by Gad Nahshon
Today, Gandi, or Gen. (Res.) Zeevi, turned out to be a legend, an Israeli national hero. Even his zealous political enemies on the 'left' salute him. Gandi was assassinated by Palestinian terrorists recently at the Hyatt Hotel in East Jerusalem. He was a courageous person. He fought all his life for the survival of Israel. He was a Palmach hero. He was a general and in the Knesset he became the leader of a small party whose message was: 'The Arabs are planning to massacre Israelis, to eliminate Israel from the Middle East map.'
He objected to compromises and to the Oslo Accords. He supported the settlements as the defenders of Israel. But his great love was for the landscape, nature, and geography of Israel. He loved to travel in the country. He served after retirement as the director of Museum Haaretz (History of Israel, landscape, nature, archeology) in Tel Aviv. He was what we define in Israel as the 'salt of the land', the epitome of the sabra generation, and the great 1948's generation as well.
Gandi, as a member of the Knesset, fought against the Arabs wish to destroy Israel. He died as Sharon's Minister of Tourism. His death shocked the public. It is the first time that the Palestinians killed an Israeli Minister. It was a precedent. Israelis came out to express their solidarity with Gandi. They came out to express their love for a true leader who was honest in his devotion to Israel. Some Israelis expressed reservations. The irony was very simple: Gandi never killed Arabs! He only tried to expose their intention to destroy Israel step by step, from outside and from within.
He exposed the new tendency of the Israeli Arabs to express their solidarity with the P.L.O. In the Knesset, Arabs and left-wing politicians together defined him as a 'fascist'... or as a 'racist.' But today, when even the Israeli leftists confess to their illusions about Arafat who can say that Gandi was wrong, that the National Camp was wrong. But still there are Israelis who object to naming the Haaretz Museum after Gandi.
Why was Gandi defined as a fascist? Because he argued that we can solve the Israeli-Arab conflict only by a transfer. It will be an agreement between Jews and Arabs. It will be he argued a humanistic transfer. It will be the opening of a new era. Transfer said his enemies mean only one thing: To force Arabs to move, to deport them against their will. Transfer was not invented by Gandi. It existed in international law. It happened in our recent history. The Zionist-Socialist leaders discussed it as an option.
But this idea was expressed by the famous writer-playwright ("Children of the Ghetto"), Israel Zangwill, who died in 1926. Zangwill, a pioneer Zionist, argued that without a transfer, the Balfour Declaration of Nov. 2, 1917, the foundation for Israel, has no pragmatic value. He suggested to transfer the Arabs from Palestine to Arab countries and transfer the Jews from over there to Palestine. Then it could be done. The transfer was promoted in the U.S.A. by the New Zionist Organization whose executive director in the 1940s was Prof. Ben Zion Netanyahu, the father of Bibi. It was a humanistic kind of gesture. No one wanted to force Arabs to leave Palestine. Indeed Arabs knew that Palestine was the ancient land of the Jews, East and West of the Jordan River. Gandi understood this message more than anybody else.
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