Q. Why is the CPI(M) always criticising Israel as if it is a demon and always hailing Palestinians even the radicalist Palestinians?
A. Israel as a State was founded in 1948. The establishment of Israel was a Zionist project which was backed by the Western powers. Earlier, this land was Palestine which was a British colony. The original inhabitants of Palestine were of Arab origin which included both Muslims and Christians and a small Jewish population. The policy of settling Jews from Europe and other parts of the world was taken up systematically after the Balfour Declaration in 1917.
Israel was founded by resorting to brutal ethnic cleansing in which over three quarter million Palestinians, 90 percent of the population, had to leave their homes and become refugees elsewhere. Ever since then the indigenous Palestinians and Arab people have been reduced to being second class citizens with a substantial number of them being removed to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The CPI(M) has been opposed to the racist colonial policy of Israel which occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the 1967 war with the Arab countries.
The CPI(M) does not call for the annihilation of Israel. Israel has to exist as a legitimate State within the pre-1967 boundaries and it should provide equal rights to all citizens irrespective of religion or race. This means that Israel should give up the move to declare itself as a Jewish State.
The question is not of demonising Israel. It is about opposing the Israeli colonial occupation and supporting the just cause of the Palestinian people for their independent homeland. In recent years, the extreme right-wing governments which have been in power in Israel have further encroached into Palestinian territory, built Jewish settlements and snatched away the private lands of the Palestinians. They have built a security wall which has truncated the limited territory under the Palestinian Authority.
The conditions of the nearly 1.8 million people living in the Gaza Strip is highly deplorable as Israel continues with sanctions and economic blockade.
Far from granting Palestinians any territory which they can govern as their own, Israel has reinforced its occupation and truncated the remnants of the Palestinian land.
It is against the Israeli occupation and the struggle for Palestinian State that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) was formed in the early 1960s. The CPI(M) has consistently extended support to the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people. It may be recalled that Gandhiji had condemned the injustice meted out to the Palestinian people by Zionist rulers. This was the tradition of our national movement which supported all struggles for national liberation.
Within the Palestine movement, the political Islamist stream developed in the 1980s. Hamas is a product of Islamist radicalism which is different from the secular organisations like the Fatah, PFLP, PPP, DFLP and others. As far as the CPI(M) is concerned we support the Palestinian movement for independence while our political ties are with the secular and Left organisations. Faced with the brutal occupation and violence of the Israeli State, it is necessary for all streams of the Palestinian movement to forge a broad unity.