Chances for the Israeli Right, Chances for a New ‘Catastrophe’
Israeli minds are now being increasingly influenced by religious zealots who in history were behind the catastrophe that befell the Jews at the hands of the Romans. Can history repeat itself?
Current Israeli policies appear now as being determined by a self–created religious dogma produced by an egotistical superiority complex which absolutely has nothing to do with the holy spiritual message of the Torah. This zealous trend of religiosity is now seeking to maintain the notion of an ‘eternal conflict with the Arabs’. Israeli columnist Uzi Benziman wrote that “based on such a notion, there would be no possibility for a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians whose hatred towards Israel has no limits. Should Israel withdraw from the West Bank, Palestinians might wage attacks from (the towns of) Nablus and Qalqelia. Should Israel agree to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, the Palestinians of 48 (inside Israel) would demand that the Jewish nature of the State of Israel be relinquished.” In the same trend, Rafi Smith, a political consultant and head of an Israeli polling firm, wrote that “the Israeli public is leaning more toward the extreme right and its support for the extreme right parties is on the rise, quite the opposite of what is taking place in the western world.”
According to public polls conducted by the Israeli Dahaf Institute, 56% believed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not serious about reaching a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians and that his willingness to negotiate with them was a direct result of American pressure only. Furthermore, 51% of the public polled, gave their support for the continuation of colonial settlements building on Palestinian lands, and 71% said they were convinced that no peaceful settlement would ever be finalized during the negotiations, now suspended. A third poll run by Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute, showed that 54% of Israelis believe that Israel is isolated internationally and 56% believe that the whole world hates Israel. A fourth poll carried out by Shvakim Panorama for the Israeli Channel 1 television showed that the Israeli extreme right bloc is gaining popularity especially under Netanyahu’s leadership with15% increase of their Knesset seats expected in a new election, despite the many failures of his current government. Netanyahu’s Likud party would attain 31 seats gaining four more, while the party’s allies on the far right would get 68 in total with seven more added to their current seats. This does not include the extreme right national party which has four seats and is currently in the opposition. In this way, Netanyahu can form a government from the ranks of the far right without the Labour Party’s support which may lose 5 of its current 13 seats. Kadima opposition Party might lose 3 seats of its current number of 28. When respondents were asked who they favored to form the next cabinet, they chose Netanyahu by 49% and Kadima leader Tsibi Livni by 28.5%. In an article entitled “The Loss of Hope”, Israel’s Yediot Ahoronot’s top commentator Sima Kadmon spoke about deep pessimism in describing Israeli public views, saying ” Israelis have lost their faith in Netanyahu’s intentions, in Abbas’ intentions and ability to become a partner, and in peace. “But worst of all”, she concluded, “the Israelis have lost their hope”. Commenting on the Dahaf poll she said that “48% oppose and 45% support a peace settlement with the Palestinians who have to recognize the Jewishness of the state of Israel, while keeping the Israeli settlements in our hands. When such a settlement was ever refused by the public?” “This being the case”, she went on to say, “then there is no chance to attain a peace settlement with the Palestinians. A further discussion to freeze building settlements is an act of frivolity, especially when a majority of Israelis supports building more settlements which is the very issue that would blow up the peace negotiations. What happened to us that made us lose confidence and hope?”
Israeli journalist Nehemia Stressler wrote in Haaretz saying “after the catastrophe of the war of 1973, Israel reached an agreement with Egypt, the same agreement that was suggested to Golda Meir by President Anwar Sadat, eight months before the war. Yitzhak Rabin agreed to shake hands with Arafat after only the second intifada and the Qassam rockets on Sedirot. That is why there is no possibility where Netanyahu can reach a two- state solution with the Palestinians without creating a small catastrophe to convince the Israeli public. A new strategic war will have to take place in order for both sides to sit and make painful compromises. Then, the people (of Israel) would accept and understand.”
In summation, Israel’s current state is based upon a brute force which maintains its colonial occupation, racial discrimination and violation of Palestinians’ human rights. Israel has lost its equilibrium which made Israeli writer Ari Shavit say: “If the current situation persists, a big blow up would follow. No one knows its timing but sooner or later it will come from the South (Gaza) or the North (Lebanon) and the thin ice on which we stand will be shattered and we will all fall down. The crossroad on which the Prime Minster now stands, points to two directions, one toward a peace settlement and one toward a deep fall.”