USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Jonathan Cook: Israel’s Dark Future

Posted by uscsjp on February 7, 2007

Israeli tourists visit an abandoned army post from the 1967 war in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights 16 January 2007. (MaanImages/Moti Milrod)

When I published my book Blood and Religion last year, I sought not only to explain what lay behind Israeli policies since the failed Camp David negotiations nearly seven years ago, including the disengagement from Gaza and the building of a wall across the West Bank, but I also offered a few suggestions about where Israel might head next.

Making predictions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might be considered a particularly dangerous form of hubris, but I could hardly have guessed how soon my fears would be realized.

One of the main forecasts of my book was that Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line — those who currently enjoy Israeli citizenship and those who live as oppressed subjects of Israel’s occupation — would soon find common cause as Israel tries to seal itself off from what it calls the Palestinian “demographic threat”: that is, the moment when Palestinians outnumber Jews in the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

I suggested that Israel’s greatest fear was ruling over a majority of Palestinians and being compared to apartheid South Africa, a fate that has possibly befallen it faster than I expected with the recent publication of Jimmy Carter’s book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. To avoid such a comparison, I argued, Israel was creating a “Jewish fortress,” separating — at least demographically — from Palestinians in the occupied territories by sealing off Gaza through a disengagement of its settler population and by building a 750km wall to annex large areas of the West Bank.

It was also closing off the last remaining avenue of a Right of Return for Palestinians by changing the law to make it all but impossible for Palestinians living in Israel to marry Palestinians in the occupied territories and thereby gain them citizenship.

The corollary of this Jewish fortress, I suggested, would be a sham Palestinian state, a series of disconnected ghettos that would prevent Palestinians from organizing effective resistance, nonviolent or otherwise, but which would give the Israeli army an excuse to attack or invade whenever they chose, claiming that they were facing an “enemy state” in a conventional war.

Another benefit for Israel in imposing this arrangement would be that it could say all Palestinians who identified themselves as such – whether in the occupied territories or inside Israel – must now exercise their sovereign rights in the Palestinian state and renounce any claim on the Jewish state. The apartheid threat would be nullified. (continued…)

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