The founding of the settlements

[T]he Six-Day War … gave rise in Israel to
a reborn expansionist spirit
territorial greed—quickly expressed in a settlement enterprise—
that made the prospect of peace that much more remote.

Benny Morris
Righteous Victims (2001 edition)
page 692
(emphasis is added)

The “settlements” that the Israelis have placed
in the area that they conquered in their 1967 war
have caused an incredible amount of world conflict.
For example, consider
  1. Osama bin Laden’s own statement
    of why he launched the 9-11 attacks:
    “[A]fter ... we witnessed
    the oppression and tyranny
    of the American/Israeli coalition
    against our people in Palestine and Lebanon,

    it [the 9/11 attacks] came to my mind.”
  2. the UN General Assembly’s 141-4 votes
    that Israel should build its security fence
    on the internationally recognized 1949 armistice line,
    not to include the territories conquered in 1967,

  3. the passionate, and threatening of violence, measures
    that the settlers and their supporters are now going through
    to try to stop the evacuation just of Gaza,
    even though Gaza has little historical or biblical significance
    to the Hebrews, and

  4. the Intifada itself.
For all the significance that these settlements have,
there is surprisingly little, at least in the U.S.,
attention paid to exactly how they were established
and why their existence is so passionately defended
by so much of the Jewish community.
It seems worthwhile to take a look at their background;
accounts by Benny Morris and J. J. Goldberg follow.

Benny Morris, Righteous Victims

Israeli historian Benny Morris has written an invaluable book,
Righteous Victims:
A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001

which thoroughly (800 pages) studies the topic.
The following (lengthy) description,
from the green start line to the red finish line,
is excerpted from its pages 327–343.
It is divided into sections
  1. Expelling the Palestinians

  2. Deciding to retain the conquered land

  3. The Religious Motivation

  4. The Settlement Process

  5. Palestinian Reaction and Israeli Repression
Headings, emphasis, links,
some comments by me in square brackets and this color,
and some minor reformatting and occasional paragraph numbers
have been added.

For a summary of key events of the 1967 Six-Day War
which led up to these events, see
1967 was not “a defensive war”.

1. Expelling the Palestinians
In general, the war did not leave much physical destruction in its wake.
It was very brief and the fighting in built-up areas was extremely limited.
Israel took care to use its air power and artillery sparingly in populated areas
[in marked contrast to the 2006 war with Lebanon].
But in several locations
Arab houses were deliberately destroyed after the fighting ended.
A number of Israeli Defense Force commanders,
apparently without cabinet authorization,
though most probably with Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s approval, tried to
repeat the experience of 1948
[e.g., Operation Dani]
drive Palestinians into exile and
demolish their homes.
some 200–300,000 Arabs
fled or were driven
from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
most of them going to the East Bank of the Jordan,
during the war and in the weeks immediately after.
Another eighty to ninety thousand civilians
fled or were driven from the Golan Heights.

[Cf. 2007-06-04-Wiener-Segev-refugees.]

[In several West Bank villages]
IDF troops systematically destroyed Arab homes.
In addition, four villages in the Latrun salient ...
were leveled and their inhabitants sent into exile.
Dayan later explained that
Israel’s international airport at Lydda had been shelled from the salient,
so Israel could not allow the area to revert to Arab rule.
There may also have been an element of revenge for the events of 1948.
(The destruction, it was understood, would also
facilitate Israel’s retention of the salient
under any future peace settlement.)
An element of revenge for 1948 certainly characterized
the leveling of the village of An Nabi Samwil, north of Jerusalem.

In Jerusalem the Israeli authorities
swiftly exploited the shock of war and conquest
to destroy the so-called Mughrabi Quarter,
a cluster of houses inhabited by Muslims next to the Western Wall....
The result was a large plaza
that afforded a place for assembly in front of Judaism’s holiest shrine.

In three villages ... houses were destroyed
“not in battle, but as punishment ... and
in order to chase away the inhabitants...—
contrary to government ... policy,”

[ellipsis in Morris’s text]
Dayan wrote in his memoirs.
In Qalqilya,
about a third of the homes were razed and
about twelve thousand inhabitants were evicted,
though many then camped out in the environs.
The evictees in both areas were allowed to stay
and later were given cement and tools by the Israeli authorities
to rebuild at least some of their dwellings.

But many thousands of Palestinians now took to the roads.
Perhaps as many as seventy thousand,
mostly from the Jericho area,
fled during the fighting;
tens of thousands more left over the following months.
about one-quarter of the population of the West Bank,
about 200–250,000 people,
went into exile.

Many of them were refugees from 1948 and their descendents
who had lived in camps, mostly around Jericho.
They simply walked to the Jordan River crossings
and made their way on foot to the East Bank.
It is unclear how many were intimidated or forced out
by the Israeli troops
and how many left voluntarily, in panic and fear.
There is some evidence of
IDF soldiers going around with loudspeakers
ordering West Bankers to leave their homes and cross the Jordan.

