Will You Just Stand On The Sidelines?

After the elections the preachers of the “transfer solution” will be strengthened, the surveys say. It doesn’t matter right now exactly how much stronger they’ll become. The important thing is that every day that goes by, the preachers of transfer feel ever more confident about raising their “permanent solution” in the Israeli public.

No law stops them from posting thousands of leaflets and placards calling for the expulsion of Arabs, or as they put it rather more bluntly, “Them there, us here.” Nobody in the law enforcement agencies shows any enthusiasm for fighting them. No attorney general has forbidden them to raise their “ideas” in various media interviews, when the more appropriate titles, “fascists” or “racists” and even “neo-Nazis” are used to describe people like them in Europe. The Transferists hide little and show off much; with smooth talk they speak of “willing and agreed transfer” without going into explanations that there is no such thing. They speak mercifully about the residents of the refugee camps of the West Bank and Gaza, for whom, they say, and for the benefit of their children, should be resettled – east of the Jordan River. The preachers know well the distress in which the refugees live; many of them live but a spit away from the camps, in the villas of lushly gardened settlements.

Not all the transferists come from the settlements, though presumably the settlers are disproportionately represented among all the transfer voters. The settlers and their lobbyists can be accused of extremism, but they are only taking to the logical conclusion the settlement policies in the territories; this policy, officially founded in Israeli military orders and legitimized by civil laws, has had two faces: Israeli development and limits on Palestinian development. All the limits on development – whether by expropriation of some 45 percent of the West Bank, or by prohibitions on construction – have included the partially hidden element of applying pressure to “thin out” the Palestinian population. During the years of direct occupation, for example, there were orders issued that quickly led to residency rights being stripped from West Bank-born Palestinians who traveled overseas.

The settlers of the Golan, the Jordan Valley, Hebron and Ofra were pioneers who did first what the Labor Alignment governments and senior members of the Zionist movement wanted and encouraged. It’s time to end the myth that the pioneers forced themselves on helpless governments. Therefore, if the settlers were the tip of the spear, today, with the preaching for transfer, the cries of anger should not be directed at them. Lessons should be learned from the past: They are succeeding because there are strains in the regime (military and ideological in particular) that support them. They are doing and saying what others think.

The question must be directed to the Labor Party, Meretz and even Shinui and to some of the more balanced social elements that still exist in Shas and the Likud: Do you intend to stand on the sidelines, encouraging with your inaction the transferists, who more than ever are motivated by divine messianic delusions?

Will you prevent including moral objection to transfer in your election campaign materials, because it will drive some voters away? Will the military people in your ranks warn the soldiers among the transferists that any attempt to conduct a transfer operation will be met with active resistance?

Will your field activists make do with lighting candles and inviting rock bands to Rabin memorials and forever be afraid to confront the transferists, to avoid civil war? Will law professors and historians, members of those parties and movements that support centrist governments, remain silent until after the ethnic cleansing has taken place?

Will the religious among you, forsaking their Judaism for the mounting brutal propaganda, join other “mitzvah-abiding” people, who sanctify the land and scorn human beings?

Will the authors who picked olives with the Palestinians make do with that, and not demand that the law enforcement authorities in Israel make clear their position? Is transfer an inseparable part of the founding ideology of the State of Israel, or a twisted mutation, which should not be allowed to rise up against its creator?

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