Mar 29, 2004
On March 22, the Israeli military killed Sheik Yassin, the head of Hamas, and seven other Palestinians, with dozens more wounded in the bombing attack. A crowd estimated at 200,000 people accompanied his funeral coffin through the streets of Gaza, expressing their outrage at this assassination. The assassination of Sheik Yassin simply promises more blood will be spilled in this continuing conflict.
The Israeli government justified its actions as retaliation against the suicide attack which killed 10 civilians in the Israeli port of Ashod on March 14. This lie convinced only Zionist supporters. For Yassin had declared he favored a cease-fire several times. And the March 22 bombing was not Israel's first attempt to kill Yassin. An Israeli bomb aimed at him had blown apart a Hamas meeting, killing others last September.
Neither this assassination nor the suicide bombings resolve any of the problems which have engulfed this part of the world in blood for decades. Even if the Israeli government were to kill every Palestinian leader, destroy Palestinian houses, flatten the villages, create new prisons, such policies would not end the resistance of thousands of Palestinian men and women fighting for their right to life, fighting for their dignity as a people.
What the Israeli bombs do, however, is reveal the government's unrelenting policy of official state terror. The situation of the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip shows another aspect of that reality. In an area of only 140 square miles (about half the size of Chicago) live more than one million Palestinians, along with 7,500 Israelis in 21 armed settlements. An entire Israeli army division is stationed in Gaza to protect these settlers. Even though Sharon says he will evacuate some of these settlements, this is questionable since he said he won't do it until after the U.S. elections in November. But in the event he has to evacuate Gaza, Sharon seems now to be trying to make the situation so explosive in Gaza that the Palestinian authority will not be able to control it. Some say the Israeli leaders want Arafat's organization Fatah to end up in a bitter struggle with Yassin's Hamas.
The policies of Israel over many decades have denied any legitimate rights to the Palestinians. In this situation, the huge gulf between the Israeli population and the Palestinian people has widened. Some Palestinians have been recruited to desperate tactics of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. By setting in motion this individual terrorism, the leadership of groups like Hamas have effectively taken control of the resistance away from those most concerned, the Palestinian population itself.
Neither the leaders of Hamas nor Fatah propose a solution for the Palestinian people. But in the Palestinian conflict with the Israeli government, revolutionaries everywhere must support the rights of the Palestinians. The Palestinian people are struggling to attain their elementary rights against the on-going brutality and state terrorism of the Israeli leaders.