c’est une véritable boucherie d’hommes, de femmes et d’enfants. Une vieille palestinienne implore le milicien d’arrêter le massacre.

Cette réalité de lutte, de résistance et de sacrifice a construit la conscience politique de Georges Abdallah et déterminé son engagement révolutionnaire. Il choisit la résistance face aux massacres de masse perpétrés par les bourgeois confessionnalistes de tous bords et leurs alliés israéliens et franco-américains et commence son engagement politique dans les rangs du Parti National Social Syrien (PNSS, progressiste et panarabe) pour rejoindre ensuite la résistance palestinienne, en adhérant au FPLP.

L’invasion israélienne de 1978

Le 14 mars 1978, trois jours après l’action d’un commando palestiniens infiltré au Sud-Liban contre un bus, l’armée sioniste envahi le Liban pour y détruire les bases des organisations palestinienne au sud de la rivière Litani (qui marque la frontière du Sud-Liban). L’armée sioniste tue 1186 civils libanais, provoque le départ de 285.000 réfugiés, endommage 82 villages et rase complètement six d’entre eux. Georges Abdallah combat dans les rangs du FPLP cette invasion et sera blessé à cette occasion.

Cette invasion entrainera le conseil de sécurité de l’ONU à voter une résolution stipulant le retrait de l’armée israélienne et mettant en place une force « d’interposition » (la FINUL). Israël contourne cette résolution en remettant le Sud-Liban à une milice de Libanais chrétiens à sa solde, l’Armée du Liban Sud (ALS), qui fera régner une terreur blanche dans la région (ouverture du camp de concentration de Khiam).

Opération Litani (mars 1978) Un tank israélien surplombant le village de Ganata, au Sud Liban, le 3 mars 1978, lors de l’Opération Litani.

L’invasion israélienne de 1982

Après des mois d’agressions en tout genre (bombardements aériens et navals, raids héliportés, attaques menées par l’intermédiaire de supplétifs mercenaires comme l’Armée du Liban Sud), l’armée israélienne envahit le Liban le 6 juin 1982.

L’armée israélienne a perdu 670 soldats. 18.000 combattants arabes sont morts durant cette guerre [1]. Des centaines de militants arabes capturés et ’disparus’ dans les camps d’Ansar et de Khiam. Le bilan final de l’opération ’Paix pour la Galilée’ est éloquent : 25.000 morts, 45.000 blessés, Beyrouth dévasté par des semaines de siège et de bombardements.

Invasion du Liban de 1982 Entrée des troupes d’invasion sioniste au Liban en 1982


Massacres de Sabra et Chatila Le camp de réfugié de Sabra après le massacre

Les 16 et 17 septembre, c’est le massacre de Sabra et Chatila (deux camps de réfugiés palestiniens de Beyrouth-Ouest. L’armée israélienne qui a encerclé ces deux camps vides de tout combattants palestiniens laisse entrer les tueurs des milices fascistes chrétiennes et observent le massacre. Entre 1000 et 5000 civils désarmés sont froidement assassinés.

Les Fractions Armées Révolutionnaires Libanaises

Cette invasion fut perpétrée avec la complicité générale des puissances occidentales. En réaction, des combattants libanais et arabes allèrent porter la guerre contre le sionisme et l’impérialisme dans le monde. Ce fut le cas des Fraction Armées Révolutionnaires Libanaises (FARL  ) qui entrèrent en action en Europe, et dont les principales actions, extrêmement ciblées et précises, furent la tentative d’attentat contre Christian Edison Chapman, le responsable en second à l’ambassade américaine en France (12 novembre 1981) ; l’exécution du colonel Charles Ray, l’attaché militaire à l’ambassade américaine en France (18 janvier 1982) ; l’exécution de Yakov Barsimantov, le secrétaire en second à l’ambassade israélienne en France et, surtout, responsable du Mossad   en France (abattu par une jeune femme le 3 avril 1982) ; la tentative d’attentat contre Rodrigue Grant, l’attaché commercial à l’ambassade américaine en France, qui se solda par la mort de deux artificiers de la police française qui tentaient de désamorcer la bombe placée sous la voiture du diplomate (22 août 1982) ; la tentative d’attentat de Robert Onan Home, le Consul Général des Etats-Unis à Strasbourg, qui échappa de peu aux balles tirées contre lui le 26 mars 1984.

Voici un des communiqué des FARL   (celui de l’action contre Yacov Barsimantov) :

Nous, FRACTION ARMÉE RÉVOLUTIONNAIRE LIBANAISE, nous nous adressons à tous ceux qui condamnent la terreur et le terrorisme, à tous ceux qui militent pour l’abolition de la société d’exploitation et de guerre. Nous avons exécuté YACOV BARSIMANTOV.


La presse impérialiste et les gouvernements qui soutiennent l’impérialisme, comme le gouvernement Français, crient au « terrorisme ». Qui sont les terroristes ? Ceux qui tuent un jeune Cisjordanien parce qu’il résiste à l’annexion de son pays par Israël, ceux qui bombardent les populations civiles du Sud Liban, ceux qui tuent aveuglément et osent se réclamer d’un pseudo « cessez le feu ».
Nous, nous attaquons ceux qui organisent le génocide du peuple Palestinien. Nous, nous sauvegardons la vie des innocents même au péril de notre propre sécurité.
Depuis sept ans le peuple Libanais subit la guerre. Depuis sept ans l’impérialisme, sous le couvert de la lutte contre les « fanatiques Palestiniens », détruit tout ce qui est progressiste au Liban.
C’est notre droit de nous défendre.
C’est notre droit aussi d’attaquer l’impérialisme partout où il sévit et en particulier là où il bénéficie du soutien politique du gouvernement en place.
Nous poursuivrons notre guerre à la guerre impérialiste jusqu’à la victoire.
À bas l’impérialisme Américain et ses mercenaires Européens.
La Victoire ou la Victoire.
Fraction Armée Révolutionnaire Libanaise
Paris. le 7 avril 1982

Le 6 août 1984. Les douaniers italiens arrêtent dans le train Ljubljana-Rome-Paris un jeune homme de 19 ans, Abdullah el-Mansouri, qui transporte environ huit kilos d’explosifs et qui se rend à Paris. Abdullah el-Mansouri ne dira rien, mais c’est semble-t-il en étudiant l’achat du ticket que la police italienne arrête Joséphine Abdo Sarkis (26 ans) et Daher Feriol Fayez (23 ans). Ils seront condamnés l’année suivant par un tribunal de Trieste à 15 années de prison.

Arrestation

Les autorités françaises arrêtèrent Georges Ibrahim Abdallah le 24 octobre 1984, après qu’un groupe du Mossad   et quelques-uns de ses agents libanais l’eurent suivi à Lyon. L’incarcération n’était motivée que par la détention de vrais-faux papiers d’identité : un passeport délivré légalement (avec une identité fictive) par les autorités algériennes.

Les autorités françaises avaient promis au gouvernement algérien la mise en liberté de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah. Dans ce but, elles avaient envoyé le chef du département des services secrets français (DST  ) en Algérie pour en informer le gouvernement algérien. Dans le journal-mémoire qu’il a fait éditer, Jacques Attali, le conseiller du président français François Mitterand, écrivait : ’Jeudi 28 mars 1985. Ive Bonnet, patron de la DST  , envoyé à Alger, explique qu’Abdallah, arrêté à Lyon, sera libéré pendant l’été en raison des faibles charges qui pèsent contre lui. Les Algériens lui répondent que le Français enlevé au Liban, Pyrroles [2], sera relâché si Abdallah l’est aussi. On obtient que celui-là précède celui-ci.’ [3]. Jacques Attali toujours : ’Lundi 24 mars 1986. Réunion chez le Président (Mitterrand) avec Ulrich (représentant Jacques Chirac), Giraud, Raimond, le général Forey et Jean-Louis Bianco. Le Président : ’… la DST   avait été autorisée à dire aux Algériens (qui servaient d’intermédiaires) que la libération d’Ibrahim Abdallah était envisageable dans le cadre de la loi française. La DST   a sans doute dit aux Algériens : on va le libérer tout de suite…’’ [4]

Mais les autorités françaises ne respectèrent pas cet engagement. Georges Ibrahim Abdallah fut traduit devant le tribunal le 10 juillet 1986 pour détention d’armes et d’explosifs ; une sentence de quatre années d’incarcération fut prononcée. Il refusa le procès mais n’objecta pas. Les Français manquaient à leur promesse.

Georges Ibrahim Abdallah à son procès

Georges à son procès

Les autorités françaises étaient alors soumises à une pression directe des États-Unis. Le président américain Reagan lui-même aborda le sujet du procès de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah lors d’une rencontre avec le président français Mitterrand. De nombreuses immixtions américaines s’étaient exercées pour pousser les autorités françaises à ne pas relâcher Georges Ibrahim Abdallah. Les États-Unis s’étaient constitués partie civile dans le procès. Les pressions sionistes ne manquaient pas non plus. Attali : ’Vendredi 27 juin 1986. A l’ambassade de France à La Haye, petit déjeuner traditionnel entre François Mitterrand et Helmut Kohl… François Mitterrand : ’… Le conseiller pour la Sécurité de Ronald Reagan, John Pointdexter, nous télégraphie pour nous mettre en garde contre une éventuelle libération d’Ibrahim Abdallah avant son procès et avant que les autorités américaines n’aient toutes les preuves relatives aux charges contre lui. Son gouvernement, rappelle-t-il, s’est porté partie civile dans ce procès, et le Président américain y voit une occasion de démontrer la capacité et la volonté des sociétés démocratiques de faire pleinement justice contre ceux qui sont accusés de commettre des actes de terrorisme.’ Pourquoi nous écrit-on cela ? Nous ne savons rien de ce dont il retourne. Les Américains sont-ils au courant des tractations engagées à ce sujet par le gouvernement à l’insu de l’Elysée [5] ?’ [6]

Les attentats massacres, le CSPPA, l’intox

A ce moment, la France était sous l’effet d’une série d’attentats aveugles à Paris entre 1986 et 1987, et qui avaient fait de nombreuses victimes françaises innocentes (13 morts et plus de 300 blessés). Ces attentats étaient revendiqués par le CSPPA (Comité de solidarité avec les prisonniers politiques arabes) qui exigeait la libération de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, du Libanais lié aux services secrets iraniens Anis Naccache et de Varoudjian Garbidjian, un militant de l’Armée Secrète Arménienne pour la Libération de l’Arménie (ASALA). En fait, ces attentats étaient commis par un réseau proche de l’Iran, dirigé par le Tunisien Fouad Ali Salah, qui entendait faire payer à la France son soutien à l’Irak dans la guerre contre l’Iran.

Il est apparu par la suite que les services français savaient (sans en avoir identifier précisément les auteurs) de quel côté venaient ces attentats massacres. Mais à ce moment, les autorités françaises négociaient et débattaient avec les commanditaires du CSPPA (négociations secrètes qui d’ailleurs aboutirent et virent la libération des agents iraniens détenus en France). Pour couvrir ces négociations secrètes et rassurer l’opinion publique française (en la désinformant), les services secrets français accusèrent les frères de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah de ces attentats.

Les autorités françaises offrirent des sommes d’argent pour tout renseignement concernant les frères Abdallah. Elles diffusèrent les noms des frères dans le monde entier pour qu’ils soient poursuivis, et firent afficher leurs photos dans tous les postes frontières et dans les lieux publics en France. Les frères Abdallah nièrent immédiatement ces accusations calomnieuses à travers des conférences de presse. Les ’informations’ sur lesquelles les services secrets français prétendaient s’appuyer provenaient des rapports du Mossad   et de ceux de l’avocat de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, Jean-Paul Mazurier, qui était devenu toxicomane et que les services secrets utilisaient comme informateur et comme désinformateur. Le syndicat des avocats le chassera plus tard de ses rangs, lorsque cette affaire fut rendue publique [7].

Article sur Mazurier

Officiellement sur base de l’étude des documente trouvés à Lyon chez Georges Abdallah, une commission rogatoire ordonnant la perquisition d’un appartement parisien, rendue par la juge d’instruction Kleidmann dès le 27 octobre 1984, est exécutée le … 2 avril 1985 au matin, juste avant la libération conditionnelle de Georges Abdallah ! On y trouve 23 kilos d’explosifs, des 3 détonateurs, des armes et des munitions, parmi lesquelles le pistolet tchèque qui a servi aux actions contre Roy et Barsimentov.

Le second procès

Le premier mars 1987, les autorités françaises jugèrent une deuxième fois Georges Ibrahim Abdallah sur base de cette ’découverte’ tardive et miraculeuse. Il fut accusé de conspiration dans des actes terroristes (d’avoir fondé les Fractions Armées Révolutionnaires Libanaises et d’en avoir planifier les opérations). Un verdict de condamnation à perpétuité fut prononcé. Pour ce procès, les autorités françaises avait constitué une tribunal spécial antiterroriste pouvant prononcer ses verdicts sur base des données fournies par les services secrets, sans avoir recours aux preuves juridiques ou aux témoins, contrairement aux codes de procédure. Absolument personne ne s’était présenté en témoignage de l’implication de Georges Abdallah dans tout ce qu’on lui attribuait comme charges.

La condamnation à perpétuité de Georges Abdallah et l’accusation lancée contre ses frères servirent à désinformer le peuple français sous le choc des attentats-massacres du CSPPA, à satisfaire les Américains et les sionistes, et à faire apparaître la France comme un pays pouvant combattre le terrorisme.

La détention

En prison, comme en témoignent les textes que nous publions dans cette brochure, Georges Ibrahim Abdallah a continué a défendre la cause des peuples. C’est ainsi qu’il a adhéré à la Plate-forme du 19 juin 1999 qui a réuni dans une communauté de lutte une centaine de prisonniers révolutionnaires, communistes, anarchistes, antifascistes et anti-impérialistes, et qu’il a participé aux grèves de la faim de solidarité avec les prisonniers révolutionnaires en Turquie. En août 2002, en solidarité avec les prisonnières palestiniennes détenues à Neve Tirza (Israël) en grève de la faim pour dénoncer les humiliations quotidiennes dont elles font l’objet dans les geôles sionistes, Georges Ibrahim Abdallah et plusieurs dizaines de prisonniers détenus à Moulins (en fait, presque tous les prisonniers de la centrale) ont refusé le repas de l’administration pénitentiaire. Cette initiative lui a valu d’être, en compagnie de deux autres prétendus ’meneurs’ placé pendant plusieurs mois à l’isolement, à la prison de Fresnes.

Georges Abdallah a encore comparu le 1er décembre 2010 devant un tribunal de Tarbes pour « refus de se soumettre à un prélèvement ADN ». Il avait été condamné à trois mois de détention pour ce refus. Trois mois de détention alors qu’il est condamné à perpétuité !

Georges Ibrahim Abdallah

Georges I. Abdallah à la prison de Lannemezan

Le refus de libération

Depuis 1999, la libération de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah ne requiert pas de recours en grâce particulier, elle est possible juste par un simple arrêté administratif du Ministère de la Justice, conformément au code pénal français qui rend cette libération possible après quinze années d’incarcération.

