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State of Illusion

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Israel has just celebrated its 68 years of existence as an independent state. On the surface, everything – or let’s be fair here, mostly everything – seems to be quite rosy. The economy, startup-generated and agriculturally-sustained, is booming. The population grew, steadily if not spectacularly, to 8.5 million people. And while Israel is not yet “Light into the Goyim” culturally, the Israeli cinema, and to a degree television too, continues to generate interest and admiration internationally. Socially, though there are plenty of ills, people seem to be living their lives contently. Israel, Tel Aviv in particular, continues to rank relatively high globally when it comes to standard of living and happiness of living. Most important of all, the danger of war doesn’t seem imminent anymore. I would venture to say that the danger of existential war is practically nonexistence.

Nonexistence as well is the “danger” of peace. Netanyahu and his various governments have made sure of that. And now, with his latest move – rejecting the international pressure to create a coalition with Herzog and the Labor Party in order to have a more peace-oriented government, ahead of the newest French peace initiative – he basically buried any chances of peace, and with it the chances of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, deep in the ground. Add to that the fact that instead, Netanyahu is bringing into his government an old friend and foe by the name of Lieberman, appointing him Defense Minister though he has absolutely zero credentials and qualifications for the job. Together with the six added Knesset Members, this will surely solidify a government opposed to peace. And to any acceptable resolution of the conflict.

Even more so. This government will work hard to continue and expand the occupation of the West Bank. Not only that – and you may, or may not have heard this here first – the real move to annex major parts of the Palestinian territory. Area C to be exact. The makeup of the new coalition in power, including a religious zealot (American Jew, no less) rightwing MK in place of the sane, experienced, defender of the moral values of the Israeli army Moshe Ya’alon, the ousting Defense Minister, makes it very likeable that the forces in favor of such a move, such as Naftali Bennett and his party, might prevail. Add to that the turmoil in the Middle East surrounding Israel, and a lame duck President in the white house – with a slight possibility, I do very much want to believe that it’s still just “slight” – of a new president named Trump, a megalomaniac, dangerous con artist of the first degree, and you have a favorable outlook internationally too for Netanyahu and his zealots.

But one has to ask this: If everything looks so good, what’s so wrong with this picture? Well, here’s what’s wrong with it. The continuation of the occupation, which as I’d just pointed out might soon be enhanced (whether officially or not) to annexation, is wrong. And unsustainable. In the long run, I’m talking about. In the short run – and it can be five, ten, even fifty years – it is actually sustainable. Israel’s military might, plus the population shift to the right and the extreme right, will ensure that. But the creation of an Apartheid state de facto, which the countries and forces around Israel in the Middle East, and the International community won’t stand for, is unsustainable in the long run. It spells disaster for Israel and the Jewish People, not to mention its moral implications. But if not an Apartheid State, then what?

Then a binational state. Which, in actual terms, it’s already very much in existence. Again: in the short run, fine and dandy. The management-style of the Israeli policy of governing – i.e. managing the situation, not solving or resolving it — Netanyahu’s contribution to the national and international school of political policy, is working fine. In the long run, it won’t. Because in the long run the Arab, Palestinian, Muslim population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea will be large enough, maybe even – according to most experts – a majority. And if the people in Israel object to an Apartheid State, and there are disturbing signs that not all of them do, then you have to give the Arab population in the West bank the right to vote, as the Israeli president has indeed suggested. And then you don’t have any longer a Jewish State. Now, if you don’t give them the right to vote, you don’t have a democratic state. In simple terms: you cannot eat the cake and keep it too. The majority of the Palestinians in the West Bank already know this. They don’t have a hope, or even a wish for the Two-State Solution any longer. They rather wait for Israel to implode by itself.

And when talking about imploding, add to that the latest signs in the Israeli society of increase in the elements that resemble fascism. Plain and simple. A zealot soldier shoots and kills, without provocation, and without an order a hapless, disarmed Palestinian man lying on the ground wounded, following a terrorist attack. The army’s Chief of Stuff and the Defense Minister insist to proceed with the rule of law, and according to the moral values, no less important, that Ben Gurion had lain out as the foundation for the Israeli Army. And then all hell breaks loose. And we have others in the Israeli society and government who have come to the defense of that murdering soldier. You don’t believe me, here’s what the commanders of the Israeli army, past and present, are saying about it:

“I fought with all my might against manifestations of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society, which are threatening its sturdiness and also trickling into the IDF, hurting it already,” said Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon upon his resignation. “Israel Has Been Infected by the Seeds of Fascism,” Says ex-Prime Minister, Defense Minister and IDF Chief of Staff Ehud Barak. He further added: “Life-affirming Zionism and seeds of fascism cannot exit together.” Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan had warned this month of “horrifying processes” in today’s Israel that carried echoes of pre-World War II Germany.

Israel, therefore, is living in a state of illusion. An illusion that things can go on forever like that. That misdeeds have no retributions. That crime has no punishment. What will wake and shake it up, and when will that happen, remains to be seen. But the writing is on the wall.

* The “Leave a Comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.

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3 Responses

  1. I did hear Dan also and I think his speech was fair, honest and balanced. Regardless, you missed to mention in your article a simple fact which he gave in his speech. Before the wall, over 1000 Jews were killed by Terrorist in less than 2 years. After the wall less than 50 Jews were killed by Terrorists attack in over 6 years. Ratio of over 60:1 (if you take the time into account) before and after the wall. Therefore I would change the title of your article to “Jews life or a well”. As for Peace, I’m all for it but just pls ask to stop killing Jews just because they are Jews.

  2. You know only too well that I disagree with some of your words, such as occupation. Pleeeeeease,,,,, Back to your post. Appointing Lieberman is just another move by Netanyahu to solidify his dream of having the all-time record for most years as prime Minister. He and Obama clash, but they are two pees-in-a-pod when it comes to their selfish quest for sculpting their legacy without regard to how it affects their country.

  3. First, as for illusions, Begin and Sadat were illusionists, bad mouthing each other in preparation for their embrace. The real politick of the world is necessarily illusory in order to avoid public commentary of any substance that might derail under-the-table negotiations.
    Second, using the word “apartheid,” that is, the purely fictitious claim of the Palestinians to a sliver of Israeli property, similar in no way to any model of true government (Israeli) designated place for others to live–using that word in the same context as using “occupation,” the temporary intrusion of Israeli forces or government powers into someone else’s property, is self contradictory and reveals confusion. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank belong not to Israel, but to the occupants, the Palestinians. To hide that identity by the use of the
    A-word is to buy into their fiction. Even if an apartheid state existed, under the authority and ownership of the Israeli government, what is the essential difference between that and a two-state solution?
    As for Avigdor Lieberman, I have always thought that he would be the one to sit as Secretary of State at the table with an American mediator and a Palestinian leader and exert his right wing energy to defend Israel’s rights. I think it is a mistake to appoint him Defense Minister, an ominous step away from negotiation, but the fluidity of appointments allows for anything in the future.
    By the way, there may be more illusions occurring here. Agreements, as in Begin-Sadat, can be made in minutes when the players assemble. Probably, the Palestinian leader will step forward as soon as a trustworthy mediator appears.

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