Fatah junta seizes control of the West Bank

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YESTERDAY President Abbas decreed the ending of parliamentary rule in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as he appointed an illegal government headed by Salam Fayyad, a former employee of the World Bank and the IMF, and a favourite of the US government, and declared the Hamas military forces to be illegal.

The United States at once gave its blessing to the Abbas coup and declared that this was now a government that it would work with and that economic aid would be restored.

For their part, the Israelis, through Prime Minister Olmert, declared that they now had a government that they could deal with and would be taking advantage of the situation to press forward with their ‘peace proposals’.

The Israelis also declared that they would be cutting the supply of fuel to the Gaza Strip, but would not cut the water or the electricity supply. Doing this would be a straightforward death sentence for up to 1.5 million Palestinians.

The Arab League, made up of the Arab bourgeoisie and feudalists, looked both ways, declaring that they supported President Abbas but were also supporting the Palestinian legislature and national reconciliation.

The US administration is relieved that the national unity government has been put to the sword, as its experience with Palestinian democracy, where the Palestinian masses refused to vote in the choice of the US government, had led it to drop its programme for imposing democracy all over the Middle East in favour of imposing good old fashioned, pro-US military juntas.

In fact, the problem for the Palestinians is that the Palestinian bourgeoisie, grouped around Abbas, Shaath and the like, because of its ties with world capitalism, and its acute fear of the Palestinian working class and the poor, is eager to make any kind of settlement with Israel and the US, and has been so for some time.

Many of its leaders opposed Arafat’s refusal to give way to Clinton and Barak at the end of the Camp David talks.

When Arafat died they thought that their hour had come, only to be foiled by the Palestinian masses voting for Hamas.

Then followed the attempts of the US to starve Gaza and to terrorise it with repeated Israeli attacks.

This tactic has now resulted in Hamas taking control of the Gaza Strip.

The response of Abbas has been not to seek reconciliation but to launch his own coup and his own junta, in order to make a speedy settlement with Israel.

Olmert has made clear that he is only too willing to try and take advantage of the situation that Abbas has created by negotiating to divide the West Bank and grab Jerusalem for Israel.

For this to happen however, the Palestinian masses in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank will have to be dealt with.

The US is already discussing whether Egyptian troops could be sent to the Gaza Strip, along with other Arab security forces. This would essentially place the Gaza masses under martial law.

On the West Bank, the Abbas junta will be seeking to suppress Palestinian militants.

The answer of the Palestinian workers and youth to this declared bankruptcy of the Palestinian bourgeoisie must be to proclaim the unity of the Palestinian workers and youth over all of the occupied territory of Palestine.

The time has come for the working class and the youth to organise independently of both the Palestinian bourgeoisie of Fatah and the Palestinian religious establishment by establishing the revolutionary party of the working class and the youth.

The working class is the only really revolutionary class in society, and the only class capable of carrying the struggle to smash capitalism and imperialism in the Middle East forward to victory.

The time has come to establish a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International in Palestine to unite the working class and the youth to achieve national liberation through a socialist revolution.