To put it simply: Likud policy toward the Occupied Palestinian Territories is one of illegal expansionism, enabled by racist laws, and enforced by overwhelming military might. Its end goal is to force the indigenous population off its land, so that this land can be annexed to Israel without the inconvenience of having to absorb millions of Muslim and Christian Palestinians, who would be the final nail in the coffin of Israel as a “Jewish democracy”.
Of course, you can’t just come out and say it like that if you are an apologist for current Israeli policies, because ethnic cleansing is a War Crime and a Crime Against Humanity. So you have to invent your own terms of reference for the conflict, and propagandize tirelessly, until you can convince people of good will (who would normally be appalled at such aggression) that what is happening in front of their collective eyes isn’t really happening at all. You do it by pretending that although there is really nothing you would like better than peaceful coexistence, you are unfortunately forced into “security measures” that just happen to relentlessly dispossess the Palestinian population, because you are fighting a “War On Terror”. You are fighting against an inhuman enemy who hates you just because of who you are (remember, anti-Israel = anti-semitic!), not because of what you are doing, and whose capabilities you exaggerate till they become an existential threat that you can use to manipulate the fears of your own people, who remember all too well a recent past in which they really were the victims of a monstrous attempted genocide.
To keep your rationale consistent, there are some words you must never utter...
...One of the obvious ones is “Occupation”, because if you admit Israel is an occupier and therefore bound by the Geneva Conventions, then its actions in the Occupied Territories over the past 38 years are not legitimate self defence but War Crimes on a grand scale. More importantly for the integrity of your narrative, admitting that the Palestinians live under a foreign military occupation raises the dangerous possibility that perhaps the Palestinians are not mindless bigots who fight because they hate “the Jews”, but are nationalists resisting an onerous military occupation just like any other people would whose country was under foreign military rule. So never say it.
Be careful too about that word “Palestinians”, because that suggests that the people you are fighting are a national group engaged in a nationalist struggle, not a terrorist gang engaged in jihad. Better to stick with the generic “Arabs”, which has the added benefit of denying that Palestinians have any inherent connection to their land, but can be legitimately pushed out of Palestine and be just as at home anywhere in the Arab world. (I’m an English-speaking WASP of European ancestry, so by the same token I guess it would be all right to ethnically cleanse me out of the USA and make me settle in Australia. After all, countries with a partially-shared history and culture and a common language can’t possibly be distinct independent nations at the same time, can they?).
And I can’t believe I actually just used the one word that is really forbidden: Palestine. Because even uttering the word “Palestine” is the ultimate acknowledgement that something was there before Israel: that modern Israel was not built by Zionist pioneers in “a land without a people”, but by the violent dispossession of a native people whose pre-existing culture predated by far the emergence of Zionism, and who have every right to refuse to be forced out of what little of their historic homeland remains to them. Israel’s former PM Menachem Begin understood this very well, and explained: "My friend, take care. When you recognize the concept of ‘Palestine’, you demolish your right to live in Ein Hahoresh. If this is Palestine and not the land of Israel, then you are conquerors and not tillers of the land. You are invaders. If this is Palestine, then it belongs to a people who lived here before you came." [Footnote 1].
Occasionally, as Uri Avnery pointed out in Tommy’s Granny, prominent Israelis have let slip unguarded comments that show they understand that world view is a lie. And that deep down they understand very well that Israel is not in an existential struggle against irrational anti-semitic ideologues, but in a war of choice to keep illegal settlements on occupied land, against a people who have a legitimate national rights and resent expansionism onto their land, just as any other national group on the planet would. Some of those “Oops, perhaps I shouldn’t have said that!” moments would be:
-- Leah Rabin's observation that the Palestinian terrorism intended to establish an independent homeland is qualitively no better and no worse than the Jewish terrorism that established Israel. 
-- Defense Minister Moshe Dayan's acknowledgement that Israel establishes settlements on Palestinian land not for the defense of Israel, but as an excuse to keep the IDF in the Occupied Territories .
-- Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami's comment to the Israeli Cabinet that Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation is a legitimate struggle of national liberation. 
-- PM Ehud Barak's confession that if he had been born Palestinian he would have become a "terrorist" too. 
-- Justice Minister Tommy Lapid's remark that the sight of an elderly Palestinian woman rummaging through the ruins of her demolished home reminded him of his grandmother who was thrown out of her house during the Holocaust. 
Lapses like that can be – and generally are - quickly disowned as a slip of the tongue, or spun to imply that the speaker didn’t really mean what he or she obviously did mean. But the various "Friends of Israel" are seriously going to have their work cut out in trying to spin away the latest outbreak of embarrassing candor, which appeared in today’s Ha’aretz. Because this isn’t just an unguarded moment, but an entire unguarded interview  - Gaza plan aims to freeze the peace process, in which one prominent Israeli makes clear that:
1. The Likud government does not have, and never has had, the goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians;
2. Its alleged commitment to the Road Map has therefore always been a sham;
3. The real reason that Sharon will not negotiate is not because there is "no-one to talk to", but because political engagement with the Palestinians will demand mutual compromise on the core issues, which the Likud is not willing to make;
4. The proposed “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip is simply a device to bring a halt to the peace process - especially the Geneva Accord, which was gaining momentum in December 2003 - without being seen to be doing so;
5. The Israeli government's decision to stop the peace process in this way has been authorized by the Bush Adminstration.
Now, none of those revelations about the bad-faith intentions of the Sharon government are new. All of them have been raised over the course of the last four years by Israeli leftists , peace activists , obscure bloggers like Lawrence of Cyberia, and of course the Palestinians . The difference this time is that these comments are not accusations from the usual suspects, but admissions by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s chief political advisor, Dov Weisglass, who has been the point man for Israel in coordinating the disengagement plan with the Bush Administration’s national security team, and has conducted extensive shuttle diplomacy over the past year between Tel Aviv and Washington in order to agree a joint course of action.
So, how do the claimed (or implied) positions of the Israeli and US governments compare with their actual positions as laid out by Weisglass?
Claim 1: The government of Israel believes in a peace process leading to a two state solution.
(Israel has lent its strong support for President Bush's vision... of two states - Israel and a Palestinian state - living side by side in peace and security.
- Ariel Sharon, Aqaba Summit)
Actual: The peace process is the establishment of a Palestinian state with all the security risks that entails. The peace process is the evacuation of settlements, it's the return of refugees, it's the partition of Jerusalem. And all that has now been frozen.... That is the significance of what we did.
Actual: The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process... And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem.
Claim 3: Israel wants a peace process, but has "no one to talk to" because Arafat's PA chooses terrorism instead of negotiation.
(I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror.... I can understand the deep anger and anguish of the Israeli people... The Palestinian Authority has rejected your offer at hand, and trafficked with terrorists. You have a right to a normal life; you have a right to security; and I deeply believe that you need a reformed, responsible Palestinian partner to achieve that security.
- President Bush, Rose Garden Speech, 24 June 2002).
Actual: The disengagement is actually formaldehyde... It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.
Claim 4: The disengagement plan advances the Road Map and partially fulfils Israel's Road Map obligations.
(On June 24, 2002, I laid out a vision to make this goal a reality. We then drafted the road map as the route to get us there. The heart of this vision is the responsibility of all parties -- of Israel, of the Palestinian people, of the Arab states -- to fight terror, to embrace democracy and reform, and to take the necessary steps for peace. Today, the Prime Minister told me of his decision to take such a step. Israel plans to remove certain military installations and all settlements from Gaza, and certain military installations and settlements from the West Bank.
- President Bush, Bush Commends Israeli PM Sharon's Plan).
Actual: Weisglass does not deny that the main achievement of the Gaza plan is the freezing of the peace process in a "legitimate manner... ". Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress".
That’s a bit of an eye-opener isn’t it? Read the whole article. It’s an important and revealing interview. Despicable; but important and revealing nonetheless.
