Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

Noam Chomsky

For a century, the Zionist colonization of Palestine has proceeded primarily on the pragmatic principle of the quiet establishment of facts on the ground, which the world was to ultimately come to accept. It has been a highly successful policy. There is every reason to expect it to persist as long as the United States provides the necessary military, economic, diplomatic and ideological support.

Amid all the horrors unfolding in the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israel’s goal is simple: quiet-for-quiet, a return to the norm. For the West Bank, the norm is that Israel continues its illegal construction of settlements and infrastructure so that it can integrate into Israel whatever might be of value, meanwhile consigning Palestinians to unviable cantons and subjecting them to repression and violence. For Gaza, the norm is a miserable existence under a cruel and destructive siege that Israel administers to permit bare survival but nothing more.

Noam Chomsky: Israel’s Actions in Palestine are “Much Worse Than Apartheid” in South Africa.

Noam Chomsky’s interview on Democracy-Now (7 Aug 2014). A detailed discussion covering Israel’s attack on Gaza, the role of the US, changing public opinion in the US, BDS and the South Africa comparison, Palestinian violent vs. non-violent response to the Occupation, global reactions, and more.

There are two parts of the Arab world that remain effectively colonies: Western Sahara … and of course Palestine, where negotiations are underway conforming to the two essential US-Israeli preconditions: that there be no barrier to expansion of the illegal settlements, and that the negotiations be run by the US, which is a participant in the conflict (on the side of Israel) and has been blocking the overwhelming international consensus on a diplomatic settlement since 1976, when it vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for its basic terms, with rare and temporary exceptions.

[I]t is assumed almost universally that there are two options for cis-Jordan: either two states — Palestinian and Jewish-democratic — or one state “from the sea to the river.” Israeli commentators express concern about the “demographic problem”: too many Palestinians in a Jewish state. Many Palestinians and their advocates support the “one state solution,” anticipating a civil rights, anti-Apartheid struggle that will lead to secular democracy… The analysis is almost universal, but crucially flawed. There is a third option, namely, the option that Israel is pursuing with constant US support. And this third option is the only realistic alternative to the two-state settlement that is backed by an overwhelming international consensus.

At the fringes, some observers reject the shared [US] assumptions, bringing up the historical record: for example, the fact that “for nearly seven decades” the United States has led the world in aggression and subversion — overthrowing elected governments and imposing vicious dictatorships, supporting horrendous crimes, undermining international agreements and leaving trails of blood, destruction and misery.

The negotiations provide a cover for Israel’s takeover of the territories it wishes to control and should spare the United States some further embarrassment at the UN.

“As international support for Obama’s decision to attack Syria has collapsed, along with the credibility of government claims, the administration has fallen back on a standard pretext for war crimes when all else fails: the credibility of the threats of the self-designated policeman of the world,” Chomsky said.

One prevailing assumption is that there are two options: either a two-state settlement will be reached, or there will be a “shift to a nearly inevitable outcome of the one remaining reality — a state ‘from the sea to the river’.” … There is a third option, the most realistic one: Israel will carry forward its current policies with full U.S. economic, military, and diplomatic support, sprinkled with some mild phrases of disapproval.

Noam Chomsky covers the upcoming Israel-Palestine ‘peace talks’ and the history of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations; settlements, the Occupation and the ‘One-State’ and ‘Two-State’ solutions; US strategic control of the Middle East; Syria and Egypt; the ‘Iran threat'; Edward Snowden, and much more.

It is hard to make progress in the real world without making various compromises. I have no advice other than to say don’t let your wishes whip away the facts entirely. Be aware of the facts. We live in an actual world, with all its horror and ugliness, and we have to deal with it and make our decisions within it.

If Palestine ever does gain independence in something like the terms of the overwhelming international consensus, it is likely that its borders with Israel will erode through normal processes of commercial and cultural interchange, as had begun to happen in the past during periods of relative calm. Anyone familiar with Mandatory Palestine knows well how artificial and disruptive any partition must be.

Noam Chomsky on the Turkish protests around Taksim Square: The very brave people in Taksim Square are trying to protect the very last remnants of the commons from the wrecking block… That’s important for Turkey but it’s more than that. It’s the commons which globally we’re destroying; the environment and the atmosphere, by the same wrecking ball.

If Palestine ever does gain independence in something like the terms of the overwhelming international consensus, it is likely that its borders with Israel will erode through normal processes of commercial and cultural interchange, as had begun to happen in the past during periods of relative calm. Anyone familiar with Mandatory Palestine knows well how artificial and disruptive any partition must be.

Noam Chomsky: I think the Sykes-Picot agreement is falling apart, which is an interesting phenomenon… But, the Sykes-Picot agreement was just an imperial imposition that has no legitimacy; there is no reason for any of these borders – except the interests of the imperial powers.

Two confidential Anti-Defamation League memos from the 1970s show that the pro-Israel “civil rights” group sent spies to report on talks by Noam Chomsky, a noted critic of Israel. “Chomsky is an Arab apoligist, [sic] pure and simple,” one reads, addressed to Irwin Suall, then national director of “fact-finding.”

The following letter was sent to Stephen Hawking by 20 scientists urging him to reconsider his participation, as a keynote speaker, at Israel’s Presidential Conference, a major public event attracting world figures such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. Professor Hawking has since declined the invitation to attend.

Chomsky, a US professor and well-known supporter of the Palestinian cause, joined British academics from the universities of Cambridge, London, Leeds, Southampton, Warwick, Newcastle, York and the Open University to tell Hawking they were “surprised and deeply disappointed” that he had accepted the invitation to speak at next month’s presidential conference in Jerusalem, which will chaired by Shimon Peres and attended by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.

Professor Noam Chomsky’s 2013 Edward Said Memorial Lecture: Violence and Dignity – Reflections on the Middle East at Friends House in London on 18 March 2013 (text).

Professor Noam Chomsky, delivering the 2013 Edward Said Memorial Lecture: Violence and Dignity – Reflections on the Middle East at Friends House in London on 18 March 2013 (video).