Photo: Dan Balilty
Elyakim Haetzni
Photo: Dan Balilty

Who will win?

Will PM Netanyahu’s diplomatic concessions overcome settlers?

A Jew who bought an anti-Semitic newspaper explained that only there he can enjoy reading how powerful and dominant the Jews are. When Netanyahu recognized the Palestinian state I rushed to open the “Outpost map – August 2006,” issued by the settlement monitoring team of Peace Now, in order to relax. The map, a joint production of Jewish minds and European money, documents the great outpost enterprise; I save it, to be used as an anti-depressant.


It’s a beautiful map. Even the Gush Emunim settlement movement would not achieve such perfection. And so, the Right settles the hills, and the Left issues the map: Did you know? There are 126 outposts out there! In the face of the barrage of names and sites I feel like Rothschild: Am Yisrael Chai!


I was overcome by a similar sense when I watched a story by Channel Two, even though it was not meant for me, but rather, for the US president, in order to inform him that the Jews are deceiving him on the “Natural growth” front. Look at that, Mr. President: Neighborhoods are being built in the settlements, and for whom? Look, there are plenty of empty apartments out there. The government of Israel is lying to you!


As every apartment built in Judea and Samaria, just like anywhere else, is paid for in full by the buyer, the above argument doesn’t make sense to me. Who funds construction that has no demand? But who cares about this paradox, as long as we can show America that Jews are building in Samaria and in the Binyamin region, and even within the territory of Netanyahu’s Palestinian state.


Indeed, how is a Palestinian state commensurate with Jewish settlement? It’s not. Obama asked that we speak the truth to him and admit that the cowardly and evasive “natural growth” formula isn’t real.

Because what does “natural growth” mean? A man who marries a woman who lives within the Green Line, a distant aunt, grandpa and grandma? Who will define it and monitor it?


Diplomatic vs. practical Zionism

Why don’t we utter the truth, both to ourselves and to the world? Any Jewish growth in Judea, by the people of Israel in the Land of Israel, is the most natural growth in the world.


Again, we see the return of the old debate between diplomatic Zionism and practical Zionism. Herzl did not believe in the future of communities such as Rishon LeZion without a charter, a diplomatic and legal infrastructure recognized by the world’s nations. On the other hand, the people on the ground – from Petach Tikva to Degania – counted on the solid settlement reality to ultimately grant us the international status as well.


In his speech, Benjamin Netanyahu rejected diplomatic Zionism in favor of a desperate effort to save the settlement enterprise. Will settlement activity defeat Netanyahu’s diplomatic words?


In any case, Netanyahu’s submission on the issue of a Palestinian state will not avert a clash with Obama, who appears determined to establish a sovereign Palestine in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, and will not accept Jewish settlement there.


Will Netanyahu find the strength to butt heads with America on the issue of the settlements, after he already capitulated in favor of Palestinian independence? On the other hand, will he be able to overcome hundreds of thousands of settlers, whom Obama characterizes as “illegitimate,” but who have no plans of going anywhere?


Diplomatic failure vis-à-vis settlement activity – who will win?


פרסום ראשון: 06.23.09, 00:42
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