En novembre 2003, la juridiction régionale de libération conditionnelle de Pau avait autorisé la libération de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah à condition qu’il quitte la France immédiatement. Sur ordre du ministre de la Justice Dominique Perben, le procureur général de Pau avait aussitôt fait appel de cette décision, saisissant de facto la juridiction nationale. La juridiction nationale de libération conditionnelle a rendu son verdict le 15 janvier 2004, en décidant le maintien en prison de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, décision conforme aux conclusions de l’avocat général et au souhait du ministre…

Février 2005, Georges Ibrahim Abdallah présente une nouvelle demande de libération conditionnelle. Septembre 2005, le Tribunal de Grande Instance de Tarbes, présidé par le même juge qui avait statué positivement à la première demande de libération en 2003, rejette cette demande. Septembre 2005, appel de cette décision introduit par Georges Abdallah. Février 2006, nouveau refus.

Georges Ibrahim Abdallah a déposé une nouvelle demande de libération conditionnelle le 6 février 2007. Elle devait être examinée le mardi 26 juin 2007 à 15H30, soit quasiment à la limite du délai maximum de 6 mois autorisé par la loi. Rappelons que maintenant en France la justice d’exception s’effectue par Vidéoconférence. L’accusé est seul, ou avec son avocat, face à des caméras dans son lieu de détention, entouré de gardiens. Les juges, avocats des parties civiles, procureur quant à eux siègent à Paris dans les locaux du Palais de Justice. Le 6 février, personne ne savait faire fonctionner les caméras ! L’examen de la demande a donc été repoussé après les vacances judiciaires, au 4 septembre. Après un nouveau report, la demande sera rejetée le 10 octobre.

20 décembre 2007, la demande de libération conditionnelle de Georges Abdallah est examinée en appel. L’audience est fixée le 31 janvier 2008, puis reportée au 17 avril, puis au 4 septembre, puis au 8 janvier 2009, au 26 mars 2009 !!!


La cour va se baser sur un avis de la commission pluridisciplinaire des mesures de sûreté de Paris rendu le 22 janvier 2009 concernant Georges Ibrahim Abdallah :


« Il [Georges Ibrahim ABDALLAH] revendique ses actes et les justifie par son engagement politique ; il se présente comme un « résistant » qui, à l’époque, luttait par la violence contre l’occupation du LIBAN par ISRAEL, avec la complicité des ETATS-UNIS.
(…)
La commission constate que Georges Ibrahim ABDALLAH n’a aucunement renoncé à la lutte armée et à l’action terroriste, y compris en France. Sa dangerosité est démontré par son indifférence pour le sort des victimes et la force intacte de ses convictions qui peuvent à nouveau, si le contexte politique s’y prêtait, le pousser à se comporter en activiste résolu et implacable.


La commission émet un avis défavorable à la demande de libération conditionnelle de Georges Ibrahim ABDALLAH. »

Le 5 mai 2009, la libération est refusée.

Le 21 novembre 2012, le tribunal d’application des peines (TAP) de Paris avait émis un avis positif de principe sur sa demande de libération. Début janvier 2013, la chambre d’application des peines de Paris, qui examinait l’affaire en appel, a accédé à la huitième demande de libération de Georges Abdallah, en la conditionnant à un arrêté d’expulsion du territoire français que le ministère de l’intérieur doit impérativement prendre d’ici au 14 janvier. Les Etats-Unis ont immédiatement fait part de leur opposition à sa libération en estimant qu’il constituait toujours une menace potentielle. Par ailleurs, a décision de libéreration a été reportée lundi au 28 janvier par TAP confronté au fait que le ministère de l’intérieur n’a pas signé l’arrêté d’expulsion du territoire français, qui est le préalable indispensable à cette libération. Le 28 janvier, le document n’ayant toujours pas été signé, son transfert de pour le Liban fut reporté au 28 février.

Durant toutes ces semaines, les initiatives, les actions et les manifestations de solidarité se multiplient à travers l’Europe et le monde arabe. Pour une vision d’ensemble, notamment de la journée internationale du 27 février 2013, consultez notre page spéciale.

Le 28 février, la Chambre d’application des peines a examiné un appel du parquet, contestant le report de la décision finale du Tribunal d’application des peines (TAP) de Paris sur la demande de libération conditionnelle, dans l’attente d’un hypothétique arrêté d’expulsion signé par le ministère de l’Intérieur. Le 4 avril la cours de cassation a cassé et annulé la décision du 10 janvier 2013 et déclaré irrecevable la demande de libération conditionnelle de Georges Ibrahim Abdallah au motif que ’le condamné n’a pas été placé sous le régime de la semi-liberté. Disposition applicable à un étranger condamné qui n’est pas l’objet de l’une des mesures d’éloignement du territoire’.

Georges Ibrahim Abdallah 2010

La dernière photo (prise lors d’un transfert) de Georges Abdallah

Georges Abdallah dépose une nouvelle demande de liberté qui est examinée par une la Chambre d’application des peines (Chap) à Lannemezan le 30 septembre 2014. Verdict le 5 novembre. Cette comparution survient alors que Georges Abdallah entame sa 31e année de prison, et donne lieu à une nouvelle vague de solidarité voir notre page spéciale).

Manifestation pour la libération de Geoges Abdallah devant la prison de Lannemezan, le 25 octobre 2014

[1Soldats syriens, combattants de la gauche libanaise et des organisation palestiniennes

[2En réalité Peyrolles ; il s’agissait d’un diplomate français en poste à Tripoli, au Nord du Liban

[3Verbatim, tome l. Deuxième partie Chronique des années 1983-1986, p. 1202

[4Verbatim, tome lI. Chronique des années 1986 – 1988, Fayard, Paris, 1995, p.25

[5La France est alors sous le régime de la cohabitation : en raison du décalage des élections parlementaire et présidentielle, le gouvernement est de droite et la présidence (’l’Élysée’) de gauche. Le gouvernement menait en de nombreux points sa propre politique, en veillant à en écarter la Présidence.

[6Verbatim, tome lI. Chronique des années 1986 – 1988, p. 103, 104 et 105.

[7Cf le livre de Laurent GALLY : L’Agent noir. Une Taupe dans l’Affaire Abdallah

 

Source : https://secoursrouge.org/Biographie-de-Georges-Ibrahim,72

La politique des États-Unis et la crise de la résistance palestinienne/Barakat: United States policy and the crisis of the Palestinian Resistance Aug

Le Bureau des médias du Front populaire de libération de la Palestine a réalisé cette interview du camarade Khaled Barakat, qui commente les tout derniers développements de la cause palestinienne, et tout particulièrement la crise actuelle de la résistance et le danger posé par l’alliance entre l’impérialisme américain, la réaction arabe et le sionisme au début de l’ère Trump.

Quel est selon vous le rôle de l’administration des États-Unis sous Donald Trump aujourd’hui, par rapport aux niveaux arabe et palestinien ?

Barakat. Je commencerai par le niveau palestinien en particulier. Les États-Unis sous l’administration Trump croient qu’ils vont pouvoir imposer ce qu’ils appelleraient « l’arrangement du siècle » ou ce que Trump a maintes fois qualifié d’« accord important » ou de « grosse opportunité ». Les États-Unis croient qu’ils peuvent agir de la sorte en raison de la reddition complète de la direction traditionnelle palestinienne sous l’autorité d’Abou Mazen [c’est-à-dire Mahmoud Abbas, NdT] et de la situation socioéconomique pénible des Palestiniens à Gaza et ailleurs. En bref, ce que cela signifie réellement, c’est que les capitalistes palestiniens acceptent la prétendue « gouvernance autonome » afin d’assurer leurs propres intérêts mesquins en échange de toute forme d’indépendance réelle. Les États-Unis croient aussi qu’ils peuvent faire la même chose dans un monde arabe éclaté et rendu exsangue par des troubles et des guerres sanglantes et cruelles. Aujourd’hui, il existe un camp bien réel, constitué par les régimes réactionnaires arabes et en même temps par Israël, afin non seulement de modifier le combat en un combat contre l’Iran plutôt que pour la libération de la Palestine, mais aussi pour traiter ouvertement avec Israël en tant que partie intégrante de ce camp.

10e anniversaire de la fondation du Front populaire de libération de la Palestine – 67-77. Non à l’implantation impérialiste. Non aux solutions défaitistes. Oui à la guerre populaire.

Le Front populaire a toujours identifié le camp de l’ennemi du peuple palestinien à ces puissances : l’impérialisme américain et occidental, le sionisme, les régimes arabes réactionnaires et Israël. C’est toujours le cas de nos jours, mais en y ajoutant le secteur palestinien qui a rallié désormais ce camp ennemi. C’était même le cas lorsqu’il n’y avait pas de relations publiques entre les régimes arabes et Israël, à l’exception de la Jordanie et de l’Égypte. Aujourd’hui, la normalisation s’est intensifiée au point de qualifier la résistance palestinienne de « terroriste », comme nous l’avons vu dans le journal officiel saoudien, al-Riyadh. Ceci n’a rien d’un changement de position, en fait, mais c’est bien un changement dans la publicité et le caractère évident de ces positions et dans la façon dont l’affaire est présentée clairement aux masses. Aujourd’hui, les relations entre Israël et l’Égypte, par exemple, se sont modifiées. Au départ, il s’agissait d’un partenariat et d’une collusion ; désormais, l’Égypte suit totalement la position et les impératifs israéliens. C’est tout aussi pertinent quand nous examinons les relations entre la Jordanie et Israël et certains des États arabes du Golfe, y compris dans le domaine des accords sur le gaz de la Méditerranée. En outre, nous assistons également aujourd’hui à une crise de la résistance palestinienne et nous devons être francs et honnêtes, à ce propos.

Dans quoi voyez-vous la crise de la résistance palestinienne se refléter, aujourd’hui ?

Barakat. Tout d’abord, à l’heure présente, la résistance palestinienne ne dispose toujours pas d’un front national unifié. On ne peut affirmer que l’OLP représente ce front national unifié, dans sa situation actuelle, sous la direction d’Abou Mazen et en l’absence de forces majeures issues de l’OLP même, pas plus que nous ne pouvons qualifier le Hamas de seul représentant légitime de la résistance palestinienne. La leçon fondamentale à tirer de tous les mouvements de libération nationale qui combattent l’impérialisme, le colonialisme, le colonialisme d’implantation, l’occupation et l’apartheid, c’est l’impérative nécessité d’un front national unifié. Ce n’est pas du tout la même chose qu’une direction nationale unifiée. Cette dernière est un produit du front national unifié, mais elle ne remplace en aucun cas le front ni ne s’exprime en son nom.

L’occupation se poursuit… Les implantations (israéliennes) se poursuivent… Donc, cessez de négocier Et poursuivez la lutte

La deuxième représentation de cette crise, c’est le chaos qui règne au sein des institutions palestiniennes mêmes, et ce chaos est un produit manufacturé à l’époque d’Oslo et de ses accords. Afin que la résistance palestinienne puisse présenter une alternative à cette ligne, à cette voie des négociations futiles, elle doit avoir un programme politique clair qui, sans aucun doute et sans la moindre remise en question, doit s’allier aux classes populaires palestiniennes, c’est-à-dire aux 99 pour 100 du peuple palestinien, et tout particulièrement aux personnes qui luttent dans la pauvreté et qui vivent dans des camps de réfugiés.

Finalement, nous devons encourager une nouvelle perception du terme « résistance », qui inclut toutes les formes de la lutte palestinienne et bien d’autres entités outre les « factions ». Malgré tout, cette résistance existe et elle est forte, et elle s’étend du Chili à Ain el-Helweh et à Gaza, parce que c’est la résistance du peuple palestinien même. La résistance palestinienne doit se faire l’écho des voix des Palestiniens partout où ils sont et pas seulement des Palestiniens d’une région particulière. Et la résistance palestinienne permet à tous les secteurs palestiniens, en particulier les jeunes et les femmes, d’être aux premières lignes du front et d’assumer la direction de cette résistance. Voilà, en bref, les principaux défis qui représentent la crise palestinienne en ce moment.

Quelle est la situation de l’OLP et de la crise de la représentation palestinienne ?

Barakat. L’OLP est tombée aux mains d’un groupe qui ne représente qu’un programme de la bourgeoisie palestinienne. Celle-ci s’est mise à abuser à son profit des réalisations historiques du peuple palestinien quand celui-ci a désigné l’OLP comme sa seule représentante légitime dans le monde arabe et dans l’arène internationale. Cette bourgeoisie utilise et manipule cette histoire pour la mettre au service du projet capitaliste palestinien prétendument appelé « État palestinien ». Elle en utilise la forme mais en tue le contenu, l’essence même de l’OLP. Ce projet ne représente pas la lutte nationale palestinienne en faveur du retour et de la libération. D’où l’OLP tire-t-elle cette légitimité ? De la reconnaissance dont elle a bénéficié depuis 1974… Aujourd’hui, elle n’est plus que sous le seul contrôle de Mahmoud Abbas et de son aile de la prétendue direction palestinienne. De plus, ce n’est pas l’OLP qui prend les décisions, aujourd’hui, mais l’Autorité palestinienne. Voilà où réside le processus décisionnel réel, aujourd’hui, dans les mains de l’AP et plus du tout dans celles de l’OLP. C’est pourquoi le Front envisage sérieusement, de nos jours, de se retirer de toutes ces institutions afin de ne pas fournir la moindre couverture à la direction de l’OLP et à l’AP dans leur programme de plus en plus élaboré visant la reddition ainsi que le sabotage destructeur de la cause palestinienne.

Organisation de la jeunesse palestinienne Lors du 30e anniversaire de sa création, le Front populaire de libération de la Palestine s’engage dans la lutte pour la victoire

Voilà la crise de représentation dont nous voulons parler. Qui représente le peuple palestinien ? Est-ce l’OLP, l’AP ou la résistance palestinienne en termes abstraits ? Oui, nous avons grandement besoin d’un front national qui unifie, mais il est impossible d’y arriver sous les auspices de l’actuelle direction officielle. C’est aujourd’hui une conviction que partagent vraiment la plupart des membres et cadres du Front, y compris les camarades qui donnent toujours la priorité à l’« unité nationale ».

Dernièrement, il a été question de réunir un Conseil national palestinien. Quelle est la situation, du côté du CNP ?

Barakat. La position du Front a été très claire, au vu de la déclaration qui a été faite par le Comité central l’an dernier, à propos de ce problème même. Et cette position est la suivante : Le Front ne participera pas à un seul Congrès national palestinien tant qu’il sera organisé sous les auspices de l’occupation. Ce Congrès doit constituer un pas vers l’unification de notre peuple tout entier. Il doit se tenir en dehors de la Palestine. Il doit redonner vie à la shatat (diaspora) et au rôle palestinien dans la diaspora. Il doit avoir lieu dans un contexte de liberté et de transparence, sous les auspices du peuple palestinien et non sous les auspices des régimes arabes ou des services de sécurité.

Oui, aujourd’hui, il y a de nouvelles tentatives de la droite palestinienne de créer un faux rassemblement du CNP à Ramallah. Nous ne voulons pas d’un congrès s’appuyant sur des quotas, mais plutôt sur des élections démocratiques et sur un consensus, et nous voulons redonner vie aux institutions populaires et syndicats palestiniens et leur rendre leur vigueur, qui a été prise en otage par l’ONG-isation de la société palestinienne et du mouvement national palestinien. On peut lire nombre de rapports prétendant qu’il existe actuellement des tentatives de liquider même le CNP et de créer ce qui s’appellera le « Parlement palestinien ». C’est se contenter de reproduire la même crise une fois de plus, sous des noms et des intitulés différents. Mais, naturellement, c’est particulièrement dangereux parce que cela limite la participation palestinienne à certaines régions de la Cisjordanie et que cela exclut les Palestiniens de Gaza, de Jérusalem ou de la Palestine de 1948, sans parler en plus des Palestiniens en exil et ceux de la diaspora, autrement dit, la majorité du peuple palestinien. Ceci est un reflet des priorités et du rôle réel de la classe capitaliste palestinienne. Nous voyons également que le rôle des capitalistes palestiniens prend de plus en plus d’importance quand il s’agit de ramasser les « miettes » des projets de normalisation, tel le projet hydraulique Mer Rouge – Mer Morte entre la Jordanie et Israël. En d’autres termes, sous un nom différent, il s’agit du même jeu – sauf que celui-ci est encore plus dangereux.

