ISRAELI APARTHIED: The Future of Palestine By John J. Mearsheimer

The following is an excerpt from the The Hisham Sharabi Memorial Lecture delivered by Professor John Mearsheimer at the Palestine Center in Washington D.C. on April 29, 2010.

The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners

…There is going to be a Greater Israel between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.  In fact, I would argue that it already exists.  But who will live there and what kind of political system will it have?

It is not going to be a democratic bi-national state, at least in the near future. An overwhelming majority of Israel’s Jews have no interest in living in a state that would be dominated by the Palestinians.  And that includes young Israeli Jews, many of whom hold clearly racist views toward the Palestinians in their midst. Furthermore, few of Israel’s supporters in the United States are interested in this outcome, at least at this point in time.  Most Palestinians, of course, would accept a democratic bi-national state without hesitation if it could be achieved quickly.  But that is not going to happen, although as I will argue shortly, it is likely to come to pass down the road.

Then there is ethnic cleansing, which would certainly mean that Greater Israel would have a Jewish majority.  But that murderous strategy seems unlikely, because it would do enormous damage to Israel’s moral fabric, its relationship with Jews in the Diaspora, and to its international standing.  Israel and its supporters would be treated harshly by history, and it would poison relations with Israel’s neighbors for years to come.  No genuine friend of Israel could support this policy, which would clearly be a crime against humanity. It also seems unlikely, because most of the 5.5 million Palestinians living between the Jordan and the Mediterranean would put up fierce resistance if Israel tried to expel them from their homes.


Nevertheless, there is reason to worry that Israelis might adopt this solution as the demographic balance shifts against them and they fear for the survival of the Jewish state.
Given the right circumstances – say a war involving Israel that is accompanied by serious Palestinian unrest – Israeli leaders might conclude that they can expel massive numbers of Palestinians from Greater Israel and depend on the lobby to protect them from international criticism and especially from sanctions.

We should not underestimate Israel’s willingness to employ such a horrific strategy if the opportunity presents itself.  It is apparent from public opinion surveys and everyday discourse that many Israelis hold racist views of Palestinians and the Gaza massacre makes clear that they have few qualms about killing Palestinian civilians. It is difficult to disagree with Jimmy Carter’s comment earlier this year that “the citizens of Palestine are treated more like animals than like human beings.” A century of conflict and four decades of occupation will do that to a people.

Furthermore, a substantial number of Israeli Jews – some 40 percent or more – believe that the Arab citizens of Israel should be “encouraged” to leave by the government. Indeed, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni has said that if there is a two-state solution, she expected Israel’s Palestinian citizens to leave and settle in the new Palestinian state.  And then there is the recent military order issued by the IDF that is aimed at “preventing infiltration” into the West Bank.  In fact, it enables Israel to deport tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank should it choose to do so. And, of course, the Israelis engaged in a massive cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948 and again in 1967.  Still, I do not believe Israel will resort to this horrible course of action.

The most likely outcome in the absence of a two-state solution is that Greater Israel will become a full-fledged apartheid state. As anyone who has spent time in the Occupied Territories knows, it is already an incipient apartheid state with separate laws, separate roads, and separate housing for Israelis and Palestinians, who are essentially confined to impoverished enclaves that they can leave and enter only with great difficulty.

Israelis and their American supporters invariably bristle at the comparison to white rule in South Africa, but that is their future if they create a Greater Israel while denying full political rights to an Arab population that will soon outnumber the Jewish population in the entirety of the land.  Indeed, two former Israeli prime ministers have made this very point.  Ehud Olmert, who was Netanyahu’s predecessor, said in late November 2007 that if “the two-state solution collapses,” Israel will “face a South-African-style struggle.” He went so far as to argue that, “as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished.” Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who is now Israel’s defense minister, said in early February of this year that, “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic.  If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”

Other Israelis, as well as Jimmy Carter and Bishop Desmond Tutu, have warned that if Israel does not pull out of the Occupied Territories it will become an apartheid state like white-ruled South Africa.  But if I am right, the occupation is not going to end and there will not be a two-state solution.  That means Israel will complete its transformation into a full-blown apartheid state over the next decade.

In the long run, however, Israel will not be able to maintain itself as an apartheid state.  Like racist South Africa, it will eventually evolve into a democratic bi-national state whose politics will be dominated by the more numerous Palestinians.  Of course, this means that Israel faces a bleak future as a Jewish state.  Let me explain why.

For starters, the discrimination and repression that is the essence of apartheid will be increasingly visible to people all around the world.  Israel and its supporters have been able to do a good job of keeping the mainstream media in the United States from telling the truth about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.  But the Internet is a game changer.  It not only makes it easy for the opponents of apartheid to get the real story out to the world, but it also allows Americans to learn the story that the New York Times and the Washington Post have been hiding from them.  Over time, this situation may even force these two media institutions to cover the story more accurately themselves.

The growing visibility of this issue is not just a function of the Internet.  It is also due to the fact that the plight of the Palestinians matters greatly to people all across the Arab and Islamic world, and they constantly raise the issue with Westerners. It also matters very much to the influential human rights community, which is naturally going to be critical of Israel’s harsh treatment of the Palestinians.  It is not surprising that hardline Israelis and their American supporters are now waging a vicious smear campaign against those human rights organizations that criticize Israel.

The main problem that Israel’s defenders face, however, is that it is impossible to defend apartheid, because it is antithetical to core Western values. How does one make a moral case for apartheid, especially in the United States, where democracy is venerated and segregation and racism are routinely condemned? It is hard to imagine the United States having a special relationship with an apartheid state.  Indeed, it is hard to imagine the United States having much sympathy for one.  It is much easier to imagine the United States strongly opposing that racist state’s political system and working hard to change it. Of course, many other countries around the globe would follow suit.  This is surely why former Prime Minister Olmert said that going down the apartheid road would be suicidal for Israel.

Apartheid is not only morally reprehensible, but it also guarantees that Israel will remain a strategic liability for the United States…

I believe that most of the Jews in the great ambivalent middle will not defend apartheid Israel but will either keep quiet or side with the righteous Jews against the new Afrikaners, who will become increasingly marginalized over time.  And once that happens, the lobby will be unable to provide cover for Israel’s racist policies toward the Palestinians in the way it has in the past.

Professor Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago.  Dr. Mearsheimer has written extensively about security issues and international politics more generally.

He has published four books: Conventional Deterrence (1983), which won the Edgar S. Furniss, Jr., Book Award; Liddell Hart and the Weight of History (1988); The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001), which won the Joseph Lepgold Book Prize; and The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (with Stephen M. Walt, 2007).

Ref: Al Jazeera

WORLD PRESS IMAGES FROM GAZA & WEST BANK

WORLD PRESS PHOTO CONTEST 2010

ALSO SEE THE PHOTO SERIE  “Gaza – landscape of destruction”

VIDEO: Finkelstein on Gaza Massacre (Gaza is Israel´s Sharpwille)

Norman Finkelstein Speaks in Edmonton (about Gaza, Lebanon and Israel)

FOOTNOTES IN GAZA!

Sacco makes a forgotten and bloody crime in a refugee camp from 1956 that left 111 Palestinians dead the basis for Footnotes in Gaza – a 400-page behemoth telling the history of Gaza from that moment to the present day. He immersed himself in the daily life of squalid Rafah, scene of the massacre and notorious place for bitter conflict, and tells the story through everyday Palestinians; fugitives, schoolchildren, widows and sheikhs.

“I heard torture stories that were unusually harsh, but I decided not to use those kinds of stories, and instead something less shocking, something more of an “everyman” experience. I think it’s the “everyman experience” that people can relate to. It’s harder to imagine; harder to put yourself in the picture of someone who is being humiliated.’

Read more about Sacco
Eyeless in Gaza

Colleagues laughed when a young journalist in Palestine announced his intention to tell the story of that region though cartoons. Twenty years later, Joe Sacco is one of the world’s leading exponents of the graphic novel form…

Ref: Guardian

Read about the israeli “reaction” to grasp how real Sacco´s work is.

Graphic novel on IDF ‘massacres’ in Gaza set to hit bookstores

The American-Maltese artist’s latest book, “Footnotes in Gaza,” chronicles two episodes in 1956 in which a U.N. report filed Dec. 15, 1956 says a total of 386 civilians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers – events Sacco said have been “virtually airbrushed from history because they have been ignored by the mainstream media.”

Israeli historians dispute these figures.

“It’s a big exaggeration,” said Meir Pail, a leading Israeli military historian and leftist politician. “There was never a killing of such a degree. Nobody was murdered. I was there. I don’t know of any massacre.”
Sacco’s passion for the Palestinian cause has opened him up to accusations of bias.

Ref: Haaretz


My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story

Told from the perspectives of the refugees, My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story is a comprehensive chronicle of the tumultuous history and the struggles of the people of Gaza.

GAZA MASSACRE: UN Report on Gaza

Read the report

Key excerpts: UN Gaza report

A United Nations investigation into Israel’s campaign in the Gaza Strip earlier this year has concluded that there is evidence both sides committed war crimes.

Below are extracts from a UN statement accompanying the report:

[The report ] concluded there is evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity.

The report also concludes there is also evidence that Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes, as well as possibly crimes against humanity, in their repeated launching of rockets and mortars into Southern Israel…

The Mission found that, in the lead up to the Israeli military assault on Gaza, Israel imposed a blockade amounting to collective punishment and carried out a systematic policy of progressive isolation and deprivation of the Gaza Strip. During the Israeli military operation, code-named “Operation Cast Lead,” houses, factories, wells, schools, hospitals, police stations and other public buildings were destroyed… More than 1,400 people were killed during the military operation…

The report concludes that the Israeli military operation was directed at the people of Gaza as a whole, in furtherance of an overall and continuing policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population, and in a deliberate policy of disproportionate force aimed at the civilian population. The destruction of food supply installations, water sanitation systems, concrete factories and residential houses was the result of a deliberate and systematic policy which has made the daily process of living, and dignified living, more difficult for the civilian population…

The report underlines that in most of the incidents investigated by it, and described in the report, loss of life and destruction caused by Israeli forces during the military operation was a result of disrespect for the fundamental principle of “distinction” in international humanitarian law that requires military forces to distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian objects at all times…

[The ]report describes a number of specific incidents in which Israeli forces launched “direct attacks against civilians with lethal outcome.” These are, it says, cases in which the facts indicate no justifiable military objective pursued by the attack and concludes they amount to war crimes…

A number of other incidents the Report concludes may constitute war crimes include a direct and intentional attack on the Al Quds Hospital and an adjacent ambulance depot in Gaza City.

The Report also covers violations arising from Israeli treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank, including excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators, sometimes resulting in deaths, increased closures, restriction of movement and house demolitions. The detention of Palestinian Legislative Council members, the Report says, effectively paralyzed political life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories…

The Fact-Finding Mission also found that the repeated acts of firing rockets and mortars into Southern Israel by Palestinian armed groups “constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity,” by failing to distinguish between military targets and the civilian population. “The launching of rockets and mortars which cannot be aimed with sufficient precisions at military targets breaches the fundamental principle of distinction,” the report says. “Where there is no intended military target and the rockets and mortars are launched into civilian areas, they constitute a deliberate attack against the civilian population.”

The Mission concludes that the rocket and mortars attacks “have caused terror in the affected communities of southern Israel,” as well as “loss of life and physical and mental injury to civilians and damage to private houses, religious buildings and property, thereby eroding the economic and cultural life of the affected communities and severely affecting the economic and social rights of the population.”

The Mission urges the Palestinian armed groups holding the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to release him on humanitarian grounds, and, pending his release, give him the full rights accorded to a prisoner of war under the Geneva Conventions including visits from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Report also notes serious human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial executions of Palestinians, by the authorities in Gaza and by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

The prolonged situation of impunity has created a justice crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that warrants action, the Report says. The Mission found the Government of Israel had not carried out any credible investigations into alleged violations.

It recommended that the UN Security Council require Israel to report to it, within six months, on investigations and prosecutions it should carry out with regard to the violations identified in its Report. The Mission further recommends that the Security Council set up a body of independent experts to report to it on the progress of the Israeli investigations and prosecutions.

If the experts’ reports do not indicate within six months that good faith, independent proceedings are taking place, the Security Council should refer the situation in Gaza to the ICC Prosecutor. The Mission recommends that the same independent expert body also report to the Security Council on proceedings undertaken by the relevant Gaza authorities with regard to crimes committed by the Palestinian side.

As in the case of Israel, if within six months there are no good faith independent proceedings conforming to international standards in place, the Council should refer the situation to the ICC Prosecutor.

Ref: BBC

Israeli soldiers criticise tactics in Gaza war – 15 Jul 09

OBAMA SPEECH: Convenient Crutch: Forget ‘Negotiations’, Mr. Obama

Whenever western leaders lecture us about a solution to the Israel-Palestine problem, they rely on those comfortable, woolly words “negotiation” and “peace process”… it’s a convenient crutch.

Kick away the crutch and they’d finally have to grasp the nettle of justice, something they have always avoided.

Justice is underpinned by law, but the operation of law in the Holy Land is conspicuously absent. The Arabs, I believe, want plain, simple justice. Why is this such a problem to a western alliance that claims to itself sweeping moral authority?

President Obama, speaking the other day in a BBC interview, said he believed the US was “going to be able to get serious negotiations back on track” between Israel and the Palestinians. Asked about Israel’s defiance of his call for a halt to illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Obama urged patience, saying it was early in the conversation. “Diplomacy is always a matter of a long hard slog. It’s never a matter of quick results.”

Diplomacy hasn’t produced a result in 61 years, and he made no mention of implementing international law and enforcing UN resolutions. Like others, he much prefers the soft and fluffy option of negotiations that go nowhere and a “process” that is doomed to fail, enabling Israel to pursue its evil designs indefinitely. In their minds, and for some unexplained reason, Israel is exempt from laws, conventions, codes of conduct and respect for human rights that other nations of the civilised world are expected to observe. It is allowed to act the brutal aggressor with impunity

“Negotiations” Without Law Are Immoral

There are, of course, several objections to the idea of “negotiations” in the Israel-Palestine context. In particular, it is immoral to put a weak party and a strong party together and expect a fair outcome when the strong party is in permanent occupation and has its military boot on the other’s throat.

It is immoral to expect a weak party to negotiate with a strong party that’s daily in breach of international law, commits war crimes and acts of piracy and continues to steal land and dispossess the weak party’s citizens in order to unlawfully expand its borders.

It is immoral for the sponsors of the negotiations to be partisan and vilify the democratically elected representatives of the weak party, and to refuse to acknowledge the weak party’s right to political self-determination and territorial integrity.

It is immoral to force negotiations without first establishing a level playing field in terms of compliance with international law and UN resolutions. The international community has shirked this responsibility for decades – not because the peoples of the member nations are reluctant but because their leaders are corrupt.

Mr. Obama says there needs to be “a good deal of truth-telling” if the rift between America and the Muslim world is to be healed. Which of the many painful truths will he tell? As David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, remarked: “If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. We have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it is true, but 2,000 years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country.”

Truth-telling: What is Obama’s Version of the Truth?

The whole rotten 90 years of lies and betrayal needs to be ventilated and understood in the West… the chicanery leading up to the 1947 United Nations partition of Palestine that gave the Jews 57 percent when they accounted for only 30 percent of the population, and how the plan designated Jerusalem, with its major religious sites, an internationally administered city.

How the Jews apparently accepted the plan, declared statehood in May 1948 but wanted more. How the new Israel immediately proceeded to uproot 750,000 Palestinian Arabs from their homes and lands, obliterated nearly 400 Arab villages and towns, and allegedly committed some 34 massacres in pursuit of its territorial ambitions.

How Israel demolished 125,000 Palestinian homes, and after 1967 destroyed 18,000 more. How house demolition is still used today as a deliberate strategic tool to break the Palestinians’ will, achieve ethnic transfer and help make Israel’s control of Occupied Palestine permanent.

And how, in the process, Israel has flagrantly breached of every rule, convention and declaration governing civilised conduct.

UN Resolution 194, re-passed many times since 1948, requires Israel to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and compensate those choosing not to. Israel has refused to comply. Meanwhile any Jew from anywhere in the world, who has never before lived in Israel and whose ancestors have never lived in Israel, can go and live in Israel while Palestinians who can prove title to their former homes may not.

In 1967, under the pretext of the Six Day War, Israel seized what remained of Palestine – the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Resolution 242 ordered Israel to withdraw its armed forces, but again it defied the international community and international law. As a result Palestinians today comprise the largest refugee population in the world and have endured the longest, most brutal occupation in modern times.

Obama should remind himself of the countless other UN resolutions that Israel has defied.

Israel says it “withdrew completely” from Gaza in 2005. It didn’t. It still occupies Gaza’s airspace, airwaves and coastal waters, and the military invade with tanks, bulldozers and aircraft to shoot the place up whenever they please. Israel still controls all the border crossings except the one with Egypt, which it is allowed to ‘monitor’.

Gaza’s 3,000 licensed fishermen are unable to put to sea and earn their living for fear of being fired on by Israel patrol boats.

We in the West are asked to believe the siege of Gaza is about rockets “raining down” on Sderot, an Israeli township built on stolen Palestinian land. Stop the Gaza rockets and things will be OK, says Israel. But Palestinians in the West Bank don’t fire rockets and the Israelis are still in occupation after 41 years. They have seized Palestinian agricultural land and water resources for their own use. While Israelis fill their swimming pools and wash their cars, Palestinians have to survive on as little as 10 to 15 litres a day. More than 38% of their territory is now off-limits to them. In the Gaza Strip the UN reports that a border “exclusion zone” imposed by Israel bites as much as a mile into the narrow enclave and renders 30 percent of Gaza’s farmland unusable.

Gaza overflows with unpalatable truths. Hamas have invited Obama to visit and see the evidence for himself. He could demonstrate his good intentions by accepting.

The ‘roadmap’ endorsed by the UN Security Council puts Israel under an obligation to immediately dismantle outposts erected since 2001, freeze all squatter activity and do nothing to undermine trust, including confiscation and/or demolition of Palestinian homes and property. Israel rides roughshod over these obligations.

“Because Israel does not recognize Ottoman or British-era deeds, 72% of the West Bank is considered Israeli ‘state lands’. More than 200 settlements have been constructed in the Occupied Territories, and 450,000 Israelis have migrated across the 1967 boundaries,” says the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. The main aim of the squatter project, together with the exclusive Jewish claim to the entire country, is to prevent the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. “The settlements, the infrastructure serving them and the security system necessary to protect them have carved the Occupied Territories into dozens of isolated, impoverished enclaves. Palestinians are forbidden to travel between these enclaves without military permission, thus turning their own towns and villages into prisons.”

Nevertheless Israel’s allies continue preaching a two-state solution to safeguard the ‘purity’ of the racist regime, knowing that it involves the remnants of Occupied Palestine becoming a permanently ghettoized sub-state, subservient to Israel and never capable of prospering.

In 2004 the International Court of Justice ruled that the route of the Separation Wall, where it intrudes deeply into Palestinian territory, is illegal and should be dismantled. Far from complying, Israel is still building it.

In the wake of Israel’s 22-day devastation of Gaza and wholesale murder of its civilians at the New Year, the Zionist regime is not only blocking humanitarian and reconstruction aid but also denying access to teams investigating allegations of war crimes.
And let’s not forget that 10,000 Palestinians, including women and children abducted from their homes, are rotting in Israeli jails, many without charge or trial. 30+ democratically elected Palestinian parliamentarians are also imprisoned.

Here’s something else for us all – not just Muslims – to worry about. The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission says that Israel possesses a nuclear arsenal possibly larger than the British stockpile. Israel is the only state in the region that is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. It has not signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. It has signed but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Nevertheless the US government pours aid into Israel at a rate of around $3 billion annually. The money helps pay for Israel’s illegal occupation, its helicopter gun-ships, tanks and high-tech weaponry, Caterpillar bulldozers, and all the other paraphernalia of military oppression. Israel usually gets another $2 to 3 billion in indirect aid – military support, loan write-offs and special grants. So the US taxpayer is generously funding Israel’s destruction of Palestinian infrastructure (often paid for by British, EU and US taxpayers) and livelihoods, and its ethnic cleansing programme.

And what does the President think about the racist overtones in the manifesto of Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party? It says: “The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state… Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel… The government firmly rejects attempts of various sources in the world, some anti-Semitic in origin, to question Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital.”

Rivals Kadima aim for a solid Jewish majority and claim the Jewish people have a national and historic right to the Land of Israel “in its entirety”. They seem determined to grab all of it.

The last official word on the question of Jerusalem, I believe, was the UN’s declaration at the time of the 1947 Partition that it should be a ‘corpus separatum’ – an international city. So a good starting point for Mr. Obama and the international community would be to knock these nonsensical Zionist claims of exclusive ownership on the head and properly implement at least this part of the UN plan, in order to take some of the heat out of the situation.

There are many more truths that ought to be aired. But enough are mentioned here to send a simple and obvious message to Mr. Obama. End the occupation. Apply the law. Deliver justice. Stop helping to sustain Israeli oppression. It would not be tolerated anywhere else.

Ref. Palestine chronicle

– Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: http://www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.