Online Conversations

September 1, 2007

Bradley Burston Owes Me.

Filed under: Uncategorized — lisoosh @ 9:26 am

On August 26th in an online conversation on GNblog I made this series of comments:

– And no, I don’t think small Jewish settlements should leave, as long as they are willing to live within the law in the territory they fall under. Of course, if they want to….

– I know what you mean about leaving the settlers, but after much discussion with National Religious settlers who talk about Israel making the WB “Judenfrei” in order to instill some good Jewish guilt, I prefer to provide a soft target and call their bluff.

– Rather than provide the PR nightmare of visions of the IDF dragging them off, ten times more dramatic than in Gaza, I would let them stay, provided they agree, in writing to become residents of Palestine and to abide by its laws. I would also make absolutely clear, to avoid any attempts at stirring trouble, that under no circumstances would Israel invade or go to war over them and that if the Pal government could not protect them, at most they could expect assistance with repatriation to Israel. Just like any foreigner anywhere else. There would probably need to be a trade off with the Pals for good will and their protection, such as a symbolic trade with some 1948 refugees in the WB.

– Moshe – the settlers, whether you agree with their position or not, are grown-ups. No need to infantilize them. To move within the green line/prospective border with appropriate compensation or to remain at their own risk/expense is simple enough to understand.
For an entire nation to be blackmailed by a small minority holding itself hostage in order to affect foreign policy is ridiculous. And this minority will never ever compromise.

So imagine my surprise when I saw this article titled “Let the Settlers stay Where They Are” in Haaretz by noted columnist Bradley Burston and dated September 1st.

Some quotes:

The answer is simple. The settlers are right. They should stay right where they are. No matter what. Even if there is an eventual peace. Even if the land they live on is part of a Palestinian state.

For decades, the leaders of the settlement movement have told us that they will not leave their homes for the sake of a decision of the sovereign government of the state of Israel. They vow to make any future substantial evacuation of settlers from the West Bank so gut-wrenchingly difficult as to be functionally impossible.

…Let us, then, take the settlers at their word. If settling the land captured in 1967 is of paramount importance to the Jewish people, settling the land should also take precedence over making sure that land belongs to the Jewish state.

..And while we’re at it, let us take the Palestinians at theirs. If they are so concerned about the evils of apartheid, then they must accept the idea of Jews living in their midst.

….Let them stay. Let them stay right where they are. Let them have the courage of their beliefs. It’s a test. For the settlers and, especially, for the Palestinians.

And some of the people I had that conversation with (and who disagreed with me) cheerleading in the talkbalks!

I think I will be writing him a letter. Either we share the same mental space a la Jung and his “Universal Unconscious”, or someone read my stuff.



  1. Lisoosh –

    He could have read you, obviously. On the other hand, there doesn’t really have to be such mystery. It’s an old idea that has been mooted repeatedly over the decades. And it will never happen. The Palestinians won’t agree, and no electable Israeli government will leave the settlers uprotected from the gentle attentions of their Palestinian neighbors. Which is why someday the Israelis will pull the settlers out. If Hamas and Jihad hadn’t been so intent on proving their ongoing committment to war in Gaza, many of the settlers would be packing their bags exactly right now. That’s what Olmert won his election to do, back in May 2006.

    Comment by yaacov — September 1, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

  2. Yaacov – trouble is, they would make a bigger scene than in leaving Gaza. And it would drag on for years. It would take balls for Israel NOT to invade to protect them, which is what Israel needs, and the tail needs to stop wagging the dog.
    The settlers would still have repatriation available if they got into trouble. They would be a fast helicopter extraction away, just like nationals all over the world when they find themselves inadvertantly in a war zone – such as the Europeans who got boat rides out of Lebanon last year.

    Comment by lisoosh — September 1, 2007 @ 5:48 pm

  3. … sounds like the jesus complex to me. but OF COURSE bradley bases his column on your comments in a public forum or chat. Are you still taking your medication?