Vers la libération de la Palestine et l’instauration d’une société démocratique

Comment évaluez-vous les relations du Front avec les autres forces politiques palestiniennes ?

Barakat. Le Front évalue ses relations avec les forces palestiniennes en fonction de leur attachement à la voie du retour et de la libération, ainsi qu’au respect inconditionnel des droits du peuple palestinien, individuellement et collectivement, y compris la liberté de parole et les valeurs sociales et démocratiques.

Le Front est d’accord avec le tout dernier discours d’Ismail Haniyeh, le dirigeant nouvellement élu du Hamas et il a évalué ce discours de façon positive, de même qu’il a mentionné clairement les fortes relations entre le Hamas et le FPLP. Mais nous savons que ceci concerne la vision politique défendant le maintien des droits nationaux palestiniens et la lutte armée en tant qu’important dénominateur commun entre les deux partis. Le Front a exprimé ses critiques à l’égard de certaines positions du Hamas, dont l’acceptation par ce dernier d’un État palestinien dans les frontières de 1967. Nous pensons que cette position est désormais dans une impasse et il semble même, comme nous disons en Palestine, « qu’elle fait route vers La Mecque alors que les gens sont déjà de retour du hajj (pèlerinage, NdT) ».

9e anniversaire de la fondation du Front populaire de libération de la Palestine, 11-12-1967.

En outre, le Front émet des réserves sur certaines des décisions politiques du Hamas concernant son alliance avec le Qatar et la Turquie. Le Front entretient une discussion ouverte avec le Hamas à propos de ces réserves, ainsi qu’à propos du rejet par le Front de toute forme d’oppression à l’encontre de notre peuple à Gaza, qu’il s’agisse d’oppression sociale ou d’oppression politique. Des résultats positifs sont sortis de ces dialogues. Nous considérons également que la priorité du soutien financier devrait aller aux classes pauvres de Gaza et renforcer les secteurs productifs qui ont permis à Gaza de tenir bon jusqu’à présent. Par ces secteurs, j’entends les agriculteurs, les pêcheurs et les travailleurs. Ces trois secteurs doivent constituer la priorité d’une « bonne gouvernance ». Nous voulons que l’argent de la « zakat » (aumône) aille à ces gens et non au secteur privé.

Le Hamas a lui aussi ses propres réserves sur certaines positions du Front – particulièrement sur la question de l’OLP – et il perçoit certaines de ces positions comme « déloyales ». De même, sur les questions du Yémen et de la Syrie, il existe un désaccord. Nous croyons que nous devons adopter une position forte vis-à-vis de l’agression des États-Unis et des Saoudiens contre le Yémen, alors que le Hamas ne dit mot à ce propos.

Quant aux relations avec le mouvement du Fatah, elles en sont absolument à leur point le plus bas. Le Fatah a manqué à ses responsabilités envers l’unification du peuple palestinien. Il s’est lui-même érigé en incubateur et défenseur du programme de Mahmoud Abbas. Nous comprenons que le Fatah soit le parti de l’Autorité en Cisjordanie et qu’il tire directement profit de l’Autorité palestinienne en fonction de ses propres intérêts directs, mais nous ne pouvons accepter la domination d’un groupe sur toutes les institutions, organisations, fondations palestiniennes, ni sur la gouvernance et la représentation du peuple palestinien. Plus important encore, la crise que connaît le Fatah se répercute aujourd’hui sur la totalité du mouvement national palestinien. Il y a tellement de forces différentes aujourd’hui au sein du Fatah et toutes, cependant, prétendent être « LA voix du Fatah ». Parfois, nous ne savons même pas avec qui parler, ni ne savons qui représente réellement le Fatah. Nos relations au sein de l’OLP ont généralement été conflictuelles. La camarade Khalida Jarrar, aujourd’hui en prison en Israël, s’est heurtée au président de l’Autorité quelques semaines à peine avant d’être arrêtée par les forces d’occupation et jetée en prison. Sur ce qui est arrivé à Khalida, nous n’avons rien appris de la bouche même du Fatah, rien, hormis un silence total. Il en va de même pour Omar Shehadeh, qui a été interpellé de la même façon par le président de l’AP. Quant aux relations du Front avec le Djihad islamique et les autres forces politiques palestiniennes, elles sont en général solides et positives.

Comment le Front perçoit-il le rôle des Palestiniens de la diaspora, aujourd’hui ?

Barakat. Aujourd’hui, le mouvement palestinien de la diaspora a la responsabilité historique de remettre notre peuple sur la voie du retour et de la libération. Les Palestiniens de la diaspora disposent de tant de forces, de pouvoir, de possibilités et de potentiel mais, malheureusement, tout ce potentiel n’est ni exprimé ni libéré au maximum de ses capacités. Ce ne sera possible que par le biais de la participation. Il n’y a pas de formule magique pour que les Palestiniens en exil lancent leur révolution une fois de plus. C’est le seul choix, en fait, pour que les Palestiniens restent unis et qu’ils maintiennent leur attention concentrée sur leur but principal et ce, où qu’ils se trouvent géographiquement. Leurs regards, leurs armes et leur attention sont tous concentrés sur la Palestine. Cela signifie que nous allons devoir reconstruire nos associations et organisations populaires, même à partir de zéro, de rien, dans certaines régions.

Et nous devons croire dans la jeune génération et dans le potentiel extraordinaire des femmes palestiniennes capables de diriger le mouvement en compagnie de tous ceux qui croient toujours en leurs principes et s’y cramponnent avec fermeté, de même qu’à leur vision et à leurs objectifs que sont le retour et la libération. Il y a eu quantités de changements politiques, sociaux et économiques vécus par les Palestiniens de la diaspora. La guerre en Syrie, les offensives et le siège contre Gaza, les conditions sociales et économiques pénibles des Palestiniens au Liban ont poussé une fois de plus les Palestiniens à la migration forcée et à la déportation. Et nous voyons que de nombreux Palestiniens choisissent l’Europe comme destination, et plus particulièrement l’Allemagne. La tâches des Palestiniens en Europe aujourd’hui consiste à jouer un rôle stratégique en s’opposant au mouvement sioniste en Europe et en soutenant les Palestiniens vivant dans des camps de réfugiés, où ils subissent la pauvreté et la marginalisation, et ce combat stratégique inclut la lutte contre le racisme dans les pays européens mêmes.

Faire progresser la révolution – Par les armes et par la pensée – Dans la quête de la libération et du socialisme

De même, nous devons ouvrir le plus largement possible les portes à la participation de notre peuple en Jordanie. Nous ne pouvons oublier le fait que des millions de Palestiniens vivent dans ce pays et qu’ils ne sont qu’à une heure de route de la Palestine. Ces Palestiniens ont le droit d’exprimer leur fierté à propos de leur identité, de leur participation à leur propre cause nationale, et à la lutte aux côtés du mouvement national jordanien pour la démocratie et pour la libération de la Palestine.

Il y a également les tâches concernant notre peuple au Liban. C’est un fait bien établi que les Palestiniens des camps de réfugiés au Liban vivent dans des conditions particulièrement extrêmes et pénibles. Leurs camps sont assiégés, dans certains cas ; ce sont des exclus, ils sont marginalisés. Il y a un profond sentiment d’isolement parmi les Palestiniens au Liban et, fait plus important, ils sont confrontés aux lois injustes et racistes du gouvernement libanais qui interdisent aux Palestiniens d’exercer plus de 70 professions.

Nous comprenons que chaque contingent palestinien vit dans des conditions différentes et est confronté à des problèmes spécifiques. Mais tous sont concernés par la voie de la lutte palestinienne pour les droits nationaux, les droits de l’homme et les droits civils. Nous savons que les gens de notre peuple qui vivent aujourd’hui aux États-Unis, au Canada, ainsi que nos jeunes générations impliquées dans cette lutte, que ce soit dans les universités, dans le mouvement anti-apartheid ou dans le mouvement BDS, nous savons qu’ils mènent tous un combat qui portera ses fruits. Ces luttes qui ont lieu actuellement peuvent parfois susciter l’impression que l’on s’époumone dans le désert. Mais ce sont des luttes qui permettent d’accumuler de l’expérience et qui se traduisent également par des gains.

1er juin – Journée de l’enfant – Enfant du soulèvemente, l’avenir t’appartient.

Chacune de ces contingences populaires palestiniennes peut renforcer leurs relations avec les mouvements en compagnie desquels elles luttent au sein de leurs communautés. Ainsi, en Amérique du Nord, nous devons renforcer nos relations avec le mouvement de libération des noirs, avec les peuples indigènes et natifs en lutte, avec les mouvements des pauvres et de la classe ouvrière, avec la lutte antiraciste, anti-impérialiste et anticapitaliste. Au Liban, nous devons renforcer nos relations avec le mouvement communiste, le mouvement progressiste et la résistance. En Europe, nous devons renforcer nos relations avec toutes les communautés arabes, y compris les communautés marocaines, syriennes, algériennes et toutes les communautés opprimées, dans leurs luttes visant à surmonter l’austérité et le racisme. En Amérique latine, nous devons participer aux luttes contre l’impérialisme américain et rallier les classes populaires dans leur combat contre les formes nouvelles d’agression et d’exploitation. Nous devons combattre ensemble et, surtout, nous devons le faire en nous appuyant sur une perspective de responsabilité et en participant pleinement, c’est-à-dire en tant que partenaires véritables et à part entière, à ces mouvements.

L’une des caractéristiques des Palestiniens de la diaspora, c’est qu’ils disposent généralement de plus de liberté de mouvement, en comparaison avec notre peuple sous occupation. Le deuxième avantage, c’est qu’ils communiquent avec le monde dans autant de langues qu’il n’y en a dans le monde. Un troisième avantage, c’est qu’un grand nombre de Palestiniens sont devenus partie intégrante de la société au sein de laquelle ils vivent désormais et qu’ils y jouent un rôle majeur. Le Chili est un bel exemple de ces pays où notre peuple peut jouer un rôle progressiste, non seulement au profit de la Palestine, mais aussi des pays où ils vivent aujourd’hui.

Pourquoi n’assiste-t-on pas à une escalade palestinienne de la lutte armée, de nos jours ?

Barakat. En guise de réponse honnête, disons qu’il s’agit d’une représentation de la crise de la résistance. Disons-le carrément, les organisations palestiniennes n’en font pas assez. Nous voyons des éléments positifs, particulièrement à Gaza dans l’accumulation de la force qu’on y trouve, mais la lutte armée est en fait un droit du peuple palestinien tout entier et je ne doute pas que, dans un futur proche, aussi bien que dans le long terme, nous verrons les Palestiniens passer de la défensive à l’offensive.

La voie de la lutte armée est la voie d’une Palestine libérée

Mais cela requiert de nombreuses décisions politiques et des décisions autres que militaires. Vous avez beau posséder des armes, mais si vous n’êtes pas animé d’une volonté politique, ces armes sont inutiles. Si vous n’avez pas des vues politiques claires, ces armes sont dangereuses. Si vous empruntez une voie différente, ces armes peuvent être utilisées contre notre peuple, comme vous pouvez le voir dans le cas des agences de sécurité mises en place sous les accords d’Oslo. La transformation de l’individu palestinien armé de fedayine en policier constitue un danger.

Mais nous devons également concevoir la lutte armée comme un moyen de lutte créatif et non comme quelque chose que l’on fait simplement pour faire valoir des arguments, même si, parfois, il est important de le faire en combattant un pouvoir colonial plus grand, plus fort et bien armé. Mais ce doit être une lutte avec un but politique et elle doit être menée par des combattants bien informés et éduqués au sein du mouvement. Et elle doit être connectée aux conditions des Palestiniens dans chaque stade de leur mouvement. Ce doit également être une lutte menée à toutes les frontières avec la Palestine, aux frontières jordanienne, syrienne et libanaise aussi bien qu’à l’intérieur même de la Palestine. Ce sont des questions très importantes mais, jusqu’à présent, il n’existe pas d’arène ou de forum palestinien véritable pour discuter de telles questions ou pour les définir. Et ceci, c’est un autre symptôme de la crise de la résistance palestinienne.

 

Traduction: http://www.pourlapalestine.be/la-politique-des-etats-unis-et-la-crise-de-la-resistance-palestinienne/

Version originale: http://pflp.ps/english/2017/08/07/barakat-united-states-policy-and-the-crisis-of-the-palestinian-resistance/

Georges Ibrahim Abdallah : Un combattant communiste libanais détenu en France depuis 1984

Liberté pour Georges Ibrahim Abdallah Il a passé plus de temps en prison que Nelson Mandela. Il est le plus vieux prisonnier politique encore vivant!

 

 

Nous avons l’honneur de vous présenter ce document exceptionnel du Secours Rouge/International Red Help qui raconte l’histoire incroyable de Georges I. Abdallah, communiste libanais et grand combattant pour la Palestine, qui a été condamné en 1984 à la prison à vie, c’est-à-dire quinze ans. Or, il est emprisonné en France depuis 34 ans dont les quatre dernières en totale illégalité puisqu’il a déjà entièrement purgé sa peine et qu’il est admissible à la libération depuis 2013.

S’il est encore détenu et incarcéré, c’est sur un mail du Secrétaire d’État états-uniens, Hillary Clinton,  « demandant » ou « ordonnant », c’est selon,  au ministre des Affaires Étrangères de France, Laurent Fabius,  de ne pas libérer Georges I. Abdallah. http://www.freegeorges.org/fr/usafrance-un-mail-dhillary-clinton-a-laurent-fabius-pour-bloquer-la-liberation-de-georges-abdallah/

Aucun autre motif ne peut expliquer la continuation de la détention de Georges I. Abdallah, un grand combattant révolutionnaire et communiste pour la cause palestinienne et de la révolution.

Exigeons la libération immédiate de Georges I. Abdallah !

 

Face à la répression, la solidarité est notre arme!

Abattre le capitalisme, construire la solidarité !

L’avenir nous appartient!

 

P.S.: Lettre de Georges I. Abdallah http://www.freegeorges.org/fr/lettre-ouverte-a-notre-camarade-georges-ibrahim-abdallah/

Arab nationalism, the Palestinian struggle and an economic scenario for a potential Arab unity – ‘Adel Samara

Article by Palestinian Marxist ‘Adel Samara on the historic failure of bourgeois Arab nationalism and the uneven development of Arab countries could lay the foundations for its supersession by a more radical Arab nationalism.

 

yasser-arafat

Introduction

IN THIS ESSAY, which covers an entire century, I shall deal with two groups of themes.

First, I shall discuss the failure of bourgeois Arab nationalism to achieve its avowed aims: economic independence and national victory, that is, the liberation of occupied Arab territory. Despite its failures, the Arab bourgeoisie still holds power throughout the Arab homeland, except in South Yemen. I shall also try to explain how and why the Arab bourgeoisie has intentionally amplified the unevenness of economic development between the Arab countries. I shall discuss Palestine as the obvious example for the national failure. And I shall use the Gulf Cooperation Council as an illustration of the policy of uneven development.

