Israel’s war is not about survival. It is about preserving Zionist apartheid

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It’s not the Jewish people facing an existential threat but the apartheid settler-colonial project. Its demise would benefit Jews, Palestinians and humanity as a whole
Children attend the funeral of five Palestinian fighters who were killed in an Israeli air strike in the Balata Camp, in Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, 18 November 2023 (Reuters)

For a settler-colonial state that was established on a populated, but ethnically cleansed, land to legitimise its wars against native victims who continue to resist, it regularly has to portray its criminal acts as a war for survival.

Israel‘s current war is a striking example of this.

From the very beginning, upon news of Hamas’s attack on 7 October, Israeli officials framed it as an existential war or, in the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the “second war for independence” since 1948.

The entire Israeli administration swiftly followed in his footsteps, as officials elaborated that it was a matter of survival for “Jewish people” around the world. With this statement, Netanyahu managed to shape the public mood and prime the Israeli public, as well as his western allies, for Israel’s genocidal plan in Gaza.

Since the unleashing of Israel’s machinery of death, a child or infant is being slaughtered every 10 minutes in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Perhaps even Netanyahu did not expect to succeed to this degree, dragging those former colonial allies along with him into a place of such moral degradation, nor anticipate their repeated refusals to hear the horrifying cries of the children of Gaza, issuing from beneath the rubble.

However, as Israel launched its disproportionate war of retaliation and extermination on Gaza – through the revival of an old Israeli plan to displace the Palestinian population to Sinai – we have more unequivocal evidence that Israel has never divorced itself from its genocidal mindset towards the Palestinian people.

Internal colonialism

Netanyahu has been relentless in his efforts to kill the two-state solution, and in his reaffirmed rejections of this solution, or the installation of any form of the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip after the war ends.

Instead, the Zionist movement has enforced two Jewish states, one in Israel proper, and the second in the West Bank and Jerusalem under two types of apartheid: one secular right wing; and the other under the religious settler far-right.

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As for the Palestinian citizens of Israel who, along with their expelled relatives, are the first victims of the Nakba, they have been subjected to continued internal colonialism and systematic and structural discrimination.

All this has proven that the war is really about perpetuating settler-colonial apartheid over all of historical Palestine, and has nothing to do with the survival of the Jews.

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It has become clearer than ever that the Palestinians are the ones who continue to struggle to survive in their homeland.

To that end, they have agreed to modest proposals that entail their vision of coexisting peacefully with the Israelis; either within the scope of a two-state solution, or a single, unitary state from the river to the sea.

Needless to say, Israel’s rulers have already turned down more modest, even humiliating, proposals, such as self-autonomy for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as proposed under the Oslo Accords.

To justify its massive, chilling crimes, Israeli officials have not only had to demonise the Palestinian movement responsible for the 7 October attack and disconnect the operation from its historical and political contexts, but also to hold the entire Palestinian civil population responsible, and hence deserving of erasure.


Now, for more than 60 days, the so-called international community has been standing idly by, with a striking lack of sensitivity, watching some of the most atrocious crimes against humanity since the Nazi Holocaust.

What makes this war against a colonised and besieged people unique is the full support and legitimacy granted to it by the world’s greatest military empire, the US, which considers itself the leader of the free world.

This blatant and disgraceful immoral conduct, many hold, will have dire consequences for international relations and law, as well as for Israel’s global standing and the safety of the world’s Jewry.

Indeed, after Hamas’s surprise operation of 7 October, Israeli society has become haunted and gripped, more than ever, by fears for its very existence. While some fears are real, most are imaginary, largely stemming from indoctrination and brainwashing about Israel not only being the sole victim, but also the greatest military power in the region – as well as the most ethical and enlightened country, surviving in the middle of a jungle.

Palestinian people and their national liberation movement, regardless of ideology – secular or Islamic – have never dealt with the Jewish people or Judaism as enemies

Thanks to unwavering American and Western European support, which has shielded it from accountability for its crimes, Israel has been able to devour all of Palestine, and been able to manage its colonial project at a low cost.

It has further helped convince Israeli society at large that all of Palestine belongs exclusively to the Jews, and that any form of resistance by the natives, whether peaceful, civil, or violent, constitutes an act of terror and a threat to their existence.

Some of Israel’s critics have authored books and novels prophesying the disappearance of Israel due to growing internal social, ethnic and ideological divisions, and to its racist and colonial expansionist ideology and policies. The internal strife, which has been put on pause by the war, will certainly return.

Therefore, the alleged threat from the Palestinians is false. The Palestinian people and their national liberation movement, regardless of ideology – secular or Islamic – have never dealt with the Jewish people or Judaism as enemies, and had never gone to war with the Jewish people prior to the colonisation of Palestine.

Struggle for justice

The painful and arduous struggle for liberation has been imposed on the Palestinian people, who have been forced to reclaim a stolen homeland. It has been a struggle for justice, equality, sustainable peace and development. It is not the Palestinians who created antisemitism, nor were they responsible for the Nazi Holocaust. These are European-western made crimes.

What is facing an existential threat is not the Jewish people, but the apartheid settler-colonial regime, and its deconstruction must be a favourable outcome not only for the Palestinians but also for the Jews, for the other peoples of the region, and indeed for humanity as a whole.

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The Israeli regime has been digging its own grave over many years, through repression, land takeovers, settlement building, mass incarceration, mass killing and denial of the rights of the natives to self-determination.

Now, with the latest massive Israeli onslaught, a second genocidal war, which is equivalent to the first one, known as the 1948 Nakba, this repressive and genocidal regime will be more isolated, hated and abhorred by the peoples of the world, including many Jewish people, who endorse universal and progressive values.

The eradication of the Hamas movement from Gaza, or from elsewhere, which is in itself an unrealistic goal according to many experts and politicians, will not extinguish the Palestinian cause, and will not put an end to the resistance.

The history of the Palestinian struggle teaches us that, so long as the grave injustices continue, generation after generation of Palestinians will rise up and fight for their rights and their lives against the erasure of an entire people.

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Disclaimer: Israel’s war is not about survival. It is about preserving Zionist apartheid - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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