Joint Statement on Palestine

11 Gennaio 2024
palestina dichiarazione

The International Trotskyist Opposition (ITO), the League for the Fifth International (LFI) and the Revolutionary Workers Party of Russia, finding themselves in agreement on revolutionary perspectives for Palestine, have adopted this joint statement.

The constant oppression, eviction, and killings of Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza has once again seized the world’s attention through the counterattack led by Hamas and other resistance fighters on October 7 and the brutal response of Israel against the whole population in Gaza, greater than its previous attacks there. This has outraged and mobilized millions worldwide against the Zionist state and the fulsome support it has received from its imperialist and racist backers.

It is the urgent duty of all revolutionaries to give maximum support to this worldwide movement, while at the same time presenting a clear revolutionary anticapitalist perspective for its development. For this purpose, we present the following statement and call on all who see the situation as we do to join us in this effort.


Zionism has been a settler-colonial project from its inception. Its goal is to expel the indigenous Arab population of Palestine to clear space for Jewish settlers. A Zionist colony in Palestine seemed far-fetched until the Holocaust murdered six million European Jews and left many of the other three million desperately seeking a refuge. Anti-Semitism barred most Jews from emigrating to the US and Western Europe. Zionist organizations brought many to Palestine.

In one of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century, one terribly oppressed people, the European Jews, inflicted terrible oppression on another oppressed people, the Palestinian Arabs. In the 1948 Nakba, Zionists seized 78 percent of Mandatory Palestine and declared it Israel. Zionist militias and the Israeli army expelled 750,000 Palestinians, and many thousands more fled. The Nakba reduced the Arab population in the territory claimed by Israel from 1,324,000 in 1947 to 156,000 in 1948.

US and European imperialism, Israel’s allies, have two primary interests in the Middle East: its strategic position at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa, and its oil and gas. For more than a century, they have tried to dominate the region through a combination of violence and playing sections of the population off against each other.

Over the course of the 1950s and 1960s, the US displaced Britain and France as the dominant imperialist power in the region, and they became junior partners. The trio sponsored monarchs and military dictatorships from Morocco to Iran and found ways to incorporate nationalist governments, such as those of Algeria, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, into their neocolonial world order.

Israel proved highly useful in creating the neocolonial imperial order, especially after it defeated Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The US has sent billions of dollars in aid and arms to build up Israel as a gendarme in the center of the Arab world. Israel has a political function too, as it allows the US to mask its military operations and helps the reactionary, comprador Arab governments divert attention from their own misrule to an external enemy, Israel.


In the 1967 war, Israel captured Gaza, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights, completing its occupation of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. It also occupied the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. In the 1973 war, Egypt and Syria fought Israel to a standstill. Egypt regained the Sinai and, in 1979, recognized Israel.

Since then, a pattern has emerged: Israel, backed by the US and its European allies, occupies Palestine; the Arab states protest but do nothing; and the Palestinians periodically rise up to contest their marginalization.

The First Intifada of 1987-1993 led to the Oslo Accords, which created the Palestine National Authority (PNA) to administer the West Bank and Gaza. The Accords implied a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict in Palestine, but Israel never agreed to that, nor to a partition the Palestinians could live with.

The Second Intifada of 2000-2005 forced Israel to “disengage” from Gaza by withdrawing its troops and dismantling the Israeli settlements there. Fatah, based in the West Bank, and Hamas, based in Gaza, competed in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections. Hamas won a plurality, which led Fatah to split the PNA. After a brief civil war, Fatah consolidated its position in the West Bank, and Hamas took control of Gaza.


Israel oppresses Palestinians in all three sectors of its apartheid occupation: the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel itself.

Since 2007, Israel has further expanded into the West Bank and Golan Heights. 450,000 Israeli settlers have moved into the West Bank apart from East Jerusalem, 220,000 into East Jerusalem, and 25,000 into the Golan Heights. The settlers are an armed paramilitary force. Backed by the Israeli army and abetted by the PNA police, they terrorize their Palestinian neighbors and steal their land.

Israel has no settlers in Gaza, but it controls the territory’s airspace, its seacoast, and six of its seven land crossings. Israel controls Gaza’s water supply, electricity, and telecommunications. The Israeli military maintains a no-go zone inside Gaza and enters the territory at will. Israel launched major wars against Gaza in 2008-2009 and 2014 and attacked nonviolent protestors during the Great March of Return of 2018-2019.

Israel claims to be a democracy, but it denies democratic rights not just to the 5.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza and a similar number living as refugees outside Palestine, but also to the 2.1 million Palestinians living in Israel. A Jew living anywhere in the world can move to Israel and become a full citizen. A Palestinian whose family has lived in Palestine since long before Israel existed can never become a full citizen. Palestinians are systematically discriminated against, economically and politically excluded, and treated as enemies.


Since the 1978 Camp David Accords, the US has tried to get the governments of the Arab states to normalize relations with Israel, despite its treatment of Palestinians and the hatred this engenders among the Arab people. In 2020, the US brokered agreements that normalized Israel’s relations with Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia began talks to do the same.

The October 7 attack blew up the Israeli and imperialist plans. After a year of careful planning, dismissed by the Israeli security forces, Palestinian fighters led by Hamas overran Israel’s border defenses and struck dozens of military targets, as well as some civilian ones. They took hundreds of hostages before they were forced back across the border.

