The Blanket

The Right to Bomb


A chairde,

I was extremely disappointed to find The Blanket's 20 June issue's lead article be an editorial against the Palestinian resistance. The article suffered from failing to view the events in Palestine from the perspective of the Palestinians themselves and therefore attempting to apply tactics developed in one context to a struggle that is taking place in a completely distinct context. But, beyond that, the article appeared to place The Blanket's editorial policy as being squarely in agreement with the so called 'peace process' pursued by Sinn Fein, suggesting that the approach they had taken was capable, even likely, to lead to successful resolution
of the national liberation struggle.

A poll taken in Palestine this week showed a slight dip in support for the 'suicide bombings', down from 72% to 68%, but that decline should not obscure the fact that well over two-thirds of Palestinians support the continuation of this campaign against the Zionists. The reason for this is obvious, the Zionists have left the Palestinians few other options, and a desparate people will undertake desparate actions if that is all that is left to them. The blame for the suicide bombings should remain solely with Israel, whose unyielding resistance to Palestinian national aspirations and vicious economic exploitation of the Palestinian people thwarted virtually all alternative approaches that might have been open to the Palestinians.

If the actions of Sharon and the Zionists in general were truly taking place in response to the suicide bombings, they would not have destroyed the police stations of the Palestine National Authority, attacked Arafat, launched most of their military actions in the West Bank, and done all within their power to destroy the PNA--this section of the Palestinian nation was Israel's best hope for negotiated settlement, rounding up militants, and stiffling more radical elements. Hamas is well known to have its greatest power base and most of its leadership in Gaza, something not lost on Israel. Hamas has been chiefly responsible for the suicide bombings, but the overwhelming thrust of Israel's attack has been against
the PNA and PLO targets centered in the West Bank. The Zionists' claims that their actions are chiefly reactions to the suicide bombings are obviously false. They are pursuing a genocidal policy that would remain their agenda with or without the pretext of suicide bombers and civilian deaths.

Civilians should not be considered legitimate targets in revolutionary struggle, but it is inevitable that civilians will die when military combat exists. More Palestinian civilians have died at the hands of the Zionists in the most recent conflict in Palestine than have Israelis, however, making it inappropriate to provide additional support to the manipulation of popular sentiment going on in the bourgeois media by focussing on such deaths occuring as a result of Palestinian martyrs who have been driven to extreme measures by extreme circumstances.

As to whether or not a lesson has been learned about the viability of political change taking place in Ireland without the use of armed struggle and whether the thirty years of war that preceded the present was a mistake, there is no basis whatsoever for drawing such conclusions. I am sorry to see The Blanket expressing views that contribute to the criminalisation of those who participated in the national liberation struggle. The use of armed struggle during the period following 1969 was not an error. It was a valid exercise of a people's right to self-defense
during occupation and oppression, threat and violence. While we in the Irish Republican Socialist Party would agree that the present time is not one in which a tactic of armed struggle makes sense, we certainly do not accept that armed struggle will never again be an appropriate tactic, which is why the Irish National Liberation Army has repeatedly made plain that it has no plans to decommission weapons at any time, short of the establishment of a 32-county Irish socialist republic.

It is possible, however, that circumstances will never again lend themselves to supporting an armed struggle such as was seen for the last three decades in Ireland--doubtful, but certainly possible. But, it not possible that Ireland--by which I mean the vast majority of the Irish people, the Irish working class--will secure national liberation and social justice without further recourse to violence. This is because in the era of imperialism, national liberation can only be won in a meaningful sense through social revolution--a revolution capable of toppling the capitalist ruling class whose unity of interests with their British (and American,
German, French, et al) counterparts will continue to make a mockery of national sovereignty. And, social revolutions tend towards violence for the simple reason that those possessing all of society's wealth and power are remarkably disinclined to hand over that wealth and power without violent resistance. It is for this reason that the IRSP last year put forward its perspective on the 'peace process' by declaring: No War, But the Class War.

Peter Urban
International Department Co-Secretary
Irish Republican Socialist Party

Editor's Note:
There is no "editorial policy" as such at the Blanket, which, in terms of the Palestinian debate, is amply demonstrated by past articles carried on the subject. For examples, please see:

Zionism, Palestine & the Spirit of the Warsaw Ghetto
Jenin: Israel Must Answer Questions - Is Sharon a War Criminal?
Understanding Suicide Bombers
Hitler Speaking Hebrew
The Wicked Never Rest
Today, A Journalist Asked Me
Palestine, Bloody Sunday, and Monday, and Tuesday....
Free Palestine



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