Second, I shall try to show that the nationalism of the bourgeoisie differs from and conflicts with the national consciousness of the masses – the working class, the peasantry and the rest of the poor. The material interest of the masses in Arab unity is also discussed.

I shall try to show that the continuation of the trend of uneven development will create the need for inter-Arab integration, contrary to the aims of the authors of the policy of unevenness. The latter will, in a sense, produce the conditions for their own destruction.

Stressing the objective necessity for integration, I shall outline an economic scenario for Arab unity. If such unity were to be realized, it would create the social and economic conditions for a common struggle for socialism. Indeed, I argue that Arab development requires Arab unity, and is hardly possible in a state of fragmentation.

Many points touched upon here are not sufficiently discussed and developed; it would be impossible to do so in one relatively brief essay. However, my aim is to raise as many issues as possible, for the sake of the debate which I hope will follow, concerning the future of the Arab homeland.

1: Bourgeois Arab nationalism

BY VIRTUE of national affiliation and origin, the Arab world has been, and still is, the strategic rear base or hinterland of the Palestinian people’s struggle against the Zionist state of Israel. Regardless of the actual role this strategic hinterland has played – be it helpful or obstructive – its existence is an issue that cannot be ignored among the Palestinians. In the last few years, various trends of Palestinian opinion have been rethinking and re-evaluating this issue.

One school of thought, conditioned by the bitterness of the Palestinian experience with the Arab regimes, even goes so far as to suggest that an Arab strategic hinterland no longer exists (if indeed it ever did) for the Palestinians, who should therefore be reconciled to doing without it.

A different approach to this issue is based on a class analysis. While calling for a critical re-examination of the role played by the Arab hinterland and the extent to which it has come up to expectations or fallen short of them, this approach stresses that the concept of an Arab hinterland is no mere abstraction, but corresponds to an objective reality. The actual position within this hinterland is not uniform, however, inasmuch as each ofits parts is represented by its own ruling Arab bourgeoisie. This theme will govern the discussion in the present article.

To be more explicit, the view adopted here is that in reality there does exist, an all-Arab nationality (qaumiya) but that it is regionally split up, each region (iqlim) possessing its own peculiarities, which have been greatly intensified over the last five decades – ‘the decades of fragmentation’. Politically and ideologically, this contradictory reality has been represented by the contradictory political practice and ideology of current Arab nationalism, which is bourgeois Arab nationalism. Towards the end of this article we shall outline the characteristics and dimensions of another, latent, all-Arab national identity, which is essentially that of the working classes and other repressed classes in the Arab world.

The pioneers of Arab nationalism

THERE IS a consensus among Arab, and perhaps also non-Arab, writers on modern Arab history, that most of the early pioneers of Arab nationalism were Christian Arabs.

We mention this oft-repeated observation not in order to assess its historical accuracy, but rather to discuss the ideological use to which it has been put by Islamic fundamentalists and others who wish to discredit Arab nationalism and the idea of Arab national unification (as opposed, for example, to pan-Islamism) as inauthentic foreign imports. It is sometimes alleged that the Christian pioneers of Arab nationalism, living under the Ottoman empire, were basically motivated by the wish to emancipate themselves from the rule of that Sunni Muslim caliphatestate. A somewhat more sophisticated version of the same thesis maintains that these early pioneers anticipated the impending and inevitable collapse of the Ottoman empire; but they were alarmed at the prospect of its being replaced by a Sunni-dominated Arab state (or states) in which Muslim Arabs would hold all positions of power and influence. In order to prevent themselves being thus marginalized, these Christians hatched and fostered secularist Arab nationalism.

There are several reasons for rejecting such attempts to invalidate the authenticity of Arab nationalism. First, let us note that from the end of the nineteenth century, with the increasing incorporation of the Arab homeland (then still under Ottoman rule) in the world system,1 and with the growing number of Arab students-both Muslim and Christianstudying in Europe, a new environment was developing in the Arab world. Such an environment would have encouraged Muslim Arabs to adopt nationalist ideas whether or not Christians were the first to do so.

Indeed, Muslim Arabs had adequate grounds for adopting such ideas, given their bitter experience under Ottoman rule (1516-1919) and the plausibility of the view that the only way to emancipation was through Arab nationalism.

Second, those who wish to deny the authenticity of Arab nationalism are displaying their own ideologically motivated bias by stressing exclusively the Christian background of pioneers of Arab nationalism such as Qustantin Zuraiq, while glibly ignoring the genuineness of their national aspirations.

Third, even ifit were conceivable that the early pioneers-whose commitment to nationalism was expressed solely through the written word-were merely self-seeking opportunists using nationalism as a cloak, surely such an accusation cannot possibly apply to the second generation of militants, who personally led an organized struggle, as was the case with both the Ba’th Party and the Movement of Arab Nationalists (Harakat Qaumiyun al-‘Arab).

Fourth, if Arab nationalism was merely the invention of a few Christians, how can one account for the fact that the Muslim Arab multitudes responded so massively (albeit unevenly as between one Arab country and another) to its call and were mobilized in their millions for the national movement, despite having been influenced by Islam for fourteen centuries? Moreover, why has this massive acceptance of Arab nationalism continued until the early 1970s, for almost a whole century, ‘the century of bourgeois Arab nationalism’, despite the fact that the Arab national movement was not alone in the field and had several political and ideological competitors in the Arab homeland during this century?2 Does not all this show that the slogans of nationalism and national unity corresponded to real popular aspirations?

The question that poses itself now is the following: who is to blame for the failure of the Arab nationalist movement to achieve development and all-Arab unification? Is it the fault of the early pioneers? Or of the militants of the second generation? Or perhaps the fault lies with the bourgeoisie of the various Arab regions ( = Arab countries ) – a bourgeoisie which is in fact almost exclusively Muslim?

The only Arab country to have been ruled to any extent by Christians is Lebanon. This small country, with its marginal development-distorted even when compared with the distorted development of the other Arab countries-has two special characteristics: on the one hand, it has experienced a semi-liberal bourgeois political system; on the other, it has spawned the fascist Phalange (al-Kata’ib). Thus the Lenanese state was but a reflection of the European political model, rather than the thing itself.

Two trajectories of uneven development

ARAB BOURGEOIS nationalism emerged in the period of tightening incorporation of the Arab homeland in the world market. Under such circumstances, an independent capitalist development became impossible. Moreover, unlike India, for example, which was incorporated into the world market as a unified entity, the Arab homeland underwent this process piecemeal; each Arab country was incorporated directly and separately, rather than as part of an all-Arab entity. As for the fragile political independence of the Arab countries, this too came separately to each individual country, under its own regional bourgeois leadership, which in most cases was the creature of the departing colonial powers.

The unevenness of development between the Arab countries goes back to the pre-colonial past, though it has been greatly amplified during the century of bourgeois Arab nationalism. One of the most important causes of this unevenness is the highly unequal distribution of natural agricultural resources. Some Arab regions – most notably the Nile Valley – are endowed with ample resources which have enabled them to sustain dense settlement and population growth. Other regions-such as most of the Arabian peninsula-are almost totally lacking in natural agricultural wealth, and have therefore been a perennial source of migration.

Nevertheless, the Arab homeland had to a large extent experienced a common history, even if not quite as unified as the pioneers of Arab nationalism imagined it to have been. This was manifested in the Umayyad and ‘Abbasid states, and to some extent in the Fatimid state. Later, the Arabs shared a common history of submission under the Ottoman empire, which incorporated the Arab homeland into the Islamic caliphate but also hindered its socio-economic development.

What we are saying, then, is that the Arab proto-nation had existed as a visibly coherent entity prior to the century of bourgeois nationalism; and that the uneven economic development occurred within this one general national framework.

This unevenness between the Arab regions became an acute problem only during the century of bourgeois Arab nationalism, when imperialism granted a separate political independence to each country, and pushed each regime to build a separate economy. We must now deal with the different paths of this development.

Development of Arab unevenness

Unevenness of development between the Arab regions existed, as already mentioned, before they fell under the sway of colonialism and were incorporated into the world market. Nor is such unevenness peculiar to the Arab homeland; it is a world-wide phenomenon. The south of the United States, for instance, is poorer than the north; and the same holds true for Italy. Likewise, not all the various regions of China are equally developed. An even clearer example is perhaps provided by India, although it is really more a multinational state than a nation. The decisive factor in all these countries, however, is that each constitutes one state; whereas the absence of this very factor is the key problem of the Arab world and the secret behind its weakness. The political fragmentation imposed on the Arab homeland by colonialism,3 and subsequently intensified by the regional Arab bourgeoisies, has provided an institutionalized basis for the development of unevenness between the Arab countries. The bourgeoisie of each country, separately and directly connected to the world market, has acquired a vested interest in maintaining the fragmentation. This process has continued throughout the last five decades. Even the seemingly genuine attempt at unification, that between Egypt and Syria in 1958, was implemented in the only way of which the Arab bourgeoisie is capable – by the ruling class of the stronger country trying to impose its hegemony over its weaker ‘partner’ – and was bound to fail.

The bourgeoisie’s division of interest, and vested interest in division, does not extend to the Arab poor classes, notably the peasantry and proletariat. The Egyptian peasant, for example, stands to lose nothing and to gain much by having direct and unhampered access to the exportable surplus produced in Iraq. Indeed, the ruling Arab bourgeoisies have been aware of this fact, and have therefore paid lip-service to the masses’ aspirations by mouthing slogans about unity and all-Arab nationalism, while in practice pursuing a policy of division and fragmentation, especially through developing the unevenness. They probably hope that as the divergence between Arab countries proceeds, they will be exempted from giving up their regional interests; since growing unevenness would remove any real basis for unification, the popular feeling of a common all Arab national identity would fade away.

However, as we shall argue later, the very fact of divergent and uneven development may, on the-contrary, favour all-Arab national unification under the leadership of the working class.

The first trajectory of uneven development

Both before and after gaining political independence, the Arab bourgeoisies transformed uneven development from a ‘natural’ process occurring within a state or a nation into an institutionalized unevenness between states. And because these bourgeoisies were backed and protected by colonialism, the uneven development over which they presided was born as, and still is, a dependent development.

The first trajectory of this development has been traversed by a group of countries that share certain particular structural charàcteristics, over and above the traits common to all Arab countries. These particular characteristics are basically economic, but have given rise to social and organizational characteristics as well.

In Egypt in particular, but also in Iraq and Syria, there is arable land capable of producing an agricultural surplus whose proceeds can be invested in industrial growth; and any industrial products can find a suitable local market, especially in Egypt with its large population of potential consumers. These economic capabilities have played a role in orientating the regimes of these countries towards trying to build an independent economy (be it capitalist or ‘socialist’) inasmuch as the regimes have dreamed of the possibility of severing the ties of dependence on the world market through the development of capitalism or self-styled ‘socialism’. (It must be noted here, however, that there is a huge gulf between the availability of economic and human resources needed to constitute a state, and the possibility of achieving an actual capitalist economic independence under the auspices of imperialism.)

These very countries, due to their economic and social potential, have in general also been the breeding-ground of the bourgois national movement throughout the century of Arab nationalism. This manifested itself in the Ba’th Party (born in Syria and Iraq and also in Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan), the Movement of Arab Nationalists (born in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq) and Nasserism (born in Egypt). All these countries have constituted the first wave along this first trajectory.

A second wave (also along the same trajectory) consisted of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, which gained their political independence during a later period. These countries of the Maghreb-somewhat similar in their economic and demographic structures to Egypt, Syria and Iraq-had been strongly influenced by the bourgeois Arab nationalism that prevailed in the Mashreq, especially Ba’thism and Nasserism. The two Yemens can perhaps also be included in this trajectory.

The second trajectory

A different path has been followed by countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the other Gulf states, as well as Libya, which lack agricultural resources and consequently have a sparse population. In these countries not only did the development of social classes occur later, but their political independence was also (in most cases) gained more recently. Moreover, their political struggle for independence was hampered by the higher degree of subordination of their ruling classes to the colonial powers.

However, a radical turning-point in the lives of these countries was the discovery of oil, which transformed them from poor and backward regions into distortedly wealthy ones. This transformation enabled the Saudi ruling class to come forwards in the 1970s as the leader of those forces that were calling for closer dependence on imperialism, as opposed to the leadership of the countries of the first trajectory, whose declared aim was to sever this dependence. This was described at the time as an opposition between the reactionary and progressive Arab camps.

The inability of the countries of the first trajectory to break loose from that dependence (because their programme was in reality capitalist) enabled the rival camp-and Saudi Arabia specifically-to take the lead in Arab politics, thus superseding Egypt in this role. This is what has been happening in the 1970s and 1980s.

There are Arab countries which do not quite fit into the two-trajectory scheme we have just outlined. Sudan, for example, has economic resources somewhat similar to those of the countries of the first trajectory, but they have remained largely unexploited. Despite the backwardness of Sudan’s economy, however, the political movement there was very active and relatively advanced.

The most outstanding exceptional case is of course Palestine, which was taken over by the British (according to an imperialist agreement following the First World War) in order to displace its people and set up a Zionist state that would serve imperialist interests in the area. As a result of these special circumstances, the emergence of a bourgeois nationalist movement here was hampered and delayed, especially when compared with the Arab countries of the first trajectory.

The inexorable decline of bourgeois Arab nationalism

We have already noted that the countries that followed the first trajectory of evolution were those in which capitalist economies had developed earlier, giving rise to greater unevenness of development. Thus, when the bourgeois national movement achieved power in these countries (Egypt, Syria and Iraq), it was faced with a contradiction that proved difficult to resolve: a contradiction between its ideological nationalist aspirations for all-Arab unity, and the clear and confined regional (i.e. local) interests of the bourgeoisie of each country.

Economically, these regions have been handicapped in various ways:

1) Weakness in the structure of production and low productivity, resulting in an unfavourable ratio between the exportable surplus and the import requirement.

2) Low technical standard of production, resulting in sub-standard products that cannot compete in foreign markets.

3) The neighbdouring countries, which could have provided a natural market, are directly linked to the world market.

4) The economy of these regions themselves has not dismantled its dependence on the international capitalist system.

In a nutshell, the first failure of this group of countrit:ls, was the failure of their regional bourgeoisie to achieve economic ind,ependence and development. Consequently, the bourgeoisie of each region turned inwards, clinging to its local interests.

The period from 1950 to 1970 can be seen as one in which an attempt was made to build an independent economy and unify the Arab nationthe twin aims of the Arab national bourgeoisie. But attempts at unification ‘from below’ never amounted to much, and the dividing boundaries remained intact. Nor was any single country able to develop its own economy sufficiently and impose unification ‘from above’ (as Prussia had been able to unify Germany).

Although the development plans of the period were draped in ‘socialist’ rhetoric, they were in reality grounded on capitalist relations. Externally too these countries remained dependent on the world market, despite their economic and political relationship with the Soviet çamp.

In its relations with Third World countries, the Soviet Uniop was guided by the theory that these countries could evolve towards socialism under the leadership of their nationalist bourgeoisie. In reality, however, the Arab regimes-based on capitalist structures and on class alliances between the bourgeoisie and the lower middle class, under the political leadership of officer juntas that came to power through coups d’étatproduced a type of bureaucratic capitalism.

