Peace, Peace, No Peace
As the long process of rebuilding Gaza ‘begins’ once again, it may often seems as though the Palestinian people are doomed to suffer an endless cycle of slaughter and impoverishment. Israeli Antizionist Author and member of Left Unity’s Communist Platform , Moshé Machover has a better grasp of the situation than most. We sent Communist Student’s Tom Munday to interview him:
With the recent July – August bombardment of the Gaza strip now brought to an end, and the announcement of a fresh land grab by Israel in the West Bank, what do you see as Israel’s strategy in relation to the Palestinian question?
On 11 July 2014, day four of the onslaught on Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his position clear at a press conference: he will “never, ever countenance a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank.” By the way: this is not just his position, but has been the consensus of all major Zionist parties – that is, every party that has ever led an Israeli government coalition – at least since the 1970s. But this time Netanyahu put it very bluntly and publicly in order to signal that this is more or less the end of the “peace process”, which was supposed to lead to a two-state “solution”. The same consensus is even more vehemently opposed to a single state in the whole of pre-1948 Palestine, if it means having a large Palestinian Arab population, of roughly the same size as the Hebrew (aka Israeli-Jewish) population, and likely to become a majority fairly soon. This is referred to in Zionist parlance as the “demographic peril”. Keeping the Palestinians in a single greater Israeli state without equal civil rights will not be sustainable in the long run. But granting them equal rights will mean the end of the Zionist project of a Jewish state. So the strategy is to keep the present situation as a holding operation, while looking for an opportunity to ethnically cleanse a large number of Palestinians. The end result – so they hope – will be a greater Israel with a “safe” Jewish majority. By the way, plans for major ethnic cleansing have been discussed in Israel for many years. See for example discussion of the so-called Sharon plan: Sunday Telegraph, 28 April 2002. Netanyahu himself is on record recommending something like this as long ago as 1989. I have also written on this subject on several occasions.
Is there any possibility of an outcome in the Israel-Palestine ‘conflict’ other than the absorption of the Palestinian territories into Israel? What do you think the main strategic focus ofthe far left should be?
The far left should help to mobilise public opinion world-wide, especially the labour movement, to try to prevent that outcome, which – as I have pointed out – will no doubt involve massive ethnic cleansing.
Above you have alluded to the real shortcomings of two-state and onestate “solutions”. As you know, this issue is hugely controversial in the solidarity movement today. In light of what you have said above, what’s your take?
This question cannot be answered briefly. I have addressed it in detail in a recent article in the Weekly Worker, to which I must refer you.
Much of the world’s focus, as far as the Middle East is concerned, is now fixed on the emergence of the ‘Islamic State’, what do you see as the main short-term consequences of this groups emergence and growth for the region?
I don’t have a crystal ball; I cannot predict even the short-term consequences of this relatively new formation. But, speculating in connection with what we have just been discussing, let me point out that a stampede of Palestinians from the West Bank across the river Jordan – as the Sharon plan envisages – would cause extreme destabilization to the Jordanian state. The present Hashemite regime is protected by the US, who will not allow Israel to destabilize it. This is at present a major obstacle to ethnic cleansing. However, if the Hashemite regime is overthrown or seriously destabilised by the Islamic State, then that particular obstacle would be removed …
What do you see as the as the general political trajectory of the region in the aftermath of the Arab Spring?
We are living in a period of reaction, not only in the Arab World, but globally. I cannot predict how long this may last. But eventually the gains and lessons of the Arab Spring, as well as of the popular movements in the West – which had the same basic cause and drive – will surely surface. The example of the 1848 Spring of [European] Nations is suggestive: it was followed by reaction, but its lessons were not lost.
The results of Western interventions in the Middle East since the 2003 have obviously fuelled this reaction and have been disastrous, even from the perspective of the intervening powers themselves; do you expect a change in the approach of the US and its allies in the region?
Who knows? In an unguarded moment the supreme commander of imperialism, Barack Obama, admitted that he had no strategy. But it is likely that a declining flailing imperialist power – with or without a strategy – will wreak havoc.
Numerous occupations in UK universities occurred in relation to the 2009 Israeli incursion into Gaza, do you believe there is a role to be played by students outside of the region in opposing the aggression of the Israeli state and promoting international solidarity?
Yes, an extremely important role. As I mentioned above, public opinion, especially the labour and student movements must mobilize to apply pressure on all governments not to allow Israel to continue perpetrating its atrocities with impunity.
What are your thoughts on the idea that the protest movements against the recent bombardment of Gaza were somehow anti-Semitic?
I concur with the statement issued by Jews for Justice for the Palestinians ,which rejects this slur, and further correctly states that: “Here in the UK, the main Jewish bodies, The Board of Deputies of British Jews and The Jewish Leadership Council, do not make any distinction between Israel and Jews and convey the false impression that the whole Jewish community spoke with one voice in support of Operation Protective Edge, with its gross violations of human rights. It is therefore not surprising that some supporters of the Palestinians also do not make this crucial distinction. British Jewish leaders, who callously disregard the devastation caused by the Israeli assault on Gaza, risk fanning the very rise in anti-Semitism about which they are complaining”. Our movement should be clear about the progressive, anti-racist, of our solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people. The oppressor is not “the Jews” but Zionist colonization and its Israeli settler state.
 Jerusalem Post, 19 November 1989.
 See, for example, my article “Netanyahu’s war wish”, WeeklyWorker, 9 February 2012,<http://tinyurl.com/phx6z53>.
 “Belling the cat”, WeeklyWorker 12 December 2013,<http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/990/palestineisraelbelling-the-cat/>