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The annexation of Palestine could be closer than you think

A perfect storm of domestic Israeli politics combined with the changing of the guard in Washington could create an opportunity for those advocating annexation to finally make their move.

A man walks along Israel’s separation wall where it snakes through the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, August 15, 2015. (Micah Bond/Flash90)

A man walks along Israel’s separation wall where it snakes through the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, August 15, 2015. (Micah Bond/Flash90)

Senior Israeli government minister Naftali Bennett announced on Sunday that he will introduce legislation to effectively annex Israel’s third-largest settlement in the West Bank, Ma’ale Adumim, by the end of January. It is safe to assume, that when Bennett says “by the end of January,” he means after the January 20 inauguration of Donald Trump.

Bennett’s desire to incrementally annex parts of the West Bank are neither new nor secret. The chairman of the Jewish Home party has run on a platform of annexation since he first ran for office in 2013 and in every election since. Through short videos and aggressive sound bites, the Israeli education minister has attempted shift the public discourse, in Israel and around the world, toward his annexationist aims.

Bennett has also been clear that he does not expect to annex the West Bank in one fell stroke. “This is a process,” Bennett explained at the Brookings Institute two years ago. “I’m not suggesting that, you know, one day in midday we just [annex]. There’s a process of changing the global view of what’s going on here and it has to start with that… And it takes time. It’s an uphill battle.”

Other politicians have also been surprisingly open about the need to take a piecemeal approach to annexation. Former member of Knesset in Bennett’s Jewish Home party Orit Struck, during her time in parliament, along with senior Likud politician Yariv Levin, formulated a 10-step plan to advance annexation in the West Bank. One of the first stages was annexing individual settlements like Ma’ale Adumim.

Ayelet Shaked, also of Bennett’s Jewish Home party and now Israel’s justice minister, in the past advocated annexing the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. More recently she announced plans to apply Israeli civil law to the occupied territories, which is considered de facto annexation (the West Bank is currently subject to Israeli military law). A few months ago Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely made a direct demand of her government. Similar pleas and plans can be heard on an almost daily basis throughout the Israeli government and ruling coalition, not to mention in right-wing circles and media outside the government. And while demands from within the government to advance annexation have become the new normal in recent years, for a variety of reasons they are often dismissed as fringe or unrealistic.

Members of Knesset from the Likud and Jewish Home parties take part in an event demanding the annexation of West Bank settlement Ma’ale Adumim, Jerusalem, October 31, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Members of Knesset from the Likud and Jewish Home parties, including Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (R), take part in an event demanding the annexation of West Bank settlement Ma’ale Adumim, Jerusalem, October 31, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

There are two main political reasons why the chorus within the Israeli government calling for various iterations of annexation should be treated more seriously this time around. The first, and most obvious, is the incoming Trump administration in Washington.

Since his election, President-elect Trump has been sending clear signals that his administration’s policy toward Israel, and especially the settlements, will be markedly different from that of Barack Obama, John Kerry, and, one would conclude, the previous eight American presidents since Israel occupied the Palestinian territories in 1967. The president-elect has not minced words, tweeting in response to John Kerry’s 75-minute admonition of Israel’s settlement policy: “Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”

Stepping back from Twitter, of course, things are not so clear cut. Trump has also indicated that he hopes (or plans) to take yet another stab at America’s longtime foreign policy pastime: trying to broker an improbable peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. If Trump has any peacemaking aspirations, it would not be logical for him to support even modest Israeli moves toward annexation. That said, Israel has not historically been all too bothered by the prospect of angering American presidents — Democrat and Republican alike — over its settlement policies, so the prospect of Netanyahu defying even Trump on the settlements position is not all that farfetched. Nor is Trump known for classically linear logic.

The second, and more important reason we should be taking the growing chorus of annexation-talk more seriously has everything to do with domestic Israeli politics and Benjamin Netanyahu’s most dominant trait: political survival. Naftali Bennett does not head a particularly large party, and on his own he is fairly limited in his ability to force policy on Netanyahu. Where Bennett knows he can be more successful, however, is in slowly shifting this government’s direction by challenging Netanyahu’s right-wing credentials.

