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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Revenants' Strategy

Wednesday's Jerusalem Post has an article in which it looks at the revenants' strategy to combat further unilateral expulsions of Jews - this time from Judea and Samaria. I think the strategy is outdated. Instead of trying to convince more Jews that the Jewish cities and towns of Judea and Samaria are a national treasure that is worth saving (which I believe them to be) and protect the State of Israel from Palestinian terror, it focuses on numbers of votes in the Knesset and whether Arab votes are viewed in the same light as Jewish votes and similar irrelevant arguments. I believe that the only way to save the Jewish cities and towns from Olmert and his leftists is to bring about a massive shift in public opinion that any party hoping to gain votes from the right and center in the next Knesset election (including Kadima Achora) can ignore only at its own peril.

The Post article is based on interviews with Pinhas Wallerstein, the Binyamin Regional Council head, Shaul Goldstein, the Gush Etzion Regional Council head, David Wilder, the Hebron Jewish community leader, and leaders of those Jews who were expelled from Gaza. They make the following arguments (with my evaluation alongside the arguments):

1. The election has not provided a clear-cut majority for disengagement, with only three parties - Kadima, Labor and Meretz - including it in their platforms. [No one cares what the parties put in their platforms. At the end of the day, all that matters is whether they join the coalition (because it affects how they vote in the Knesset) and how they vote in the Knesset. Wallerstein's job is to create such a groundswell of support for the Jewish cities and towns that no party will want to take the risk of supporting another unilateral move. Furthermore, the key here is 'unilateral.' Most Israelis - unfortunately - are all too ready to forfeit territory in return for any kind of tenuous 'peace.' But they have misgivings about doing it unilaterally, and it's those misgivings that the Judea and Samaria communities have to try to exploit. CiJ]

2. The election was not the referendum on further withdrawals that Kadima and its likely coalition allies were looking for. [Again, this doesn't stop them from acting. Rabin was elected in 1992 on a platform that said no talking to the PLO and no coming down from the Golan. We all know that he talked to the PLO and that he would have come down from the Golan if the Syrians had been smart enough to take what they were offered on a silver platter. CiJ]

Olmert can [unilaterally withdraw], but what will happen in Israeli society if he will dare to do it without any moral standing? [Ask Alex Goldfarb and Gonen Segev that question. For that matter, ask Ariel Sharon that question. Sharon had promised to abide by the results of a referendum of Likud party members regarding the expulsion of Jews from Gaza. He didn't. I don't know if Wallerstein is naive or is just playing his cards close to the chest. I hope it's the latter, but I fear it's the former. CiJ]

4. I
n general, the plan the settler council was forming would be one which concentrates efforts on the ground and away from the political arena. [This is good. But what do they plan to do on the ground? I'm still waiting to see a map that shows where Kassams and Katyushas could hit from behind the emasculated 'security fence.' I haven't seen one yet. I'm waiting to see the view on a clear day from Har Ba'al Hatzor (the highest point in Samaria) and why that mountain is critical to the State's security even if it's not in one of the three biggest 'settlement blocs.' I haven't seen it yet. If I wasn't a person who is instinctively averse to giving things away to the Arabs, I would have no idea why Olmert's 'plan' is bad. And the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria is not helping me to see why Olmert's plan is bad. It must help me. CiJ]

5. Goldstein argues that the right wing needs to
come up with a clearly defined social initiative which they have lacked until now. [I'm not sure what he means by this. If it just means that they have to decide whether they want to support Netanyahu's economic plan or Peretz's economic plan, I'm obviously in favor of Netanyahu's but I'm not sure I see his point. CiJ]

Equally important was to do away with the "bunker mentality" that settler leaders have engaged in since plans for the Gaza disengagement were announced and to begin to "talk and act in a language people will understand." [This is true. See my comments in Item 4 above. Answer my questions and I will support you. Send me a link to the map I described, and I will put it on my web page. CiJ]

7. Wilder
said it was incumbent on the settler movement to strongly lobby swing-voting MKs in the Gil Pensioners Party and United Torah Judaism. [How many ways can you find to bang your head against the wall? There are 29 MK's in Kadima Achora, 19 in Labor, 4 in Meretz and 10 in the three Arab parties. That makes 62. Unless the Knesset rules are changed so that you need a supermajority for existential decisions, that game is over. The real challenge here is to make Olmert's plan to unpopular that he won't want to carry it out and that he will face a revolt in his own party - among MK's trying to save their own political futures - if he does try to carry it out. CiJ]

Leaders of the Gush Katif evacuees - many of whom sat out the elections because they said there was no one who represented them [Blithering idiots. The problem with politics in this country is that we have so many political parties that people feel free to take a vacation from voting if they cannot find a party that exactly matches their own preferences when what they should be doing is voting for the party that most closely matches their own preferences. Anyone who sat out the elections has no right to complain about what happens next. You can quote me on that. The same goes for people who waste their votes on parties that have no chance of making the minimum threshold to gain entry into the Knesset. 200,000 votes were thrown out last week because people couldn't vote for someone who differed from them slightly on some issues and because politicians had egos that were too big to take a lower slot on a slate in a party that was at least going to make it. CiJ] - felt deeply discouraged that it would be possible to prevent further pullouts. [I have no sympathy for people who stayed home last Tuesday. If you didn't vote, don't complain. CiJ]

