Israel Palestine Infos
March 12, 2011
Here is the latest crop of mind-bogglingly innovative ideas:
Minister of Defense Ehud
Barak has announced that he is going to ask the
Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu had his picture taken surrounded by female soldiers – like Muammar
Qaddafi in the good old days – looking beyond the Jordan River and announcing
that the Israeli army would never ever leave the
This slogan is as old as
the occupation itself. It was part of the celebrated Allon Plan, which was
designed to surround the
However, times have
changed. When Allon was a legendary commander in the 1948 war, he did not even
dream of missiles. Today, missiles launched from beyond the
When the politicians
bravely face the new world, the army dares not lag behind. This week, several
division commanders announced that they were preparing for Tahrir-style
“non-violent mass uprisings” in the
To reinforce the mental vigor of the leadership, Netanyahu has now mobilized an awesome intellect: he has appointed General Yaakov Amidror as Chief of the National Security Council. Amidror, the highest ranking kippa-wearing officer in the army, has never hidden his ultra-ultra nationalist views, including his total opposition to a Palestinian state and peace in general. He is, by the way, the officer who recently mentioned approvingly that some armies put “a bullet into the heads” of soldiers who don’t rise to storm an enemy position.
It is only fitting that Netanyahu invited the National Front party, which includes openly fascist elements, to join his government this week. They refused, because Netanyahu is not extreme enough for them.
In the meantime, a dozen top politicians, from Avigdor Lieberman down, have been dusting off moribund plans for “interim agreements” – old merchandise sitting sadly on the shelves, with no buyers in sight.
All in all: political dwarfs, confronted with a revolutionary new reality which they can neither understand nor cope with. (This is not to insult real-life dwarfs, who are, of course, as intelligent as anyone else.)
WITH THIS bunch of leaders, it is almost utopian to ask what we could and should do to attune ourselves to the new geopolitical reality.
Assuming that the Arab world, or a large part of it, is on the road to democracy and social progress, how will this affect our future?
Can we build bridges to
such progressive, multi-party societies? Can we persuade them to accept us as a
legitimate part of the region? Can we participate in the political and economic
emergence of a “New
I believe we can. But the absolute, unalterable precondition is that we make peace with the Palestinian people.
It is the unshakable – and self-fulfilling - conviction of the entire Israeli establishment that this is impossible. They are quite right – as long as they are in charge, it is indeed impossible. But with another leadership, will things be different?
If both sides – and this
depends heavily on
A peace agreement –
signed by the PLO, ratified in a popular referendum, accepted by Hamas – will
radically change the attitude of the Arab peoples in general towards
This is not simply a matter of form – it goes deep into the bedrock of national consciousness. Not one of the ongoing uprisings in the various Arab countries is anti-Israeli by nature. Nowhere do the Arab masses cry out for war. Indeed, the idea of war contradicts their basic aspirations: social progress, freedom, a standard of living which allows a life in dignity.
However, as long as the
occupation of Palestinian territory goes on, the Arab masses will reject
ONE ARGUMENT against
peace, endlessly repeated by our official propaganda, is that Hamas will never
accept it. The specter of Islamist movements in other countries winning
democratic elections – as Hamas did in
It may be worthwhile
remembering that Hamas was effectively created by
During the first decades
of the occupation, the military governors forbade any kind of Palestinian
political activity, even by those who were advocating peace with
That was, of course, a stupid idea, typical of the short-sightedness of our political and military leaders, as far as Arab affairs are concerned. On the outbreak of the first intifada, the Islamist movement constituted itself as Hamas (“Islamic Resistance Movement”) and took up the fight.
The emergence of
Hizbollah was also a result of Israeli actions. When
Both Hamas and Hizbollah
aspire to power in their respective countries. That is their main aim. For both,
the fight against
Will Hamas accept peace? It has declared as much in a roundabout way: if the Palestinian Authority makes peace, they have declared, and if the peace agreement is ratified by a Palestinian referendum, Hamas will accept it as an expression of the people’s will. The same goes for all the Islamic movements in the various Arab countries, with the exception of al-Qaeda and the likes, which are not nationally-based political parties but international conspiratorial organizations.
With a peace treaty
freely accepted by the Palestinians as the satisfaction of their national
aspirations, any intervention by other Arab countries will become redundant, if
not downright ridiculous. Hizbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood in
With this obstacle
MORE THAN 50 years ago, the then Crown Prince of Morocco, Moulai Hassan - the later king Hassan II - made a historic proposal: to invite Israel to join the Arab League. At the time, the idea sounded outlandish and was soon forgotten. (Except by the king himself, who reminded me of it when he received me secretly in 1981.)
Today, with a new Arab world in sight, this utopian vision is suddenly looking more realistic. Yes, after peace, with the free and sovereign State of Palestine becoming a full member of the UN, a reformed regional structure , including Israel, perhaps Turkey and, in due course, Iran, will move into the realm of reality.
A region with open borders, with commercial activity and economic cooperation flourishing from Marrakesh to Mosul, from Haifa to Aden, within a generation or two – yes, that is one of the possibilities opened by the current earth-shaking events.
SUCH A development would need, of course, a total change in our basic concepts, some of which are at least as old as Zionism itself.
It will not happen as long as our political and intellectual life is dominated by Netanyahu, Lieberman, Barak, Eli Yishai, Tzipi Livni, Shimon Peres and their ilk. The stage must be cleared of this whole crop of dwarfs.
Can this happen? Will it happen? “Realists” will shake their heads - as they did before the Germans tore down their wall, before Boris Yeltsin climbed on that tank and before the Americans elected an Afro-American president whose middle name is Hussein.