Friday, October 15, 2010

YK Halevi on Why Settler Issue is More Complicated than it Appears & Oren & Shavit on Recognition of Israel's Jewishness as Existential Issue

Why Israel Won't Abandon the Settlers - Yossi Klein Halevi
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is attempting to legalize two houses in a tiny West Bank settlement called Hayovel that were built without government permission and face possible demolition. The houses were built by two war heroes. Major Eliraz Peretz fell in a skirmish on the Israeli-Gaza border a half year ago; Israelis were especially touched by his story because his older brother died in Lebanon 12 years ago. The second hero, Major Ro'i Klein, was killed in Lebanon in 2006 after leaping onto a grenade to save his men. Fallen soldiers have a sacrosanct status in Israel. Demolishing the houses that Peretz and Klein built for their families seems to Israelis, whatever their politics, an unbearable act of ingratitude.
Increasingly, Israel's military elite is coming from West Bank settlements and, more broadly, from within the religious Zionist community that produced the settlement movement. Perhaps 40% of combat officers are now religious Zionists (not to be confused with ultra-orthodox Haredim), nearly three times their percentage in the general population. The newly appointed deputy chief of staff, Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, is a religious Zionist.
The "settler" has assumed a near demonic image around the world, but most settlers are part of the mainstream. Crucially, few Israelis regard settlers as interlopers on another people's land. The political wisdom of the settlement project is intensely debated, but only a fringe denies the historic right of Jews to live in what was the biblical heartland of Israel. If the international community wants to understand why the Israeli public doesn't share its antipathy toward the settlers or its urgency to uproot settlements, a good place to begin is with Mr. Barak's effort to legalize two houses on a West Bank hilltop. The writer is a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. (Wall Street Journal)

Good minds think alike. Lozowick beat me to the punch, posting on both articles below before I ever got around to doing the same.

That Pesky Jewish State


George Jochnowitz said...

Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 was certainly controversial, but most Israelis felt that it was a good idea to cede territory and displace settlers for the sake of peace. Gaza became an independent mini-state, a fact that neither Gazans or anybody else seems to understand. If Gaza had shown indications of wanting to live in peace with Israel, most of the West Bank would have been given up by now.
Instead Gaza chose to elect Hamas and to launch rockets--rockets that served no military and no strategic purpose. Their reason was to kill random Israelis, an end in itself.
It would cost West Bank nothing to recognize the Jewish nature of Israel. It would gain them independence. Unfortunately for them and for everyone, independence is a secondary goal. Delegitimizing (and eventually destroying) Israel remains the primary objective.
As long as Israel remains the most hated country on earth, it has few, if any, options open. Israel's past concessions have not helped it to gain legitimacy. Israel today is more hated than it ever has been, despite its withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and its granting of independence to Gaza and autonomy to the West Bank.
Ahmadinejad is free to travel to Lebanon's border with Israel and call for Israel's destruction. Nobody cares. The Hamas Charter excludes the possibility of peace with Israel. Nobody knows. If they knew, they wouldn't care.

Uzi Silber said...

Given the fact that any land from which Israel has withdrawn (except Sinai, but given Al Qaida's presence there, stay tuned) has become a launching pad for rockets and missiles, Israel would be foolish to leave other areas, which would in short order host missiles aimed at Israels population centers. And any talk of UN or US guarantees is idiotic -- just look at the pathetic UN record in policing Hezbollastan.