The mistreatment, torture, and killing of unarmed civilians, not of military age, must be condemned without equivocation, even though we recognize that this was, in part, an expression of the anger of Palestinians at the Israeli massacres and dispossession of their people. It played into the hands of the Zionist propaganda machine’s dehumanizing Palestinians and “justifying” their own war crimes, greater in scale than those of Hamas or the other resistance forces. But most of the operation, including the taking of hostages, was militarily legitimate.

The attack halted the US-sponsored process of “normalization” of Israel’s relations with Arab and Muslim states, revealed the underlying settler-colonial war of Israel against the Palestinian people, and put Palestine back on the world’s agenda.

In the weeks since, Israel has launched a genocidal war on Gaza. The Israeli military has bombed houses, hospitals, schools, and community centers, killing many times the number the October 7 raid killed. Half the victims have been children, a much larger proportion than the October 7 raid killed. The Israeli military agreed to a brief ceasefire to exchange prisoners and has now resumed its genocidal attack, driving the 2.3 million population into an ever-smaller corner of the Gaza Strip , threatening a new Nakba


The boldness of the Palestinian resistance and the ferocity of the Israeli counterattack have relaunched the Palestine solidarity movement worldwide. Enormous demonstrations have been held across the Arab world, and also in Europe, the US, and elsewhere. The solidarity movement had been lulled by the slow strangulation of Palestine and the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and four more Arab states. October 7 brought the movement back to life.

Revolutionary Marxists should participate in solidarity actions of all kinds. A ceasefire in Gaza and the withdrawal of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), to stop the genocide is the most urgent priority, but the solidarity movement should also demand humanitarian aid for Gaza, curbing the Israeli settlers in the West Bank, protecting the rights of Israeli Arabs and anti-Zionist Jews in Israel, the right of return of the refugees, and cutting military ties with Israel.

The ongoing actions already include demonstrations, civil disobedience, public events, media exposure, and campaigns for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Trade unions and other organizations are adopting resolutions calling for a ceasefire and cutting military aid. In some places, workers are responding to the call by the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) to disrupt the production and shipment of arms to Israel.


While revolutionary Marxists should participate in solidarity actions wherever we can, our unique role is to promote working-class understanding of the crisis and the solution.

This begins with telling the truth. A ceasefire in Gaza is necessary but not enough, since the Zionists will continue their campaign to drive non-Jews out of Palestine. A negotiated settlement is impossible, since Israel won’t give up enough land for a viable Palestinian state, and it won’t give up Jewish supremacy for secular democracy in a binational state. US and European imperialism won’t force Israel to accept either a two-state or a one-state solution, since they need Israel to help them dominate the region.

Capitalism has no solution for Palestine. The alternatives are either the slaughter and dispossession of the Palestinians, or working-class intervention into history.

Workers in Israel could bring Israeli society to a halt, split the army, and prevent the Zionists from using their nuclear weapons. But for now, the great majority of the Israeli working class is committed to Zionism, seeing exploitation with Jewish supremacy as better than exploitation without Jewish supremacy, an old story in settler-colonial states. Only the prospect of a democratic, secular, socialist Palestine could give them a reason to break with their masters.

Workers in the US and Europe could deprive Israel of the economic and military backing it needs to pursue its genocidal policies. Sympathy for Palestinians is growing, as they resist as well as suffer. It may rise to the level of opposition to the Vietnam War by the late 1960s, which made continuing the war impossible. Revolutionary Marxists and other Palestinian solidarity activists — including tens of thousands of anti-Zionist Jews and tens of thousands of trade-unionists — should do everything we can to make this happen.

Workers in the Arab countries could overthrow their collaborator governments, force the US and European imperialists to abandon Israel, and offer the Israeli working class the prospect of a secular, democratic future free from capitalist rule and endless war. The Arab Spring showed the potential.

We can’t know how the injustice of Zionist rule of Palestine will end, or even whether it will end before capitalism plunges the world into ecological disaster or nuclear war. What we can do is to propose and fight for a program of action, starting from immediate demands and culminating in the only real solution: workers’ revolution throughout the region. Here is our proposal.

End the genocidal assault on Gaza. Ceasefire now. Withdraw the Israeli troops. End the blockade. Open the crossings.

Rebuild the devastated homes, hospitals, schools, universities, and infrastructure of Gaza at the expense of Israel and its imperialist backers

End the Zionist occupation of the West Bank. Withdraw the Israeli military. Expel the settlers.

Free all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Full equality for Palestinians in the Israeli state.

End US and other imperialist aid and arms shipments to Israel. Support boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Solidarity with the Palestinian and Arab people. No peace with Zionism and imperialism.

For the revolutionary destruction of the Zionist state. For a secular, democratic, socialist Palestine from the River to the Sea.

For the right of return of all Palestinian refugees. Equal rights for the Arab majority and the Jewish minority of Palestine.

Down with the Arab capitalists, landowners, monarchies, and states, agents of imperialism. For the revolutionary unity of the Arab people.

For workers’ revolution in the Middle East and North Africa. For a socialist federation of the region.

International Trotskyist Opposition, League for the Fifth International, Revolutionary Workers Party (Russia)