08-20-2005, 04:59 PM #1
Dream of a 'greater Israel' lured too few
Well I think some of you still rememebr my old thread "Greater Israel: A Dream Closer to Fulfillment" but I think its not the case I think this dream was crushed and the dream-zionist-land is fading away, now the zionists are forced to accept the idea of the smaller 'israel' struggling to survive the demographic challenges , this article is made by a pro israeli Ethan Bronner:
By Ethan Bronner The New York Times
TUESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2005
For those who long considered it folly to settle a handful of Jews among hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the decision to remove them seems an acceptance of the obvious. What possible future could the settlers have had? How could their presence have done the state of Israel any good?
But for those, like Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who created and nurtured the settlements, the move to dismantle them is something very different. It is an admission not of error but of failure. Their cherished goal - the resettlement of the full biblical land of Israel by contemporary Jews - is not to be. The reason: Not enough of them came.
"We have had to come to terms with certain unanticipated realities," acknowledged Arye Mekel, the Israeli consul general in New York. "Ideologically, we are disappointed. A pure Zionist must be disappointed because Zionism meant the Jews of the world would take their baggage and move to Israel. Most did not."
David Kimche, who was director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry in the 1980s, said: "The old Zionist nationalists' anthem was a state on 'the two banks of the River Jordan.' When that became impractical, we talked about 'greater Israel,' from the Jordan to the sea. But people now realize that this, too, is something we won't be able to achieve."
The failure has two main sources. First, contrary to the expectations of the early Zionists, as Mekel noted, most of the world's Jews have not joined their brethren to live in Israel. Of the world's 13 million to 14 million Jews, a minority - 5.26 million - live in Israel, and immigration has largely dried up. Last year, a record low 21,000 Jews immigrated to Israel.
Of course, Israel is a remarkably successful country, a democracy with a high standard of living and many proud accomplishments. Yet the misery that Zionists expected Jews elsewhere to suffer has not materialized. More than half a century after the establishment of the Jewish state, more Jews live in the United States than in Israel.
The second explanation for the shift in settlement policy is that the Palestinian population has grown far more rapidly, and Palestinians have proved far more willing to fight, than many on the Israeli right had anticipated.
On Thursday, the newspaper Haaretz reported that the proportion of Jews in the combined population of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza had dropped below 50 percent for the first time. This means, many Israelis argue, that unless they yield territory, they will have to choose a Jewish state or a democratic one; they will not be able to have both.
While all acknowledge that Jewish immigration never achieved anticipated levels and that the Palestinian population has ballooned, the question of the role of Palestinian violence in Sharon's decision to disengage is hotly contested.
Some argue that the two Palestinian intifadas, or uprisings, from 1987 to 1993 and from 2000 to the present, drove Israel out.
Others say that Israel's increasingly effective counterterror measures - the building of a barrier, killings of terror leaders and military reoccupation of selective Palestinian cities - broke the back of the insurgents, allowing Israel the sense of strength to walk away. In fact, both factors seem likely to have played a role.
"Of course, terror has a role in the disengagement," said Michael Oren, a senior fellow at the Shalem Institute, a conservative Jerusalem research group.
"It convinced us that Gaza was not worth holding onto and awakened us to the demographic danger. It took two intifadas for a majority of Israelis to decide that Gaza is not worth it."
A senior Israeli official who spent years closely associated with Likud party leaders, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, said that Israelis long had little respect for Palestinians as fighters, but that had changed.
"The fact that hundreds of them are willing to blow themselves up is significant," he said. "We didn't give them any credit before.
"In spite of our being the strongest military power in the Middle East, we lost 1,200 people over the last four years.
"It finally sank in to Sharon and the rest of the leadership that these people were not giving up."
Some came to a similar conclusion much earlier.
The Israeli left has been calling for a withdrawal from Gaza for years, and even many on the right believed settlement there to be futile and counterproductive.
Kimche, the former Foreign Ministry official, recalled that when Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Likud was running against Yitzhak Rabin of Labor in the early 1990s, several Shamir advisers told him: "Unless you withdraw from Gaza, you're going to lose these elections."
He did not withdraw; he lost.
Rabin himself said that he decided to negotiate a withdrawal with the Palestinians when he realized how unpopular military service in Gaza had become.
"He said privately - I heard him say it - that military reservists don't want to serve in the occupied territories, and while they are not formally refusing, they are finding excuses to stay away," recalled Yoel Esteron, the managing editor of Yediot Aharonot.
"That put a real burden on the army and it meant we couldn't stay there forever."
08-21-2005, 12:16 AM #2Originally Posted by MilitiaGuy
My kids are going to learn, that the biggest evil in the world, are foreign aggressors and invaders occupying a people by force.
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