Only bantustans will realise the Greater Israel ambition

June 1, 2012
Sarah Benton

Bantustans in South Africa and Israel

Israel is Defeating Itself
PNN reporter Jonny Rafferty argues that the policies being currently pursued by Israel in the West Bank can only lead to its eventual demise as a Jewish state

Johnny Rafferty, PNN

Netanyahu’s government has been quite open in its hostility towards the possibility of a Palestinian state. But if there is no two- state solution then, we seem to be left with a one state Greater Israel that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea and includes the West Bank. Indeed the prevalence of settlements, military bases, checkpoints and Israeli-only roads in the West Bank means that a Palestinian state is fast becoming a pipe dream – assuming we haven’t passed that point already.

The evidence seems to suggest that a Greater Israel is the goal of the current Israeli government, but such an outcome would eventually spell the end of Israel as a Jewish state, which is something that Netanyahu and co value as much as control of the land.

The current policies being pursued by Israel are moving the situation towards a one (Jewish Israeli) state solution by forcing Palestinians either leave the country or move to the densely populated cities which are under Palestinian Authority control.

This policy is being carried out by making it almost impossible for Palestinians to live outside the big cities. The separation wall often cuts off villages from their own farmland and from access to other Palestinian communities while Israeli control of the water supply and Palestinians’ movements makes it extremely difficult for Palestinians to make a living.

Israel is often accused of being an apartheid state due to how Palestinians are treated as second class citizens compared to Israelis. Currently – and as long as there is the chance of a Palestinian state, however slim – the Israeli government can deny that is an apartheid state as there are two different national systems at work.

But if the dream of Greater Israel becomes a reality, the dream of Palestinian statehood is finally extinguished and almost all the remaining Palestinian population is confined to a few autonomous but powerless Bantustans, how can the apartheid nature of the Israeli regime be denied?

Under a Greater Israel, Palestinians would truly be second class citizens. They would live in the same state as Israelis, but not have the same rights. They would not have the freedom of movement, right to vote or the same legal protections that Israel would give to full citizens.

If this were to happen there is surely no way that Israel’s main benefactor – the United States – could continue to support Israel to the tune of the billions of dollars of military aid it provides every year.

The removal of support would not be to do with the moral character of American foreign policy, which as we have all seen in recent years, does not exist. But it would be due to the fact that of Jewish Americans – who cause American support for Israel through their extensive lobbying – would no longer be able to give their support to such an obviously morally bankrupt enterprise such as Israel.

The majority of American Jews are secular people who value liberal principles and democracy. And with anti-Semitism now extremely rare in America, the need for a Jewish state to protect Jews from anti-Semitism will become less obvious.

At this point a two state solution will not be viable as Israeli control of Palestine will be complete. The clear alternative (which does not mean it will happen) would be a one state solution where a secular democratic state looks after the interests of all its citizens and treats them all equally. Such a state would mean the end of the road for the Zionist dream of a Jewish state.

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