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Here is your peace camp: Labor's visit to the settlements

Party’s Secretary-General: “we feel closer to the settlers than to the far left”

Labor party member at Alon Moreh (photo: Yesha Council)

Last week, members of the Labor party, including the party’s Secretary-General Hilik Bar and several advisers to Knesset Members and ministers, went on a visit to the West Bank. Labor members visited the Barkan industrial park, the Ariel academic center and several settlements in the area of Nablus, east of Israel’s security barrier and well outside what is sometimes referred to as “the settlements blocks”. The tour was hosted by the head of the Yesha Council (the settlers’ representative body), Danny Dayan.
Rightwing journalist Hagai Huberman, who covered the visit for the Yesha Council, later posted the above picture  on Mysay.co.il site. It shows Labor member in Alon Moreh (near Nablus), one of the birthplaces of the settlements movement. This is also from Mr. Huberman’s report:
Hilik Bar, the new secretary general of the Labor Party, surprised his hosts by saying: “Judea and Samaria is the land of our fathers and the Bible, and the Labor Party and its members are not disconnected from what this region represents, historically and religiously. We should all stay true to the legacy of the nation’s Fathers and Mothers, and pass it on from generation to generation. Labor belongs to the center and not to the far left […] we feel closer to the settlements’ people here than to the far left.”
While Mr. Bar’s hosts might have been surprised by these remarks, those who know Labor have given up hope on this party a long time ago. Labor, it should be reminded, never evacuated a single settlement. In fact, the colonization of the West Bank started on the party’s watch back in the seventies, and a decade ago, under Ehud Barak’s short lived government, the settlements prospered in ways Binyamin Netanyahu could only dream of. Mr. Bar – a former adviser to Labor’s strongman Binyamin “Fuad” Ben-Eliezer – is right: in visiting the West Bank’s settlements, he simply follows the party’s line.

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    1. Ben Israel

      I think it is important to remember some historical facts:
      The Labor Party was created as a Zionist party. Zionism’s basic philosophy was (1) Settlement of the Land, (2) Absorption of Immigrants (Kibbutz Galuyot), (3) Security.

      These things were the ABC’s of the Labor Zionist movement. That’s why it was natural for them to support the initial settlement drive in Judea/Samaria after the Six-Day War. After all, there were Jews living in those areas before 1948, including both “old yishuv” communities like those in Hevron, Gaza, Shechem, etc, but pioneering Labor Zionist settlements in Atarot, Beit Ha’arava, Gush Etzion, etc.
      The Labor Party, when in power up to 1977 never recognized a “Palestinian people” (neither did anyone else-the UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 which regulated Israel’s presence in Judea/Samaria after the Six-Day war don’t mention the Palestinian either). It was Begin and the Likud that was the first to recognize the “legitimate rights of the Palestinian people”.
      The Labor Party viewed the 1949 cease-fire lines as just that, not an “international border”, just as the Arabs view them. Arabs live on both sides of this line, so why can’t Jews?-this was the view of the Zionist Left.

      MOST ISRAELIS TODAY STIL SUBSCRIBE TO THESE VALUES. Apparently, Labor Party people have come to realize this…that the new post-Zionist and anti-Zionist views of radicals like those at “972″ do not reflect Israeli reality, including those of the moderate Left. The further Left the Labor Party went the lower it dropped in Knesset representation.

      What is really bothering you is NOT that Labor is now suddenly interested in the settlements, it is that they had the ideology I outlined above in the first place. That is the real problem for you all.

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