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+972's Person of the Year: The Settler

The settlement movement registered major victories this year on various fronts. Its representatives are reaching new heights in politics, the judiciary and the media. One out of five residents east of the Green Line is a settler. The expansion of settlements continues unabated, and – most importantly – settlers are in full control of the Israeli national narrative. In 2012, as more and more observers declared the death of the two-state solution, the settler became the new normal.

By Lisa Goldman and Mairav Zonszein

For decades, the settler movement and Israel’s secular, largely Ashkenazi urban elite have been playing a game of “pretend.” The secular political elite claimed the settlers were religious ideologues, obstacles to peace and not representative of mainstream Israeli society. The settlers, meanwhile, charged that an effete minority ruling class ignored their contributions and commitment to the state.

But all the while, successive governments headed by secular, purportedly liberal leaders tacitly expedited settlement growth even as the secular, purportedly liberal judiciary handed down rulings that effectively sanctioned settlements, which are built in contravention of international law. The settlers, meanwhile, became increasingly confident as they rose to occupy important positions at the highest levels of the state’s key institutions – the legislative branch (Knesset), the executive branch (the governing coalition), the judiciary and the army.

In 2012, the game became reality: The settlers are the new ruling elite of Israel.

According to all the polls, Israelis will elect an unprecedented number of Members of Knesset (MKs) from far-right parties, even as Likud’s relative moderates have been ousted and replaced by settlers and ex-settlers with radical political agendas.

A settler was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2012, while a former justice declared that the West Bank was not actually occupied territory.

Israel’s fourth estate, too, is partly “occupied” by the settlers. This year, Shlomo Ben-Zvi, a far-right publisher and settler who owns the frankly nationalist daily Makor Rishon, bought Maariv – one of Israel’s three veteran daily newspapers. While Maariv took a right-of-center editorial line in recent years, for decades it was Yedioth Ahronoth’s chief competitor for the title of Israel’s most mainstream daily newspaper.

Throughout the year, over and over, settler violence – price tag attacks on Palestinian property, unprovoked violence against Palestinians, even flat-out murder – has gone unpunished. Worse, it rarely elicits public condemnation or even, except for a few high-profile incidents, extensive media coverage.

The settlers have influenced the national narrative to the point that politicians who talk about peace, the two-state solution and negotiations risk becoming irrelevant.

For all these reasons, +972 Magazine has chosen The Settler as its Person of the Year for 2012.

The judiciary

In 2012, Judge Noam Sohlberg was appointed to the Supreme Court; he was the first settler to be elevated to this position. Eyal Clyne wrote in an article for +972 that Sohlberg “has a proven record of controversial anti-liberal rulings in lower courts, some of which were later reversed.” His appointment resulted from “… sustained pressure on the Judicial Selection Committee, the body responsible for appointment of judges in Israel.” The right-wing coalition brought the committee to a deadlock, all-but forcing it to select conservative judges.

Also this year, a committee headed by former Supreme Court justice Edmund Levy concluded in its report on the legal status of the West Bank that it was not occupied territory but rather administered territory. The report also stipulated that illegal outposts should be declared legal. The Levy Commission was appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. While the Levy Report does not contribute anything new to the Israeli discourse, it does offer the stamp of legitimacy to what was once considered an extremist narrative.

The legislature and the government

Leader of the National Religious Party (“Jewish Home”) Naftali Bennett. Bennett, and not the leaders of the moderate center, is now seen as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s main rival (photo: Yotam Ronen / activestills.org)

According to all the polls, when Israelis cast their ballots on January 22, they will send an unprecedented number of elected representatives from the far right to the Knesset – settlers, former settlers and supporters of the settler movement. These include Moshe Feiglin, who led the anti-Oslo disobedience campaign in the Knesset, and Naftali Bennett, former head of the Yesha council and today head of Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home), the party of the national religious settler movement. Bennett, and not the leaders of the center or the left, is seen as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s main rival in these elections.

Avigdor Lieberman, who recently resigned as foreign minister after it was announced he would be indicted for corruption, is still head of Yisrael Beiteinu, which has merged with Likud. In other words, Lieberman, resident of the settlement of Nokdim, is now the deputy leader of Israel’s ruling party.

