From left to right: Aida Touma Sleiman, member of the Knesset (Israeli parliament), Adel Amer, Secretary General of the Communist Party of Israel, and Salam Bilal, secretary of the party branch in the city of Nazareth. Photo: Yaimí Ravelo

THERE is a tendency among Western media and analysts to classify political party disputes in Israel as a struggle between “hawks and doves,” referring to the position of each regarding the Zionist occupation of Palestinian land.

In this case, the hawks would be those who support the Jewish settlements and the policy of terror that Israel maintains against the Palestinian people; and the doves those parties that to some extent oppose this.

Clearly the Likud Party, whose president is current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would top the list of hawks and, according to analysts, the Labor Party would lead the doves.

But if one thing is clear in politics it is that nothing is totally black and white. There are nuances that shape the strategic positions being contested.

On this and other issues related to Israeli reality, Granma International spoke with Adel Amer, Secretary General of the Communist Party of Israel, and the delegation that accompanied him on an official visit to the island.

“Our party is neither one nor the other,” Amer explained.

“What the media doesn’t say is that the so-called dove parties actually have a secret agenda marked by racism and xenophobia.”

He explained that the real reason why parties, like Labor, support the designation of the State of Palestine is because they want to create a purely Jewish state.

“In other words, they want to ‘clean’ Israel. Expel Arabs, confine them to one place. Moreover, they do not intend to return to Palestine the territories currently occupied.”

According to Adel Amer, what differentiates the Communist Party from others is that it supports the establishment of the Palestinian State, respecting the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, the return of political refugees and the end of Zionist settlements on Palestinian territory. “The Communist Party is not a hawk or a dove; it is the real peace camp.”

Another member of the visiting delegation, Salam Bilal, secretary of the party branch in the city of Nazareth, set out the reasons why the Communist Party condemns the Israeli occupation.

“The occupation violates in principle the United Nations statutes that prohibit the demographic and topographic modification of zones in conflict,” he stated.

Also a member of the party’s Central Committee, Bilal noted that Israel aims to control the area through the use of fascist practices against the Palestinian people.

“Israel’s extreme right uses the excuse that this is a religious conflict to bias public opinion in its favor, disguising a clearly political and economic conflict of geographical supremacy as being the will of God,” he stressed.

“However,” Bilal continued, “this is easy to debunk. One only needs to see the atrocities that Israel commits day in, day out, not only against the occupied territories but against Arabs within the country itself.”

Aida Touma Sleiman, the Party’s only female member of the Knesset (Israeli parliament), and a member of its Political Bureau, stated that the Israeli Communist Party strongly criticizes both the social and legislative discrimination and abuse experienced by Arabs within Israel, as well as in the occupied territories.

“There is internal competition within the Israeli government to see who hates Arabs most, while they expand campaigns based on fear and terror.”

“In our country, more than 50% of the people classified as poor are Arabs, of whom 20% are Palestinians. We are talking about more than 1 million children who are on the poverty line,” she said.

The Knesset member added that officially the current government’s political program openly discriminates against Arabs. More than 20 laws have been passed that specifically attack Arabs, and others are waiting to be approved.

For example, she said, there is a new bill waiting to be passed by Parliament called the Jewish Nation-State Law, which describes Israel as a Jewish state.

“The law states that no matter where a person is born, if he or she is Jewish, they are automatically a citizen of Israel. Therefore, a person born in the U.S. who has never even been to Israel has more rights in our country than an Arab who was born here. It is a law that institutionalizes discrimination within the country.”

Touma Sleiman clarified that the Party refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. “We are a party opposed to Zionism.”

“To all this we must add that in Israel there are no government investments in majority Arab neighborhoods or areas. Their salaries are very low and the educational and health centers are in very poor conditions,” she noted.

“The Israeli government currently uses 40 – 45% of the state budget to maintain and expand Zionist settlements in occupied territories and in the arms race and militarism.”

The representatives of the Israeli Communist Party agreed that the recent visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to Israel and Palestine is a sign of disaster.

“The U.S. portrays itself to the world as a mediator in this conflict, when it is known to support the Zionist occupation campaign. There is an alliance between the two countries with the goal of maintaining the status quo in the Middle East and its powers in the region,” she emphasized.

Changing topics, Adel Amer highlighted, “We have a deep affection for the Revolution, the Party and the people of Cuba. Just as we recognize the solidarity of the island with progressive movements around the world.”

He noted that this visit had provided the perfect opportunity to exchange views on Latin American and Middle Eastern realities, stating, “We are very aware of Cuba’s views.”

The members of the delegation condemned the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the United States.

“Cuba is the main Latin American bastion against U.S. imperialist hegemony. It is a source of inspiration and an example of resistance. Cuba is hope,” he concluded.