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The Root Cause of the Never-Ending Conflict in Palestine; and How to Fix It

The Root Cause of the Never-Ending Conflict in Palestine; and How to Fix It

The Root
Cause of the Never-Ending Conflict in Palestine; and
How to Fix It

By a Dutch
Jewish WWII Survivor

"Anti-Zionism, in fact, is the
form that much of today's anti­-Semitism takes.
~ Alvin Rosenfeld
 August 08, 2014 "ICH"
- "
" -
view that Jews are a nation is the
primary belief underlying Zionism.
Other ideas too are inherent to
Zionism, but no useful purpose would
be served by discussing them all
here. The notion of Jewish
nationhood is a 19th-century
invention,2 and like many
other 19th-century inventions it is
taking a long time to unravel and
lay to rest. The following addresses
the question of how the damage
caused by the Zionist project might
be reduced, or even reversed, by
political means.

Zionism is a conceptual ideology in
which it is assumed that part or all
of the land of Palestine belongs to
"the Jews." Of course, we should all
be free to assume whatever we want,
but where such assumptions lead to

organized conquests, expulsions,
land dispossession
or the kind
of repetitive episodes of brutal
violence we have just seen in Gaza,
that is quite another matter.

Many words have been devoted to the
question of how to attain "peace"
between the Zionist colonists and
the people who were living in
Palestine prior to the Zionists'
arrival. This article is not about
that kind of peace. Defining grounds
on which to make peace within the
status quo is not my concern here.
What I have in mind is something far
more fundamental: the return of
Palestine, through political
inducements, to the people we have
come to call the Palestinians. It
behooves those who seek an end to
violence and a just peace to at
least remain open to my argument, as

By Palestinians, I mean all those
who inhabited this region in the
centuries during which it was under
Turkish rule (1517-1917). Some of
those people were Jewish. I include
these Jews among the Palestinians,
since they took no part in the
Zionist colonization of Palestine
from about 1890 onwards.

Palestine could be defined as the
entire region that the League of
Nations assigned to Great Britain by
mandate in 1923. This included
present-day Jordan, to the east of
the river Jordan. Here, however, I
am using Palestine to mean the
entire British mandate territory
with the exception of present-day
Jordan. For about the past hundred
years, this Palestine, excluding
Jordan, has been regarded as an
emigration destination for people
calling themselves "Zionists." These
are people originating from a large
number of countries where Jews have
lived and still live today. I regard
this emigration as unlawful, since
it was forced on the local
population by foreign powers. The
people who lived in this region did
not have any resources either to
repel this flow of emigrants or to
conclusively disprove the political
and ideological justifications that
were presented for it.

The 1917 Balfour
Declaration is regarded as one of
these justifications. However, no
one maintains that the then
government of Great Britain had any
authority to assign the land of
Palestine to anyone other than the
people who were living there.
Similarly, although the United
Nations assigned a portion of
Palestine to the immigrants in the
so-called Partition of Palestine in
1947, its own Charter stated that it
had no right to do so without
obtaining the consent of the mandate
territory's population.

Given their poor economic and
political development, the local
inhabitants of the British mandate
territory were unable to prevent the
Zionist immigration, although the
British could see that this
immigration was highly detrimental
to the local population's interests.

British attempts to stop the flow of
immigration were inadequate, if not
downright slapdash and lacking in
credibility.4 There are
no grounds on which to define the
immigration to Palestine, which the
British made feeble attempts to
curb, as a lawful enterprise. Nor
are there any grounds on which to
classify the Zionists -- who
established themselves in Palestine
against the will of the local
population -- as "inhabitants" in
the sense of the UN Charter. They
should be seen as squatters in a
house that was not empty. The
colonial powers that controlled the
primary financial and military
resources within the UN in 1947
enabled these squatters to move in
and subsequently helped them furnish
their new home.