Some left because
they had relatives or sources of livelihood on the East Bank
and feared being permanently cut off.

Thousands of Arabs
were taken by bus from East Jerusalem to the Allenby Bridge,
though there is no evidence of coercion.
The free Israeli-organized transportation, which began on 1967-06-11,
went on for about a month.
At the bridge they had to sign a document
stating that they were leaving of their own free will.
Perhaps as many as seventy thousand people
emigrated from the Gaza Strip to Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world.

On July 2 the Israeli government announced that
it would allow the return of those 1967 refugees who desired to do so,
but no later than August 10, later extended to September 13.
The Jordanian authorities probably pressured many of the refugees,
who constituted an enormous burden,
to sign up to return.
In practice only 14,000 of the 120,000 who applied
were actually allowed by Israel back into the West Bank
by the beginning of September.
After that, only a trickle of “special cases” were allowed back,
perhaps 3,000 in all.

2. Deciding to retain the conquered land
[After the June 1967 war,
in the Israeli cabinet there was]
a consensus not to return to the prewar boundaries
which Foreign Minister Abba Eban, nothing if not a dove,
was to immortalize as “the Auschwitz lines.”


[T]he war unleashed currents within Israeli society
that militated against yielding occupied territory
and against compromise.
fueled by fundamentalist messianism
and primal nationalistic greed,
took hold of a growing minority,
both religious and secular,
getting its cue, and eventually creeping support,
from the government itself.


3. The Religious Motivation
[R]eligious nationalists declared that the “miraculous” conquests
were at’halta dege’ula, the start of divine redemption,
and that the settlement and annexation
of the conquered territories
were a divine command,
in accordance with the teachings
of the historic sage of their movement,
Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook
(Ashkenazic chief rabbi of Palestine during the 1920s),
as interpreted by his son, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Hacohen Kook....
On May 14 Zvi Kook had delivered a sermon
bewailing the partition of Palestine and
declaring the situation intolerable.
And on June 7, minutes after the conquest of the Old City,
some of his protégés rushed the elderly rabbi in a jeep
to the Western Wall, where he solemnly announced:
“We hereby inform
the people of Israel and the entire world that
under heavenly command
we have just returned home....
We shall never move out.”

The National Religious Party‘s rabbis, with Kook in the lead,
hailed the IDF conquests as the first peal of the Deliverance,
and the party’s youngsters,
grafting religion onto history,
made ready to usurp from Labor and its kibbutzim and youth movements
the position of torchbearers of Zionism
[see also revisionist Zionism and religious Zionism].
They were the new pioneers,
and the occupied lands would be their frontier.
The admixture of messianism and nationalism
proved heady and powerful.
Casting caution and pragmatism to the winds,
God’s skullcapped legions
forayed into the hills and dales of Judea and Samaria
to choose sites for settlements.
They skirted government policies and army roadblocks
to map out the new “Greater Israel.”
At site after site they coerced the government
into giving way to their pioneering zeal
and acceding to the establishment of a chain of settlements
that would define and secure the new territories.
In March 1974 these cadres and this spirit
were formally consolidated in an extraparliamentary movement,
Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful),
loosely affiliated with the NRP....
The goal was massive, irreversible settlement
leading, inevitably, to annexation.

Both opponents and promoters of this project
immediately understood what was happening:
Settlement spelled a will to permanent retention.

4. The Settlement Process
Jewish settlement proceeded,
both geographically and conceptually,
from politically “easy” areas,
those that had been inhabited by Jews...
to the more problematic areas with dense Arab populations.
The process unfolded gradually
and seemed to advance almost as matter of course,
without any overall plan.
Looking back, some ministers were amazed
by how it had taken them almost unawares,
without a cabinet decision to annex any territory,
except Jerusalem....


[An incident at Hebron] set two precedents.
The settlers [and a military accomplice]
had deliberately deceived
[the commander of Israel’s Central Command].
This pattern was to recur during the following decade
as the movement with impunity
hoodwinked and circumvented the authorities.
Then, the government did not eject the settlers immediately....
there was a reluctance to authorize
the use of force to dislodge Jews—
and the settlers made it clear that only force
could curb their activities.


Almost invariably,
the government provided settlers—
whether state-organized or illegal—

with the wherewithal to carry through with their ventures.
This support was often crucial in the early days.
Troops protected them from attack by Palestinians;
water was trucked or piped in;
electricity generators were supplied.
But even more telling was
the [Israeli] government’s land policy.
A few scattered tracts purchased by Jews before 1948
were immediately available for settlement.
But much of the land in the territories was state owned, and
Israel immediately expropriated [i.e., stole] it all—
in the West Bank
more than 50 percent of the land surface.

