The Choice for Israel: Civil War for Peace or the End of Zionism?

I have been writing about what must happen in America if there is to be more than a snowball’s chance in hell of peace on the basis of an acceptable amount of justice for the Palestinians. (The main point I’ve been making is that unless and until enough Americans are made aware of the truth of history, no American president will have the space to break the Zionist lobby’s stranglehold on Congress). In this article, with thanks to an analysis by Israeli historian Zeev Sternhell, I’m looking at what must happen in Israel if the countdown to catastrophe is to be stopped.

Polish-born Sternhell is one of the world’s leading experts on fascism. To my knowledge he has never said so, but I would be surprised if he didn’t have moments when he asked himself if he was witnessing the emergence of it, fascism, in Israel. In his work the Founding Myths of Israel, he wrote that the conquest of 1967 had “a strong flavour of imperial expansionism”.

Under the headline “An end to vagueness,” he wrote in his latest piece for Ha’aretz that Israel’s political establishment is approaching a point where it will no longer be possible to evade decisions that will be among the most crucial in the state’s history.

It is a mistake to play around with the idea that such decisions can be made without an open confrontation with the settlers. Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Bark will have to decide what they prefer; to be remembered as having capitulated to the settlers or as having taken a courageous leap forward, as befits important national leaders.

He went on to say that the rift on the Right (essentially between Likudniks who can tolerate Netanyahu’s temporary and partial freeze and those who can’t) is genuine and can be exploited to reorganize the political system. All on what Sternhell calls by obvious implication the insane Right should join the National Union party, with a “conscious choice” to continue the occupation without any kind of time limit.

Those on what he calls the “ordinary, sane right” should have no problem joining forces with Kadima because the difference between them “is mainly psychological and laden with personal grudges, but not more than that.”

And what of the Left? It should start a social-democratic party similar to those which exist in Europe.

Sternhell then asks this question: Would the expanded center and left have a majority in Israel that would support it in a conscious choice of peace, relative security and economic prosperity in exchange for the territories occupied in 1967 and still retained?

Sternhell believes that it’s reasonable to assume that the answer would be “Yes” for a number of reasons, one of them being that “not everyone is willing to sacrifice Israel’s future on the altar of the settlers’ interests.”

So far, so good. Perhaps. But can it be reasonably assumed that any Israeli leader would be prepared, come the crunch, to openly confront the settlers and IDF elements that would side and fight with them?

The doubts in my own mind on this matter were planted by Shimon Peres in a one-to-one conversation with me in 1980. At the time he was the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, hoping to become prime minister after Israel’s next election and deny Menachem Begin a second term in office. (An outcome that President Carter among others was praying for). At the time I was in the process of becoming the linkman in a secret, exploratory dialogue between Peres and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.

As I reveal in my book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, Peres said to me early in our conversation that he feared it was “already too late” for peace on terms Arafat could accept. I asked him why and this was his reply:

Every day that passes sees new bricks on new settlements. Begin knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s creating the conditions for a Jewish civil war. He knows that no Israeli leader is going down in history as the one who gave the order to the Jewish army to shoot Jews out of occupation for peace with the Palestinians. [Pause] I’m not.

When Peres made that statement to me there were only about 70,000 illegal Jewish settlers in residence on the occupied West Bank. Today, including occupied Arab East Jerusalem, that number is 500,000 and rising on a daily basis. (In recent days Netanyahu has assured the settlers that when the temporary freeze ends, it will be back to building and continuing colonization as usual).

If Peres was right in his logic, it’s more than reasonable to assume that there is today no prospect of any Israeli leader taking on the settlers. But is the situation really as bleak as that?

There are some Israeli commentators who think it isn’t. They have suggested that in the event of prospects for a real peace, many of the settlers would agree to quit the West Bank and be re-located in exchange for generous financial compensation. My own guess is that half their present number and perhaps even more would. But that would still leave a very significant number of armed bigots, some of them in my view deluded to the point of clinical madness, who would fight to the death.

As I write, I am reminded of what Eygpt’s President Sadat said to me a few months before he was assassinated. “There will have to be a Jewish civil war before there can be peace.”

My own conclusion is that any Israeli leader even thinking about taking on the settlers, and probably triggering a Jewish civil war, would need to be empowered by a referendum in which all Israelis were asked one question: In exchange for a real and lasting peace with the Arab and wider Muslim world, are you in favour of Israel withdrawing to its borders as they were on 4 June 1967, with Jerusalem an open, undivided city and the capital of two states?”

If a majority of Israelis answered “Yes”, the leader could take on the settlers.

Alan Hart has been engaged with events in the Middle East and globally as a researcher, author, and a correspondent for ITN and the BBC. Read other articles by Alan, or visit Alan's website.

10 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Ismail Zayid said on December 7th, 2009 at 12:03pm #

    Neither the Israeli Right nor the so-called Left have a genuine interest in peace, with the Palestinians, based on an element of justice. The ethnic cleansing was a basic element in the Zionist programme and was effected by the Labour party, led by David Ben Gurion. The settlements were created by the Labour government long before Menachem Begin continued the campaign which was promoted by Yitzhak Rabin.

