February 8, 2014
Another Pipe Dream
WHAT’S WRONG about the demand that the Palestinian leadership recognize
Well, practically everything.
States recognize each other. They don't have to recognize each other's ideological character.
A state is a reality. Ideologies belong to the abstract realm.
When the PLO recognized the State of
Some Israelis (including myself) would like to change the self-definition of
It’s just none of their business.
I DON’T know what the real intention of Netanyahu is when he presents this demand as an ultimatum.
The most flattering explanation for his ego is that it is just another trick to
sabotage the “peace process” before it reaches the demand to evacuate the
Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories. The less flattering
explanation is that he really believes in it, that he is driven by some deeply
rooted national inferiority complex that needs outside assurance of
“legitimacy”. Recognizing the “
When John Kerry considers whether to include this demand in his Framework Agreement, he should think about this twice.
Where would this leave his special emissary, Martin Indyk?
Mr. Indyk is a Jew, bearing a Yiddish Name (Indyk means turkey). If
And where does this leave the millions of American Jews, now that the conflict
between the governments of the
THE NEWLY found independent American voice vis-à-vis
The latest example is Binyamin Netanyahu’s brilliant idea: why not leave the Israeli settlers where they are as Palestinian citizens?
This looks to many sensible people as eminently fair, in the best Anglo-Saxon tradition.
The state of
The Arabs in
People love symmetry. Symmetry makes life easier. It removes complexities.
(When I was a recruit in the army I was taught to mistrust symmetry. Symmetry is rare in nature. When you see evenly spaced trees, I was told, it is not a forest, but camouflaged enemy soldiers.)
THIS SYMMETRY is false, too.
The settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories are mostly new immigrants,
too. They do not sit on the land of their forefathers, but on Palestinian land
expropriated by force – either “private” land or “government land”. This
so-called “government land” was the communal land reserves of the villages that
in Ottoman times was registered in the name of the Sultan, and later in the name
of the British and Jordanian authorities. When
BUT THE main point is something different. It concerns the character of the settlers themselves.
The core of the settlers, precisely those who live in the “isolated” small settlements in the areas that will in any case become part of the Palestinian state, are religious and nationalist fanatics.
The very purpose of their leaving comfortable homes in
The idea that these people would become law-abiding citizens of the very same
Palestinian state is preposterous. Most of them hate everything Arab, including
the workers who work for them without the benefit of minimum wages or social
rights, and say so openly at every opportunity. They support the “Price Tag”
thugs who terrorize their Arab neighbors, or at least don’t speak out against
them. They obey their fanatical rabbis, who discuss among themselves whether it
is right to kill non-Jewish children, who, when grown up, may kill Jews. They
plan the building of the
To think about them as Palestinian citizens is ludicrous.
OF COURSE, not all the settlers are like that. Some of them are quite different.
This week, an Israeli TV station aired a series about the economic situation of the settlers. It was an eye-opener.
Those ideological pioneers, living in tents and wooden huts, are long gone. Many settlements now consist of palatial buildings, each with its swimming pool, horses and orchards – something the Israeli 99% cannot even dream of. Since almost all of them came to the “territories” without a shekel in their pocket, it is clear that all these palaces were built with our tax money - the huge sums transferred every year to this enterprise.
The clusters of urban settlements near the Green Line called “settlement blocs”
are another matter. They are likely to be joined to
Incorporating these two large towns with their inhabitants into the sovereign
WHEN NETANYAHU promised this week that he will not remove one single settler nor
evacuate one single settlement, he may have been thinking of Charles de Gaulle,
who also did not remove settlers or uproot settlements. He just fixed the date
when the French army would leave
That was enough.