Despite the fact that the Yesha Council (an acronym for Judea, Samaria, and
Gaza in Hebrew) still retains the "A" in its name, which stands for Gaza in
Hebrew, and to which many settlers in his movement hope to return in the
future, Dayan sees himself as a pragmatist who deals strictly in the realm of
the possible. "I would like the Gaza disengagement rewinded, but I do not
invest my energy in lost causes," he says. "One of the funny things
is that people say that we are, I don't know, messianic. But we, the setters,
are the most realistic group all over the Middle East."
He believes that these arrangements would address Israel's -- and the
international community's -- concerns about demography and democracy. "I
am not advocating a one state solution. Not in the first nor in the second
stage," he says. "So demography, as much as it is important, is not
the crucial thing." To be sure, his conception of a "two-state solution"
is very different than what most of the international community envisions for
Palestinian statehood in the West Bank. "Realistic" is not a word that most
would attribute to his vision for resolving the conflict.
He admits that his solution is "complicated" and stretches
traditional conceptions of international relations, sovereignty, and diplomacy.
"The conflict here is so peculiar that it will need a peculiar
solution," he says. He does not seem concerned that the Palestinians would
be unlikely to ever accept such an arrangement.
The big problem, he says, is the rest of the world. He wants to convince
the international community that the traditional conception of the two-state solution
is just not possible. "The international community [needs to] understand
that this is the maximum that we can attain right now," he says, "and shift its
position from deploring the status quo to supporting it."• • • • •
Dayan is sanguine
about the fate of his cause. He believes that his movement is growing stronger,
that he is victorious over its internal ideologues, and that both domestic and
regional forces are aligning against the establishment of a Palestinian state. "In
the overall picture, I am very optimistic about the future of Judea and
Samaria," he says, leaning back in his chair, putting his hands on his paunch,
and looking up into the air.
To be sure, Dayan is lukewarm at best on Netanyahu. He describes the first
18 months of the prime minister's term -- when he declared his support for a
two-state solution in a speech at Bar Ilan University and then implemented a
settlement freeze -- as "catastrophic," a period which he blames on
Netanyahu being "terrified of Obama."
Now he sees Netanyahu as "a moderate ally," but not necessarily a
true believer. "I can't see a situation in which Bibi makes a strategic
decision to go towards a unilateral move or an interim agreement with the
Palestinians or something like that," Dayan says. "But I cannot go to
sleep and say, 'Okay Bibi's all right, you can rest'."