Israel's Great Divide


Islam divides the world into the Dar al Harb (the land of war) and Dar al Salaam (the land of peace).  n Israel the great divide is between the "Peace" Camp (PC) and "War" Camp (WC).  Of course there are many people who are not part of either camp.  Let's call them the uncommitted.

The reason I put "peace" in quotation marks is that peace, in this context, is a misnomer. The PC works towards an illusory peace.  Better to call it the "Let's make a deal Camp". "Peace" also denotes a moral high ground which is a debatable attribution. For this camp to use this word, it amounts to self aggrandizement.

War is also put in quotation marks because the WC is not seeking war but the absence of war. It does this by preparing for war and maintaining deterrence. Thus it can rightly be called the "Let's not make a deal Camp."

Beyond that, the WC wants to keep what it believes is rightfully theirs i.e., Judea And Samaria, and the PC, either doesn't believe it is theirs or believes it is more trouble than it's worth.

In order to make a deal, it is necessary to make love not war. And we all know, love is blind. The PC thus paints a rosy picture of its peace partner and turns a blind eye to reality. It distinguishes between the bad guys and the good guys and ignores that the bad guys are in charge and are supported by the good guys. In order to believe that peace is possible it must ignore 100 years of its peace partner rejecting peace and must ignore what it says and does and must ignore what it teaches its  children.

On the other hand, the WC is fully cognizant of what the PC ignores and is guided by it.  No illusions for it. So it argues that there is no peace partner to negotiate with.  It is content with the status quo and entertains annexing all or part of Judea and Samaria.

Both camps have different agendas.  The PC understands that real peace is not possible but nevertheless wants to end the occupation. The WC doesn't believe there is an occupation and wants to keep all of Judea and Samaria, if possible.

The PC understands that any possible deal will require the expulsion of over 100,000 Israelis from their communities in Judea and Samaria. To win over the uncommitted to its agenda, it demonizes the "settlers" and falsely claims they are a financial drain on the other Israelis.  Similarly, it realizes that the eastern part of Jerusalem and the Old City, save for the Kotel (Wall) and the Jewish Quarter will have to be ceded to the Palestinians and it is prepared to do so even if it is not possible to do. Firstly, the Arab and Jewish communities are very much intertwined and cannot be neatly separated. Secondly, a wall would have to be built along the separation line in order to prevent infiltration into Israel. Not only would such a wall not suffice to keep a determined enemy out, it certainly wouldn't suffice to prevent sniper fire.

The WC is not willing to cede its heartland, to expel tens of thousands of Israelis or to divide Jerusalem. Such a price for an illusory peace, or even a real peace, is unacceptable. Some things are worth fighting for.

The WC, in order to win over the uncommitted often describes the enemy as a community that doesn't want peace, that wants to destroy Israel, that honors terrorists, that doesn't pay taxes, that isn't loyal to the state, that is a financial burden to the state and so on; all of which is true.  The PC counters by accusing the WC as being racists for condemning a whole society for the wrongs of a few. Nor is it willing to stigmatize this community as a thorn in the side of the state.

These camps are divided ideologically as well.  The PC wants Israel to be a state of all her citizens whereas the WC wants Israel to be a Jewish state. In part the PC does this for self preservation. Since it is a largely secular camp, they are fearful of being the citizens of a Jewish state. As a consequence it fights for the rights of Arabs whereas the WC fights for the rights of Jews.

The ongoing tent protests in Israel are a reflection of this divide. Polls taken in the last year, show Israelis to be a very happy lot.  The economy is booming and unemployment is very low. So where does this discontent come from? First of all this protest is driven largely by the media which is predominantly in the PC. It reports protest numbers in the hundreds of thousands whereas in reality it is a tenth of what they represent. Also it is being organized and funded by various NGO's who number prominently in this camp and who in turn are funded by foreign governments and foreign philanthropists and organizations such as the New Israel Fund and the Ford Foundation. All these entities have as their primary agenda to defeat the WC and undermine Israel. Their rallying cry of Peace Now, has been abandoned as it has largely lost its steam and instead they embrace a new rallying cry, "social justice now".  That resonates better now and serves the purpose of returning the PC to power.

As demography favors the WC, the PC is getting desperate. It is backing Obama's efforts to force Israel to capitulate, all in Israel's best interest of course.  NYT, J-Street, and the whole PC are weighing in.  Even Tzipi Livni, leader of Kadima, added her voice this week to this chorus. PM Netanyahu has been wilting under the pressure.  Fortunately he has the WC and the American people as represented by both houses, standing with him.

Ted Belman is a retired lawyer and the Editor of Israpundit. He recently made aliya and is now living in Jerusalem.

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