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The utopian vision of 'security' is killing Israel

Somewhere along the way, security for Israeli Jews became utopia: it will never be achieved, but it exacts an infinite price of destruction for its own sake, on the road to nowhere.

Isaiah Berlin’s seminal critique of utopia holds that no matter how noble the idea at hand, the assumption that one truth can be universal and overriding denies the reality of conflicting, but equally vital, human truths. We may believe all humans agree on the right to life and physical security. But we also cherish other human rights and freedoms, and sometimes these are in conflict. Acknowledging and struggling with that tension makes us human; automatically trampling one value for the other results in disaster.

The notion of perfection requires us to suspend other basic human and political values to achieve it. This is Berlin’s point in the famous metaphor: to make the perfect omelet, there is no such thing as too many broken eggs.

Nineteenth century ideologies of both the right and the left based on utopian visions led to Nazism and Communism, which perpetrated grand-scale destruction of human lives and minds.

In 21st century Israel, a utopian notion of security has evolved, perhaps as a natural outcome of Jewish history.  Utopian security in this vision is the total absence of Arab-on-Jewish violence or even anger. In utopian security, there would never be attacks from rogue cells, unbalanced individuals, or borderline ethno/national-cum-criminal/hooliganism. No non-Jewish adult or child would ever throw a stone at an Israeli, nor at Jews anywhere in the entire world. No scrap of anti-Semitic literature would ever be found in any Palestinian hands. Naturally, this serves the interests of the right and often mainstream centrists, who argue that Israel must not make peace or even negotiate as long as our security is threatened, including psychologically.

On a personal level, I dream of a world where nobody hurts anyone, Jew or non-Jew, for any reason.

But to place utopia at the center of a political project, to predicate political solutions on a fantasy and end all creative debate by pulling out perfect security as a trump card – usually as proof of why the search for peace is in vain – is a grave historic mistake and an injustice to all people in the region. It is shamelessly hypocritical, because Jewish Israeli security in this vision is, of course, unidirectional. The fantasy rests on an absurd denial of human nature the world over.

Expectations have gone overboard as a result. Daily conversations over coffee often end with some version of “how we can negotiate when their textbooks don’t even show Israel on the map?” because that too, is a breach of utopian – psychological – security.

The zero sum complex: Either utopian security or total destruction

In current Israeli Jewish discourse there are only two options: utopian security, or full-on existential destruction. There is nothing in between. A reserve soldier expressed this well in a recent op ed in Ynet (Hebrew), explaining that he was “proud to serve in Judea and Samaria,” because he helped people celebrate the Seder without getting murdered, prevented the stabber or the suicide-bomb-belt [sic] from crossing the Green Line, prevented murder and harm to human life. The entire article was hypothetical, as I understood it – he never told an anecdote or referred to real-life events. Yet he knew that his presence had saved Jews, because there had been massacres in 1929. In his mind, the fact that there had been no attacks while he served was the same as saying he prevented a scenario of certain and total destruction. This despite the sharp decline in terror-related casualties and attacks over the last seven years to the point where the numbers can be measured in dozens, if that. By comparison, road accidents kill between 370-600 Israelis annually. Criminal murders number between 100-200 annually.

Yes, there are very real security violations from external enemies. But these are not an existential threat. Yes, there is an Iranian nuclear threat – just like the one I grew up with under the shadow of the USSR, which actually had the bomb. When I was in third grade, after a particularly impressive social studies class, my friends and I discussed somberly in the school lunchroom that we probably wouldn’t live to see the turn of the millennium; we were told there were enough nuclear weapons to blow the whole world up 10 times over. There were nuclear fallout shelter signs everywhere.

I lived with it then, and I can live with it now. This is unrelated to the increasingly desperate need to reach a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It’s ironic therefore that the right has succeeded in branding the left as naïve. What’s truly dismaying is that the left has fallen for it.

It’s time to inject some unapologetic realism into the debate.

Sacrifices at the altar of utopia

When security for Israel became utopia, there were two profound ramifications: the paralysis of the peace process and the simultaneous de-legitimization of the broad left camp (inside Israel and in the diaspora), particularly over the last decade – with the left’s stuttering acquiescence.

Peace process sacrificed to security. Since the outbreak of the Second Intifada (and in truth, beginning in the Oslo years of the mid-1990s), Israelis have come to believe that peace – an umbrella term that they frequently confuse with the process (the Oslo Accords, Camp David negotiations) –  actually harms security. The notion was injected by the hard right, those responsible for the infamous “Bring Oslo criminals to justice!” narrative. The notion that peace-related policy causes terror caught on in the mainstream, and then stuck.

In the 2000s, the players changed slightly but the paradigm remained. The 1990s notion of ‘peace’ was replaced in Israeli minds by unilateral Israeli withdrawals. The 2000 IDF withdrawal from Lebanon was viewed as the cause of rocket fire in the north (as if Israel didn’t suffer casualties and rockets for 18 years before that). Dismantling settlements from Gaza became the reason for the electoral victory of the Hamas, rocket fire from Gaza, and the capture of Gilad Shalit – all violations of non-existent, utopian security and the basis for the policy that Israel does not talk while under fire.

Before he was murdered, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin coined a pithy notion of advancing the peace process as if there is no terrorism and fighting terrorism as if there is no peace process. But the concept died with him.  What seemed so logical to Rabin – rejecting the interdependence of peace and security – seems impossible for Israelis to comprehend 17 years later.

The left assists its own de-legitimization. The left has completely failed to mount an effective argument on the question of security; the typical answers have probably done more damage than good. Intellectual, moral, legal, political, pragmatic or rational angles are smashed apart in daily conversations, by the inevitable silver bullet: how can we make peace when they conduct terror?

That was the question that defined the decade. The left failed to dispel the utopian paradigm, and instead became defensive. Failing to provide an adequate answer to the demand for perfect security, the left lost political relevance in Israel.

Instead, typical left-wing responses were reactive, never proactive – envision a whole figurative political camp trembling whenever the issue is raised, which is all the time.

When backed into a corner, the left usually proffers one of three main arguments: first, the occupation is the source of anger, hatred, poverty and hopelessness, which create the conditions for terror; second, that peace will advance security; and third, the rare argument, coming mainly from small pockets of the more radical left, that Israel has no right to expect security when it is the aggressor in an asymmetrical conflict.

When the right is right 

Shooting these arguments down has been child’s play for the right. After years of lamenting that there’s no left left, it’s time to admit when the right is right: terror and violence against Israeli Jews (and other Jews) existed before the occupation, continued through the earliest advances and concessions for a peace process and continue today (as did Israeli violence against Palestinians). The first argument fails.

