Apartheid Forever: Israel’s Netanyahu rules out Palestinian Citizenship Rights

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment)

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, under extreme pressure over the real possibility that he will lose the March 17 elections, has made a powerful appeal to his far right wing constituency by openly admitting that he will never allow a Palestinian state and that he intends to flood Israeli squatters into East Jerusalem and its environs to make sure this Occupied territory never returns to the Palestinians.

Millions of Palestinians whose families were violently expelled from their homes by Jewish settlers in Mandate Palestine in 1947-48 remain stateless. These include the people of Gaza, the West Bank (four million) and a million or more in diasporas in Lebanon, Syria, and other countries. A million Palestinians are now citizens in Israel, and others have rights of citizenship in far-flung places like Chile and Honduras, as well as the United States. But I figure five million at least remain stateless.

Statelessness is rare in today’s world, a result of reforms initiated by the international community after the horrors of World War II and its preceding decades. Franco rendered many on the Spanish Left stateless after his victory in the Civil War in 1939 (not to mention massacring tens of thousands of them). The White Russians lost citizenship after their revolt against the Communists failed. The Nazis took citizenship rights away from Jews, Gypsies and others in Europe. In fact, the Holocaust was made practically possible in part by the denial of citizenship to Jews, which left them with no access to courts or other levers of social power that might have combated the monstrous Nazi plans for genocide.
Millions were stateless in the 1930s and 1940s, and their lack of citizenship rights often exposed them to ethnic cleansing or loss of property and displacement.

The Palestinians are the last major stateless population. Stateless people do not have rights as most people understand the term. Their situation in some ways resembles slavery, since slaves also were denied the rights of citizenship. Stateless people’s property is insecure, since people with citizenship rights have better access to courts and to ruling authorities. Palestinians never really know what they own, and Israeli squatters routinely steal their property with impunity. Squatters dig tube wells deeper than those of the Palestinian villagers, lowering aquifers and causing Palestinian wells to dry up. Squatters go on wilding attacks, chopping down entire olive orchards (a prime source of Palestinian income) or beating up Palestinians. If Palestinians assemble peacefully to protest the loss of their farms to ever-expanding squatter settlements, the Israel army arrests them, including, often, children, who are taken away from their families and put in jail. Palestinians can be held for long periods without being charged. The prisoners are sometimes tortured.

Netanyahu and the Israeli right-of-center say they want to keep Palestinians homeless and without citizenship rights in a state because they fear a Palestinian state will make claims on Israel and present a security challenge. Netanyahu said Sunday that if Israel relinquished the West Bank it would become a bastion of Muslim radicalism (but West Bankers are substantially more secular than the Jewish population of West Jerusalem).

But in fact, Netanyahu and the right are dedicated to Greater Israel, to annexing the West Bank territory and finding a way to expel the Palestinians from it. The Palestinians are not a security challenge– they are like the guard at a bank getting in the way of bank robbers. The bank robbers feel a need to knock him out or kill him, remove him from the scene.

But it is shameful to have Israel preside over 4 million stateless people forever. This is Apartheid. And Netanyahu has just made Apartheid the official policy of Israel, just as South African leader P.W. Botha dedicated himself to making black South Africans stateless and without the rights of citizenship. The only fig leaf Israel had for its Apartheid was the farce of the “peace process” and a pro forma ritual invocation of a “future Palestinian state.” Now Netanyahu has ripped off the fig leaf and stands naked before the world. Botha was called by his victims the “Great Crocodile.” It would be better epithet for Netanyahu than “Bibi.”

Related video:

Wochit General News: “Netanyahu: No Palestinian State If I’m Reelected”

70 Responses

  1. “But in fact, Netanyahu and the right are dedicated to Greater Israel, to annexing the West Bank territory and finding a way to expel the Palestinians from it………..”

    30 years ago, Rabbi Meir Kahane proposed, as an extremist Knesset member of the later-outlawed Kach Party, the expulsion of Arabs from Israel and the Occupied Territories with compensation. He was met with public condemnation from the world’s Jewry. Now the PM is espousing the same nonsense to ensure his re-election.

