The Problem In Palestine Is Not Political, It Is Ideological – OpEd


The problem is not the absence of a Palestinian state, but Zionism itself.

What is the use of a Palestinian state if Zionism, as a racist, exclusivist ideology, continues to define Israel and impose that definition on the Palestinians?

This ideology calls for racial purity of Jews in Palestine, of course, at the expense of the native inhabitants of the land. To achieve this, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had to be forced into exile and thousands more killed, wounded or incarcerated.

Neither two states nor even one state is possible if Zionism is not entirely defeated — not revamped, not “fixed,” but eradicated.

As Palestinians are today being killed in unprecedentedly large numbers in Gaza, Western politicians are waking up to the necessity of a Palestinian state.

But why now? After all, it was these very politicians and their governments that either defended Israel or remained silent as it thwarted every possibility of peaceful coexistence.

Theirs is not a moral awakening but a distraction to appear — at least before their own people — to be proactive, while Israel is systematically destroying the Palestinian people.

Former UN Relief and Works Agency official Chris Gunness has said that the Israeli war on Gaza is “the first genocide in the history of humanity that is livestreamed on television.”

The genocide is worsening now that Palestinians are starting to die from starvation, while an even larger number are dying from diseases and polluted water, aside from those being blown up or shot by Israel.

For the likes of David Cameron, Britain’s foreign minister, to talkabout the recognition of a Palestinian state as “absolutely vital” for “long-term peace” is bewildering, to say the least. Those struggling to survive daily are hardly concerned about yet more empty Western promises.

The genocide underway in Gaza tells us that the issue is not merely political, but ideological. And, while Western leaders speak of “long-term peace,” Israel entrenches its system of violence and apartheid.

“There cannot be a situation in which children and women approach us from the wall. Anyone who approaches in order to harm security must receive a bullet,” Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said last week.

In Gaza, the violence is far more sickening. The Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor this month reported that “groups of 10 to 20 Israeli civilians at a time were permitted to watch and laughingly film Palestinian prisoners and detainees in their underwear,” as they were tortured and abused by Israeli soldiers.

There can be no rational political justification for any of this.

All of this — the language of genocide, the genocide itself and the threats of committing a greater genocide — is rooted not in a rational political theory but in Zionism.

The problem keeps getting worse because we refuse to address it head-on. In fact, many are doing the exact opposite. For example, Western governments have passed — or are passing — laws equating criticism of Zionism with antisemitism. Even Facebook owner Meta is considering increasing its censorship of the term “Zionist” if it is critical of Israel.

When Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu threatened, on Nov. 5, to drop a nuclear bomb on Gaza, he was condemned by many merely for his inappropriate language, not the act itself. Some Israeli officials also criticized Eliyahu, but only for damaging Israel’s international reputation.

The Israeli minister was not, however, simply talking out of anger. He meant it, because Israel’s behavior in Gaza since then has demonstrated that such willingness to kill Palestinians en masse actually exists.

Zionists are ready to do anything to survive and their survival is wholly dependent on the erasure of the perceived enemy; not “erasure” in an intellectual, political or even cultural sense, but the physical destruction of the Palestinians as well.

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948, known as the Nakba, was a serious attempt at achieving that goal. But since the “enemy,” being the Palestinian nation, survived and continues to resist and demand its collective rights, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people is now back on the mainstream Israeli political agenda.

This ongoing Gaza war is the most serious attempt, to date, to destroy the Palestinian people. This is why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government want to carry on with the war. On the one hand, they want to ensure the continued slaughter, thus the extermination, of the Palestinians, while on the other they are also fully aware that this is a historic opportunity to finish a job that previous Zionist leaders did not complete 75 years ago.

Indeed, Israel sees the war on Gaza beyond the geographic confines of the tiny Gaza Strip. It is a war on the Palestinians everywhere. If Israel succeeds in subduing Gaza, it will turn its gaze immediately to the West Bank, then to the 2 million Palestinian citizens of Israel.

It is important to recall that, before the current war, the Israeli incitement against Palestinians was focused mostly on the West Bank — with the declared aim of annexing about a third of that occupied region.

There was also a major official Israeli campaign to curtail the rights and incite hatred against Palestinian citizens inside Israel. This campaign was rooted in history but became far more apparent following the Unity Intifada of May 2021. It was then that Israel realized that the “division” of the Palestinians was largely political and that, as a nation, Palestinians remain strongly connected.

That is why Ben-Gvir lobbied, even before he claimed his ministerial position in December 2022, to have a national guard tasked with “restoring governance where needed.”

If Gaza falls, all Palestinians in the rest of Palestine will become the new target for Israeli violence, ethnic cleansing and, if necessary, genocide.

Reducing all these issues to that of finding creative political solutions that would merely sell false hope to the Palestinian people is not only ignorant, or devious, but also a diversion from the real issue: Israel’s Zionist ideology.

Zionism, like all racist colonial ideologies, operates with a zero-sum approach to its relationship with the natives of colonized land: dominance through ethnic cleansing and genocide.

For “long-term peace” to become a reality, Zionism must end.

Ramzy Baroud

Ramzy Baroud ( is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of His book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), now available on

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