Editorial

Festival of Occupation

Choosing a settlement for Israel's official stage to mark the Six-Day War's 50th anniversary is an inseparable part of the deceitful attempt to force the public into a sweeping agreement when in fact there is only sharp division.

A house in the illegal Netiv Ha'avot outpost, in Gush Etzion.
A house in the illegal Netiv Ha'avot outpost, in Gush Etzion. Olivier Fitoussi

The official rally to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War will be held in the West Bank’s Gush Etzion settlement bloc, ministers Naftali Bennett and Miri Regev have decided.

From the military point of view, it was indeed a “glorious” war, which was seen as justified. But it was also a war that generated a fundamental transformation in Israeli society. It led to the growth of unbridled national arrogance, which exacted an awful price in blood over the past 50 years and turned the military victory into a moral defeat. In retrospect, it should be called the 50-Year War, not the Six-Day War, and judging by the political situation, its life expectancy appears endless.

Bennett and Regev are trying to falsify the reality created since June 1967 and use the bluff of “national consensus” to cover the controversy tearing the Israeli public apart. They’re trying to hide the distorted messianism caused by the war, the brutal colonialism and Israel’s loss of identity beneath the blanket of consensus that covered that war.

“Regardless of the disagreements regarding the conflict over these areas, every Israeli must know and cherish these places as the cradle of the Jewish nation and its culture,” explained Regev, as though the war is tied in with the cherishing of national symbols and Jewish holy sites.

“A nation that wants to ensure its future must always look back to its past,” Bennett said in justifying the decision, as if without a 10 million-shekel ($3.6 million) festival in Gush Etzion, the link between the “nation” and its “history” would be lost. What preserved the nation’s historic affiliation to those places before the Six-Day War?

Gush Etzion is the occupied land symbolizing the beginning of the messianic criminality that’s arisen. Choosing this spot for the state’s official stage to mark the Six-Day War’s 50th anniversary is an inseparable part of the deceitful attempt to force the public into a sweeping agreement when in fact there is only sharp division.

Those who want to mark the war’s anniversary, those whose loved ones fell in its battles but loathe the effect it had on Israel – the occupation and the establishment of the settlers’ state – have to attend an event held, of all places, in its heart of darkness. Since the ministers in charge and the prime minister are not expected to change their minds, the public is hereby advised not to play along and to keep away from this event.

The above article is Haaretz's lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.