Al Jazeera: You have long advocated for a binational solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the two-state solution based on international consensus as the only plausible stepping stone. You still believe that this is the most desirable solution?
Chomsky: Well, there’s a big substantial debate now between the two-state international consensus and a one-state alternative that is increasingly supported by many commentators, including quite knowledgeable ones like in the United States, like Ian Lustick for example.
But there’s something wrong with that debate. It’s omitting a third alternative, namely the one that is being systematically implemented by Israel, ever since 1969 or so, is the creation of a ‘Greater Israel’, which will take over. Everything that’s of value to Israel will leave out the Palestinian population concentrations.
So, Israel doesn’t want to incorporate Nablus within what will be the ‘Greater Israel’. Has to maintain a large Jewish majority in a racist, Jewish-dominated state. So that means take over the Jordan Valley, kick out the population. One or another pretext is used … and then it turns into Jewish settlements. They take over towns deep in the West Bank like Maale Adumim, built mostly in the 1990s, state-subsidised pleasant housing … You can go from your subsidised villa in Maaleh Adumim to your job in Tel Aviv and not even know there are any Palestinians. By now, the Palestinians who are left in the regions that Israel’s integrating and planning to take over are divided into … about 160 or so small enclaves surrounded by Israeli forces, which may or may not allow Palestinians to tend their crops, tend their livestock and pick their olives and so on, basically imprisoned.
And the idea is to try to see if we can just get rid of them somehow, get them to leave intolerable conditions. Meanwhile, recently, just a couple of days ago, the far-right nationalist religious government, extended the right of Israeli settlement to the northwestern West Bank, what Israel calls Western Samaria … [seeking to] integrate into Israel whatever is valued of Israel within the occupied territories. Jerusalem’s now maybe five times whatever it was historically, taking in surrounding villages to ensure a Jewish majority. There’s mechanisms, not formally just, slowly, step by step … just below the radar. By now, young Israelis don’t even know that there is a green line.
If you want to talk about long-term outcomes, you can’t just talk about one state and two state. You have to talk about what’s happening, ‘Greater Israel’. I understand the reasoning of the one-state advocates, but I think … it’s almost inconceivable that Israel will ever agree to destroy itself and become a Jewish minority population in a Palestinian-dominated state, which is what the demography indicates. And there’s no international support for it. Nothing. So my own personal feeling is the real options are ‘Greater Israel’, or move towards some kind of two-state arrangement. It’s often claimed that that’s now impossible because of the enormous settlement project. Maybe, maybe not. I think if the United States insists, decides to join the rest of the world in supporting some kind of two-state settlement, not just rhetorically, but in practice, Israel will be faced with a very serious decision.
Read the full interview at Al Jazeera
Background image courtesy of Financial Times, modified by me.