Summary: The driver of much (not all) of Israel’s problems was the decision to gradually annex as much of Palestine as possible after Likud gained power in the 1977 election. They have thrown away the moral high ground, the decisive advantage in a world in which 4GW has become the dominant form of warfare. Here we examine what they’ve done. Only God can look into their hearts to see the reasons why.
- A contrafactual for Israeli history
- An influential Israeli describes their decisions that got them here
- An Israeli newspaper article describes their government’s support for the land-theft program
(1) A contrafactual for Israeli history
Imagine if after their victory, they adopted America’s post-WWII strategy of building up the folks they defeated — esp on the West Bank. Nobody knows, but I believe this would have worked out much better for them than their attempt to occupy the West Bank.
As it was, Israel was on course for a great strategic victory, establishing solid if not friendly relations with their neighbors:
- the Camp David Accords (1978),
- the Oslo Accords (1993),
- the Gaza-Jericho Agreement (1994),
- the Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities (1994),
- the Washington Declaration (1994),
- the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace (1994),
- the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (1995), and
- the Hebron Protocol (1997).
But all this potential came to nothing, destroyed by a contrary policy at work during the same period — expansion of settlements into Palestine. This policy was antithetical to both the peace process and the long-term survival of Israel. They forfeited the moral high ground, the key to survival in a world with 4GW is the dominant form of warfare.
The situation will have to change greatly before Israel can make a secure home for itself in the Middle East, and getting there might be prove painful for both sides.
This is simple history, by now evident to all who bother to see. Even in Israel.
(2) An influential Israeli describes their decisions that got them here
“The necessary elimination of Israeli democracy“, Haaretz, 25 November 2011 — “Haaretz publisher and owner Amos Schocken says there is a difference between the apartheid of South Africa and what is happening in Israel and in the territories, but there are also similarities.” Haaretz is Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, founded 1909; its weekend issue’s circulation is 100,000. Excerpt (rede emphasis added):
If things had gone differently, the Iran issue might look different today. However, as it turned out, the Oslo strategy collided with another, stronger ideology: the ideology of Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful ), which since the 1970s, apart from the Oslo period and the time of the withdrawal from Gaza, has established the concrete basis for the actions of Israel’s governments. Even governments that were ostensibly far removed from the Gush Emunim strategy implemented it in practice.
Ehud Barak boasted that, in contrast to other prime ministers, he did not return territory to the Palestinians – and there’s no need to point out once again the increase in the number of settlers during his tenure. The government of Ehud Olmert, which declared its intention to move toward a policy of hitkansut (or “convergence,” another name for what Ariel Sharon termed “disengagement” ) in Judea and Samaria, held talks with senior Palestinians on an agreement but did not stop the settlement enterprise, which conflicts with the possibility of any agreement.
The strategy that follows from the ideology of Gush Emunim is clear and simple: It perceives of the Six-Day War as the continuation of the War of Independence, both in terms of seizure of territory, and in its impact on the Palestinian population. According to this strategy, the occupation boundaries of the Six-Day War are the borders that Israel must set for itself.
And with regard to the Palestinians living in that territory – those who did not flee or were not expelled – they must be subjected to a harsh regime that will encourage their flight, eventuate in their expulsion, deprive them of their rights, and bring about a situation in which those who remain will not be even second-class citizens, and their fate will be of interest to no one. They will be like the Palestinian refugees of the War of Independence; that is their desired status.
As for those who are not refugees, an attempt should be made to turn them into “absentees.” Unlike the Palestinians who remained in Israel after the War of Independence, the Palestinians in the territories should not receive Israeli citizenship, owing to their large number, but then this, too, should be of interest to no one.
The ideology of Gush Emunim springs from religious, not political motivations. It holds that Israel is for the Jews, and it is not only the Palestinians in the territories who are irrelevant: Israel’s Palestinian citizens are also exposed to discrimination with regard to their civil rights and the revocation of their citizenship.
This is a strategy of territorial seizure and apartheid. It ignores judicial aspects of territorial ownership and shuns human rights and the guarantees of equality enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence.
… This ideology has enjoyed immense success in the United States, of all places. President George H.W. Bush was able to block financial guarantees to Israel because of the settlements established by the government of Yitzhak Shamir (who said lying was permissible to realize the Gush Emunim ideology. Was Benjamin Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan University speech a lie of this kind? ). Now, though, candidates for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination are competing among themselves over which of them supports Israel and the occupation more forcefully. Any of them who adopt the approach of the first President Bush will likely put an end to their candidacy.
… Does an Israel of this kind have a future? Over and beyond the question of whether Jewish morality and the Jewish experience allow such circumstances to exist, it is clear that this is a flagrantly unstable and even dangerous situation. It is a situation that will prevent Israel from fully realizing its vast potential, a situation of living by the sword – a sword that could be a third intifada, the collapse of peace with Egypt and a confrontation with a nuclear Iran. Yitzhak Rabin understood that.
(3) An Israeli newspaper article describes their government’s support for the land-theft program
“Right-wing NGO exposes extent of Israel’s support of West Bank settlements“, Haaretz, 24 November 2011 — “In bi-annual survey, Mattot Arim ranks Knesset members, ministers, according to number of bills, lobbying they advanced to better lives of West Bank residents.” Excerpt:
An interesting document has recently found its way to several right-wing members of Knesset. Produced by the rightist NGO Mattot Arim, the survey rates MKs and cabinet ministers according to the aid they provided to the settlement movement and to the “national camp” as a whole.
The report encourages and compliments those who garnered especially high scores, with survey authors saying the report was a tool to reward those “elected officials who truly represent their public.” Published every six months, for the fourth year running the Mattot Arim report breaks down the legislative, lobbying, and media activity of the MKs – from bills preventing the boycott of products made in the settlements, to media interviews. In addition, ministers are lauded for harnessing their ministries for pro-settlement development, such as improving the internet and cellular networks in the West Bank.
In the introduction to the report, the authors say that the “Mattot Arim movement noticed a few years ago that Knesset members of the national camp were not serving their voters well,” adding that “some of the ministers and members of Knesset used to ‘rest’ for most of their term, waking into action – at best – only near election time, after they had squandered 75 percent of their/our term.”
This latest survey covered the period between January and June 2011, listing 100 parliamentary achievements attributed to the various MKs, and revealed the often unpublicized activities taking place on the ground to advance West Bank settlements and the rightist patina of the 18th Knesset.
(4) For more information see these posts about Israel
- The Fate of Israel, 28 July 2006
- The War Nerd shows how simple 4GW theory can be, 22 January 2009
- Are Israel’s leaders insane? Jeffrey Goldberg thinks so., 15 August 2010