    Hopefully, the U.S. State Department will recognize that the Israel Foreign Ministry’s “negotiations” with the Palestinian Authority have been a smokescreen by Israel to allay the U.S. that progress is being made – however no intention ever existed by the PM to permit a Palestinian state.

    • “Netanyahu should be banned from entering the US.”

      Are you kidding me? Name me someone—anyone—more popular in America than Bibi?

  2. Sam Thompson

    @OnlyTruthReign Of course, they are to him what native Americans were in 19th century, a nuisance to be pushed into reservations

  3. Should Netanyahu win, it will be a pyrrhic victory, as he has finally acknowleded his true plans and has thrown off the dark cloak of pretension. The world now knows categorically that he will never support a two state “solution,” and that the settlements will continue without letup. These announced policies may endear him to his voters, but governments around the world can no longer be fooled, the U.S. included.

    • As Americans we need to demand our govt stop funding these terrorists and they will crumble without the trillions we give them to commit crimes against humanity.

    • But America also agrees with Israel’s expansion of settlements. See the Democratic convention of 2012, whereby the party declared that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel. Jerusalem includes East Jerusalem. Republicans totally agree. This makes it unanimous.
      Moreover, America blocks U.N. resolutions directed at Israel—everytime.
      There will be no more peace efforts in Palestine during the remainder of Obama’s presidency. With his 3-17-15 victory, Bibi can now tell Kerry and Obama to go bugger themsleves. Furthermore, it won’t matter whether Hillary or Jeb wins in 2016. They will both back Bibi and the Likud party.

      • Don’t be so sure about that. There are still people who remember the lessons of World War I.

        Although the US is repeating most of the mistakes of Wilhelm’s Germany at this point, perhaps there may be enough people in power with the sense to avoid getting dragged into a world war over a pointless scrap of territory, whether it’s Palestine or Serbia.

        Bibi has alienated the people he can’t afford to alienate. By allying himself strictly with the Republican Party, there is now no upside for Democrats in backing this clown.

  4. The shameful part of this, for Americans, is that we have supported this and made it possible for so long.

    • We spent trillions invading Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen and murdered innocents to reduce the number of enemies Israel has. Pathetic, like letting the Cuban crime bosses dictate Cuban relations for 50 yrs.
      American foreign relations are a joke, its all what in monied interests interest. Sheldon Adelson celebrates the death of America.

        • Mostly on behalf of weapons manufacturers. Gotta use up the old bombs so we can sell new bombs.

          Eisenhower warned us about this. We were also warned about it waaaay back before World War One.

  5. Equating Israel with Apartheid takes away from the great stuggle of blacks in South Africa. Its wrong and is not even close to reality. Whites in SA were a minority from Europe. Jews are a majority in Israel and have have a extremely long history in that exact area called Israel…

    There is a trying to protect yourself for survival.. ever heard of that?

    • Russell you are wrong. It is the same fate suffered by the black people in South Africa. Palestinian were the Majority until after WWII when their land was taken and given to Israel, to create a state for all Jews. Yes, i know the argument is this land use to belong to Israel, but fact is, so did California, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada also use to belong to Mexico, but that doesn’t mean some powerful countries will push us out and tell Mexicans to move back in because they didn’t any statehood elsewhere.

      With Nethanyahu as president, Israel has pretty much made life very difficult for Palestinians and now he is saying, if he get elected, Palestine will never receive statehood, unless they do what he ask them to do. He is saying, he has no problem with them been second class citizens in their own country. People who have no voice, can’t represent themselves or even defend themselves because of blockage and sanctions. That is Apartheid.

    • Enough of this “Israel is just struggling for survival” nonsense. Israel has been expanding its borders and flooding the West Bank with settlers whose first and foremost priority is to displace every single Palestinian within reach. Netanyahu has led this charge and finally, in his obvious desperation, has finally removed his mask and just blurted out his intentions all along. I don’t think there is one person who is surprised by Bibi’s revelation. But sorry, this whole “Israel is just trying to survive” bs that we’ve been fed….well, nobody is buying what you’re selling anymore.

    • Jews will not be a majority in a single-state solution. The only way for Jews to keep Israel as a Jewish State in a one-state solution would be to prevent Arabs from voting., just like what was done in SA. this is why you need a two-state solution.

      • Why should Jews be entitled to have a state where they are a majority? No other group has ever been entitled to that. There are many persecuted people and many countries where cultures have to co-exist. Insisting that one ethnic group is entitled, not just to a state, but to maintain an ethnic majority in that state and to have special rights in that state is unjust, especially given the very real existence of the Palestinian people who suffer every day in order to maintain this status quo.
        Two state will never work because Israel never intended to agree and will never agree to two states, and now, too much has been stolen and destroyed. The only viable solution is one state, one person, one vote, and full right of return for Palestinian refugees.
        Whites threatened against a one-state solution in South Africa too, they lost, South Africa survived. Israel will survive giving full democracy to all people.

      • Jewish citizens in the US, 2% of the population–so a minority to be sure, have all the privileges of any other citizen of the US.

    • Chomksy – one of the greatest critics of Israel and one of the greatest advocates of the Palestinians – agrees the word “apartheid” isn’t quite right.

      but what’s his reasoning? because it’s better-than-apartheid within Israel, but worse-than-apartheid in the occupied territories!

    • Nice attempt at spinning the reality of the situation; however, even a cursory look at the origin of South African and Israeli Apartheid, which is American segregation with its Jim Crow laws and denial of human rights to minorities such as American Indians, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, etc., should completely dispel your attempt to “put lipstick on a pig”.

      Lest you accuse Americans of gross hypocrisy, America has struggled within itself, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, from its inception and particularly throughout the latter part of the 20th century and into the 21st century to bring social, political, and economic justice to ALL its citizens; we try sometimes in spectacular ways, America’s bloodiest war, the American Civil War, was fought in such an attempt. By 2050, Americans of European ancestry are demographically predicted to become a minority; would American’s of European ancestry attempt to expel or marginalize those Americans who are not of European ancestry be just or make any sense at all?

      • Unfortunately, there is a faction in the US which wants to expel or marginalize Americans of non-European ancestry. You know what they’re called. “The Republican Party”. :-(

        In the US, they’re going to lose. They’re going to lose because they’ve already committed one coup (2000) in order to keep power, and people are wise to them now. They failed to consolidate power and eliminate democracy while people were in shock — they won’t be able to do it now that they’re widely recognized as anti-democratic.

        There are much bigger problems in Israel due to a much more extremely high level of background racism. It’s an exceptionally racist country, and this is preventing the leftwingers from different ethnic backgrounds from uniting. :-(

    • Nope, it’s pretty much straight-up apartheid in Israel. Complete with the complex caste system: in South Africa, they had special second-class treatment for “colored” and “Indian” (with third-class treatment for the majority population), while in Israel there is second-class treatment for the Jewish people of Middle Eastern and North African descent, and for those of Russian descent, and for the non-Jewish citizens…

    • Jews were not a majority in Israel until the massive influx after WW2 when Harry Truman endorsed their invasion of Palestine after Balfour had accepted it in theory in WWI. Truman had absolutely no knowledge of foreign parts. Some Jews always lived there but they were few and lived in amity with their Muslim and Christian neighbors, most of them working as goldsmiths who supplied the young people with wedding rings and came to deliver them and dance at their weddings. Older Palestinians I met used to remember those days fondly. The Jews then were “our Jews.” The Euro-American Jews of post WW2 were interlopers who came to steal their land.

