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The Price of Victory


Many words have been written last year, around the fifth of June, on the occasion of the 50-year anniversary to the Six-Day War of 1967 and its aftermath. I’m not going to add to that here again, but it is now clear for all to see that what has been predicted by some, including by yours truly for the last five years or so, including on this blog, has become a reality. That reality is the death of the Oslo Accords and the Two-State Solution, and the rise of the Bi-National state solution, the Israel-Palestine state option, or alternately the Israeli-Apartheid state option. Take your pick.

This is the price Israel is paying now for its great victory in 1967, and its inability to contain the forces—the settlers’ movement and its American Jewish backers—from exploiting that victory (in which they’d played no part.) The demise of the Palestinian-state option, existing side-by-side with Israel, will bring about a stronger, louder demand from the Palestinians to become equal citizens in the larger state of Israel, stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Israel will not grant them their wish—a wish that will signal the end of Israel as a Jewish state—and instead will try to contain them forever in a ‘limited autonomy,’ a ‘state minus,’ call it what you will. Bantustan-like territories is what I call it.

The world—other than America, at least as long as this president is in charge—won’t stand for it, and Israel will end up being a pariah state among the nations. Just read this quote: “Victory isn’t about lining up behind a specific final-status deal, but rather convincing the other side to accept the country’s existence as a Jewish state, while also demonstrating that there are core issues where Israel simply won’t negotiate… The political tools for trying to coerce ‘defeat’ out of the Palestinians are readily available, even if it’s far from obvious what their actual impact would end up being.”

I’m going to tell you what “their actual impact would end up being.” But before I do that, l’m going to tell you who’s the author of the above quoted statement. It was issued in November 2017 by a joint group of ‘members of the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus,’ and members of the ‘Congressional Israel Victory Caucus on Capitol Hill.’ As reported in Tablet Magazine by Armin Rosen on November 17, the Knesset ‘Victory Caucus’ has 16 members from across the spectrum of Zionist parties, and the American version counts 32 members of Congress, the majority of whom are Republicans. They are committed, according to my understanding of their aims and statements, to solidify Israel’s victory by all means necessary, coercing the Palestinians into acceptance of Israel’s terms-of-victory, while giving them peanuts in return.

As the past few weeks prove, since the Trump’s announcement of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it won’t work. If nothing else, the Palestinian people are proud people. As their leader Abbas just said: “Jerusalem is the diamond in the Palestinian crown.” Now, with Netanyahu behind it all, the American administration—led by people without any understanding of the complexity of the issues at hand—tried, with some surprising assistance from Saudi Arabia and maybe even from Egypt, to coerce the Palestinians into accepting a solution of ‘state minus.” Of being ‘second class’ people and nation. The Palestinian leadership, with Abbas at its head, gave a fiery response this week, which already has proven them totally wrong. And will prove them wrong eternally.

You see, Israel—with the support of the Americans—will have the upper hand militarily. No doubt about that. And the fact that there was no major resistance (i.e. Intifada) to the ‘Jerusalem Declaration,’ other than youth throwing stones and burning tires, is a good indication of that. Militarily, Israel has won. Morally though, it’s going to lose. Because the dilemma the Palestinians’ refusal to accept surrender means the end of the Zionist dream in its original intent. If the country is not majority Jewish, or if the country is not a democracy, then the dream is gone.

This is the big conundrum. Put it another way: A victory doesn’t necessarily mean vanquishing and humiliating the enemy entirely, capturing its country forever and wiping its entity off the map. The Russian-Soviets had tried that in Eastern Europe and failed. The Americans and British knew better, and had been proven correct. But Israel, it seems, is refusing to learn this lesson. Most tragically, refusing to learn from its own long history. I don’t proclaim to know exactly how it would end. It might take a few more generations to sort itself out. But the collapse, the defeat—of the Zionist dream, in its purest form—is written in large letters and murals on the wall of victory.

* The “Leave a Comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.


Recognizing Reality


Or: The Colonel and the Shepherd, Part II

In the aftermath of the shooting, the Shepherd and his son are lying dead on the ground. The Colonel and his lieutenants retreat uphill, while some of their soldiers are guarding the dead bodies. The sheep and goats have run away, and so has the yellow dog. They run down to the valley below, where there is a small Arab village. The people at the village, men women and children, have heard the shots ringing. And now, when they see the dog leading the sheep and goats back home running wildly and barking—but not the Shepherd and his son—they get very alarmed.