Once this happened the indigenous population
of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
lost most of its potential
for natural growth and physical expansion.

In addition the authorities and the settler associations
began to purchase land from local landowners
and arbitrarily to lay hold of uncultivated tracts,
including many bordering on Arab villages and claimed by Arabs.
Frequently Arab-owned lands were expropriated,
on ostensible security grounds,
but were earmarked for settlement.


[H]undreds, and then thousands, of Jews,
driven by ideological motives (“Greater Israel”)
and economic incentives
(free or cheap land, big mortgages at low interest,
outright grants),
began to move to the territories.
By the late 1970s
areas where there had been no Jews became,
physically and demographically, Jewish.


The settlement enterprise was revolutionized
following the Likud victory in the 1977 Knesset elections.
Vast sums of money went into settling the territories....

5. Palestinian Reaction and Israeli Repression

Israel’s conquest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
reawakened the Palestinian issue,
largely dormant since 1949.

In the main the Palestinians had endured the first two decades of exile quietly,
“living and partly living” in the Arab states
on handouts from UNRWA and waiting for eventual deliverance at the hands of the Arab armies.


The traumatic demolition of the status quo [by the 1967 war]
reawakened Palestinian identity and
quickened nationalist aspirations
in the conquered territories and in the Arab states.
The hated enemy,
who had driven the Palestinians from their homes in 1948,
was now in control of their lands, and property.
The impotence and dependence of Palestinian existence
was again starkly apparent....

Before the conquered Palestinians managed to catch their breath,
Israel had imposed military government and set up
the usual repressive infrastructure
of occupation and control.


The task of determining
the nature of the regime that developed in the occupied territories
in the weeks and months ahead
was immediately taken up by Defense Minister [Moshe] Dayan,
initially without cabinet approval.
The cabinet preferred not to get involved [!!] and
Dayan emerged as the architect and then the arbiter of policy in the territories.
Some of his decisions resulted in the faits accomplis
that were severely to curtail future governments’ options
on the ultimate fate of the territories.
Because of internal political constraints and external circumstances,
successive Labor-led governments proved unable to decide
on what to do with the territories.
In the absence of a strategy Dayan had to rule on each issue
without knowing whether the territories would be annexed or given up,
or how long the temporary military government was to go on.

Early in the summer of 1967 Dayan rejected the idea of autonomy—
proposed by West Bank notables—
for the inhabitants of the territories,
fearing it would evolve into Palestinian statehood.
He, like the rest of the Labor Party leadership,
firmly opposed such statehood,
deeming it a mortal threat to Israel’s existence.

Side by side with his pragmatic strain—
and despite his desire not to add more than a million Arabs to Israel’s citizenry—
Dayan was also an annexationist.
He was a prime mover in the annexation of Arab East Jerusalem
and its “unification” on June 27 with West Jerusalem.
For deeply felt reasons, both historical and strategic,
he believed Israel should retain control of the West Bank.
He consistently advocated the integration into Israel
of the economies and infrastructure of the territories—

a policy that gradually turned them into >appendages of Israel.>
(Critics were later to refer to this policy as “creeping annexation.”)
The West Bank and Gaza economies were rapidly fused with Israel’s
in a binding, colonial relationship.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians,
rising to somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000
(or 40 percent of the workforce of the two territories) by the mid-1980s,
provided cheap labor—
ironically, many of them, construction workers,
actually built the new settlements.

Alongside “creeping annexation”
Dayan from the start instituted a policy of creeping transfer.
In the course of the war he and the IDF to some extent
pushed along the process by which
200,000 to 300,000 of the inhabitants of the Palestinian territories,
most of them refugee families from 1948, fled to Transjordan.
On June 7, 1967,
when informed that the inhabitants of Tulkarm were fleeing eastward,
“the minister reacted positively.
The roads [eastward] must be left open, he said,
and the advance of the 45th Brigade slowed down...
in this way, he thought,
the population of the West Bank would be reduced
and Israel freed of severe problems.”

In the war’s immediate wake and during the years that followed,
the defense minister and his military government staff
made serious efforts to
bring about the emigration of
as many of the territories’ remaining inhabitants as possible.
The government always denied that there was such a policy
or that such efforts were being made.
But evidence has recently surfaced
that points in the opposite direction.
In September 1967 Dayan told a meeting of the IDF’s senior staff that
some 200,000 Arabs had left the Palestinian territories and
“we must understand the motives and causes
for the continued emigration of the Arabs,
from both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank,
and not undermine these causes,
even if they are lack of security and lack of employment,
because after all, we want to create a new map.”
In November he was quoted as saying:
“We want emigration, we want a normal standard of living,
we want to encourage emigration according to a selective program.”
On 1968-07-14, at a meeting in his office, he said:
“The proposed policy [of raising the level of public services in the territories]
may clash with our intention to encourage emigration
from both the Strip and Judea and Samaria.
Anyone who has practical ideas of proposals to encourage emigration—
let him speak up.
No idea or proposal is to be dismissed out of hand.”

