Israel Palestine Infos
December 1, 2012
The Strong and the Sweet
IT WAS a day of joy.
Joy for the Palestinian people.
Joy for all those who hope for peace between
And, in a modest way, for me personally.
The General Assembly of the United Nations, the highest world forum, has voted
overwhelmingly for the recognition of the State of
The resolution adopted by the same forum 65 years ago to the day, to partition
I HOPE I may be excused a few moments of personal celebration.
During the war of 1948, which followed the first resolution, I came to the conclusion that there exists a Palestinian people and that the establishment of a Palestinian state, next to the new State of Israel, is the prerequisite for peace.
As a simple soldier, I fought in dozens of engagements against the Arab
Before the war, I hoped that the unity of the country, so dear to both peoples, could be preserved. The war convinced me that reality had smashed this dream forever.
I was still in uniform when, in early 1949, I tried to set up an initiative for
what is now called the Two-State Solution. I met with two young Arabs in
At the time, it looked like mission impossible. “
In 1949, there were not a hundred persons in the entire world who believed in
this solution. Not a single country supported it. The Arab countries still
Mine was a lonely fight. For the next 40 years, as the editor of a news magazine, I brought the subject up almost every week. When I was elected to the Knesset, I did the same there.
In 1968 I went to
When I published a book devoted to this solution, the PLO in
Today, there is a world consensus that a solution of the conflict without a Palestinian state is quite out of the question.
So why not celebrate now?
WHY NOW? WHY didn’t it happen before or later?
Because of the Pillar of Cloud, the historic masterpiece from Binyamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and Avigdor Lieberman.
The Bible tells us about Samson the hero, who rent a lion with his bare hands. When he returned to the scene, a swarm of bees had made the carcase of the lion its home and produced honey. So Samson posed a riddle to the Philistines: “Out of the strong came forth sweetness”. This is now a Hebrew proverb.
Well, out of the “strong” Israeli operation against
One of the results of the operation was that the prestige and popularity of Hamas shot sky-high, while the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas sank to new depths. That was a result the West could not possibly tolerate. A defeat of the “moderates” and a victory for the Islamic “extremists” were a disaster for President Barack Obama and the entire Western camp. Something had to found – with all urgency – to provide Abbas with a resounding achievement.
Fortunately, Abbas was already on the way to obtain UN approval for the
THE COMPETITION between the Hamas and Fatah movements is viewed as a disaster for the Palestinian cause. But there is also another way to look at it.
Let’s go back to our own history. During the 30s and 40s, our Struggle for Liberation (as we called it) split between two camps, who hated each other with growing intensity.
On the one side was the “official” leadership, led by David Ben-Gurion, represented by the “Jewish Agency” which cooperated with the British administration. Its military arm was the Haganah, a very large, semi-official militia, mostly tolerated by the British.
On the other side was the Irgun (“National Military Organization”), the far more radical armed wing of the nationalist “revisionist” party of Vladimir Jabotinsky. It split and yet another, even more radical, organization was born. The British called it “the Stern Gang”, after its leader, Avraham Stern”.
The enmity between these organizations was intense. For a time, Haganah members
kidnapped Irgun fighters and turned them over to the British police, who
tortured them and sent them to camps in
In retrospect, the two sides can be seen as acting as the two arms of the same body. The “terrorism” of the Irgun and Stern complemented the diplomacy of the Zionist leadership. The diplomats exploited the achievements of the fighters. In order to counterbalance the growing popularity of the “terrorists”, the British made concessions to Ben-Gurion. A friend of mine called the Irgun “the shooting agency of the Jewish Agency”.
In a way, this is now the situation in the Palestinian camp.
FOR YEARS, the Israeli government has threatened Abbas with the most dire
consequences if he dared to go to the UN. Abolishing the
And now? Nothing. Not a bang and barely a whimper. Even Netanyahu understands that the Pillar of Cloud has created a situation where world support for Abbas has become inevitable.
What to do? Nothing! Pretend the whole thing is a joke. Who cares? What is this UNO anyway? What difference does it make?
Netanyahu is more concerned about another thing
that happened to him this week. In the Likud primary elections, all the
“moderates” in his party were unceremoniously kicked out. No liberal, democratic
alibi was left. The Likud-Beitenu faction in the next Knesset will be composed
entirely of right-wing extremists, among them several outright fascists, people
who want to destroy the independence of the Supreme Court, cover the
While Netanyahu is sure to win the coming elections and continue to serve as Prime Minister, he is too clever not to realize where he is now: a hostage to extremists, liable to be thrown out by his own Knesset faction if he so much as mentions peace, to be displaced at any time by Lieberman or worse.
ON FIRST sight, nothing much has changed. But only on first sight.
What has happened is that the foundation of the State of
Of course, the apartheid one-state is reality. If nothing changes on the ground,
is will become deeper and stronger. Almost every day brings news of it becoming
more and more entrenched. (The bus monopoly has just announced that from now on
there will be separate buses for West Bank Palestinians in
But the quest for peace based on the co-existence between
The strong must lead to the sweet.