The war after

Two state flagThe elections in Israel make us certain of the victory of the Israeli racial state. Livni, Netanyahu or Lieberman – the result is the same even though one speaks about ‘dialogue’ towards a ‘two state solution’, one speaks of ‘no dialogue’ and one speaks of conditioning citizenship on an oath of loyalty… In a sense, I agree with Gideon Levi who wrote in Haaretz a couple of weeks ago ‘Let Netanyahu win’, arguing that only with an extreme right-wing government will the world understand Israel’s trajectory towards a ‘final solution’ to the Palestinian question – more land, fewer Arabs – and will start to put real pressure on Israel military regime. Only with a governmetn intent on no surrender, might the Un ited States (although I am not holding my breath) close the military aid tap. Only then might Israel be forced to recognise that the time for a two-state solution has long gone. As David Theo Goldberg writes: ‘Debates, such as they are, about a two-state solution are a distraction. Israel has given no indication beyond soft rhetoric that it has any intention (ever?) of enabling a viable, sovereign, economically and politically independent Palestinian state, centered either in the West Bank or Gaza, hostile or peaceful. Landlocked, the West Bank would have to depend either on foreign countries (including Israel) or on an increasingly distant Gaza for its lifeline to a world beyond Israeli constraint. The legacy of relying on foreign countries, of course, is one of dependence and economic control, not self-determination and political viability’ (‘Final death blow to the two-state solution?’
Goldberg was writing this on 5 January, long before the end of the Gaza war, long before the world learnt about the degree of devastation. Yet in Israel, the majority supported and still supports the massacre – hence the lack of serious political debate and the victory of the right / centre right, all of which declared a ‘victory’ over Hamas as the people of Gaza continue to lick their wounds.

For me, the lesson of that war, and these elections,as I said at the start, is the victory of the Israeli racial state. No longer is it a problem of merely ‘the occupation’ despite the insistence by some post-structuralist theorists (see Ariella Azoulai and Adi Ophir’s The Occupation that Isn’t One) that we have two regimes here, one in ‘Israel proper’, which they, like so many people on the Israeli left’ still consider a democracy, and one in the occupoed territory. This differentiation erases the memory of the Nakba, the reality of life for Israel’s Palestinian citizens, and Zionist ideology. Full stop. Only now, with the ‘democratic’ election victory of the right, the illusion might persist for a while. But – as seems apparent from the increasing pressure to boycott and declare Israel as a pariah state – it might be less possible to maintain the democratic illusion. Here’s to that hope!