The notion that peace advances security is no match for the deeply entrenched interpretation of events described earlier. Worse, the hope that peace will bring security does nothing to dispel the utopian aspect and thus strengthens it; every lull that ends with a stone or a rocket is a victory for the utopists.

Left-wing groups have wracked their brains considering how to convince Israelis that the peace-causes-terror interpretation is wrong, one-sided, ignores the Palestinian reality, is biased by our media or missing critical facts. But of course: all human beings see their reality first. It’s natural. Trying to enlighten Israelis about the truth may be a worthy cause in itself, but it is hopeless to imagine that left-wing truths will cause people to give peace another chance or bring perfect security. The irresponsible, quixotic crusade to get Israelis to see the light, or put someone else’s narrative first has earned only accusations of arrogance or betrayal.

The notion that Israel as the aggressor cannot expect security is plainly immoral in my mind, because civilians always deserve security, Palestinians and Israelis. This line exposes the genuine hypocrisy of some within the camp that I call my own, which is personally painful for me. Perhaps the height of this argument was reached with the demented apologia for the horrific killing of a whole family, including tiny children, in the settlement of Itamar. Aside from being simply wrong, such commentary again advances the fatal notion: if we stop killing them, we can expect perfect security.

****

I am not writing this in order to conjure a brilliant strategic message, provide talking points, copywriting or slogans.  This is my experience of a tragic reality. This is my analysis of why many mainstream, centrist and even some right-wing Israelis whom I am privileged to interview through my public opinion research – or whom I know as friends and family – actually seem as pained as I am: they genuinely want to reach a solution, but nobody is helping them cope with the security problem. This was the left’s job, and we have failed them.

Here’s how I view reality: there is no perfect world. Everyone lives with a security threat, even on remote islands in Norway, the state that symbolizes peace.

If there’s one thing I trust the military and intelligence establishment of Israel to do, it’s their job. The occupation is not their job. Keeping me as safe as possible under an imperfect, non-utopian political reality, under the best possible political compromise the Israeli and Palestinian people can reach, is. That’s what I call defense.

It is time to expose the fact that our prevailing notion of security is a dangerous fantastical nightmare perpetuating the conflict forever, by demanding that unacceptable deeds be committed in its name. But the right can hardly be expected to give up a vision that serves its political interests. Instead, the current leadership abuses that vision for rapacious gain, sacrificing the well-being of Israel as a country in the process.

The left must show people that they are being exploited and misled to dream of an unattainable myth. The left must admit that there is a permanent security threat instead of ignoring it. The left must make the case that an immediate political resolution to the conflict is not a formula for an impossible, flawless level of security, but for a better Israel – something we’ll be proud to protect.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Dahlia, you seem to have a very liberal notion of leftism. There are two remarks in your article which illustrate perfectly how liberalism abstracts from real geopolitical power relationships, and positions itself in an assumed utopia where all individuals actually have equal rights and responsibilities. The two remarks are, firstly, “the rare argument, coming mainly from small pockets of the more radical left, that Israel has no right to expect security when it is the aggressor in an asymmetrical conflict,” and then rebutting this indirectly seventeen lines later, “The notion that Israel as the aggressor cannot expect security is plainly immoral in my mind, because civilians always deserve security, Palestinians and Israelis.” You say you want to avoid utopian thinking, but your own thinking is utopian; it’s just utopian in a liberal way.

      Let’s put all this into a concrete analogy, and get away from the pretence that all can actually be equal when some are co-ethnic with the ruling class and some are not. Let’s consider post-apartheid South Africa. How ‘post-apartheid’ is it, really? My impression is that it isn’t; economic class divisions have replaced racial ones, and they are slightly more porous, at least to the extent that there is a small, comprador black elite and a minority black middle class with enough property to make defending the existing system seem worthwhile to them. But the black working class still lives in effectively segregated townships, just like before, and there is no need for pass laws because neoliberal economic forces do the segregation job just as well. So in fact, the installation of neoliberal legal norms in place of formal apartheid hasn’t made much difference, except cosmetically, but it has defused the threat of black majority revolution, by buying out the black leadership. Not only is this the closest comparison to Israel before and after zionism, but it’s an illustration of how empty liberal values really are.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Michael

      Dahlia,

      When you reference Nazism and Communism, do you mean the 20th century instead of the 19th? And, your link “http://972mag.com/the-utopian-vision-of-security-is-killing-israel/settlerskilled/11952/” does not lead to any article.
      Thanks for the thoughts!

      Michael

      Reply to Comment
    3. Y.

      So basically your version of “peace” is no peace at all. Not at all a surprise. The Left started by arguing that the Right values land over human life – but it is the Left that does it most of all. You just value what you consider to be _other people’s_ land more than our lives.
      .
      Oh, and what’s really fantasical is the idea that violence is acceptable when it’s against Israelis (and make no mistake – this is exactly what Dehila is saying under a pseudo-pragmatist garb), that Israelis would actually accept this (and not demand retalitation and defense – and never ever cross into what Dehila [but not most Israelis] consider the other side’s turf), and that Israel would change for your self-interested notions. We’re already proud to protect Israel, thank you very much.

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    4. the other joe

      Just an experiment…
      .
      Oh, and what’s really fantasical is the idea that violence is acceptable when it’s against Palestinian (and make no mistake – this is exactly what Y. is saying under a pseudo-pragmatist garb), that Palestinians would actually accept this (and not demand retalitation and defense – and never ever cross into what Y [but not most Palestinians] consider the other side’s turf), and that Palestine would change for your self-interested notions. We’re already proud to protect Palestine, thank you very much.
      .
      In mirror enemy there is.

      Reply to Comment
    5. the other joe

      Let’s see how many logical fallacies we can notch up in one thread. Y. has already taken the appeal to genetics, anyone else want to try?
      http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/genetic

      Reply to Comment
    6. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      I’m glad to see someone on the Zionist left at least acknowledge this problem. It’s frustrating that, generally speaking, we listen to you (the Zionist left) but you don’t listen to us. We answer your questions, sometimes well and sometimes badly, but you (the Zionist left) generally don’t answer ours. So this is a very refreshing change.
       
      Israelis are not tied to a utopian vision of security. Sometimes they’re overly cynical, I agree. But ask them this question: If a unilateral withdrawal were possible without making Israel’s security situation worse, would you support it? My guess is that, if you really stressed the hypothesis that the security situation would not be worsened, most Israelis would answer yes. I certainly would, and I think my political views are pretty close to the center. We’re not looking for perfection, just for a situation that’s no worse than what we have now. We supported the Oslo agreement, remember?
       
