December 24, 2010

AND THEN THEY GET INDIGNANT...:

The Tragic Right Turn (Paul R. Pillar, December 23, 2010, National Interest)

I once attended a speech by Golda Meir during a visit she made to the United States in the 1970s shortly after stepping down as prime minister of Israel. In talking about the advantages in resources the Arab states had over Israel, she jokingly blamed Moses. His mistake, said Meir, was that after leading his people across the miraculously parted Red Sea, he did not turn right—to where the oil was—but instead turned left. In fact a bigger wrong turn, which has caused modern Israelites more grief than anything Moses did, could be described as a turn to the right. That was the embarkation, after the 1967 Middle East War, on a program of colonizing the newly conquered portions of Palestine, notwithstanding the fact that another population already lived there, that there was no legal basis for the colonization, and that as a result the colonization became a major reason for Israel to remain isolated, beleaguered, and in a state of hostility with its neighbors.

Anyone who reads Ethan Bronner's article in Thursday's New York Times will have a hard time disagreeing with the proposition that the latest phase in the colonization is driving more nails in the coffin of a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians. Bronner reports that in the three months since Israel ended a freeze on settlement construction, a settlement-building “boom” has begun. Even worse, the most rapid construction has been in the core of the West Bank, well away from the borders of 1967 and not part of the already heavily settled portions of the West Bank that would likely be given to Israel as part of any two-state agreement. Such construction is the most concrete (literally and figuratively) indication, to the Palestinians and to everyone else, of a lack of Israeli good will regarding a two-state solution. It both demonstrates and contributes to the growing impossibility of such a solution. And even if, despite all this, some sort of Israeli-Palestinian deal could still be struck, it would mean enormous resistance from an ever-growing body of settlers, disproportionately representative of the fanatical right, who would be on the Palestinian side of a negotiated line and would face evacuation. Given the solicitousness to the right on so many other issues, it is problematic to say the least that the Israeli government of the day would have the will or the capability to overcome such resistance.


...when the locals react to the Israeli Empire the same way the Jews reacted to the Roman.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at December 24, 2010 12:00 AM
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