At the same time, up on the hill, there are a couple of developments taking place as well. First, under the command and supervision of the Colonel, a big bulldozer is now clearing some land and rocks, making the ground flat. Behind him, a convoy of temporary shacks and trailers, loaded on big tracks, are ready to be unloaded. Second, while this is happening, an army ambulance has arrived too, and preparation are being made to take the dead bodies away for a death-incident inquiry.

But just as the soldiers are about to lift the bodies off the ground and carry them to the ambulance, waiting on the dirt road uphill, a barrage of small stones begins to fall on them; it’s as if the skies suddenly open, raining hard on them. The soldiers drop the bodies to the ground and run away, but then, upon command from the Colonel, they halt, turn back and raise their rifles, aiming them at the large crowd of villagers—all ages and genders, the yellow dog leading the way—who stop near the dead bodies. The women are wailing, with one of them lying on the ground crying over the dead. The children are yelling too, as they pick up more stones from the ground. The men stay erect, holding wooden sticks in their hands.

The Colonel orders his troops to hold fire, and together with his lieutenants he walks downhill to face the angry mob. He is well protected by his soldiers, with weapons—all sizes and shapes—drawn. The villagers hold their fire too, but with sticks and stones at the ready. The dog barks at the Colonel, but he nonetheless speaks up, telling the villagers, in Hebrew, that as result of the ‘incident’ the dead bodies will be taken away for an autopsy and inquiry. After that, they can come and claims them at the great city of Jerusalem, or he can send the bodies back to their village as a goodwill gesture, if that’s their wish.

An elderly man, dressed like the dead Shepherd in Biblical attire, comes forward now, leaning heavily on a wooden stick. He tells the Colonel, in Hebrew, that there is no need for an inquiry, since this was clearly a ‘coldblooded murder’. He demands to know who’s responsible for that. The Colonel says that he’s responsible, but that the Shepherd had attacked him first. Big uproar ensues, but the soldiers with their guns drawn hold the crowd at bay. We don’t believe you, says the old man, as we know the Shepherd to be a simple, nonviolence, peaceful man all his life, who never hurt anybody. So what really happened here?

The Colonel, keeping his calm, explains that here on this hill a new settlement is going to be built soon. The whole of this hill and its surroundings—the Colonel makes a sweeping move with his hand—is being confiscated for that purpose. There will be a big fence here soon, maybe even a tall concrete wall. They will have to uproot also, for that reason, the olive grove over there, to make way for the new asphalt road. The villagers better stay in the valley, and nobody will hurt them as long as they keep away from this hill and the new settlement.

The elderly villager manages somehow to quiet the angry cry-of-protest from his village folks, and tells the Colonel that this land belongs legally to the people of the village, for generation and generations, they cannot just take it from them illegally like that and build the settlement here. The Colonel smiles in response, and tells him that this is being done as result of a governmental decision. And that the newly arrived families, some of them Jews from America, will be sleeping on this hill tonight already, so you better get use to it. You better live in peace with your new neighbors, the Colonel suggests, or you’ll end up like the Shepherd.

We will never get used to it, the elderly man replies. And what kind of peace is that anyway, when you take everything away from us by force? Our kind of peace, says the Colonel. You see our capital Jerusalem up on the highest mountain? Yes, says the elderly villager, I see it. I have a family there, who has lived there for thousands of years. Well, says the Colonel, it’s a united city now under our rule. It belongs to us Jews from Biblical times. You and your people better recognize that reality.

But what’s kind of reality is that, says the elderly man in protest. Our reality, answers the Colonel, and our peace, too. As our Prime Minister just said, in regard to Jerusalem being united under our rule: “It doesn’t obviate peace, it makes peace possible, because recognizing reality is the substance of peace, the foundation of peace.”

That’s not peace, says the villager, that’s submission. That’s capitulation. That’s oppression. For us that’s peace, replies the Colonel. Take it or leave it. That’s what I told your dead Shepherd here too, but he didn’t listen to me.

Hearing that, the elderly villager just stares at the Colonel silently momentarily. He then, in an act of defiance, kneels down and picks the head of the dead Shepherd in his old, sun-beaten hands. Other villagers come to his help and lift the dead Shepherd’s body off the ground onto their shoulders. The kids do the same with the dead boy. The women begin to wail again.

The Colonel instructs his soldiers to hold fire. He lets the villagers carry their dead in peace down to the valley below. He turns and walks uphill with his lieutenants, where the bulldozer continues to clear and flatten this ancient holy land, overseen from the distance by the by the great city of Jerusalem.

* The “Leave a Comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.

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