      So, my question to the Zionist left is the mirror image of the above question: How would your proposal – unilateral withdrawal, or a negotiated two-state arrangement, whatever – strengthen Israel’s military and political position in this ongoing war? (If you say that the war will be ended by the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel, then you’re not being serious.) No utopias, no perfection, just an explanation of how the security situation would be improved.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Y.

      The other Joe,
      .
      I deny Dehila’s argument not because it came from Dehila, but because it’s nonsense, and in a thread about Left-wing politics I don’t see why I should deny myself a whack at it. Your laughable attempt at inversion doesn’t work since no one is suggesting Palestinians would redefine ‘conflict’ as “peace” or accept a worse version of the current situation as “peace”.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Shlomo Krol

      This article is very eloquent and I agree with virtually everything written here. The left failed because the ideology of the left, the one of land for peace, failed. People saw, that every Israeli withdrawal lead not to better security, but to the new waves of violence. The left should explain people, that the most Israel can expect is the peace agreement and recognition, not peace in a sense of security. Real peace cannot be forged overnight, it’s a long historical, sociological process, and the only chance to enter this process is through the end of the occupation and apartheid, through respect for international law and human rights. The occupation and apartheid are not only immoral – they are the greatest danger for Israel, more than Iranian nukes and rockets of Hamas and Hizballah. The only rear Israel has is not some outposts on Samaria hills, but the support of Europe and America, the only real chance for Israel to survive is being a part of the part of the world where human rights and international law are respected, not unrestricted reliance on force. Israel cannot afford playing without rules.
      Israelis must understand, that Israel will have to live by sword even after the end of the occupation. And here there is another huge mistake on the part of the left wing. There is much Israel should be criticized for, but not for the legitimate self defence! When the leftists criticize Israel for self defense, such as for the Defensive Shield and Cast Lead, it is unjust and grossly counter productive. People see, that not only the leftists demand Israel to risk its security by withdrawals – they also criticize Israel, and very harshly, for dealing with the consequences of such withdrawals. It’s no wonder that for most of Israelis the word “smolani” (“leftist”) is an obscene word and that the left wing cannot persuade people in the justness of its path. The left cannot persuade people that its agenda is the only pragmatic one, when it promisses peace in return for withdrawals and then, when withdrawals lead to attacks on Israel and to the bloodshed, it blames this bloodshed on Israel and criticizes Israel for self defence. No wonder that the Israeli public refers to the left wing as to the “lunatic leftists”. And I don’t mean here those who criticize Israel’s violations of the laws of war and of humanitarian law, like B’tselem – they do very important work.
      The marketing slogans like “land for peace” are not substitute for real ideology. If the left wing wants to win the hearts of the people again, it must tell them the truth. It’s not that we must end the occupation because there is Messia’s coming for discounted price and soon lion will dwell along with lamb, but because the occupation is immoral and unsustainable, because apartheid cannot hold and if we don’t dismantle it as safely as we can, it will fall down to our heads and it will be very painful.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Shlomo Krol

      Aaron, I think, the Cast Lead improved security situation in Israel’s south.

      Reply to Comment
    10. the other joe

      @Y. – no the logical fallacy is that the sentiment you promote is correct but that if a Palestinian was to promote the equal and opposite argument, you’d say they were wrong. Were the Palestinians to retaliate at the same scale of destruction as the IDF, you wouldn’t say that they were being entirely reasonable, you’d say they were terrorists.
      .
      Hence what is good for the goose is not good for the gander and hence you are making a judgement on what is acceptable in your argument based on (your own) genetics. 4 feet bad 2 feet good.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Y.

      Shlomo,
      .
      Remember it’s not exactly (some parts of) the Israeli Left alone which castigated Cast Lead. Internationally, it was precisely some of the quarters where you expected Israel to recieve support (following withdrawal) which castigated it. In practice it seems the legitimacy thingy works more in reverse: the more one withdraws, the bigger the operations required, and so the less legitimacy one has.
      .
      What’s more interesting, though, is your moral consideration. Apparently, you find constant wars with 1000+ dead to be most moral solution (excluding the increase in lethality of weapons supplied and the odds of drawing Egypt or another country in for a really big war). In sum, your method is as failed as the Left one you criticize.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Y.

      The other joe,
      .
      Dehila was (in effect) saying that terrorist attacks against Israel were compatible with “peace”. If someone were to make the argument the attacks upon Palestinians were compatible with peace, he’d be just as wrong and would have merited exactly the same criticism. So no double standards here.
      .
      P.S. If you followed your own link, you’d see the ‘genetics’ fallacy means one rejects an argument per its origin, not that someone rejects an argument per genetics (from gene)! You were thinking of a different word, and probably confused it with ‘gene’.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Y.

      Joe,
      .
      You could call ‘bingo’ when you hit. Right now you seem more likely to lose all your money on bingo tickets.
      .
      P.S. Something I forgot to mention earlier, but Rabin’s quote was a riff on a famous Ben Gurion quote (something like “We’ll reject the White Book as if there’s no War, and we’ll fight as if there’s no White Book”). The problem was that Ben Gurion advanced two notions which were compatible (helping Jews get in didn’t really harm WWII, fighting WWII made the Nazis weaker which helped getting Jews out), Rabin advanced two notions which were contradictory, and Dehila’s version ignores the latter part in favour of a strawman.

      Reply to Comment
    14. The broken link is fixed. Thanks for pointing that out.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Shlomo Krol

      Y, the contrary is true. The Western governments supported the Cast Lead. The very vocal minority of the pyublic criticized it, but it was still a minority. As for the morality of these wars. It was not Israel, that initiated this war. Israel’s conduct was mostly in line with the norms of warfare, though war crimes were commited, too (as in most of wars). As opposed to this, apartheid is considered crime against humanity by the international community – and this is the crime Israel has been commiting in the occupied territories for fourty years.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Y.

      Actually, Cast Lead was stopped on US insistence (Obama didn’t want to deal with it, though in fairness Barak didn’t want to continue it either), certain ministers had difficulty in travel afterwards (I’m still not sure whether Britain changed its law or not) and there was that certain UN report you may have forgotten… So no, it’s not a supported (see which government will support you now after Egypt flipped), sustainable or moral approach. Have fun trying to convict Israel of ‘apartheid’ though, I doubt it would fly.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Kolumn9

      Rabin’s cute idea of “advancing the peace process as if there is no terrorism and fighting terrorism as if there is no peace process” broke when the negotiators on the other side turned to terrorism as a tool of diplomacy.
      .

