Yasser Arafat Surrender Ceremony What
Died on the White House Lawn?
by the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement
On 12 September
the whole world was subjected to Yasser Arafat's surrender ceremony
on the White House lawn. The reaction from the Palestinian masses
was swift. Anger and a sense of betrayal swept across Palestine,
among refugees and all friends of the Palestinian people.
of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement expresses its resolute
and complete opposition to this latest capitulationist agreement
and pledges its support to the Palestinian masses in their continuing
struggle for a democratic secular state on the entire territory
of Palestine. With great trumpets, the U.S. imperialists and the
Zionists are proclaiming that the signing of the Israel-PLO agreement
means the end of the long struggle of the Palestinian people and
the definitive acceptance of Israel's existence on Palestinian land.
They are declaring that this surrender agreement is the reward for
the many decades of aggression, occupation, repression and arrogance
of the imperialists and of their most faithful attack dog, Israel,
in this region.
At the same
time, these same reactionary forces are calling on the PLO to fulfill
its new role as a policemen repressing the people in the service
of imperialism and Zionism.
are urgently seeking to understand how it is that such a heroic
struggle for which so many thousands have given their lives has
ended up betrayed. How is it that the PLO, an organisation identified
with the struggle of the people, has become little more than an
In fact, this
betrayal was long in the making, long before the hatching of the
infamous Madrid conspiracy, and even before the Gulf War or Arafat's
1988 recognition of the state of Israel.
For two decades
now, the Palestinian leadership has been seeking some way to reconcile
the struggle of the Palestinian people with the imperialist-imposed
"realities" of the Middle East. This way came to be known as the
plan for the Palestinian "mini-state" in the West Bank and Gaza,
and it was promoted at the time especially by the Soviet Union and
those Arab and Palestinian forces aligned with it. This dream of
reconciling the legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian
people with imperialism and Zionism was never realisable, not then
and not now, for the linchpin of imperialist domination of the Middle
East is the dispossession of the Palestinian people and the establishment
of the pro-West military outpost known as Israel.
Palestinian leaders and tendencies, and different forces among the
imperialists and reactionaries themselves, have been divided over
what would be the role for the Palestinians in such a mini-state,
and especially over whether and how a small section of the Palestinian
upper classes would be given the right to share in the exploitation
of the people. As long as the imperialist states themselves were
sharply divided into the conflicting East and West blocs, it was
impossible for the so-called "comprehensive peace plan" to be instituted
and shoved down the throat of the people. Now the U.S. feels that
with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and with the punishing example
of the Gulf War accomplished, it is finally possible to enforce
a Pax Americana on the Middle East, at the expense, of course, of
the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
forces who have been allied in the past with Yasser Arafat are loudly
condemning his betrayal. But the main criticism they raise is not
of the Israel-PLO agreement itself, but of the particularly humiliating
terms of the agreement. Some are saying, in effect, that
abandoning the struggle against Israel, giving up the most basic
rights of millions of Palestinians, and coming to an agreement with
the imperialist overlords of the region, in short, selling out,
is acceptable providing the price is right. Certain Islamic
forces claim to be fighting for the complete liberation of Palestine
but say nothing about the imperialist powers behind the Zionist
state and in fact seek support from the reactionary states of the
communist forces can never accept any of this logic. It is impossible
to separate the struggle of the Palestinian people for their national
liberation from the overall world-wide struggle against imperialism
and all reaction. Any attempt to make such a separation cannot help
but lead to the kind of shameful humiliation and betrayal that Arafat
strength of the Palestinian people's struggle and the support the
struggle has received from revolutionary and progressive people
around the world has come from the fact that the Palestinian people
have been a shock brigade in the international struggle against
imperialism and reaction. Today the Palestinians are being asked
to turn their back on this proud heritage while Arafat polices the
streets and begs the imperialist and Zionists for a bowl of soup.
But the people
of Palestine cannot and will not remain meek and silent while others
trample on them. As Mao Tsetung put it, "wherever there is oppression,
there is resistance". This latest capitulation and whatever new
structures of oppression are set up as a result of it will only
lead to a new round of resistance.
Palestinian people have the task of defeating Arafat's capitulation.
But it is important that Palestinian revolutionary comrades draw
correct conclusions from the many decades of struggle as well as
from the series of betrayals. The link between the Palestinian people's
struggle and the world revolutionary process has been deeply strained
by the treacherous behaviour of Arafat and others who sought the
friendship and support not of the revolutionaries but of the imperialist
states (the U.S. or former Soviet Union) and the blood-soaked Arab
regimes. This type of leadership is based upon the interests of
a minority of exploiters and its class nature makes it drawn like
a magnet toward capitulation and betrayal.
It is high
time the revolutionaries in Palestine went about building a genuine
Marxist-Leninist-Maoist vanguard party. Only such a party is capable
of standing up ideologically, politically and organisationally to
the threats and bribes of the imperialists and reactionaries. Only
such a party can correctly situate the struggle of the Palestinian
people as a vital link in a worldwide chain which unites the proletarians
and oppressed all over the globe. Only such a party can lead the
masses of people in carrying out the long and bitter struggle for
genuine national liberation as part of the world proletarian revolution.
claim that the Maoist path is "unrealistic". But as we have said
before, what is truly unrealistic is to expect that the Palestinian
people can ever achieve justice at the hands of the imperialists
and Zionists. The capitulationists say we are for war and not peace.
But we know that there will never be peace in the region as long
as the imperialists and their Israeli hooligans run roughshod over
the people. The capitulationists say that now is the time for construction.
But we know as Mao taught us that there can be no construction without
destruction. A bright red Palestine, a Palestine of the proletariat
and the people, can only be built upon the ashes of imperialism
the support of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement to the
Palestinian people at this difficult moment. Through struggle, this
latest attack on the people can be transformed into another nail
in the coffin of imperialism and reaction. The capitulationists
declare that the revolutionary struggle of the Palestinian people
has died with the signing of the Israel-PLO accord. But it is the
illusion of a "just settlement" reconciling the just demands of
the Palestinian people with imperialism and Zionism that died on
the White House lawn.