Benjamin Netanyahu was not supposed to win the last election. By many indicators, his Likud party was expected to come in second place, behind Isaac Herzog’s Labor/Zionist Union party. Netanyahu pulled off an upset victory with a last-minute pitch to voters of other right-wing parties arguing that only a vote for him could ensure a right-wing government. In other words, Netanyahu owes his seat to voters who could just as easily have cast their ballots for Bennett. Furthermore, Netanyahu’s Likud party has moved considerably to the right in recent years, in part due to a large-scale effort to encourage settlers to join the Likud – precisely for this purpose.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the Knesset vote on the outpost ‘normalization law,’ December 5, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the Knesset vote on the outpost ‘normalization law,’ December 5, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The result is that the prime minister is constantly angling to portray himself as more and more right wing, both to satisfy the ranks of his own party, but also to stop Bennett and the Jewish Home from out-flanking him from the right. That is why after declaring just how dangerous the settlement outpost “normalization law” was, Netanyahu himself wound up voting in favor. Bennett’s victory was in getting the bill onto the Knesset floor, where he knew Netanyahu — for intra-right-wing political considerations — would have to vote in favor.

If Bennett plays his cards right, there is a decent chance he could pull off a similar maneuver toward limited annexation. If Bennett manages to get his Ma’ale Adumim bill on the Knesset floor with the right timing, he could once again corner Netanyahu politically. Even if the bill is eventually shelved, he could at least extract a consolation prize or two in its place, such as support for legalizing settlement outposts, approving settlement construction elsewhere, or taking bureaucratic steps to further entrench de facto Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank.

The timing for such a move is riper than ever. Netanyahu is staring down a number of serious scandals at the moment – he will be investigated by the police this week for allegedly accepting illegal gifts – and he is wary of being attacked on more than one front at a time. It would be politically expedient for the prime minister to ensure that his coalition partners, especially those to whom he can lose votes, don’t rock the boat as corruption investigations and submarine scandals pose even the perception of a threat to his throne.

Benjamin Netanyahu knows that his grasp on power is directly correlated to opposing land concessions, Palestinian sovereignty, and the very idea of a two-state solution. He has repeatedly demonstrated as much by opposing all of those ideas before an election, only to reverse course immediately thereafter. If he senses that his premiership is at all in danger, he won’t hesitate to leverage his right-wing cachet. In today’s political climate, that means loosening the reigns on Bennett and the annexationists in his government.

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    1. Lewis from Afula

      How can annex something that never existed?
      Lets remember, in the 6 day war, Israel took Yesha from Jordan – not “fakestine”!

      Reply to Comment
    2. Eliza

      I wouldn’t be too quick to place too much emphasis on Trumps’s tweets.

      Saying that, the day probably has to come when the right-wingers decide its time for a bit of piecemeal annexation and weather the verbal storm. There just seems to be an unavoidable inevitability about it all. Its almost a shame that we won’t hear Clinton call it ‘unhelpful’.

      There is every chance that Bennett and co will misjudge the timing and they are a dead cert to get the diplomacy wrong. Who knows what Trump will do, I doubt that he knows himself but I suspect that there is one big rope coming the settlers’ way.

      Reply to Comment
      • Carmen

        Most definitely. tRUMP’s interests extend only as far as his children. He’s not a man of any people, but especially those he has been elected to serve, which don’t include anyone over here.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Eliza, well stated and precise. This vision imploded because it was hollow. For a very long time it was not a “vision” at all but a fig leaf for Israel to “manage” creeping annexation.

        Reply to Comment
        • Subhana

          There were multiple visions. There was the European one which had Israel withdrawing back to the 1967 lines. That vision has imploded and thank god for that. And then there was the Israeli vision, the one of Rabin, according to which the Palestinians will have a smaller state with a capital outside of Jerusalem. That one is alive and well. And it will involve Israel annexing large chunks of the West Bank.

          Enjoy this reading:

          Seasons Greetings!

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​”That one is alive and well.” Well it’s quite dead. It was never alive. It was still born. I’m very sorry. Emotionally based delusions die hard but reality has a way of intervening. But I know it’s not easy.

