The German Nazis invaded France during the second world war, however, they did not occupy all of France, opting instead to leave a part of it in the hands of collaborationist government with its administrative centre in the city of Vichy.
|Secretary of State Antony Blinken with
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
This government under the command of Marshall Petain, a French first world war hero, collaborated closely with the Nazis, repressing the French resistance, deporting Jews to the camps and in addition freeing up German troops to fight the war by taking over the daily work of occupation. Nowadays, the term Vichy is synonymous with collaborator with an occupation, betrayal and surrender. Although the phrase originated in the context of the Nazi occupation of France, it can be applied to many conflicts following the second world war.
The Palestinian Authority government has a lot in common with Vichy. Following the Oslo Accords the PA took over the repression of the more coherent and revolutionary factions, just as Marshal Pétain had done in Vichy. It also freed up Zionist troops and police forces from the daily work of occupation and collaborates closely with the fascist regime in Tel Aviv.
Over the years this government has bent the knee time and again to the Israelis, sometimes begging the Western powers to intervene on issues such as settlements in the West Bank. At no point has it led a struggle against the Zionists. In fact, it presents itself as the reasonable representative with whom negotiations can happen and agreements reached.
Now Israel commits endless war crimes in Gaza and is carrying out a genocide in Gaza against the Palestinians. It aims to wipe Palestinians off the map, expel them from Gaza and also the West Bank, take control over sacred sites, such as the Al Aqsa Mosque, destroy it and build their own temple in its place. And what does the Vichy regime do in the face of such crimes? Little. It sticks to begging the West to put an end to the barbarity, ignoring that these same powers have always supported Israel, politically, militarily and economically.
It does have other options, but they require it declaring war on the Zionist regime and calling on the Arab masses to unite. Such a revolutionary option fills it with fear and it prefers to continue to collaborate with the fascist regime of Tel Aviv. It could also ask the reactionary Arab regimes for help. But it hasn’t placed the first demand on those governments. First, it could demand the expulsion of the Israeli ambassadors and break all diplomatic and commercial relations with the regime. But it hasn’t done so, nor will it. The Houthi rebels who have been fighting against one of the most reactionary Arab regimes for eight years, namely Saudi Arabia, have done more in a few days to strike a blow against the economy of the Zionist regime.
In a short period, the Houthis have attacked at least 12 commercial ships in the Red Sea, according to Yankee military sources. Their attacks have reduced the flow of trade through the sea and Suez Canal. Four of the five big shipping companies, Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, CMA CGN Group & Evergreen have suspended shipments through the Red Sea(1) and the company OOCL announced that it would not accept shipments to or from Israel and cost of transport had gone up from USD $1,975 to $2,300 within a few days.(2)
Meanwhile, Vichy has done nothing. The Arab regimes have made no demands against Israel and the oil flows not only to Israel but also Great Britain and the USA. Without the Vichy regime, Israel would have had greater problems in the region. Not only should the Zionist regime fall, but also the Arab regimes and the Vichy government of Palestine. They are all, in their own way, responsible for the genocide in ´Gaza.
(1) CNN (19/12/2023) Who are the Houtis and why are they attacking ships in the Red Sea? Christian Edwards.
(2) Reuters (18/12/2023) Israel shipping costs rising as lines pull out and Red Sea attacks worsen. Jonathan Saul.
Gearóid Ó Loingsigh is a political and human rights activist with extensive experience in Latin America.