More About the Israeli Right

I wrote about the Israeli right wing recently, but there is a point worth repeating in the context of the Yesha council’s new declaration:

On Sunday the Yesha Council of settlers decided to adopt a strategy of civil disobedience as a means of battling the evacuation of settlements under the disengagement plan.

During the council’s meeting Binyamin regional council head Pinhas Wallerstein called on the public to “disobey en masse the ‘transfer’ law, even at the price of a prison term.”

Full Story.

If asked to point out Israel’s faults in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I think it is fair to assume that a significant part of Israeli society would blame the small minority of messianic idealists who have led the settlement movement. Yet the full responsibility for the settlements lies on all Israeli governments since the 1970’s with almost no exception. Israeli’s animosity directed at the settlers reminds me of the hatred against the ultra-orthodox; while it is their own, secular government that is funding the ultra-orthodox, some people tend to point their finger at the people on the receiving end instead.

What the settler movement does not seem to understand is that it does not have major political support in Israel. Its interests coincidenced with that of the military and the large political parties in the last 30 something years. But the reality of the occupation to which we all woke up to in September 2000 forced even PM Sharon to use the words like “occupation” and “disengagement”. While these words mean probably nothing to him, the fact that he even used them is something that no one would have imagined to happen just a few years ago.

15 thoughts on “More About the Israeli Right

  1. If they have no support then you wouldn’t mind if held a wee little REFERENDUM on the issue of expelling them from their homes – eh?
    You gotta love the idiotic tactics of herd-minded left. The strongest argument is always citing the latest non-scientific poll conducted by the same old pollsters that have been humiliated repeatedly at every election and juncture in Israeli politics.
    Do us a favor, this is a fairly coherent blog, stick to presenting facts, arguments and logic rather than making wild assertions that make sense to you merely because you surround yourself only with others who are just as shrill as you in their demand for an Israel that will allow them to melt into the gentile society seamlessly.

  2. E — Why should there be a referendum? If you are against the pullback, topple the gov’t (via a no confidence vote of course). That’s what the settler leaders have been trying, unsuccessfully. The fact is, the onus is on you (I assume you support settlements) to prove they are needed/wanted and should be kept. Not otherwise.

  3. The majority of Israelis want to keep Israel Jewish related with the Shomron, Judea, Gaza, and the Golan.
    In the last elections, the majority of Israel chose to follow right-wing Jewish policies by a landslide:
    Ichud Leumi – 7
    Likud – 40
    National Religious Party – 6
    Shas – 11
    United Torah Judaism – 5
    +16 = 69
    and you could add a few of Shinui who were clearly right-wing but have been since shut up by their leader Lapid.
    The fact that the Likud has been hijacked and election promises turned not just into forgotten promises but outright LIES and deception does not mean that this previous majority of Israel support the 180 degree about face that Sharon is forcing everyone to fall in line with.
    As time goes by, the left is losing power by simple demographics and Peres knows this hence the lust with which he is dying to join Sharon and the ‘separation/deportation’ plan at the expense of real leftist socialist policies.

  4. http://www.ipforum.org/display.cfm?id=10&Sub=12
    According to the Peace Index, published by the Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at Tel Aviv University with a 4.5% margin of error, 70% of Israelis are more optimistic about the chances of reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians following the death of Yasser Arafat. A full 75% of Israelis support negotiations with the Palestinians, and, importantly, 75% of Likud voters support these negotiations, a 25% increase from last month’s Index.
    Most Israelis remain skeptical about the elected Palestinian leadership’s ability to maintain control in the territories. Still, a majority of Israelis – 53% – support goodwill gestures to the Palestinians, like ending closures and removing checkpoints, in order to strengthen the new leadership and develop a credible negotiating partner.

    you cannot base attitude of israelis to the settlements based on the party sizes. there are way too many hidden variables.