      I like the article. It is very honest. The problem the left has is that it is trying to sell a peace that doesn’t bring peace, and has a hard time justifying why major sacrifices and risks should be accepted for such a questionable reward. The other problem is that the left has very little evidence for making a claim that an immediate political resolution is even remotely possible. The left suffers from its own utopias.
      .

      The only viable option for the left is to abandon the utopia of a negotiated political resolution with the Palestinians in our time. Almost no one in Israel believes it is possible and continuing to argue for it only undermines the left’s credibility within Israel. The left has to shift towards arguing for a unilateral Israeli imposed partition away from the Palestinians while leaving open the potential for a negotiated settlement later. Otherwise it will continue to be ignored.

      Reply to Comment
    18. delia ruhe

      Dahlia, thank you for injecting some realism into this dangerous phenomenon. Every individual journalist can assist in this project, for example, by deconstructing the rhetoric which assumes that absolute security is somehow a noble goal, and therefore Israel should pursue it.
      .
      For example, every time Bibi articulates that stupid line about this being 1939 and Iran is Germany, journalists can draw out that metaphor by saying, okay, if this is 1939 and Iran is Germany, then we can expect 60 million in lost lives, ten percent of which will be Jewish lives.
      .
      Because this craziness all begins with overblown rhetoric of the fearmongering variety. And whenever that rhetoric appears, journalists need to confront it immediately before it starts eating away at common sense.
      .
      Yes, there is antisemitism. Yes, there is racism and misogyny. Yes, there is homophobia and Islamophobia. But when has hysteria and military violence ever done anything to reduce any of these perennial evils, which will be with us for the foreseeable future? Education, formal and informal, school-based and organization based, government-funded and volunteer supported, works far better to ameliorate them than war has ever done.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Jack

      First thing would be for US to drop its total support for Israel (because then will Israel be pushed to accept peace), then a period of realizing and accepting they have commited illegal acts. Then a period of building trust between palestinians and israelis.

      Reply to Comment
    20. max

      Thank you, Dahlia, for an interesting idea!
      .
      The common approach, however, inspects such conflicts with a view of risk/benefit and premium (see also Kant’s war-cost to peace-benefit) as the drivers for actions; what do you observe that makes you change that view?
      Alternatively, what is the benefit of applying your view of drivers to the situation?
      In other words, why is it not a hypothetical exercise in logic?

      Reply to Comment
    21. XYZ

      Actually, after Oslo, the Rabin-Peres gov’t was pretty honest about these things. Peres once said that you can’t have peace and security at the same time. Rabin called those who protested the suicide bombings “crybabies” and that “real Israelis” suffer in silence and don’t protest. People killed in the terrorist attacks in the period after Oslo were called “victims of peace” and that Israelis should understand that peace brings terrorism and violence.
      Just like Orwell said in “1984″ WAR IS PEACE.
      That’s why the political Left has been discredited in Israel by the majority of the population.

      Reply to Comment
    22. What about utopian visions without identity politics? Do they still hold ‘conflicting, but equally vital, human truths’? Dahlia, you yourself have put forth a utopian vision: ‘I dream of a world where nobody hurts anyone, Jew or non-Jew, for any reason.’

      Yet there is such intense violence by the State of Israel (and its military) against the Palestinians, both historically and at present. How do you reconcile this? What actions can you and I take to END this violence? Does it mean ending Israel’s utopian visions, or recognizing the utopian visions (not dissimilar from your own) within the Palestinian population?

      Because I comment so infrequently on this page, I doubt that I’ll be returning to reply. So rather than just putting forth my own rhetorical questions, I will put forth my own suggestions:

      Only with full civil and political rights for all Palestinians will there be a recognition of Palestinian lives (and their fragility, and thus the need to protect them).

      How can this be brought about? And how many people will have to die for this transformation to take place?

      By the way, Dahlia, your piece resonates because of the quiet calls for ethnic/identity-based purity, and thus the absolute elimination of non-dominant identities. I’m sure your references to Naziism and Communism were fully intentional. But it is frightening to witness an individual in Israeli society make such a claim.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Matt Graber

      If you see theoretical equivalents in Nazi Germany and Communist Russia to your own country, then shouldn’t we be doing everything possible to stop that machinery? Really, if what they’re doing is that grave, shouldn’t we be throwing our bodies on the line to stop them?

      Reply to Comment
    24. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      Rabin’s comment about advancing the peace process as if there were no terrorism, etc., was incredibly stupid. It was just a mindless reprise of Ben-Gurion’s remark about the White Paper and the war; but Ben-Gurion’s statement was well-considered and reasonable, whether or not it was the best policy. As Y pointed out above, Rabin’s statement was foolish because terrorism was obviously being used instrumentally as a tactic in the so-called peace process itself. It’s scary to have leaders who don’t-think like this. Israelis understood at the time, intuitively if not intellectually, how foolish Rabin’s statement was. And that statement was typical of Rabin’s non-thinking, which is why a large majority of Israeli Jews opposed Rabin and supported Netanyahu by the time of Rabin’s assassination.
       
      I usually agree with what XYZ says here, but I think he’s wrong about Rabin and Peres being honest about the sudden rise of bloodshed as a result of the Oslo process. Remember Peres’ reaction to Arafat’s Johannesburg speech? And after the Oslo agreement, Peres said that we have peace. Not that we are on the road to peace, but that we *have* peace. Even cant phrases such as “victims of peace” were dishonest the way they were used. “Victims of peace” was not used in the same sense as “victims of terrorism.” The suggestion was that the victims were some sort of sacrifice for peace. In Peres’ defense, he probably believed those statements himself; he seems to be very talented at self-deception. Ehud Barak’s government was much more honest during the Aksa Intifada, including during the Taba talks, than was Rabin’s government during the Oslo bloodshed. Different circumstances, obviously, but still worth comparing.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Sinjim

      There is nothing immoral about pointing out the simple fact that so long as you systematically abuse and oppress another people, you should expect that those people will lash out at you, including violently. Nor is there anything immoral about pointing out that if your response is to deepen the abuse and the oppression, they’re going to lash out more.
      .
      That is different from saying that you have no *right* to security, of course.
      .
      As for those speaking of Israel’s right to self-defense and mentioning Cast Lead as an example, such as Shlomo Krol, do any of you believe Palestinians have a right to self-defense? Are Palestinians allowed to defend themselves against your blockade, which not only prevents imports but exports as well, which blocks Palestinian fishermen from their livelihood, which prevents Palestinian students from studying in the universities of their choice, which prevents Palestinians from accessing the healthcare necessary to their survival?
      .
      Or should they just accept that they have no right to security as long as the Khamas is in power and they reject Zionism?

