Op-Ed: Don't Do It, Netanyahu
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly...
I implore Netanyahu: don't harm the "settlers"
The borders that PM Netanyahu intends for “Palestine” are the same as every other Israeli PM has had in mind for the last twenty years with some variations.
From the Bar Ilan speech to the Herzl speech at the Knesset, Netanyahu talked many times about the removal of a group of “settlers”, between 60.000 to 120.000 people.
The Prime Minister mentioned the need for “painful concessions” along with Israel’s desire to keep the “settlement blocs”, which clearly implied holding on to the second while giving up the first.
That's why the Israeli government just sent the army to "clear" the Oz Tzion outpost near Beit El over Sabbath. Again Israeli soldiers and policemen bashing Israeli children with batons and tear gas. Young children and babies forced out of their beds at 2 a.m., in the freezing cold while expelling families from their homes. Brave mothers treated criminally. An Israeli State which does that to its people doesn't deserve to be defended.
In a New York Times’ report titled “Mapping Mideast Peace”, there are three possible scenarios, in which 59.782, 79.805 and 94.226 Jewish "settlers" are abandoned to their fate, along with 77, 82 or 88 communities.
It would be the largest evacuation of Jews since the expulsion from Spain in 1492.
Twenty years ago, Ray Padilla, director of the Hispanic Research Center at Arizona State University, referred to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 as a “cultural big bang,” alluding to the Creation Theory. Another big bang would take place with the eviction of “the settlers” from their villages and homes. The only difference is that this time would be commanded not by Ferdinand and Isabella, but a Jewish government.
Many times Jews have been expelled: in 632 King Dagobert expelled all Jews from France; in 1012 Henry II of Germany expelled all Jews from Mainz; in 1121 Jews were driven out of Belgium until they repented of killing Christ; in 1182 King Philip of France expelled the Jews and turned synagogues into churches; in 1290 King Edward I banished Jews from England, forcing 16,000 to leave; in 1306 Philip the Tall expelled 100,000 Jews from France, which was officially without a Jewish population, and the list goes on.
But never in history has a Jewish person or body signed a document surrendering Jewish rights to the land of Israel.
To mobilize public opinion against "settlements", the Israeli authorities and press has undertaken to make them odious. They portray them not only as provocations but as hotbeds of lawlessness, breeders of violence revolting as anything perpetrated by the Arabs.
Today it's difficult for any "settler" not to feel he's entered a time warp that has thrown him back to tsarist Russia or some diaspora sinkhole.
"Only a political solution will end Palestinian terrorism," trumpeted the politicos, and IDF commanders, many of whom have lost the war on terrorism, echoed their slogan.
A friend living in a community overlooking Ramallah just told me how the situation in the roads has worsened. "There is no security, it's like that the army understood that it can't evacuate us, so they just let the situation degenerating so that we will might pack and leave voluntarily".
IDF strongholds are being abandoned, dismantled.
The image of the settler as an "alien" reinforces the Israeli governments' ability to make "security concessions" that endanger his safety. So, adopting tactics reminiscent of the way anti-Semitic regimes abroad handled their "Jewish problem", the Israeli authorities have targeted "settlers", as a group, as a dangerous "other."
Like Jews in the Diaspora, each "settler" is held accountable for the crimes, real or imagined, of all. This is the price tag conspiracy used to demonize an entire population which daily brave rocks, Molotov cocktails and a Palestinian terrorist army.
We have all seen pictures of surrender. Hands up, often bound. Injured or well, soldiers or officers, allies or enemies, the eyes are the same. Sad eyes, filled with pain and shame. No joy is visible in people who surrender.
Except for the governments in Jerusalem. Israel surrendered with joy.
Netanyahu knows that if the IDF abandons the "settlements", life will no longer be normal in Kfar Sava and Petah Tikva. And those who dare to evacuate the Jewish communities near Ramallah and Bethlehem shouldn't expect a day of tranquillity in Jerusalem.
I implore Netanyahu's government: Don't raise your hand against "the settlements". Don't undermine their existence. You put them all in danger.
I implore Netanyahu: don't do to Israel what Marshal Phillippe Petain did to France, who divided the country and throw to the Nazi wolves half of its people.
I implore the government: Don't say it's too late. Don't say nothing can be done. But answer to the only real question: what price will be exacted if this experiment with the nation's destiny fails?