In the upcoming elections, a party called Otzma LeYisrael (Strong Israel) is running on a platform rooted in ideals of racism and violence. With a list of candidates that includes Aryeh Eldad and notorious Kahanists like Itamar Ben-Gvir and Michael Ben-Ari, at least half the polls show the party is expected to pass the threshold and gain two or three seats in the Knesset.

With Likud-Beiteinu polling at about 35 seats and the far-right parties at 15 or 16 seats, and given that Netanyahu is all-but guaranteed to win the coming election, it is very likely that he will form his next coalition in the 120-seat Knesset with the far-right parties, rather than the center and center-left parties — like Hatnuah, headed by Tzipi Livni, and Shelly Yachimovich’s Labor Party. But even if Netanyahu ends up with a more centrist government, the far right will be the dominant ideological force in the next Knesset.

Politics and the national narrative

Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich won’t criticize the settlements publicly (photo: Yotam Ronen / activestills.org)

The success of the settler movement is reflected in changes to the national conversation. Labor leader Yachimovich, who was elected to lead a putatively liberal-left party, will not touch the issues of the occupation and negotiations with the Palestinians. Nor will Stav Shaffir, one of the faces of the J14 social justice movement, who is now running for a Knesset seat on the Labor list. Both women know that the national narrative has swung so far to the right that mentioning the occupation will make them politically irrelevant. Yachimovich, a former journalist, a social democrat and a feminist, once voted for Hadash. Now, after entering political life, she says she supports the accreditation of a university in the settlement of Ariel, wants the budget for settlements to remain untouched and announced she would not rule out joining a government coalition headed by Likud.

Shaffir has not taken a public position on the settlements. The J14 movement that she helped lead in the summer of 2011 refused to draw a connection between Israel’s wealth gap and the funding shifted to the settlements, lest they make the movement “political.” She continues to focus on issues of domestic social injustice, completely ignoring the conflict.

Yet the traditional focus on the center seems somewhat irrelevant, as a new role model of the Israeli Sabra emerges in figures like Bennett, who has been receiving quite a bit of publicity lately, including a feature in the New York Times. The cherubic, youthful-looking Ra’anana resident is a former director general of the Council of Judea and Samaria; prior to that he was Netanyahu’s chief of staff, when the Likud was in the opposition. Born in Israel to American parents, Bennett served as an officer in an elite combat unit before going on to make his fortune in hi-tech, which is practically an Israeli Everyman story for men of his background. But Bennett, the Zionist patriot, recently said in a television interview that as an army reserve officer he would refuse orders to evacuate settlements.

Refusing orders has long been a red line that few dared to cross; politicizing one’s army service was considered a taboo in mainstream Israeli society that many thought made one unelectable. Yariv Oppenheimer, the former director of Peace Now, continued to serve his annual reserve duty in the West Bank even as he devoted his career to ending the occupation and eyed a career in politics. Oppenheimer ran unsuccessfully for a place on the Labor party list this year but was sidelined by internal party politics; if he had been a refusenik, his candidacy would have been unacceptable for a mainstream center-left party. But while leftists are marginalized for vowing to refuse service in the occupied territories — and are handed jail sentences for making good on their promise — Bennett’s popularity and poll numbers seem unaffected by his controversial statement. If anything, he has become more popular. The ground has indeed shifted.

Settler violence and an atmosphere of impunity

With Israelis from Tel Rumeida settlement looking on from above, Israeli soldiers arrest two Palestinians and an international volunteer after confrontations between settlers, the Al Azzeh family who had just harvested their olives, and the military, October 22, 2012. The arrests followed the first time the Al Azzeh family was able to harvest their olives since 2007. (photo by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

The past year saw a precipitous rise in settler violence against Palestinian civilians. Some of the more egregious attacks received wide media coverage, but the settlers seem to operate in an atmosphere of impunity. Only a handful of indictments have been filed for uprooting olive trees, vandalizing and burning mosques, firebombing cars or accosting and beating Palestinians so badly that they require hospitalization – for no reason other than their being Palestinian.

