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disengaging from Gaza? « Previous | |Next »
May 1, 2005

Land, territory and borders have always been at the heart of the struggle between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Nick Anderson

The issue of settlements within Israel, and in the Occupied Territories, has been at the heart of the political and ideological Zionist movement. A major source of contention now is the extension of this immigration and settlement policy in the post-1967 Occupied Territories, in which Israel aims to colonize the territory through Jewish immigration and Palestinian exodus to such an extent that it can claim the land as its own.

Hence Israel is a state based on colonial settlement, one with a history of 37 years of making an Arab land into a Jewish state by disenfranchising Palestine’s indigenous Arab inhabitants from those areas intended for Jewish statehood. Today it is being said that no Israeli government can, should or needs to remove the major settlement blocs. Today Zionism means expanding the big settlement blocs in the western part of the West Bank. Three decades of Israeli expansion into the West Bank undercuts the viability of a Palestinian state.

Disengagement from the Gaza Strip could mean the transformation of Gaza into a region with no attributes of sovereignty or independence. So far it appears that Israel will maintain full control of airspace, territorial waters, and crossing points of Gaza. In addition, the Gaza Strip will be cut off from the rest of the world and, most devastatingly, from the rest of Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Does that mean that the Gaza Strip becomes a cantonized entity? If so, then that would not enable the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state. Does it not act to prevent the establishment of such a Palestinian state? It suggests that Israel gains control of the West Bank, defers Palestinian statehood for decades and Israel continues to annex territory and to fragment what is left into isolated cantons.

So we would do well to question the Zionist version of history. This presents Jewish history as a narrative of eternal victimization and to define Zionism and Israeli nationalism as the only guarantors of Jewish survival and continuity. A Jewish state in Palestine would insure Jewish security (and normalize Jewish existence) in an eternally hostile gentile world.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:38 PM | | Comments (0)