Solving the problem of Israel/Palestine isn’t rocket science: the solution is obvious. We just have to get serious about it.
A brief history
Due to recent events, things are coming to a head in the Middle East. As Israel becomes more belligerent and aggressive, more committed than ever to using overwhelming force as its only answer to a rapidly deteriorating situation, feeling itself even further victimized and becoming ever more paranoid, two issues come to the fore: the question of legitimacy and the question of long-term viability. More and more people, even within Israel itself, are becoming aware that what we are looking at is a severe societal case of paranoid schizophrenia, a split personality featuring the Jewish Übermensch and the poor innocent yiddische victim, in light of which the search for a solution becomes even more pressing.
It is becoming clear even to very slow learners that a European settler-colonialist society based on ethnocentric identity, established in the middle of the 20th Century no less, in the midst of people with whom they have little or nothing in common, aggressively alienating their new neighbors through the establishment of an Apartheid state based on blatant racism, and carving out ever more territory for itself through ethnic cleansing and remorseless genocide, never really had much of a future.
The only reason that this bizarre “State” has lasted so long, six decades and counting, has been the financial, military and political support that Israel has been receiving from the West. This support, in turn, has been the result of intense pressure brought to bear by a relatively small number of wealthy and powerful Zionist Jews, the Israel Lobby, particularly in the English speaking democracies. This support seems to be on the verge of weakening, while the political elites are finally beginning to comprehend the insupportable costs to their countries, in lives, wealth, international support and moral standing, of succumbing to such blackmail.
Equally relentless have been a small but determined number of liberal Jews who have fought Zionism from day one, and whose numbers are now increasing exponentially. These people have come to realize not only the moral hypocrisy and irrationality of supporting liberal, humanitarian and universalist causes everywhere except Israel, but the age old danger to themselves of antagonizing their host populations and ultimately incurring their inevitable wrath.One would think that we Jews, supposedly so smart, would learn from history, not mindlessly repeat it.
So is there a way out of this increasingly intolerable and dangerous situation? Of course there is; it’s been there from the beginning, and in fact it was the mainstream Zionist policy for nearly eighty years prior to the rise of Nazi Germany. Various configurations were envisioned, but what it boiled down to was sharing the land with its existing inhabitants, the Palestinians, on the basis of justice and equality. These were the conditions, in fact, articulated in the United Nations resolution in favor of the establishment of a Jewish state, which, like all subsequent UN resolutions, Israel has treated with the utmost contempt.
That brings us up to 1948. A great deal has happened since then, but I must reduce it to a few sentences. The inexorable logic of political Zionism, driven by fear of the “demographic problem,” requires the maintenance of a predominantly Jewish population – the traditional ratio being no less than 80:20. As the current Palestinian population within the ever shifting boundaries of “Israel” is about 20% and growing faster than the Jewish population, the politically convenient notion of the Jewish State being a “democracy” is threatened by the greater fertility of its (second-class, feared, hated and barely tolerated) non-Jewish citizens. In addition, since 1967, Israel has occupied the West Bank and Gaza, areas previously in a political limbo, but now representing an “existential” threat within the borders of what the political Zionists have always claimed as “Greater Israel.” (See The Zionist Plan for the Middle East) Even not counting the Palestinian diaspora, those within Israel together with the populations of the Occupied Territories would soon constitute a majority.
Although Israel forcibly evacuated its settlers from Gaza, hoping thereby to consign the inmates of what then became an open air concentration camp to oblivion or, they hoped, rule by the Egyptian dictatorship (who declined the offer), the residents, mostly refugees since the Nakba, refused to accept their fate. In response, the government has chosen to lay a medieval siege to the area, employing the ancient strategy of literally starving the besieged into submission.
This situation arose because the Israeli intelligence services, comparable in power and ruthlessness to the Soviet KGB, had instigated the creation of an Islamic fundamentalist party called Hamas to counter the previously dominant Fatah party of Yasir Arafat. When Hamas surprisingly won the elections sponsored by Israel and its patron, the U.S., and was able to consolidate its power in Gaza if not in the West Bank, Israel promptly instituted a siege of Gaza, hoping thereby to undermine Hamas. It wasn’t a very bright idea and has lead to barely imaginable terror and further suffering of people most of whom were already refugees from the Nakba.
There is a third segment of the Palestinian population, the Diaspora, the most numerous of the three groups, living in refugee camps in Lebanon, in Syria, as well as constituting nearly half the population of Jordan, and spread out across the globe, with many of them in the U.S. and the U.K. They have steadfastly refused to give up their right of return, a right that is not based on an ancient story, like the one that forms the core of the Jewish narrative, but is clearly historical, quite recent, and deeply enshrined in international law.
This is the real “existential threat” to Israel, not the seemingly endless and arbitrary series of enemy nations “out to get them,” the latest target being Iran. The real existential threat to us, the rest of the world, is the Israeli proclivity to act on its paranoia regardless of consequences, to rely on its overwhelming military superiority (built from the largesse of U.S. taxpayers) to its perceived enemies.