In his voluminous, carefully
formulated book, A Just Zionism,
Chaim Gans sets out to demonstrate
that the Jews possess "historical
rights" to the land of Palestine.
Like many other commentators, I
disagree; his entire line of
argument is spurious. The
proposition that some Jews living
today are descendants of those who
lived in Palestine thousands of
years ago is at best a hypothesis.5
But even if a plausible case could
be made for this hypothesis, this
still does not provide any lawful
basis for the Zionist dispossession
of Palestine. Other "evidence" needs
to be provided to justify this act
of colonization.

Gans therefore supplements the
supposed "historical rights" by
asserting that "the horrendous scope
and nature of the persecution [of
Jews] in the 1930s and 1940s
provided justification for
establishing Jewish
self-determination in the Land of
Israel."6 He repeats this
argument in different ways in many
places, all of them coming down to
his conclusion that the Jews, like
the original inhabitants, have
rights, and must "therefore" share
the land. This argument has all the
logic of a criminal invoking the
horrendous abuse he has suffered in
childhood and the murder of all his
siblings to explain why his crime is
not in fact a crime at all.

This line of argument, the standard
turn of phrase for those who are
supposedly proposing a way out of
this conflict, still has many
supporters in Israel, in the United
States, and in Europe. It is sheer
obfuscation, however, and the
twisted reasoning at its heart
contains the origin of the conflict:
a piece of land is given illegally
to immigrants, after which this act
is justified by advancing
opportunistic arguments cast in a
religious and historical mold, while
carefully avoiding the proper
description. What happened in
Palestine, of course, was classical
Western colonialism that can sustain
itself only by dint of its superior
military or economic resources and
by enforced occupation.

However you look at
it, the immigrants who went to
Palestine from about 1890 onwards,
or after the completely unlawful
"partitioning" by the UN in 1947,
are just that: immigrants. They
descended on a mandate territory
against the express wishes of the
population and against the rules of
international law as set down in the
UN Charter. The population of
Palestine and their leaders tried to
put up some sort of resistance, with
the primitive means at their
disposal, but were defeated by the
immigrants' superior financial and
military organization, derived from
the West.

This superior strength does not
create legitimacy, however. All
colonialism was achieved by virtue
of vastly superior military and
economic strength compared to those
who were colonized. Not until
colonies armed and organized
themselves were they able to throw
off the occupying forces. Examples
include Vietnam, Indonesia, India,
and Algeria. Where no such
liberation was achieved, in
Palestine, South America, Australia,
and the United States, the
indigenous people live in dire

But Palestine is a special case,
because it was colonized far later
than these other examples -- it was
colonized, in fact, during a period
of general decolonization. It became
a colonial state in a postwar period
in which the UN had been founded
precisely to halt colonialism and
illegal conquests! It is one of the
later, dramatic convulsions of
Western conquest colonialism. It is
time to call a spade a spade:
Israel, as a colony, is a constant
source of violence and conflict. It
is not an ex-colony, nor is it an
accepted part of the world for many.
It is a territory in the Middle East
under Western occupation, which
possesses no political legitimacy
now, nor can it ever acquire such
legitimacy in the future because it
has no raison d'être and
cannot create one.

Instead, Israel's
policy has always been to create
faits accomplis
, conquests that
have been consolidated with the aid
of its constituent Western states in
Europe and North America. To date,
this policy has never been
effectively challenged, and so it
continues in the same vein. Israel
can carry on creating more and more
faits accomplis,
perpetuating its status as an
ever-expanding occupation with
vastly superior military strength.
But if it loses the West's support,
it will no longer have the means to
defend itself, having nothing that
could preserve its existence, nor
the raw materials to sustain itself.
It could use atomic weapons, but
this does not in any sense bolster
the legitimacy of the Western

The way out

What I propose here is that the flow
of millions of Zionists to Palestine
be reversed. That the Zionists who
emigrated to Israel should be
offered a peaceful and generously
compensated return to where they
came from or the choice of any other
destination. And that the
descendants of emigrants who were
born in Israel be invited to return
to the countries of their
parents/grandparents, or to go
somewhere else as they choose.

In a well-crafted UN plan to
decolonize Israel and reconstruct
Palestine, the injustices that
befell the Palestinians should
not be repeated
. Hundreds of
thousands of Palestinians were
driven from their homes and lands,
never receiving a penny in
compensation for the immense damage
inflicted on them by the Zionist
project. This is not the example to
follow. So my proposal does not
involve "deporting" Israelis from
Israel, but giving them
opportunities to build far better
lives elsewhere which over time
would unwind the Zionist project.
Let me repeat: the example set by
the Zionists in 1948 should not be
followed. Must never be followed!
The goal should be to achieve a
peaceful movement of people to
restore the pre-colonization status.
Compensation should (finally) be
paid to the native Palestinians, and
also to all Zionists who consent to
a peaceful emigration from the
conquered lands.

This compensation should be paid
from a fund to be set up and
administered by the UN, the money
for which should be largely
contributed by the countries that
helped to partition Palestine in
1947: that is, the USA, Europe and
Russia. These same countries would
have to allow all those who took the
Palestinian lands away to enter
their territories as legal
immigrants. Of course, other UN
members could also offer to take
certain numbers of Zionist

Supplying extremely generous
compensation in exchange for
emigration would also save a great
deal of money, in comparison to
continuing the demographic and
military occupation of Palestine.
This proposal for compensation is
similar to the one put forward by
the Likud politician Moshe Feiglin
(see note 11), who drafted it in
relation to the Palestinians. In his
view, it would be better to give the
Palestinians money to leave than to
have to spend vast sums on money on
security all the time. As he

in 2013:

"The State of Israel is paying
10 per cent of its Gross
Domestic Product every year for
the two-state solution and the
Oslo Accords. Israel is paying
for separation fences, iron
domes and a guard at each coffee
shop. Soon we will have to place
iron domes at each school in Tel
Aviv. With this budget we can
give every Palestinian family in
the West Bank $500,000 to
encourage migration to a place
with a better future. Western
nations are declining due to low
birth rates, so they will surely
be accepted into the West."

Within the view of Israel as a
legitimate state, a view I oppose
here, there has always been room for
Palestinian aspirations for "their
own piece of Palestine." The
argument goes that if Israel were to
foster the creation of a so-called
Palestinian state, it would acquire
solid foundations with the status of
one of the rightful claimants, and
could make "peace" with the original
population. But within my own view
of Israel as a colony,
"partitioning" and peace are both
meaningless. Israel, as a colony,
cannot continue to exist, and it
cannot, therefore, "share" its
continued existence with a
Palestine. The Palestinians have the
right to be completely liberated
from the occupying colonialists, and
these colonialists have somewhere to
go: namely, wherever they came from
or any other destination they
prefer. This is a luxury that the
Palestinians did not have in 1948.

New, non-violent thinking about
Palestine, in terms of rewards,
compensation and "Palestinian
emancipation," is essential if the
arms race and escalating spiral of
military force is to be halted. In
Palestine, the population who had
lived there for a thousand years was
driven out to make room for the
Zionists. This dramatic act of
expulsion is maintained by the use
of military oppression, which is
both violent and highly unjust.
There is no end in sight to this
violence, since the Israelis have
reaped major benefits from it over
the years, in the form of land and
political domination. But if the
world were to adopt a different
strategy, namely that of ending the
deportation and military subjection
of the Palestinians, this would be a
good step in the direction of
reversing the single most fatal
mistake of post-war Western

In addition, we should make Israel's
economic life extremely difficult,
as in the case of South Africa not
so long ago. That such measures
would greatly alter the political,
moral and economic position of
Israel will be obvious. A date
should be set (for instance, 12 or
15 years after the start of the
compensation program) on which the
Palestinians will be given full
authority over their entire
territory. An authority that they
should have been given on the basis
of the UN Charter following the end
of the British Mandate on May 14,
1948. Zionists who want to remain in
Palestine could be offered the
choice of doing so, but it would be
up to the Palestinians to decide
whether to grant this option. These
ex-colonialists would not have any
separate privileges, roads, laws,
protection or enclaves. Within the
Palestinian State, they would be
subject to a different legal system
than they are now.

