“The Kurdish and Palestinian questions are the two biggest problems in the Middle East. But they are also the two biggest dynamics of democratization in the Middle East.”
22 Nov 2023 | ANF
KCK Co-Chair Cemil Bayik on the Palestinian question. In an in-depth analysis, he speaks about where this question came from, how it is handled by the different global and regional players today and what the interests of the peoples are.
Bayik said: “The Kurdish and Palestinian questions are the two biggest problems in the Middle East. But they are also the two biggest dynamics of democratization in the Middle East.”
The Israeli army has officially declared war for the first time in 50 years. Gaza, a city of two million inhabitants, is being heavily bombed from the air. There is a massive exodus while Israel’s army has entered the center of Gaza. An Israeli plan of genocide for Gaza is in motion. It is reported that many options are on the table for Israel, including the de-population of Gaza and the expulsion of Palestinians to the Sinai Desert or to other countries. How do you assess the course of the war?
The war against the Palestinians is nothing that arose newly. There have been policies of war and genocide for decades. What is being done now is a part and continuation of this. The declaration of war may be made in order to realize the plan that has been prepared, to give legitimacy to what will be done, and to gain support inside and outside the country. Beyond this, there is no point in declaring war. It can only have meaning for the hegemonic powers such as the USA, NATO, etc., and for the states in the region that seek regional power. Because these powers have their own problems and interests in the region. The state of Israel is also included in these powers. Therefore, what has been done and what is intended to be done is not independent of this situation. The declaration of war can only be evaluated within this framework. Otherwise, it has no meaning for Palestine and Palestinians.
The Palestinian people have been resisting occupation and genocide for decades, struggling for freedom and liberation. Like the Kurds, the struggle of the Palestinian people has lasted a century. There has been war in Palestine for a century and this war has never ended. Now, of course, new developments have emerged and this represents a new situation. In our opinion, the most general conclusion is that the lack of a solution cannot be sustained any longer. The solution to the problem imposes itself in every aspect. This cannot be ignored. This reality cannot be eliminated by declaring war and deepening the ongoing massacres and genocide. Now the global and regional powers, especially the state of Israel, do not approach this reality. As such, there is no solution to the problem. The forces of capitalist modernity aggravate the problems and make their solutions more difficult. The policies of the forces of capitalist modernity are at the root of the problems in the Middle East, especially the Kurdish and Palestinian questions.
The traditional aims of the state of Israel are clear. It is to erase the Palestinians from their historical territories. The current attacks on Gaza are the framework of this objective. Until now, the Israeli state has not deviated from this policy, since the current mentality does not allow this. Both the traditional state mentality and the games and interventions of global and regional powers prevent the development of a new approach and the solution to the question. What is happening in Gaza is a result of this mentality and interventions. If it were not for these, there would have been progress in solving the problem. Today’s results would not have emerged. The Palestinian people have never been anti-Semitic. It has struggled against the state and mentality that created and perpetuated the occupation and genocide, and has seen salvation in overcoming this mentality. It is possible to state that a democratic approach that recognizes reality is gradually emerging among the Israeli people. In fact, it can be said that this is becoming very strong. For months there have been protests against the Netanyahu administration and its policies. These actions of the Israeli people prioritizing the solution to the Palestinian question are extremely important. It is known that this attitude of the people has not changed.
The Israeli state and the Netanyahu administration are trying to use the actions of Hamas, which target civilians and provoke reactions, to change this attitude of the people. But in spite of this and in the midst of all this war and war-mongering, it is very important that the people do not change their attitude and maintain their stance in favor of a democratic solution.
The just cause of the Palestinian people is supported by all oppressed peoples, socialists, democratic and libertarian movements. All these are dimensions that strengthen the democratic struggle of the Palestinian people and the democratic solution to the existing problem. But the approach of the states and the forces under their influence has the opposite effect. These deepen the problem and make the solution more difficult. They approach and intervene in the problem not with a democratic approach, but on the basis of political, economic and other interests.
This is the approach of the United States and of the European states, as well as of the regional states, especially Turkey and Iran. Turkey’s approach is especially extremely pragmatist. Its approach is based on maintaining its policies of genocide of Kurds. The approach of the Arab states has also not been resolutive so far. This is because the current administration pursues policies according to state interests. In the Middle East, the state has moved too far away from society. The interests of the state are completely based on anti-society. Leader Apo has analyzed this situation in the Middle East comprehensively. Moreover, both the Arab states and other regional states do not have a democratic mentality. In such a situation, it is not possible for them to approach the Palestinian problem in the right way, to show a real interest in it, and to put forth the will to realize a solution to the problem. This is true not only for the Arab states but for all powers and states. It is not possible for those who do not have a democratic mentality to be the power of solution.