    Unfortunately, it is a dream to think that Benjamin Netanyahu or Ehud Barak or the Kadima Party are likely to bring an end to the illegal settlement programme, without the complete termination of which no peace is likely to survive.

  2. Mulga Mumblebrain said on December 7th, 2009 at 12:46pm #

    The Judeofascist project is simplicity itself. Crush the Palestinians, slowly as that is more fun. Set your puppet Western belligerents against the rest of the Moslem Middle East, to ensure your dominance and to allow the gradual seizure of all of Eretz Yisrael which, depending on your variant of Judaic aggrandisement, extends over most of the region. All vouchsafed to the Chosen People by God, ie themselves. Establish Israel, with open-ended subsidy from your puppet hyper-power, the US, as a global centre for money laundering, weapons trafficking, ‘blood diamonds’, the transplant organ trade and various less illegitimate businesses, and demand the world’s acquiescence, if not gob-smacked admiration. Traduce and vilify all those who dare argue that Palestinians are as worthy human souls as Jews, and that their endless brutalisation is a crime, when Judaic religious law decrees it to be a mitzvah, or good deed. The truly amazing fact that Israel has gotten away with sixty years of relentless sadistic barbarity is testament to the perfidy and wickedness of the Western political caste, who have been suborned, bought or intimidated into silence by Jewish money power. This is the ‘free world’ we expended trillions to establish during the Cold War. A world dominated and run by the worst elements of one tiny tribe. Amazing.

  3. bozh said on December 7th, 2009 at 3:18pm #

    Peres has ok’d aggression ’67 against west bank. The sole purpose of that aggression being the gain of more land for the ‘settlers’.
    He had been pulling alan’s leg.
    Facts not only show but prove that ‘settlers’ [read please land robbers just like peres] left to own devices are not going to cause any trouble to US/israel.
    Once also financial; and not only military, help ceases, ‘setterls’ wld run back to where they came from.
    A islet in muslim ocean wld quickly learn what is best thing to do.
    Peres obviously knows that what was taken by war can ?only be taken back by war!
    Or returned in a swap for an equivalent good and which pal’ns don’t have. May be pal’ns might be able to convince lebanese to cede parts of lebanon which wld include litany river????
    What a criminal mind won’t say!!! tnx

  4. Synic3 said on December 7th, 2009 at 4:50pm #

    Either Alan Hart is being bullshitted by the Israli government or he is bullshitting his readers.
    If the Israeli government REALLY wants to leave the West Bank and retreat to 1967 borders, it can do that very easily by stopping subsidizing the settlers then force them to leave. Few scuffles and maybe few shootouts might erupt but not a civil a war.
    The threat of the so called civil war with the settlers is just a trick from the Israeli government to justify not withdrawing for the occupied lands which they don’t want to do. They want to stay there indefinitely.

  5. greybeard616 said on December 7th, 2009 at 5:52pm #

    Alan Hart truly cares that the Jews are destroying themselves and their tradition at the altar of Zionism, and himself believes most Jews do not support Zionism. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Israeli Jews do not believe peace is possible–their leaders have told them so. So, they settle for a constant-seige mentality. And, the American Jews who oppose the worst elements of Israel’s behavior cling to the idea of a “lesser Israel”, which also is impossible, given the mindset of Israel’s leaders (who have deceived the people). The “power-to-seize-the-land” clique has the ascendancy. Which will lead to ongoing bloodshed and the further development of Israel as the Pariah of the Middle East–supported only by the Imperial West (read U.S.). Germany and Japan were lucky, in a sense–they were rescued from their madness by a conqueror. Israel and the U.S. will have to experience the destruction that comes from within. Hopefully some species and/or people will remain to pick up the pieces.

  6. billrowe said on December 7th, 2009 at 6:59pm #

    Of course Israel is an apartheid state that has no right to exist as it is. So it is only a matter of time before some kind of WMD (a nuclear blast or dirty nuke) is set off in Tel Aviv. Then many Jews will opt to move instead of living in a nuclear polluted area like around the Chernobyl Russian nuclear accident. The indigenous people will remain and wait the radiation out. It’s inevitable; it might happen in the next ten years or the next hundred. I really don’t care; I just want the US to stop supporting the scummy regime so we don’t get tangled up in it too.

  7. kalidas said on December 7th, 2009 at 9:15pm #

    Jews everywhere are living under a self induced siege mentality.
    You know, the eternal existential threat thing, the eternal “Other” thing, etc., etc., etc.
    Yes, the poor eternally deceived people..
    As in fool me for two hundred centuries, shame on you,
    fool me eternally, shame on me.

    The names have been changed (Zionist) to protect the, well… never mind.

  8. Quahadi Hill said on December 9th, 2009 at 10:41am #

    All the way back in history, the jew is the one responsible for all turmoil in the world. This would be so easy if they didn`t exist. They are ruining the USA. Merry CHRISTMAS

  9. deceschi said on December 9th, 2009 at 10:53am #

    oh jeee, Kalida and Quahadi – you are soooooooooo right!

    It’s always the JOOS!!!

  10. kalidas said on December 9th, 2009 at 12:05pm #

    Actually, it’s (almost) always their proxies.