  5. Josh, you have the votes to topple the gov’t (on paper). If your Likud parliamentarians (is that a word?) were getting phone calls, visits and emails from lots of people demanding they don’t go forward with the pullback, they would change their votes. As it stands, the Likud central committee approved the negotiations with Labor. If your MP’s are so “unprincipled” as to vote against their own and their voters’ desires (as you claim), well, you voted for them. Meanwhile, you’ll have to excuse us while we left (mostly secular) Jews whose ancestors created the nation help an old man resuscitate it and its worldwide credibility (the little shred that is left)
    Oh, and by the way, Shas is left wing on foreign policy. Their objection to the pullback is that it’s not currently negotiated with the Palestinians.
    As for me personally, I think the pullback is a mistake. I firmly believe there should be a coherent counterinsurgency model put in place to crush the Gaza militants. Afterwards, negotiations should take place that would handle everything, and then there should be a pullout. Still, I support it because the hardcore settlers are out of control, the young ones especially. They’re rabidly racist, delusional and reactionary and need to be slapped back into reality. Mind you, I’m not talking about all the settlers, just the hardcore, the ones who think the Palestinians will disappear (or made to) tomorrow and everything will be Jewish.

  6. Shas is left wing. Ha. You are talking about the party that inherited the sephardic votes that brought Rabbi Kahane to the knesset

  7. The same old mess/shouting match….
    Assaf: no good quoting another study by another biased organization. The surveys showing “widespread support” for the withdrawal are notoriously innaccurate, and are from the same pundits that have predicted several times over that Peres would be our Prime Minister.
    Often the results are twisted beyond the original carefully worded meaning of the questions. For example, people are asked “whether you think the population imbalance in Gaza is problematic” and then the obvious result is used to imply that most Israelis agree with the withdrawal.
    The best measure of the Israeli populace’s real opinions remains the last election, in which Oslo-style one-sided concessions were roundly, soundly defeated. There have been no developments since that have changed this: Egypt is courting Israel to save its textile industry, which is under pressure from China. Israelis have seen these high-level pronouncements before: there is no thaw in the works. And despite the media gloss, there have been no ideological concessions by the Pals – and it’s likely that all hell will (continue to) break loose after the coming election-followed-by-assassination.
    NoName: Shas is in fact a good example of the whipping that Likud is likely to suffer in the next elections. Shas betrayed its voter base’s patriotic values to grab $$ for its social programs – and got smacked down by voters. Now Likud apparatchiks are doing the same to keep their cushy positions – they are going to get whupped big time.
    Why is there no public pressure on Likud MPs? In fact, there has been – Sharoh has run a bulldozer over the the many voices raised in opposition by his own party members. He has ignored non-binding votes within his party that dealt him severe rebuke, and he has twisted arms – even firing cabinet ministers who opposed him – to squeak by in binding votes.
    Israel does not elect members to parliament based on districts, so an Israeli can’t ring up “my MP” and give him/her an earful – but Netanyahu and many other astute Likudniks see the writing on the wall. There is no reason for Netanyahu to stick his neck out like he is – except that he is smart enough to see the coming electoral bloodbath.
    The calls for a public referendum – like the calls for civil disobedience – are healthy actions, points of sanity and principle after every democratic process and protection has been hijacked. Which brings us to:
    Oofnik: your jumping on the bandwagon of self-styled “liberals” demonizing the Yesha council shows the typical hypocrisy of your political camp. The LLL media lionized the small, extreme, minority that refused to do reserve duty in Judea and Samaria – but now all of a sudden civil disobedience is not kosher, and people being torn from their homes should just suck it up and not oppose the cossacks evicting them! Now all of a sudden there is oh-so-holy talk about the rule of law, and how the grunts must unthinkingly follow decisions handed down from on high… decisions reached by abrogating every principle of democracy, and imposed on most Israelis against their expressed will…

  8. No Name:
    Why shouldn’t there be a referendum? What are YOU afraid of? That the referendum will succeed?
    As far as toppling the government, I have a feeling that will happen at some point. The coalition that PM Sharon is putting together seems likely to collapse under it’s own weight as the previous ‘Unity’ government did.
    I think the reason most people who are against the referendum are against it is that they know it will pass and make the constant talk about the position of the Israeli public on the disengagement plan obvious.

  9. There was no referrendum following the 6-Day War over whether or not to establish the first settlements, so why should there have to be a referrendum to empty them?