The picture that is emerging today is very painful. A very agonizing and brutal massacre is taking place in Gaza. We strongly criticize and condemn this. We clearly state that the peoples will definitely hold these genocidal states and mentality to account. We also strongly criticize and condemn the forces that stand by and support these genocidal policies of the Israeli state. We express the same approach to the powers that take false stances and pretend to be on the side of the Palestinian people. The approaches of all these global and regional powers are essentially the same. They are neither friends of the Israeli people nor the Palestinian people. Each of them approaches the issue in order to maintain their own policies. These approaches are unacceptable. Everyone should take the right approach. No one should stand against the struggle of the peoples, especially the just causes of the Palestinian and Kurdish people. The Israeli state and government have to immediately change their current approach and stop their attacks. They must abandon their policies of war, genocide and massacre.
The possible scenarios that you have mentioned are horrible and unacceptable. No people or community can be displaced. This is literally genocide. There is no justification for this, there cannot be. This is what has always been imposed on the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people were displaced and their lands were occupied and annexed. Millions of Palestinians are living in exile today. Now the same thing is being imposed on the people of Gaza and on the Kurdish people. This is what the Turkish state is trying to do in Rojava. This is a situation that can never be accepted. What we advocate for the Kurdish people, we also advocate for the Palestinian people. No matter what happens, peoples should not be forced to leave their homeland.
Palestinian organizations have different attitudes towards the ongoing war. Until today, there has been a contradiction between Fatah and Hamas and a dual government. How does this situation, the contradictions of Palestinian organizations affect the struggle of the Palestinian people? Another important issue is the so-called “controlled” war between Lebanese Hezbollah and Israel. Hezbollah leader Nasrallah said that Hamas made the decision for the October 7 attacks, but after the Israeli attacks on Gaza, he opened a new front. What does Hezbollah’s involvement mean? How will it affect the course of the war? Is there a danger of the Israel-Hamas war turning into a regional war?
There has always been a regional war in the Middle East. The region has been at war for over a century. This is because the problems are both numerous and interrelated. There is no problem that does not have regional consequences. Everything is very much intertwined and influences each other. From the beginning to the middle of the twentieth century, the world experienced two major wars – the First and the Second World War. After these experiences, there were fewer wars in Europe, but the same was not the case all over the world. Especially in the Middle East, wars have never ended. The wars between the states and against the peoples have always continued. In Kurdistan and Palestine, there has been a war of genocide imposed by the state for over a century. Against this, there is the resistance and struggle developed by the people. Therefore, in our opinion, it would be more correct to talk and evaluate how the Middle East will come out of this, not how it will be dragged into a regional war. On the other hand, as long as there are existing problems, as long as the problems are approached with the existing mentality and as long as the problems are not solved, war and conflict will not end and the Middle East will not be able to avoid a regional war that will engulf the rest of the world.
Of course, the inability of Palestinian organizations to achieve a strong unity among themselves negatively affects the struggle of the Palestinian people. But it is important to know and understand why this is so and how it came about. The problem is not only the contradictions between Hamas and Fatah. The Palestinian movement in general is weakened and fragmented. Fatah and other factions are internally fragmented and in a weak position. This situation is not only the result of state repression. There are ideological, political and historical reasons for this situation. Only by understanding and resolving these causes can the Palestinian movement overcome the current situation. It is important for us to know this in order to understand the situation of the Palestinian people and movement.
As is well known, since the establishment of the state of Israel, there have been many wars between Israel and the Arab states. With the support of the forces of capitalist modernity, the state of Israel was not defeated in these wars and maintained its existence. In line with its mentality and ideology, it implemented occupation and genocide policies in Palestine. In the approach of the Arab states, the idea of destroying the state of Israel was at the forefront. The liberation of Palestine was seen in the destruction of Israel. When this failed, they lost interest in the Palestinian cause. In fact, this approach and policies of the Arab states have caused the greatest damage to the Palestinian cause. It is known how some Arab states treat Palestinian refugees. Now, Arab states do not have a correct and consistent approach. Since they approach the problem with a statist mentality, they cannot be a solution force. After it became clear that the Arab states could not solve the Palestinian problem, the Palestinian movement gained strength and the cause of the Palestinian people made progress. After the Six Day War, the Palestinian movement developed and strengthened into an independent policy. It gained significant support from the peoples in the Middle East and around the world, and succeeded in putting the recognition and solution of the Palestinian question on the agenda. Even states could not remain indifferent to the cause of the Palestinian people, which gained strength and received significant attention and support from the rights of the world.
There are many reasons why Palestinian organizations are so weak and divided today. Here you have to keep in mind why they have been so strong before and what has happened to them. What essentially made the Palestinian movement so strong and widespread was its connection to the socialist paradigm. The fact that Palestine achieved developments and progress in the 1960s and 70s is essentially linked to this. Of course, not all movements at that time followed the socialist paradigm, but even those that embraced a different ideology were in one way or another influenced by socialism and benefited from socialist experiences in politics and social organization. Such developments also followed in other countries in the Middle East, including Kurdistan. There is no question that the rise of people around the world, but especially in the Middle East, poses a great threat to the existence of capitalist modernity. In order to limit the spread of socialism around the world, the United States of America in particular set out to support organizations who followed religious ideologies or founded them in places where they did not exist before. As a result of this policy, groups that adhered to radical Islam emerged in the Middle East. Through them they wanted to prevent the further development of socialism. After the Soviet bloc collapsed and with it the influence and tradition of socialism collapsed to a certain point, the mission given to the radical Islamic groups was accomplished.
