Let us for the moment forget that we are being asked to cede the promised land.
Shavit argues that Israel should cut a deal, not knowing what that deal will be in terms of settlement blocs we get to keep and whether they accept no right of return to Israel. Obviously, even Kadima and Labor will draw some lines perhaps killing a deal. He argues that it is better to find out how onerous it will be so that we can decide.
Remember when the Saudi Plan was first announced the incentive was a peace agreement with all Arab countries and the normalization of relations. Nobody talks about that now. So long as Syria does’t deal there will be no hope of that.
The Right is not monolithic. Some want all the land. Some want only Area “C”. Some want to minimize the number of Israelis we will have to uproot. Some don’t want to divide Jerusalem. The more we get than what is offered, the more on the right who will accept it. The cost of trying to minimize our losses, is continued deligitimation and demonization. Obviously the Left has less tolerance for this than the Right.
Another question is, if we accept a deal like what Olmert offered, will we be stronger and safer for it?
Finally the demand for a freeze is a red herring. If there is no deal other than giving up most of the settlements, what difference does it make on the amount of construction that will take place in the three month period? None, of course. It suggests to me that there will be no deal and therefore whether or not we are building is a huge deal.
Struggling with this peace process is diverting our attention from the real danger, namely the 60,000 missiles staring down on us and the looming of a nuclear Iran. T. Belman
The right is loonier than ever and about to turn Israel into South Africa. (I probably would not use the word “loony”. I think fixated, manic, misguided or just out of touch is a good description. y)
By Ari Shavit. HAARETZ
The radical right has been loony before, too. It was loony when it saw the Yom Kippur War drawing near and did not prevent it. It was loony when it saw peace with Egypt drawing near and tried to stop it. It was loony when it initiated the Lebanon war. It was loony when it built 150 settlements in Gaza and the West Bank.
The radical right was loony when it toppled Yitzhak Shamir in 1992, when it toppled Benjamin Netanyahu in 1998, when it incited against Yitzhak Rabin and when it ranted and raved against Ariel Sharon. The right was loony when it gradually became messianic, batty and racist. The radical right was not just loony according to acceptable international terms. It was loony even based on it own principles. It refused to see reality, acted irrationally and irrevocably damaged Zionism.
But now the radical right is especially loony. Why? Because now we can see the price. Now we see the abyss we have been led to. We see the delegitimization, the demography, the spoilage. We see that more is less. We see that having it all isn’t what it was cut out to be; that if we don’t draw a border for the Jewish state, there will be no Jewish state. We see that the occupation is about to turn Israel into South Africa; that the settlements are about to destroy Zionism. We see the clock striking midnight.
Despite all this the loony right is staying on course. It still believes that the villa neighborhood in Elon Moreh is more important than an F-35 squadron. It still considers illegal outposts in the West Bank more important than Security Council resolutions. It still assumes that Israel’s power is measured in concrete and cement, roads and settlements. Backward views on state affairs make the loony right think it is serving Israel when in fact it is sabotaging Israel. The loony right is even undermining the settlement project. When it foils every compromise regarding the settlement blocs it is dooming all the settlers to the fate of the settlers in Algeria.
A week ago Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton drafted several understandings. It’s still not clear whether the understandings were serious. It’s still not clear whether they will be implemented or forgotten. But the Israeli interest in the understandings is perfectly clear – preventing a UN resolution on establishing a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, preventing the Palestinians from turning the construction in the settlements into their eternal alibi, and strengthening Israel’s security.
The loony right refuses to see the crystal-clear Israeli interest. It is kicking and screaming, threatening and running amok. The very idea of freezing construction is driving it into a frenzy. The very attempt to resume the peace process is driving it berserk. With its mouth foaming the batty right demands that we all walk tall with eyes wide open to perdition.
The conclusion is unequivocal – if Israel wants to live it must release itself from the loony right’s stranglehold. The settlers’ rabbis are not the State of Israel. Nor are Shas’ rabbis. National Union, Habayit Hayehudi and the Likud rebels are a tiny minority. Only because the political system isn’t functioning they gained power. Only because the silent majority is silent they can bring upon us one disaster after another. Because sane Israel is indifferent, loony Israel gets to lead us to the brink of catastrophe. Not because of an act of God but because we are weak-willed and dispirited we allow the wacky fringe groups to take over the national agenda. We let lunatics take us to dark places.
Netanyahu sees this frenzy around him and gets nauseated. He knows very well that the loony right lacks a basic understanding of state affairs. He realizes that the loony right is dangerous. But to move from understanding to action, Netanyahu must achieve a political big bang. He must make opposition leader Tzipi Livni a substantial proposal. He must make a real effort to put together a Zionist government. Only a government consisting of the three central Zionist parties can deal with Zionism’s crumbling. Only a Likud-Kadima-Labor government can make the necessary decisions on the peace process. Only a different government can prevent the loony right from driving us all over the edge.