I wonder how long it will be before the government of Israel starts damage control, and Weisglass starts claiming the interview doesn't really mean what it plainly does? Judging by the speed with which Ehud Barak and Tommy Lapid were forced to back off from their respective “slips of the tongue” referred to above, we shouldn’t have to wait long.
 Menachem Begin, from a speech to the residents of kibbutz Ein Hahoresh, reported in Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot (17 Oct 1969).
 "We [the Jews] used terrorism to establish our state. Why should we expect the Palestinians to be any different?" - Leah Rabin (widow of murdered PM Yitzhak Rabin) to Reuters, 11 September 1997.
 Civilian Israeli settlement throughout the territories was essential to the realization of this goal, explained Moshe Dayan, who remains the most important architect of Israeli policy in these areas, "not because they can ensure security better than the army, but because without them we cannot keep the army in those territories. Without them the IDF would be a foreign army ruling a foreign population" rather than an army defending the "right" of its citizens to live in their homeland in peace and security.
- Cited by Geoffrey Aronson, of the Foundation for Middle East Peace.
 At a recent meeting of Israel's Cabinet, Acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami made a most unusual statement to his governmental colleagues, one that arguably expresses the most honest and important insight into the fifty-year-old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians ever expressed by any Jewish leader.... As reported by Akiva Eldar in Ha'aretz on November 28, 2000, the statement was made by Ben-Ami in the course of a Cabinet debate over a document prepared by the prime minister's office which purported to catalog a long list of Palestinian transgressions. Ben-Ami opposed the distribution of the document on the ground that no one in the West would be surprised that a people under occupation fails to honor agreements with its occupier: "Accusations made by a well-established society about how a people it is oppressing is breaking rules to attain its rights do not have much credence."
It is difficult to grasp fully the importance of these words in the context of the tortured Israeli-Palestinian relationship. They are the first acknowledgment by an Israeli leader that Palestinians are a people under occupation who are struggling for their legitimate rights.
 "I imagine that if I were a Palestinian of the right age, I would, at some stage, have joined one of the terror organizations...". Ehud Barak, interview with Gideon Levy (Ha'aretz, 3 June 1998). Cited in The Irish Times: General May Not Be the Bulldozer He Appears (subscription), 7 Feb 2001.
 "On TV I saw an old woman rummaging through the ruins of her house looking for her medication, and it reminded me of my grandmother who was thrown out of her house during the Shoah (Holocaust)". - Yosef Lapid, Lapid says Rafah images reminiscent of grandmother; Maariv International (23 May 2004).
 Actually an excerpted interview that appears as a teaser for the full article that will appear in Ha'aretz magazine on Friday.
 The greatest lie is that we don't have a partner and must wait for one to be born. There is a partner for a withdrawal from Gaza within the context of an agreement; there is a partner for an end to the cycle of bloodshed; there is a partner for a final-status accord. We can strengthen this partner, but they prefer to weaken him... He who says that there's no one to talk to doesn't want to talk.
- Dr Yossi Beilin, Address to the Tel Aviv peace rally, 15 May 2004.
 From the start, the "Disengagement Plan" was an exercise in deceit. But the world is eager to be deceived. The world's statesmen take it seriously, it causes violent storms in Israel, the media have a ball. All this for a plan that has neither hands nor feet.... [T]his whole plan is standing on its head. It has no basis in reality. All in all, it is a recipe for the continuation of the war in another form. But no need to worry. Sharon is not really serious about it.
- Uri Avnery, The Gaza Disengagement Sham.
 Tragically, the current Israeli government is not only satisfied with the absence of a peace process - it depends on such an absence for its survival. Israel's leaders, and their US supporters, have invented an impressive array of excuses why peace talks cannot resume.... Whatever Israel's excuse du jour for avoiding dialogue, Palestinians know that the real reason is that Israel's current leaders do not want to start a process that will inevitably end where they do not want to go: Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories and the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable Palestinian state.
- Dr Saeb Erekat, Israel is blocking the road to peace; Financial Times, 12 Jan 2003.