  6. the future is this … one state for all the people on the land .. and it is inevitable .. painfully arrived at, or easily, it’s up to the players .. and to the collective consciousness that is generated by entertaining the concept

  7. Are you kidding ? “Palestinians” were told to leave their homes and farms by the Arab states in 1947-48. Millions of arabs are citizens of Israel. The “Palestinians” are the only people who have not been absorbed by other nations – why haven’t they moved to Jordan (created for the arab population of the middle east) or Saudi Arabia or Lebanon? Because they are pawns in a destructive strategy to try to destroy Israel. You say ‘peaceful demonstrations’ – does that include 15,000 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel? Suicide bombers? bus bombers? Get the picture right – Israel has proved it will live in peace with its neighbors – Egypt, Lebanon, etc. What have the Palestinian people proved – that violence is the only way !

    • Maybe one of these days someone should come to your house and tell “you to leave your home and farm”. Then any actions by you or your supporters to rehabilitate you in your house should be called “pawns in a destructive strategy to try to destroy” the occupier, shouldn’t they? We’ll see if you’ll be Gandhi or the “Palestinian people” then.

    • Sorry Michael – your argument holds no water. It is time for Netanyahu to step down. Early today, Netanyahu was also shouting concerns over arab voters flooding the voting booths. This is similar to America’s southern politicians in 1900’s, when southern politicians shouted concerns over “coloreds” flooding the voting booths. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. Eight years under Netanyahu’s leadership has produced limited results for the Israeli people. Herzog is a much better alternative. My biggest fear is that some right wing Israeli fanatic shoots Herzog (it happened once before).

    • Michael, put away the Israeli propagandist rhetoric. It no longer works on anyone who has eyes to see and a computer.

      There is no reliable evidence – none – that Arab Palestinians were “told to leave their homes and farms by the Arab states in 1947-48.”

      There are 1.7 million Arabs in Israel, who are subjected to inequality under the law despite Israel’s “commitment” to treat all its citizens equally.

      There is no reason on this earth why people who have every right to live where they and their antecedents have lived for many generations should move to “other nations” just to make life easier for Israelis who are, in any case, determined to drive them out. It is the Israelis who are doing that who should be stopped short in their efforts to achieve that result.

      The rocketry from Gaza is to be condemned, but, when that is all that you have to resist a determined oppressor it is understandable that is what will be used.

      If Israel has proved anything over the past 67 years, it is that it can not live in peace with its neighbors other than on a temporary basis.

    • Why should they move when Palestine is their home? It’s like telling Guatemalans to move to El Salvador, all Latinos right? All the same?
      Palestinians are fighting an occupation with very limited means against a military super-power that regularly dehumanises them. Violence? It’s called self-defence.

    • Israel needs to live in peace with its neighbors but the Palestinians are not neighbors; they have been occupied by the people calling themseves Israelis and their land stolen from them.

    • Michael, are you kidding by any chance? swap the words “Palestinian” with israel to get the story right! that’s homework

  8. Netanyahu, by showing his true colors, could be as dangerous out of office as he is when in office. I cannot imagine he will quietly fade off into the sunset. After watching how he barn stormed the U.S. Congress, it’s hard to picture Bibi in retirement. Would now be a good time for him to use every trick in the book? I would be willing to bet he has something on everybody. In fact, Netanyahu may prove more devastating now more than ever.

    • Netenyahu has already announced his future plans. He intends to push through a rewrite of the election law in the Knesset so that the party with the largest plurality is *always* given control of the government, even if there’s a large coalition opposing that party.

      Basically, stacking the deck so he’ll keep winning even when he becomes unpopular. He is very very dangerous.

  9. Netanyahu is sad and ineffective leader for Israel. I hope that Israelis will make the right choice and VOTE HIM OUT! It is time for a progressive change in that nation, one that integrates Palestinians.

  10. Um … The Palestinians aren’t the last stateless people. There are 25+ million Kurds without a state too.

    • There is a different between not liking the citizenship you have and not having any citizenship at all. Kurds are Turks, Iraqis, etc. They have passports, travel freely, and defend their property rights in their national courts. Palestinians have none of that. You don’t understand the horror of genuine statelessness.

      • Thank you Dr. Cole! I get so tired of trying to explain the Mid-East to people who haven’t a clue, still less have lived there as I did for ten years–and learned and spoke the language of my neighbors.