Trade with the Soviet Union, and the economic aid received from it, were in reality based on the norms ofinternational commercial exchange, which can in no way be regarded as a socialist mode of relations. (Incidentally, even had the Soviet Union granted non-profitable aid to these nonsocialist regimes, such aid could only derive from the exploitation of the Soviet working class.) The result was that the Soviet Union contributed to the maturation of the economy of these peripheral capitalist states ruled by bureaucratic bourgeoisies, thus facilitating their integration into the world market through a process that can be called ‘the new dependence’, which has evolved after a volte-face that has occurred over a period of two decades.

The second failure of this group of countries was manifested in their defeat in the struggle against the occupation of Palestine, especially after 1967. This was defeat in the external national battle, as distinct from the internal national struggle for achieving unification and economic independence.

The Arab bourgeois national movement confronted socially and technologically advanced imperialism and Zionism with Arab backwardness and deformed economic development, a development of unevenness ràther than of all-Arab convergence. It confronted the cohesive alliance of Istàel and imperialism with internal Arab fragmentation and the exclusion of the Arab masses from the struggle; and its own fragile alliance with the Soviet Union could not save it from a shattering defeat.

This defeat has enabled the countries of the second trajectory, particularly Saudi Arabia, to achieve ascendancy and lead the Arab homeland towards complete dependence and incorporation into the world market system. The slogan of Arab unity has been replaced by that of solidarity between the ruling classes. The newly dominant policies are designed to perpetuate the fragmentation of the Arab homeland, to recognize and accept the Zionist state, and to downgrade the Palestinian question to a problem of refugees dependent on the Arab regimes.

The Arab regimes and Palestine

THE FOREGOING discussion can serve as an introduction to the next section of this article, which focuses on the Palestinian issue. Let us start by outlining the manner in which the Arab regimes (and bourgeois all-Arab nationalism) have reacted to the struggle of the Palestinian people against the Zionist appropriation of Palestine.

As we have already pointed out, most of the regimes that have presided over the Arab homeland since the eve ofindependence were the creation of British and French colonialism, which was also responsible for the balkanization of that homeland. In other words, these regimes did not achieve power through a radical struggle leading to the expulsion of colonialism, but through compromise and accommodation. The Arab homeland has thus never severed the umbilical cord of dependence.

Palestinian opposition to Zionist immigration and colonization began shortly after the profuulgation of the Balfour Declaration (November 1917), which sanctioned the creation of a Jewish ‘national home’ in Palestine. This opposition had a local Palestinian as opposed to all-Arab character.

With the rise of Zionist influence in Palestine, the Palestinians’ struggle also escalated, most notably in the 1930s. The armed resistance led by Shaikh ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam in 1935 was a prelude to a general uprising, which culminated in the famous six-month general strike of 1936.4 After this event, Arab volunteers from the neighbouring countries began to join the struggle of the Palestinians, who were desperately short of the basic requirements of guerrilla warfare, especially weapons.

But while these volunteers were coming to the Palestinians’ aid, the Arab regimes were bowing to the desire of Britain (and, by implication, of the Zionist movement) by helping to paralyse the struggle. On Britain’s behalf, the regimes of Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Trans-Jordan did their best to induce the Palestinians to call off their general strike.5 They exerted their pressure mainly through Hajj Amin al-Husaini, the traditionalist Palestinian leader who belonged to one of the country’s top landowning families. He believed that the emancipation of Palestine could be achieved through a deal with Britain, and was generally restricted to the political, intellectual and ideological horizon of the Arab regimes.

We must emphasize here the decisive difference between the two Arab resþonses to the Palestinian issue: at the grass-roots level Arab volunteers joined the armed struggle; while at the governmental level the Arab ruling classes were behaving in a manner which, in effect, smoothed the path of colonialism and Zionism.

Through an agreement between Britain’s prime minister Winston Churchill and the Egyptian government, the idea of creating the League of Arab States was proposed in 1944 and promulgated in the Alexandria Protocol.6 The significance of the Arab League was that it institutionalized the regional borders dividing the Arab homeland and excluded the latter’s organic unification. The League was conceived and set up as a political alliance between countries that – despite their cultural and historical affinities – were strictly separate ‘nation-states’. In joining this organization, the Arab regimes in effect renounced the aim of unifying the balkanized nation.

The declaration of the Jewish state in 1948 came as a serious political embarrassment to the Arab regimes, some of which declared war against Israel. The war itself was conducted on the Arab side as a political charade. The two main Arab armies in Palestine were the Trans-Jordanian and the Egyptian. The former was commanded by British officers, led by Brigadier Sir John Bagot Glubb; the outcome of the war on this front was largely fixed in advance through secret negotiations between Jordan’s Amir ‘Abdallah and the Zionist leaders (including Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir and others). The Egyptian army was disastrously badly armed and under-equipped; indeed, the scandalous way in which it conducted the war discredited the Egyptian regime and led directly to its downfall in 1952. These two Arab armies, far from collaborating or even co-ordinating with each other, were in fact gleefully looking forward to each other’s defeat. Syria’s role in the war was strictly limited; and the Iraqi forces, which initially penetrated Palestine in two sectors of the eastern front, were soon withdrawn.

Even more important: the Palestinians, on whose behalf the war was ostensibly being fought, were after May 1948 prevented from actively participating in it; they were relegated by the Arab regimes to the role of mere spectators in their own calamity.

Here, in 1948, we can already discern the Arab regimes’ policy of suppressing the Palestinian identity and trying to eliminate it altogether. This was the best gift that these regimes could offer to the nascent Zionist state. Soon the Arab governments were to be involved in armistice negotiations with Israel, ostensibly on behalf of the Palestinians, but in fact only to carve up between them what remained of Palestine, in accordance with an implicit agreement they had reached with Britain after 1937. Thus Trans-Jordan swallowed the West Bank (and accordingly renamed itself ‘Jordan’), Egypt grabbed the Gaza Strip, and Syria kept a small pocket of land around al-Hammah. During the following two years, the so-called General Government of Palestine, located in Gaza, was eliminated and the Strip came under Egyptian military administration, although it would have been possible to keep Gaza as the germ of a Palestinian state.

Clearly, what the UN partition resolution of 1947 had offered the Palestinians-the creation of a Palestinian state comprising about half of Palestine’s territory-was preferable to what the Palestinians actually got from the Arab regimes, which did their best to prevent the creation of such a state.

Leaving aside the Suez war of 1956, the next round in the war over the Palestinian question between the Arab regimes and Israel was the war of June 1967, which was started by Israel. The Arab side in this war was led by countries which were following what we have called the first trajectory of development, and their defeat sounded the death-knell of the Arab bourgeois national movement, with its ambition for unification.

Whereas in 1948 the Arab regimes had entered the war under the umbrella of the Arab League, in 1967 they joined the struggle under the umbrella of the Arab Summit, one of the new political forms of the Arab League.

The next war, that of October 1973, was started by Egypt and Syria, whose main aim was to regain their own territories (occupied by Israel since 1967) rather than the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This war was to lead to a political accommodation with the Zionist state rather than a radical struggle against it.

Following the 1973 war, the Arab Summit produced a slogan which was even more feeble than the Summit itself: the slogan of ‘Arab solidarity’, which marked the new hegemony of the Arab countries of the second trajectory, especially Saudi Arabia, over the bourgeois national regimes in the Arab homeland.

In all these wars, the Arab masses were not allowed to participate or even to criticize, and their voice remained unheard. The only exception was the clandestine infiltration of some Arab militants, who managed to cross the barriers erected by the Arab regimes and joined the Palestinians after 1967.

To conclude this part of our discussion, let us emphasize once more that the Arab masses have been denied participation in the Palestinian struggle, and their national position towards Palestine has always been submerged. Their position is not represented by that of their rulers. To confuse these two positions is, at best, an error; at worst, it is a mark of dubious intent.

2: The Palestinian identity – between dissipation, reconstruction and neglect

THE CATASTROPHIC outcome of the 1948 war disrupted the development of a Palestinian identity and Palestinian social formation, as compared to the rest of the Arabs. Not only was the country carved up between Israel and the neighbouring Arab states, but the majority of the Palestinians of all social classes were uprooted and dispersed. Through this double fragmentation -territorial and human -the Palestinian people lost the natural basis required for the existence and development of any normal human society.

Those who remained in Israel were officially defined as ‘Israeli Arabs’ and their Palestinian identity was suppressed. Those who came under Jordanian rule were forced to assume Jordanian nationality; those crowded into the Gaza Strip had to carry identity papers that were accepted only in Egypt; and the situation of the Palestinians displaced into Syria and Lebanon was similar.

As a result of the geographic, human and social dispersion of the Palestinians, their political struggle was likewise fragmented: the Palestinian militants were distributed among the various Arab movements and trends, each according to his or her ideological affiliation.

The bourgeoisie and the remnants of the aristocratic land-owning families not only joined the Jordanian ruling apparatus, but offered the West Bank as a present to King’ Abdallah at the stage-managed Jericho Conference (May 1949), where the main protagonist was Shaikh al-Ja’bari.7 This section of the Palestinian bourgeoisie has continued up to the present time to collaborate with the Hashemite regime, against the Arab revolutionary movement and the interest of the Palestinian people. Suffice it to say that during the massacre of September 1970 (Black September), the head of the military authorities in Amman was Colonel Mahmoud Daoud, a Palestinian.

In the post-1948 period, the Arab nationalist and communist movements also fell into the trap of suppressing the Palestinian identity. The Palestinian Communist Party (then called ‘The League for National Liberation’) demanded in 1949 that both Israel and the Arab states withdraw from the area allotted to the Palestinians in the 1947 UN resolution, and that a democratic independent Palestinian state be established there. By 1951, however, the party had accepted the new carve-up of Palestine: the Palestinian communists remaining in israel helped to form the Israeli CP, while those in the West Bank formed the Jordanian CP. Thus the communists, instead of trying to preserve the Palestinian national identity (wataniya), submitted to its dissipation by the regimes of the area. The Jordanian CP continued to adhere to the same line even after 1967, until an acute conflict broke out among its leaders and intellectuals in 1972-75, which brought it close to fragmentation, to the point where it was named the Palestinian Communist Organization for almost one year, until renamed the Palestinian Communist Party. Without any doubt, the Palestinian communists’ distorted understanding of the national question had been a major cause of that crisis.

After 1948 those Palestinians who had Arab nationalist aspirations distributed themselves among the Ba’th Parties, the Movement of Arab Nationalists and the Nassarist movement. However, these also failed to appreciate the necessity of maintaining a Palestinian national identity. Like the communists, they too felt in a rather confused way that to uphold such an identity would be inconsistent with their belief that Palestine could only be liberated through a united Arab struggle. They failed to realize that the existence of a Palestinian national identity is quite compatible with a united Arab struggle; indeed, the former may reinforce the latter and enable the Palestinians to pressure the rest of the Arabs into a more radical position on the Palestinian issue. What attracted those Palestinians to the Arab nationalist parties and movements was the latter’s commitment to Arab unification. The defect lay in their inability to realize that Zionism, imperialism and the reactionary Arab regimes were all intent on eliminating the Palestinian identity. Thus, adherence to this identity would have been consonant with a radical position, rather than with a regional fragmentary tendency opposed to Arab unification.

The Palestinian movement, 1967-1970

THE TREND of Palestinian incorporation into Arab political movements and regimes was dominant in the period from 1948 to 1965. After that period, there emerged new Palestinian movements that advocated very clearly the need for Palestinian action within a framework of autonomous organizations, independent of the Arab parties and regimes. The first group to urge such a course was Fatah.

Before going any further, it is essential to note that the new Palestinian national movement, with its new structure, that emerged in the mid1960s – and was, in effect, the Palestinian version of the bourgeois Arab nationalist movement-came into the world belatedly, a decade or so after what would have been its ‘natural’ time. Instead of coinciding with the revival and high tide of nationalism in the Arab homeland, the new Palestinian national movement emerged when its Arab counterpart had already been ebbing away. This late arrival of the Palestinian movement (compared to its Arab sisters) is due to the destruction of the Palestinian social structure.

The leadership of the Palestinian national movement had to develop outside Palestine, for two main reasons. First, the Palestinians belonging to the largest and most central concentration – on the west and east banks of Jordan-were officially regarded as ‘Jordanians’, and were prevented from showing any sign of Palestinian affiliation and identity. Second, the Palestinian bourgeoisie in Jordan had incorporated itself into the Jordanian regime and lost all national or political aspirations to go beyond that regime’s framework. The West Bank had also been economically integrated into the Jordanian economy.

In the surrounding Arab countries, on the contrary, the Palestinians were not given citizenship but were more or less segregated. As a result, the bourgeois Palestinian political movement in these countries, though initially still linked with Arab political groups, found an adequate environment for its own political crystallization; it therefore developed politically before the propertied bourgeoisie inside Palestine.

The Palestinian subjective factor – the politically oriented national petty bourgeoisie – was thus able to develop in advance of the objective conditions such as the economy and the general material life of the Palestinians, scattered in several states. As a result, it is the petty bourgeoisie that has led the Palestinian resistance movement, especially after 1967, with the radical turn in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

The early 1960s saw the beginnings of the new orientation of the Palestinian struggle, largely independent of the Arab regimes and to some extent also independent of Arab political forces. This drove the Arab regimes to reinforce their policy of containing the Palestinian struggle. Thus in 1964 Nasser established the old PLO – an institutional apparatus rather than a mass movement. The man appointed to lead it was Ahmad Shuqairi, a traditional Palestinian politician who had spent many years in the service of various Arab regimes, and would ensure that the politics of the organization would not go beyond the confines of the Arab political establishments.

The development of the Palestinian armed struggle organizations (in particular Fatah) started in 1965 outside Shuqairi’s PLO. The decisive turning-point came in 1967, with the defeat of the Arab regimes and, more generally, of the Arab national bourgeoisie. This led to the discrediting and demise of Shuqairi’s apparatus. The armed organizations – mainly Fatah, but also other groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – had little difficulty in ousting the Shuqairi leadership, thanks to a clear programme of armed struggle which had already been put into practice.

The Palestinian organizations’ engagement in armed struggle won them huge mass support, especially against the background of the defeat of the Arab regimes with their regular armies. This support was given a further boost by the battle of al-Karameh (March 1968), in which the Israelis were surprised by the hitherto unfamiliar guerrilla tactics of their antagonist.

However, the Palestinian organizations’ opportunity for developing their activity, based in Jordan, proved to be short-lived. It was made possible by the Hashemite regime’s weakness and the disintegration of its institutions following the 1967 war, which created a space for the development of a situation of dual power. But the Jordanian regime was trying hard to consolidate its power and reconstruct its institutions, while the Palestinian organizations were unable to overcome the fragmentation that has always been their bane. Moreover, they did not succeed in attracting the Jordanian masses and in consolidating an alliance with the Jordanian national movement. The showdown came in Black September, 1970, when Palestinians living in Jordan were massacred and their armed organizations were evicted from the country.

It should be noted here that most of the Arab regimes gave their blessing to the massacre, and merely offered to ‘mediate’ in order to reach a unanimous resolution that the Palestinian organizations should evacuate Jordan. A notable-but short-lived-exception was the Syrian regime, still dominated by the left wing of the Ba’th Party, which offered the Palestinian resistance some help against the Jordanian regime. A ‘slowmotion’ military coup was already well on its way in Syria, however, and Hafez aI-Assad – no friend of an independent Palestinian movementsoon assumed full power.

