A sit-down with Coalition Chairman, MK Yariv Levin
Somewhat surprisingly, despite the fact that it became the ruling party more than three and a half decades ago, it seems that the Likud movement still has not presented the Israeli public with a comprehensive and clear political vision. When the ruling party of the nationalist camp is asked to present a political position, its members are satisfied with refuting and criticizing Oslo in one way or another and with presenting ways to minimize the damage of the plan -- a plan which was first considered a lunatic vision, which the Left managed to convert into mainstream Israeli thinking.
If this is the situation, it's no wonder that even from the mouths of the students of Jabotinsky, the father of the vision of "both banks of the River," they speak of partitioning the Land according to this scenario or that -- whether around the '67 lines or other borders -- it is as if Uri Avnery were a member of the Likud Central Committee. Even now, it seems that the Likud has still not presented the public with a clear political vision beyond that of damage control with regard to the Left's activities. What is lacking is an alternative of at least equal value to that of the opposite side.
Because of this situation the Likud is now defined as a "supermarket of ideas", a supermarket where personages such as Yariv Levin, Micki Eitan, Dani Danon and Dan Meridor can purchase their political wares.
Coalition Chairman, MK Yariv Levin, one of the most nationalist figures of the Likud movement, is aware of the complex reality of the party, but nevertheless, states "the Likud's position is support and total commitment to the settlement project."
He continues, "No doubt, there is a great question of how to actualize these things practically and whether it is even correct for the ruling party to present an alternative political plan. This has not yet happened, in my opinion, because of political considerations -- imagine the prime minister is conducting and managing a process based on his declarations while his own party presents an alternative. Israel would be accused of preventing the process and it would be tactically incorrect to do this. On the other hand, if the process is stopped at some point, and this could certainly happen, then it would be correct to present a new position and take much clearer and sharper steps. This position would, of course, also include practical steps to build in the field and to exercise sovereignty."
Before he dives into current politics, Levin stops for a basic recital of the principles to which he holds fast: "I believe that our right to the Land is absolute and unshakable and it that includes the entire Land. Moreover, I believe that no one has the authority to give up this right because it belongs not only to those who live in this generation but to everyone who preceded us and we are obligated to pass this right on to future generations. No one can surrender this right. This position must remain clear and sharp even if the ability to implement this right fully at any given moment is limited, whether, as in the time of the Diaspora when we were not here and nevertheless did not give up our right to return to the Land, or as in '48 when we weren't in Judea and Samaria or in our days, when we still do not reside in the entire territory. But first, these things must be clear on the conceptual level."
After stating these principles, MK Levin outlines, even if it is with general lines, the political blueprint according to which, as he sees it, Israel must progress. "The correct policy, from the point of view of Israeli interests regarding our political ability at the moment, is to combine the attempt to hold the maximum amount of territory and apply sovereignty over the maximum amount of territory while keeping the Arab population within it to a minimum. This situation already exists in Area C, which is under our control, there are little more than fifty thousand Arabs. There is a clear Jewish majority and therefore it is absolutely clear that all ideas of withdrawal and handing the territory over are against Israeli interests. Now we must create the conditions that will prepare for annexation, meaning an increase in building and a deepening of the settlement. We must gradually apply legislation regarding the residents and the territory, for example zoning and building codes. Ultimately we must be ready to take advantage of any political conditions that would allow us to implement the application of sovereignty -- even if just in phases -- until there is full application of sovereignty."
And how might this happen? "If we persist and are patient, ultimately such conditions will arise. There are many things that seem impossible from afar. For example, the goal of Zionism seemed like an impossible and futile process. If we work diligently toward creating the necessary conditions, I have no doubt that in the end it will be possible to achieve this goal. We must remember that things are very dynamic. Four years ago no one could have imagined the upheavals that have occurred in the Middle East and today it is impossible to predict what to expect even in the next year. There is no doubt that it is feasible. We must believe. Much less likely things have occurred in the past. Meanwhile we must do everything in our power to prepare the best conditions so that when the opportunity does arise it will be possible to implement it. It may be that this possibility will come only a long time from now and perhaps we will be pleasantly surprised and it will come sooner."
Article courtesy of Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar
Women For Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green)
POB 7352, Jerusalem 91072, Israel
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