      Reply to Comment
    26. XYZ

      Oslo certainly drove the Israeli leadership of the time mad. Both Moshe Yaalon (Deputy Chief of Staff of the IDF at the time) and his daughter Dalia have reported that Rabin was saying shortly before he was murdered that the agreement with Arafat was a disaster and he (Rabin) would have to get out of it, but only after the upcoming election. Yet, at the same time, in his public statements he was becoming more and more unhinged and saying things like “The Likud is responsible for the road accidents in the country”. They really dug themselves into a hole with Oslo, because, in the end, the population did NOT accept the “victims of peace” slogan and voted them out. The Left has not recovered to this day from Oslo and has not been able to articulate any vision for the country, which has led to its fragmentation.

      Reply to Comment
    27. This post is remarkable, as can be measured by the responses it has produed. Those responses reflect, in part, what I think most Israelis would say if polled: they are unwilling to endure death and terror for people outside of the nation; and they see no reason to not impose greater duties on Palestinians to this end. The reframing Dahlia seems to advocate (perhaps) comes from her final sentence:
      .
      “The left must make the case that an immediate political resolution to the conflict is not a formula for an impossible, flawless level of security, but for a better Israel – something we’ll be proud to protect.”
      .
      Because Dahlia acknowledges that greater Palestinian autonomy (which I assume fundamental to any kind of true peace process) may well lead to some new terror attacks (and I think so as well), she seems (I keep saying “seems” because I may have her wrong) to be saying that a better Israel requires a softer hand on Palestinian autonomy, and that this better Israel will require sacrifice in the form of some endured deaths. Which, I take it, is what Rabin was saying, to some degree.
      .
      We are willing to assert, nay demand, sacrifice in war, but not for ideas as such. But this again, seems, to be what Dahlia is advoating. She is (perhaps) saying that the occupation of the Bank and seige of Gaza have a negative effect on internal Israeli life. Witness the boycott law, the citizenship law decision in the High Court, the Nabka law, and various proposals to curtail thought advocated by some MKs. She may also be saying that the occupation provides barriors to civil rights for Arab Israelis. That the IDF, refusing High Court decesions, undermines the rule of law. That the occupation threatens a oonstitutional crisis on matters of purely internal Israeli concern (Gorenberg says this). So national development requires greater Palestinian autonomy.
      .
      Gandhi and King warned their followers that by joining they risked violence upon themselves, Gandhi especially so, since some of his campaign deliberately invoked British violence. Here, however, one is telling a population that “choice,” save perhaps in a majoritarian sense via elections, does not segregate risk of violence. Nonviolence has never worked like this before, for now nonviolence is forcing itself on others. Nor is this risk like that of war, where one is trained to defend oneself and attack in turn. If the terror event happens, there is no warning, no defense, no self to man the battlements.
      .
      It is well know in economics that, if you frame choice in terms of potential loss, most people will over estimate the probability of disasterous events. We have security now; new policy will risk deaths; that risk is inflated in the mind, so people want the status quo. The occupation has become a policy that works; deviation risks terrible things, which must be avoided no matter the risk.
      .
      Did you hear Dick Chaney’s 1% policy? If something terrible might happen with 1% probability, we must assume it has 100% proability and defend ourselves. The position is absurd, for there may be several small probability events, all of which you cannot simultaneously defend against. Yet the logic is appealling at a primative, gut level. And perhaps Israelis have more reason than others to find that logic appealling.
      .
      The costs to Israeli society via occupation are real, and they are accumulating; I think that the reasoned right knows that while they may at present benefit from these new trends, later they may not. Yet that cost does not seem very relevant to the Israeli voter, while security is as real as your family.
      .
      This cul-de-sac is so deeply human that I still see only one way forward: a direct focus on Arab Israeli civil rights and improvement. Here the security link is at its weakest (yet the High Court citizenship law decision shows it still strong even here); and I think that if real improvement is made on this front it will spill over to the occupation.
      .
      I am not disagreeing with what I think Dahlia has said. But I think the task she has set to be enormous, for a fair amount of economic choice research says she will fail, as sketched above. But the racial spillover of the occupation and bombings to Arab Israelis can be addressed. It will not happen via the Knesset; the Court is the only lever, and I know that looks dubious as of now.
      .
      One can protest excesses in the occupation and prevent a few thereby. But I cannot see movement against present policy until the racism in Israel proper is forcefully addressed.
      .
      Which leaves the Palestinians cursing me, I guess. As well they should. But I cannot follow a party line which I truely believe changes nothing as well. I believe human particularism the best strategy for the Bank: decry actual events as they happen, demand that they stop, are not repeated. But intergration of Israeli Arabs/Palestinians within civil law in all its forms is, I think, essential for any future change.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Shlomo Krol

      Y, in Gaza war, Israel was supported by the US and all European governments. There’s no question, that the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories is the one of apartheid.
      Sinjim, one can question the legality of the blockade and of the economical sanctions on Hamas (I think, they are both legal), their morality (I think, it’s often immoral, such as when students are not allowed to study), their productivity (I think, the economical sanctions proved counter-productive and this is the reason they were eased). But their defensive nature is obvious for any unbiased observer. It is simply not true, that Hamas commits terror attacks against Israel because of the blockade and the sanctions. Hamas and other terrorist organizations commit attacks because this is the central part of their ideology, strategy and tactics. This is exactly the reason for the blockade and not because Hamas “rejects Zionism” (as if PA was a Zionist organization). The attempt to blur this fact is sheer demagoguery. It is very obvious in case of Hamas-Israel confrontation, who is an aggressor and who is on defensive. Hamas is an aggressor. Israel defends itself.

      Reply to Comment
    29. AYLA

      ShlomoKrol, I’ve been moved by some of your posts in the past, so I’m shocked to hear–if I’m hearing you correctly–you justifying CastLead? Your comment, and coming from someone with fairly liberal politics–reveals, exactly, the importance of Dahlia’s piece.
      *
      Thank you Dahlia, Sinjim, and GregPollock. If we were actually acting to uphold moral ideals, rather than security ideals, then we *could* grow the joint, Israeli/Palestinian movement for a land with justice and equality that many of us yearn for. We could accept outside support for Israeli security in good faith. We could fight together to uphold the ideals of this land and all she remembers.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Shlomo Krol

      Ayla, it’s not that I justify Gaza war. It was a horror – how can I justify it?

      I’m just saying the obvious: this war was not started by Israel, but by Hamas and Gaza factions, from Israel’s part it was a just, defensive war.

      Dahila Sheindlin writes:

      “If there’s one thing I trust the military and intelligence establishment of Israel to do, it’s their job. The occupation is not their job. Keeping me as safe as possible under an imperfect, non-utopian political reality, under the best possible political compromise the Israeli and Palestinian people can reach, is. That’s what I call defense.”