            Reply to Comment
          • Subhana

            Pot meet kettle.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Subhana

      Since the Palestinians are pursuing a strategy of going to international forums to try to unilaterally change the status of the West Bank, Israel should likewise act to reinforce its own claims to the land. The Oslo Accords were based on the idea that the ultimate status of the disputed territories would be determined in negotiations. If the Palestinians have abandoned that principle, then Israel should too. Israel is never going to withdraw from Maale Adumim or from the Etzion bloc or from Ariel. It is time to extend the official borders of Israel to include these areas.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        There you have it, Samson’s Grandson. “Oh but we just want peace and security, is that too much to ask?! It’s not about the settlements!” LoL.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Bruce Gould

      Meanwhile, back on the ranch the Israeli military has a plan which can be implemented unilaterally by Israel –


      “Those steps include a freeze on Jewish settlement construction east of the security fence, encouraging Jews in the West Bank to relocate back to Israel proper, and for Israel to unambiguously renounce territorial claims to Palestinian lands.

      If that sounds too accommodating to the Palestinians, the plan also calls for completing the entire security barrier between Israel and the West Bank (60 percent of it has been constructed) as well as sustaining Israel’s military presence in the territory until passage of a permanent status agreement.”

      The other option is full blown apartheid.

      Reply to Comment
      • Chris

        “The other option is full blown apartheid.”

        It’s already full-blown apartheid in Palestine.

        Reply to Comment
      • Thanks for sharing this, I had heard about it but did not know there was a link to the actual document. It would, of course, be the very best plan and one that teensy little me has pushed for quite some time, with the added exclamation that if they still try to attack like everyone claims, then actions against attack would not attract world revulsion.

        It’s time to end this and these men have shown the way.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Keep in mind that “the security fence” was itself a calculated land grab. The precise path this fence took was dictated far more by which Palestinians in what locations could be shoved off their land than by actual security issues. So the idea that the “security fence” is some New and Improved Green Line is yet another one of those “facts on the ground” that Israel wants you to simply assume is a given, is “in the consensus,” is somehow magically permanent, and is not illegitimate and illegal like everything else.

        Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          If one reads the posts of the Israel hating pro Arabs in here, and if one would not know any better, one would come to believe that all the Palestinian Arabs ever wanted was to be able to live peacefully alongside Israel but “eeevil Israel” was just too greedy and caused the war, 100 years ago, in which the poor, poor Palestinian Arabs were disadvantaged by the “mighty goliath Israel” who kept on stealing “Arab lands” and mistreated the “innocent Arabs” who kept on offering “fair peace terms” which Israel always rejected etc…

          But people who know history, know that all that is just Arab propaganda and an inversion of what really happened in terms of who chose violence in order to try to destroy the other. And it continues today but the Arabs have changed their tactics. Instead of placing the emphasis on violence to try to eliminate Israel, they have enlisted their numerous allies world wide to try to weaken Israel politically and to try to make Israel make concessions which would weaken it sufficiently to enable the Arabs to finish the job that they started even before the birth of Israel.

          This tactic of the Arabs won’t work either. It will be interesting to see what they will try next?

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            The following article sums up the history of the PLO and the gullible (as well as the not gullible ones but who are ill intentioned) left.


            “The peace camp’s hope was never based on evidence. Indeed, it flew in the face of the PLO’s track record. By the time the Israeli peaceniks began negotiating with Arafat and his deputies in the late 1980s, the PLO had already controlled two autonomous areas. In both Jordan and Lebanon, Arafat and his terrorists transformed peaceful areas into bases for global terrorism and launching points for massacres of Israelis and of victims from Africa to Europe to the Americas.

            The secret of the PLO’s success was that it didn’t simply kill people. It combined murder with political warfare. The PLO’s political war had two goals. First, it aimed to make killing Jews politically acceptable a mere generation after the Holocaust.

            Second, the PLO devoted great resources to wooing the Israeli and Western Left. It sought to convince a sufficient core of leftists that the PLO wasn’t really committed to its goal of eradicating Israel. It actually was a peace movement in terrorist disguise.

            Arafat and his deputies whispered in the ears of their gullible Israeli “partners” that they weren’t an implacable foe. They were partners for peace just waiting to be convinced that they could make a deal.

            The success of both political warfare strategies has been on prominent display of late. On December 23, the ambassadors of state members of the UN Security Council broke out in spontaneous applause after they unanimously passed Resolution 2334,”

            Those of us who grew up with this history and experienced it on our own skin, know that Caroline’s words are spot on. She hits the nail on the head!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Let me sum up this piece by Caroline Glick:


            The only thing missing here, but not from other Glick pieces, is “radical Muslim sympathizer and Jew hater Hussein Obama.”