The only hope for the settler movement, said Yoram Musavi, the leader of the Forum for Those Injured in the Disengagement, was to show the public what disengagement did to those who had lived in Gaza. [NO. Israelis have a severe case of NIMBY Syndrome. They don't care what happened to someone else, as long as they - or their children - have a week less of reserve duty because of the Gaza expulsion. While I am very sympathetic to those who were personally devastated by their government expelling them from Gaza, I'm one of the few softies who could care less. Accept that and stop wallowing in self-pity. Sorry to sound so harsh, but there is no hope in trying to prevent the next disaster by showing what happened to someone else in the last one. CiJ]

"If the people understand that disengagement didn't give anything to the State of Israel, maybe they will understand it will give us nothing to leave Judea and Samaria." [On the right track but you have to go much further. Let's correct that sentence. ""If the people understand that disengagement from Gaza didn't give anything to endangered the security of the State of Israel, maybe they will understand it will give us nothing endanger us even more to leave Judea and Samaria." Now bring out the maps. CiJ]

11. His other minimal hope for a swing of momentum back to the settler movement was the two-thirds of voters (one-third who opposed and one-third who did not cast ballots) who did not actively chose a government bent on further disengagement. [Irrelevant. You cannot prove that two thirds of the voters are opposed to further expulsions of Jews. You have to show them why they should be opposed. CiJ]

As they say in Missouri (which is not where I grew up) SHOW ME why leaving parts of Judea and Samaria endangers the rest of the State's security. And just to make your life simpler, show me why doing it unilaterally - as opposed to under an agreement with non-terrorist government - endangers the State's security. That's the only argument anyone to the left of Bibi Netanyahu is willing to hear right now.


At 2:45 AM, Blogger M. Simon said...

Israelis are stupid about economics. (Evidently few of them read that nice Jewish boy Milton Friedman).

Israelis are stupid about military strategy and tactics. (The Gaza move has had brilliant effects - loss of international standing for the Palis, a Pali civil war etc. That Sharon was one brilliant general.) Hasbra is more important in this war than military force.

So what makes any one think that voting on strategy is a good idea?

Israel can take back the territories any time it wants. Why not let the Palis have them for a while so they can show their true face?

Plus with attacks coming from the other side of the wall it can be moved - squeezing the Palis into more and more restricted area. Expulsion by gradual means.

For a smart people Israelis are sure dumb.

Magic word: ezday

At 6:33 AM, Blogger ed said...


1. Frankly I think the thing that Israel's citizens need to discuss is just how important it is for them to survive as a nation and a people. Without that debated fully and established as the baseline then nothing of substance can really be done over the long term. Instead what will happen is an endless wrangling with political swings to and fro as groups scrabble to put some sort of answer together.

Must Israel survive? Must the Israeli people survive as a nation? Or will the plan to be to fight in a desultory fashion until all is lost and then the inevitable flood of refugees from the dream that was Israel?

Frankly I'm an American and not Jewish. In reality I was born in South Korea, adopted at age 6 and American by naturalization, and a pagan Animist to boot. But I fully support Israel and her citizens come what may, regardless of the cost, the price or the blood.

Somethings in life must be because they are right. If it's not right to do these things *because* they are right, then we are all lost to Baal and we might as well chuck our children into the Iron God's maw.

At 7:22 AM, Blogger ilan toren said...

Well nice to see you on the web in addition to what I've seen on LGF wwww.littlegreenfootballs.com

Considering the radar stations and water resources in Judea and Samaria which no one wants to live without it is hard to see what the goal of another explulsion. Primarily I worry about the new plan "Everything flows" which despite the catchy name (HaKol Zoram) is a plan that will completely disrupt the lives of every one not expelled from their homes in the next round.

Anyway. I have no positive points, just a negative observation. I think this should be attributed to Rabbi Twersky (btw, I highly recommend his hagada) that the opposite of love isn't hate, but apathy. Someone who may hate you at least recognizes your existence (in a warped way), but the apathetic see you as less than human. How to get our own fellow citizens to actually care what happens to us is not an easy task. They are apathetic to everything except that which directly affects their lives. Another explanation for the terrible social problems in Israel as well.

At 5:42 PM, Blogger Kibi said...

Re point 4:
> 4. In general, the plan the
> settler council was forming would
> be one which concentrates efforts
> on the ground and away from the
> political arena.

You seemed to agree. I think this is a very bad idea indeed. It's politics which got us into this mess, and unfortunately it will require politics to get us out. Nasty, dirty, ugly politics.

I don't really understand what came over Avigdor Leiberman, but prior to the complete silence from him during the disengagement he epitomized the way politics needs to be done in a situation like this - he fomented discord within the political parties then sitting in the Knesset and brought down a government he didn't like so a better one could take its place.

It seems to me that Kadima's relative success at the polls was simply a function of the fact that they didn't have quite enough time to fall apart before the election. Certainly the Pensioners party is only in Knesset due to a fluke (could just have easily been the Green Leafers). If political pressure is brought in to make the current coalition short lived we might see a very different Knesset emerge in a year's time.

Admittedly the problem is not simply one of Knesset - no matter how you cut it, there's a viable majority for eviscerating the State right now in the Knesset and that came from the people who voted (and didn't bother voting I guess) - so a direct campaign as you suggest is definitely a good idea - but the main benefit of such a campaign is only felt when there is an election and currently we aren't due for one for 4 more years.

The pensioners are essentially immune to a threat of not being re-elected, and the Kadima folks probably feel that if they get some kind of legislation pushed through they'll be able to spin it as a Good Thing.

My ideal scenario would be if a coalition was formed which managed to push through some of the much vaunted electoral reform, putting regional representation in place of the party lists, then the government fell to bits - then we might get some proper democratic results.


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