    Comment by jesus — September 1, 2007 @ 10:13 pm

  4. Would they really make such a scene? They would certainly try, that’s certain. And the most extreme of the extremists, in Tapuach, Itamar, Hebron and perhaps another few spots, might well go ballistic as the settlers in Gaza never did. The large majority, however, would demonstrate but allow themselves to be carried onto the busses. If the decision is sanctioned by elections, as it was in the brief 3 months after Olmert won an election explicitly to move them and before he so thoughtlessly went to war, and even more so if they’re being removed as part of a democratically sanctioned agreement with the Palestinians, the large majority of the settlers will leave peacefully. Grieving (justifiably), kvetching (Jews…), arguing (ditto), but they’ll leave. Becasue they’ll know that a large majority of the Israelis will be determined to have them gone, and that they’ll accept.

    Comment by yaacov — September 2, 2007 @ 5:06 am

  5. One of my posts got lifted once- title and all- onto the Haaretz underground blog. I was well annoyed.

    Oh well- it had great karma potential…

    Comment by PP — September 4, 2007 @ 12:44 am

  6. Yaacov -I don’t know, I really don’t. But I spent a lot of time, and I mean a LOT having pretty in depth conversations about this with a variety of settlers, many of whom were surprisingly militant beneath the surface, and all of whom were extremely intelligent and very self aware. One thing that I noticed was that a large number were hoser be teshuva, and have the ferver redolent of many converts – a passion which is difficult to guage -enough to change their entire lives and the lives of their families in the service of ideology. Their dedication may be underestimated.
    As long as making a scene prevents action, a scene will be made and action will be prevented. Changing the parameters might help to break the cycle. That same cycle has been going on for decades now, since the first settlements were put into place.

    Comment by lisoosh — September 4, 2007 @ 11:33 pm

  7. Ah, well. Most of the settlers I talk to are either Sabras or not recent converts. Maybe that explains the difference. I even remember that in the summer of 2000, as Barak was negotiating them away at Camp David, they were eying the cabinets and bookshelves and wondering about the hassle of moving it all. And I’m talking about mainstream settlers, not wimps from Efrat.

    Someday we’ll know. Probably not anytime soon. Sigh.

    Comment by yaacov — September 5, 2007 @ 1:30 am

  8. I know. I realize my previous answer was a bit simplistic (it was late) and that the settler population is far more diverse than I implied. I do in fact have a lot of sympathy for many, someone born and bred in a quiet Jordan Valley location stands to lose his or her family home, perhaps providing them an option would mitigate that somewhat, allow them to feel a bit more in control.
    It’s funny you should mention Efrat and the Gush as many VERY vocal supporters of Itamar and Hebron live there, and yes, many pretty recent arrivals. No knowing how much is rhetoric.
    I would like to know some time in my lifetime. I don’t think that separation will end all problems, but I have very deep moral reservations about continued control over a population kept under a different legal structure and without true political representation. And the wisdom of it. I can accept the argument that Israel “won” the territory, but in that case it also won the people there. Can’t pretend they don’t exist.

    Comment by lisoosh — September 5, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

  9. Oh, they exist all right. Which is why a majority of Israelis want out. Only: how?

    Comment by yaacov — September 5, 2007 @ 2:36 pm

  10. Can you email me, please?
    shirat (dot) hasirena (at) gmail (dot) com


    Comment by Shirat HaSirena — September 20, 2007 @ 5:13 pm

  11. I do in fact have a lot of sympathy for many, someone born and bred in a quiet Jordan Valley location stands to lose his or her family home, perhaps providing them an option would mitigate that somewhat, allow them to feel a bit more in control.

    Why do settlers in the Jordan Valley deserve different treatment than a settler from Yitzhar?

    Also, in light of the fabulous treatment of the settlers evicted from Gush Katif, I can’t imagine that any settler would willingly get thrown out of their home for close to zero compensation, being treated by a pariah in the media, and a pain in the neck by the government.

    For an entire nation to be blackmailed by a small minority holding itself hostage in order to affect foreign policy is ridiculous. And this minority will never ever compromise.
    You just described Chanukka…

    Comment by Jameel @ TheMuqata — December 2, 2007 @ 6:58 am

  12. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

    Comment by sandrar — September 10, 2009 @ 9:36 am

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