The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy


Cops and Coddlers Revisited

Filed under: Party StructuresPoliticiansYamin Israel Party — eidelberg @ 7:53 am

Yamin Israel is often asked why it does not form an alliance with nationalist elements of the Likud. After all, doesn’t the Likud represent “the trunk of the nation,” as one prominent Likud member has emphasized?” Hasn’t Yamin Israel always sought to form a united front of nationalist groups? Aren’t Likud hawks like Moshe Arens tried-and-true nationalists?

These questions reminded me of an article I wrote in 1989, “Cops and Coddler.” It was during the first Intifada, and in power was a Shamir-led national unity government. A slightly shortened version of the article follows:

On 6 February 1989, Prime Minister Shamir declared, “The time has come for the world to finally understand that Eretz Yisrael can only belong to the State of Israel. Anything else is inconceivable.”

Four day later, Shamir’s statement was contradicted by his Foreign Minister, Moshe Arens: “Just what part of the territories Israel would retreat from … and just where the secure boundaries for Israel are, that’s a subject for interpretation; it bears directly on the permanent settlement.”

The question arises: Is Shamir being undermined by his lieutenants, or is this a game of “hard cop/soft cop” vis-à-vis Washington and the Palestinian Arabs? Consider the following reports:

18 January 1989. Briefing the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Mr. Arens said: “Israel ought not cleave to all its former positions on the Middle East dispute” (The Jerusalem Post).

19 January 1989. “[The radical leftwing] Mapam Party��s central committee yesterday praised Moshe Arens for his moderate statements, terming them ‘the beginning of recognition of the national aspirations of the Palestinians.’ Mapam’s Yair Tsaban told The Jerusalem Post, ‘today, when I look for a ray of hope I find it with Shamir and Arens.’”

20 January 1989. “When the Foreign Minister, Moshe Arens, came out against cleaving to ‘all our past positions’, and spoke approvingly of respect for ‘Palestinian aspirations’, it was assumed that he was speaking for the premier, too” (Editorial, The Jerusalem Post).

3 February 1989. “Pressed to say whether he had any doubt about who should be the sovereign in the area, Arens said: ‘I think this is the end of our press conference.’ … ‘Would you go beyond Camp David?’ a reporter asked. ‘That’s enough’ the foreign minister said” (The Nation). [To his credit, Mr. Arens had voted against the 1978 Camp David Agreement.]

10 February 1989. Interviewed by The Jerusalem Post, Foreign Minister Arens said: “Any country might contribute to the peace process, if it has goodwill, if it’s truly interested in the stability of the area and if, in addition to that, it has something to contribute… I think the Soviet Union falls into that category.”

3 March 1989. “Likud MK Ehud Olmert, the cabinet minister responsible for Arab affairs, told the Knesset that there had been 150 terrorist and hostile acts committed in Israel during the previous three months that could be attributed to Israeli Arabs” (The Jerusalem Post). [If Israeli Arabs engage in terrorism, why should Arens encourage the myth of peace with Palestinian Arabs?]

13 March 1989. Foreign Minister Arens stated recently that “we must accommodate the Palestinian’s legitimate (national) rights,” otherwise “Zionism’s insistence on a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael is immoral” (The Nation, emphasis added).

30 May 1989. “Calling on the U.S. not to give the Arabs false hopes, Foreign Minister Moshe Arens yesterday assured the Knesset that there would be no return to the 1967 borders, no Palestinian state, no transfer of Jews and no crimping of the rights of Jews to settle anywhere in the Land of Israel and live there within safe borders” (The Jerusalem Post).

Obviously, these press reports cannot but confuse public opinion in Israel and erode public support for Jewish retention of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. If Shamir’s Foreign Minister, a reputed hawk, can equivocate about the ultimate status of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, what can be expected of Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who unequivocally advocates “territory for peace”? [On Rabin, consider the following reports]:

30 January 1989. “Rabin’s decision to release prominent Palestinian leader Faisal Husseini could play an important role in furthering [Labor’s own peace] initiative. It is felt that [Husseini’s] intimate ties with the PLO and his key role in the intifada—the reasons why he has been kept in administrative detention—make him a valuable potential partner” (The Jerusalem Post). [Juxtapose what he said of the Soviet Union.]

31 January 1989. “The Defense Ministry … freed Faisal Husseini, whom Rabin had branded one of the most dangerous PLO operatives in the West Bank” (The Nation).

Compare Rabin’s sensitivity to the Arab cause with his callousness toward the Jewish cause. Thus, on 2 February 1989, Rabin declared. “Anyone not prepared to endure stone throwing should not live in the territories” (The Nation).

Finally, consider this remarkable report of 15 June 1989 [which, presumably, was cleared with Foreign Minister Moshe Arens]. Yossi Ben-Aharon, Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office, said that “[the government] is not afraid of Palestinian self-determination … and that the [Shamir] peace initiative can provide them with ‘nine out of ten parts’ of self-determination” (The Jerusalem Post).

But having given the Palestinian Arabs “nine out of ten parts” of self-determination, is it not obvious that the cops and coddlers now ruling Israel will then be in no position to press for Jewish sovereignty over Judea, Samaria, and Gaza? This being so, Mr. Shamir’s statement, that “The time has come for the world to finally understand that Eretz Yisrael can only belong to the State of Israel” is a piece of braggadocio.

The above 1989 article conveys why Yamin Israel is not enthusiastic about nationalists like Mr. Arens. By the way, interviewed by The Jewish Journal on 21 April 2006, Mr. Arens opposed the idea of making members of the Knesset individually accountable to the people in constituency elections. Israel’s system of government, he said, has “functioned very well.” Indeed, it has, having rendered the people of this nation powerless. So much for Likud nationalists and the so-called trunk of the nation.

Time to put these “trunkated” nationalists to the test of institutional nationalism [P.E., President, Yamin Israel Party].