Featured Post

In the land of the blind, Netanyahu is king

The settlement enterprise has failed, and it is time for the Israeli right to admit it

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received this Monday the report prepared by Judge Edmond Levy on the illegal outposts and the status of the occupation. Not surprisingly (given the clear political affiliations of the committee members), the report suggests that there is no occupation in Judea and Samaria. Moreover, it argues, the illegal outposts should be legalized (which means they should also be getting more economic support from the already-in-deficit government).

The commission not only brought meat to the hungry lions in the Yesha council and in the Likud party, it also ignored all the precedents on this topic by the Israeli judicial system and international conventions.

The right sees this as a political victory. Bibi’s support base in his party is stronger. They’ve heard what they wanted to hear, even if it is a lie.

The settlements are illegal. Period. We might not like how that phrase sounds, or what accepting it pertains, but it is true. We can keep denying international law, because “they hate us” or any other cheap excuse, but the fact of the matter is that Israel is a signatory of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states in its article 49:

The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

I would guess that those who disagree with me would say that Judea and Samaria are not occupied, and hence that international law does not hold. But what else can you call it when you’ve exerted military control over a territory outside your country, with millions of foreigners, for over 45 years? It is an occupation, as Ariel Sharon himself pointed out in a cabinet meeting when he served as prime minister. It is time to embrace the facts, and set feelings aside.

Denying the reality of the occupation? A view of the Tamar Hill in the settlement of Efrat (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Denying the reality of the occupation? A view of the Tamar Hill in the settlement of Efrat (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

So why does the Israeli government need to create a commission to deny the facts? It is because when a lie is told one million times, you start believing it. Gravity cannot be defied, though, and similarly, the facts cannot be dismissed. The settlement enterprise has failed. And it is time for the Israeli right to admit it. Not only that, it is endangering the mere existence of what the founders of the Revisionist Zionist movement advocated for: a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.

As a country, we are turning blind. Our own denying of many of the facts of this conflict, and our obdurate refusal to listen to the world — and even to others among ourselves — is pushing us toward a one-state-solution dead-end zone.

If we remain blind, we will always have a one-eyed man as our king. As Time magazine nicknamed him: King Bibi.

About the Author
Dany Bahar is a fellow in the Brookings Institute in Washington DC. He holds a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University.