Tuesday, August 25

The Israeli Bogieman

There is nothing odd about Vice-Premier and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon's speech. He criticized the Peace Now movement and the so-called "elitists" (whoever they are) calling them the "viruses" of Israeli society. He spoke at a meeting of the abominable Likud's Jewish Leadership Movement Faction of extremist right winger Moshe Feiglin.

Ya'alon has said what Netanyahu and his coalition think but never dared to say in public. Netanyahu has somehow adopted a policy of expediency albeit grudgingly. On the one hand he cannot go against Obama which is today the US. On the other hand he has to satisfy his right wing coalition partners. He cannot shoot off his mouth the way Ya'alon can.

It is strange though that Ya'alon, the ex Chief of Staff, has now formed an alliance with right wing extremists, like Moshe Feiglin, who supported the refusal of carrying out army commands that contradicted their right wing ideology. Many of Feiglin's followers were arrested in the past for obstructing traffic in violent demonstrations against the disengagement policies of the previous government.

Another inconsistency in a similar vein is Ya'alon's support for rebuilding Homesh which was evacuated by the army in August 2005. Those who put up stiff resistance were the settlers and their right wing rabbis who goaded soldiers to disobey army orders. While Ya'alon was chief -of-staff he viewed disobeying army orders in a grave light. Now he supports the re-establishment of evacuated settlements even though that is illegal. He is now courting the right wing extremists of the Moshe Feiglin ilk who support those that break the law by establishing illegal outposts.

If a vice-premier can make statements in pseudo-fascist circles demonizing a group of people that support peace by calling them” viruses and elitist", he is laying the groundwork for the possibility of delegitimizing those on the left who seek peace with Israel's Palestinian neighbors. Israel has no shortage of right wing fascists of the Yigal Amir mode (PM Rabin's assassin).

A right wing fanatic could take the law into his own hand and the consequences could end in tragedy. We do not have much to be proud these days. Israel has a right wing government consisting of a strange mixture of Knesset members with extreme right wing views including Barak’s Labor Party which has capitulated to the right and compromised on their ideology. It is matter of time before a stage is reached when a clash with President Obama will be unavoidable.

Ya'alon sounds arrogant and bold when he says that Israel need not be afraid of the US. What he may not realize is that without US support, Israel would not be able to remain a viable state. The US is Israel's best friend - even under the Obama administration!

What about the case of the beating of Palestinians on June 8 2008 in a field near the settlement of Sussia? Tamam Nawaja, 57, her husband Khalil, 70, and their relative Amran were herding their flocks near their encampment about 3 Km from Sussia. Three young men, residents of the area came up to them and told them to leave. They refused and as a result 4 masked men arrived on the scene and began beating them with clubs. (See report).

Settlers who carry out this kind of violence against innocent Palestinian shepherds are patriots according to the Ya'alon definition. It is the peacemakers and the left who are the viruses of Israel and who knows - a danger to Israel's existence!

Right wing settler thugs are by innuendo the true heroes according to the "bogieman". Obviously the establishment feels the same way as the case against the settler thugs who attacked the Palestinian shepherds was closed.

It must have been tough for Netanyahu to reprimand his friend, Ya'alon. Both share a very similar ideology as the latter stated on more than one occasion. Netanyahu has his red line when it comes to appeasing his coalition partners. He will not cross the Rubicon while President Obama is breathing down his neck over the settler freeze issue.

At the same time Netanyahu is ignoring the establishment of new settlements. (See Bypassing the Settlement Freeze - Semi Annual Report)

Israel will probably adopt an ambiguous policy of temporary freezing of settlements to satisfy the US while at the same time it will continue to build in the occupied territories in the guise of "national growth".

Today the Saudi Plan of 2002 seems to be a reasonable starting point for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The establishment of settlements in the occupied territories is the greatest obstacle to a peaceful solution. Times have changed and there is willingness amongst the moderate Arab states to recognize Israel and establish normal relations with it. This will only be achieved if Israel ceases its expansionist settler policies in the occupied West Bank.

The Netanyahu coalition with vice-premier Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon, FM Avigdor Lieberman and the Moshe Feiglin gang in the Knesset are not catalysts for achieving peace.

No comments: