“You cannot achieve peace and stability in the Middle East, except by addressing the key cause of the decades-long conflict — failure to achieve justice for Palestinians. It simply will not happen.” This was the message delivered by both keynote speakers at an online conference of Communist parties held last Saturday, September 19.
Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), a member of the political bureau of the Communist Party of Israel (CPI) and Dr. Aqel Taqz, international secretary of the People’s Party of Palestine, addressed the conference organized by the Coordinating Committee of Communist Parties in Britain (CCCPiB).
The CCCPiB brings together communist and workers’ parties which are members of the International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties (IMCWP) that have offices in Britain. Current members of the CCCPiB include communist parties from Bangladesh, Britain, Chile, Cyprus, Greece, Guyana, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Spain and Sudan. The CCCPiB meets regularly and organizes events and joint activities.
Liz Payne of the Communist Party of Britain, who chaired the symposium, said of the event, “It brought together representatives of ten parties from Europe, the Middle East and Asia to discuss the implications of the new so-called ‘peace agreements’ between the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and the Netanyahu government of Israel.” She reminded the participants that “The ceremony in Washington coincided with the 50th anniversary of Black September, the catastrophic 11-day war, started by the armed forces of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, against PLO forces on September 16, 1970.”
Both speakers stated emphatically that the US-brokered accords had nothing to do with peace, as neither Bahrain nor the UAE have ever been at war with Israel. In Aida Touma-Sliman’s words: “Israel, the UAE and Bahrain are not enemies but long-time allies — the deal is a mere formality. It will deepen the countries’ commercial co-operation and will help consolidate the American imperialist agenda of aligning the region to its purposes.” She said that the deal signed in Washington was the opposite of a peace deal, since it aimed at dismantling international pressure for ending the occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state.
Dr. Taqz pointed to the flagrant breach of international agreements that the deals represent. They were, he said, “contrary to UN resolutions, Arab League decisions and Arab initiatives which make normalization of relations conditional on solving the Palestinian problem.” Normalization should follow, not precede, the creation of a Palestinian state, he said. The meeting heard that the current agreements were part of a concerted attempt to reconfigure the balance of forces, bolstering Israel’s US-backed status as a primary regional power, while at the same time diminishing or eliminating Iran’s potential for domination and leaving the US freer to pursue policy objectives on the Pacific Rim and against its major economic rival, China. The timing of the new accords also had everything to do with promoting the popularity and prowess of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu with their electorates — as deal-makers “of the century.”
Dr. Taqz said that the agreements were orchestrated by the Trump administration at a time when the US president faces unprecedented problems at home with COVID-19 and mass protests against endemic racial discrimination, as well as setbacks in many aspects of US foreign policy.
Communists attending the symposium were unanimous in their view that the region and its peoples would be forever subject to devastating imperialist conflict and debilitating interventions until a Palestinian state with June 4 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital is won, together with the right of return for refugees. “The recent charade in Washington would at best be diversionary and at worst poses new and more dangerous threats to peace.”
Salam Ali, international secretary of the Iraqi Communist Party, made a statement on its behalf calling for intensified solidarity with the Palestinian people to defeat “the shameful normalization deals by reactionary Arab regimes with Israel” and for an international solidarity meeting to be convened online as quickly as possible to support the Palestinian struggle and popular initiatives to end Israeli occupation.
Navid Shomali, international secretary of the Tudeh Party of Iran, said that any war or conflict in the region would furnish the US with an opportunity to justify its plans for strengthening its hegemony in the region. He called for efforts to strengthen the peace movements in the countries of the region to oppose wars and foreign interventions initiated under whatever pretext. Action was needed immediately, he said.
MK Touma-Sliman told those present that it was imperative for the anti-occupation forces and especially the communist movement around the world, to act in solidarity with the Palestinians’ pursuit of their cause — the right to self-determination and the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
The chair of the symposium closed by pledging support and sending greetings of solidarity, on behalf of all parties present, to the Communist Party of Israel, the People’s Party of Palestine and the Palestinian people.