The Palestinian organizations were not allowed to use Egyptian or Syrian territory as a base for military operations against Israel, and after 1970 they were excluded from Jordan as well; so they moved their main forces into Lebanon. But for geographical and demographic reasons, Lebanon could never be a substitute for Jordan as a natural base for the struggle against Israeli occupation. Besides, it was only a question of time .before one or more of the rival Lebanese power mafias would acquire – or be given – the capability and the opportunity to perpetrate another massacre of the Palestinians.

In retrospect it is clear that the PLO’s eviction from Jordan signalled the end of its claim to be the vanguard of the Arab revolution.8

U-turns of the PLO

AFTER SEPTEMBER 1970, the Palestinian right reached a conclusion that has affected its conduct ever since: that the way to achieve a solution was through a diplomatic settlement. However, the Palestinian right realized the need to play this card cautiously and to be wary of the reaction of other wings of the movement. This conclusion led to theorizing about a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This may be regarded as the PLO’s first U-turn, which brought the organization into line with the positions taken by the Arab regimes since 1967, in confining their demands to the territories occupied in the June war of that year. Moreover, it should be noted that the left has followed the right in this U-turn, albeit using a different rhetoric. The Popular-Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PDFLP), for instance, has joined in the theorizing process for a programme of a ‘national authority’ and later for a ‘Palestinian state’. By 1974 the PDFLP had changed its political and ideological platform from a call for action against the Arab regimes to a stance of reconciliation; from a call for struggle led by an all-Arab communist movement to advocating an exclusively Palestinian struggle; and from a call for critical alliance with the ‘socialist camp’ to an uncritical acceptance of the positions and analyses of the Soviet Union.

The October 1973 war accelerated the shift of the PLO towards a diplomatic settlement. Following the war there was much talk of convening a top-level Middle East conference in Geneva, to be chaired jointly by the US and the USSR; and it was widely believed that this would lead to a Palestinian state. But the real outcome of the war was the PLO’s total exclusion from any position of influence on Arab policy-making, which was now completely subordinated to the interests of the Egyptian and Syrian regimes.

Despite the friendly attitude of the Soviet Union towards the PLO, the latter’s leadership gradually came to realize that a diplomatic settlement in the Middle East in the foreseeable future would only be possible if it were imposed by the US, as a Pax Americana. This gave the PLO’s leadership all the more reason to fall in with the political outlook and methods of the Arab regimes, which had meanwhile come under the leadership of America’s staunchest Arab ally, the Saudi regime.

The ‘American’ trend within the PLO, encouraged in the post-1973 atmosphere, was apparent in the activity of persons such as Sartawi and Dajani. Sartawi, for example, forged links on the PLO’s behalf with middle-of-the-road Israelis (who would never go beyond agreed American policy in the area) but neglected or excluded Israeli leftist and communist forces.

The PLO leadershsip’s orientation towards an American diplomatic settlement had a detrimental effect on its conduct in the Lebanese civil war, which broke out in 1975 and in which the Palestinians were embroiled from the start. The PLO leadership refused to put into practice the socially radical programme for the establishment of a non-sectarian ‘democratic Lebanon’, and became involved in confessional alliances. This offered the Syrian regime the chance to prop up the sectarian set-up in Lebanon, and in so doing, it found it expedient to conduct a massacre against the Palestinians. Thus the PLO lost its second historical opportunity to establish a base for its struggle.

Then came Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem in 1977 and his recognition of Israel. This made it patently clear not only that any diplomatic settlement in the area would be an American-Israeli one, but also that the Arab regimes would be assigned the task of imposing it on the Palestinians. As recent years have proved, the Arab governments’ boycott of Egypt was merely a charade; in fact, the Egyptian regime has only done what the others had always been willing to do.

The American-mediated 1981 truce between the PLO leadership and Israel, and the consequent halting of operations from southern Lebanon against northern Israeli settlements, marked the second U-turn of the PLO leadership, bringing it into line with the Arab regimes. This was, in effect, a step towards recognizing Israel. Although some people alleged that the truce also implied recognition of the PLO by Israel, this is not the case: Israel made no real concession but merely bided its time, preparing and awaiting a pretext for a major war against the Palestinians. This is exactly what took place in June 1982.

The evacuation of the PLO from Lebanon in 1982 paved the way for the organization’s third and most recent U-turn towards acquiescence and submission to the Arab regimes. In this respect, Arafat’s visit to Egypt was not as dangerous as his reconciliation with Jordan and the revival of the Jordanian parliament, including appointed ‘representatives of the occupied territories’. Indeed, Arafat’s visit to Cairo was perhaps no more than an attempt to divert attention from his blossoming relations with Jordan, which were condemned by most Palestinian forces. One of the first results of Arafat’s rapprochment with Jordan – surely, second only to Israel in its hostility to a Palestinian identity – was a joint acceptance by Arafat and Hussein of UN Security Council Resolution 242 as a basis for proposed negotiations with Israel. Hitherto, Resolution 242 had always been rejected by the whole Palestinian movement, mainly because it refers to the Palestinians merely as ‘refugees’ rather than as a national entity, as object rather than subject.

Thus in making this third U-turn, the PLO leadership has delivered itself as hostage into the hands of the Arab regimes.

The West Bank is the object

THE WEST BANK has the largest concentration of Palestinians within their homeland, and is therefore the focus where several issues intersect: the Palestinian struggle; the PLO’s aim of establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza; Israel’s drive to annex these territories for good; Jordan’s wish to regain its domination over the Palestinian population and, if possible, over the West Bank itself; and the Arab regimes’ interest in seeing the territory revert to Jordan, thus freeing themselves of the burden of the Palestinians. The US too has an interest in these territories, which it hopes to use as a counter in an American-backed settlement designed to satisfy the ambitions of Israel and the interests of some Arab regimes. As for the Palestinians, they are assigned the passive role of mere props on the stage where the action takes place.

From dependence to atrophy

In the present section I shall discuss the occupation regime in the West Bank, concentrating on its economic aspects.

The West Bank did not have an independent economy when it was under Jordanian rule. Following the 1948 defeat, the territory’s population, economy and land were simply incorporated into Jordan, whose development efforts were deliberately concentrated on the East Bank. The economic neglect of the West Bank fitted in with Jordan’s policy of suppressing the Palestinians and obliterating their identity.

Thus in 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank, it found a weak and ramshackle economic structure, no match for Israel’s capitalist and relatively developed economy, which was incorporated into the world system. Whether or not Israel had prior designs to subordinate the West Bank’s economy to its own needs, such a policy has certainly evolved during the years of occupation, as a corollary of Israel’s political ambitions over what it regards as ‘liberated’ territory. Both major parties in Israel, the Likud and Labour, insist on retaining Israeli domination over most, if not all, of the territory’s lands, and are at best ready to negotiate with Jordan over the status of the Palestinian inhabitants, as is clear from the Camp David accords.

From the early days of occupation, Israel has decreed a large number of military orders and regulations, governing all aspects oflife. (Among the first was an order according to which the Palestinian inhabitants were issued with identity cards for personal identification, but not as proof of nationality or national identity.) In particular, the military governor promulgated various economic regulations, such as the imposition of Israeli currency and a ban on exports and imports except through Israel; this latter ban does not, however, apply to a limited number of products that could compete with Israel’s own products, and which are therefore still exported across the ‘open bridges’ into Jordan.

The West Bank soon became economically dependent on Israel. The local merchant was forced to import from the Israeli market. Similarly, Israel was the only source of raw materials and other inputs for manufacture, and the same was true of certain inputs for agriculture. Thus the various social classes were linked to the Israeli economy for the operation of the processes of production in the West Bank.

In addition, workers became dependent on employment in the Israeli economy. A surplus labour force had existed in the West Bank even before the 1967 war. Despite a wave of emigration on the eve of the war, and mass expulsions immediately after it, the size of this surplus actually increased. The reason for this was a sharp decline in demand for labour in the West Bank: the effects of the war paralysed various spheres of manufacture and agriculture. Moreover, the public services sector, which had been a major employer under Jordan, was cut down to a minimum by the Israeli occupation authorities; besides, Palestinian workers are not attracted by this new employer. As a result, many Palestinian workers were faced with the choice between emigration and seeking work inside Israel. This large supply of new Palestinian labour coincided with an increased demand for labour in the Israeli economy, which revived from its pre-1967 recession and, due to foreign investments, boomed for the following six years. At the same time, the expanding Israeli militaryindustrial complex, closed to Arabs, absorbed a growing proportion of Israelis, thus creating a need for Palestinian workers in other sectors of the economy. These Palestinian workers came not only from the cities and refugee camps, but also from rural areas; even before the large-scale expropriation of lands, the capitalization of the relations of production forced the peasant family to increase its cash income by sending some of its members to seek hired employment.

The economic structure that took shape in the occupied territories during the first ten years of occupation can be described as colonial. Israel harnessed the territories’ economy to its own; the various sectors of the local economy were prevented from fitting in with each other, but were instead made to fit into the capitalist Israeli economy. This was an instance of what Chattapodaya has called ‘reservation/disintegration’.9 Thus local agriculture was directed towards producing for the needs of the Israeli economy, and local manufacture was fitted into slots in Israel’s industrial production.

However, the term ‘colonial’ is no longer adequate for describing the pattern that began to emerge after the first ten years. Through massive expropriation oflands, Israel had by 1984 seized about half of the West Bank’s area. Taxes were imposed on local industries, leading to their eventual bankruptcy or at best halting their development. Economic hardship (exacerbated by a spiralling inflation imported from Israel) and political repression led to increased emigration. Israeli settlements, rapidly growing in number, also changed their character: they became overtly civilian (rather than military outposts) and spread into the heartland of the occupied territories, invading even the cities. All these processes go beyond the colonial aim of merely harnessing the local economy to Israeli needs; rather, they tend to destroy the very structure of production.

It is becoming clear that Israel’s aim is not merely to subjugate the Palestinian inhabitants and concentrate them in reserve areas, but to displace them altogether, to be replaced by Israelis. Unlike the South African settler-colonial policy of herding the indigenous people into segregated, purely black reserve areas, the Israeli colonization policy is to set up settlements inside densely populated Palestinian areas, in order to achieve an Israeli demographic majority and disperse the Palestinian society, as a step towards its ultimate expulsion across the Jordan. This clearly goes beyond the formation of a settler-colonial mode of production; it is an ideologically and politically motivated programme of complete destruction of the structure of production, of uprooting the Palestinians from the soil, preventing them from owning industrial and technical means of production and, finally, encouraging or forcing the largest possible number to emigrate.

The present economic situation in the occupied territories is that of transition from a settler-colonial mode of production to economic atrophy, partly masked by a sizeable inflow of political funds – mainly through Jordan, with Israel’s acquiescence – on which a growing number of Palestinian inhabitants have become dependent. True, the local bourgeoisie and land-owners are trying to protect their interests by clinging to their role of subservience to the Israeli economy, thus tending to preserve the colonial mode of production. However, Israel’s ideological and political plans spell the doom of this attempt, and will finally lead to the dissolution of the local social and economic fabric.10 The Palestinian population of the occupied territories already produces less than it consumes; and the disruptive economic situation has led to confusion and unease in daily life.11

Aspects of deformation

In 1970 about 20,600 workers from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, comprising 13.5 per cent ofthe total number of workers in these territories, were employed in Israel; in 1975 the number was 66,300 (about 47.8 per cent); and by 1985 the number had reached 85,000, of which 47,000 come from the West Bank and the rest from Gaza. Together with some 50,000 who work in Israel illegally,12 this adds up to well over half the total number of wage workers in these occupied territories (estimated at slightly less than 250,000). Despite this, unemployment in the territories ranges from 16 to 20 per cent, due to the economic crisis in Israel, which has led to the replacement of Palestinian workers by Israelis. The situation is exacerbated by the policy of Jordan, which prevents Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank from staying in Jordan for an extended period or migrating elsewhere. This policy – aimed not so much as entrenching the Palestinians in their territories as at maintaining their dependence on the Jordanian authorities – adds to the pressure of unemployment.

The grossly deformed character of the economy of the occupied territories is revealed by the fact that well over half of their workers are employed outside, in Israel, which retains all the surplus produced by these workers. The picture becomes even worse when we remember that a major part of the wages brought in by these workers, as well as incomes generated within the occupied territories and private remittances and political funds that flow in across the Jordan bridges, are used to pay for consumer goods imported from Israel, and are thus drained away into the Israeli economy.

The situation of the peasants, however, is more complicated. In the early years of the occupation, the Israeli authorities directed local agriculture into producing crops that were needed by the Israeli economy, whether for its domestic consumption or to fill gaps in Israel’s exports. Israel granted incentives for growing such crops, and guaranteed their sale. But once local agricultural production had been completely reoriented to serve Israel’s needs, the Israelis stopped offering incentives and the produce became subject to market fluctuations. Moreover, while the flow ofIsraeli products into the occupied territories is unrestricted, a permit from the military governor is required for exporting Palestinian products to Israel or to foreign markets where they might compete with Israeli products.

All these pressures, as well as the continual decline in the number of people engaged in agriculture, created a highly unstable economic situation during the early years of occupation.

Since 1973 matters have been getting steadily worse, due to the proliferation of Israeli settlements and massive expropriations of lands. Land seizures, at first gradual and piecemeal, have assumed vast proportions, especially since 1980; it is estimated that by the end of 1984 about 2.5mn (million) dunums, constituting about half of the total area of the West Bank, had been seized.13 The number of Israeli settlements is estimated at about 165. (The exact number is difficult to determine, because the Israeli authorities take new decisions almost daily; this also applies to the exact area occupied by each settlement.)

The number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank was 20,000 in 1973, and grew rather slowly until 1982, when it reached about 22,000. But in recent years the numbers have escalated rapidly, reaching about 43,000 in earlý 1985. To this should be added 78,000 settlers in the areas surrounding East Jerusalem, which have been officially annexed to Israel, making about 121,000 settlers altogether, or approximately 11 per cent of the entire population of the West Bank.

A recent significant trend has been the industrialization of Israeli settlements. In 1982 Israeli settlements already employed about 3,000 industrial workers (out of a total of 18,300 in the whole West Bank). But in that year the Israeli authorities decided to build 79 new factories (over the next two years) in existing or projected Israeli settlements. The effect of this trend is to cut the cost of transporting Palestinian workers employed in Israeli industry, as well as the cost of transporting Israeli industrial produce into the West Bank. This gives Israeli industry additional advantages in its competition with local industry over labour and markets, leading to the virtual extinction of Palestinian industry. Thus the Israeli settlement policy not only results in uprooting the Palestinian farmers and peasants, leading to their proletarization, but also undermines and destroys the other productive sectors.

This amounts to a deliberate strategy of annexing the occupied territories from within, by settling large numbers of Israelis in them and fragmenting their weak indigenous socio-economic structure. Thus the process of external Israeli annexation of these territories, through military occupation, is being complemented internally by their complete economic dissolution into the economy of the occupier.

Balance of trade

The data on the occupied territories’ imports and exports for the years 1981-83 are summarized in Table 1. It is clear from these data that the territories’ trade deficit derives for the most part from their exchange with the Israeli economy. The trade deficit is covered by a unilateral inflow of funds: Arab aid, assistance from the Joint Palestinian-Jordanian Committee, and the remittances of migrant workers in Israel, Jordan and elsewhere.

