Leftwing Israeli Columnist Throws in the Towel; ‘The Settlers Have Won’

“The settlers have won and they deserve the victory,” wrote ultra-leftist journalist Gideon Levy wrote in his home newspaper Haaretz Thursday. Levy explained that the settlers – as Jews living in Judea and Samaria are often called, in short – “simply wanted it more, and that is also why they won. The settlers tried harder, they sacrificed more, they invested more, they persevered more.”

Meanwhile, “the state of Tel Aviv could not be awakened from its smugness, its imperviousness, its blindness and its ignorance.” Levy repeated his accusations against fellow left-wingers in a radio interview. “The settlers won because of the limpness of the Left and the ‘state of Tel Aviv’,” he explained. “They won because they care more and are willing to sacrifice more. The other side opts for cottage protests and sardine protests, and even that is only for two or three days, and it is never enough.”

There are more than half a million “settlers” today, he complained, and this is an irreversible situation. “They succeeded in their main goal, which was, from the get-go, to sabotage any chance of a partition and an arrangement of two states. There are very few people today who really think that two states can still be brought about. The people mumbling this know full well that we missed this train a long time ago; they keep mumbling it to play for time and they don’t suggest anything else.”

Levy accused the residents of Tel Aviv of not caring about what goes on an hour’s drive away from their homes. “Our problem,” he opined, “is the silent majority that will say, in all of the surveys, that it is in favor of two states, and will continue to doze.” The left lacks fire, Levy added. “In the settler camp, the fire burns strong. They do not go to the square once every two months to listen to [popular singer] Shlomo Artzi when the weather is nice. The settler camp struggles, acre after acre, day after day, year after year.”

Levy was echoing similar statements made by Haaretz editor in chief, Amos Shocken, a few months ago. Shocken told an Ariel University student paper that “When Ayelet Shaked is appointed justice minister – there’s no greater victory than that. It’s clear that the settlers have won; the settlers are running the country. They are only a handful. Count all the people who live in the territories – they are not a significant percentage of the country’s inhabitants. But their influence is not insignificant at all.”

“All the heirs of Gush Emunim [the settlement movement] are highly talented people who are very focused on maintaining constant growth in the settlement enterprise,” he said. “I can understand the attraction of the settlers, because it seems that while all the others are interested in a career, in money and in their private life, these are people who are determined to implement a significant strategic and diplomatic step. They have a vision.”