Netanyahu is dooming Israel to live eternally by the sword

An editorial in Haaretz says:

Author Etgar Keret, on assignment from Haaretz, accompanied the prime minister on his trip to Italy this week and reported on Benjamin Netanyahu’s perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“This is an insoluble conflict because it is not about territory,” Netanyahu said. “It is not that you can give up a kilometer more and solve it. The root of the conflict is in an entirely different place. Until Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, there will be no way to reach an agreement.”

On Wednesday, Netanyahu reiterated this position in the Knesset. “The reason for the conflict, and for its continuation, is the refusal to recognize the Jewish people’s nation-state in any borders,” he said.

By declaring the conflict insoluble, Netanyahu is dooming Israel to live eternally by the sword, leaving no opening for reconciliation and understanding with the Palestinians and the Arab and Muslim world. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni was thus right to attack Netanyahu in the Knesset for burying the prospect of a peace deal and of normal life in Israel. She was also right to insist that the conflict can be solved if Israel makes “tough decisions.”

The practical conclusion Netanyahu derives from his pessimistic evaluation of the situation is even more disturbing. Netanyahu demands that the Palestinians renounce their national ethos and recognize Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people.” He demands that Abbas commit himself to saying that a Jew in Brooklyn or London has more right to this country than an Arab citizen of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Haifa – and thereby essentially acknowledge that the Palestinians are foreign invaders in the Jewish people’s state. Neither Abbas nor any other Palestinian leader could accept this diktat.

The chance of resolving the conflict lies in pragmatic arrangements to divide the land, which would lead to a new relationship between the two countries, Israel and Palestine. But Netanyahu is evading the task of building the future, which will inevitably require Israel to withdraw from the territories, evacuate settlements and divide Jerusalem. He prefers to entrench himself behind a pointless, hopeless argument about the past and demands that the Palestinian narrative be rewritten.

Netanyahu wants to debate with the Palestinians, not to compromise with them. There is no surer recipe for turning his claim that the conflict is insoluble into a self-fulfilling prophecy, and for driving the Palestinians into a third intifada.

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4 thoughts on “Netanyahu is dooming Israel to live eternally by the sword

  1. Norman

    Netanyahu’s only motive is to continue marginalizing the Palestinians as he steals their land for the settlers, who in reality are militant and the greater population of Israel don’t want as neighbors anyway. If the present hard liners get their way, they can then declare the former occupied territories a second state within Israel, the settlers/hardliners in one, while the rest of the Israelis continue living in the former boundaries pre-’67. Don’t forget that Syria’s Golan heights and the Jordon Valley are included too. Of course, that all hinges on things going their way, that they can continue receiving U.S. backing. Without it, well, the handwriting is on the wall about that one.

  2. mary

    This is Netanyahu’s endgame, and he wants to play it according to pre-set plan. Israel has never been interested in peace but has followed the plan of ethnic cleansing and slow genocide of Palestinians from “eretz Israel.” They won’t stop until they’ve got it all, including regaining the Sinai. The Arabs know this, and this is the reason why no one will “recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”

  3. Mirza Ferdous Alam

    Netanyahu has been living on the edge—-a very sharp edge in deed—- as far as contemporary power politics of Israel is concerned. He values the most to be in power. It is insignificant for him what hangs in the balance for Israel in the years to come. True is, he does not have to rush for a foreign passport like his compatriots —- opting for in recent days.

    I cannot agree more with Norman’s comment “Of course, that all hinges on things going their way, that they can continue receiving U.S. backing. Without it, well, the handwriting is on the wall about that one”.

    Just to supplement with Norman’s view, Netanyahu may have dream of a vast biblical Jewish land extending up to Jordan river. Nevertheless the dream appears to be a bigoted one considering the changed scenario of the neighborhood and the planet at large. With the clear indication of shrinking economic muscle of the lone super power of the world, the “take it for granted” US backing will invariably dry up one day not very far away and one should not be extreme myopic to envisage the doomsday.

  4. eddy mason

    Whether Israel is a jewish or christian or muslim or a state of any other religious persuasion or mix, or a secular state is entirely their business. Are they so paranoid about their place in the middle east that they need to have their neighbours recognition of not only their ‘state’, but also it’s religious status? What is their hangup?

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