      This is exactly the case of Gaza war. Israel withdrew from Gaza, ended the occupation. The attempts to call blockade an occupation, by the way, are ridiculous – blockade is not occupation and occupation is not blockade: for example, in 1948, West Jerusalem was blockaded, not occupied; today Golan heights are occupied, not blockaded.
      As I wrote in my response to Sinjim, the legality, morality and productivity of the blockade and sanctions, but their defensive nature is obvious for any unbiased observer.
      It’s not difficult to understand, who was aggressor and who was on defense: Hamas and other terrorist factions were aggressor and Israel was on defense.
      While struggling for proper military conduct is extremely important, the unjust criticism of Israel, when it defends itself is a terrible mistake. As I wrote: not only the left wing demands Israel to risk its security by withdrawals, parts of the left also criticize Israel when it obviously defends itself. No wonder that the left shrinked to something marginal, which cannot persuade people, that its path is right and cannot really influence anything. I think, this is what the left wing should internalize and contemplate.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Shlomo Krol

      Correction: “As I wrote in my response to Sinjim, the legality, morality and productivity of the blockade and sanctions can and must be questioned…” etc.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Y.

      Sure, Krol, pretend you’re offering anything near to moral or sustainable. How many need to die in order to allow you to assert a slightly different (yet still incorrect) label to the situation? The reality is your stale wares will lead to many more deaths and much greater complications – repeatedly.
      .
      And, sure, Israel would like to have the same “support” as during Cast Lead – she can do it, as long as she leaves it unfinished and get pillored afterwards!

      Reply to Comment
    33. max

      @Y, is it so difficult to accept that launching Cast Lead was right, the death toll horrible and that Israel carries part of the blame? Or that the Gaza blockade was justified but useless, maybe counter productive?
      Just like the “left’s” baseless assertion of knowing what is right to do, stands the “right’s” view of “we were never wrong”

      Reply to Comment
    34. Y.

      Max,
      .
      Perhaps I was unclear. My point was completely unrelated to whether “Cast Lead” was right or wrong at the time. It’s Krol that is talking about it, my point was different – it is not a sustainable policy.
      .
      Essentially, what happens is that we inevitably end up fighting a war post-withdrawal. I doubt whether the enemy could defeat us military in the near future. But the political limitations de facto advocated by the idea of withdrawal (Israel can’t cross over and take Gaza/wherever it is expected to withdraw from/, that’d be occupation and withdrawing just to reoccupy is obviously stupid), by their nature do not allow Israel to win either (we can’t remove the threat, so the other side rearms, and given the politics, we eventually end up fighting another round). The result would be a series of wars with lots of deaths but no real conclusion.
      .
      Sooner or later, something will change (say, Egypt decides to get involved, or Israel gets tired of it and votes in some super-rightist coalition) and we end up having an even bigger war and a lot of people die on both sides. Israel is likely to end up in Gaza, and well, you’re not going to have any version of a Israeli Left government by then, the Left would be even further discredited (but I doubt the Right would want the “help”, especially not at this price).
      .
      Simply put, having this advocated as a superiour to the current state (or most other possible states) is a bad joke.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Shlomo Krol

      Y, the question what is less immoral: military occupation or repeated wars with many casualties – is a valid question. But please don’t try to present the situation so as if we occupied Palestinians for their own benefit.
      A military occupation is temporary by its very nature. On the other hand, colonization is permanent. Israel is trying to both have the cake and eat it: we “permanently liberated” the land, but we “temporary occupied” its people.
      When it comes to land grab and illegal colonial territorial expansion, than it’s “Jewish heartland, the land of the forefathers”. When it comes to the rights of the people living on this land, than it is all of a sudden a temporary occupation and the Palestinians have no rights, no citizenship in any sovereign state, are subjugated, are unequal with their colonist neighbours, live not by laws of those, to whom they delegated the power to legislate, but by commands of officers of the occupational army, their private lands and water are stolen by the colonists and so on and so forth.
      Such situation is called apartheid, there’s no even need to explain it: everybody in Israel knows, that it’s apartheid and that it’s blatantly illegal and immoral (save for the aggressive and lunatic, but very influential minority of those who think, that morality is demagoguery, resentment and messianism). This apartheid is going for three generations now.
      Now, if you want to say, that this is for the benefit of the Palestinians and for the security of the Israelis, than would you please explain me why do we do all this?
      And also – in regard of sustainability. The apartheid is not sustainable, it’s a crime against humanity and you cannot commit crime against humanity for ever. You cannot say to the adult people that they should be forever subjugated and will never have their right to decide which destiny they want for themselves and for their children (because the officer of the occupation army knows better, of course). Sooner or later they will have their rights, if not in their state, than in Israel. This will not solve the conflict, but will turn it into bloody internal, civil war with unclear outcome.

      Reply to Comment
    36. Jack

      Shlomo Krol,
      You are making things up or you dont know better if you claim Israel didnt start the Gaza invasion
      -
      On the november the 4th Israel attacked Hamas killing 6 of their men. During this period there were no rockets from Hamas being shot, even Israel admit this.
      When Hamas after the killing of their men offered a renewed ceasefire, Israel rejected it and invaded Gaza, killing some 1490 palestinians, between 700-1000 of them were civilians.

      Reply to Comment
    37. sh

      Cast Lead was revolting. There was no justification and the argument that it improved Israeli life in the south is separate from it. You can take a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but if a nutcracker will suffice, bring down the whole street as well deserves unreserved condemnation.
      .
      I think the israeli public, besides seeing security as paramount, also saw that some of the other sledgehammers worked even if, as with Gaza and Lebanon, they don’t result in victory so much as quiet. It figures that now that the Palestinians have seen the extent to which Israel will stop at nothing, why not go the whole hog? The political left made the big mistake of allowing themselves and thus the rest of Israel to be swindled over decades. The leftish government’s purpose was also to control all the land between the river and the sea. In the public’s mind this idea guarantees security. When it no longer does, there’ll be a next war (with always a the next river and a next fortress to conquer, all in the name of the security of what we will by then already consider our hinterland). As long as the money keeps rolling in, what’s to stop them?

      Reply to Comment
    38. Y.

