Dayan, Danon and Dermer: Dispatches from Israel’s pro-settler wing

The first thought that occurred to me when I saw settler leader Dani Dayan’s Op-Ed in The New York Times on Thursday was: Ron Dermer must be happy.

Back in December, Dermer was the aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who penned a caustic letter to the Times Op-Ed editors accusing them of anti-Israel bias in explaining Netanyahu’s decision to turn down an invitation to write an Op-Ed piece for the page.

The second thing that occurred to me was how similar Dayan’s message was to the one Danny Danon conveyed to me during our sit-down in his Knesset office a few weeks ago — namely, that it’s time to dispose of the two-state solution.

The third thing was: Man, it’s confusing how similar Dayan and Danon’s names are.

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Dayan writes in Thursday’s piece “Israel’s Settlers Are Here to Stay:”

Whatever word you use to describe Israel’s 1967 acquisition of Judea and Samaria — commonly referred to as the West Bank in these pages — will not change the historical facts. Arabs called for Israel’s annihilation in 1967, and Israel legitimately seized the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria in self-defense. Israel’s moral claim to these territories, and the right of Israelis to call them home today, is therefore unassailable. Giving up this land in the name of a hallowed two-state solution would mean rewarding those who’ve historically sought to destroy Israel, a manifestly immoral outcome.

Of course, just because a policy is morally justified doesn’t mean it’s wise. However, our four-decade-long settlement endeavor is both. The insertion of an independent Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan would be a recipe for disaster…

Our presence in all of Judea and Samaria — not just in the so-called settlement blocs — is an irreversible fact. Trying to stop settlement expansion is futile, and neglecting this fact in diplomatic talks will not change the reality on the ground; it only makes the negotiations more likely to fail.

Given the irreversibility of the huge Israeli civilian presence in Judea and Samaria and continuing Palestinian rejectionism, Western governments must reassess their approach to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They should acknowledge that no final-status solution is imminent. And consequently, instead of lamenting that the status quo is not sustainable, the international community should work together with the parties to improve it where possible and make it more viable.

Danon told me:

Our goal should be to annex the maximum land with the minimum Arab population… We should speak about our rights and not apologize for it. We have biblical rights, historical rights, rights according to international law. We also have common-sense rights: We won the war.

Danon also wrote something similar in a Times Op-Ed in May:

While most voices in the Israeli and international news media are calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to grant major concessions to the Palestinians to forestall such a move, he should in fact do the opposite: he should annex the Jewish communities of the West Bank, or as Israelis prefer to refer to our historic heartland, Judea and Samaria…

In addition to its obvious ideological and symbolic significance, legalizing our hold on the West Bank would also increase the security of all Israelis by depriving terrorists of a base and creating a buffer against threats from the east. Moreover, we would be well within our rights to assert, as we did in Gaza after our disengagement in 2005, that we are no longer responsible for the Palestinian residents of the West Bank, who would continue to live in their own — unannexed — towns.

These Palestinians would not have the option to become Israeli citizens, therefore averting the threat to the Jewish and democratic status of Israel by a growing Palestinian population.

With all these pro-settler Op-Eds, are Times editors trying to respond to Dermer’s criticism and lay the groundwork for a future Netanyahu Op-Ed?

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