Potential Defense Secretary Mattis: Settlements Could Turn Israel Into ‘Apartheid’ State

Potential Defense Secretary Mattis: Settlements Could Turn Israel Into ‘Apartheid’ State | Insists status quo in Israel ‘unsustainable’

While he hasn’t actually been nominated to the position yet, former Centcom commander Gen. James Mattis is being talked up today as the likely “front-runner” for the position of Defense Secretary, a fact which has Israeli media outlets warning about 2013 comments he made critical of the settlement enterprise and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

The comments, made at the Aspen Security Forum, warned that Mattis saw the status quo is Israel as “unsustainable,” warning that Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank are threatening the two-state solution, and might ultimately make it impossible to keep that as an option.

Mattis was clear that he viewed the settlements as a threat to Israel’s status as a “Jewish and democratic state,” insisting that an Israel which abandons the two-state solution and keeps expanding the settlements would have to face either losing its Jewish majority to the large number of Arabs in the occupied territories, or “you say that Arabs don’t get to vote – apartheid.”

While the general argument about the two-state solution itself is a pretty common one in Israel, mentioning apartheid as a possibility, even if it is by definition, tends to fire up the Israeli right-wing and fuel a furious backlash. This is particularly true on the far-right, where the combination of annexation and Arabs not getting the vote tends to be the go-to solution.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • gussos

    America is doing everything possible to make it an apartheid bastion with billions in aid,cover for war crimes at the UN AND ON AND ON.

    • Mark Thomason

      Yes, and America did the same with South Africa. It did not stop until the entire rest of the world turned on South Africa and us for supporting them. Then the last ally of South Africa was Israel. Surprise.

  • CuriousNC

    He also said that a lack of a peace deal causes Arabs that would work with the US to not do so. Mattis said: “I paid a military security price every day as the commander of CentCom
    because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel, and that
    moderates all the moderate Arabs who want to be with us, because they
    can’t come out publicly in support of people who don’t show respect for
    the Arab Palestinians.”

    This is common knowledge and he didn’t apologize for it like Petraeus did. It would be interesting to see if he gets chosen. He is at least right on this issue. There probably will be opposition to him based on his informed opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  • lordbaldric

    I don’t know how anyone can deny that these are just the facts.

  • eric

    Democracy can be anything . Israel could have a electoral college or only allow taxpayers to vote . don’t have to let the uneducated , criminals or even women vote . Arabs should agree surely to that . The Baltic countries we allowed to join NATO don’t let anybody vote unless they can trace their ancestry back before 1940 . What if Israel runs the opposite must be able to trace ancestry since 1948 . Democracy is what the democrats say it is

    • Mark Thomason

      Voting can be organized in many ways, but not all voting is “democracy.” Legitimacy from the consent of the governed is the key, and some voting patterns are meant to avoid that, not get it.

  • pensword

    The first reasonable candidate I’ve seen.

    Bring him in while you can, President Trump!