My new article on Benjamin Netanyahu’s new platform of “economic peace” appears in Ha’aretz today. For those who read from right to left, the original Hebrew is here. The English translation is here. A taste:
When Benjamin Netanyahu speaks about “economic peace,” his new, brilliant diplomatic platform, which will postpone any diplomatic moves far into the unforeseeable future, I see his face shrink, his chin sharpen, a patch cover his eye. Moshe Dayan is speaking, just as he spoke in a cabinet meeting 40 years ago, in early December 1968.
The Eshkol government met then to discuss Dayan’s proposal for a policy on the occupied territories. Dayan’s plan had three pillars: large-scale settlement on the West Bank mountain ridge, permanent Israeli rule of the territories without Israeli citizenship for the Arab residents, and economic integration of the territories with Israel. Arabs would work in Israel, Hebron would get its electricity from the Israeli grid, and Israel would raise the standard of living of the residents of the territories. As a result, Dayan argued, they would become dependent on Israel, maybe even grateful to it.
The official cabinet minutes are still classified, but a partial record from a reliable source exists. Dayan’s words reveal his worldview with shocking clarity. “We want to keep this population calm. Let them work, let them study,” he said – and then added that when he visited the one-time German colony of Togo in Africa, “I was impressed by the memories they still have of German rule before World War I. [The Germans] left orchards and culture.”