  11. Bibi’s desperate attempts to motivate right wing voters to trust him again are abhorrent. That said – your premise that Israel is apartheid is absolutely wrong. Israeli palestinians get a vote today – and may be the swing group for the election – if they choose to participate in the government instead of sitting in opposition. West Bank palestinians have a government in the PA – but one that hasn’t held national elections since 2006. Gaza palestinians have the government they elected in Hamas. Yes – there is still occupation and limited autonomy for the WB/G palestinians that is unfair and wrong. But it is absolutely not Apartheid.

    • Really?

      “At midday, Netanyahu claimed high Arab voter turnout was putting his right-wing Likud Party’s rule “in danger,” according to a posting on his Facebook page. “Arab voters are going to the polls in droves. Left-wing organizations are bringing them in buses,” he said…….
      Shelly Yacimovich, a lawmaker with the Zionist Union, said on her Twitter feed that no Western leader would have uttered such a “racist” remark. “Imagine a warning that begins with ‘the rule is endangered. Black voters are heading in droves to the polls,’ ” she wrote.”
      [Huffington Post]

  12. All nations and countries are founded in blood and war. All nations began when one nation displaced another population from a certain territory. The Romans displaced the Jews, the Christians displaced the Romans, the Arabs displaced the Christians, the Turks ruled over the Arabs, the British ruled over the Arabs, and the Jews displaced the British and the Arabs.

  13. What i do not understand is why Israel has a veto over the creation of a Palestinian State. Israel was created in 1948 by the UN, the Palestinians did not have a veto over the creation of Israel. the same should now be done by the UN and the international community to establish a Palestinian State using the 1948-67 borders. The fate of the settlers in the West Bank would be the same as those Palestinians that were living in the newly created State of Israel in 1948, except, they have a country to go to, and will not be refugees like those Palestinians.

    • What i do not understand is why Israel has a veto over the creation of a Palestinian State.

      Simple. Israel has veto power over the Palestinians because the US government has veto power in the UN, and the alleged US government does the bidding of the Israel lobby.

    • Israel has the U.S. as a “surrogate” to veto any resolution in the U.N. Security Council to enforce 1948-67 borders.

      The U.N. Security Council already has Resolution 242 to call for Israel to vacate the Occupied Territories.

      • Mark (and Bill Bodden) you are correct. We need to call a spade a spade. America supports Israel’s settlement plans. Moreover, America supports Israel’s “mowing the lawn” in Gaza every few years. What I want to know is how did Resolution 242 get past the U.S.’s watchful, protective eye?

        • “……….how did Resolution 242 get past the U.S.’s watchful, protective eye?

          Surprising answer:

          Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban helped draft Resolution 242 and it was not controversial when passed.

          Also surprising:

          Per Noam Chomsky, there was considerable support even in the leadership of the Israeli intelligence services immediately following the Six-Day War for the creation of a binational single joint Arab-Jewish state comprised of Israel and the Occupied Territories.

        • Lyndon Johnson owed little or nothing to Israeli government, and the Israeli government had recently caused him a great deal of trouble by deliberately initiating the Six-Day War.

          The resolution was a response to the initiation of the Six-Day War by Israel. (And yes, those who have followed the internal details of the information released… that war was 100% started by the Israeli government. Deliberately. The Israeli government had previously invaded demilitarized zones and started stealing water, just in order to cause trouble.) Johnson was furious with the Israelis for their gratuitous aggressive war, which caused a lot of diplomatic problems for the US.

  14. Israel’s Netanyahu rules out Palestinian Citizenship Rights

    At last, Netanyahu tells the truth, but will the Israel lobby allow our politicians to do the same?

  15. Jay – criticizing Netanyahu is not a criticism against Israelis or the jewish religion. It is clear that Natanyahu is prejudice in several areas and needs to step down. Israel deserves better leadership. Give Herzog a chance.