Table 1. External trade of the occupied territories, 1981-83 in millions of Israeli shekels14

The occupied territories are thus net exporters of labour-power and net importers of goods. This reflects the structural weakness of their economy, and its dependence on the economies of Jordan and other Arab countries, and to an even greater extent on that of Israel. Moreover, the occupied territories are peripheral to these other economies, while the whole region is peripheral to the world economic system.

In addition to exploiting the labour-power of the occupied territories and using them as a market, Israel derives another economic benefit from the occupation: a significant quantity of Israeli goods are re-exported from these territories into the Arab countries, under local or foreign labels. It seems almost as though this is a sort of pilot project, in preparation for much larger and overt Israeli economic penetration of the Arab markets, as part of an American-sponsored settlement.

Finally, let us point out that the bourgeoisie of the occupied territories exports its capital to Jordan, Egypt and other Arab countries, although much of this capital originates from the ‘steadfastness’ funds donated by the Arab world; thus these donations are recycled back to the Arab countries, but in the process they serve to subsidize the Palestinian bourgeoisie and secure its political allegiance.

The traditional local bourgeoisie

In the foregoing discussion we have tried to describe and analyse the deformations of the socio-economic structure of the occupied territories. We pointed out that the peasantry is shrinking, due to the loss of lands through Israeli colonization. At the same time, the working class has become an object of double exploitation, through the export of its labourpower, and as consumers of Israeli goods. The deformation of the peasantry and working class goes hand in hand with the deformation of the bourgeoisie of the occupied territories. This latter class is mainly made up of mercantile and comprador elements, as well as landlords of estates, and to a lesser extent of owners of small-scale industries. The productivity of the local economy is very low compared to consumption, about half of which is covered by remittances of migrant workers and political subsidies from the Arab world.

The Palestinians of the occupied territories cannot, of course, be considered as an entity separate from the Palestinian people as a whole. For one thing, many workers from these territories are employed in Israel and the surrounding Arab countries, where they mingle with other sections of the Palestinian people.

In addition to the demographic, economic and cultural interdependence between the Palestinians in the occupied territories and those outside, there is the Palestinian struggle, in which the Palestinians of the diaspora still playa pioneering and leading role. The PLO was formed in the diaspora, and its leadership, as well as its main forces, are still outside the occupied territories.

The PLO is the only organization that can claim to represent the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and it has firm links with all the social classes there. It still enjoys the virtually undivided loyalty of the masses. The only social class whose allegiance to the PLO is less than solid is the bourgeoisie, which is more inclined to be loyal to the Jordanian regime.

It is clear that in the last few years the local traditional bourgeoisie has exerted pressure on the PLO leadership in favour of delegating to Jordan the role of representing the Palestinians. This is because, if Jordan were to be accorded this role, it would in turn use local bourgeois elements as spokesmen for the Palestinians, thus bypassing the PLO.

Two factors have contributed to turning the local bourgeoisie away from the PLO. First, the Camp David accords, which were designed (among other things) to exclude the PLO from the political process, were welcomed by this bourgeoisie. The second factor is the Joint PalestinianJordanian Committee, which has facilitated Jordanian interference in local Palestinian affairs through pro-Hashemite loyalists inside the occupied territories.

In addition to maintaining relations simultaneously with the PLO and Jordan, the traditional bourgeoisie also flirts with Israel and the US. These latter contacts have resulted in a plan to set up inside the occupied territories a ‘development project’ which is to be financed mainly by American capital, under Israeli-American supervision. This will no doubt deepen the dependence of the occupied territories and reinforce their role as a link between the economies ofIsrael and the Arab countries.

To justify its flirtations with the US and Israel, the traditional bourgeoisie argues that the Palestinians of the occupied territories have been abandoned by all the Arabs, and they must therefore look after themselves as best they can; if that means making a deal with the US, and even with Israel, then so be it.

In this argument, the traditional bourgeoisie misleadingly glosses over the fact that the politics and positions of the Arab regimes do not truly represent the aspirations of the Arab masses.

It is important to point out that the defeatism of the traditional bourgeoisie has been fostered by the weakening of the PLO and its growing dependence on the Arab regimes, as well as by the apparent inability of the left of the PLO to offer the Palestinian masses a credible alternative strategy.

The recent policy of the PLO leadership – signalled most clearly by its acceptance of Security Council Resolution 242 – has resulted in strengthening the position and role of the traditional bourgeoisie. In turning back to the circle of the Arab regimes, that leadership has lost its revolutionary principles, and with them its very raison d’être.

3: Crisis, Industrialisation and the development of submerged all-Arab identity

IN PART 1 of this essay we discussed the incorporation of the Arab economies into the world capitalist market and the new Arab dependence on the imperialist centre. We also explained how the uneven development between Arab countries became, for economic and political reasons, an aim in itself. Through uneven development, the direct interrelations between the Arab countries have been attenuated and have given way to the separate attachment of individual Arab countries to the world system and, more recently, to relations between some Arab countries and the Zionist regime, which partly mediates between them and the world system.

Since the first boom in oil prices (1973), the oil-exporting Arab countries have become increasingly incorporated into the world economic system. They have acquired huge liquid reserves, which they have used, in part, to enlarge their exchange with the outside world. This has still left them with surplus funds for investment in the region itself – and hence they have acquired an increased stake in the region’s political stability. At the same time, the Arab bourgeois ruling classes have reached a certain ideological maturity, mobilizing into their ranks a host of writers and academics who advocate capitalist development through ‘open door’ relations with the world system in general, and with the US in particular. These theoreticians argue against the ideas of Arab nation, all-Arab national identity and unification of the Arab world.

These developments prepared the ground for Sadat’s visit to Israel, where he declared that there would be ‘no more wars in the Middle East’. In this he was representing the beliefs not only of Egypt’s ruling class but also those of other Arab countries, mainly Saudi Arabia and Morocco. Projecting this analysis forwards, we can detect the beginning of a new front in the area, with the Israeli regime and the Arab ruling classes as the local junior partners, and the US as the dominant senior partner.

All this constitutes a total U-turn by bourgeois Arab nationalists, away from their erstwhile preaching of ‘Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine’ . In this third part of our essay, we shall outline a hypothetical economic scenario for the development of the Arab homeland. If this scenario is indeed realized, its outcome will supersede all the present centrifugal deviations of the Arab bourgeoisies and bring the region to the threshold ofa new era.

The present economic scene

As AN introduction to our scenario for the economic future, we must first discuss the present economic situation in the Arab world. We shall concentrate mainly on Saudi Arabia and Egypt, as being the most important representatives of their respective types.

Despite a long series of pan-Arab economic and trade agreements, the Arab ruling classes have continued the process of divergent development, using these agreements merely to cover up their real policies.

The majority of industrial workers in the Arab countries are concentrated in simple and craft industries, mostly in plants employing no more than 100 workers. The proportion of industrial workers in the total employed labour force is still only 20 or 21 per cent15 – a clear symptom of under-development. (In the developed countries of both West and East the figure is around 40 per cent; in countries whose per capita income is near the world average it is around 28 per cent.)

However, the share of industry in total employment varies considerably from one Arab country to another. The same holds true for the share of industry in the gross domestic product (GDP): it is 48 per cent in Algeria, 25 per cent in Egypt, 24 per cent in Syria and 20 per cent in Lebanon.16 In the least industrially developed Arab countries, such as Sudan, Jordan and Yemen, the proportion is even lower.

In most Arab countries, the growth of industry’s share in the GDP has gone hand in hand with a decline in the share of agriculture. At the same time, the public and private service sector has grown continually at the expense of the first two sectors. This tertiary sector absorbs 71 per cent of the workforce in Lebanon, 68 per cent in Jordan and 58 per cent in Syria. This reflects the large size of the bureaucratic apparatus in the Arab countries.

Despite the mainly agricultural character of the Arab economies, productivity in this sector has declined during the 1970s and 1980s. During the 1970s the Arab world doubled its agricultural imports and is now, in relative terms, the greatest importer offood products in the Third World.

Between the 1950s and 1960s agriculture’s share in the GDP declined from 33 to 16 per cent in Algeria, and from 33 to 18 per cent in Syria. In most Arab countries, agriculture absorbs over half the workforce, in some cases as much as 70 per cent; but its share in the GDP is only around 20 per cent, and in South Yemen and Sudan it is as low as 9 and 4 per cent respectively. At the same time there are huge tracts of untilled arable land (100,000 hectares in Morocco, 126,000 in Egypt, 427,000 in Libya, 1.3 million in Algeria, 2.5 million in Syria, 12.6 million in Sudan) and a high rate of unemployment, particularly disguised unemployment in rural areas, in all Arab countries (11.5 per cent in Libya, 15.6 in Jordan, 25.7 in Iraq, 66 in North Yemen and as much as 73 per cent in Somalia)17

Migration of labour

Chronic unemployment persists in most Arab countries, despite the sizeable migration of workers to non-Arab countries as well as between Arab countries. According to a French survey, France has 754,000 migrant workers from Algeria, 400,000 from Morocco and 134,000 from Tunisia. There are also smaller, but significant, numbers from Syria and Libya.18

As for migration of Arab workers to oil countries, Table 2 shows the number of such migrants from six labour-exporting countries, as well as the percentage of the total labour force in the country of origin represented by these workers.

Table 2. Migrant labour force in oil-producing countries19

Most of these workers are employed in construction and in government jobs; a minority are employed as skilled workers.

In the labour-importing oil countries, Arab migrant workers are increasingly outnumbered by non-Arab ones. Table 3 contains data on the total workforce employed in the major oil-exporting Arab countries, as well as the number of expatriate workers (including migrants from Arab and other countries). As the table shows, the proportion of migrant workers has been increasing rapidly. At the same time, it is known that the share of Arabs in this expatriate workforce has declined.

Table 3. Total and expatriate labour force in major Arab oil-exporting countries; selected years20

These trends reflect a deliberate policy on the part of the governments concerned: migrant workers are preferred because they accept lower wages; and non-Arab migrant workers can more easily be kept ‘out of politics’. In the last few years, however, the governments are becoming increasingly concerned that this policy is leading to the creation of national minorities.

The remittances of migrant Arab workers form an important part of the national income of their countries of origin and help to offset their trade deficit. Syria receives some $50 mn each year from Syrian workers employed in other Arab countries; the corresponding figure for Egypt is at least ten times as high. And the remittances ofJ ordanian migrant workers make up about 40 per cent of Jordan’s GDP.

Inter-Arab trade

Under Ottoman rule, the Arab countries formed a common market, and the exchange of commodities between them was free. In the years just before the First World War, a quarter of all Syrian exports went to Egypt alone, and another quarter to the rest of the Ottoman empire. In 1910 one-fifth of all Egypt’s imports came from Arab countries, excluding Sudan; by 1929 this proportion had dwindled to 3 per cent. Trade between the Arab countries declined drastically during the 1930s: from 1928 to 1938 the share of Syrian exports going to Egypt fell from 17 to only 5 per cent, and Syria’s share in Egypt’s exports was halved.21

The decline in inter-Arab trade was due to the balkanization of the Arab homeland following the war, and the fragmentation of the interests of the ruling classes. At the same time, trade between Arab countries and the rest of the world increased, as each Arab country conducted its exchange separately.

There have been many attempts to tighten economic relations between the Arab countries and to re-create an Arab common market. Thus in 1953 several Arab countries agreed to lower duties on trade and transportation between them. In 1957 members of the Arab League signed an agreement for complete economic unity; in 1964 they agreed to form an ‘Arab Common Market’ and in 1965 they undertook to set up a Council for Arab Economic Unity. Some time after that, they established the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC). The 1970s were likewise punctuated by similar bilateral agreements; the decade also saw the creation of Arab committees for industry and for joint arms production, and so on.

The results of all these agreements fell far short of expectations: rather than becoming mutually interdependent, the Arab countries deepened their separate dependence on the world market. Those countries which followed the first trajectory of development, such as Egypt, failed to develop an independent industrial base; and when oil prices boomed, Saudi Arabia and other countries of the second trajectory used their new financial strength to become even more integrated into the world capitalist system.

Briefly, the 1970s were a period of’recompradorization’ (to use a term coined by S. Amin) of the Arab countries, especially Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Algeria.

Trade between the countries of the so-called Arab Common Market remained weak; it represented 6 per cent of their total foreign trade in 1970, and declined even further in 1973 and 1976. At the same time imports from the West went up. From 1972 to 1976 the share of the US in Algeria’s imports increased from 6.6 to 8.9 per cent; the corresponding figures for Iraq are from 3.2 to 9.5; and for Syria, from 3.7 to 14.4 per cent. The rise in Egypt’s imports from the US was particularly steep: from 7.8 to 27 per cent.22 The former French possessions in North Africa conduct much of their trade with the EEC; for example, 63 per cent of Tunisia’s total foreign trade was with the EEC.

In 1983 inter-Arab trade was worth just under 10 per cent of total Arab exports and imports. While this is still a very modest figure, it is three times as high as a decade before; it seems to indicate a new development in inter-Arab exchange and economic relations, and a growing tendency in some Arab countries to become involved in their neighbours’ markets.

Egypt

A modest industrial development began in Egypt in the 1920s. The pace ofindustrialization quicked in the 1940s, largely due to the presence of a very sizeable British garrison during the war. The British forces in Egypt and the Western Desert had to rely to a considerable extent on local supplies and presented Egyptian industry with a lucrative market. A large and ambitious programme ofindustrialization began to be implemented under Nasser’s regime, which stressed the need to create an infrastructure for traditional industries, such as steel. Stagnation set in at the end of the Nasser era, and was exacerbated under Sadat’s regime, which adopted an ‘open door’ policy, exposing local industry to the competition of technologically superior and cheaper foreign goods and diverting the purchasing power of the ailluent strata to imported luxuries. The annual economic growth rate, which averaged 7.1 per cent over the years 1945-65, fell in the 1970s to 3 per cent, which is about equal to the population’s growth rate.

Egypt’s foreign trade makes up only 0.25 per cent of total world trade; the corresponding figure for Israel-whose population is less than onetenth of Egypt’s – is 3.3 per cent. In the financial year 1982/83, the Egyptian budget deficit exceeded E£4.8 bn; the government offset this deficit by issuing banknotes, thus stoking innation.23 As a direct consequence, the Egyptian pound had to be devalued: its value dropped to $1.43 in 1983, compared to $2.56 in the early 1970s. By the end of 1983 Egypt’s debts amounted to over half its gross national product (GNP).

Alongside the deep and widespread poverty – over 27 per cent of the population live below the officially defined poverty line -there are enormous riches. Egypt has 250,000 millionaires, 150,000 large building landlords, 7,500 owners of export-import firms, 15,000 owners of transportation fleets and 4,000 persons owning more than 50 acres ofland.

Other Arab countries which have followed the first trajectory of development also face grave economic difficulties. Let us take Syria as an example. The agricultural sector employs almost half of Syria’s labour force, but produces less than one-fifth of the GNP. In 1963 Syria’s exports covered 80.4 per cent of its imports; but by 1974 Syrian exports ($778 mn) covered a mere 22.5 per cent ofimports.

The oil era

OIL IS, in more than one sense, liquid wealth; it is not a true indication of real economic development. The 1974-80 boom in the price of this exceptional commodity sharply increased its exceptional role in the Arab economies. In that period, the oil revenues of the Arab states jumped from $53.1 bn to $213.8 bn. But at the time of writing it is expected that in 1985 these revenues will not exceed $75 bn,24 which in real terms (taking into consideration the rate of inflation and the dollar’s rate of exchange) is less than the 1975 level.

