I didn’t want the week to go by completely without noting the revealing interview given by Likud Party leader and former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the Financial Times and published in its October 7 edition. The interview makes clear that Netanyahu, who, according to recent polls, would be the front-runner in Israel if new elections were held today, has no interest in a two-state solution and would prefer to lead his country and the Palestinian territories under its control into a de facto apartheid state, bantustans and all. To quote from the FT:
“…Mr. Netanyahu wants to see the West Bank divided into a collection of disconnected economic zones with dedicated business projects.
“The ancient town of Jericho, for instance, should capitalise on its proximity to the Jordan River to attract Baptist tourists from the US — a location which the hawkish leader of the Israeli opposition says is ‘easily worth tens of thousands of jobs.'”
“The Palestinians, Mr. Netanyahu adds, would be allowed to hold on to their population centres. Other parts of the West Bank, such as the Judean desert and the Jordan Valley, should not leave Israeli control. ‘These areas are very significant for us because they are our strategic security belt,’ he says.
“…’It is not so much that peace brings prosperity – it is that prosperity brings peace,’ he says.”
All this sounds, of course, a lot like a recipe for setting up Bantustans. Instead of casinos in Sun City in Bophuthatswana, Netanyahu proposes Biblical tourism for Christian Zionists as a possible economic engine for Palestinian development.
Netanyahu goes on to offer his worldview, one that demonstrates clearly what the neo-conservatives have tried to do since 9/11 — subordinate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a “clash of civilizations” in which the U.S. and the West would naturally have to support Israel. Quoting again from the FT:
“Resolving the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians …is a second-order issue for the Likud leader. ‘The issue for me is not the Palestinian problem. I think that conflict has been replaced by the battle between radical Islam and the western world,’ he says.” [Editor’s note: Is there any doubt that distribution of ‘Obsession’ in the U.S. and abroad serves Likud’s purposes exceptionally well?]
“Handing back control of the Israeli-occupied West Bank to the Palestinians as part of a peace deal, argues Mr. Netanyahu, would strengthen the hand of Iran. ‘Any area we withdraw from will be taken over by Iran and its proxies,’ he claims, pointing to the takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group, last year. ‘Both Lebanon and Gaza have become Iranian bases and they would get a third one if we retreat from the West Bank.'”
So, if Netanyahu somehow regains the premiership and has sufficient political power (and U.S. backing) to follow through on his current views, the inevitable result will be a de facto apartheid Israel and, one way or another, the end of a state that is both Jewish and democratic. Indeed, the biggest threat to Israel’s existence clearly lies not with Iran and its allies, but rather from Netanyahu the Likud and those who support them abroad, particularly in the U.S.
Speaking of which, check out a bizarre story in the current issue of The Forward about a U.S. group called “Stand Up America” led by two retired U.S. generals who have retained a U.S. attorney to represent former Israeli defense minister Gen. Shaul Mofaz in any legal effort to reverse his defeat last month in the Kadima primary election by Tzipi Livni. Mofaz, of course, represents the right wing of the centrist party, although, historically, his views are virtually indistinguishable from Netanyahu’s, Mofaz’ former mentor in Likud. (It was Mofaz whose threats against Iran last spring contributed substantially to the biggest daily spike in the global price of oil in its historic rise through the summer.)
The two generals are Thomas McInerney and Paul Vallely who have long advocated a military attack on Iran and have been members of the Iraq Policy Committee, a group that has lobbied hard (and so far unsuccessfully) for taking the cultish Mujahadin-e-Khalq (MeK) off the State Department’s terrorism and for providing it with loads of assistance as leader of the “democratic opposition” to the theocracy. Stand Up America, according to McInerny, is to “protect America and let people understand the danger of radical Islam and the seriousness of global jihad.”
“We do not want a government in Israel that will support appeasement,” McInerney told The Forward. “…We believe it is 1938 and everyone is going on, in denial.”
The two generals’ last trip to Israel was sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).