The Palestinian question

Image: Mohammed Abubakr


The creation of the Jewish State meant, from its inception, that every non-Jew would not have equal rights within its borders.

Why do the world's largest economies turn a blind eye to the crime of genocide against the Palestinian people? Simple, they are Arabs. Even more. Many centuries ago, they decided to settle in the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. They just didn't know that those lands were part of the spoils of the divine inheritance left by God to his children, as narrated throughout the pages of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible.

Had they been curious enough to leaf through the Holy Scriptures, they would have discovered that, on a fine day, outside the line of historical times,[I] God had called Abraham and ordered him to leave the city of Ur, to go to “the land that I will show you (…). I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and exalt your name, and you will be a source of blessings. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you; all the families of the earth will be blessed to you” (Genesis 12: 1-3).

Then God says to Abram: “This is the covenant I make with you: you will be the father of a multitude of peoples. From now on you will no longer be called Abram, but Abraham, for I will make you the father of a multitude of peoples (…). I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land in which you live as a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession, and I will be your God” (Genesis, 17:1-8).[ii]

When the first Zionist expeditions decided, at the end of the 19th century, to return to Palestine to claim their divine inheritance, they discovered that the Promised Land already had owners; it was not empty. Disappointed, they felt that the land, to which they were entitled by heavenly decree, had been usurped by a band of Palestinians. But they soon recovered from the disappointment they suffered. They remembered what their leaders had taught them, that is, that “the local inhabitants were not natives and therefore had no right to the land. On the contrary, it was a problem that they needed – and could – solve.”[iii]

And they solved it! As? Ben-Gurion, considered by Ilan Pappé as the great “mastermind of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine”,[iv] He confessed to his peers that he saw nothing immoral in compulsorily transferring the occupants of the Promised Land. And he really didn't see it, because, for him, the existence of the Jewish state in a land with 40% Arabs was impossible. “This composition,” he says, in 1947, “is not a solid basis for a Jewish state. And we have to face this new reality with all gravity and importance. Such a demographic balance calls into question our ability to maintain Jewish sovereignty… Only a state with at least 80% Jews is a stable and viable state.”[v]

For Ben-Gurion, it was necessary, therefore, to cleanse the land, that is, to expel the Palestinians so that the Jewish State could be safely established.

Therefore, “In December 2003, Benjamin Netanyahu recycled Ben-Gurion’s “alarming” statistics. “If the Arabs in Israel make up 40% of the population (…) it will be the end of the Jewish State. But 20% is also a problem (…). If the relationship with this 20% becomes a problem, the state has the right to employ extreme measures.”[vi]

Because of this policy of social segregation by the State of Israel, Palestinians never knew what peace is again. Nor could they. Since the 1920s, when the first Jewish settlers arrived in Palestine from Eastern Europe, millions of Palestinians have been expelled from their homes and lands. O Badil Resource Center estimates that there are more than seven million refugees and displaced people at the beginning of 2023;[vii] with no right to ever return.

What to do in this situation? Create a single state in which Jews and Palestinians can live together with equal political, social and economic rights? Or, create two states? Whatever the solution, reaching a consensus is highly unlikely. First, because Israel would not allow the return of almost a million Palestinians, expelled from their homes and lands since the great nakba.

Second, the State of Israel does not accept living together and sharing the same space with the Palestinians. This is what the Law of Return, approved in 1950, says, which establishes that any Jew in the world can migrate to Israel and obtain citizenship. Palestinian refugees, who were born in historic Palestine before 1948, and their descendants are not protected by this law; are prohibited from returning to their homeland.

More than 50 years later, the Israeli parliament approved, in 2003, the Citizenship Law. This law governs that spouses of Israeli citizens, coming from Palestinian territories or countries considered hostile, such as Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, are automatically prevented from receiving residence and citizenship visas. The reason for this exclusionary xenophobia is concern about the demographic balance, which has always worried Israeli leaders.

Ben-Gurion, as seen above, feared that a population of more than 20% non-Jews would be a threat to the creation of the Jewish state. Not only him, certainly, but everyone who came after him always admitted that an increase in the proportion of Palestinians in the country would not only change the demographic balance in the region, but would also put the existence of the Jewish State at risk.

In this sense, it can be said that the creation of the Jewish State meant, from its beginning, that every non-Jew would not have equal rights within its borders. The State of Israel is a state created for the Jews, exclusively, for the chosen people.

*Francisco Teixeira He is a professor at the Regional University of Cariri (URCA) and a retired professor at the State University of Ceará (UECE). Author, among other books, of Thinking with Marx: a critical-commented reading of Capital (Rehearsal).


[I] In fact, the biblical narrative of the Exodus finds neither historical nor archaeological confirmation, as demonstrated by researchers Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Siberman, whose excavation work in Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon reveals that the exodus from Egypt , the conquest of Canaan by Joshua and the Empire of David and Solomon, is much more a reflection of the world of authors of later times than actual historical facts (Finkelstein, Israel & Silberman, Neil Asher. The unearthed Bible: a new archaeological vision of ancient Israel and the origins of its sacred texts. Petrópolis: Editora Vozes, 2023.

[ii] Holy Bible. São Paulo: 2ed. 1971.

[iii] Pappe, Ilan. Ten myths about Israel. Rio de Janeiro: Tabla, 2022.p. 91.

[iv] ______. Palestine's ethnic cleansing. São Paulo: Sudermann, 2016.p.

[v] Idem.Ibidem .p.68

[vi] Idem.Ibdem.p.285.

[vii] Idem, Idem.p.215.

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