In August, settlers threw a firebomb at a Palestinian family traveling in a taxi near the settlement of Bat Ayin. The entire family was wounded and required hospitalization, including an infant. The parents and driver received third-degree burns. That same week, a mob of Jewish teenagers assaulted and beat unconscious Jamal Julani, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy from East Jerusalem,  while he was walking on a popular downtown pedestrian mall in West Jerusalem. Other reported incidents of violence committed by settlers this year include the severe assault of an Israeli Ta’ayush activist in the South Hebron Hills. The activist testified to being blindfolded and beaten by a group of settlers. Just this week, five settlers accused of tracking IDF activities in order to thwart evacuation of outposts were let off with just community service and up to three months in jail.

According to reports published earlier this year by EU officials in Jerusalem, settler violence more than tripled over the last three years. Yesh Din, a human rights organization, reports that since 2005, fewer than 9 percent of police investigations into Palestinian complaints of settler violence have resulted in indictments.

The consequences of the rise of the settlers as the new elite

Construction of the new settlement of Leshim on the lands of the West Bank village of Kafr ad Dik, near Salfit, December 7, 2012. (photo: Activestills)

With the rise of the settlers, the once-radical idea that Israel should annex or maintain its military occupation of the West Bank indefinitely has gained new currency in relatively mainstream circles. Government approval for settlement expansion continues unabated. The taboo on discussing one state in liberal circles has been lifted. In 2012 we saw a flurry of op-eds declaring the two-state solution dead, with the writers making the declaration either with satisfaction or with regret.

Judea and Samaria Council leader Dani Dayan declared in a New York Times op-ed that the settlers’ “…presence in all of Judea and Samaria — not just in the so-called settlement blocs — is an irreversible fact.” Likud MK Danny Danon published a book called “Israel: The Will to Prevail,” in which he sketches out his solution to the conflict: annexation of the West Bank and no Palestinian state of any kind. One Haaretz columnist has declared the two-state solution dead and painfully admits the majority in Israel seek one state; the nature of that state remains unclear.

The emerging settlement reality has also reverberated within the American Jewish community. This is evidenced, among other indicators, by the fact that Peter Beinart, considered to come from within the mainstream Zionist, “pro-Israel” American Jewish establishment, made waves when he called for a boycott of Israeli settlement products. In a New York Times op-ed from March, Beinart argued that this is the only way to save the Zionist project.

This was the year the settler narrative regarding Israel’s control over the West Bank became institutionalized: the Education Ministry mandated school trips to Hebron for high school students. The next generations of soldiers and leaders is being taught that the territory once regarded by the majority as temporarily occupied pending a negotiated solution, is actually part of the Israeli birthright.

The rise of the settlers is a result of state policies. This has been the case since the 1970s, when the government began shifting funding toward Jewish settlement of the occupied territories, turning it into a major national enterprise that preoccupied successive prime ministers. In 1993, fewer than 100,000 Jews lived in the occupied Palestinian territories. Today, there are half a million; thus, almost one out of 10 Israeli Jews is a settler, and one out of five people living east of the fading Green Line is a settler.

The political power of the settlers has extended to the judiciary, the powerful security establishment, the media and the business elite. They will decide Israel’s future – or perhaps its fate.

Read Also:
+972 Magazine’s People of the Year 2012: Bloggers’ picks
+972 Magazine’s Person of the Year 2011: Woman activist of the Arab world
+972 People of the Year 2011: Bloggers’ picks
+972 Magazine’s Person of the Year 2010: Abdullah Abu Rahmah
 +972 People of the Year 2010: Bloggers’ picks

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Piotr Berman

      For a while I thought that settlers deserve a song celebrating their achievements. I even have a tune and the first lines of lyrics

      Settlers, settlers,
      living in the West Bank,
      Causing a commotion,
      coz they are so awesome

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kGDok46ADw

      Reply to Comment
    2. directrob

      Good choice and well documented … but was and is (Negev) not the same going on within the green line? Are settlers really special? Are the courts and laws in Israel when property is concerned not often a means to deny Justice for non Jews?

