"Don't waste your despair prematurely, save it up for when things get worse." That's what people in the know always advised us. It seems the time has come to open the emergency warehouses and start taking it out. And so we begin.
Writing is particularly hard for me this time. I have a vague but profound feeling that I'm progressing toward admitting an error, and not a negligible one: How did I fail to see the future; I can't forgive myself. And I have no breast to beat except my own.
It is no coincidence that this confession is being written now, on the eve of the Ninth of Av. As we do every year, this year too we will hear all the nonsense about "baseless hatred," which was ostensibly the main reason for the destruction of the Second Temple. You don't have to be a professional sermonizer to stuff us with this historical rubbish. Today every brainwashed layman knows that if those people hadn't eaten each other alive, they would not have been defeated, and Judea would have survived forever.
Nothing could be further from the truth: The Great Revolt against Rome had no chance of success in the first place. But even the slim chance was extinguished when the Sicarii zealots began to murder the moderates in Jerusalem, until they eliminated the entire leadership. And the "price tag" advocates were not satisfied until they had set fire to the grain silos in the city, doomed it to starvation, and by doing so made defeat inevitable. The victims of the siege therefore had good reason to hate the Jewish terrorists, and their hatred was not "baseless"; it was "well-founded" hatred. Even today we have a duty to hate them in light of our historical and natural right to self-defense.
All these years I refused to believe that history repeats itself. I always convinced myself that what is done can be undone, and that the moment of sobriety, which was being delayed, would eventually arrive. Now it's too late. The successors have arrived at a crisis of leadership, and there is no strength for a rebirth. Perhaps we will try again some day, perhaps the fourth time we will succeed.
It's enough to keep track of five houses as they are being moved to see how farce turns into tragedy. When the sounds of houses being sawed are soon heard, the sounds of a funeral will be in the air: Farewell to you, our soul, from which we were unable to exorcise the dybbuk of the settlements.
The person who prophesied that 25 years ago and knew whereof he spoke was Meron Benvenisti, an intellectual and scholar, who on the pages of this newspaper explained his theory of "irreversibility," because what is done cannot be undone. And I attacked him: "There's no such thing as an irreversible situation," I wrote at the time, "only death is irreversible. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an active volcano, that's why it's absurd to speak about congealed lava, and why sow despair at the wrong time." You were more right than I was, Meron, I failed to see and I spoke nonsense. I didn't properly assess the blindness and the suicidal urge. I pinned false hopes on common sense, on the will to live, on the ability to stop at any moment and change direction. I was wrong, I was guilty.
This article will gladden the hearts of many. Finally we have the privilege of hearing from that Sarid an admission of error and guilt, blessed be He who has brought us to this time. Finally even he understands that the settlements are "forever," may they continue to multiply.
I regret having to spoil the party atmosphere, which is premature and apparently too late as well. In Basel he established the Jewish state, and in Jerusalem they destroyed it. In its place there will soon be a binational state, which is either South Africa or South Africa, because there is no third option. And that South Africa has long since ceased to exist. Thus, the time of your rejoicing is the time of your disaster.
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