IN A huge development in the fight of the Palestinian people to establish their own independent state, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Tuesday that the Palestinian authorities are preparing to break off completely all relations with the US and Israel.
Abbas, speaking on Tuesday while Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank were marking a ‘day of rage’ against the US with mass demonstrations, said, ‘We are ready to go to a complete breakdown of relations with the US’ over the Trump administration defying international law and recognising the illegal Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land.
Last week, the US announced that it was reversing its 40-year-old policy that these settlements are indeed illegal under international law.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the existing settlements and the massive expansion of them in the occupied territories were ‘not per se inconsistent with international law’.
Of course, Pompeo didn’t attempt to justify this statement – US imperialism requires no legal justification for supporting the Zionist Israeli state in the murderous drive to kick the Palestinians out of their own land.
Abbas told Russian reporters that ‘the US administration has long been hostile to the Palestinian people’, highlighting the measures taken against them already, including cutting funds for the UN aid programme for refugees and recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli ‘capital’.
Now, in a major development, Palestinians are prepared to sever all ties with US imperialism along with the Israeli state.
Abbas promised that if Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu carries out his threat to annex the Jordan Valley in the West Bank then ‘we will turn to the UN, the International Criminal Court and finally and irrevocably sever all relations with Israel.’
The significance of a complete break with the US and Israel cannot be underestimated.
Even after Trump legitimised the Israeli coup in declaring Jerusalem as its capital and moved its embassy there in December 2017, the Palestinian authorities restricted themselves to ‘boycotting’ US so-called ‘peace initiatives’ while still maintaining ties with Washington.
Now, a complete break represents recognition by the Palestinian authorities that there can be no peaceful solution, that the promise of a negotiated two-state solution is irrevocably dead in the water.
By taking both Israel and US imperialism to the International Court of Criminal Justice, the Palestinians will place before the entire world the issue of taking sides in the conflict.
The working class internationally must take the side of the Palestinians, with workers in Britain playing the leading role.
Already workers in Britain have signalled their support through the motions passed by the TUC congress calling for the immediate recognition of the Palestinian state and in the election manifesto of the Labour Party.
The manifesto pledges recognition of the state of Palestine and commits a Labour government to banning all arms sales to Israel.
Implementation of this policy means a Labour government would come into head-on conflict with not just Israel but US imperialism.
It means that, along with the Palestinians, a Labour government would also have to break irrevocably with US imperialism and its client Israeli state.