Monday, December 07, 2009

"Pathetically Stupid"

Arlene Kushner
I'm sorry, I'm referring to words of the prime minister, but have no other way to describe them.

At the Cabinet meeting this morning, Netanyahu is reported to have said that the decision to freeze settlements for 10 months proves that Israel wants peace. How much groveling is he planning to do? This reminds me of the "Peace Now" types who maintain that they're "for peace" and everyone who isn't with them is not "for peace." Making more and more concessions is NOT the way to achieve peace. And a world that doesn't already know that we want peace is not going to be convinced by what we're doing now. They'll say (as Abbas is already saying) that we're not freezing construction in Jerusalem and so we're not sincere.

The corollary to his statement was that the PA's continued refusal to come to the table proves that they're not "for peace." But, hell, we knew that already. Knew that because they won't recognize us as a Jewish state, and because they are still teaching their school kids about the wonders of jihad and "martyrdom," and because they're thinking of getting in bed with Hamas (actually are part-way in already).

But this is what it's all about [barring, still, some hidden factor]: Netanyahu being able to say, to Obama, first, and then the Western world more generally: See, see, we're the good guys, not the PA.

What he should be doing is standing tall and showing the world in a dozen different ways what the insincerity of the Palestinian Arabs is: Look! This is actual text that they teach their kids. Look, this is what happened at the Fatah conference this summer when they voted not to renounce "armed resistance." Look! and Look! and Look!


With all of this, what truly infuriates me is what he's implying about the residents of communities in Judea and Samaria. For all his presumably conciliatory words to them, he's drawing lines, making a distinction, and painting them the "bad" guys, This is how the world chooses to see them in any event. But does he have to make it easier for the world? Does he have to say that those who are for the freeze are "for peace," thus implying that those who are fighting the freeze are not?

The fact is that these loyal Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria, and their many supporters, may yet save us. They are wary in the extreme of what may be coming down the road after this "temporary" freeze -- which Netanyahu continues to swear will end in 10 months not matter what. (Already Minister Avishai Braverman of Labor is saying that some areas, which we know -- we do? -- will be turned over to the Palestinian Arabs should have building frozen permanently.) They are intensifying their battle in every possible way with the significant exception of calls for violence. They must, and can, win, they say, overturning the freeze without violence.

With everything else -- the injustice regarding how the freeze was done; the potential illegality of it; the undemocratic spirit, as this is not what Likud stood for -- there is among those who live in Judea and Samaria another understanding. In the final analysis, it is their presence in this part of our land that helps protect us. Thus is genuine peace ensured, rather than via withdrawals -- or implied willingness to withdraw.


My friends, I am getting more commentaries on the subject of the freeze than I am able to read, never mind comment upon. I do not intend to even try. I have no desire to take all of you, or myself, in circles. I am grieving, as are many of you. Bitter indeed is the disappointment, not just with Netanyahu, but even more so with certain party stalwarts who were thought to be genuine nationalists, such as Benny Begin. He's now going to sit on a committee with Barak to help decide compensation packages for those who are suffering financially and logistically from the freeze, and make sure that building continues where it is permitted. This is an endorsement of the freeze, if done "fairly." This is not speaking out against it.


The Chairman of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, Sha'ul Goldstein, sent out a letter today, in which he said that he and other heads of councils are working on challenging the freeze legally. He estimates that lawsuits will run in total more than 1 billion shekels (over $250 million).

He says he had met with government ministers, but, "It seems that American pressure is much more frightening than the threats by Likud members.

"I would like to send you a very clear and strong message. Do not falter! We will continue to live in Gush Etzion and develop it for our children and our children's children! We have been through tough times in the past and it always seems like this is the worst it has ever been. Despite this, we have grown and we have built magnificent communities! This time, too, we shall continue to build and we shall emerge stronger and more resolute.

"The holiday of Chanukah symbolizes the victory of the eternal spirit over matter, which is temporary, but it also represents the victory of the few who are right over the many who are wrong. With modesty and an effort to perform tikkun [repair of the world], we too will pray for better times for the Nation of Israel.”


Gush Etzion is a bloc of communities roughly south-east of Jerusalem, in Judea. Starting in 1927, the first settlements in the area were established and re-established after massacres of the inhabitants -- Kfar Etzion, Messuot Yitzhak, Revadim, and Ein Tzurim. They served to protect Jerusalem from the south, but all opportunity to maintain them was lost when Jordan occupied the area after 1948. After 1967, when we again acquired the region, communities were rebuilt and in some instances children of the original founders returned -- first to Kfar Etzion. In addition, new communities have been established in the region -- including in the Judean Hills. Today, Efrat, Tekoa, Alon Shvut, Har Gilo, Nokdim, Beitar Illit, Neve Daniel, Bat Ayin, and a number more can be counted. The Regional Council serves some communities outside the bloc.

To learn more, see:

You will see links to information about all of the communities and videos as well, including a very recent one regarding the freeze in which Sha'ul Goldstein speaks -- to the right of the text, and others below.


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