            You gotta love that “combined murder with political warfare.” As if the Israeli state does not routinely engage in murder of Palestinians. And the pre-state Haganah before it. And as if “political warfare” itself were somehow beyond the pale and not something that Israel, and all other countries, engage in. Is it like “diplomatic warfare”? “Diplomatic terrorism”?

            It is a tell-tale sign of the nature of Glick that, far more than other writers, she elicits these amusingly repetitive, stereotypical responses from her chorus: “Spot on Caroline. Yet again!” Or “Caroline Glick hits the nail on the head! Again!” 

            Because if all you have to do is drive the same crude nail in the same predetermined spot every time, it gets rather easy to swing the hammer and it does not take any thought. Spot on, Caroline! You hit the nail on the head!

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “You gotta love that “combined murder with political warfare.” As if the Israeli state does not routinely engage in murder of Palestinians.”

            “You gotta love that”. Benny has never heard about cause and effect. Here, let me explain it to you:

            CAUSE: Palestinian Arab violence and terrorism against the Jews of Palestine then after Israel’s creation, the Jews of Israel, for the last 100 years.

            EFFECT: The Jews of Palestine and subsequently Israel, “returned the compliment” to Palestinian Arabs.

            “And the pre-state Haganah before it.”

            The Haganah was created as a reaction to the massacre of Hebron’s and Tzefat’s Jews by Palestinian Arabs in 1929.

            “And as if “political warfare” itself were somehow beyond the pale and not something that Israel, and all other countries, engage in. Is it like “diplomatic warfare”?

            Oh they can engage in it. They can even force self interested countries to repeat their propaganda and lies. But Israel is entitled to employ counter measures too. And we will just have to see who will prevail.

            “Diplomatic terrorism”?

            Whatever. But if they opt to be hostile “diplomatically” let them not be surprised if we respond in kind.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​”Caroline Glick is a right-wing ideologue of the worst variety, and the deputy managing editor of the Post, who, while embedded in Iraq, rushed to report that US troops had discovered a chemical weapons plant, though in fact, they had not. Glick, who, rumor has it, has been asked to work the night shift from home because none of her co-workers can stand to be in the same room with her, and, under whose editorship the Post continues to run rampant with typographical and factual errors, is regularly given a soap box in the editorial section of the paper to, for example, charge the American Jewish Left with Hamas’ victory.”

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Ok, so Benny is trying to shoot the messenger, Caroline Glick. Now tell us which one of her messages which I quoted in my post of the 4th of January, is wrong, Benny? Try to be specific rather than general otherwise you’ll just prove that you are in denial and you are afraid of being pinned down in case I can prove YOU to be wrong, Benny.

            Reply to Comment
          • biggerake

            As an impartial observer, I can clearly see that Ben has been doing a good job of wiping the floor with you and your tired, foolish Zionist talking points.

            I myself subscribe to the school of thought that the last thing the world needs is a “Jewish state”. Certainly the idea of a country founded on the principle of religious discrimination is nothing that the United States should support.

            In fact, if any other country was torturing, killing and displacing the indigenous peoples the way Israel is doing to the Palestinians, the US government would be bristling with righteous indignation threatening sanctions and even military intervention.

            Well, the only idea with a good record of success as far as international stability is concerned is the balance of power. With that in mind the US should immediately stop all support for Israel, military and financial and give instead all that support to the Palestinians. They must be given modern weapons: jet fighters, tanks, artillery, missile cruisers, battleships, and any secret weapons that Israel may have…

            As part of this effort the Atlantic Fleet should be moved into the area to break the blockade of Gaza so the Palestinians can have their own airports, water supply and infrastructure. And the residents of the illegal settlements should be put on notice that they have 30 days to get out…or else.

            Then there would be a true balance of power and real negotiations could begin between equal parties.

            As Thomas Suarez has well documented in his excellent book State of Terror, Israel is a terrorist state built from the beginning by terrorism and maintained by terrorism. As Grant Smith has documented many times (http://www.irmep.org/5reasons.asp) US aid to Israel is a horrible investment.

            Things must change…

            Reply to Comment
    5. AJew

      Watch the following video in which a decent New Zealander apologises for his country’s role in co-sponsoring that recent despicable UN Security Council resolution.


