I arrived in Israel 40 years ago. It took me many years to understand that the very existence of my country, as it is today, is based on an ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. The project started many years ago. Its seed can be traced to the basic fallacy of the Zionist movement, which set out to establish a Jewish-national state in a location already inhabited by another nation. Under these conditions, one has, at most, a moral right to strive for a bi-national state; establishing a national state implies, more or less by definition, ethnic cleansing of the previous inhabitants.
Albert Einstein grasped this fallacy a long time ago. A short time after WWI "Einstein complained that the Zionists were not doing enough to reach agreement with the Palestinian Arabs ... He favored a bi-national solution in Palestine and warned Chaim Weizmann against 'Prussian style' nationalism" (1)
But such warnings passed un-heeded by the Zionist movement. So here we are, nearly a century later, with a Jewish national state dominated by militaristic and militant nationalists, who diligently pursue colonization and "judaization" of the land under Israeli control, on both sides of the Green Line (1967 border). The project has been pursued continuously and relentlessly under the different Israeli governments, recently under the cover of bogus "negotiations" with President Abbas. Most of the Israeli institutions participate in it.
Young Israelis, generation after generation, join the army to provide the military cover. The young folks have been brain-washed to honestly believe that the army pursues Israel's "fight for existence." However it seems evident to the author of this article, as to many others, that the survival of the Jewish community in this country depends on establishing viable mechanisms of coexistence with the Palestinians. Thus, under the slogan of "fight for existence," the State of Israel is pursuing an essentially suicidal project.
This long-standing outlook of the Israeli governing classes was summarized succinctly in a recent book Palestine Inside Out by Saree Makdisi, an American academic. His book "suggests that occupation is merely a feature of an ongoing Israeli policy of slow transfer of the native Palestinian population from their lands. This policy predates the founding of the state, and all of the various practices of the occupier: illegal settlement, land confiscation, home demolition and so on, serve this ultimate purpose." (2)
If you do not believe the above assessment, consider several statements by David Ben Gurion himself, from the time before the establishment of the State of Israel (Ben Gurion was the leader of the Zionist movement before 1948 and the first Israeli Prime Minister after 1948):
The compulsory transfer of the [Palestinian] Arabs from the valleys of the proposed Jewish state could give us something which we never had, even when we stood on our own during the days of the first and second Temples ... We are given an opportunity which we never dared to dream of in our wildest imaginings. This is more than a state, government and sovereignty, this is national consolidation in a free homeland.
With compulsory transfer we [would] have a vast area [for settlement] ... I support compulsory transfer. I don't see anything immoral in it. (3)
During the 1948 war, about two-thirds of the Palestinians who would become refugees were in fact expelled from their homes by the nascent Israeli army, and one-third became refugees while escaping the dangers of war. All these people, 0.75-1 million of them, were prevented from returning to Israel after the armistice agreement, while their homes and property were demolished or appropriated by the...