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Novelist Henning Mankell says Israel faces ‘final insurrection’ and ‘fall’

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I am continually impressed, as so many contributors to this site are, by how advanced the world conversation on Israel/Palestine is, and how far behind the American conversation is. The explanation is, per Shlomo Sand in his amazing book, The Invention of the Jewish People, that Israel replaced the idea of aliyah with diaspora– it gave up the idea of bringing Jews to Israel and instead based its future on Jews in the U.S. maintaining the support of the superpower. That’s a lot of responsibility; and god knows we have shouldered it. Witness Richard Cohen in the Washington Post raging at the use of the word "apartheid"–when Israeli leaders use that word all the time.

The Swedish writer Henning Mankell, whose mysteries my wife adores, also uses the word apartheid, repeatedly. He went to the Palestine Festival of Literature and got an eyeful of the occupation, from Hebron to Jerusalem, and wrote a piece for Aftonbladet, translated here. Excerpt:

What I saw during my trip was obvious: the state of Israel in its current form has no future. Moreover, those who advocate a two-state solution have not got it right.

In 1948, the year of my birth, the state of Israel proclaimed its independence on occupied land. There are no reasons whatsoever to call that a legitimate intervention according to international law. What happened was that Israel simply occupied Palestinian land. And the amount of land under possession is constantly growing, with in the war in 1967, and with the increasing number of settlements today. Once in a while, a settlement is torn down. But it is just for show. Soon enough, it pops up somewhere else. A two-state solution will not be the end of the historical occupation.

The same thing will happen in Israel that happened in South Africa during the Apartheid regime. The question is whether it will be possible to talk sense into the Israelis in order for them to willingly accept the end of their own Apartheid state. Or if it this has to take place against their own will. Nor can anyone tell us when this will happen. The final insurrection will of course start from within. But emergent political changes in Syria or Egypt will contribute. Equally important is that, probably sooner than later, the United States no longer will afford to pay up for this horrible military force that prevents stone throwing youths from having a normal life in freedom.

When change is coming, each Israeli has to decide for him- or herself if he or she is prepared to give up their privileges and live in a Palestinian state. During my trip, I met no anti-Semitism. What I did see was hatred against the occupants that is completely normal and understandable. To keep these two things separate is crucial….

The state of Israel can only expect to be defeated, like all occupying powers. The Israelis are destroying lives. But they are not destroying dreams. The fall of this disgraceful Apartheid system is the only thing conceivable, because it must be. 

The question, therefore, is not if but when it will happen. And in what way.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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