An interview with comrade Khaled Barakat, Palestinian journalist

What has the Al-Aqsa Flood resistance operation revealed about the balance of forces within historic Palestine and in the wider middle-eastern region?

In this interview with Comrade Khaled Barakat, a Palestinian writer, journalist, and member of the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement (Masar Badil), Comrade Joti Brar examines the situation in Gaza and the Palestinian resistance.

Khaled, with expert knowledge, covers both the present situation and its history, putting into context the Palestinian resistance not as a group of terrorists – as the corporate media would have us believe – but as a national-liberation movement against a settler-colonial entity backed up by US imperialism.

Joti begins the discussion by quoting from an article by Sayed Hasan, where he writes:

“Whatever happens, October 7 will go down in history as a resounding victory for the Palestinian Resistance, and an earthquake for Israel. No massacre, no destruction, no genocide can ever erase it. As Sheikh Naïm Qassem pointed out, Israel has little choice today but between being content with the crushing defeat it has already suffered, or persisting in blind revenge and suffering discredit and defeat on a much bigger scale.” (Gaza: Where is Hezbollah?, The Wall Will Fall, 2 November 2023)

Comrade Khaled talks about the historical trajectory of the armed resistance in Gaza, from its early days in the 1960s when it was led by the secular socialist forces, especially by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), to today, when religious groups are in the leading position.

He explains how on 7 October, in a carefully planned operaion, some 1,200 Palestinian fighters were able briefly to liberate a part of Palestine by force of arms, as the elite Gaza brigade of the so-called Israeli Defence Force (IDF) crumbled beneath their surprise attack. This was a level of success that even the resistance forces had not expected, and it has created an earthquake whose ramifications are still unfolding.

A new era has definitely been opened, both for Palestinian and wider regional resistance, which is increasingly coming together in practical, coordinated action, and for the zionist project, which has never looked more divided, isolated and exposed.

The discussion includes:

  • The example being set by the National Army of Yemen (formerly the ‘Houthis’ or Ansarullah movement). These brave fighters, who have already suffered so much in the US and British-backed proxy war waged by Saudi Arabia and the UAE against their people, have not only understood that the fight against zionism concerns the entire middle-eastern region, but have thrown themselves into the struggle in solidarity with Gaza. They are a leading example of the way the resistance forces have learned that the imperialist-backed Israeli outpost cannot be reasoned or coexisted with. Its very existence is a dagger at the heart of the Arab and middle-eastern peoples, aimed at keeping control over their resources (oil), and has been holding back their independence and development for a century.
  • The part being played by the wider geopolitical shifts in the region, in particular the huge change in the balance of forces that was signalled by the China-mediated raprochment between Iran and Saudi Arabia. This has tremendous significance since it signals the beginning of the end of US imperialism’s strategy of using the Gulf autocracies as proxies to back up its regional domination. The entry of both countries into Brics has only cemented this move, which, together with the Al-Aqsa Flood operation, has in turn stopped the process of normalisation of relations beween Gulf states and Israel that was begun with former US president Donald Trump’s Abraham Accords.
  • The role that has been played by Nato’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, which has both distracted the USA and highlighted the waning nature of its military and economic power for all to see, making alternative approaches as offered by the Brics etc increasingly attractive, even to such reactionary regimes as that in Saudi Arabia.
  • The nature of this period of flux, in which the forces of imperialism are retreating and the world is being reshaped as a result. Not only US imperialism’s weakness, but the utter dependency of the old imperialist powers of Europe and east Asia on their US senior has been on full display, highlighting the servility of the declining imperialist countries towards US policy, even when it is not in their own direct economic interest.
  • The growth of anti-imperialist consciousness as the oppressed peoples have come to understand the need for popular resistance movements if they want to safeguard even the most basic elements of economic or political independence.
  • The difficulties that workers who are born in western imperialist countries have in truly understanding the realities of imperialism, owing to the all-encompassing imperialist media bubble in which they live and the supremacist outlook that is injected into every aspect of their media and culture. The difference between charity and solidarity; pity and coordinated action against a common enemy.
  • The difficulties the imperialists have in taking into account the independent action of the masses, who are the ultimate shapers of history, but whom the imperialists always disregard when laying their plans.
  • The qualitative change in the popular understanding of the Palestinian question that has been triggered by the Al-Aqsa Flood operation, which has highlighted the barbarity of the zionist entity and the complicity of western imperialist governments and media.
  • The fact that the conflict is not ultimately one between Israelis and Palestinians, as it may appear, but between the imperialists and the people of the middle east.
  • The dehumanising nature of the pact that the zionists made with imperialism, who have for four generations now been bringing up their children to hate and to be mindless executioners in service of the Anglo-American oil monopolies.
  • The conclusion that a two-state solution has been shown through bitter experience to be a road to nowhere and completely unworkable. In the end, Israelis will have to choose whether to live in a liberated Palestine as equal citizens or leave. And ultimately, the salvation of jewish people in Palestine will come through the end of the supremacist settler-colonial project, which is the only path to retrieving their own humanity.

From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!