"We Believed The Occupation Was Temporary"
Chuck Freilich was deputy national security adviser under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Mr. Freilich is writing a book about what he considers the country’s dysfunctional politics, where small parties and factions vote in their self-interest, no secret is unpublished and there is little political cohesion.Many differences, to be sure. But also some lessons to contemplate -- four years in, fortunately, instead of Israel's forty -- as we toss around breezy notions like the "Korea Model."
The 1967 war "convinced Arabs that Israel is here to stay," he said. "But it’s also become a cancer. Occupation is corrupting in the long run for any society, and the war also brought a religious messianism into Israeli life that really wasn’t there."
The Gaza disengagement helped puncture the power of the settlers, he said.
But radical Islamic movements like Hamas are not interested in peace with Israel. With the war that began with the second intifada in 2000, he said, "I think the whole country is now disillusioned with the idea of peace and the peace process."
"Everyone feels doomed to spend another decade like this, managing the conflict."
Tom Segev, an Israeli historian who has just published a book about the 1967 war, said: "For so many years we believed the occupation was temporary. But 40 years is a very long time. And now I don’t believe in peace any more. We can manage the conflict better, but I don’t think we can solve it."