      Those who are responsible for this shameful resolution, will have to wear the consequences on their collective consciences (if they have got such a thing?).

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        ​One of your newer rhetorical habits is to select individuals you find out there on the internet who sync with your fixed hard right wing POV (in this case a man who blatantly mischaracterizes 2334 in his first sentence) and classify them as “decent” and then by implication anyone who has a leftward POV is “indecent.” But what the settlers and the army do every day to occupied Palestinians is indecent. +972 Magazine has documented the indecency with integrity and sobriety in convincing detail.

        “A decent Arab” is what you hanker for? Meet a “decent Palestinian,” Jad Isaac:

        Got any “decent Jews” to recommend, Gustav? Or are decency tests only required of Arabs and other Gentiles in your worldview? Tell me, is Naftali Bennet a “decent Jew”? Is Benzti Gopstein a “decent Jew”? Are the soldiers who throw innocent families out of their house at 3AM in sleeping villages or snipe unarmed protesters with ruger rifles “decent Jews”? Is Elor Azaria a “decent Jew”? Are the bureaucrats who cheat East Jerusalem residents out of their houses and their land “decent Jews”? Is Benjamin Netanyahu a “decent Jew”? Is Sarah? Is Noam Chomsky? Is Sayed Kashua a “decent Arab”? Is Amjad Iraqi? Inquiring minds want to know.

        Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          Here is my response to just a couple of bits of nonsense from Benny’s link.

          “Kerry defended the move, saying the West Bank and east Jerusalem are up for negotiation and settlements jeopardize the chances for peace. Israeli leaders were exasperated by his speech. Isaac was encouraged.”

          Why? Is Kerry suggesting that Jewish “settlers” should be uprooted from their homes? 500,000 Jews? Is that fair? Is that practical even? After all, there are other solutions which are both fair AND more practical.

          “In his address, Kerry argued that continued Israeli settlement construction would make it impossible for Palestinians to ever have a sovereign state. Isaac said he sees this possibility unfolding before his eyes every day, out his window.”

          What about land swaps? Why is that option suddenly not viable? When did that option die? With the slogan that Israel must withdraw to the 1967 lines? The 1967 lines were nothing but armistice lines from 1949? An armistice which the Jordanians broke and therefore abrogated when they entered the war on Egypt’s side and attacked Israel in 1967, despite pleas from Israel at the time, to stay out of the war.

          But if the argument is that the new Palestinian state must be contiguous, then the question again is why? How can Gaza and the West Bank ever be contiguous? The only way would be for Israel to give up a strip of the Negev desert. But if it would, then Israel itself would become non contiguous. Dilemmas everywhere, huh Benny?

          Of course there are solutions to address the “not contigious” issue. Has anyone heard of land corridors such as tunnels or overhead bridges. That has been the solution mooted for Gaza and the WB which are much further apart than any two “would be” non contiguous points in the WB. Of course, if there would be true peace, there would be good will and commerce would thrive between Jews and Arabs. And contiguity wouldn’t even be an issue. But that’s too much to ask, huh, Benny?

          Another potential solution would be that some of the Jewish “settlements” could become part of the new state of Palestine. Those Jews could become citizens of Palestine or dual citizens of Israel and Palestine. After all, Israel has 1.6 million Arab citizens. Why not the other way around? Why must the new Palestinian state be Judenrein?

          If the issue is “settlement” expansion, then the quickest and best way to resolve this, would have been to sign a peace deal which would define the borders. Right now, there are no defined borders because historically the Arabs have not agreed to recognise Israel within ANY borders. Ostensibly, the Arabs claim that they would now recognise Israel within the 1967 boundaries. But that horse has now bolted. The past cannot and should not be undone. But there are fair solutions today as outlined above. With good will, anything is possible. The trouble is that the Palestinian Arabs have not given up their zero sum game.

          The insistence of the Arabs on the individual rights of millions of descendants of refugees to “return” to Israel proper, is the true impediment to peace, not the “settlements”. That is why negotiations broke down in 2000/2001 and went nowhere in 2008.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​First of all, you didn’t respond to being called out on your patronizing and indirectly demonizing “decent Arab” rhetoric. The main point. You avoided it.

            ‘“Settlers”’ – the quotation marks are obnoxious. A sign you are not serious.

