A libertarian look at the situation in Palestine

Written by Italian anarchist and author Andrea Papi

Free Palestine. By whom?

In squares around the world, rightly and thankfully, it is being heard loudly that the Israeli army must stop bombing the Gaza Strip, causing horrific massacres among the population. In the face of such systematic daily extermination, this demand can only be desirable. But given the dynamics of such a devastated and destructive situation, I shudder when I hear people chanting ‘Free Palestine’. Indeed, a significant number of people are calling for full support for Hamas in its guerrilla war against Israel.

It must be clear that one war crime, the one committed by Hamas on 7 October with the massacre of Israeli civilians, does not justify another, the one committed by Israel in response. Having clarified this, I spontaneously ask myself, of course: if Israel were defeated and Hamas managed to impose itself militarily, do you really believe that Palestine could be free, as various sides seem to hope?

I invite you to reflect on such a prospect. How can we talk about freedom if Hamas succeeded in imposing itself? It is an unabashed jihadist force of ruthless cruelty, as it has demonstrated on several occasions, which supports a despotic-integrating political form of theocratic type. It is no coincidence that in its anti-Israeli action it is supported by Hezbollah, the Lebanese “party of God” which is the notorious armed arm of the Iranian oligarchic-theocratic regime. The very Iran that slaughters any form of internal dissent, that imprisons, tortures and kills women who dare to rebel against the Islamic male chauvinist impositions of this regime, that despotically demands that the female sex as such be subject to the autocratic male empire.

Is this really “the thing” we hope for in a liberated Palestine? Would anti-Israelis really want the darkness of a bleak theocratic fundamentalist theocratic concept to triumph? Yet most of them continue to consider themselves part of a more general “radical left”? Well! Such a deviant ambition is among the most remote, I would say antithetical , compared to any kind of leftist ideology. In my view it is nothing but distortion, an unacceptable distortion of ideal conditions. The so-called “Left”, in all its variants, should above all have as its common denominator freedom, or rather liberties, liberation from all forms of tyranny, the creation of open social, economic forms and political relations of a democratic type. And if it is libertarian and anarchist it should have direct participation, “from below” as they used to say, not authoritarian, not hierarchical, but solidary and mutual. That is, the opposite of what a jihadist-theocratic perspective wants.

Fundamentalisms, both religious and political, are the real enemy to be rid of in this complex and destructive situation. Hamas on the one hand , the fanaticism of an extremist Jewish Zionism on the other, capable of expressing itself above all through the extremist action of the settlers who occupy the Palestinian territories with arrogance and violence. Neither one nor the other has a will for peace and agreement, but a desire for blood and war, for the destruction and annihilation of the other and vice versa. Enemies of themselves and of humanity.

There can be no true and real liberation if from the “boiling pot” of the Israeli siege one ends up in the “fire” of a kind of theocratic caliphate or something similar. Especially considering that until a few decades ago the Palestinians “shone” in the Middle East as being largely secular. The only logical perspective can be found in the desire to accept each other and reach a consensual agreement, with the aim of a social coexistence that, through dialogue and discussion, tends to recognise the problems of both. Until fundamentalism triumphs, it will be impossible.

November 10, 2023


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