Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"We will live forever by the sword," says Netanyahu: It's the Occupation!

 Israeli soldiers arrest two Palestinians and an international volunteer as
Israeli settlers look on (October 22, 2012).(photo by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)
In Israel/Palestine they have been caught between killing and crying, says Natasha Roth; in a 100 year conflict between justice and justice, as Amos Oz used to say. Oz was referring to competing claims to the land. He still says it, even if he is more muted now.  
Netanyahu looks at the "knife intifada" and promises more of the same: "I am asked if we will live forever by the sword--yes," he said on Monday. Israel will control all of the occupied territory for the foreseeable future, he told members of the Knesset. And, of course, settlement will continue
Last night at a lecture at Berkeley Hillel, Ari Shavit said the problem is the occupation (here he is arguing against the Iran deal on Charlie Rose). 
Everyone recognizes the occupation is the problem, but the occupation must go on. The reason the occupation must go on is that Israel has populated the West Bank with settlements. These settlements in the West Bank need protection. Unless the settlements are abandoned, the occupation cannot end.
From Jewish Virt.

If Israel wants to divide the land, the IDF could very well patrol the separation wall from inside Israel--as they do with Gaza. Retreating to the separation wall would leave an Israel 9% larger than the Israel of the pre-1967 lines.
There will not be peace in Israel/Palestine until the Jewish population, and its government abandons the atavistic idea of complete Jewish supremacy from the river to the sea, says Haggai Matar at +972 Magazine. It's a vision thing. 
Matar's vision is fully committing to democracy, equality, and freedom for all who live in Israel/Palestine. "No Netanyahu, we refuse to keep living by the sword," he says:
[W]e need to be clear on how to do it: it is possible to let go of the fixation that leads us time and time again to an escalation of violence. It is possible to eschew complete Jewish supremacy from the river to the sea. It is possible to fully commit to democracy, equality, and freedom for all who live here. It is possible to build a just and equal society without a military regime in the West Bank, without a siege on Gaza, without discrimination and dispossession of Palestinian citizens or those in East Jerusalem. These are the most egregious forms of violence taking place in this land, and they are the ones that lead to all the other forms of political violence. It is possible to have two states, a confederation, or one state — but giving up on Jewish supremacy and the willingness to share the land equally is a basic principle.
Israel must divide the land and must end the occupation without tying it to a final peace deal, said Shavit at Hillel. But Israel won't be able to end the occupation until it accepts that settlements must be removed first and finds the political will to do it.

Without the political will to extract its settlers from the West Bank, Israel won't be able to end the occupation, and as long as the occupation lasts in all of its oppressive arbitrariness, settlement will continue. And in that reality, Netanyahu's analysis is correct: Israel will continue to live by the sword. Israelis will continue to die, and a disproportionately larger number of Palestinians will continue to die.

If Israel has abandoned the justice of dividing the land, the only justice left is the justice of granting citizenship to all and working towards some type of unified civil society.  Some kind of binational state that Netanyahu says he is not interested in. There is no constituency for this among Jews in Israel. Is there among the Palestinians?

You can follow me on Twitter @Roland Nikles.


  1. In my opinion, there is no constituency amongst the Palestinians. There is a divide between those who would be more than content to be Israeli citizens, those who want to be part of State living peacefully next to Israel, those who believe that Israel should never have become a State, and those who believe that Israelis and Jews are devils and should be killed. And many shadings in between. It will be interesting to hear what Netanyahu and Obama agree to regarding the next 10 years of aid to Israel.

  2. I agree with that, although I think there has been productive leadership in the PA to maintain security. I also think Abbas is committed to peace; Fayaad was committed to peace. I think that was and continues to be sufficient to build on. My read is that the settler constituency to use the occupation to seize land and build settlements, and to protect settlements, is a larger problem than the lack of constituency among Palestinians.