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Ynet Op-Ed: Israel occupied by the settlement lobby

(Ynet News) Apr. 29, 2014 – The right-wing parties ruled the state throughout most of this period. The right could have annexed the territories to Israel – Hebron and Bethlehem, which are holy to us, and Gaza and Ramallah, which are less holy – but preferred to hold on to the territories in the capacity of an occupier, under military rule. The sovereign authority in the West Bank is not the Knesset, but the GOC Central Command, by virtue of military authority. He and his officers, he and his soldiers. From now on we must say that the occupation was the choice of the rightwing.

I am not worried about the Palestinians. They have a president and a government whose job it is to care for them, an organization that speaks on their behalf, and a slew of patrons in Europe, in America and even in one daily newspaper in Israel. I would like to speak on behalf of another population groaning under an occupation – the Israelis.

The nine months of the failed negotiations will prove it. In the past few days, we have been living under the impression that Mahmoud Abbas is to blame for everything. This is the narrative dictated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and conveniently adopted by Ministers Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid.

In the service of the occupation army

Abbas did make a considerable contribution to the failure, there’s no doubt. But only the most absentminded politicians could ignore the huge contribution of the settler lobby to that failure, beginning with the veto imposed by the Bayit Yehudi party on a settlement construction freeze during negotiations.

It continued with the repeated announcements made by Housing Minister Uri Ariel on their behalf, about new construction plans beyond the Green Line, every time the negotiations showed signs of life. Ariel sabotaged, undermined and detonated, and Netanyahu didn’t dare touch him. It was Ariel who promised as many as 14,000 housing units to be built by the Netanyahu government in the territories during negotiations.

At a certain stage, Netanyahu explained to the world that Abbas was prepared to accept the settlement construction plans. The man was presented as a traitor in the eyes of his political world and in the eyes of the Palestinian street. His trust in Netanyahu was lost for good. And then came another declaration from Ariel, about a major construction plan in the Gilo neighborhood, and Abbas ended his partnership with the Americans too.

The pro-settlement political lobby represents a small minority. It is radical and reckless, not just in the eyes of most Israelis, but in the eyes of a large proportion of the Israelis living beyond the Green Line as well. Nonetheless, it controls the government, which it extorts financially and neutralizes politically. It has the right to veto every move and every initiative.

When Netanyahu is threatened by Bennett, he takes shelter not in the center of the political map but on its radical margins, alongside Uri Ariel. There is not a single element in the world, including Swaziland, which accepts the dictats of the settlement lobby.

This lobby will shape the face of Israel in two stages. In the first stage it will become an apartheid state, boycotted by business groups in the world, besieged politically, legally and culturally. Israeli businesspeople are already feeling this cold wind. In the second stage, the world will force Israel to become a binational state, a state of all its citizens.

When this scenario is presented to the settler lobbyists, they say it won’t happen, G*d will intervene. One bright day the Palestinians will disappear. Unfortunately for them, that’s highly unlikely.

Israel Lands: Privatization or National Ownership – Jews Only

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