  10. Zionista:
    Beginning the settlements didn’t uproot Israeli, or Palestinian, lives? Removing them does. Shouldn’t the population have a say in the uprooting of peoples lives. Isn’t that what a Democracy is all about. Haven’t we argued on this site just recently about Israel’s democracy?
    The government’s that started the settlements were voted in by the people and following the policies they were voted in to follow. The current government was voted in on an anti-disengagement plan, and has since ‘back-peddled’ since the people in the last election were against this plan, should the government, for democratic reasons, at least consult the people that elected it before changing the policies that they were elected to implement. As I said in my last post, it seems to me that the main reason to oppose the referendum is that those who oppose it are afraid it will result in the disengagement not going through, nothing else.

  11. the settlement project is directly responsible for the fact that Israel cannot protect its citizens. the separation barrier is a living proof that the settlements have created an impossible situation where even a barrier is no real barrier – it has palestinians to its west and jews to its east.
    moreover, the fact that in some settlements you have more soldiers than settlers says something about the nature of this project. ive heard of soldiers who had to defend empty caravans, or 2 settlers in the middle of nowhere.
    the amount of soldiers who died in netzarim should make it obvious – the settlements HAVE cost lives to Israelis not to mention Palestinians.

  12. Little Wolf: “Beginning the settlements didn’t uproot Israeli, or Palestinian, lives? Removing them does.”
    I’m not sure if this is a question or a statement. But if you really believe Levinger and the early settlement movement didn’t uproot any lives, let alone disrupt the post-6 Day War policies of the elected Eshkol government, you need to do some studying.
    (Cont’d): “Shouldn’t the population have a say in the uprooting of peoples lives. Isn’t that what a Democracy is all about. Haven’t we argued on this site just recently about Israel’s democracy?”
    The territories are not Israel. Israel has never annexed the territories now under discussion for disengagement. If they had been, you might have a point.

  13. Zionista:
    If the territories had been annexed that would have caused a whole pile of other problems. But the annexation is a ‘modern’ political concept. The territor was captured in a war, the land was not returned to the ‘rightful’ owners when the peace treaties were sign. The fact that that may have been do to the idea that the territories would at some point be turned over to the Palestinians for their country isn’t really an issue as there is no final agreement in place controlling the final disposition of those territories.
    The settlement policies were encouraged by a series of elected governments. No single party or elected official is responsible. Can you show me where Palestinians were uprooted by the establishment of these settlements. Or how there lives were disrupted?
    The ultimate result, now, may be disruption of their lives, but is that the result of the settlements or the policies of the ‘Leadership’ of the Palestinians? If they had not started killing civilians in Israel, do you believe that the policies that are disrupting Palestinian lives still would have been implemented. Do you really believe that the Palestinians lives would still be disrupted by the settlements if they had accept the Camp David and Taba agreements?
    It is nice to look at one side of a discussion, but sometimes the other side may have validity too. I don’t believe that Israel is ‘without sin,’ so to speak, in this situation. I just happen to believe that the Palestinian ‘leadership’ has caused much more of the problem.
    I don’t think I have ever stated that every single settlement should be kept, nor do I believe that. A ‘settlement’ of 2 caravans is hardly uprooting many lives, and further more they are rarely in ‘defensible’ places or there would be more than two caravans on the site. Further the fact that some settlements have more soldiers than settlers says something about those settlements not the ‘project’, as you put it, as a whole. And the Security Barrier is only proof that the situation with respect to the Palestinians has become untenable. The barrier would not need to be there if they had, as I said earlier, accepted the Barak proposals. Additionally, many Palestinian ‘militants’ believe that ALL of Israel is a settlement and will not rest until the entirety of the land is under their control. So should we just turn everything over to them and be done with the ‘project’ of settling our ‘homeland’ or just turn over the parts that are now called settlements only by people who are not ‘militants.’

  14. Little Wolf: “It is nice to look at one side of a discussion, but sometimes the other side may have validity too. I don’t believe that Israel is ‘without sin,’ so to speak, in this situation. I just happen to believe that the Palestinian ‘leadership’ has caused much more of the problem.”
    I agree with this essential point of your statement. I would even go further and posit that the Arab establishments share an even greater responsibility for the situation than Israeli and Palestinian leadership. Were it not for the “3 no’s of Khartoum” the territories would be a whole different sort of problem, and less so Israel’s.
    But none of this takes anything away from the essential narrow-minded, short-sighted, potential for disaster that the settlement movement has gone on to realize since Rabbi Moshe Levinger’s Hebron Pesach seder in 1968.

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