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Dangerous pragmatism

Reader comment on item: Jews Living in Palestine?

Submitted by Roar Sørensen (Sweden), Feb 7, 2014 at 04:01

Dr. Pipes!

I always read your articles with great interest, and love your clarity in most of the issues you discuss.

This article, however, I find problematic. I am sure you are aware of it, but maybe not all the readers are: The big difference between Netanyahu's and Bennet's approach is that the latter has accepted the idea of a two-state solution whereas the former has not. For this reason, the idea of Jews living under Palestinian rule becomes unacceptable for Bennet - as is the idea of Palestinian rule over the historic land of Israel at all, even without Jews living there. And personally, I think his solution of autonomy is worth considering.

Secondly, Netanyahu is being pragmatic - that is who he is, for good and for bad. But is it always beneficial for Israel? I would claim that the Jewish pragmatic attitude is one of the factors that has taken us from the Balfour declaration confirmed in San Remo and giving Jews all the territory they currently control plus the area of Jordan, and to the current situation where they are struggling to justify their claims to the heart of their historic homeland. Moreover, to the current state where the existence of the state within any borders is being questioned but on political and diplomatic grounds. Jabotinsky's article The Iron Wall, contains a lot of practical wisdom in this regard. But let me point out; I believe in the realistic but liberal approach that Jabotinsky represented; the Palestinian Arabs also have rights that need to be preserved (the matter of debate is if they include national rights).

Third, Jews are indeed living under the control of other people even in the Middle East so that is not a novelty - But to do so in Hebron, Bethel, and Shilo.... Was that really what Herzl meant when he talked about "the house that will shelter the Jewish nation"? True, you say that it will probably not happen for generations since the PA will not accept it - But what if, for tactical reasons, they did?

Finally, Netanyahu's tactic with this initiative is likely to postpone the establishment of a Palestinian state. But in doing so, he is also saying that Jews have no claims on Judea and Samaria - at least, that is how the world will understand it. However, a state's legitimacy is not only dependent on international resolutions and agreements, but also on a historic connection to the territory it controls. This is even more true internally, in order to build a love for the land among the people, and with this the will to defend it against enemies. If Israel can give away Judea and Samaria, why should they stick to Haifa, Netanya, Tel Aviv and Ashdod. Is this attitude a step towards the dismantling of the Zionist idea - even if unintended?
As you said, you often agree with Bennet's approach - for my part, I do so also this time.

With respect!
Roar Sørensen
Norway

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