      Reply to Comment
    3. Eitan

      Really? The problem with +972 is that they let their singular ideological focus blind them to everything else. I mean does anyone think that the settlers are worse than Assad who obviously is the person of the year. A monster who has slaughtered more than forty thousand people is so much worse than settlers who, at worst are building homes and perhaps (in rare instances) uprooting olive groves. Everything must be kept in context. People can always be moved. Towns can always be destroyed and populations moved. People can never be brought back to life. Part of the reason the left is dead in Israel is the shrill hysterics of the left. The left’s focus on the settlers as evil people is both wrong and politically stupid. Most Israelis want a two-state solution but unfortunately the right’s predictions have all come true and the left has been proven wrong time and again. But the answer is not to fall into a cynical abyss where you spout nonsense. The answer must be a true proud Zionist answer. That Zionism would never call for the control of those who don’t want us! That the Jews may have a right to the land but we have more of a right to our conscience and cannot continue ruling another people indefinitely without their permission! That the whole concept of self-determination falls apart when you are a minority! But once you start trashing Israel to the world like Olmert does you will lose any chance of making a difference. I am not saying we should whitewash Israel’s mistakes but we should keep a sense of proportion. I mean I am proud that the most maligned segment of my country is hated because they are building and planting! In the grand scheme of things building is usually good and, more than that, it is reversible.

      Reply to Comment
      • sh

        No, Assad’s Monster of the Year.

        Reply to Comment
    4. sh

      “but was and is (Negev) not the same going on within the green line? Are settlers really special?”

      You’re right Directrob. In fact the left that’s to the left of the so-called leftist parties that have governed Israel in the past have ignored the signs from the get-go. A complete cut-off between secular left and the inheritors of Mafdal-type religious right ensured that the settler movement could continue down the road it chose unimpeded while Peace Now and Yesh Gvul stamped their feet and pouted. Now it no longer matters whether a person lives in Ra’anana or Nokdim. Both Yaakov Amidror (the national security adviser Bibi chose for himself just under two years ago) and Naftali Bennett live in Ra’anana, there are Gar’inim Torani’im in Jaffa and Nahariya doing outreach and grass-roots teaching in their neighbourhoods, American Christian Zionists pay the JNF to plant a forest for them on the Negev lands of Al Araqib and one can no longer tell from geography who is pro-settler and who is not. In addition many secular, erstwhile left-wingers have newly modern orthodox children and grandchildren that go to national religious schools. The settler should have been the left’s Person of the Year when when Rabbi Levinger moved into downtown Hebron.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Berl

      “Most Israelis want a two-state solution”. Funny. DO you really believe it?
      “We will give you the 99% of the WB”…the 99% that we are ready and that we accept to negotiate

      Reply to Comment
    6. Danny

      For me, the Israeli of the year award goes to Bibi (for all the wrong reasons, of course). Time after time in 2012, he managed to put Israel in the worst light possible, bringing the state to the brink of illegitimacy. All that will be needed in 2013 is a little nudge to finally turn Israel into a full-blown pariah state. Bravo to Bibi for shaping Israel in his own image – an ugly, stupid, ignorant state with racist and fascist undertones.
      .
      As for the settlers – they have always been there, pulling the strings behind the scenes, slowly bringing Israel closer to the theocratic state that they so desire. Nothing new here, and hence, in my opinion they do not deserve to be person of the year.

      Reply to Comment
      • XYZ

        Israel is nowhere near being a pariah state. The “progressives” who keep claiming that it is are merely projecting THEIR values, which are those of a small minority, on the rest of humanity. They believe everyone thinks like they do. The large majority of people in the world don’t care about the Palestinians, don’t care about the settlements, and while thinking that a 2-state-solution sounds fair and nice, realize that it is just not in the works, and that the Arab-Israeli conflict is just another one of those intractable conflicts that has no solution, and that the only reason that European governments and others pay as much attention to it is due to Arab petrodollars greasing certain palms.
        Israel has diplomatic relations with more nations than at any time in its history and flourishing trade relations WITH EUROPE, North America and the growing economies of India, China, the rest of the Far East and Latin America, plus Africa. South Africa, whose ruling party, the ANC is very hostile to Israel, still had (as I understand it) an Israeli company in charge of security at the World Cup games held there.
        Israel is pulling ahead of the Arab states economically, socially and politically all the time, whereas the Arab states are tearing themselves apart trying to decide whether they want to have a reactionary theocratic regime in power or not. This is the reality too many “progressives” refuse to see out of ideological blindness.

