Gershon Baskin

Encountering peace?

08.12.2016

Gershon Baskin. Photo: Otmar Steinbicker

I don’t know what Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu thinks, what his plans are, his grand strategy for the future of Israel. I know that he is an intelligent man. I know that he does think strategically. I know that he sees himself and his position in historical terms. I believes that he believes that he is the savior of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. He has told us that he is here to prevent the next Holocaust and that he will never compromise on Israel’s security.

But what’s beyond that? What does he really want to do with Judea and Samaria? Does he really imagine that the creeping annexation, now being advanced by a new law that gives the right to the government to confiscate private Palestinian land and turn it over to Israelis, will continue to go by unnoticed and be unchallenged?

It is clear to me that most of the world, including the Arab world does not really care about the Palestinian people and their cause. They, at least the Arab leaders, at best, pay lip service to the Palestinians. The Arab street may support the Palestinians but they are far too busy trying to make a life for themselves in this region of turmoil, lack of democracy and Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. Europe and the United States also are good on rhetoric and sometimes allow some useless resolutions to get through the United Nations and many of its institutions that voice support for the Palestinians or condemn Israel for its settlement activities.

This will not deliver the Palestinians from the burden of facing Israel on their own. The world will not save Palestine nor Israel from what Israel and Palestine do to each other. Even the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement which gets so much press in Israel is totally ineffective, lacks coherent strategy and is even exploited by Israel as a smoke screen. Israel knows that the more noise it makes against BDS the more the world will be engaged in talking about something that has almost no impact on advancing the Palestinian cause.

And while everyone is busy talking about BDS, Israel is continuing to build settlements and confiscating more land from the Palestinians. But to what cause? That is what troubles me.

There will be no imposed solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. No one can force the Israelis and the Palestinians to act against their own interests, nor will any world power apply effective pressure on Israel and the Palestinians to do what they are not prepared to do.

I must say, with sorrow, that I do not expect any effective pressure to emerge from the bottom-up, from the Israeli public nor from the Palestinian public, that will bring about a significant change in the relations or end the conflict. I also do not expect, as have been predicted many times, a collapse of the Palestinian Authority or a new popular violent intifada. The “unsustainability” of the status quo will continue, even though there is no status quo – the situation is changing all of the time – mostly for the worse. The passage of a law in the Knesset that will legalize, from Israeli law perspective, the confiscation of Palestinian privately owned land so that Jews can live on it will speed up the settlement building process which has wide support in the Knesset.

The international community views all Israeli settlement over the Green Line as illegal, yet it has been powerless to stop it. There seems to be a majority within the current Knesset to annex all or parts of area “C,” designated within the Oslo process as being those areas connected to security issues or permanent status issues (meaning Israeli settlements) and remain under full Israeli control. This composes 62% of the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria (readers can decide which name they prefer). Some right-wing members of the Knesset favor a complete annexation of all of the West Bank.

Partial or full annexation now seems to be in the hands of the prime minister. If Netanyahu wants to annex, then Israel will annex, if he does not, then Israel will not. There does not seem to be any ideological problem for Netanyahu to annex the territories – it seems to be pragmatic considerations, including waiting to see what will emerge from the Trump administration after January 20, 2017. The right wing has been preaching annexation for years. They are in power for most of the past 40 years. Now is the time. Why not? The right wing has never disclosed what it intends to do and how it intends to protect Israel against the Palestinians.

Now is the time. Show us what you have and what we get. Show us how annexation of the West Bank does not create a bi-national state. Show us how without a bi-national state Israel remains a democracy with millions of Palestinians under its direct control, under its sovereignty without citizenship and without the right to vote. Show us how this is the fulfillment of Zionism and the Zionist dream. I for one, want to understand finally how it works.

I am against imposed peace. I am hopeful that the new American administration will tell us all that they will not come to our rescue with a new American-led peace initiative. I believe that only together, Israel and Palestine, can we come to terms with each other’s existence and self-determination. I believe that this will occur from the top-down, when we have leaders (on both sides) who are willing to get back to the table. I also believe that this can only be done in a secret channel between the leaders. I don’t believe that Netanyahu is prepared to lead us to peace. I doubt that he is prepared to lead the country to annexation as well, but this creeping annexation that the right wing is pushing through is bad for us all. It seems that the decision not to decide will continue for quite some time to come, but that is not a strategy to lead our nation forward, and it is certainly not the Zionist way.