Dayan’s mode of thinking was shared by his subordinates.
A meeting of IDF governors in the West Bank
on November 22, 1967, concluded with a decision
“to seek ways to increase Arab emigration from the West Bank...”
[The commander of Israel’s Central Command,] General Narkiss
is quoted as saying:
"We are talking about emigration of the Arabs.
Everything must be done—
even paying them money—
to get them to leave."

Israeli thinking was to some degree governed by
the notion that the Arabs of the territories,
starved of land and resources (primarily water),
and denied the possibility of industrial development,

would gradually drift away.
Though never clearly enunciated,
this was the government’s aim—especially after 1977.

Various economic measures were adopted
to make life difficult for the local population.

These measures also had another purpose.
Dayan and the military government
consistently frustrated industrial development in the territories
so that they would not compete with Israel’s own industries.
Protectionist policy gradually turned the territories
into major buyers of, or dumping grounds for, Israeli goods.
By the 1980s they had become
Israel’s second largest export market
(after the United States).
In agriculture
Israeli experts advised the locals on ways to increase their productivity,
but the military government also took care
to prevent farmers from competing with Israel on home or foreign markets.
The territories’ utility grids—
electricity, telephones, transportation, and water—
were all linked up to Israel’s.
Dayan overcame Labor Party doves
who argued that such integration
would inevitably result in annexation.


After the conquest of the West Bank many of the notables and middle class
hoped for a quick return of Jordanian rule.
During the 1950s and 1960s they had established strong links
with the [Jordanian] monarchy and its bureaucracies;
indeed, they were Jordanian citizens.
In some measure they had repressed their Palestinian identity
and regarded the alternative to Jordanian rule,
a small Palestinian state,
as “artificial” and “economically hopeless.”
the Israelis stifled all efforts toward a return of Jordanian control,
threatening and occasionally carrying out arrests and deportations.
In the routine fashion of conquerors, they also practiced “divide and rule,”
setting nationalists and republicans against pro-Hashemites.


The overwhelming majority of West Bank and Gaza Arabs from the first
hated the occupation.
The first signs of resistance were manifested about a month after the war,
in early July 1967, when Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem
sparked a number of small demonstrations and graffiti.
At the end of the month, twenty Arab notables,
led by Anwar al-Khatib, the former Jordanian governor of Jerusalem,
sent a petition to the authorities protesting against the annexation.
The authorities struck back by temporarily exiling four of the signatories.
In every stage of these Oppressions
We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms:
Our repeated Petitions have been answered
only by repeated injury.

In August and September, there were
larger demonstrations and transport and commercial strikes.
Stone-throwing protesters and baton-wielding Israeli troops clashed.

The initial wave of West Bank protests,
which were relatively widespread though far from universal,
culminated in a call for a general strike.
Though it failed, the Israelis retaliated firmly.
On September 25, they dispatched ‘Abd al-Hamid a Seih,
the chief Muslim religious judge in the West Bank and one of the strike’s organizers,
into open-ended exile.
In Nablus,
the only West Bank town that had universally heeded the strike call,
the Israelis cracked down with a series of collective punishment measures.
These included an indefinite nightlong (5 PM to 7 AM) curfew,
severely hurting those employed outside of town.
public transport was shut down;
twenty shops that had closed during the strike were arbitrarily sealed shut;
the town’s telephone system was closed down;
a daytime curfew was imposed on a number of neighborhoods
with the ostensible aim of facilitating searches
(though the real aim, it was later admitted, was “intimidation”);
the business licenses of some wholesalers were revoked; and
the town’s main outlet to Jordan, the Damiyeh (Adam) Bridge, was closed.
Within days the resistance collapsed.

There was a clear lesson
for the inhabitants of the territories and the Palestinian diaspora
in these events:
Israel intended to stay in the West Bank,
and its rule would not be overthrown or ended
through civil disobedience and civil resistance,
which were easily crushed.
The only real option was armed struggle.

Israelis liked to believe, and tell the world,
that they were running an “enlightened” or “benign” occupation,
qualitatively different from other military occupations
the world had seen.
The truth was radically different.
Like all occupations,
Israel’s was founded on brute force, repression and fear,
collaboration and treachery,
beatings and torture chambers,
and daily intimidation, humiliation, and manipulation.


Military administration,
uncurbed by the civil rights considerations
that applied in Israel,
possessed ample measures to suppress dissidence and protest.
These included
  • curfews;

  • house arrest, with resulting loss of wages;

  • judicial proceedings, ending in prison terms or fines—
    the work of the military courts in the territories,
    and the Supreme Court which backed them,
    will surely go down as a dark age
    in the annals of Israel’s judicial system—
    or expulsions;
  • administrative detentions, or imprisonment without trial,
    for renewable six-month terms; and

  • commercial and school shutdowns,
    usually in response to shopkeepers’ strikes
    or disturbances by students.

