The fourth war in the Middle East is in full swing. This time with Syria and Egypt on one side and Israel on the other. In this connection, 40 prominent Norwegian women and men have addressed an inquiry to the Norwegian government in which they ask the government to support Israel in the fight. Among these 40 we find LO chairman Tor Aspengren.
Surprising? No. As so many times before, he is firmly on the side of the privileged – on the side of the exploiters and oppressors. Tor Aspengren is clearly among those who stand high on the ladder both nationally and internationally. At the collective bargaining agreements, Aspengren finds itself far better and at ease among the employers than among its own members. In the EC struggle, he was far more concerned with integration in Europe on the terms of big capital than he was with the interests of Norwegian workers.
In the Middle East conflict, he feels far more at ease in the company of Moshe Dayan and Golda Meir than with poor, desperate and oppressed Arabs.
These 40 representatives of the privileged class of society.
Not for a moment do these 40 representatives of the privileged class of society stop to analyze the fundamental causal relationships of this and previous wars in the Middle East. In which areas is the war fought today? It is on the territories of Egypt and Syria. What the two countries are doing is solely a desperate attempt to get back the areas Israel occupied in the so-called six-day war in 1967. Everyone knows today that it was Israel that started this war. Not even Israel itself has tried to hide it. However, this does not interest Tor Aspengren and his 39 co-signatories.
I hope that as many people as possible saw the TV program with our UN observer Odd Bull recently. There, the causal relationships became clear. So did the Israeli leaders' intransigent attitude towards the Arabs.
At the expense of the Palestinian Arabs
What has happened in the Middle East since Israel became its own state in 1948? The first was that state formation took place at the expense of the Palestinian Arabs. They were forced out of the area they have had as their home for nearly 2000 years. The reason was that the Europeans would like to give the Jews compensation for their own persecution of the Jews over several hundred years, which culminated in the Nazis' mass extermination. That this compensation came at the expense of the Arabs was not so interesting. They were so far away. They were poor and "backward". We prefer to show solidarity with equals. The Arabs protested and tried to defend themselves and their territories, but militarily inferior as they were, they were of course doomed to lose. Their fears of further territorial expansion by Israel proved to be highly justified.
In 1967, Israel again went to full-scale war.
In 1956, Israel again went to war with Britain and France, expanding its territory and thereby increasing its dominance. In 1967, Israel again went to full-scale war and expanded its territory with the Golan Heights, the areas west of the Jordan River and the entire Sinai Peninsula.
After 1967, Israel has far from followed the UN resolution from the UN Security Council to withdraw from the occupied territories. On the contrary. Israel has started preparations for the full colonization of the areas they occupied.
More and more territory
It is against this background that we must assess the situation in the Middle East. Israel has thus continually annexed more and more territory, and more and more Arabs have been forced to live under occupation. Oppression on the part of Israel is increasing, despair – and hopelessness among the Arabs is increasing accordingly.
The Arabs must have the same legitimate right to fight for freedom and independence as all other people and nations. There can never be peace in the Middle East until Israel accepts the Arabs as equal people who have a legitimate right to live on equal terms with the Jews in the areas that have been theirs for nearly 2000 years.
But this is probably incomprehensible to Tor Aspengren and the other 39 who have asked the Norwegian government to support Israel. They have once again found their natural place in the ranks of the privileged.