Total Arab exports in 1970 were estimated at $11. 9 bn. By 1974 they had gone up six-fold, and by 1981 they amounted to eighteen times the 1970 figure. Most of this increase is due to oil. Indeed, the share of oil in total Arab exports had risen from 74.5 per cent in 1971 to 93.3 per cent in 1981.

The bonanza in oil revenues actually had a harmful effect on the Arab economies, turning them into economies of revenue distribution rather than developing productivity. In the period 1971-81, when exports multiplied eighteen-fold, imports also increased by the same factor,25 and consisted largely of consumer goods. The Arab homeland became one of the world’s regions which suffer most from a shortage oflocally grown foodstuffs.

Despite the growth in Arab agricultural development in the early 1960s, a serious shortfall arose during the 1970s: food consumption was increasing by 6 per cent annually, which is double the rate of population growth. Food importation shot up at an alarming rate: from $1 bn in 1970 to $53 bn in 1982.26

Perhaps one of the best proofs of the mal-investment of Arab oil revenues is the Arab world’s large foreign debt, totalling some $105 bn; the biggest debtors are Iraq (32 bn), Egypt (21 bn), Morocco (12.5 bn) and Sudan (8 bn).

The huge surplus oil revenues have been used in several ways, most of them non-productive. Large sums are kept as reserves in Western banks, and used by the banks to acquire high profits; another major part of the surplus is spent on luxury consumption by the ruling classes – while the Arab homeland still has one of the world’s highest rates ofinfant mortality27 – or on buying real estate and investment shares in the West.

Another part is lent by the Arab oil states to Third World countries. Arab non-oil countries in particular receive substantial loans and even free gifts; but much of this is in turn spent non-productively.

Some of the oil revenues have nevertheless been used for industrial investment within the Arab world, particularly in constructing a petrochemical industry in member countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) as well as in Algeria, Iraq and Libya.

Algeria was the first Arab country to invest in this field, in the mid-1960s. However, despite the Algerian government’s heavy concentration in this sector, the share ofindustrial production did not exceed 12 or 13 per cent of the total domestic product. There were several reasons for this: lack of skilled labour, maladministration, the backwardness of the industrial infrastructure, and international competition.

Following Algeria, the GCC embarked on large-scale development in the petrochemical industry. This was motivated by the availability of the necessary raw materials, cheap energy and ready finance. The multinational corporations were involved in this development; they contributed investment capital as well as technology and expert personnel. Indeed, the whole programme was based on advice from foreign sources and was in essence externally oriented, irrespective of the potential harm that might be caused to the local economies. In other words, the project is merely a branch of the multinational petrochemical industry that – for reasons of convenience and low costs – happens to be located in the Gulf countries.

The member governments of the GCC are fully aware that the age of oil cannot last for ever and that substitute resources should therefore be developed well in advance, before the oil reserves begin to dwindle. But in practice the GCC petrochemical industry was based on a short-sighted policy which was externally oriented and neglected the need for balanced industrialization. Moreover, the GCC remains an exclusive club that does not admit new members. This reveals the orientation of the GCC towards the development of unequal development between Arab countries.28

The profits which the multinational corporations are syphoning off and the shares that they hold are not the only losses of the GCC. One of the GCC petrochemical industry’s major weaknesses lies at the level of marketing. Despite the fact that the GCC petrochemical companies are merely branches of the multinationals, the latter have joined Western officials, businessmen and ‘opinion-makers’ in demanding high tariffs on the importation of GCC petrochemicals into Western markets.29 Their argument is that the Arab oil countries are rich enough not to be treated as underdeveloped countries in need of preferential treatment. Thus, for example, in July 1985 the EEC decided to impose a 13.5 per cent duty on imports of methanol from Saudi Arabia, rather than offering the facilities accorded to products of underdeveloped countries.30

At the same time, Western companies continue to push the GCC to invest even more in the same field, and their advice is being accepted.31

Wrong-headed policies of the GCC

It is obvious that the GCC industrialization policy is a continuation of the policy of uneven development between Arab countries. The petrochemicals produced in the GCC plants are basic products which serve as inputs for manufacturing in the West. This new role of the GCC economy is an example of international re-specialization.

Besides its technological dependence (on imperialist countries), the GCC also suffers from its dependence on a foreign workforce. The reason for this dependence is the sparsity of the indigenous population – a mere twelve million,32 spread over a very large area. As we have already noted, however, this creates a dilemma for the GCC governments. The presence of a large number of non-Arab workers may eventually lead to the creation of a national minority which, given the small size of the indigenous population, would threaten the Arab character of the host country. On the other hand, foreign Arab workers do not regard themselves as really foreign; following a time-honoured tradition, they feel it is their right as Arabs to playa part in the politics of their Arab host country.

Possibly the gravest problem for the GCC industrial policy lies in the sphere of marketing. Because of the nature of the GCC’s main industrial products, their principal markets are in the industrialized countries. If these markets refuse to absorb all of the output, the GCC cannot switch over to production for the Arab market, because the latter has little demand for these products.

Another aspect of the GCC’s economic dependence, often reflected in speeches made by leaders ofits member governments, is the GCe’s great concern about the international economic order, in other words, the stability of the capitalist West. This concern is, alas, rather one-sided; the major capitalist powers have been busily engaged in plans and policies designed to break the bones of OPEC, with the result that the latter has now become immersed in a real crisis. It is clear that the West would like to compel OPEC to push oil prices down, and keep them down, to the pre-1974 level.

The GCC’s concern for the economic stability of the West has several material explanations, not least of which is the fact that GCC governments, as well as individuals, have invested heavily in the West. This policy of investing abroad was pioneered by Kuwait and Abu Dhabi in the 1960s, with the aim of offsetting their non-oil foreign trade deficit. Despite this laudable aim, the policy in fact enhances dependence. The investment – even where it is in industrial shares rather than real estate is unproductive from the point of view of the Arab homeland, because it does nothing to develop production there. Moreover, Western governments may one day nationalize these assets, or block remittances from their profits. Needless to say, Western experts and advisers are very enthusiastic about this investment policy and do much to encourage it.33 GCC aid to other Arab countries is also largely oriented towards nonproductive projects. Most of this aid is spent simply on offsetting the current trade deficit of the recipient states; very little is invested productively. Thus in 1976 the Kuwaiti government paid out $170 mn earmarked for Arab development projects, through the Kuwaiti Development Fund; but in the same year the government paid out $1 bn in direct aid to the Arab regimes. Similarly, the Saudi Development Fund paid out some $100 mn in that year for investment throughout the Arab world, but the Saudi government spent directly $2 bn in backing various Arab regimes.34

Significantly, inter-Arab exchange underwent a relative decline during the era of oil price boom, and now stands at a mere 4 per cent of total Arab foreign trade.

What is the alternative?

IT IS OBVIOUS that a small country cannot compete in this age of regional or continental blocs. The only apparent exceptions are small countries such as Kuwait, which are endowed with great natural wealth. But even there this advantage cannot last in the long run, and Kuwait is, despite all its wealth and development, a dependent economy. Indeed, liquid assets and current surpluses alone do not suffice to overcome economic dependence; they may merely mask it.

In a world of huge blocs, the only way for the Arab countries to develop is by initiating common Arab policies, programmes and projects. The present dominant theories of Arab economic integration, indicative planning and free trade still harmonize with the trend of growing uneven development; and they are centred on exchange rather than production, which must be the point of departure for any genuine development.

The productive programme could proceed in two stages. The first step is to set up joint classical industrial projects between the GCC, which would contribute the capital, and Egypt, which would be the source of abundant cheap labour power. Such joint projects could solve at least the problems of dependence on foreign labour, the GCC’s dependence on insecure foreign markets, and Egyptian unemployment. Concurrently, joint agricultural projects could be started along similar lines between the GCC and Sudan, with GCC capital and Sudanese (as well as Egyptian) land and labour power.

The second stage would be to involve other Arab countries, which would initially at least subscribe financially to the projects. Eventually, the bilateral projects would be transformed into common all-Arab national ones. This two-stage programme should not ignore the existing petrochemical plants, but rather rationalize this sector and subject it to the priorities of balanced development.

The common projects and the overall programme encompassing them would offer several important advantages: the creation of a common productive basis, enjoying the use of mutually complementary resources of different Arab countries; the employment of millions of workers; a saving of surpluses which are at present squandered on imports; and the creation of a regional market which would automatically give priority to the products of the joint enterprises. The Arab countries would be obliged to buy from these enterprises, in which they themselves had invested, or in which their own workers were employed. Moreover, aid from the richer Arab countries could be made conditional on giving preferential treatment to these products. The joint enterprises would also be able to sell their products relatively cheaply on Arab markets because the transportation costs would be small, and the oil-exporting countries could offer their aid in the form of price subsidies.

Because of these and other advantages, and due to the objective economic pressures of the world market, it is quite possible that the capitalist ruling classes of the Arab countries will be impelled to pursue such a course of development, despite the fact that it would imply a certain degree of de-linking from the world capitalist system.

Indeed, the creation of joint Arab productive projects would reduce Arab dependence and harm imperialist interests in the region. From the point of view of the imperialist countries, the main loss would be that of the large Arab market for consumer goods. This in itself would create a real contradiction between the Arab bourgeoisie and the imperialist centres, whether or not the Arab ruling classes intended it.

What would be the political consequences of such an economic scenario, if it were to be implemented? As far as the Arab homeland itself is concerned, the development of economic interdependence and a regional market would no doubt play an essential role in encouraging Arab political unity.

At the same time, it would provoke economic conflict not only with the imperialist countries but also with Israel. At present, one of the main incentives that may induce Israel to accept some kind of Americanimposed political settlement is the prospect of being able to break into the large Arab markets. However, the creation of joint Arab development and an Arab common market might raise the spectre of a boycott, or at least of rigid tariff barriers against the penetration ofIsraeli goods. Moreover, any move towards Arab unification is anathema to Israel’s strategy, which aims at maximal fragmentation of the Arab world. It is no secret that Israel would like to see the Arab countries break up into three or four times their present number. Therefore, the probable Israeli reaction would be to use military force-in order to try to prevent a ‘dangerous’ convergence between its Arab neighbours.

In this new environment, however, the Arab regimes would have a real stake in struggling against Israel (and indirectly against imperialism) in order to defend their own interests. This struggle would, in turn, create two new variables: first, a new chance for the Palestinians to intensify their struggle for a genuine solution to the Palestinian question; and second, a new motive for the internal revolutionary forces inside Israel to fight against its aggressive regime and to achieve a real solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which can only be a socialist solution through a regional socialist state.

This line of analysis points to the probable conclusion that the present policies of uneven development – which have oriented the Arab regimes against unity and in favour of the recognition ofIsrael-may create the conditions for their own negation, in other words, the necessity for Arab unity on the one hand and a new wave of struggle against Israel and imperialism on the other.

If the Arab regimes were to adopt the scenario outlined above, they might well succeed in offsetting the Arab social crisis in the short run. However, it is a moot question as to whether this scenario can actually achieve an articulated development along a capitalist route. Can an Arab common market and political convergence be created while internal social differences become crucial?

Be that as it may, the working-class movement in the whole region will continue its struggle for a socialist solution to the social, economic and political questions. This movement also includes those Israeli revolutionaries who are struggling against the capitalist Zionist regime; in their joint struggle with Palestinian and Arab revolutionaries, they will help to build a socialist Palestine as part of the Arab socialist homeland.

The struggle of the working class, jointly with other oppressed classes, for socialism and unity implies the rise of the submerged feeling of all-Arab identity, which is even now the aspiration and an expression of the aims of the Arab socialist nation.

  • 1. Huri Islamoglue and Calgar Keyder, ‘The Ottoman Social Formation’ in Anne M. Baily and Joseph R. Liobera, eds., The Asiatic Mode of Production, 1981.
  • 2. From the last quarter of the nineteenth century to the present time, the dominant Arab nationalism was bourgeois both in its ideological nature and in the class character of the forces that upheld it, despite all their internal social variations – Ba’thists, Hashemites, Nasserists and the adherents of Colonel Gaddafi. I therefore propose to call this era ‘the century of bourgeois Arab nationalism’.
  • 3. The secret agreements between Britain and France, in which the fragmentation of the Arab homeland was discussed, and particularly the notorious Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, were first published by the Bolsheviks, who found these texts in the Tsarist archives.
  • 4. ‘Abdul-Wahhab al-Kayyali, Short Modern History of Palestine, Beirut, 1971, p138 (in Arabic).
  • 5. Ibid, pp 155-8.
  • 6. Ibid, p188.
  • 7. The Jericho Conference was arranged by traditional notables – land-owners and big merchants – who were bribed by the Hashemite regime and pretended to represent the will of the Palestinian people.
  • 8. ‘Adel Samara, The Crisis of tlte Arab Revolution, Dar al-‘Amil, Ramallah, 1979, pp21-2 (in Arabic).
  • 9. Hamza Alvi’s contribution in Alice Thorner, ‘Contemporary Debate on Class and Modes of Production in India’, Political and Economic Weekly, vol.l6, nos.10-12, 1982.
  • 10. ‘Ade1 Samara, Economics of Hunger in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Dar Miftah, Tel-Aviv, 1979, pp180-204.
  • 11. Ibid, pp198-201.
  • 12. Joseph Algazi in Al-Fajr weekly, Jerusalem, 22 February 1985.
  • 13. Ibid.
  • 14. Israel Statistical Abstract, 1984, p751.
  • 15. The Arab League and the Arab Monetary Fund, The Arab Common Economic Report, 1984.
  • 16. Michel al-Rasi in Al-Baltetlt journal, Paris, June 1978 (in Arabic).
  • 17. Ibid.
  • 18. ‘Adel Samara, Arab Workers in France, Dar al-‘Amil, Ramallah, 1978, p28 (in Arabic).
  • 19. Al-Rasi, op cit.
  • 20. Arab-British Chamber of Commerce, Annual Directory (English part), 1984, p20.
  • 21. Jalal A. Amin, Al-masltreq al-‘arabi wal-gltarb (The Arab East and the West), p36.
  • 22. Abbas Nasrawi, The Middle East monthly, London, August 1977.
  • 23. Judah ‘Abd al-Khaliq, AI-AMi daily, Cairo, 20 April 1983.
  • 24. N. Sarkis, Arab Oil and Gas Magazine United Arab Emirates (henceforth UAE), July 1985 (in Arabic).
  • 25. Hani Sa’id, ‘Arab foreign trade’ in AI-Yawm al-Sabi’weekly, Paris, 15 April 1985 (in Arabic).
  • 26. Michel Shatlu and Frehd Rad Sreht, ‘Oil Rent and Economic Development in the Middle East’, Arab Oil and Gas Magazine, UAE, July 1985 (in Arabic).
  • 27. ‘Abdul Qader Yasin, AI-Bayan daily, UAE, 25 July 1985 (in Arabic).
  • 28. Zuhir al-Dawudi, AI-Yawm al-Sabi’, 13 May 1985.
  • 29. The Economist, London, 19 October 1984, p73.
  • 30. Arab League and Arab Monetary Fund, op cit, p124.
  • 31. R. Mish’alani, Arab Oil and Gas Magazine, UAE, July 1985 (in Arabic).
  • 32. Al-Dawudi, op cit.
  • 33. Shatlu and Sreht, op cit.
  • 34. Amin, op cit., p102.

Source: https://libcom.org/library/arab-nationalism-palestinian-struggle-economic-scenario-potential-arab-unity-adel-samara