By the end of 1969, Israel had sent into indefinite exile
seventy-one West Bankers and Gazans, mostly notables
who had a hand in organizing strikes and demonstrations.
A few of the deportees were teachers or parents
of schoolchildren who had demonstrated....

With the crushing of civil dissent and disobedience in Sept. 1967,
opponents of Israeli rule began to turn to armed resistance—
grenades were thrown at patrols, bombs planted in cities.
The resistance met with quick and brutal repression:
  • midnight sweeps and arrests;

  • beatings, sensory deprivation measures,
    and simple, old-style torture
    to extract information and confessions;

  • a system of military courts which bore no resemblance
    to the administration of justice in Western democracies
    (or, for that matter, in Israel proper);

  • the demolition (or sealing) of suspects’ houses;

  • long periods of administrative detention;

  • deportations—
all were systematically employed.
Most of the measures had been introduced by the British
during their suppression of the Arab rebellion of 1936–39
and were still on the statute books
in the form of “emergency regulations.”


GSS [General Security Service or Shin Bet] officers
who engaged in torture
systematically lied in court
about how confessions were extracted...

Intellectuals ... who warned of the corrupting effects
of occupation were belittled.
Golda Meir, the ever-self-righteous prime minister,
told a Mapai Party meeting:
“I am shocked.
All of me rebels against ... professors and intellectuals
who have introduced the moral issue.
For me the supreme morality is that
the Jewish people has a right to exist.
Without that there is no morality in the world.”
[The obvious response to Meir’s statement is:
Of course “the Jewish people have a right to exist.”
But what does that have to do with
retaining the West Bank territories?
Israel certainly existed from 1948 to 1967 without them,
and the “threat” from Nasser’s army
that was used to “justify” the 1967 war
had nothing to do with them.
So, as usual, Jews are using absolutely false reasoning
to justify their desires for territorial aggrandizement.
The amazing thing, to me,
is that the American body politic and elite
let them get away with such sophistries.]

The war and its aftermath of
occupation, repression, and expansionism
swiftly reignited the tinder of Palestinian nationalism,
propelling thousands of young men ...
into the burgeoning resistance organizations.
At the same time,
much as the growing Zionist enterprise
had helped trigger early Palestinian nationalism [in the 1930s],
so the daily contact and friction
with Israel and Israeli authorities inside the territories
now reawakened it [half a century later].

[End of excerpt from Chapter 7 of Morris’s “Righteous Victims.”]

[Here is a brief excerpt from Chapter 12 of Morris’s “Righteous Victims”
discussing aspects of the twenty years
between Israel’s invasion and the start of the 1987 Intifada;
again, emphasis is added.]

Government policies
subordinated the territories to Israeli economic needs
stultified Palestinian development.
The overall policy was described by analysts Ze’ev Schiff and Ehud Ya‘ari
[on page 92 of Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising—Israel's Third Front]
as one of “sheer despotism, selfishness and greed,”
with the territories serving as a type of “slave market”
for the Israeli economy.

To protect Israeli industries the civil administration [Google]
the civilian arm of the military government—
blocked Arabs from setting up manufacturing plants.
Through a system of permits
(required to travel, to import funds and materials, to construct buildings)
the territories were turned into a vast market, if not a dumping ground,
for Israeli goods.


With little or no indigenous industrial labor or agricultural development,
a large part of the territories’ labor pool was forced to seek work in Israel.
In 1987 some 120,000 West Bank and Gaza Arabs,
or more than 40 percent of the labor force,
were employed in Israel....
[M]ost were denied all social and fringe benefits.


All the universities and most of the other institutions of higher education in the territories
were established in the years of Israeli rule, but
the military government
prevented the growth of an economy to absorb their graduates.


Palestinians interpreted Israel’s settlement policy
and its discriminatory economic policies as signifying
the government’s ultimate intent to dispossess and drive them out
and to replace them with Jews—
a continuation of 1948 by other means.

[End of excerpts from Morris’s “Righteous Victims.”]

J. J. Goldberg, Jewish Power

J. J. Goldberg’s Jewish Power, in its Chapter Six,
“Six Days in June: The Triumph of Jewish Insecurity,”
takes a look at the religious motivations for the settlements.
Below, between the green and red lines,
is an excerpt from pages 155 and 156;
the emphasis is added.

One of the few Orthodox scholars to offer
a deliberate theology of modernism
was the chief rabbi of Palestine during the 1920s and 1930s,
the Polish-born Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hacohen Kook.
Writing in an impenetrably mystical Hebrew,
Kook tried to disprove the traditionalists’ view
of Zionism as heresy.
[See, e.g., Jews Against Zionism and Jews Not Zionists.]
Zionism could not be a rebellion against God, Kook argued,
since its main leaders were secularized liberals
who did not even believe in God.
God must have sent these unbelievers, he reasoned,
to carry out His work
by paving the way for the End of Days
and the final restoration of Jerusalem.

The building of the Jewish state
was not the long-awaited messianic era of redemption,
Kook argued (thus sidestepping any hint of heresy).
But it did look suspiciously like
“the dawn of redemption,” as he put it.

Kook’s theology remained for decades a curiosity,
even among Religious Zionists.
However, the creation of Israel in 1948
made his “dawn of redemption” sound plausible for the first time.
Orthodox Zionist youth groups adopted Kook’s thought.
The seminary he had founded in Jerusalem
(now headed by his son, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook),
became a major Israeli religious center.
Israel’s state rabbinate prepared a Kookian prayer
for weekly use in synagogues around the world,
praying for the safety of the state of Israel,
“the first flowering of our redemption.”

With the stunning Israeli victory of 1967,
the elder Rabbi Kook’s ideas resounded through the Orthodox world.
For Orthodox Jews,
the against-the-odds triumph in the Six-Day War
was a miracle that defied natural explanation.
More than that, it represented
a giant step toward redemption:
the entire Holy Land now was under Israeli control
for the first time since biblical days. ...
It seemed to be the final confirmation of Kook’s teachings.

In his Jerusalem seminary,
the younger Rabbi Kook taught that
the End of Days was fast approaching.
Nothing remained except for the Messiah to reveal himself
and build the Third Temple.
That, and preventing Israel’s secular government
from undoing God’s work
by giving away parts of the Holy Land
in what the ruling Labor Party called “territorial comprimise.”

In April 1968 a group of the younger Kook’s students,
led by a German-born firebrand named Rabbi Moshe Levinger,
went to the occupied city of Hebron
and checked into a hotel for Passover.
When the holiday was over the group refused to leave,
declaring that they had “returned to the City of the Patriarchs.”
The Israeli government was confused and divided
by this partisan action,
fearing to leave the militants
in the center of a devoutly Muslim city of fifty thousand,
but unable to muster the political will to dislodge them.
After a weeks-long standoff,
Levinger’s group agreed to leave the hotel
in return for government permission
to set up house on a hill just outside Hebron.

The new Jewish township, Kiryat Arba,
became the first of a network of Jewish settlements
set up through the occupied territories
by the disciples of Rabbi Kook.
Led by Levinger and the aging Zvi Yehuda,
the created a new organization to promote the settlements,
called Gush Emunim (“The Bloc of the Faithful”).
Its central premise:
filling the territories with Jewish settlements
would bring about
the messianic era of final redemption.
Giving away the territories would invite God’s wrath,
perhaps even cause the destruction of Israel
and a third Jewish exile.

[End of excerpt from Goldberg’s “Jewish Power.”]

  1. New York Times, 2005-06-25,
    Anglicans Consider Divesting in Solidarity With Palestinians
    “[T]he decision by the Anglican Church
    to support the contentious move [divestment]
    at such a delicate time in Middle East relations and
    to frame it in terms of morality
    came under sharp attack

    “Abraham H. Foxman,
    the director of the Anti-Defamation League,
    deplored the action by the Anglican Church,
    calling it part of a wide pattern to discredit Israel
    and to do it by
    wrongly framing it as a moral issue.”

    Is it not moral blindness and obtuseness
    to be so unable to see that
    Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians
    is indeed a moral issue?

  2. Kathleen and Bill Christison, 2004-09,
    An Exchange with Bennie Morris

    A fascinating dialog between Morris and the Christisons,
    who have written extensively on the Israel-Palestine conflict
    from a point of view sympathetic to the Palestinians.

  3. J. J. Goldberg, 1996,
    Jewish Power:
    Inside the American Jewish Establishment

  4. Baruch Kimmerling,
    George S. Wise Professor of Sociology
    at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem,
    Benny Morris’s Shocking Interview

    Here is an excerpt from the History News Network article
    (emphasis added):

    Plan D and the Israelification of the Land
    At the beginning of the 1970s. I had begun to work on research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which, I hoped, would produce a Ph.D. thesis in sociology. The subject was the Zionist ideology of land and its relationship to other political doctrines. In the earlier stages of my research, I was shocked to discover that a major “purification” of the land (the term “ethnic cleansing” was unknown in that period) from its Arab Palestinian inhabitant was done during the 1948 War by the Jewish military and para-military forces. During this research I found, solely based on Israeli sources, that about 350 Arab villages were “abandoned” and their 3.25 million dunums of rural land, were confiscated and became. in several stages, the property of the Israeli state or the Jewish National Fund. I also found that Moshe Dayan, then Minister of Agriculture, disclosed that about 700,000 Arabs who “left” the territories had owned four million dunums of land.

    Another finding was that
    from 1882 until 1948,
    all the Jewish companies
    (including the Jewish National Fund,
    an organ of World Zionist Organization)
    and private individuals in Palestine
    had succeeded in buying
    only about 7 percent of the total lands in British Palestine.
    All the rest was taken by sword and nationalized
    during the 1948 war and after.
    only about 7 percent of Israel land is privately owned,
    about half of it by Arabs.
    Israel is the only “democracy” in the world
    that nationalized almost all if its land and
    prohibited even the leasing of most of agricultural lands
    to non-Jews,

    a situation made possible by
    a complex framework of legal arrangements
    with the Jewish National Fund,
    including the Basic Law: Israel Lands (1960),
    the Israel Lands Law and Israel Lands Administration Law (1960),
    as well as the Covenants
    between the Government of the State of Israel
    and the WZO of 1954 and the JNF of 1961.

    Now the remaining puzzle was
    if this depopulation was a “natural” consequence of the war,
    which led the Arab populations to flee the country,
    as Israel officially states all the time
    while simultaneously accusing the Arab leadership
    of encouraging this flight,
    if it was
    an intentional Jewish policy
    to acquire the maximum amount of territory
    with minimum amount of Arab population.

    Further research showed that
    the military blueprint for the 1948 war
    was the so-called Plan D (Tochnit Daleth).
    General Yigael Yadin,
    Head of the Operations Branch of the Israeli unified armed forces,
    launched it on March 10, 1948.
    The plan expected
    military clashes between
    the state-making Jewish community of colonial Palestine
    with the Arab community and
    the assumed intervention by military forces of the Arab states.
    In the plan’s preamble, Yadin stated:

    “The aim of this plan is
    the control of the area of the Jewish State and
    the defense of its borders
    [as determined by the UN Partition Plan] and
    the clusters of [Jewish] settlements outside the boundaries,
    against regular and irregular enemy forces
    operating from bases outside and inside the Jewish State.”

    Furthermore, the plan suggested the following actions,
    amongst others, in order to reach these goals:

    “Actions against enemy settlements
    located in our, or near our, defense systems
    [i.e., Jewish settlement and localities]
    with the aim of preventing their use
    as bases for active armed forces.
    These actions should be divided into the following types:
    The destruction of villages
    (by fire, blowing up and mining)

    especially of those villages
    over which we cannot gain [permanent] control.
    Gaining of control will be accomplished
    in accordance with the following instructions:
    The encircling of the village and the search of it.
    In the event of resistance -
    the destruction of the resisting forces and
    the expulsion of the population
    beyond the boundaries of the State.”

    The conclusion was that, as in many other cases,
    what seemed at first glance a pure and limited military doctrine,
    proved itself in the case of “Plan D”
    to comprise far-reaching measures that lead to
    a complete demographic, ethnic, social and political
    transformation of Palestine.
    Implementing the spirit of this doctrine,
    the Jewish military forces conquered
    about 20,000 square kilometers of territory
    (compared with the 14,000 square kilometers granted them
    by the UN Partition Resolution) and
    purified [sic] them almost completely
    from their Arab inhabitants.

    About 800,000 Arab inhabitants lived on the territories
    before they fell under Jewish control following the 1948 war.
    Fewer than 100,000 Arabs remained there under Jewish control
    after the cease fire.
    An additional 50,000 were included within the Israeli state’s territory
    following the Israeli-Jordan’s armistice agreements
    that transferred several villages to Israeli rule.

    The military doctrine, the base of Plan D,
    clearly reflected the local Zionist ideological aspirations
    to acquire a maximal Jewish territorial continuum,
    cleansed from Arab presence,
    as a necessary condition for establishing
    an exclusive Jewish nation-state.

  5. Benny Morris, 2001,
    Righteous Victims:
    A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001

  6. Benny Morris, 2005-08-24 New York Times,
    Palestinians on the Right Side of History
    The meat of Morris’s op-ed article:

    [F]or the greater part of ancient history - that past in which the Jewish people anchor their claim to Israel - the Gaza Strip was not part of the Jewish state. The embattled settlers may have screamed last week that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was expelling Jews from part of Eretz Yisrael, "the land of Israel." And the first Hebrew, the patriarch Abraham, may have understood God, at least on paper (or papyrus), to have included this narrow strip of territory in his promised domain.

    But in reality, the Gaza Strip and the coastal towns to its north, for most of the years between, say, 1250 B.C. and 135 A.D. - the era in which the Jews lived in and often ruled the land of Israel - eluded firm Israelite or Judean control and, indeed, Jewish habitation. It is not even clear that the great Hebrew kings David and Solomon, under whom the kingdom reached its vastest expanse, ever directly controlled the Gaza area.

    The Hebrew tribes that crossed the Jordan River and pushed into the Holy Land in the 13th and 12th centuries B.C. settled and established their rule along its hilly central spine, between Ishtamua (present-day Samua), Hebron and Shechem (present-day Nablus). This stretch, with Jerusalem at its center, comprises the area that the Bible and many Israelis now refer to as Judea and Samaria, and the rest of the world calls the West Bank. This is the historical heartland of the Jewish people - and of course today it is largely populated by Arabs, who claim it as their own and are demanding that Israel evacuate it.

    By contrast, the coastal strip to the west, from Rafah north through Gaza to Caesarea, was the land of the strangers, the Gentiles. Paradoxically, Tel Aviv, that ultimate Israeli-Jewish city, serves as the hub of this coastline today, a city of the plain par excellence.

    Thus in a spiritual sense, history served up a terrible irony at the start of the Zionist enterprise. Wishing to return to Shiloh and Bethel, Jerusalem and Hebron, the Jews immigrating to Palestine found its hilly core heavily populated by Arabs. So the early settlers put down roots in the thinly populated coastal plain and interior lowlands (the Jezreel and Jordan Valleys), where land was available and relatively cheap.

    Then, in the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948, the Jews established their state in those same lowlands, while Judea and Samaria were occupied by the Jordanian Army, which resisted Israeli takeover. Thus history was reversed: the reborn Jewish state sprang up precisely in those areas that millenniums earlier had been the domain of the Gentiles.

    The Gaza Strip was the exception. It was the only part of the old Gentile coastal plain that was saved for the Arabs, by the Egyptian Army. It changed hands, of course, in 1967 (along with the West Bank); but with the Israeli withdrawal, it will regain a long tradition of evading Jewish control.

    In antiquity, Gaza was part of Biblical Pleshet or Philistia - the domain of the Philistines, a non-Semitic "sea people" hailing from the Greek isles who probably invaded and settled along the coast in the 12th century B.C. (more or less simultaneous with the arrival in the Holy Land of the Hebrews from the east).

    From their towns of Gaza, Ashkelon and Jaffa, the Philistines controlled the coastal plain from 1150 B.C. to 586 B.C., and intermittently challenged Jewish rule over the inland hill country. It was in these forays eastward that the Philistines lost their champion, Goliath, to young David’s pebble and, in turn, slew King Saul and his son Jonathan on Mount Gilboa, displaying their heads on the walls of Beit Shean, in the Jordan Valley.

    Philistia was conquered (along with Judea) by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. and the Philistines were exiled and vanished from history. In the second century A.D., after having quashed a Jewish revolt, the Roman rulers renamed the land of Israel - in order to de-Judaize it - Palestina (a derivative of Philistia). They thus gave the Arabs, who were to arrive on the scene five centuries later, the name they were to adopt. In this nominal sense, there is justice in the Palestinian Arabs now gaining possession of ancient Philistia.

    Of course, these historical details are of little interest to the Islamic fundamentalists, who, by most accounts, enjoy majority support in the Gaza Strip. For them, history begins with the conquests of Muhammad and his caliphs in the seventh century. According to Koranic law, all the land they conquered (including not only today’s Palestine but also Spain and Portugal) became inalienable Islamic territory. Or as Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas leader, said recently, the fundamentalists seek to control not just the Gaza Strip and the West Bank; as he put it, "All of Palestine is our land."

    Indeed, probably most Arabs would like to "de-Judaize" all of Palestine, and many, no doubt, see the Gaza evacuation as a first step. But that remains a distant dream. Gaza may be reverting to "Gentile" rule, but whether the West Bank - in which lie the true historical roots of the Jewish people - will do so also is another, and far more painful, question.

  7. Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, 2004,
    Jewish Fundamentalism In Israel
    From an Amazon "Spotlight" review (emphasis added):
    “Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book is that
    it draws almost entirely on Israeli sources in Hebrew,
    rather than
    the self-censoring and often apologetic
    English-language press
    which attempts to put as good a light on things as possible,

    largely for the benefit of the diaspora.”

  8. Israel Shahak, 1994,
    Jewish History, Jewish Religion
    From the Booklist review:
    “Shahak, who came to Israel in 1945 after surviving the concentration camp in Belsen during the Holocaust, contends that the potential for Israel’s right-wing Jewish religious movements to seize power represents a threat to the peace of Israel and to the Zionist movement.”

  9. Warren Bass, 2005-07-17 Washington Post,
    Unsettled in Gaza
    From the article:
    “For the first two decades after Israel won the West Bank and Gaza during the Six Day War of 1967,
    a relatively quiescent Palestinian population
    made Israeli rule largely cost-free.
    Two intifadas,
    the worst spree of terrorism in Israel’s history and
    a dead-end peace process have changed all that.”

Labels: ,