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The ‘two-state solution’ is a distraction; the problem is Zionism

February 20, 2024 at 12:31 pm

Pro-Palestinian protesters in London, UK hold a banner and chant at a demonstration calling for an end to Israeli attacks on Gaza on 9 December 2023 [Andy Soloman/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images]

The problem in Palestine-Israel is not the absence of a Palestinian state, but Zionism. What is the use of a Palestinian state, if the racist, exclusivist ideology of Zionism continues to define Israel, and impose that definition on the Palestinians?

This ideology calls for the racial purity and dominance of Jews in Palestine, at the expense of the native inhabitants of the land, of course. To achieve this, millions of Palestinians have had to be forced into exile, and hundreds of thousands needed to be killed, wounded or incarcerated. Neither two states nor even one state is possible if Zionism is not entirely defeated: not revamped, not “fixed”, but eradicated.

As Palestinians are being killed in unprecedentedly large numbers in Gaza, western politicians are waking up to the necessity of a viable, independent Palestinian state. But why now? After all, it was these very politicians and their governments that either defended the Zionist state or remained silent as Israel thwarted every possibility of peaceful co-existence with the Palestinians. Theirs is not a moral awakening, but a distraction, to appear — at least before their own people — to be proactive, while Israel is systematically destroying the Palestinian people.

The Israeli war against the Palestinians in Gaza is “the first genocide in the history of humanity that is [being] livestreamed on television,” said former UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness. The genocide is worsening now that Palestinians are starting to die from starvation, while an even larger number are dying from disease and polluted water, aside, of course, from those being blown up or shot and killed by Israel.

For the likes of Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron to talk about the British government’s recognition of a Palestinian state as “absolutely vital” for “long-term peace” is bewildering, to say the least. Those struggling to survive daily are hardly concerned about yet more empty western promises and “recognition”.

The genocide underway in Gaza tells us that the issue is not merely political, but also ideological.

And, while western leaders speak of “long-term peace”, Israel entrenches its system of violence and apartheid. “There cannot be a situation in which children and women approach us from the wall,” said Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on 12 February. “Anyone… must receive a bullet.”

READ: Gaza women, girls being strip searched, raped by male Israel soldiers, UN warns

In Gaza, the violence is far more sickening. Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor reported on the same day that “groups of ten to twenty Israeli civilians at a time were permitted to watch and laugh while filming Palestinian prisoners and detainees in their underwear” as they were tortured and abused by Israeli soldiers.

There can be no rational political justification for any of this. All of it — the language of genocide, the genocide itself and the threats of committing a greater genocide — is rooted, not in a rational political theory, but in Zionism.

The problem keeps getting worse because we refuse to address it head-on. In fact, many are doing the exact opposite. For example, western governments have passed — or are passing — laws equating criticism of Zionism with anti-Semitism. Even Facebook wants to ban the use of the term “Zionist” if it is used in a context that is critical of Israel.

When Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu threatened, on 5 November, to drop a nuclear bomb on Gaza, he was condemned by many merely for his inappropriate language, not the act itself. Yes, some Israeli officials also criticised Eliyahu, but only for damaging Israel’s international reputation.

The Israeli minister, however, was not simply talking out of anger. He meant it, because Israel’s behaviour in Gaza since then has demonstrated that such willingness to kill Palestinians en masse actually exists. Zionists are ready to do anything for their ideology to survive, and that survival is wholly dependent on the erasure of the perceived enemy; not “erasure” in an intellectual, political or even cultural sense, but the actual physical destruction of the Palestinians.

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine, known as the 1948 Nakba, was a serious attempt at achieving that goal. But since the “enemy”, the Palestinian nation, survived and continues to resist and demand its collective rights, the ethnic cleansing of them is today back on the mainstream Israeli political agenda.

READ: Israel slams UN Court hearing on legality of occupation as ‘media circus’

This ongoing Gaza war is, to date, the most serious attempt to destroy the Palestinian people. This is why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right government want to carry on with the killing and destruction. They want to continue the slaughter, and thus the extermination of the Palestinians, because they are fully aware that this is a historic opportunity to finish the job that previous Zionist leaders did not complete 75 years ago.

Indeed, Israel perceives the ongoing offensive as going beyond the geographic confines of the tiny Gaza Strip. It is a war on Palestinians everywhere. If Israel succeeds in subduing Gaza, it will turn immediately to the West Bank, then to the 2.1 million Palestinians who are Israeli citizens.

It is important to recall that, before the current war, the Israeli incitement against Palestinians was focused mostly on the West Bank, with the declared aim of annexing over a third of that occupied region, at least. There was also a major official Israeli campaign to curtail the rights of Palestinian Arabs inside Israel and incite hatred against them. This campaign is rooted in history but has become far more apparent following the Unity Intifada (uprising) of May 2021.

It was then that Israel realized that the “division” of the Palestinians was largely political, and that, as a nation, they remain strongly connected. That is why Ben-Gvir lobbied, even before he was given a ministerial position in December 2022, to have a National Guard tasked with “restoring governance where needed”. If Gaza falls, all Palestinians in the rest of Palestine will become the new target for Israeli violence, ethnic cleansing and, if necessary, genocide.

Reducing all of these issues to that of finding creative political solutions that would merely sell false hopes to the Palestinian people is not only ignorant, or devious, but also a diversion from the real problem: Israel’s ideology of Zionism.

This, like all racist colonial ideologies, operates with a zero-tolerance approach to its relationship with the natives of colonised land: Zionism and Zionists must dominate through ethnic cleansing and genocide. For “long-term peace” to take place, this pernicious ideology must be consigned to the history books.

READ: Brazil recalls Ambassador to Israel in row over Lula’s Gaza comments

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.