Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Israeli historian Benny Morris documents ethnic cleansing, and approves of it: "'Ben-Gurion was right. If he had not done what he did, a state would not have come into being. That has to be clear. It is impossible to evade it. Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here... in certain conditions, expulsion is not a war crime. I don't think that the expulsions of 1948 were war crimes. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. You have to dirty your hands... if the desire to establish a Jewish state here is legitimate, there was no other choice... Even the great American democracy could not have been created without the annihilation of the Indians. There are cases in which the overall, final good justifies harsh and cruel acts that are committed in the course of history... If he [Ben-Gurion] was already engaged in expulsion, maybe he should have done a complete job. I know that this stuns the Arabs and the liberals and the politically correct types. But my feeling is that this place would be quieter and know less suffering if the matter had been resolved once and for all... if there is a general Arab attack on us and a situation of warfare on the front with Arabs in the rear shooting at convoys on their way to the front, acts of expulsion will be entirely reasonable. They may even be essential... The Israeli Arabs are a time bomb... They are a potential fifth column. In both demographic and security terms they are liable to undermine the state. So that if Israel again finds itself in a situation of existential threat, as in 1948, it may be forced to act as it did then... The whole Zionist project is apocalyptic... Yes, I think of Armageddon. It's possible. Within the next 20 years there could be an atomic war here.'"

As the interview proceeds, Morris descends further and further into distorted and paranoid ravings about Arafat, Arabs and Palestinians and their hatred for Jews, about wild beasts, iron walls and cages, the impossibility of peace, the clash of civilisations, barbarians at the gate, apocalypse and armageddon, and so on. Quite astonishing really. And he calls himself a 'left-winger'. If this represents scholarly and educated thinking in Israel, the country has gone mad.

Perhaps the desire to establish a Jewish state is not legitimate? It is a 19th Century European, colonialist, racist concept that necessarily involves injustice to indigenous inhabitants and is not legitimate. One day Israel will have to face this, although that does not mean that Israel should be 'swept into the sea', anymore than the United States or Australia should be swept away because of their treatment of the indigenous inhabitants. The further process of colonisation and mistreatment of indigenous people must, however, be terminated.

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