Excerpted from an interview with Noam Chomsky conducted by David Barsamian for The Sun – Issue #462, June 2014
Barsamian: So if Israeli policies continue on the current trajectory, what do you see in that country’s future?
Chomsky: Almost uniformly, Israeli, Palestinian, and American commentators pose the issue as if there were only two possible outcomes: either the two-state option that the entire world has been supporting for thirty-five years and that the U.S. has been blocking, or else Israel takes over the whole region — all of the West Bank, all of the former Palestine. If that happens, Israel will have a demographic problem: too many Palestinians within a Jewish state. Then there will be a civil-rights struggle, an anti-apartheid struggle. It’s not even an option.
More important, the U.S. and Israel would never accept a one-state solution because they are currently pursuing a third option: Israel takes over everything within what’s called the “separation wall.” It’s actually an annexation wall that breaks up the West Bank into pieces. Israel is slowly seizing about a third of the West Bank And imprisoning whatever is left between the regions it’s effectively taking over. The Israelis are not taking over the areas where the Palestinian population is concentrated, however, because they don’t want the Palestinians. In fact, one striking difference between Israel and South Africa is that in South Africa the whites needed the black population to serve as their workforce. Israel just wants the Palestinians out, the way the U.S. did the Native Americans. Only these days you can’t just exterminate a whole group, as was done here. So Israel will drive them out. It will annex the territory it wants in the West Bank — the arable land, the water supplies, anything valuable — and leave the Palestinian population to rot outside those areas.
In the 1990s Israeli industrialists advised their government to move from a colonial policy to a “neocolonial policy,” which is what you now see all over the world in port-imperial states. A neocolonial policy maintains the basic structures of imperial domination while giving native elites a gift of some sort to keep them quiet. If you go to the poorest Central African country, there’s at least one place in it where people live in luxury. Or take India, where in the midst of horrible poverty a few live in huge skyscrapers with swimming pools on the fiftieth floor. That’s what Israel is creating in the remnants of Palestine. Ramallah is a modern city: restaurants, stores, theaters. You can go there and think you’re in London. But the rest of the West Bank is disintegrating. Israel is hoping that the Palestinians will just leave. Some peasants might stay on their land and survive somehow, but most will go. The process will continue as long as the U.S. supports it. Once the U.S. doesn’t support it any longer, it will change.