      Krol,
      .
      A. I’m _not_ arguing this for the benefit of Palestinians (you are, but I’m not). If Palestinians had their way, they’d have something very different in mind to what either of us is thinking… I’m arguing your suggested policy fails even your own criteria!
      .
      You won’t even end up in the no ‘apartheid’ (to use your terminology) zone, since eventually Israel will reenter. When that happens, the Left would be (further) discredited. Indeed, the longer it takes, the _more likely_ the government would be very rightist, and that kind of government is going to have all sorts of policies which are very much not your liking. In short, you would end up with more war, more death, an occupation and much more ‘apartheid’.
      .
      You may not like the current situation (or where it leading to), but it doesn’t mean offering ideas which lead to worse outcomes is a good move. I don’t mind the Left committing political suicide – I mind it when it affects all of us.
      .
      B. I don’t agree with your rhetoric, and I’m completely sure the Israeli public does not either. The 67′ line is not a border and Israel never accepted it as such, not even under Olmert. The settlements are simply creating a different division, which is not per se worse than 67′ division or any other one. They’re also great for pressuring others.
      .
      As for the occupation, well, ‘temporary’ is less accurate term than ‘as long as the war lasts’, which is the way things are going, going to be very long indeed.
      .
      Besides, that duality works the other way around too: Israel is not allowed to annex the land like in E. Jerusalem (unrecognized and allegedly illegal), and Israel can’t temporarily occupy it either (repeat ten zillion times occupation rhetoric). Peace isn’t gonna happen (we’re all agreed in this thread about this), and withdrawal, well, I wrote above why it won’t do either (at least not in any version you’d like). If you want a resolution you consider good, leave a way open for Israel. If not, Israel is likely to end up on a path contrary to your wishes.

      Reply to Comment
    39. Shlomo Krol

      No, Jack, you are making things up. IDF entered Gaza to destroy tunnel, which was an immediate security threat. Hamas and other Palestinian factions took it as a pretext for renewal of terror (which was never completely stopped).
      It is important to understand, that Israel has no claims in Gaza, doesn’t use any of Gaza resources, doesn’t occupy any Gaza territories and all military activities of Israel vis-a-vis Hamas and other terrorist organizations are purely defensive. Hamas has never offered to Israel peace, its agenda is known to all and actually all actions against Hamas, if they don’t violate international law, are defensive and legitimate. In the conflict between Israel and Hamas it is very obvious who is the aggressor and who is on defence. Hamas is the aggressor, Israel defends itself and its citizens, troops, sovereignty. Israel has no claims in Gaza strip, Hamas has claim for all of Israel and its ideology is one of genocide. Nothing can blur or obscure this obvious fact.
      I believe, that Israel must end its occupation, colonization and apartheid in the West Bank and allow Palestinians to implement their right for self determination. But everybody: Israelis, Palestinians and international community know and understand, that in case of hostility from the side of the Palestinian state against Israel, Israel will defend itself. This is very obvious, so self evident, that I don’t even know why there’s a need to explain it.

      Reply to Comment
    40. noam

      Thank you Dahlia. Time and time again, yours is the most eloquent, intelligent and profound writing on 972.

      Reply to Comment
    41. Jack

      Shlomo Krol,
      You fail once again to understand that there was a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel at the time that were kept. By going into Gaza killing 6 Hamas members you have a breach of the ceasefire, likweise if Hamas would have killed 6 IDF soldiers they would have breached it (we can be sure IDF wouldnt buy Hamas reason for the killing, so dont step above other people and think the israeli claim is above anything else, its bogus). The invasion had been planned for months, Israel were only looking for a reason to invade Gaza.
      -
      The bogus claim of a security threat of the tunnel is sheer propaganda. If that even were true Israel could just have tapped the tunnel and removed the soldiers from standing near the tunnel thus excluding any possibility for a hostage taking.
      Israel knew full well that Hamas would retaliate if Israel breached the ceasefire. That happend and what also happend was Israel refusing to renew the ceasefire, choosing war and some 900 dead civilians.
      -
      Israel impede the development of Gaza regarding resources.
      1. They refuse palestinians water for their agricultural business, thus being part of a humanitarian crisis that have been the reality for Gaza. The ratio between a jewish settler and a palestinian is something like 16:1.
      2. When there were settlements in Gaza, Israel grabbed the best land from the palestinians which left a blow to the overall development in Gaza.
      -
      You need to drop your supremacy argument that “Israel is always right” “Israel is always defending themselves”, no one buy that anymore. I mean 1490 people killed, doesnt that impact you at all?

      Reply to Comment
    42. Shlomo Krol

      SH, it’s OK to question whether Cast Lead was proportional (I think it was – Israel has been trying for years to use a nutcracker, but only sledgehummer helped). But it is obvious, that the essense of this war, from the Israeli side, was defensive.

      Jack,
      I’m not in the position to give advices to the military on which tactics to use, and you are not in this position. When the army violates rules of war and humanitarian law, it’s totally different thing, but whether it’s better to remove soldiers in vicinity or to invade inside – well, it’s up to military people to decide. The digging of the tunnel was a violation of the truce, and not the only one.
      Of course Israel prepared the invasion for months. If would be totally irresposible if it wouldn’t. Now you are trying to say that Israel prepared it just for fun? Than I don’t know in which planet you live. Gaza is ruled by terrorist organization with aggressive and genocidal ideology towards Israel and with strategy and tactics of violence and aggression.
      You are writing about injustices of Israeli occupation of Gaza, which justified the terrorism. But all these events happened after the end of this occupation. Israel doesn’t occupy Gaza anymore, doesn’t lay claims for Gaza, doesn’t use its resources, doesn’t settle its citizens there, has no interests in Gaza. Hamas has no legitime justification for its war on Israel. And when Hamas, which wages war on Israel, blames Israel for this war – it is simply ridiculous.
      Those, who demand from Israel to end the occupation and at the same time deny Israel’s right to defend itself when the occupation ended, are indeed lunatics and it is very sad, that in the public consciousness the left wing is associated with the views like yours. Israel must indeed end the occupation, it’s the foremost Israeli interest. But when this pragmatic the only pragmatic! – agenda is associated with the views which have no touch with the reality, it is really dangerous and sad, this is what brought about the current political athmosphere in Israel.
      Pay attention, I never say “Israel is always right”, on the contrary, I criticize Israel where it deserves criticism. It is you who are saying that “Israel is always wrong”. This is not just, not true, not historical and surely it doesn’t advance interests of Israelis, Palestinians or arrangements and future peace.

      Y., you totally missed my point. I am saying a simple thing. If Israel is occupying the Palestinian territories for security, than it should not pretend that these are Israeli territories and that Israelis have right to settle there. If, however, Israel maintains, that these territories are Israeli, than it cannot refuse to grant equal rights to the people there. You cannot have it both ways. If we build settlements on these lands (which don’t advance security: how can civilians, kids and pregnant women advance security?) as if this land is ours and at the same time reject equal rights for the residents of this territory – this is called apartheid, this is very simple and obvious.
      I am not a prophet, I don’t know how will the events develop after the Palestinians gain their rights in their independent state, which they deserve as all other people in the world. May be Israel will have to reenter. Temporarily!!! But without settlements, without claims, without apartheid! This would be totally different things. There are conflicts between nations. There are wars and occupations. But they never justify crimes against humanity – and apartheid is crime against humanity.
      I have to repeat it again. The gravest threat for Israel’s existence is not Iranian nukes, but apartheid. It emanates not from Teheran and not from Gaza, but from Migron and Avraham Avinu quarter of Hebron.

      Reply to Comment
    43. Jack

      Shlomo Krul,
      Building a tunnel is not a breach of a ceasefire. Killing and invading Gaza were. Also the tunnel were well known but Israel didnt tap it, instead they used it as a justification for invading Gaza.
      -
      War was planned in advance mean that the ceasefire didnt mean anything to Israel, they played with dirty tricks. In fact thats constitute a war of aggression (according to the result of the Nuremberg trials).
      -
      Hamas is not genocidal, they are fighting against an illegal occupation of their land. They dont like the regime in Israel. Nothing more complicated than syrian rebels dont like the current regime in Syria or that blacks in South Africa didnt like the regime in South Africa. I think its pretty clear who are genocidal after killing thousands of people in every other year and label it “defensive”. In fact many government officials have said that whats going on in Gaza, is a slow genocide of palestinians.
      -
      Israel occupy Gaza according to the rest of the world/according to international law. Being occupied, being under a deliberately created humanitarian crisis by Israel very well prove Israel is in power of Gaza.

      Reply to Comment
    44. Shlomo Krol

      Jack,
      I think, the phrase by which you end your last post sums up very well the absurdity of the worldview of yours and of many others. Israel invaded to Gaza because it is in power of Gaza? C’mmon! In which universe do you guys live? What are you high on?

      Reply to Comment
    45. Y.

      Krol,
      .
      Israeli villages on the Northern border are in a much worse security situation than the settlements, as are some places around Gaza and so on. Your dichotomy between ‘security needs’ and ‘Israeli territory’ is of course nonsense – it is possible for a place to have both, one, or none of these attributes. The apartheid claim is nonsense – you are complaining Israel doesn’t grant civil rights to people who don’t want it who overwhelmingly live in territory Israel (to the chagrin of some) doesn’t claim (Area A, Gaza) by implementing policies you (and most of the intl. community) consider wrong or illegal (annexation).

      But lets just cut to the point. There’s no need to be a ‘prophet’ to see what happens after your proposal, just a need for a functioning cerebrum. You all but admitted my point (that it will be worse even by your standards) in your #2:38am post. Ultimately, you are sacrificing people’s interests for the sake of extremely dubious claims which won’t end up being satisfied anyhow.

      Reply to Comment
    46. Jack

      Sholomo Krul,
      Being a occupier doesnt mean you necessery rule the parties inside the occupation.
      If you call the view of the world nation and international law “absurd” go ahead.

      Reply to Comment
    47. Shlomo Krol

      Y.,
      -
      You are missing my point again. Probably, I am not eloquent enough. So I’ll try it again. I am not saying that the problem with Migron and Itzhar is that their security is threatened. I am saying a different thing: that Migron and Itzhar ARE gravest security threat for Israel.
      I am not trying to create dychotomy between security needs and Israeli territory. Of course, a sovereign territory of a state can also be its security asset, as well as temporary occupied territory. In my posts, I was trying to create a dychotomy between temporary nature of occupation and permanent nature of colonization. If Israel temporary, for the sake of security, occupies the Palestinian territory, it cannot treat this territory as if it were its own and settle Israeli citizens there, because citizens are settled and communities are built not to be temporary, but permanent. On the other hand, if Israel maintains, that these territories are not temporary occupied, but are part of Israel, it cannot treat people living there as anything other than Israel’s citizens. When Israel is trying to have it both ways, to treat territory as its own but people as not its own, it creates the situation of apartheid, which is criminal, unsustainable and dangerous. Is my point clearer now?
      Now, I am not proposing to annex these territories and grant its people citizenship. On the contrary, I believe, that at this point, such move would only turn the conflict into bloody civil war with unclear outcome. May be in the future, after many years of independent development, peace and cooperation, the two peoples will decide that it’s better for them to forge union or federation or bi-national state, I don’t know. But to enfranchize the Palestinians in Israel today would certainly mean internal bloodshed.
      -
      There is no third option. The alternative is to withdraw from the occupied territories, to remove settlements – or to grant citizenship to the Palestinians. Since I believe, that the second option is very dangerous, I am saying, that Migron and Itzhar, which are objectively leading to the second outcome by impeding the first one, are huge danger for Israel.
      -
      Now, you are talking about A areas as if these were viable solution to this problem. No, A areas are designed as temporary only by Oslo agreement, as the interim stage. They are not independent and sovereign state. The example of the South Africa of apartheid times, which tried to create “homelands” for the black South Africans, but did not succeed to salvage apartheid, should serve as a warning to the Israelis: the status quo is not sustainable, the apartheid will fall down very soon, if we don’t dismantle it now.
      -
      What do you mean that I admit your point? I said that of course I take into account that immediate result of Israel’s withdrawal could be worsening of the security situation, military confrontation, incursions, occupations and so on. I agree with Dahila Sheindlin, that military threats must be handled by the military. This is what I’m saying.
      -
      The only hope for Israel to have peace in the long term – and the only hope to survive at all – is to end the apartheid, to terminate claims for the land, in which another people live, to stop impeding self determination of this people, to stop depriving it from its rights. This is very simple and obvious.
      -
      I hope this time I was clear enough, because I have an impression, that you are ascribe me something which I never said and don’t take what I am saying.

      Reply to Comment
    48. Shlomo Krol

      Jack,

      This is not the view of world nations or international law, but opinions of certain politicians or activists. Who are, like yourself, live in some strange reality in which religious fundamentalist genocidal terrorist organization is a human rights champion and blockade means occupation.
      No western country’s official position is that Gaza is occupied. The difference between occupation and blockade is like the difference between being in and being out. Blockade and occupation just cannot go on at the same time, this is an absurd. It’s either blockade or occupation. Either you are in or you are out.
      And it is needless to say that even full blockade of Gaza is what Israel is uncapable to do, since Gaza has border with Egypt.
      The demagoguery, the twisted and absurd ideas like yours are ruining the agenda of the left wing and the prospects of the end of the occupation.

      Reply to Comment
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