            Uproot 500,000? Who said that? You did. So you could act offended. That what the land swaps are for, to avoid uprooting so many in the close in “blocs.” The Palestinians have already signed on to that.

            “Judenrein” – more deviousness and obnoxiousness, and a particularly hoary, hackneyed and holocaust-card-playing one. Just absolutely dishonest.

            “Contiguous? Why?” – more obnoxiousness.

            The more one talks with right wingers and draws out their real plans like this the ever more clear it becomes that behind all the double talk about negotiating and wanting peace, behind this façade, how utterly obstinate, intractable, fanatic, venal, land grabbing they really are. One sees why there is so much energy put into posturing about negotiations. It’s all about the land and grabbing as much possible no matter the human consequences. Not about peace and peace and security at all. The chutzpah is mind-boggling. Israeli Jews can’t even live next to Arabs in the Negev—the Arabs of their own state have to be forcibly shipped out because the Jews moving in are too pure to bear their proximity. But the Arabs in the West Bank should think it swell that they would have to tunnel under the Jews to connect their lands; and as if the land grabbed by settlements was not stolen in the first place. That’s what amazes. “Hold on, I stole your land but let’s be reasonable, you can tunnel under what I stole. Why ever would you mind unless you are trying to destroy me?” And burble on about “maybe if there would be true peace, there would be good will…contiguity wouldn’t even be an issue.” It’s mind boggling. Yet Israel of course insists on Ariel and on contiguity between Ariel and Israel! A long contiguous finger of land! You can’t make this stuff up!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​I might add, Gustav, that your productions are notable in this regard because you have long posed as just wanting peace and security, with a pretense that you’re not really land hungry, you’re not really quite like Subhana, Halevy, Lewis from Afula and their ilk. In my view it is a pose. Hanging out on a leftward leaning site, trying to snare people into endless distractions and endless pseudo-controversies, anything to distract from the real issues. Anything to basically do the equivalent of trying to insert creationism into science classes about evolution and “teach the controversy.”

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “you have long posed …. you’re not really quite like Subhana, Halevy, Lewis from Afula and their ilk. In my view it is a pose.”

            ? Psssst, Benny, listen for my whisper. Me, pose for you? Are you kidding me? Or are you kidding yourself? I have no reason to try to impress you. I happen to hold you in very low esteem. What you hear from me is not designed to impress you or even the likes of you. As far as I am concerned, you are just a tool. You give me an opportunity to demonstrate to real people what we are up against. All your biases, your relentless one eyed approach, your demonisation of Israel and whitewashing of your darling Palestinian Arabs. If only you had even a bit of ability to see yourself as you really are, you’d realise what a cartoon world you live in.

            But good try Benny. Keep on deluding yourself about what I am trying to do.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            You just gotta “love” Benny. The above post is a vintage Benny post which reveals Benny’s thought processes. He says:

            “Uproot 500,000? Who said that? You did. So you could act offended….”

            “…That what the land swaps are for…”

            “Judenrein” – more deviousness…”

            Then he launches into a typical, emotive, tirade about “land theft about my suggestion that there are solutions to resolve the alleged “lack of contiguity” issues which settlements pose.

            So Benny. Suddenly you forgot about the land swaps which you, yourself, talked about in the same post? How can it be land theft if you get something for it?

            Aaaaand, Benny dear, if you don’t agree to allow some or all the settlements to stay, then, guess what: the Jews of those “settlements” would be uprooted from their homes.

            Moreover, your implication that at least some of the “settlements” should be dismantled, coupled to land swaps for others, reveals your true intent that not a single Jewish person should remain in your shiny new Palestinian state. Whether you like it or not, that means, Judenrein. Yet Israel has 1.6 million Arab citizens. Compare and contrast.

            In my above post (of the 6th of January), I tried to offer a couple of alternatives for consideration to address the so called obstacles for peace. Issues such as lack of contiguity, and the allegation of “land theft”. I dared to say that with good will, solutions do exist. But Benny wants none of it.

            He prefers to concentrate on:

            “First of all, you didn’t respond to being called out on your patronizing …”

            While he does not respond to what I said about the much more serious obstacle to peace of the so called right of return demand which scuttled every peace initiative since 2000.

