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(en) The Israeli Left* is opting for suicide; Yediot op-ed by Tanya Reinhart**

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 25 Mar 2005 09:55:20 +0100 (CET)


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To judge by the political discourse, being a leftist today means
supporting Sharon. Even when his government decides yet again to
postpone the evacuation of the illegal outposts to an unknown future
date, the pundits explain that the mere fact that he even raised the
matter for discussion in the government is indicative of the
seriousness of his intentions. Sharon will evacuate Gaza first, they
say, and afterwards the outposts, and in the end maybe even the West
Bank. And those who most believe that Sharon will dismantle
settlements are the parties of the Left. On what basis?

Sharon is known as a man who has not always told the truth. At the
time of the Lebanon war, he succeeded in concealing his plan even
from the then-Prime Minister, Menachem Begin. He has no problem
making promises and then not fulfilling. For three years now he has
been promising the US that he will immediately evacuate at least the
outposts that were created during his current term as Prime
Minister. So what? - He can always propose a new commitment that
would postpone the realization of the previous one. Why should the
Gaza “Disengagement” be any different? The answer that the Right and
the Left agree on is that this time Sharon has changed. That is an
interesting answer in the realm of psychology. But what confirmation
does it have in the realm of facts? It is much easier at the present
to imagine many scenarios in which there will not be any evacuation
of settlements in July, than the one in which there will be an
evacuation.

Let’s take for example the problem of the evacuees. That is a real
problem. The Gaza Strip settlers went there at the behest of the
Israeli government. They must be compensated for this dreadful
idiocy, to allow them to rebuild their lives. A government that
really wanted to evacuate them would have already given them the
compensation, so they could leave before the evacuation. In the
evacuation of Yamit, in 1982, the overwhelming majority of the
residents were compensated and left before the evacuation. Those who
were present in the confrontation on the scene were settler
activists from the outside, with whom it is easier to deal than with
families actually living there. According to Yonatan Bassi, head of
the Disengagement Administration, over half of the present Gaza
Strip settlers have already expressed their willingness to leave
(1). So why doesn’t Sharon facilitate their immediate departure?
Could it be that he wants the photographs of the first attempt to
evacuate them to show us entire families with their children, whose
world has been destroyed, so that we will understand through empathy
that it is simply impossible to evacuate?

And why this foot-dragging over the Budget? What the right-wing
opponents of the Budget are demanding is a referendum. The
mainstream of the settlers camp is not interested in a complete
break with Israeli society. Their leaders are saying that they will
be ready to accept the decision, but only if it is proven clearly
that it is the will of the majority. The Likud rebels of course have
their own agenda, which they hitch to this demand. But precisely on
this issue, it is a simple matter to call their bluff by giving them
what they demand. According to all the polls, there is a decisive
and stable majority of 60%-70% in favour of the evacuation of Gaza.
Even in the poll taken a couple of days after the terror attack at
the Stage Club in Tel Aviv, 66% said they would have voted “yes” for
the plan, had a referendum taken place that day (2). The
disengagement will pass in a referendum. That is clear even to the
Right. Why then does Sharon oppose it? Perhaps he does not really
want the settlers to compromise and accept the will of the majority?
Maybe he is afraid that if the evacuation decision passes in the
referendum it will have to be actually carried out sooner or later?

All there is, then, is the faith that Sharon has changed. In its
name, all the parties of the Left are obediently lined up behind
him. Not only the Labour, which would be probably willing to sit in
any government, even one headed by “Gandhi”*; but also Yahad and
Hadash**. Sharon is submitting for approval a budget of plunder and
robbery, that cuts further the surviving remnants of public
services, and all the left-wing parties have to say is that we have
to help him to pass it, because he said that he will evacuate
settlements. Of the 100,000 people who showed up for the demonstration of the
Left parties a year ago, that demanded a pullout from Gaza, 90,000
stayed home in this week’s demonstration. Could it be that many of
them feel in their heart of hearts that they are being deceived? The
Israeli Left chose to commit suicide. It is no longer beholden to
its voters. It is beholden only to Sharon.

* “Gandhi” is the peculiar nickname in Israel of Rehavam Ze’evi, a
former general and politician who was assassinated in 2001 while
serving as Israel’s Minister of Tourism. He had a reputation as an
extreme nationalist and anti-Arab chauvinist who openly supported
transfer. The present Sharon- Labour government decided lately to
establish a national memorial day for him, similar to that of Rabin.
[M.M] ] ** Yahad is a moderate Zionist party headed by Yossi Beilin. It
supports a two-state solution. Hadash is the Israeli Communist
Party, headed by Muhammad Barakeh. It is a non-Zionist Jewish/Arab
party. [M.M]

========== (1) “Some 800 of the 1,700 families living in Gush Katif and
northern Samaria have already expressed willingness in principle to
leave their homes under the disengagement plan and negotiate over
financial compensation, according to Yonatan Bassi, who heads the
disengagement administration. Of the remaining 900 families, he
believed …[only] 300 families, the hard core of settlers opposed to
the evacuation, would refuse to leave of their own accord” (Gideon
Alon, Ha’aretz, March 2, 2005). There is ample information in the Israeli media regarding the
frustration of the Gaza Strip settlers, who feel that the government
is leaving them in the dark. Alex Fishman interviewed Itzick Ilia,
deputy Mayor of the regional council of the Gaza Strip settlements,
who says he represents between 70 and 80 percents of the settlers
who are willing to leave. He reports a meeting where “people poured
out their problems… People cried and shouted. No one talks to them.
There is some new law that appeared in the internet, but people
don’t even know what exactly are their compensation rights” (Yediot
Aharonot, Weekend Supplement, March 18, 2003).

(2) Sima Kadmon, Yediot Aharonot, Weekend Supplement, March 4, 2005,
(Mina Zemach’s “Dahaf”’ poll).

http://www.tau.ac.il/~reinhart

Printed in the Israeli main daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot,
March 23, 2005. Translated from Hebrew by Mark Marshall
--------------------------------------------------
* [Ed. note: The Israeli "left" is mainly the remnants
of the national-socialist movement that lead the settler
colonialist project since the 20s of the 20th century
and in the first 29 years of Israel (till 1977).]

** [Ed. note: Tania Reinhart is a long time activist
in the anti Zionist left, a professor of linguistics
and a declared anarchist. She have a collumn in the
Yediot Aharonot newspaper.


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