By Dan Fleshler | February 16, 2010
I have been waiting in vain for more than 25 years to hear a coherent answer from Israeli settlers and their supporters to the following questions:
“If Israel keeps expanding settlements and closes the door on a two-state solution, how do you propose to prevent it from becoming either a bi-national state or South Africa under apartheid? Is the answer that you are quite prepared to live forever in a non-democratic apartheid state (it isn’t there yet, although it’s rushing headlong in that direction) with permanently second class citizens who are deprived of the right to vote? If that is your answer, why don’t you admit it?”
Yet the lack of an answer apparently didn’t bother the Knesset members who recently set up a caucus against a two state solution, according to the latest Middle East Peace Report from Americans for Peace Now. The news item has one of the better titles in the history of the blogosphere: “Flat Earth Society.” Here it is, without further comment:
A Knesset caucus against a two-state solution was established earlier this month with strong support from many politicians considered close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“After the disengagement, one could have expected that the talk of creating a Palestinian state would be stricken off and that no one would try to take down [settlements] anymore,” Knesset member Arieh Eldad – a co-founder of the caucus and a member of the extremist National Union party – said at the opening session. “Once again, talk of two states is being heard and there’s a freeze decree,” he added.
His comments were echoed by Likud Minister Benny Begin. “The possibility of creating a foreign, sovereign independent state led by the PLO or Hamas goes against our right over the Land of Israel and our right to live securely,” he said.
The lobby was founded by Eldad and by Likud whip Zeev Elkin. The opening session was also attended by Likud ministers Begin and Moshe Kahlon, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, as well as Likud Knesset members Carmel Shama and Tzipi Hotovely. Kadima Knesset members Otniel Schneller and Zeev Bielski also attended.
The only two Likud ministers to not be present or send messages of support to the caucus were Netanyahu and Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor.
Settler leader Danny Dayan offered the caucus a clear charge: “The lobby’s role should be bringing Zionism to the residents of Israel through expansion so a Jewish sovereignty for the entire Land of Israel will grow from there.”
These statements stand in stark contrast with comments made by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Herziliya Conference. He said that if Israel fails to reach a peace deal to relinquish control of Palestinian population centers, it “will have to be either a binational or undemocratic [state].”
“If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state,” he added. (Ynet, 2/2/10; AP 2/3/10; Haaretz, 2/5/10)