Israel is a nuclear power (again, thanks to its fifth column within the U.S.) and there is no reason to believe that if they imagine themselves sufficiently threatened they won’t use those nukes. The bottom line, the reason that the story herein described is so vital to understand, is the likelihood that Israel, if allowed to continue on its path unchecked, will inevitably provoke a nuclear war, a catastrophe that life on this planet might very well not survive.
There are various proposals for resolving this state of affairs, but they really boil down to two: the one state solution vs. the two state solution. The latter has been endorsed by most of the world’s elites, including significant minorities within the Israeli government and civil society; in the West, led by the U.S.; most of the Arab countries and the PLO since Yasir Arafat himself endorsed the idea. Well, that pretty much settles it, one might say, at least if you don’t look too closely. The two state solution proposes that an independent Palestinian state be created in the West Bank and Gaza within the borders that existed prior to the 1967 war. Such a state would have territorial integrity, a protected land corridor between the two sections, the rights and privileges of any member of the United Nations, provide a home for all Palestinian refugees and have its capitol in East Jerusalem. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Actually no — it’s pure fantasy. For one thing, it would mean defeat not only for the basic Zionist project of building Eretz Yisroel (Greater Israel), to which the Israeli government is more and more committed, but it runs directly counter to the dynamic that drives the Jewish state, as in all forms of ethnocentric or nationalist fascism. As Lebanon’s Druze leader Walid Jumblatt succinctly put it on May 23rd, “Israel can’t survive without expansion and war.” Assuming for the sake of argument that we’re talking about a truly viable, sovereign Palestinian nation, consider Israel’s dread of a contiguous state populated by its recent victims – well, I needn’t belabor the point.
And just exactly how is the Israeli government going to pull off the forced evacuation of half a million of its citizens? They were faced with a violent struggle to remove the 8,000 Jewish settlers in Gaza. And those settlers have now become nearly dominant in the government and the military, so exactly who is going to do this? What the Israelis mean when they talk about the two state solution is the legitimization of the Matrix of Control that they have designed and mostly already constructed. It consists of about a dozen isolated bantustans, surrounded by barbed wire, checkpoints and guards. These “self-governing” labor camps would not only supply very cheap labor for the Israeli economy, but would have to support their entire infrastructure and administrative budget from such meager revenues through internal taxation. Collectively they would have the status of being a “Palestinian State.” What a deal!
It would also erase the bottom line of the Palestinian struggle, which is the Right of Return to the land from which they were and are being expelled. Neither side, when push came to shove, could or would accept such an arrangement. Any Israeli government that seriously endorsed the idea would immediately fall, as would the collaborationist Palestine Authority in Ramallah if the prospect became imminent. An even more convincing reason, though, is that it could not even remotely be called a “solution” – quite the contrary. Such a configuration could theoretically be imposed by force by the U.S., acting in concert with its allies and the U.N., but it would be like placing a massive nuclear bomb between the river and the sea, just waiting for the spark that would give it critical mass.
There are clear and obvious reasons why the various elites are promoting the idea of the two state solution. For Israel, the “peace process” provides public relations cover for its ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. It should also be clear to people who understand the dynamics of the Jewish state that one thing can’t be allowed to happen – a successful conclusion, peace. Peace is anathema. The primary reason for this is embedded in the nature of Zionism itself. One has to understand that fear, ancient and deep-seated paranoia, is at the heart of Zionism.
For three years I have been imploring you, Jews of Poland, the crown of world Jewry, appealing to you, warning you unceasingly that the catastrophe is nigh. My hair has turned white and I have grown old over these years, for my heart is bleeding that you, dear brothers and sisters, do not see the volcano which will soon begin to spew forth its fires of destruction. I see a horrible vision. Time is growing short for you to be spared. I know you cannot see it, for you are troubled and confused by everyday concerns… Listen to my words at this… for time is running short.
– Vladimir Jabotinsky to the Jews of Warsaw on Tisha b’Av 1938
Moreover, Zionism is a textbook example of ethnocentric fascism, almostidentical to Nazism, merely having a different tribal identity. A salient characteristic of such ideologies, as Jumblatt pointed out, is that they have no brakes — if they stop picking fights with their neighbors, if they stop trying to expand further and further, they lose their cohesion, their raison d’etre, and die.
This is particularly true in the case of Israel for a number of reasons. One of the main ones is that the Jewish population of Israel is a hodgepodge of different peoples, a true melting pot of cultures that have little in common with one another except for the notion that they are “Jewish.” But, as Sand has convincingly demonstrated, there is no such thing as “the Jewish people,” any more than there was such a thing as the “Aryan race.” It’s just a story, the kind one would tell to children, which was then massaged into powerful propaganda. Without the glue of an external enemy and serial wars, Israel would implode. Its people, by and large, distrust and even detest one another. As long as their fear and hatred can be directed at the “other,” the external enemy, then the house of cards can maintain itself. (read HERE)