Peace Now will be demonstrating against ‘the occupation’ in Hebron tomorrow, the 40th anniversary of the start of the Six Day war.
The High Court of Justice ruled Monday that the Peace Now organization could go ahead with a protest to set take place Tuesday next to the Jewish settlement in the West Bank city of Hebron…
The commander of Hebron Brigade, Colonel Yehuda Fuchs, told the court that the protest would lead to a breach of the peace by settlers, which could endanger the lives of demonstrators, local Palestinian residents, IDF soldiers and police. — Ha’aretz
Tensions in Hebron are presently very high and one can understand the reluctance of the army to take the responsibility of preventing an explosion.
Peace now has always represented the left wing of the Zionist camp; that is, while advocating withdrawal to the 1967 lines (and some kind of compromise on Jerusalem), they have not gone as far as explicitly endorsing a right of return to Israel for Palestinian refugees or a binational state.
What is the significance of a demonstration on June 5? It would be unfair to suggest that Peace Now wishes that the 1967 war had gone the other way, as does the extreme Left.
Rather, they want to say that Israel should have reached a negotiated agreement (with the Arab nations? the Palestinians?) that would have traded the territories for peace; and that instead of doing this Israel built settlements which prolonged The Occupation, in their opinion the root of the present conflict with the Palestinians. To fix it, they advocate immediate negotiations to evacuate the territories and the settlements.
Now, I don’t want to try to tackle the question of what should have happened during the last 40 years. One could bring up the ‘three no’s’ of the Khartoum conference in September of 1967, or the duplicity of Yasser Arafat during the Oslo period to argue that it wasn’t as simple as Peace Now wants to suggest. But let’s just talk about today.
Today the Palestinians are governed by Hamas, which is presently waging war against Israel in the south, and which has consistently rejected any Jewish presence in the Mideast. The ‘moderate’ Arab states have proposed a non-negotiable ‘peace’ plan that is just a document of surrender, while the not-so-moderate ones like Syria and Iran are preparing for war.
Evacuating the West Bank and/or the Golan Heights today would simply be suicide. This is a fact regardless of whether you like the settlers in Hebron or whether you think that Israel’s policies over the past 40 years have been ill-advised. Today, the only peace that could be achieved this way would be the peace of the grave.
So why is Peace now — undoubtedly in combination with foreign and Palestinian ‘activists’ — trying to provoke a violent confrontation, which at best will divert the resources of the army and police away from protecting the nation, and at worst cause injuries and even deaths while feeding the anti-Israel propaganda machine?
With all due respect, there is no pro-Israel goal that can be served by this demonstration — only Israel’s enemies will benefit. If this is what they want, then it should be clear to everyone that Peace Now is an anti-Zionist organization.
Update [5 Jun 1022 PDT]: The demonstration took place, with only a few hundred Peace Now demonstrators appearing, and a large presence of police and soldiers. There was no right-wing counter-demonstration and no violence.
Palestinians threw stones at the bus carrying the Peace Now members, thus demonstrating that for them, as for Hitler, a Jew is a Jew.