Plan to build artificial island in Israel seen as attempt to legitimize occupation of apartheid regime

Plan to build artificial island in Israel seen as attempt to legitimize occupation of apartheid regime

'Whole idea of creating island for Palestinians is bogus, not worthy of any serious evaluation or discussion,' says scholar

By Enes Taha Ersen

ISTANBUL (AA) - The idea of constructing an island in the Mediterranean for the settlement of Palestinians by Israel is said to legitimize the occupation plan implemented by Israel after Oct. 7, 2023.

Jeff Halper, the Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and Prof. Dr. Neve Gordon, Queen Mary University of London Law School, evaluated Israel's occupation policy to Anadolu.

Halper told Anadolu that the Israeli attacks starting on Oct. 7, 2023, are steps towards a permanent occupation, and redirecting civilians to different places under the guise of a safe zone is part of the preparations for building a geography where "there is no Palestine and no Palestinians."

Referring to the proposal by Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz on Jan. 22 at the EU Foreign Ministers Meeting to establish an artificial island in the Mediterranean to settle the people of Gaza, Halper noted that it is part of the project to cleanse Palestinian lands from Palestinians.

“The point of Israeli apartheid is to disappear the Palestinians as a people and Palestine as a country: confine the Palestinians to small islands (later called a “state,” but without real sovereignty or economically viable), take their lands and then normalize that regime in the international community.

“The Palestinians can remain in their tiny, truncated Bantustan (although it will be too small and poor to keep most of its population or repatriate the refugees) but will not be able to threaten Israeli apartheid and control in any way.


- Israel trying to establish apartheid regime where Palestinians confined to a 'Bantustan state'

Highlighting the similarities between Israel's plans in the region and the practices of the apartheid regime in South Africa from 1948 to 1994, Halper expressed that Palestinian territories are fragmented like the "Bantustan" regions formed by the people who suffered racial segregation during the apartheid era in South Africa.

Mentioning that the division of Palestinians into northern and southern Gaza, as well as those in the West Bank and Rafah, is a step for Israel to legitimize its occupation, Halper said:

“The goal of Zionism is to replace the Palestinian population with a Jewish one, to transform an Arab country into a Jewish one. Since Israel has not succeeded in driving all the Palestinians out of Palestine – half of the Palestinian population remains – it has to establish an apartheid regime where an Israeli state arises on 85% of Palestine (Israel plus its West Bank settlements) and controls the entire country, and the Palestinians are confined to a truncated Bantustan-“state” in 4-5 enclaves in the West Bank and Gaza.

“This what I call “two-state apartheid” and it is the political solution supported by the US and Europe,” he added.

Halper pointed out that Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories to build a Jewish state also disturbs some Israeli Jews.

“Israeli Jews represent only half of the Jewish people. Many if not most Jews in the world oppose what Israel is doing, have no intention of living there and do not see Israel as representing them. In fact, many are horrified that Israeli Jews are committing genocide only 80 years after the Holocaust.

“Settler colonialism has its own violent and exclusivist agenda and means of achieving it. Once Zionism is decolonized and Israel and the Occupied Territory transformed into one democratic state of equal rights for all, then Israeli Jews become normal citizens in a normal state and their ability to commit genocide or impose apartheid is ended,” he further added.


- ‘Island idea is bogus’

Prof. Dr. Neve Gordon, Faculty Member of Queen Mary University of London Law School, noted that the plan proposed by Israeli Foreign Minister Katz to build an artificial island on the shores of the Mediterranean for Palestinians to live on is based on the idea of eliminating the Palestinian population and building a state of Israel.

Gordon emphasized that he sees the Minister's plan as a roadmap not to contribute to the solution but to ignore the problems.

“The creation of an artificial island for the Palestinians is a part of the Minister’s fantasy world, an extremely troubling idea anchored in the Minister’s desire to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians. Whether the Minister likes it or not the only two possible solutions on the horizon are the partition of historic Palestine between Israeli Jews and Palestinians, or the creation of democratic state from the River to the Sea where Jews and Palestinians share equal citizenship,” Gordon told Anadolu.

The whole idea of creating an island for Palestinians is bogus, and not worthy of any serious evaluation or discussion. The Minister that suggested it is trying to deflect the vital conversation about the plight of the Palestinians in this world and the solutions that can ensure their basic human right to self-determination. Instead, he introduces us to a parallel universe, a figment of his distorted imagination,” he added.


- Israel's idea of placing Palestinians on an artificial island

Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz was invited to the meeting of EU foreign ministers held in Brussels, Belgium, on January 22.

In the meeting where developments in Gaza were discussed, Katz, instead of discussing the problems, showed a video discussing the plan to create an artificial island in the Mediterranean for the settlement of Palestinians.

After the meeting, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell reacted to Katz's proposal for an artificial island in the Mediterranean, stating that the focus should be on a "two-state solution" that will bring security and stability to the region instead, and negotiations for a "two-state solution" in the Middle East will proceed whether Israel wants it or not.

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