The Israeli public has embraced the Smotrich doctrine

The Israeli public has embraced the Smotrich doctrine

+972 Magazine reports:

Six years ago, Bezalel Smotrich, then a young Knesset member in his first term, published his “Decisive Plan” — a kind of “endgame” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to the far-right lawmaker, who now serves as Israel’s finance minister and the government’s West Bank overlord, the inherent contradiction between Jewish and Palestinian national aspirations does not allow for any kind of compromise, reconciliation, or partition. Instead of maintaining the illusion that a political agreement is possible, he argued, the issue must be unilaterally resolved once and for all.

The plan makes only passing references to Gaza, with Smotrich seeming content with Israel’s encagement of the enclave as an ideal solution to what he calls the “demographic challenge” posed by Palestinians’ very existence. Vis-à-vis the West Bank, however, he calls for annexing its entirety.

In the latter territory, demographic concerns will be ameliorated by offering the 3 million Palestinian residents a choice: to renounce their national aspirations and continue living on their land in an inferior status, or to emigrate abroad. If, instead, they choose to take up arms against Israel, they will be identified as terrorists and the Israeli army will set about “killing those who need to be killed.” When asked at a meeting, in which he presented his plan to religious-Zionist figures, if he also meant killing families, women, and children, Smotrich replied: “In war as in war.”

Insofar as it has received any public attention at all, the Decisive Plan has been perceived since its publication as delusional and dangerous even among mainstream Israeli political commentators. Yet an examination of the current Israeli media and political discourse shows that, when it comes to the army’s current assault on Gaza, large parts of the public have completely internalized the logic of Smotrich’s plan.

In fact, Israeli public opinion regarding Gaza, where Smotrich’s vision is being implemented with a cruelty that even he may not have foreseen, is now even more extreme than the text of the plan itself. That’s because, in practice, Israel is removing from the agenda the first possibility on offer — of an inferior, de-Palestinianized existence — which until October 7 was most Israelis’ chosen option. [Continue reading…]

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