TORONTO — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wants citizens of Sderot and Ashkelon to get used to constant rocket barrages from Gaza, but the problem could be solved by paying Palestinians to leave the territory, a prominent right-wing leader said in Toronto last week.
“Every year Israel spends 10 per cent of their national income on the concept of [the Oslo accords] – on building fences, on destroying Jewish villages, on putting guards at each coffee shop or store. It’s crazy,” Moshe Feiglin, right, leader of the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction of Israel’s Likud Party, told some 200 people at Shaarei Tefillah Synagogue, after a March 27 speech sponsored by the Jewish Defence League of Canada.
“We’re talking about more than 60,000 people on the payroll. We’re talking about $150 billion that Israel spends every 10 years,” the former Likud leadership candidate said, noting that a survey done recently at a Palestinian university found that most of the students want to leave Gaza.
“That money is enough to give every Arab family in Yesha [Gaza] $250,000… They want to leave, we have the money. We’re spending it anyhow… We have the money to help them, encourage them to have a future somewhere else.”
According to Ynetnews, Olmert recently told board members of the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon that living with rocket attacks has been Israel’s reality for the past 60 years, and that he has “no way of preventing these things from recurring.”
“Basically, he said, ‘Get used to it. I have no solutions. Get used to it,’” said Feiglin, who co-founded the group Zo Artzeinu (This is our Land) to protest the Oslo accords in 1993.
“That means that 63 years after the gates of Auschwitz opened, they are supposed to get used to the fact that every once in a while, a Jew is going to get killed because he is a Jew… He has an army, a president, the most modern, strong army in the Middle East, Knesset, Parliament – why did we do all that? Why did we even establish the State of Israel to begin with? Because we agreed that we would not get used to that.”
Feiglin admitted that his Gaza solution would likely not come to pass, and he ventured another approach that he said could improve security in Israel.
He said the best way to remedy the problem in Gaza is to consider the case of the Golan Heights.
“The border of Ramat Hagolan between Israel and Syria is the quietest border and the safest and most peaceful border,” Feiglin said.
He argued that Israel achieved peace on the Syrian border by following five rules: the Syrian Arabs who lived there were evacuated and “encouraged to leave.” As well, the land was occupied, it was annexed, Jewish settlements were established, and Israel and Syria never signed a peace treaty.
“And look what we have: a great peace in Ramat Hagolan.”
Feiglin said the biggest obstacles Israel must overcome are within its own borders, adding that from the moment the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin shook hands with the late Palestinian Authority president Yassir Arafat, Israel started playing a completely different game, one that gave the advantage to the Arabs.
“Let’s assume someone comes to your house and tells you, ‘Your house is mine…’ And you shake his hand and you tell him, ‘You know what, let’s compromise…’ What will people… think? Who will they think the house really belongs to?” Feiglin asked.
He said most homeowners would do whatever it takes to kick that person out of their house.
“You would do everything you can so people would understand that you don’t accept this claim. The minute you shake his hand, you lost the match,” Feiglin said.
He said when Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, media from around the world flocked to witness the event.
“There was no one in the world who did not see what the Jews were doing to themselves… The Jews showed the entire world that the land of Israel does not belong to them, but that it belongs to the Arabs. And from now on, we are the bad guys and the good guys are the Arabs.”
He said part of the overall solution to Israel’s problems is to seek leadership that works in the name of God.
“Israel needs leadership that leads the State of Israel [based] upon Jewish values, leadership that knows where he comes from, knows where he is going.”
In last August’s primaries, Feiglin who ran for the Likud party leadership with the tagline, “Feiglin, because he has a God,” received about 24 per cent of the votes against Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s 73 per cent.
Feiglin said that a few years ago, no one would have believed that he would garner a quarter of the votes against Netanyahu.
“But I’m telling you that, be’ezrat Hashem, next primary, I’m going to win.”