  16. Arabs who are not Jews in Israel are subjected to the unequal application of the law, despite that state’s protestations to the contrary – see

    Your post is a deflection, amounting to no more than “Let’s all “look over there” at the squirrels playing on the grass, instead of paying any attention at all to the subject of this article.”

  17. The idea that bibi has more chances to form a coalition is wrong. Besides his remarks about not allowing a palestinian state will increase even more the arab turnout. I so hope he is toasted.

  18. We should have told Israel 40+ years ago that if they drove one more nail on the West Bank we would cut them off without a dime. That would have gotten their attention since nothing else has worked and we might not have this situation now.

    • Better still, we should have laid down the law to Israel on June 8th, 1967 after the Israelis shot up the USS Liberty and slaughtered 34 American crew members and seriously injured 171 others (link to lewrockwell.com). But by then it was too late. The Israel lobby had already taken over the branch of the US government in charge of Middle East affairs, and Congress and the White House had already sold its soul to the lobby.

      • “We should have laid down the law…”

        Should have, could have, would have – What. Ever. The fact remains that every few months, Israel gives the US yet another opportunity to “lay down the law” – whether it’s by announcing new settlements on Palestinian lands or outright invasion and war upon said lands, or just gratuituous insults to US diplomatic efforts and our elected officials.

        The US has muffed each and every new opportunity. But never fear! With “Bibi ” back in charge, there will be many, many more! It’s time to start working on our elected officials, if we expect any change to take place in the US’s apparently perpetual acquiescence.

  19. The Kulanu Party led by Moshe Kahlon, a former Likud member bitterly critical of Netanyahu and emphasizing cost-of-living issues is projected to win 10 seats; its platform is similar to Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party who is expected to obtain 12 seats. Lapid was tossed out of the Israeli cabinet previously by Netanyahu over policy arguments.

    Should these two parties continue to oppose Netanyahu and decide to join a Zionist Union government, Zionist Union will only need the Joint Arab List to form a government by surpassing the 61-seat threshold.

  20. These election results show that it isn’t just Netanyahu: the Israeli population, by its rallying vote, doesn’t want to stop stealing Palestinian lands. The Israeli population doesn’t want to dignify Palestinians by negotiating with them. The Israeli population is fine with continuing to insult the United States, secure in the knowledge that the US will always come through for them, no matter how insolently Israel behaves.

    This is a “special relationship”, for sure. But it’s looking less and less sustainable.

    • Indeed Bibi is the most popular man in Israel. He represents Israel. Period. Many critics point out that Bibi & Israel have everything to gain by keeping the occupied territories. Bibi has congress strongly on his side. Bibi can tell Obama to kiss off. Obama is a very weak leader. Bibi is just flat brilliant, shrewd, and endowed with leadership skills and political instincts that are virtually impeccable. Those of us who hope for something better need to give up. Our noggins are no match for thick brick walls.

  21. Unfortunately the politics isn’t yet in the U.S. to condemn Bibi’s government. The politicians are bought and controlled; likewise the mass media. I hear nary a contraruy word about Israel, though the NY Times is getting better.

    The only hope is that the U.S gets isolated on the World stage and feel embarrassed at supporting a criminal regime. That’s what sort of happened with Cuba, where the US was thoroughly condemned and now is happening at its attempts to bully Venezuela. Latin America will have no more of that any more, and hopefully Europe will act similarly soon.

  22. This is an excellent time for contacting “our” representative and senators in Congress. The evidence is beyond dispute that Netanyahu is a racist and it is a sure bet that he will lead a racist coalition. So put it to these politicians. Are they going to continue to sell their souls and be aligned with a racist entity or will they have the integrity to finally do the right thing? Unfortunately, I’m not optimistic about the people from my state.

  23. Thankfully Netanyahu has forced into the dead archives decades of gravitas blarney about “The Two State Solution”, aka “Mideast Peace”, that our political leader have uttered with a straight face.

    It would be incredulous if Obama, Kerry, and all should henceforth use the phases in public, unless coupled with a call for sanctions on Israel.

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