        Reply to Comment
        • XYZ

          I should add that there is no version of the Muslim Brotherhood in Israel. NO ONE in the religious community, including Religious Zionist, “settlers” (as Danny says) or even the Haredim, want a “theocratic state”. Everyone recongnizes the state is essentially secular and that a large part of the population is secular and religious coercion does not work. “Theocracy” means rule by religious clerics. The religious Zionists I know do not want this. These groups DO want a more assertive Jewish culture in public life, but this must be done without coercion. WE all understand that we live in an era of pluralism and this is the way to go for the future.

          Reply to Comment
          • Yonatan

            Au contraire, Rabbi Dov Lior states that democracy is:

            “Idol worship of our time. Once there was Baal and Ashtera [Biblical pagan gods worshipped by Israelites and their neighbors], now there is democracy. Instead of being a form of government, it’s become a value in itself. This is fine for people who live a life of licentiousness, because they want no limit on themselves or their appetites.”

            Reply to Comment
          • XYZ

            That’s right, take one statement by one person and then extrapolate it to supposedly representing everyone else

            Reply to Comment
        • Danny

          Your optimism is truly admirable. Too bad it’s not grounded in reality. South Africa is on the verge of sending Israel’s ambassador home, so no reason to feel good about that country. True, we still largely control the U.S. government (even having veto power on secretary nominations), but that will change eventually. Nothing lasts forever, especially a disfunctional relationship like that of Israel and the U.S., where essentially the tip of the tail is constantly wagging the dog; eventually, the dog will get pissed.
          .
          Anyway, I’m glad you’re feeling good about Israel’s direction. So vote for Bibi and sit back and enjoy the show; it will be interesting, that’s for sure.

          Reply to Comment
        • That’s right XYZ, American aid to Israel is being greased by Arab petrodollars.

          Reply to Comment
        • David

          Reality:

          A showdown between Israel and America is coming and it’s been gathering steam for some time:

          “[The] Obama administration “no longer seems to see Israel as a ‘special’ or ‘extraordinary’ state in the Middle East, with which the U.S. must maintain a different dialogue than with other states. ‘The feeling is that the dialogue and coordination with the Arab states and with Europe is today no less important to the U.S. and perhaps more so than with Israel,’ the official said.” (Ha’aretz, 8 May 2009)

          In 2010, Join Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen received a bombshell briefing from senior military officers. They were dispatched by Commander General David Petraeus to brief the Pentagon on intelligence that Israeli intransigence in the peace process was jeopardizing American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and America was perceived as weak, ineffectual, and unable to stand up to Israel.

          “ ‘Israel is supposed to be working with us, not against us,’ ” Foreign Policy quoted an [American] intelligence officer as saying. ‘If they want to shed blood, it would help a lot if it was their blood and not ours…. [T]hey’re supposed to be a strategic asset. Well…there are a lot of people now, important people, who just don’t think that’s true.’” (Ha’aretz, 13 January 2012)

          “Former U.S. officials say CIA considers Israel to be Mideast’s biggest spy threat” (Ha’aretz, 28 July 2012)

          The Associated Press and Barak Ravid | Dec.18, 2012.| 11:03 PM Haaretz.

          Excerpt:
          “The United States has slammed Israel for continuing to announce new settlement construction on land claimed by the Palestinians in an unusually rare and blunt criticism of its top Mideast ally.

          “The State Department accused Israel on Tuesday of engaging in a ‘pattern of provocative action’ that runs counter to statements from Israeli leaders that they are committed to peace. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said ‘We are deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action. These repeated announcements and plans of new construction run counter to the cause of peace. Israel’s leaders continually say that they support a path towards a two-state solution, yet these actions only put that goal further at risk.’ “

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Wouldn’t be the first time. These are two different countries with different sets of interests and stress in the relationship is pretty natural. Unlike some popular misconceptions Israel is not an American colony and frankly America isn’t a very reliable patron.