The policy that the US pursued was a NATO concept known as the ‘Green Belt’. For example, Turkey was accepted into NATO in order to use it against social and democratic movements. Turkey created religious organizations and formed them into contra structures. The cadres that Turkey leads today were originally trained by the USA and NATO. This means that the slogans that these organizations are saying today against the USA, Israel and NATO are nothing more than empty slogans. Because what they want to achieve with their practice is that there will be more acceptance of the goals and methods of the USA, Israel and NATO and that these forces will receive more support.
Like many other religious groups, Hamas was founded at that time. It was founded essentially to divide and weaken the existing Palestinian movement and had direct support from the US and Israel. In addition to the goal of destroying the existing Palestinian movement, it was also about essentially completely burying the aspirations of the Palestinian people. With the development of religious ideology, the Palestinian people’s struggle against oppression and genocide was sidetracked. The struggle for freedom was transformed into a fight for religion. This was expectable, since the Israeli state itself is subject to a religious mentality. Hamas was created as an organization based on religious ideology to distract the Palestinian people from a just struggle for their rights. What we are seeing here today is a war of religions, an armageddon and more such developments. This is the result of big lies, mistakes and what it means to go astray. While Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu appears in front of the cameras and declares that today’s events are written in the Torah, the Iranian president stands before the United Nations and declares that the Mahdi has returned to earth. This shows how much we have strayed from the path.
Hidden beneath these speeches and approaches lies a conflict of interest between states. Unfortunately, it must be said that after Hamas crushed the Palestinian vanguard and derailed the struggle of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian people have lost their voice. Today’s developments are not developments of the Palestinian movement, they are mostly dynamics coming from the outside.
Another aspect that is weakening the Palestinian movement is the belief that success can only be achieved through diplomacy. Instead of the movement and its leadership relying on a unified struggle, together with the joint struggle of the Palestinian and Israeli people for democracy, everything is based on state diplomacy. This represents a historical mistake, and this false approach has already resulted in major losses. If the focus had been on creating a democratic union of the Palestinian and Israeli people, the Palestinian question could have been resolved long ago and the democratization of Israel could have begun long ago. However, these aspirations were missing and the Palestinian movement was ultimately made passive by the Oslo talks. This allowed oppression and genocide to develop even further.
What was done to the Palestinian people was also done to the Kurdish people and the Kurdish freedom movement. In order to stop the Kurdish struggle for freedom, the Turkish state developed tariqats, contra structures under the name of JITEM and the ‘village guard system’ was introduced. One of these structures was the Hüda Par. They are still supported by the Turkish state today and, through them, attempts are being made to undermine the fight for freedom and to expand the state. There are some speeches by previous interior ministers that paint a clear picture regarding this issue.
Also, like the Palestinian movement, attempts were made to make the Kurdish freedom movement give up under the label of talks and dialogues. But this was prevented by Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] by developing a solution within the framework of the ‘democratic nation’ and placing the struggle on a new basis of democratic alliances and the common democratic struggle of the peoples. This enabled the struggle for freedom and democracy to continue. The hopes for freedom in Kurdistan and the Middle East could be defended and, ultimately, important steps could be taken in Turkey and Syria. In Turkey, an important front was opened through the democratic alliance founded by the Kurdish people together with the democratic forces of Turkey. The revolution in Rojava succeeded and relations between the Kurdish and Arab people were re-established on the basis of the democratic nation. Important steps in this direction have also recently been taken in East Kurdistan and Iran.
To come back to the question; developments in the Middle East are interconnected. Many different regional and international forces are involved in this war. The so-called Israel-Hamas war has long since become a regional war. This is also how the situation of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the question of its involvement in this war should be handled. The influence that Iran has on the Lebanese Hezbollah and other local forces is well known. If Hezbollah and the other forces continue to behave like this, they will not separate from Iran. The Turkish state’s relations with Hamas and the attempts of the AKP-MHP government and Erdoğan to exploit Hamas and the Palestinian question for their own benefit are also known. It is the state that tries hardest to use the conflict for its own benefit. The USA and other international forces of capitalist modernity have their influence through Israel. All of these forces are trying to turn the Israel-Palestine conflict around in order to be able to implement their own interests. From this point of view, it can be said that there is a likelihood and danger that this war will expand even further. In any case, it can be said that the current developments are part of the Third World War. There is a struggle for power and dominance between the forces of capitalist modernity. A fight for energy routes, trade routes, land, etc. In order to weaken each other, they are ready to use any means and exploit any problem for their own interests.