Gershon Baskin ist Autor des Aachener Friedensmagazins www.aixpaix.de. Seine Beiträge finden Sie hier


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Beiträge von Gershon Baskin
2016

Encountering peace?

Building a shared society

Transitional mind-shifts

Excuse me for asking

Israel needs a fully functioning opposition

Putting the end forward

Speaking peace out loud and all over

Secret back channels

Left, Right, Zionist, anti-Zionist

Clear and measurable steps

Russia?

Palestine-Jordan confederation and peace

The waiting game

The apology, democracy and peace

Sisi, the peace broker

Anti-anti-normalization

The republic of Israel-Palestine?

My enemy's leader

De-risking peace - Part 5

De-risking peace - Part 4

De-risking peace - Part 3

De-risking peace - Part 2

De-risking peace - Part 1

The Left is right

The French connection

The United Nations and Israel’s legitimacy

A moment of opportunity

The darkness of our times

Addressing the core

The worst negotiations, the best negotiations

Palestinian turmoil and Israeli interests

This one is for you - the Palestinians

Palestinian suffering makes no sense for Israel

Creating a compelling vision for peace

It is also in our hands

Sooner or later

There is no partner

There is no partner

2015

Yes, it is difficult to make peace

What does he really want?

To those who oppose Israeli-Palestinian peace

Israel – my sad home

Have I got news for you

It is still not too late for peace

Netanyahu, tell us what you really think!

The partnership challenge

The binational reality that we are experiencing

Abbas is still the leader who can make peace

A new intifada?

After Abbas

The distance between here and peace and security

Doing the wrong thing at that wrong time

The one and only solution!

Yeshayahu Leibowitz was right!

The disengagement – 10 years on: What we choose to forget

Needed - a new approach to Gaza

A bad agreement is better than no agreement

Obviously no peace now, so what then?

Ramadan Kareem!

Israel’s strategic choices regarding Gaza

Anti-normalization hypocrites

FIFA, soccer and the Palestinians

Both sides now

It’s time for Palestine

The citizens’ challenge – from despair to hope

We have the chance to do the right thing in Yarmouks

The world is not against us

This is what you voted for, and this is what you will get

The no decision elections

A cautious peace, but peace nevertheless

For the sake of Israel, Netanyahu must be sent home

Going ballistic even prior to an agreement

To the new IDF chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot

The Peace Bridge

The choices we must make

Israeli elections – It’s not about the economy

Threats and security

2014

Returning to negotiations

Our most important elections

The missed opportunities

We want peace, but they don't

Our future is in our hands

Defining who we are

Unlike religious wars, political wars have solutions

Today and tomorrow

If we had a real leader

Jerusalem of peace, Jerusalem of war

No tango going on at all

The Gaza challenge

Is Hamas prepared to end this war with a long-term ceasefire?

The end of the ceasefire, the renewal of war and the end game

The aftermath

Some thoughts this morning

Regional forum for security and stability – Gaza first

After a long phone conversation with a Hamas leader in Gaza

Don’t destroy Gaza, build it!

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace (part 3 of 3)

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace (part 2 of 3)

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace

Palestinian refugees in Syria

Annexing the West Bank – a catastrophic plan for the Jewish people

Mutual and reciprocal recognition

Our Palestinians, their Jews

A very personal statement on peace

2013

Contextual reciprocity

Negotiating atmospherics

My Conversation With Hamas

Ramadan Kareem

Wahrheit, Lügen und Rechtmäßigkeit

Kauft palästinensisch!

Rat für den Präsidenten

Keine Fortsetzung des Unilateralismus!

Diesen Weg müssen wir einschlagen!

Die Kluft im Umgang mit den israelischen Arabern schließen

2012

Eine Ein-Staat-Realität ist nicht durchführbar

Strategische Fehler und Herausforderungen

Mord an der Chance für Ruhe

Das Ende des Raketenbeschusses aus Gaza

Die Aufgabe eines Staatsmannes

Es gibt einen Ausweg

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Was Abbas Israel sagen sollte

Obama, gestatte es uns nicht!

Ist mein zionistischer Traum gestorben?