ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Purim, Gadhafi and the Likud Rebels 26.3.05

Purim, Gadhafi and the Likud Rebels

26 March 2005

By Yisrael Ne'eman

As Purim passes this week in Israel, so did the Arab summit. The Purim story is quite serious, deals with evil fortune befalling Persian Jews some 2,500 years ago and reveals the reversal of fate when the Jewish community was saved by Queen Ester and her uncle Mordechai. Victory over the evil Haman who sought Jewish destruction is celebrated with drinking and quite a bit of foolishness, which in essence does not quite fit the story line.

The Moslem world does not drink but Libyan leader Muamar Gadhafi is often synonymous with foolhardiness. The longest reigning Arab leader (since 1969), Ghadafi is an eccentric, often offering advice and solutions to Arab/Moslem world problems that most would consider non-starters. This time he attacked Palestinian Authority Chairman (or President) Mahmoud Abbas for seeking a two-state solution with Israel, and suggested there be one state called "Israeltine" which should be given immediate membership in the Arab League. He doubted the Palestinians really wanted their own state by asking why they had not demanded one during the 1948-67 period when the West Bank and Gaza were occupied by Jordan and Egypt respectively. Continuing to wonder out loud, he asked why Israel had declared a state but shown no interest in what was happening in the above mentioned Palestinian areas. Finally he declared both sides "idiots". Laying out a balanced approach by condemning all, Gadhafi found himself under attack by both Israel and the Palestinians.

Far from being a buffoon, the Libyan leader is expressing the desires of fully 24% of the Palestinian population and those of the Likud rebels in the Knesset. Gadhafi expects full equality between Jews and Arabs in Israeltine and envisions the new bi-national entity as a full fledged member in the Arab world. The Likud rebels constantly declare their loyalties to the right wing Revisionist ideologue Vladimir Jabotinsky and the Greater Land of Israel. Following in the footsteps of Jabotinsky they would grant citizenship to all non-Jews living in the expanded State of Israel (or Israeltine). Furthermore Gadhafi agrees with them and extends his hand in peace.

The secular Likud rebels have condemned the two-state solution as a betrayal of Revisionist maximalism. Ideologically, PM Ariel Sharon and his supporters have no leg to stand on. Territorial compromise based on security needs or a functional arrangement such as autonomy are anchored in Labor Party thinking from the 1960s and 1970s. Yigal Allon is identified with the former while Shimon Peres and Moshe Dayan conjured up the latter. Pure Revisionist Likud ideals demand no compromises be made either on land or national rights while rewarding full individual civil rights to all, meaning the Palestinian Arabs. The greatest non-compromising ideologue today is former PM Yitzhak Shamir (1986-92) who voted against the peace agreement with Egypt in 1979, rejected autonomy for the Palestinians and saw Jewish settlement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza as the paramount Zionist value. Former defense and foreign minister Moshe Arens is not far behind.

If Gadhafi would agree to no refugee return he would be in tandem with the 14 Likud rebels and other secular hard liners. Gadhafi is no fool and figures Israel cannot be defeated "so if you can't beat them, join them" or maybe they will join you. The pristine Likud ideologues could have the state of their wishes with 5.4 million Jews and approximately 4.8 million Arabs (or maybe a bit less due to statistical inaccuracies) without surrendering any territory.

If that is what the Likud 14 really want, then Gadhafi is their address along with one quarter of the Palestinian populace. In the meantime the rebels are threatening not to support the 2005 state budget because of the Gaza and northern Samaria Disengagement, thereby bringing down the Likud led government and forcing new elections. As a final policy objective, do they really want Israeltine?

Israeltine as advocated by Gadhafi and the Likud rebels? Who knows? Happy Purim.