Zionism's Existential Dilemma
19 March 2016
By Khalid Amayreh
In 1895, the fledgling Zionist movement dispatched a number of rabbis to
Palestine to explore the possibility of establishing a homeland for Jews in
the predominantly Arab country, then under Ottoman rule.
After scouring the country, the rabbis sent back the following message: ''The
bride is beautiful but she is married to another man''. Today, 120 years later
the legitimate husband and the rapist turned-master of the house continue the
century-old fight for legitimacy and possession of the land. At one point, the
arrogant and self-absorbed rapist thought he achieved a final victory over the
legitimate husband who obviously lacked the wherewithal to defend, let alone
repulse, the powerful beast, the pugnacious settler and colonizer. But the
legitimate man of the house was not to be crushed. He survived despite his
weakness, vulnerability and poverty.
In a certain sense, he survived in spite of logic and history.
Today, notwithstanding Israel's incessant efforts to obliterate the
Palestinian and his memory, there are as many Palestinians as there are Jews
in the area between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean, including Israel
proper, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. This is more than
just another problem facing the Zionist enterprise in Palestine. This is the
ultimate nightmare haunting Israel, rendering its future precarious. Indeed,
the fact that Israel and the territories it occupied in 1967 are today
populated by approximately 6 million Palestinians (in addition to 6 million
Jews) should be viewed as the ultimate strategic failure of Zionism.
Of course, this failure was never intended to be. In fact, it was inadvertent
as it was inevitable. The re-emergence of demographic realities in
Palestine-Israel reminds us of Albert Camus's iconic words, appearing in his
famous play ''Le Malentendu'' or ''In Cross purpose.'' ''In a world where
everything can be denied there are forces undeniable, and on Earth where
nothing is sure we have our certainties.'' Thus it seems that Palestinians have
survived ''in spite of logic'' and ''in spite of history'', perhaps thanks to
Camus' ''forces undeniable'' That is precisely the Palestinian odyssey in a
nutshell. I have no doubt that history will record that one of the main
reasons for Israel's ultimate demise is the intensive proliferation of Jewish
settlements throughout the West Bank which rendered the establishment of a
viable Palestinian state utterly impossible.
Yes, it is hard to thank someone for doing you a favor he never intended to do
in the first place.
But perhaps we Palestinians ought to thank Israel for building that many
settlements in the West Bank. I don't know if Israel knew or not what she was
doing. But the net outcome is the same as the seemingly existential dilemma
already facing the Zionist enterprise is irreconcilable, irreversible and
inescapable. By definition, a dilemma is a situation where one has to choose
between two unattractive choices. The dilemma facing Israel and Zionism today
is having to choose between a bi-national state where at least half of the
population is non-Jewish (and they are growing demographically at a faster
rate in comparison to Jews) or adopting perpetual occupation, repression, and
apartheid as outstanding policy pending the appearance of the Messiah,
irrespective of his religious affiliations and political orientations!! Israel
might very well be entertaining a third choice.
After all, Israel is Israel and can be expected to embark on the unthinkable.
But the ''unthinkable'', however ghoulish it might be could boomerang on Israel
and be decidedly suicidal for Jews especially in the future. This is because
any foolish act against the Palestinians, such as mass expulsion, which would
be tantamount to an actual genocide, would really open the gates of hell on
Israel. Because then every expelled man, woman and child would, almost
spontaneously and automatically, transform themselves into bombs walking on
two legs. And they would meet absolute approval and backing from the 1600
million followers of Islam and other supporters. Such would be the ultimate
triumph of the ISIS.
Khalid Amayreh is a veteran
Palestinian journalist and current affairs political commentator living in the
town of Dura in the West Bank.