Seated next to Obama in the Oval Office May 20, Netanyahu said Israel cannot go back to the 1967 lines to the borders before the 1967 Six-Day war, when the Israeli Army occupied parts of neighboring countries.
Netanyahu also took issue with Obama for not restating Washingtons long-standing rejection of the right of return for descendants of Palestinian Arabs expelled from Israel.
The Washington Post called the dispute The blowup with Israel and said that Obama and Netanyahu were once again publicly and poisonously at odds with each other.
Irrespective of these pointed exchanges, Obamas bow to the views of his left-liberal base (and his own roots) among university personnel and other middle-class professionals marks no shift in Washingtons and Tel Avivs relations of mutual dependence to advance their interests in Palestine and the region.
Israel must be able to defend itself, Obama emphasized at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee convention a few days after the controversy broke out. The ultimate goal is two states for two peoples. Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people.
When Israel was created in 1948, and during the war that followed, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled from their homes and farms or fled. In the 1967 war, the Israeli army occupied Syrias Golan Heights, Egypts Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip, and the West Bank of Jordan. In 1979, after Cairo and Tel Aviv signed a peace treaty, the Sinai was returned to Egyptian rule.
The Israeli rulers dreams of a greater Israel, however, foundered. Beginning in late 1987, the Palestinian intifada (uprising) spread throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Tens of thousands of Israelis, no longer seeing Israel as the promised land, left the country, often heading to the United States.
Today more than 4 million Palestinians live in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza, denied the right to freely travel inside Israel. Another 1.6 million Palestinians, some 20 percent of Israels population, are Israeli citizens. They face discrimination in housing, jobs, land, language, education, health care, and other public services.
Palestinians fight discrimination
The Palestinian citizens of Israel refuse to accept second-class status. Over the last two years, Palestinians forced Israel Railways Company to halt the firing of 130 Arab railway workers; Arab egg farmers won subsidies for producing 6 million eggs a year (subsidies that previously had been awarded to Jewish farmers only); and Palestinian rights groups forced the Israeli government to allow Palestinian political prisoners to embrace their children during jail visits.
As part of the working class in Israel, Palestinians have joined struggles with Jewish and immigrant coworkers for higher wages, better work conditions, and against plant closings.
In the West Bank Palestinian workers and farmers have fought against land confiscations, the denial of water rights, and the building of a wall blocking them off from large parts of the territory. In both the West Bank and Gaza, they have opposed arbitrary border closings by the Israeli regime.
In the West Bank the number of Israeli citizens living in settlements scattered throughout the territory has doubled from 142,000 in 1996 to more than 300,000 today, usurping Palestinian land rights and acting as provocation against the Palestinian majority.
Those in the ruling classes in Tel Aviv and Washington who put forward a swap of Jewish enclaves in the West Bank with predominantly Arab areas of Israel hope to hold on to a Jewish majority in Israel. They also worry that the rebellions in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and other parts of the Middle East will deepen the isolation of Israel and could leave Washington and Tel Aviv with few allies in the region.
In face of the political difficulties for imperialism, the bourgeois nationalist leaderships of the Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah offer no way forward to mobilize Palestinians in their national interests, or to advance the fight of toilers in the occupied territories and those within Israels borders.
A democratic secular Palestine
What the Israeli rulers are seeking to impose in order to consolidate Israel within borders of their own choosing is not a peace process, Jack Barnes, national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party, pointed out in a June 2006 report to the partys convention. Its the consolidation of an Israel still based on the forcible expulsion of the Palestinian majority, together with the right of return of those of Jewish parentage.
Tel Aviv intends to hold onto East Jerusalem and selected large suburban Jewish settlements in the West Bank, as well as strategic military locations along the Jordanian border, he added.
The Palestinian people need to forge a revolutionary leadership that will fight for a democratic secular Palestine, Barnes said. Inside Israel, this will include a substantial Jewish component. It will come out of working people and youth fighting for land; for water rights; for freedom of movement, freedom to travel; for jobs, decent wages, and union protection; for the release of political prisoners; for womens equality and against the brutal operations of Tel Avivs cops, troops, and commandos.
While saying no timetables are possible, Barnes emphasized, A communist leadership of Jewish and Arab workers and farmersdedicated to the fight for a democratic secular Palestine, and for socialist revolutioncan and will be built
. as growing numbers of toilers come to understand that if this task is not achieved in time, there will be little left of that part of the world.
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