“Peace or Apartheid” are not the only options for Israel

The developing debate about Israel’s future offers two scenarios but there is a third which, apparently, should not be discussed in the open, in public. So let’s do just that.

Among the most recent contributors to what I’ll call the two-scenario debate was no less a figure than Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister. In a speech to the annual national security conference in Herzliya, and then again in the U.S., he warned that if Israel did not make peace with the Palestinians, it would become an “apartheid” state.

When former President Carter used the “A” word, initially in the title of his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, he was vilified by The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), one of Zionism’s most vicious institutional attack dogs in America. It said: “Using the incendiary word ‘apartheid’ to refer to Israel and its policies is unacceptable and shameful. Apartheid, that abhorrent and racist system in South Africa, has no bearing on Israeli policies. Not only are Israel’s policies not racist, but the situation in the territories does not arise from Israeli intentions to oppress or repress Palestinians, but is a product of Palestinian rejection of Israel and the use of terror and violence against the Jewish state.”

In the light of such an attack (no matter that it was laced with predictable Zionist propaganda nonsense), it has to be said that Barak was demonstrating a degree of political courage by apparently aligning himself with Carter’s take on the matter.

At the Herzliya conference there were many expressions of concern about the growing international criticism of Israel. Barak himself alluded to the danger that Israel might lose ¬≠legitimacy if a peace deal with the Palestinians was not forthcoming. He said, “The pendulum of legitimacy is going to move gradually towards the other pole.”

And his warning was in these words: “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.”

What Barak was saying in his own summary way has been obvious to Israel’s critics (including me) for many years. If it remains in occupation of the West Bank, Israel will have the choice of giving or not giving all Arabs under its control the vote.

Giving them all the vote is not an option because in time the Palestinian Arabs would out-number Israel’s Jews and vote the Zionist state out of existence.

But not giving all Arabs the vote is also not an option. Why? There’s far more to the answer than the simple statement that Israel would become an apartheid state. At a point such a state would be unacceptable to the world, governments as well as peoples including, probably, most Jews of the world. And the time would come when an apartheid Israel was formally declared by the international community to be a pariah state and subjected to sanctions as South Africa eventually was.

An apartheid Israel would then have the choice of ending its occupation and withdrawing to its borders as they were on the eve of the 1967 war, preferably with a provision for Jerusalem to become an open, undivided city and the capital of two states, one Israel, the other Palestine, or telling the whole world to go to hell. (In passing it’s worth noting that the real division in the Zionist state at leadership level was always been between those, the few represented by Moshe Sharret, who believed that what Gentiles think matters, and those, the many represented by Ben-Gurion, who believed that what Gentiles think doesn’t matter).

Rational consideration of the “peace or apartheid” options would demand the conclusion that in the best interests of all concerned, Israel should make peace on the basis of its withdrawal from all land grabbed in the 1967 war in return for a full and final peace with not only the Palestinians but the whole Arab and wider Muslim world. Such a peace is actually possible (though for how much longer is a good question) because despite Zionism’s assertions to the contrary, the truth is that Hamas could live with an Israel inside its pre-1967 borders and, more to the point, Hizbollah and Iran could and would accept whatever the Palestinians accepted.

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