Benzion Netanyahu and the Fate of Palestinians
In The Crisis of Zionism Peter Beinart catalogues some interesting things about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s father, Benzion Netanyahu, who has been a strong ideological influence on Benjamin.
And in 2009, at the age of ninety-nine, he told the Israeli newspaper Maariv that Israel should retake the Gaza Strip, from which it had withdrawn four years earlier. “We should conquer any disputed territory in the land of Israel,” Netanyahu declared. “Conquer and hold it, even if it brings us years of war…You don’t return land.”
[…] In a 2003 book on Zionism’s founders, he […] described his proposals for relocating the Arabs of Palestine “to Arabia, Iraq, Syria – anywhere – as long as they will get out of the land of Israel,” without a word of criticism. “The Jews and the Arabs are like two goats facing each other on a narrow bridge. One must jump into the river,” Netanyahu told Maariv in 2009. “What does the Arab’s jump mean?” asked the interviewer, trying to decipher the metaphor. Netanyahu explained: “That they won’t be able to face the war with us, which will include withholding food from Arab cities, preventing education, terminating electrical power and more. They won’t be able to exist and they will run away from here.”
Beinart describes the elder Netanyahu’s fundamental policy prescription thusly: “meet any inkling of Palestinian nationalism with brutal violence.” Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed a similar approach, as Beinart records.
What’s amazing is the success in America of the public relations campaign depicting the current Israeli leadership as fair-minded and open to peace but for the rejectionist Palestinians. This is a belief the mainstream sincerely holds, despite the Prime Minister’s Likud Party Charter, which declares Jewish settlement in the West Bank and Gaza as “the realization of Zionist values” and that the whole of the West Bank and Jerusalem belong to Israel (“The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river”).
Nobody should be confused as to why a political settlement has not been forthcoming, especially with full and unquestioned American support of these policies.