Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Israeli Racial Supremacism Reunifying the Palestinian
By Jonathan Cook
Redress, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, November 15, 2010
Jonathan Cook explains
how the Israeli racial supremacists’ insistence on a Jews-only state could
backfire by uniting Palestinians inside Israel, the occupied territories and
the Diaspora behind "one binational, democratic state for all Palestinians
and Jews in historic Palestine".
Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's
prime minister, is in the United States this week, but few observers expect
an immediate or significant breakthrough in the stalled peace talks with the
In public, Mr Netanyahu maintains he is
committed to the pledge he made last year, shortly after he formed his
right-wing government, to work towards the creation of a demilitarized
But so far he has proved either unwilling or
unable to renew even a partial freeze on Jewish settlement building in the
West Bank -- a key condition set by Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the
Palestinian National Authority (PNA), for reviving the negotiations.
Most of Mr Netanyahu's cabinet, including
Avigdor Lieberman, his foreign minister, barely conceal their opposition
to Palestinian statehood. Instead, Mr Netanyahu has imposed a precondition
of his own: that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the
A leading analyst of Palestinian politics says the
picture is not as bleak for the Palestinians as it might appear.
“In clinging to a vision of Greater Israel, Mr Netanyahu
and the right are fuelling a potentially powerful
Palestinian nationalism that could yet come to crush not
only the occupation but Israel's status as a Jewish state…”
Asad Ghanem, a professor of political science at Haifa University,
predicts Mr Netanyahu and his cabinet will eventually come to rue their
The intransigence and the unabashed espousal of "an ideology of Jewish
supremacy" by Mr Netanyahu and his supporters will lead to the gradual
"reunification" of the Palestinian people, Dr Ghanem said in an interview.
In clinging to a vision of Greater Israel, Mr Netanyahu and the right
are fuelling a potentially powerful Palestinian nationalism that could yet
come to crush not only the occupation but Israel's status as a Jewish state,
said Dr Ghanem, the author of several books on Palestinian nationalism.
Dr Ghanem, who belongs to Israel's Palestinian minority, a fifth of the
country's population, noted that the original goal of Israel's founders was
to use a sophisticated version of divide-and-rule to weaken an emerging
Palestinian national movement that opposed Zionism.
The war of 1948
that created Israel led to the first and most significant division: between
the minority of Palestinians who remained inside the new territory of Israel
and the refugees forced outside its borders, who today are numbered in
Since 1967, Israel has fostered many further splits:
between the cities and rural areas; between the West Bank and Gaza; between
East Jerusalem and the West Bank; between the main rival political
movements, Fatah and Hamas; and between the PNA leadership and the diaspora.
Israel's guiding principle has been to engender discord between
Palestinians by putting the interests of each group into conflict, said Dr
Ghanem. "A feuding Palestinian nation was never likely to be in a position
to run its own affairs."
He is dismissive of plans by Mr Abbas and
his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, to try to revive the Oslo process by
bypassing Israel and seeking the international community's blessing for the
establishment of a Palestinian state next summer.
leaders who have pursued statehood, Dr Ghanem added, have done so on terms
dictated by Israel.
First the rights of the refugees to be
considered part of the Palestinian nation were sacrificed, then those of the
Palestinians inside Israel. Next parts of East Jerusalem and all of Gaza
were excluded. And now finally, he said, even significant parts of the West
Bank were almost certain to be counted outside a future Palestinian state.
"The core of the negotiations for Abbas is about ending the occupation,
but he has progressively conceded to Israel its very narrow definition of
what constitutes occupied land. The rights of the refugees and other
Palestinians to be included in the Palestinian nation now exist chiefly at
the level of rhetoric."
The Israeli right's insistence on
Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state would accelerate the
unravelling of Israel's long-term policy of fragmenting the Palestinian
"All Palestinians are affected by such a demand, not just
those living inside Israel. The Palestinian national movement accepted
Israel as a state decades ago but Netanyahu is not satisfied by that.
“…when Palestinians come to realize that they would never
be offered more than a ‘crippled state’ by Israel, the new
paradigm would become ‘one binational, democratic state for
all Palestinians and Jews in historic Palestine’.”
"He wants to reopen the 1948 file," Dr Ghanem said, referring to the war
that established Israel by expelling and dispossessing 80 per cent of the
Palestinian people. "He is provoking the Palestinian national movement to
reassess the accepted two-state model for ending the conflict."
As fewer and fewer Palestinians cling to the belief that Israel
will ever agree to partition the territory, the physical and ideological
barriers between the Palestinian sub-groups are starting to crumble, he
A version of this article originally appeared in
published in Abu Dhabi. The Redress version is published by permission
of Jonathan Cook.
The separate struggles of the Palestinians -- for civil rights
among Israel's Palestinian minority; for national liberation by those in the
occupied territories; and for the right of return among the diaspora -- were
being superseded by "a common fight against the reality of an ethnic
Dr Ghanem added that, when Palestinians come to realize
that they would never be offered more than a "crippled state" by Israel, the
new paradigm would become "one binational, democratic state for all
Palestinians and Jews in historic Palestine".
Palestinian factions would eventually merge their political platforms. The
civil rights movement rapidly emerging among Palestinians inside Israel
would then serve to complement the fledgling anti-apartheid struggle in the
Palestinians in Israel and the occupied
territories, as well as the millions of refugees, said Dr Ghanem, would one
day come to thank Mr Netanyahu for bringing them together.