PLO US office victory – Now forward to the independent state of Palestine

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THE TRUMP administration performed an abrupt U-turn last week when it reversed a decision made just the week before to close the diplomatic mission of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Washington DC on the grounds that the PLO were pursuing the demand that Israel be brought before the International Criminal Courts to answer for its crimes against the Palestinian people.

It was announced last Friday that this decision had now been put on hold and that the mission would remain open for at least the next 90 days. The US government’s original decision to close the PLO office also contained the threat of withholding millions of dollars of US aid to the Palestinian Authority – a move that it was assumed would bring the PLO to heel.

Instead, this threat by Trump was immediately met with a defiant response from the Secretary General of the PLO, Saeb Erekat, who issued a statement saying that if the PLO office was closed then the PLO would ‘put on hold all our communications with the American administration’.

This intransigent position to break off all talks with America has caused a split within the ranks of the US ruling class, when it suddenly hit them that if the PLO broke off all talks with the US, the entire strategy of a negotiated peace settlement between the PLO and the Israelis was doomed.

Without the PLO there would be no-one to negotiate with, hence the abrupt climb down by the US administration in what must be seen as a victory for the Palestinians.

Undoubtedly in their refusal to meekly submit to US imperialism, the PLO and Palestinian people have been inspired and strengthened by the defeats inflicted on imperialism and its client states in Syria. However, it must be said that this victory is only partial and limited. The aim of the US still remains to inflict a ‘negotiated peace settlement’ to create one state in Palestine – that state being an Israeli state.

The split within the US ruling class was between those taking the hard line of closure through direct threats and those who want to impose the one (Israeli) state solution by bringing in Saudi Arabia and other reactionary Gulf states in on this side.

The Saudi monarchy is up to its neck in secret talks with the Israelis on dumping the Palestinian people and lining up with Israel and US imperialism for war against Iran. This was made clear this weekend when the former security advisor to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that the Saudi monarchy was so keen to start open collaboration with Israel against Iran that it ‘doesn’t care’ what kind of deal is imposed on the Palestinians.

Until now, Saudi Arabia, like other Arab states, has always avoided any suggestion of open relations with the Zionist state and proclaimed its support for Palestine for fear of a backlash from its own people. Now, having suffered a huge defeat at the hands of the Syrian people in their drive to dominate the region for their imperial masters, the Saudis are prepared to openly side with the Israelis to force the Palestinians to accept any deal, even one that imposes Israeli domination in perpetuity, in preparations for an attack on Iran.

This is the trap that is being prepared by imperialism and its supporters in the region – to dump the Palestinian struggle and prepare for war against Iran. The victory of the PLO, no matter how partial, however, is a sign that imperialism is not all-powerful. On the contrary, it is a sign of the strength of the Palestinian people, buoyed by the victory in Syria, who must now go forward to the big battle ahead – the fight for the independent state of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital.

In this battle the working class in Britain must come to the aid of the Palestinians by kicking out this Tory government which slavishly supports Israel. This means a general strike to kick them out and go forward to a workers government that will immediately recognise the independent state of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital and render every material aid necessary to ensure its growth and survival.