Wednesday, December 22, 2004


The State of the Israeli Left

I am quite busy at work and so I don't have much time to post (or even to read as much as I'd like) these days, but there is an article by Yitzhak Laor in Ha'aretz that I thought was worth sharing. In it, Laor discusses the Gaza disengagement plan, and the Israeli Left's acceptance of the limits of discussion that have been imposed by Ariel Sharon, the Likud, and the Israeli Right in general. In a way, there is a bit of a chicken-and-the-egg situation in that the more the Left accepts the way the Right has framed the debate, the less likely it is to succeed. And the less success the Left has, the more it must enter the national debate on the terms of the more powerful Right. Laor writes:
Meretz's people and the doves can talk all they want about dismantling settlements as part of a process, but none of them truly expects Sharon to dismantle the main settlements in the West Bank, the settlements that slice it into cantons. But, since the political system needs to invent subjects for debate to keep their constituencies going, there is no safer argument than the "departure from Gaza." Since 1967, Gaza has been a favorite subject for the opponents of annexation and a laboratory for "eradicating territory," a "a settlement enterprise of real agriculture," and mostly for extreme ghettoization, that the entire political system, including Meretz-Yahad, supported....

Here, therefore, is the renewal of Israeli democracy: the "territories" are no longer a subject good enough to discuss, so the debate is narrowed down to Gaza, the eye of the needle. The problem is that it is impossible to shove through that needle's eye the thick rope of the political crisis of the occupation.

If the West Bank settlements aren't to be dismantled, they should at least pay taxes to the Palestinian authorities!
ha! good luck. you think the settlers' rhetoric is out of control now (what with comparing sharon's government to the nazis and wearing orange star of david badges to protest abandoning settlements in gaza), can you even imagine if they were asked to give money to the "enemy"?

also, when it comes to taxes, it's not as though these are actually self-sustaining communities; they are largely subsidized, so that the settlers get tax breaks for living in the settlements, for having large families, etc. to pay taxes at all i'm sure would have them up in arms.
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