Photo Credit: MK Bezalel Smotrich's Facebook page
MK Bezalel Smotrich

“It is sad that in the eyes of some of Ha’aretz’s contributors and perhaps even a handful of his readers, terms such as ‘victory’ and a ‘decisive defeat of the enemy’ are seen as obscene, and even reminiscent of the Holocaust,” wrote MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) in the op-ed section of the extreme leftwing daily Sunday.

Ha’aretz, which years ago was a liberal publication with equal interest in all areas of politics, society and the arts, does have one or two token rightwing regulars. Letting Smotrich have his say is yet another show of tokenism for the paper – which recommended three other Smotrich related stories: “Samotritz: My wife will not lie down next to a woman whose son might kill my baby in twenty years”; “MK Smotrich: The murder in Duma is not an act of terrorism”; and “MK Smotrich: There are a lot of gays in the media and they tell us what to think.”


So much for unprejudiced discussion…

Smotrich himself cited several attacks on him in which, he argued, Ha’aretz had completely lost its compass, openly identifying with the enemy’s narrative and accusing him, Smotrich, of plotting a “Palestinian genocide.”

The National-Religious MK spent a couple of paragraphs denying the validity of all the above loony tune attacks against him in the paper, and then went on to explain that what he had said was “that in Israel there are two conflicting national aspirations, and that the foundation of the very definition of the Palestinian national movement relies on the negation of the Zionist movement. Indeed, the Palestinian national movement was established as a counter-movement to Zionism, and therefore the right of the Palestinian people to exist is the denial of Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.”

“Therefore, the chances of reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians, based on the continued existence of these two conflicting national aspirations using an artificial geographic division and on their recognition of the Jewish state as such – are near zero,” Smotrich concluded.

He goes on to suggest that the fundamental difference between Israel’s right and left is that “the left hides its head in the sand believing that these two aspirations can be reconciled, while I believe that this is not possible.”

The proof is in the pudding: “The reality of recent decades supports my position,” he argues. “We have always extended our hand to peace and they have always rejected it at the moment of truth. The Oslo Partition Plan, Camp David, and [former PM] Ehud Olmert’s negotiations. This was not by accident: if they were to recognize us, they would have dragged the rug from under their very excuse to exist as a national entity.”

Admittedly, Smotrich’s idea of how to resolve the conflict is not for the politically feint of heart: “Given that these are two contradictory national aspirations, we have two paths before us: one is to continue to maintain a bloody conflict for another hundred years. The other is to decide it.”

“Hence my decision plan, which is first and foremost a matter of political-consciousness,” he explains. “I wish to burn into the consciousness of the other side the understanding that there is no chance at all that an Arab state will ever be established in the Land of Israel – [and I’ll do it] through the ‘[conflict] settlement through the [expansion of] settlements.'”

“When we impose Israeli sovereignty on Judea and Samaria, we will establish more settlements there and bring over hundreds of thousands of settlers – forcing the Arabs to understand that this is irreversible, that their dream is gone,” Smotrich wrote, quite unabashedly.

Should the Arabs refuse to accept this new reality, they will face a fierce and harsh military response, Smotrich advocated. Those who would accept the new reality would be free to either leave or to stay under Israeli rule.

Needless to say, the op-ed received very few positive responses – only a smattering few out of the close to 300 comments posted Sunday morning were supportive. Many were quite nasty, most refused to accept any of the most fundamental concepts advanced by the rightwing MK. Some wished him and his loved ones all kinds of horrible illnesses, God forbid.

One reader, a math teacher, made it all worthwhile, writing: “Most of the reactions here are based on the premise that the Palestinians’ desire for a national definition is indeed anchored in reality. Perhaps we should delve into some history, far and near, and reconsider that idea. As one who comes in daily contact with an Arab population, I am not at all certain of this. There is no obligation to apply our own system of values and beliefs to the other side, especially when they do not fit their worldview. In this context, Smotrich’s ideas are interesting, and although his going for broke is dangerous in my view, I do not think they are completely illogical.”