Video: Gurvitz says settlers threaten to detonate a civil war

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As readers know, I regard the Israeli writer Yossi Gurvitz as a wild genius with tremendous insight. Last month I went out to lunch with him in Jaffa and asked him what the future holds for the Israeli political leadership. His answers were devastating: 1, settlers control Israel’s near-term future because if they are pressured they will threaten a Jewish civil war, and Israelis understand that threat and will sooner turn on Palestinians; 2, the future is one-state but it will only come to pass after great bloodshed.

Gurvitz makes these pronouncements on the video above, beginning at 4:40 or so. A guide to the video:

Gurvitz begins by saying that Netanyahu is moving to annex large portions of the West Bank because he will never buck his political base, the settlers, and because 98 percent of Netanyahu’s big donors are rightwingers in the U.S.

Still, Gurvitz holds out hope that a Labor coalition will be elected.

“A Labor coalition would be much more susceptible to pressure… to end or at least curtail the settlements and the settlement movement…  If pressure arises from the US or the European community, then a Labor government could be pushed away from settlements… It is not invested in the settlements.”

But Obama will not pressure the Israeli government. The Europeans and the Palestinians might.

At 4:40 I cut to the chase and ask Gurvitz, Will there be a handshake on the White House lawn in the next four years? He gives this a 20 percent likelihood. Then I ask, Will such a handshake represent a real solution to the Palestinian conflict?

“I don’t think there would be a settlement without great bloodshedding on both sides. The Israeli government may bend to international pressure, but there is a very strong risk of civil war…”

What’s that mean? Gurvitz explains that the settlers’ first instinct when they are pressured is to harm Palestinians:

The point of these price tag attacks is to do what the Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia did in Iraq in 2004, to hammer the Shi’ite majority time and again, blow up their mosques, until they can’t take it any longer and blow up. They wanted a civil war, and they got it. The settlers will want a civil war or a very credible threat of civil war. Because most Israelis if they’re forced to choose between a civil war and a war with Palestinians, they’re already used to war with Palestinians and they’re not looking forward to civil war.

It all depends on a platoon commander, how he reacts when settlers open fire.

Gurvitz explains that civil war means settler against IDF, with elements of the IDF defecting to the settlers.

And more. Gurvitz anticipates a strong likelihood of violent escalation in the future.

Because the two state solution has died. I think it is no longer viable. This civil war threat is making it non-viable. We need to move to a one-state solution, but I don’t see how we can sell it to either side– to either side. So before people wind down and put down their guns, plenty of people will have to die.

I will not transcribe the moving end of the conversation. Watch the video to see that part.

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Thanks for that interview. A sad interview it is. However, very much against all my hopes and realization that a coming carnage ought to be stopped – as long as it is still time? – , deep down i must agree with Yossi Gurvitz. Why? Because to avoid this carnage to pave the way to an 1SS, it would require: a) massive political and econonmic pressure on the Government of Israel and the Jewish Israeli… Read more »

Sounds as if the threat (settlers against Palestinians) is used to hold EU in line — Palestinians both as whipping-boys and as hostages. so the EU must state clearly, at the outset, that ANY violence against Palestinians by settlers or army is a war-crime attributable up the chain-of-command to the DM and PM and army chief, because the international law makes it a duty of the army of occupation to safeguard the occupied people. Since… Read more »

i agree with him about the escalation and the probability of carnage before resolution. excellent interview. sent shivers.

Thanks for putting that up, Phil.
It’s always good to see Yossi, and I agree (of course) with your assessment of his insight.
If only he were able to answer differently.

An Israeli civil, war outside the state of Israel, in territories occupied? The other regional powers would have the right, as they did in 1948, to intervene. Especially if the Occupying Power isn’t adhering to its obligations to Chapt XI of the UN Charter (it isn’t already)