An unblinkered approach to Palestine

Almost all critics of
Israel's policies allow themselves
to get hopelessly bogged down in a
debate about the best status to aim
for in the development of the
conflict. For Israel, this debate is
valuable as a perpetual vaudeville
show, a show of trained animals
performed far away but of enormous
relevance in propaganda terms.

A great many of these trained
animals defend the most desirable
scenario, in which Israel makes
"peace" with the Palestinians, who
will have "their own State." This
would of course require the
Palestinians to accept the
lawfulness of their expulsion. In
this fantasy future, the Zionists
and the Palestinians will live
separate lives, each inhabiting
their own piece of Palestine. Israel
has sustained this fantasy ever
since its earliest beginnings. The
only problem is that there has at no
time been a leader, or the right
moment, or sufficiently resigned
acceptance of the fait accompli,
to offer or achieve that peace. In a
situation where the Zionists set all
the rules of the game, no such
"peace" can ever be achieved.

Instead, the colonization process
has continued to expand since 1948,
and Israel's laws make it clear that
the Palestinians are not only
militarily incapacitated but have
also been stripped of all their
legal rights. Palestinian opposition
to Israel's policy of
"ever-expanding occupation" is
exploited to serve as further
justification for prolonging this
policy. In the tiny, unlivable and
socio-economically devastated part
of Palestine that now remains,
people are enclosed in a territory
under despotic and often lethal
military administration, hemmed in
by walls, fortified settlements, and
road blocks. It astonishes me that
many people continue to believe, in
spite of all this, that the Zionists
will "make peace" with the original
inhabitants. Under the banner of
this utopian pipe dream, all Israel
had to do, to become what it is
today, was to endlessly postpone
this phantom "peace." Israel has
become so large and powerful that
people now dare to say out loud what
used to be clear only to its
strongest critics: the colonists
seek to rid the whole of Palestine
of Palestinians, thereby fulfilling
the ideological -- and racist --
essence of Zionism.10,11

The so-called "one -state solution"
is also based on a utopian vision,
in which the impoverished
Palestinians will acquire, by some
miraculous means, the same rights as
the colonists. How anyone can
believe in the one-state solution is
incomprehensible to me. No colonial
power has ever relinquished its
domination without a massive
struggle. Could such a struggle
succeed in Palestine? Could the
Palestinians ever acquire enough
people, weapons and allies to make
this a realistic possibility? Of
course not. The one-state solution
is a deluded fantasy.

The same applies to the "two-state
solution." As long as the Zionists
are left in charge they will never
share the country; it was given to
them and to them alone, by God and
the atom bomb. They have used the
past sixty years to make this
crystal-clear. This leaves only one
realistic solution: the complete
dissolution of the colony, and the
ending of the expulsions and land
dispossession that was initiated in
1948. The only way to achieve this
is by offering incentives for
current and later generations of
Zionists to resettle elsewhere,
while removing the Western
foundations of that colonization:
the military, ideological, and
economic support that sustains it.

This vantage point has the effect of
redefining criticism of Israel:
instead of criticism aimed at
Israeli policies, it becomes
primarily criticism of the inhumane
policy pursued by the West. An
"improved" Israel is a contradiction
in terms. We must have the courage
to finally end the Second World War,
and to dismantle Israel in a
sensible way.

Editor's note: The author is a
retired sociologist from the
University of Amsterdam and a
Jewish-Dutch World War II survivor.
He does not consider the latter
relevant to his view on this topic,
but we found it pertinent to

Translated from the Dutch by
Beverley Jackson, July 23, 2014.


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