Friday, February 27, 2009


For a long time, there has been a steady Israeli majority in favor of establishing a Palestinian state. Unfortunately, right now that consensus is absent. Mort Klein may be obnoxious, but I have no reason to doubt his polling data: Apparently, the current split is 51% opposed to establishing a Palestinian state, 32% in favor. This confirms fears I had when contemplating Nusseibeh and Ayalon's proposal to put "The People's Voice" plan directly on the Israeli ballot -- right now, I'm skeptical that it would pass. The Israeli people believe that agreements and withdrawals are worth nothing -- they are merely a stepping stone for the eventual destruction of the state.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: One of the most damaging events to occur over the past decade or so is the growing perception amongst Israelis that occupation is completely irrelevant to the persistence of the Israeli/Arab conflict. As far as Israelis are concerned, withdrawing from Lebanon and Gaza got Israel nothing except renewed warfare with Lebanon and Gaza. The lesson they learned is that the existence of Israel itself is what is now provoking the violence. There is no longer any faith amongst Israelis that peace is attainable through negotiation. Yisrael Beiteinu's huge gains in the last election is proof of this fact: their supporters constantly echoed the refrain that Israel could only "negotiate" with Arabs in terms "they understand" -- namely, force and violence.

So, Israel seemingly has resigned itself to a perpetual state of mid-grade warfare, and sees no route forward other than to dig in deeper and hide behind ever-higher walls and ever-bigger tanks. It may provide temporary security, but it will never realize peace or justice, and likely will eventually result in the decimation of the Israeli state as a whole.

Those of us working for peace cannot use this as an excuse to give up. But it is disheartening, and -- more than the Gaza campaign, more than the resurgent popularity of Hamas -- it shows how rapidly things are moving in the wrong direction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You may find this interesting, and disheartening: