Posts Tagged ‘Greater Israel’

Mearsheimer: Israel’s fated bleak future as an apartheid state

May 10, 2010

By John J. Mearsheimer, Chicago Tribune, May 9, 2010

President Barack Obama has finally coaxed Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. He and most Americans hope that the talks will lead to the creation of a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank. Regrettably, that is not going to happen. Instead, those territories are almost certain to be incorporated into a “Greater Israel,” which will then be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa.

Continues >>

The Future of Palestine

May 3, 2010
By John J. Mearsheimer, Al Jazeera, April 30, 2010
US professor says that Gaza and the West Bank will be incorporated into a ‘Greater Israel,’ which will be an Apartheid state similar to white-ruled South Africa [Getty]

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).

The full text is available on The Jerusalem Fund’s website at this link.

This except was made available courtesy of The Palestine Center.

Threatening Iran

July 20, 2009

By Paul Craig Roberts | Counterpunch, July 20,  2009

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Japan did not spend years preparing her public case and demonstrating her deployment of forces for the attack.  Japan did not make a world issue out of her view that the US was denying Japan her role in the Pacific by hindering Japan’s access to raw materials and energy.

Similarly, when Hitler attacked Russia, he did not preface his invasion with endless threats and a public case that blamed the war on England.

These events happened before the PSYOPS era.  Today, America and Israel’s wars of aggression are preceded by years of propaganda and international meetings, so that by the time the attack comes it is an expected event, not a monstrous surprise attack with its connotation of naked aggression.

The US, which has been threatening Iran with attack for years, has passed the job to Israel.  During the third week of July, the American vice president and secretary of state gave Israel the go-ahead.  Israel has made great public disclosure of its warships passing through the Suez Canal on their way to Iran.  “Muslim” Egypt is complicit, offering no objection to Israel’s naval forces on their way to a war crime under the Nuremberg standard that the US imposed on the world.

By the time the attack occurs, it will be old hat, an expected event, and, moreover, an event justified by years of propaganda asserting Iran’s perfidy.

Israel intends to dominate the Middle East.  Israel’s goal is to incorporate all of Palestine and southern Lebanon into “Greater Israel.”  The US intends to dominate the entire world, deciding who rules which countries and controlling resource flows.

The US and Israel are likely to succeed, because they have effective PSYOPS. For the most part, the world media follows the US media, which follows the US and Israeli governments’ lines.  Indeed, the American media is part of the PSYOPS of both countries.

According to Thierry Meyssan in the Swiss newspaper Zeit-Fragen, the CIA used SMS or text messaging and Twitter to spread disinformation about the Iranian election, including the false report that the Guardian Council had informed Mousavi that he had won the election.  When the real results were announced, Ahmadinejad’s reelection appeared to be fraudulent.

Iran’s fate awaits it.  A reasonable hypothesis to be entertained and examined is whether Iran’s Rafsanjani and Mousavi are in league with Washington to gain power in Iran. Both have lost out in the competition for government power in Iran.  Yet, both are egotistical and ambitious.  The Iranian Revolution of 1979 probably means nothing to them except an opportunity for personal power.  The way the West has always controlled the Middle East is by purchasing the politicians who are out of power and backing them in overthrowing the independent government.  We see this today in Sudan as well.

In the case of Iran, there is an additional factor that might align Rafsanjani with Washington. President Ahmadienijad attacked former President Rafsanjani, one of Iran’s most wealthy persons, as corrupt.  If Rafsanjani feels threatened by this attack, he has little choice but to try to overthrow the existing government.  This makes him the perfect person for Washington.

Perhaps there is a better explanation why Rafsanjani and Mousavi, two highly placed members of the Iranian elite, chose to persist in allegations of election fraud that have played into Washington’s hands by calling into question the legitimacy of the Iranian government. It cannot be that the office of president is worth such costs as the Iranian presidency is not endowed with decisive powers.

Without Rafsanjani and Mousavi, the US media could not have orchestrated the Iranian elections as “stolen,” an orchestration that the US government used to further isolate and discredit the Iranian government, making it easier for Iran to be attacked. Normally, well placed members of an elite do not help foreign enemies set their country up for attack.

An Israeli attack on Iran is likely to produce retaliation, which Washington will use to enter the conflict. Have the personal ambitions of Rafsanjani and Mousavi, and the naive youthful upper class Iranian protesters, set Iran up for destruction?

Consult a map and you will see that Iran is surrounded by a dozen countries that host US military bases. Why does anyone in Iran doubt that Iran is on her way to becoming another Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, in the end to be ruled by oil companies and an American puppet?

The Russians and Chinese are off balance because of successful American interventions in their spheres of influence, uncertain of the threat and the response. Russia could have prevented the coming attack on Iran, but, pressured by Washington,  Russia has not delivered the missile systems that Iran purchased.  China suffers from her own hubris as a rising economic power, and is about to lose her energy investments in Iran to US/Israeli aggression. China is funding America’s wars of aggression with loans, and  Russia is even helping the US to set up a puppet state in Afghanistan, thus opening up former Soviet central Asia to US hegemony.

The world is so impotent that even the bankrupt US can launch a new war of aggression and have it accepted as a glorious act of liberation in behalf of women’s rights, peace, and democracy.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com


What do we do if the “two-state” solution collapses?

February 11, 2009

Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy

Tue, 02/10/2009 – 4:50pm

Lots of smart people have been focusing on the Israeli elections and trying to make sense of their immediate implications for the peace process. I can’t improve on the analyses provided by Glenn Greenwald, Yossi Alpher, Bernard Avishai, or Uri Avnery, who explain why there is little reason to be optimistic and many reasons to be worried.

I want to focus on a different issue, which is likely to be more important in the long run.

It’s this: What do we do if a “two-state solution” becomes impossible?

During the past 10 years, the “two-state solution” has been the mantra of most moderates involved in the seemingly intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni say they want it, and so does Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The 2007 Arab League peace plan envisions two states living side by side, and George W. Bush and Condi Rice repeatedly said that a two-state solution was their goal too (although they did precious little to achieve it). Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton all say they are going to push hard for it now. I might add that the two-state solution is also my preferred option.

Interestingly, this moderate consensus in favor of two states is itself a fairly new development. The 1993 Oslo Accords do not talk explicitly about a Palestinian state, and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who signed the agreement, never endorsed the idea of a Palestinian state in public. And when First Lady Hillary Clinton spoke about the need for a Palestinian state back in 1998, she was roundly criticized, and the White House promptly distanced itself from her remarks. In fact, Bill Clinton didn’t endorse the idea of a Palestinian state until his last month in office. The mainstream “consensus” behind this solution is in fact a relatively recent creation.

Today, invoking the “two-state” mantra allows moderates to sound reasonable and true to the ideals of democracy and self-determination; but it doesn’t force them to actually do anything to bring that goal about. Indeed, defending the two-state solution has become a recipe for inaction, a fig leaf that leaders can utter at press conferences while ignoring the expanding settlements and road networks on the West Bank that are rendering it impossible. Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is a perfect illustration: He has lately become an eloquent voice in favor of two states, warning of the perils that Israel will face if the two-state option is not adopted. Yet his own government continued to expand the settlements and undermine Palestinian moderates, thereby putting the solution Olmert supposedly favors further away than ever, and maybe even making it unworkable.

There are two trends at play that threaten to undermine the two-state option. The first is the continued expansion of Israel settlements in the land that is supposed to be reserved for the Palestinians. There are now about 290,000 settlers living in the West Bank. There are another 185,000 settlers in East Jerusalem. Most of the settlers are subsidized directly or indirectly by the Israeli government. It is increasingly hard to imagine Israel evicting nearly half a million people (about 7 percent of its population) from their homes. Although in theory one can imagine a peace deal that keeps most of the settlers within Israel’s final borders (with the new Palestinian state receiving land of equal value as compensation), at some point the settlers’ efforts to “create facts” will make it practically impossible to establish a viable Palestinian state.

The second trend is the growing extremism on both sides. Time is running out on a two-state solution, and its main opponents — the Likud Party and its allies in Israel, and Hamas among the Palestinians — are becoming more popular. The rising popularity of Avigdor Lieberman’s overtly racist Yisrael Beiteinu party is ample evidence of this trend. And it’s not as though Kadima or Labor have been pushing hard to bring it about. According to Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times:

The result is that the next Israeli government, left to its own devices, is likely to opt for the status quo with the Palestinians – continued occupation of the West Bank, desultory peace talks, steadily expanding settlements and military force in response to Palestinian rockets or bombs. The long-term pursuit of a two-state solution will be brushed aside, with the argument that the Palestinians are too divided and dangerous to be negotiating partners.”

One does not need to look far down the road to see the point where a two-state solution will no longer be a practical possibility. What will the United States do then? What will American policy be when it makes no sense to talk about a two-state solution, because Israel effectively controls all of what we used to call Mandate Palestine? What vision will President Obama and Secretary Clinton have for the Palestinians and for Israel when they can no longer invoke the two-state mantra?

There are only three alternative options at that point. First, Israel could drive most or all of the 2.5 million Palestinians out of the West Bank by force, thereby preserving “greater Israel” as a Jewish state through an overt act of ethnic cleansing. The Palestinians would surely resist, and it would be a crime against humanity, conducted in full view of a horrified world. No American government could support such a step, and no true friend of Israel could endorse that solution.

Second, Israel could retain control of the West Bank but allow the Palestinians limited autonomy in a set of disconnected enclaves, while it controlled access in and out, their water supplies, and the airspace above them. This appears to have been Ariel Sharon’s strategy before he was incapacitated, and Bibi Netanyahu’s proposal for “economic peace” without a Palestinian state seems to envision a similar outcome. In short, the Palestinians would not get a viable state of their own and would not enjoy full political rights. This is the solution that many people — including Prime Minister Olmert — compare to the apartheid regime in South Africa. It is hard to imagine the United States supporting this outcome over the long term, and Olmert has said as much. Denying the Palestinians’ their own national aspirations is also not going to end the conflict.

Which brings me to the third option. The Israeli government could maintain its physical control over “greater Israel” and grant the Palestinians full democratic rights within this territory. This option has been proposed by a handful of Israeli Jews and a growing number of Palestinians. But there are formidable objections to this outcome: It would mean abandoning the Zionist dream of an independent Jewish state, and binational states of this sort do not have an encouraging track record, especially when the two parties have waged a bitter conflict across several generations. This is why I prefer the two-state alternative.

But if a two-state option is no longer feasible, it seems likely that the United States would come to favor this third choice. After all, supporting option 2 — an apartheid state — is contrary to the core American values of freedom and democracy and would make the United States look especially hypocritical whenever it tried to present itself as a model for the rest of the world. Openly endorsing apartheid would also demolish any hope we might have of improving our image in the Arab and Islamic world. Lord knows I have plenty of respect for the Israel lobby’s ability to shape U.S. foreign policy, but even AIPAC and the other heavyweight institutions in the lobby would have great difficulty maintaining the “special relationship” if Israel was an apartheid state. By contrast, option 3 — a binational state that provided full democratic rights for citizens of all ethnic and religious backgrounds — is easy to reconcile with America’s own “melting pot” traditions and liberal political values. American politicians would find it a hard option to argue against.

Bottom line: If the two-state solution dies, as seems increasingly likely, the United States is going to face a very awkward set of choices. That’s one reason why Obama and his team — as well as Israel’s friends in the United States — should move beyond paying lip-service to the idea of creating a Palestinian state and actually do something about it. But it’s hard to be optimistic that they will.

And while I’m at it, here’s one more heretical thought. Shouldn’t someone in the U.S. government start thinking about what our policy should be in the event that the two-state solution collapses? Starting to contemplate this possibility is risky, of course, because it might undermine our efforts to create two states if it became known that we were beginning to plan for an alternative future. But the fact is that we may face that future before too much longer. If so, then it might be a good idea if somebody began thinking about how to deal with it now, so that we don’t have to invent a new approach on the fly.

Lieberman was a member of the Kach Terrorist Group

February 6, 2009
author Wednesday February 04, 2009 03:11author by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies Report this post to the editors
Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported Tuesday that Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Betinu Party and a current candidate for Prime Minister in the upcoming elections, was a member of the Kach terrorist group which is outlawed by Israel.

Image source - Knesset website
Image source – Knesset website

Yossi Dayan, secretary-general of the movement, said that when Lieberman first immigrated into Israel, he joined the movement, and Dayan himself was the person who issued his membership ID card.

At the time, Lieberman emigrated from Moldovia, and became an active member in the movement.

Dayan added that he is willing to testify in front of any committee to confirm his statements, and added that Lieberman was a Kach member for a short period.

Also, Ultra-nationalist activist, Avigdor Eskin, said that he met Lieberman several times at the movement’s office in Jerusalem, Haaretz reported.

Eskin described Lieberman as a nice man, and that he was only a “Kach member in his ideology that hates Arabs”.

He added that Lieberman was active in the movement for several months, adding that part of his activities included distributing statements and leaflets for the movement at the Jerusalem University.

Kach members refuse statements that attempt to place resemblance between Lieberman and the former leader of the terrorist movement, Me’er Kahane, who immigrated to Israel from the United States.

The Kach movement is a group that believes in greater Israel, expelling all Arabs from the area and using violence to achieve these goals. It was formed in 1971 by Me’er Kahana, shortly after he immigrated to Palestine. He was assassinated in the United States in 1990.

When the movement was established, it set its goal to have a Jewish state in both banks of the Jordan River, which means taking over Jordan and Palestine.

The Kach movement participated in the 1984 elections in Israel and won one seat; in 1988 the movement was barred from participating in the elections for its racist ideology and was officially declared a terrorist movement in 1994.

After Kahane was killed, the Kach movement was divided, and Zeev Kahane formed the Kahane Hai (Kahane is alive) movement after rifts erupted on who should lead the movement.

Lieberman is well known for his ideas and speeches against Arabs and Palestinians. He considers them as demographical threat to the state of Israel and has always called for the massive expulsion of all Arabs and Palestinians from “Greater Israel”.


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