Israel: Even if the settlers’ party lost, the settlements won

Amira Hass 26/09/2019
I wish I could, like Gideon Levy, see the low number of Knesset seats won by Yamina as a defeat for the settlers (“The mouse that roared,” September 22).

I wish I could share his view of the settlements as a project of the settlers, who are concentrated in this party. I wish I could see them as a minority that craftily created this monster, and is responsible for the “most pernicious, destructive project in the history of the state.” But unfortunately, the settlers are the product, not the creator, of a pernicious policy. It’s the state that holds the copyright on the settlement project.

Right after 1967, the state, under a Mapai government, hawks and doves alike, set its sights on Palestinian soil and hoped “to fix” what was missed out on in 1948. The settlers could not have blackmailed and deceived successive Israeli governments, had the governments themselves not wished to be deceived and blackmailed. And these were governments featuring such paragons of secularism as Yigal Allon, Levi Eshkol, Yisrael Galili, Golda Meir, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin. It’s only thanks to the misleading definitions of political science that they and what remains of their ideological descendants are called “leftists.”
The supposedly socialist Mapai developed methods of deception to portray Israel before its sister political parties around the world, which viewed themselves as progressive, as a state that sought peace and believed in upholding human rights. At the same time, it labored to prevent the Palestinians from cohering as a recognized national collective demanding its rights. Israel failed here, but that did not stop its continued land grab.