Coming to terms with Israel

September 28, 2012 by Ron Weiser
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For nearly two decades I have been positing that inside Israel itself we have reached a post ideological age vis a vis the dispute between Israel and her neighbors which results in a remarkably consistent policy…writes Ron Weiser.

Dr Ron Weiser

One can view the Israeli position as changing with different Prime Ministers and political parties and of having little consistency of aim or direction.
In my view this is a flawed analysis and one that leads many Jews in the Diaspora to believe that it is Israel’s strategic aims that are muddled and confusing rather than their own misunderstanding of Israel’s position.
At the same time, such an “understanding” leads those on the left and the right in the Diaspora to assign false labels and intentions to Israel’s leadership wherein both extremes mislead their own followers and damage Israel’s public relations.
On Monday this week, in an interview in Yisrael Hayom, Ehud Barak floated a plan of Unilateral Disengagement on the West Bank/Judea and Samaria (WB/JS).
Shaul Mofaz had done so on the 12th of April this year as Kadima leader.
What is remarkable is that it does not matter who occupies the position of Prime Minister, nor which party is the majority within the ruling coalition, since and including Bibi’s first term as PM (1996 – 1999) Israel has been ceding territory.
Bibi did so at Wye Plantation (1998) ceding a significant portion of the WB/JS and a year earlier in dividing the second most holy city (Hebron) according to a matrix that can be applied to Jerusalem.
Then in 2005 there was the Hitnatkut (the Disengagement) from Gaza and 4 WB/JS settlements under PM Sharon.
In the March 2006 election, Ehud Olmert ran with a policy of Hitkansut (Convergence) specifically stating that Israel would uproot many settlements spread across the WB/JS and bring them into the 3 major settlement blocks.
Even though this was immediately after the trauma of the Disengagement, Olmert and Kadima won the elections with quite a degree of ease.
Whether Israel takes steps unilaterally or in the preferred manner via negotiations is about the only real discussion in Israel on this topic.
And an important discussion it is.
The point or line that Israel wants to establish as its border however, is pretty much agreed upon within Israel.
Indeed in the past few months with Prime Minister Netanyahu taking down the settlements of Ulpana and Migron he is implementing Olmert’s plan of Hitkansut – moving the settlers from these townships into bigger existing townships, yet still over the Green Line.
There was nothing really new or significant about Barak’s interview other than 2 points:
–      In the absence of the PA being willing to even come to the negotiation table for most of Bibi’s term, he was renewing the push for unilateral action
–      And that it is very likely that just as Olmert did for Sharon during the Sharon leadership period, Bibi’s closest ally in his government, Ehud Barak, has become his “kite flyer”.
What was noticeable is that whilst many members of the Government and Opposition had much to say about Barak’s interview, Bibi himself was silent.
National Union leader MK Ya’acov Katz from the national pro settlement camp that many like to assume Bibi leads, offered the clearest assessment of the situation.
He said that “Netanyahu’s inclusion of Barak in his coalition was a continued betrayal of the national camp” and that “Netanyahu is likely to fall into line with Barak’s plan, like he did with the disengagement from Gaza”.
As we are in a reflective period, it behoves us to also assess whether when we speak about Israel and her actions we are representing what she stands for, or what we personally think she should stand for – and which one of those assessments is really the more important.

Ron Weiser is the Immediate Past President of the Zionist Federation of Australia and Hon Life President of the Zionist Council of NSW


3 Responses to “Coming to terms with Israel”
  1. Peter says:

    Ethan, I think you need to read the article again.

    Weiser is not saying that Israel should or should not give up parts of the West Bank.

    But he is saying that successive Israeli Prime Ministers are willing to do so.

    If you have a gripe with that, direct it in the right place.

    But don’t blame those who accurately describe what Israel is doing.

    I guess you really are proving Weiser’s point though.


  2. EthanP says:

    And we in the “Diaspora” can’t stop Israel from commiting suicide. There are NO terms that the Muslims can or will accept where Israel is concerned. Any agreement is seen by “them” as a sign of weakness and as a temporary cease fire until their next attack. Mr. Weiser, don’t you read what THEY say. What THEY intend to do? And pulling out of South Lebenon and Gaza. Hows that working out?

    • Shirlee says:

      Ethan, I think we should follow your first sentence

      “we in the “Diaspora” can’t stop Israel from committing suicide.”


      “Help from the loony Left Jewish Israel bashers”, who instead of supporting Israel are doing their best to delegitimise Her.

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