            To sum up. Benny responds by being emotive. He side tracks. And he contradicts himself in his own post. Good show, Benny, Vintage Benny.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Noch einmal, you didn’t respond to being called out on your patronizing and indirectly demonizing “decent Arab” rhetoric.

            “How can it be land theft if you get something for it?”

            Excellent question. It shows the endless patience, forbearance and special passes Israel is given. And the flexibility and willingness to compromise of the Palestinians. But no, even that is not enough. Not for the Israelis. Not ever.

            “some of the Jews of those “settlements” would be uprooted from their homes”

            Happens all the time in places all over the world—it’s called eviction of squatters. Why are you special?

            “not a single Jewish person should remain in your shiny new Palestinian state”

            I am not a Palestinian, it is not my state, and it is incumbent on Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians whatever transfer of persons from Israeli to Palestinian citizenship it wants to negotiate. I had thought I heard 50000 times the Israelis chant “direct negotiations between the parties” but maybe I misheard that. Better make it worth their while. So, “Judenrein”?—same old dishonesty. Im Westen Ufer nichts neues.

            “Emotive tirade.”

            Self-evidently a fabrication.

            Your “peace plan” amounts to “Contiguity for Jews, Non-Contiguity for Arabs.” Your attitude towards your “plan” amounts to “What’s your problem? What’s the big deal? It’s a fine plan.” As if you set out to become the apotheosis of chutzpah. And you, emotively, professed outrage at the senior American intelligence official who, after long and intimate experience in dealing with your country’s agents said “You can’t embarrass an Israeli. It’s just impossible to embarrass them.” And then the best part, what makes you truly special: you give us lectures on “zero sum gaming.” That added that extra special je ne sais quoi, that extra fine Gustav touch of self-righteousness. Exquisite.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Here we go again on the merry go round. Benny just says any old thing which pops into his head. Just so long so he can say SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Let me illustrate:

            First Benny said this:

            “Uproot 500,000? Who said that? You did. So you could act offended….”

            I then said this:

            “some of the Jews of those “settlements” would be uprooted from their homes”

            Benny then said this:

            “Happens all the time in places all over the world—it’s called eviction of squatters. Why are you special?”

            Benny is all over the place. And he has no answer to the points which I raised in my previous posts.

            – The 1922 League of Nations resolution which states that Jews may settle anywhere within historic Palestine until final borders would be agreed upon.

            – Benny clearly admits that he expects his shiny new Palestinian state to be Judenrein. Yet earlier on Benny said:

            “Judenrein” – more deviousness…” presumably to imply that there could be Jews living in his shiny new Palestinian Arab state. Just as Israel has 1.6 million Arab citizens.

            But with Benny, nothing is concrete. It is always a cose of “now you see it”, “now you don’t”. Consistency is not one of Benny’s strong points. Abbas is exactly the same. That is why peace making is an impossible task with Abbas. Hey Benny, you wouldn’t actually be him? Yea, the big Cahoona, Abbas himself? You sure sound like him ?

            Yes, Benny has a lazy, illogical one track mind in which according to him, Israel has to bear all responsibility for past Arab aggressions against the Jewish people of Israel and the lack of progress in negotiations even though the Arabs were the ones who refused to negotiate, using “settlement expansion” as an excuse.

            Hellooooooo. Negotiate a peace deal which would at long last define the borders and there would be no more ADDITIONAL “settlements” outside the defined borders of Israel.

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          • Ben

            You know, Gustav, this is where I feel you just play dumb. Clearly “some” settlers is not “500,000” settlers.” Clearly existing Israeli citizens illegally transferred in to occupied territory are not equivalent to “Juden” and withdrawing those Israeli nationals not living in the blocs close in along the 67 lines is not “reinigung.” That is an offensive holocaust-abusing downright shifty maneuver of yours. You should be ashamed! Especially as it is *your* country that is as we speak engaged in the slow relentless ethnic cleansing of West Bank Palestinians in Area C, and of Arab citizens in the Negev, and at least half the Israeli population supports the ethnic cleansing of Arabs!

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          • AJew

            I am the indecent, holocaust abusing villain, but you are the decent one, Benny?

            The fact remains. We, Israel has 1.6 million Arab citizens. Between 1948 and 1967, the Arabs made sure that not a single Jew remained in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. After 1967, we dared, yes dared, “we had the Hutzpah” according to you to return Jews where Jews always lived or had the right to live legally in accordance to principles enshrined by the League of nations. But you Benny want us to voluntarily ethnically cleanse ourselves from all or some of these places, so we can live in peace? Even if you’d be right about that getting us peace, which you are not, even then the price that you demand for peace is too high.

            Get this. Since we have 1.6 million Arab citizens, no Jew (or at most, very few Jews) will be uprooted from the West Bank but there WILL be peace ultimately. But only once the Arabs will realise and accept that war will not bring them any benefits. That it will bring them only more misery and that they can’t dictate to us terms of surrender. Only then will there be peace. We will never get peace through showing weakness. We found that out the hard way in the past. We now believe in what Einstein said. The sign of true insanity is keeping on doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome each time. After our unconditional withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza we won’t be repeating those mistakes again. We may adopt the Sinai model in which Sadat showed lotsa good will before we agreed to withdraw. But in the case of the WB, we will never withdraw from places like the Jewish quarter of East Jerusalem or Gush Etzion, at the least. More than likely we will hold on to other places too and that’s with GOOD will shown by the Arabs. With bad will, they will lose more and more. Jewish blood is no longer cheap. Your Arabs spilt a lot of Jewish blood trying to get rid of us from our ancestral home. And there is a price they have to pay for that.

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          • Ben

            Oh my, emotive rhetoric. By the emotivizer bunny. “In very low esteem.” Yeah, I know, I’m “indecent.” (For someone who says he holds me in very low esteem or “decency” you sure borrow a lot of my word choices and usages. I should charge you a fee.) Anyway, if it was not a pose then it was one of two other things: a rightward shift over time, or mere incoherence. Anyway the cat’s out of the bag now. No one who is paying attention will ever mistake you again for a guy who says he just wants security and a decent two state solution. “Real people.” I have to picture Edo or Noam reading this and saying “oh, yeah, AJew is making us see the whole thing anew! How indecent we were! Whatever were we thinking?! Shut down +972 today!” But I guess they are not “real people” and certainly not “decent Jews”—because everyone who is not a hard right winger is “indecent,” right? And those Arabs especially have to pass “decency” tests. But Naftali Bennet and Benzti Gopstein are super “decent.” Got it.

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          • AJew

            Poor old Benny. He cannot refute my arguments so he has now been reduced to labelling the messenger. Me.

            That’s it says Benny. AJew is a hard right winger so anything that he says is automatically wrong. Of course he is right. I AM a right winger. But not a HARD right winger. Just someone in the centre right.

            But since Benny is lazy he thinks he need not present valid arguments. He just needs to dismiss the one who brings the message, me. Read his above post that is exactly what our inimitable Benny did. Good luck with that Benny ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​”Just someone in the centre right.”

            A moving of the goal posts both egregious and comic.

            “since Benny is lazy”

            What you would like to do, Gustav, is define as “lazy” my fatigue with, lack of interest in, and lack of time for wading in and contesting every tedious element in your tedious propaganda output. This too is an egregious and comic moving of the goal posts.

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          • AJew

            Then why are you talking to me in the first place Benny?

            Suggestion: stop talking to me allyogether. No one is twisting your arms ?

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          • AJew


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    6. Bilateral Israeli-Palestinian arena looks as bleak, the last effort for negotiated peace – the Kerry-led negotiations in 2013-2014 – collapsed, adding despair on both sides to the prospects of a two-state solution. As for now further bilateral negotiations are not the answer it is time to consider different paradigms. On January 2016, the leader of Israel’s opposition and head of the Zionist Union party Isaac Herzog, unveiled an alternative approach to the issue of Israel’s nearly 49-year old presence in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The main point of Herzog’s plan is, that Israel will complete the security barrier around the major settlement blocs. If this removing settlements from West Bank behind the security barrier will be implemented with principle of sc “constructive unilateralism” it makes possible to negotiate a two-state solution if needed and so agreed. Anyway from my point of view unilateral withdrawal and unilateral annexation are better way forward than status quo and slow moving towards one-state reality. The main benefit might be that Israel can deside these actions individually. (more background in “Constructive Unilateralism: Leftist Approach to Israel-Palestine Conflict” – https://arirusila.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/constructive-unilateralism-leftist-approach-to-israel-palestine-conflict/

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