Palestine Communist Party

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PKP propaganda during the Second World War, calling for support of the Red Army

The Palestine Communist Party (Arabic: الحزب الشيوعي الفلسطيني‎, Yiddish: פאלעסטינישע קומוניסטישע פארטיי, Palestinishe Komunistishe Partei, abbreviated PKP) was a political party in British Mandate of Palestine formed in 1923 through the merger of the Palestinian Communist Party and the Communist Party of Palestine. In 1924 the party was recognized as the Palestinian section of the Communist International.[1]

In 1923 the party congress a position of support was adopted in favour of the Arab national movement as a movement "opposed to British imperialism and denounced Zionism as a movement of the Jewish bourgeoisie allied to British imperialism", a move that won it membership of the Comintern.[2] The Party was also opposed to Zionist settlement in Palestine and to the Histadrut and its Jewish labor policy.[3]

During the mid-1920s the party began recruiting Arab members. According to British intelligence sources, the first Arab joined the party in 1924. By 1925 the party had 8 Arab members. In that year the party was in contact with the Arab-Palestinian Workers Organization. Simultaneously the party establish relations with elite sections of the local Arab society. According to Halliday, many Christian Arabs were attracted towards the party since they, being Orthodox, felt emotional bonds with Russia. However, when the Comintern made its ultra-left turn in 1928 and denounced cooperation with national bourgeoisies in the colonies, the process of strengthening of the party amongst the Arab population was stalled. In 1930 the Comintern did yet another sharp turn, urging its Palestinian section to speedily increase the Arab representation amongst its cadres and leaders.[1]

During the rule of Joseph Stalin, the party militants in the Soviet Union suffered from heavy purges, including numerous people close to party leader Leopold Trepper. Daniel Averbach, one of the founders of the party, was so brutally beaten that he went mad.[4]

In 1943 the party split, with the Arab members forming the National Liberation League in 1944.[5] The PCP and NLL both initially opposed the 1947 UN Partition Plan, but accepted it after the Soviet Union endorsed it.[6] The PCP changed its name to MAKEI, the Communist Party of Eretz Israel, after endorsing partition in October 1947. This was the first time the communists had used the term 'Eretz Israel' ('Land of Israel'). However, it had been a widespread practice in Mandate Palestine to translate 'Palestine' as 'Eretz Israel' when translating into Hebrew.[7] The party still viewed partition as a temporary detour on the road to a binational state.[8] The two parties maintained contact during the 1948 war, and after the war the NLL merged with MAKI (the new name adopted by MAKEI, meaning the Communist Party of Israel) within the new state's borders.[9]

From 1951 the Jordanian Communist Party organized Palestinians in the West Bank while a new Palestinian Communist Organization mobilized members in Gaza. In 1975 a Palestinian Communist Organization was also formed in the West Bank as a branch of the Jordanian party and in 1982 this severed ties with Jordan and merged with the organization in Gaza to become the new Palestine Communist Party.[10] This Party later became the Palestinian People's Party and joined the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1987.[11]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Early Communism in Palestine, Fred Halliday, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Winter, 1978), pp. 162-169
  2. ^ Younis, 2000, p. 117.
  3. ^ Bernstein, 2000, p. 218.
  4. ^ Radzisnki, 1996.
  5. ^ Beinin 40, 42
  6. ^ Beinin45-48
  7. ^ Beinin 46
  8. ^ Beinin 46
  9. ^ Beinin 52
  10. ^ Connell, 2001, p. 61.
  11. ^ Kawar, 1996, p. xii.

References[edit]