You will almost never find Noam Chomsky featured on the mainstream media in the US. Nor will you find Amy Goodman, one of the best journalists in the US, featured on their vacuous news shows. But the rest of the world knows them and Chomsky was invited to speak to a packed hall of 800 delegates in the main chamber during the United Nations General Assembly and then had a public interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! at the same venue. His talk and the interview can be seen and read here.
Chomsky was unsparing in his critique of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and the US’s role as an enabler, and he described the long and painful history of the region. I will give only a brief taste of what he said.
There’s no time here to review the record, but its general character is revealed by a look at what has happened in Gaza in the past decade, carrying forward a long history of earlier crimes. Last August, August 26th, a ceasefire was reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. And the question on all our minds is: What are the prospects for the future? Well, one reasonable way to try to answer that question is to look at the record. And here, too, there is a definite pattern: A ceasefire is reached; Israel disregards it and continues its steady assault on Gaza, including continued siege, intermittent acts of violence, more settlement and development projects, often violence in the West Bank; Hamas observes the ceasefire, as Israel officially recognizes, until some Israeli escalation elicits a Hamas response, which leads to another exercise of “mowing the lawn,” in Israeli parlance, each episode more fierce and destructive than the last.
He describes how Israel encroaches on Palestinian land. Chomsky thinks that the two-state solution is the only viable one and that the one-state solution will never happen. To avoid what is called the ‘demographic problem’ of Palestinians outnumbering Israelis if Israeli achieves its goal of capturing all or most of the remaining Palestinian territories, he says that Israel’s plan is to drive them out.
Israel has no official policy of taking it over, but they’re pursuing the policy in the way that has been carried out now for a hundred years, literally—small steps so nobody notices, or at least people pretend not to notice, establish a military zone. The Palestinians who live there have to be displaced because it’s a military zone, no settlement allowed, and pretty soon there’s a military settlement, Nahal settlement, and another, then, sooner or later, it becomes an actual settlement. Meanwhile, dig wells, dispossess the population, set up green zones—a large variety of techniques which have, by now, reduced the Arab population from about 300,000 in 1967 to roughly 60,000 today. As I mentioned, that essentially imprisons what’s left.
It is a bleak picture that he paints.