Left-wing politics from the US to Nepal, via Zimbabwe, South America and Palestine.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Expulsion is not Always a Dirty Word

Another translated article from Ma'ariv. The original is here.

Expulsion is not a Dirty Word - By Moshe Zimmerman

Moshe Zimmerman explains why the 'kindly souls' [1] on the left didn't object to the evacuation [of Gaza], and also puts forth a solution that will enable coexistence.

Forty years too late, the Israeli government came to the conclusion that indeed it should not uncompromisingly stick to the belief in the 'whole land of Israel' [2], belonging entirely to the Jewish people. It is necessary to evacuate parts of the occupied lands and hand them over to the forthcoming Palestinian state.

Indeed, humanitarian or international law concerns are not anchored in the thoughts of the initiator of change, Ariel Sharon, nor in those of his successor, Ehud Olmert. The reasoning is constructed more upon pragmatic arguments. What is termed the 'demographic threat' and what is termed 'international pressure'.

But from what was not, we arrived at what is: from the day that Ariel Sharon called the child by its proper name, 'occupation', even the Israeli right must consider the logic of holding on to territories conquered in 1967.

This question is examined, among other ways, using the concept of 'expulsion'. Over and over, members of the right-wing call the return of Jewish settlers from the Occupied Territories to the the land inside the 1949 borders 'expulsion'. They then wonder why the 'kindly souls' on the left are so sensitive to the current and past expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from their land, and less sensitive to the expulsion of settlers, as occurred in Gaza six month ago.

Here one must say that the word 'expulsion' is not necessarily negative. It is desirable to expel someone from the place that they invaded. Here the word 'expulsion' is synonymous with 'evacuation' or with 'pushing back' of the enemy. This is in fact the basis on which international treaties regarding occupied territories stand, and the post-1967 Israeli experience does not constitute a precedent.

One can express this as follows: if someone invades my house and I expel him, I do not harm justice. In fact, I execute justice. Herein lies the difference between expulsion of Palestinians and expulsion (or evacuation) of settlers.

The settlers that were evacuated from Gaza and those that will be evacuated from the West Bank reckon that their rights to that land was born from the strength of the divine promise to the land of Israel, or from the the strength of the governmental decision that they interpreted as granting legitimization. But not only the international community, but also a significant part of the those living in Israel reckon that the promise made in the book of Genesis is not justification for present-day politics.

This majority also reckons that the settlers cannot wash their hands [of responsibility] and say: 'we didn't think we had no right to settle, since Israeli governments have supported us up until now.' Even if we call this naiveté, this is not the basis upon which justice is built, and therefore the evacuation of settlers from the Occupied Territories becomes legitimate.

From this results a principled dilemma regarding the question of compensation: the settlers reckon that those who were evacuated after being sent to settle by the state or under the sponsorship of its governments deserve material compensation from the state. On the opposite side, there are those who that it is sufficient for us as citizens that we invested the best of our tax money in practical support of settlements and that there is no reason for us to pay again for the sins committed by the settlers and their senders.

But it is possible to think of another solution from the dilemma of justice and expulsion. There is something wrong with a policy that demands to invalidate the lives of Jews in Israelite lands that do not belong to the state. 'Judenrein' [3] is not the only answer. The correct theoretical solution is that of Jewish citizens of a Palestinian state, living there with the full agreement of the Palestinian population.

A Jew who loves the land of Israel would be able to live in the land of Israel outside the borders of the state of Israel. Jewish sovereignty is not a biblical commandment. If we had been seeking this solution from the beginning, out of agreement with the Palestinians, instead of forcing settlements upon from by the power of the Occupation, it is possible that this solution would have even become accepted.

A Jewish minority in Palestine is as reasonable as a Palestinian-Arab minority in the Jewish state. Indeed, the origin of the mistake was not in 1967 but much earlier, and a fundamental change is needed within Palestinian society, but that is not to say we shouldn't give this idea a chance.

They will say: 'not realistic'. But what is more realistic: to hold back the settlers who are savaging Palestinians in the name of the Occupation or to educate the non-violent majority on both sides to accept a minority within?

[1]: 'Kindly souls' (yefey nefesh) is a derogatory term used by the right in Israel to describe leftists.
[2]: The 'whole land of Israel' (eretz yisrael ha'shlema) is a term used by the right to describe the Jewish divine right to the land. Usage of the term varies from the current state of Israel, including the Occupied Territories (by the moderate right), to all the land from Iraq to Libya (by right-wing extremists).
[3]: 'Judenrein' is a German word meaning 'cleansed of Jews'. It was principally used by the Nazi regime in Germany.

||||||||Israel Press||

Permanent Link to this post


Blogger Marcy / مارسي said...


It's your "annoying" friend Marcy here. It's great to see you blog up and running. Thanks so much for posting these translations.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006 4:35:00 AM

Blogger Rann said...

Hey Marcy,

What's up? I was wondering who was reading from Amman :)

How are you doing? Are you going to be in Palestine any time soon? I'll be there in July/August...


Wednesday, May 24, 2006 11:15:00 AM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home