Israeli extremist

Moshe Feiglin is unsatisfied with the status quo. The settler, Likud party member and deputy speaker of Israel’s Knesset thinks that things could be better. To his mind, the apartheid regime in the West Bank isn’t as rooted as it should be – the Palestinians are ingrates whose circumscribed existence illustrates the excesses of Jewish charity. In Israel the second-class citizenship and Jim Crow regime is too generous; Member of Knesset Hanin Zuaibi should be expelled, not suspended.

As for the Gaza Strip, it’s worth quoting Feiglin himself.

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Writing in Arutz Sheva, a settler magazine, Feiglin issues a “clear and concise” call for how to achieve “quiet in Gaza.” He begins his article with an ultimatum – that the Palestinians submit unconditionally to the diktats of the Israeli leadership – and ends with a call for the complete take-over and resettlement of Gaza by Jews.

While some thinkers are content with issuing grandiose visions for how to “solve” the conflict in Palestine, Feiglin is different. He is the practical architect of an elegant solution for arriving at a Palestine that’s been freed of Palestinians. He outlines the steps for getting there. In his own words, “[a]ll the military and infrastructural targets will be attacked with no consideration for ‘human shields’ or ‘environmental damage.’”

After an initial period of aerial “softening,” Feiglin calls for the conquest of “the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations.”

Readers may balk. Several may think of evoking the laws of war or international humanitarian law. However, those who do are plainly insensible to the “spirit”  that “rises today throughout Israel.” They would do well to recall that Benjamin Netanyahu is an “an Israeli Jew,” and not merely a “Jewish American from Philadelphia.” Whatever that means.

In any event, the minister allows that there may be several members of the “enemy population” who have nothing to do with the armed conflict. Those unarmed women and children who survive the onslaught, and who form the essential core of the enemy population, “will be treated in accordance with international law and will be allowed to leave. Israel will generously aid those who wish to leave.”

Regrettably, Feiglin does not specify whether the U.S. will be called upon to supplement Israel’s generous aid to the survivors. But one may hazard a guess; no Israeli policy is affordable in the absence of American largesse. So probably, yes.   

Policy-making is thorny business. And it’s rare when one set of options designed to address one set of problems also succeeds in addressing a wholly different set of problems. Feiglin, who is undoubtedly a leading Zionist visionary, manages to do that.

Readers may not know that Israel has been facing a protracted housing crisis. Young Israelis who have served their country, often on the front lines in Hebron and East Jerusalem, return from Thailand and India to find they’ve been priced out of Tel Aviv, with its sun and beaches and old “Arab” architecture.

But no longer – or at least, not after Feiglin’s solution to the Gaza crisis has been implemented.

He explains: “Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever. Liberation of parts of our land forever is the only thing that justifies endangering our soldiers in battle to capture land. Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel. The coastal train line will be extended, as soon as possible, to reach the entire length of Gaza.”

And thus, the dream will be refreshed. Zionist morality in a beachside condo.

One can hardly wait.

Moor is a Palestinian-American who was born in the Gaza Strip. He is a PD Soros Fellow, co-editor of After Zionism and a journalist who's been published by Al Jazeera English, the Guardian, the Washington Post and other outlets.