            Reply to Comment
          • Philos

            “Isn’t a very reliable patron.” Indeed, there are South American right-wingers are inclined to disagree as well as Filipino, Indonesian, South Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Egyptian, Tunisian, Iranian, and Iraqi autocrats who disagree with your statement vis-a-vis the US as a reliable patron for Israel.
            .
            What is remarkable about the US relationship with Israel is that it is so anomalous in international relations history.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            For the moment supporting Israel is the cheapest way to avoiding massively destructive wars between Israel and the Arabs. The US will dump Israel the moment it stops caring about maintaining the stability of the oil and gas supply from the Middle East. This isn’t yet in sight but it also isn’t inconceivable. This approach is what drives the US towards pushing for a peace process. The point isn’t to make peace but to pacify the region at the expense of Israeli concessions, hence the in-built stress in the Israeli-American relationship.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >‘Israel is supposed to be working with us, not against us’

            Since USA first and foremost took care of their own interests (ex. withholding information which Pollard had passed and which was supposed to be transferred by official means acc. to agreements) there is really no reason why Israel would be obliged to take care of American interests while neglecting her own.

            Reply to Comment
    7. berl

      “Everyone recongnizes the state is essentially secular”…for one part of his population. when u leave the ‘zion planet’ join us on the earth

      Reply to Comment
    8. The settler ideology, which is often Yahwehist, has attached to the State through the latter’s failure to prosecute or even seriously investigate acts against Bank residents, and through direct financial support of the settlements. The security reason for settlement has morphed into divine purpose, with Bibi along for the ride. XYZ, above, claims respect for pluralism, but this is not evidenced in the Bank. Nor, for that matter, can one get married in Israel outside of religious sanction. Secular Jews not wanting or able to get approval for a religious wedding must leave the State to marry; that is hardly equal protection.

      I see no hope until the inevitable crises on the Bank are well underway. Those who require a handbook from God will listen to nothing save that book, and certainly not the wails of the other race which, in any case, deserves what they get via sins of their fathers and generally not being of the chosen.

      I shall no longer cower before the necessary ignornace of others’ salvation. I shall not be silent because of the past mutilations of history. And I shall not bury others because others have been buried.

      A brave choice, 972.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        > Those who require a handbook from God will listen to nothing save that book

        And what would you say about those who claim that no matter what they do – good or bad – it’s fine because it is all prescribed and people carry no responsibility for their own deeds as long as they are done in the name of book/god?

        To whom these people would listen and how one should deal with them?

        Reply to Comment
    9. Peter Hindrup

      A thousand and more years of peoples history of living in Palestine did not prevent the slaughter and eviction of the indigenous people. How then do the Israelis imagine that a bare 60 years of occupation and a few houses give them any rights?

      Whether they leave, if any country is stupid enough to have them, or die is of little consequence, but the possibility of Israel lasting for one hundred years is minuscule.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        whoever ends Israel ends themselves. that goes a long way.

        Reply to Comment
        • David

          Sigh. Only a Zionist zealot and/or a complete fool believes this nonsense.

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Sigh away. MAD during the Cold War must have really left you sighing. Your opinion of me isn’t particularly important, just that you believe that I am completely serious and not alone.

            Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        People are protected not by rights but by nuclear missiles.

        Stalin.

        Reply to Comment
    10. if we are 20% of the J&S population, “one out of five people living east of the fading Green Line is a settler”, that is equivalent to the situation inside the Green Line with the Arabs being the one-fifth. So, what’s wrong with this mirror image? Why do we have to leave, unless you imply the Arabs have to leave Israel, which you don’t? What have the Arabs that makes them better than the Jews?

      Reply to Comment
      • Aaron Gross

        1. Most Arab communities in Israel were established legally; most post-1967 Jewish settlements were, arguably, established illegally.

        2. Transferring the settlers would preserve their Israeli citizenship; transferring Israeli Arabs would strip them of Israeli citizenship.

        3. Transferring Israeli settlers en masse might become necessary to end the war, if Palestinians ever become willing to accept Israel’s existence; transferring Israeli Arabs en masse will not be necessary to end the war.

        Reply to Comment
        • I agree on all counts, save the “existence of Israel” one which, at least in the Bank PA, has already been affirmed.

          Reply to Comment
    11. David

      Prophetic comments by three eminent Jews:

      Lessing J. Rosenwald, president of the American Council for Judaism, 1944: “The concept of a racial state – the Hitlerian concept- is repugnant to the civilized world, as witness the fearful global war in which we are involved. . . , I urge that we do nothing to set us back on the road to the past. To project at this time the creation of a Jewish state or commonwealth is to launch a singular innovation in world affairs which might well have incalculable consequences.”

