Sat 11 Nov 2023 8:57 am - Jerusalem Time

Israeli historian Avi Shlaim: War on Gaza is meaningless and the West is biased towards Israel

London - The anti-Zionist Israeli historian Avi Shlaim does not give up on reading what is happening in Palestine starting on October 7th. Rather, he insists that what happened has its roots since 1967.

In an interview with Al Jazeera Net, Shlaim emphasized that the only way to understand the Israeli war on Gaza is to understand the historical context, before explaining the reasons that lead him to be convinced that this war is “meaningless.”

The professor of international relations at St. Anthony's University, affiliated with the University of Oxford, confirmed that the "revenge" approach used by Benjamin Netanyahu's government "will not lead to any results," presenting his expectations for Netanyahu's political fate, as well as his vision of the Western response to the war on the Gaza Strip and the reasons for support. Absolute for Tel Aviv.

Historian and academic Shlaim belongs to the elite of new Israeli historians who are working to reread the origins of Israel and confront the narratives that it promoted. He believes that Israel after 1967 has become a brutal colonial power whose army’s mission is to protect the security of the occupation, and it practices the apartheid system. He expressed his ideas In his books, including “The Politics of Partition” and “A Brief History of War and Peace in the Middle East” (1995), and “The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World” (2001).

In your opinion, what are the real reasons behind the situation we are living in?

The point I want to emphasize is that this conflict did not begin on October 7. People do not ask why Hamas carried out this attack. The answer will be found in the historical context, and the answer to everything that happens is in history, which takes us back to the year 1967, the date of the occupation of Israel. for the Palestinian territories.

The Israelis claim that they gave the Palestinians the opportunity to turn the Gaza Strip into the Singapore of the Middle East, which did not happen. They turned the Gaza Strip into an open prison.

Media attention focused on the Hamas attack. Although, in my opinion, the Israeli reaction is completely disproportionate. I condemn both matters. I condemn the Hamas attack. Because it also targeted civilians, and killing civilians is wrong, but on the other hand, the Israeli reaction was cruel, brutal and completely disproportionate. Then, revenge is not a policy, and is not considered a solution. What Israel is doing is state-sponsored terrorism, and it is much more dangerous than attacking... Israel.

How do you evaluate Netanyahu and the West’s handling of this war?

I expect that Netanyahu will not be able to survive politically, and then there is the Western handling of this crisis, which is characterized by hypocrisy and double standards.

A clear example of Western hypocrisy is what happened in January 2006 when Hamas won in free and transparent elections, but Israel refused to recognize the Hamas government, and the European Union and the United States decided to support Israel in its decision, by imposing economic sanctions in order to weaken Hamas. And force it to voluntarily relinquish power in Gaza.

In 2007, Israel imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip. This siege is illegal and illegitimate, because it is considered a form of collective punishment against civilians. Now Israel is taking more dangerous steps similar to a medieval siege when it says it will prevent water, food, medicine and fuel from more than 2.3 million people in the Gaza Strip.

Until now, the Western powers are still completely biased towards one party. On the one hand, they condemn Hamas and describe it as a terrorist organization, but on the other hand, they do not look at the Israeli reaction, nor do they direct any criticism at it, and for this reason they are complicit in the attack on Gaza and on civilians. In practice, they gave Israel the green light to do the most horrific things instead of calling for a ceasefire.

Will what is happening lead to more confrontations and conflicts?

We must note that Jewish hostility to Arabs in Israel is no longer the same as before, but has increased significantly over the past 20 years, since Israel began moving more towards the right politically.

The current government, which has forces of religious Zionism, is the most extreme right-wing government, the most chauvinistic (fanatical), and the most racist government in the history of Israel. As a result of the current war in Gaza, the public will move more toward the right, and become more hostile to the Arabs.

What do you think of the attempts to silence all voices critical of the occupation under the pretext of anti-Semitism?

Israel and its friends around the world confuse “anti-Semitism” with anti-Zionism. I define “anti-Semitism” as hatred of Jews only because they are Jews, and this has nothing to do with Israel.

As for anti-Zionism, it is a completely different matter. It is criticism and opposition to the Zionist ideology, which is the official ideology of the State of Israel, especially with regard to the policies dealing with the Palestinians, including occupation, the apartheid regime, and the harsh and violent use of force as we are experiencing these days in Gaza.

Source: AlJazeera


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