Thursday, June 07, 2012

Can we Stop the Peace Train?

By Moshe Feiglin

It is difficult for some to accept the connections being made between Manhigut Yehudit and those who – when push came to shove – voted in favor of the Expulsion from Gush Katif. Both MK Miri Regev, who works tirelessly on behalf of every nationalist issue – be it the Ulpana Hill or the African infiltrators – and Minister Silvan Shalom who has been a very positive force for the settlements and other national interests were not in the right place at the critical hour. Many find our renewed friendship hard to swallow.

Since the government of Rabin and Peres put the "peace train" on the Oslo tracks, the sand in the settlement hourglass has been running out. The recognition of the "Palestinian nation and its rights" means the loss of recognition of the Jewish state and its rights. It's as simple as that. The destruction train does not stop at the 1967 borders; the missiles are already falling in Be'er Sheva and London hardly recognizes Israel. But the policy of removal is currently focused on the settlements over the Green Line. For now, the settlements are the front line.

The Israeli Right did not have the tools to counter the alternative promoted by the Left because it never really had an alternative. All that the Right had was healthier national feelings. But feelings don't stop trains – and they certainly cannot place them on a different track to a different destination. Inside the train, the Likud MKs will do all they can to help, but they are incapable of changing its direction.

Nobody thinks that Miri Regev, Silvan Shalom, Yisrael Katz and the other senior Likud MKs – even the prime minister himself – want to see the destruction of the settlements. These are not Peace Now fanatics. They are part of the Jewish majority, members of the National Camp whose hearts are in the right place. But when they reach the crossroads where the fate of the settlements must be determined; when more than mere help is needed; when they reach the crossroads where true leadership is needed to change the train's direction – they cannot help.

The bottom line is that the only alternative for the Right is the faith-based option. Why was this writer the only candidate who dared run against Netanyahu in this winter's primaries for the chairmanship of the Likud? Is everyone else in the Likud weak-kneed?

Not at all. But everyone knew that whoever would run against Netanyahu was politically shooting himself in the foot. Running against Netanyahu (my own candidacy included) was deemed political suicide. That means that a true reason of essence was necessary to justify running – a reason beyond politics. Only I presented a real alternative and that is why I was the only candidate to face off against Netanyahu.

The same is true of the struggle for the Land of Israel. When it gets to the point that continued support of the settlements will be deemed political suicide, the Likud MKs will need an alternative support that will provide them with a different ideology and leadership. That is the only way that they will be able to continue to fight. As long as that support does not exist, nobody can expect them to do more than they are doing now.

Have we created that alternative support? There is no doubt that we have been creating an alternative for the past 15 years. We are now in the critical stage of establishing grass-roots connections. Without those direct connections between the various Likud activists, our alternative will remain ungrounded. But there is no connection between the factions without connections between the faction leaders. And the faction leaders, sadly, have failed in the past.

Those who want to make life easy will once again repeat the erroneous Effie Eitam paradigm. Once again they will register for their own small party that will split up once more and run in the next elections with a different name. As the old saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me! Religious Zionist politics is once again leading its voters down the same, fallacious path. The same mistakes have been made over and over again, in innovative variations, beginning from the days of the Techiyah party. Whoever is duped again has only himself to blame.

Back to the settlements. The Oslo train cannot be turned around without true leadership and an alternative track. There will be no new settlements in Judea and Samaria, no return to the glorious pioneering days, no new Ma'aleh Adumim or Ariel and no new neighborhoods inside those towns until the change is made. But the destruction can be stopped. The strategic change that is necessary is to establish new, faith-based leadership that is not dependent on the established leadership that seeks to destroy the settlements. 

The pioneers of Migron and Giv'at Asaf, the new generation of settlers, well understood that the struggle for their settlements was not purely tactical. They understood that the issue was not Migron and not even the Ulpana Hill. They realized that they were the first domino on the way to something total. They were willing to embark on a real struggle that would turn the destruction of their settlements into a political liability that would protect the next settlements slated for destruction.

The legal status of most of the settlers in the Binyamin region is identical to that of the Ulpana Hill. The foreign conqueror of Judea and Samaria – King Abdullah of Jordan, bequeathed the territories that he had conquered to his grandson, Hussein. Hussein in turn generously allocated the robbed spoils to anyone who would be gracious enough to take them. In this way, most of the lands in Judea and Samaria were registered to private owners. The State of Israel decided to accept this state of affairs as engraved in stone. Even when the "owners" of the lands had left the country decades ago and the land is considered absentee property (which is why Peace Now has not managed to bring claimants for the property in question) Israel's government decides to destroy the settlement (Giv'at Assaf, in this case).

In other words, this is just the promo for the destruction of all the settlements. The Left is working wisely; it is progressing incrementally, fully synchronized with its people in the State's Attorney's office and the High Court. They know that too great of an achievement all at once could torpedo all their gains. But after the destruction of these small settlements, we will once again be hearing from Peace Now in Ofra, Shilo and the rest of the towns in the Binyamin region.

What can we do? It looks like the Outpost Law will be debated in the Knesset next week. Until then, each and every one of us must do all that is possible to convince the MKs and ministers to vote in favor of the law. But as above, at a time of strategic decisions, additional forces must come on the scene in order to ensure the desired results. Without the pressure of a real grass-roots struggle that can create a political liability, all the lobbying may go the way of Gush Katif. Both the political and extra-parliamentary routes must be employed to pass the Outpost Law. When the decision makers believe that the threat of a real struggle is not hanging over their heads, their fear of the Left will naturally be greater than their fear of the settlers.

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