      Albert Einstein, 1939: “There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people. Despite the great wrong that has been done us [in the western world], we must strive for a just and lasting compromise with the Arab people…. Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.”

      Lord Edwin Montagu, the only Jewish member of the UK cabinet at the time, objected vehemently to the 1917 Balfour Declaration: “All my life I have been trying to get out of the ghetto and you want to force me back there again”. He was overruled by his colleagues, some of them avowed anti-Semites.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        Rosenwald had to resign from the anti-war ‘Anerica first’ committee due to anti-Semitism. He spent the rest of his life proving how ‘American’ Jews can be by embracing assimilationism, which is what ACJ is all about.

        Einstein was a supporter of various strands of Zionism. In any case, no one wants a permanent state of war, but there are disagreements of what kind of peace to pursue. In any case this is all theoretical as long as the Arabs are unwilling to accept a Jewish State.

        Montagu was the English version of Rosenwald. He was under the impression that coming out against particular Jewish interests would bolster his position as an Englishman. He was terrified that the anti-Semites would boot him out of England were a Jewish state to rise.

        Reply to Comment
    12. Udi Schayat

      Last week, the leftists published a small mistake, incorrect thing made by Liberman few years ago and made it like it is the MOST important crime in the world.
      Leftist promote it by big head lines in “Yediot Acharonot” newspaper, in the very top of first page, in VERY large letters with a picture of the “criminal”, published every day like a Swiss clock.
      It looks like it is more important than rebels in Syria killing others (rebels terrorists started the fight and leftist support them, like they did in Libya by removing the GOOD Kadafi- references are available).

      Reply to Comment
      • XYZ

        You must understand that in the mentality of the Israeli Leftist Establishment (which was fashioned by its Marxist forefathers who still have the mentality of that ideology while having thrown out its socalism) is that anyone who opposes the Left is essentially illegimate and inherently criminal. Many people think that Israel is a miniature version of the US and thus its democracy is a based on an American-British model which preaches tolerance for all views and the concept of a “loyal opposition”. Unfortunately, the founders of Israel’s political establishment did NOT come out of this worldview, but rather from an Eastern European one, which is far, far less tolerant. Please don’t misunderstand me, Israel HAS become more democratic with the collapse of the Left and its ideological bankruptcy, but its anti-democratic tendencies and mentality still manifest themselves, as you indicated with their demonization of Lieberman, who is ultimately, NOT ONE OF THEM.

        Reply to Comment
        • mudplanet

          Right. As Israel becomes more racist and more like apartheid South Africa, it has become “more democratic.”

          Reply to Comment
    13. Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld

      The article states: “The next generations of soldiers and leaders is being taught that the territory once regarded by the majority as temporarily occupied pending a negotiated solution, is actually part of the Israeli birthright.” I don’t like the price tag movement, the torching of mosques, or the uprooting of olive trees any more than any right thinking person does. And I abhor the attacks on Palestinian Arabs mentioned in this article. But it is certainly not true that Israel doesn’t punish the perpetrators, in contrast to the Palestinian Arabs, who celebrate Arab attacks on Israelis and even name streets after terrorists. What’s more, it IS true that all of Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, is the Israeli birthright. Title to this territory was given to the Jews by the 1920 San Remo Resolution, the 1922 Mandate for Palestine which called for the Jews to be encouraged to settle closely on the land and was ratified by all 52 members of the League of Nations, and the Anglo-American Convention, a treaty by which the United States ratified the Mandate for Palestine, incorporating it word for word. The rights of all peoples given to them by previous legal instruments is protected by Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, a fact which many of the U.N. members seem to have forgotten but the rest of the world should not. The documents I have mentioned are readily available on the Internet. The writers of this article should read them, and so should some of those who are commenting here.

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    14. Bronxman

      138 vs 9! And of the 9 one was Israel and 4 were minute specs in the Pacific Ocean. One doesn’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. It seems that the condor has been replaced by the ostrich.

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    15. Yosef H

      Wow thanks for making my day. I am feeling great knowing that this far left pro Islamist website is scared of the evil settler’s lol…..

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