Gershon Baskin

Where to, Israel?

01.02.2017

Gershon Baskin. Photo: Otmar Steinbicker

I love Israel. I really do. I think that we have a lot to be proud of. Our government is not one of them. Our people, on the other hand, are amazing. This country is filled with people who care, who give a damn. No one here is a passive observer of life. Everyone is involved in something, supporting a cause, helping others, believing that they, as individuals and groups, can make a difference. This has been the history of Israel and it is one of our greatest hallmarks. Israel is a vibrant society, a society of initiators and inventors and doers and shakers.

One area of great concern though is an increased feeling among many, perhaps half of the society, that making change is getting more and more difficult. This is, of course, particularly the case in the political arena. Our country is and has been for quite a long time very divided. The country is divided over the issue of borders and the future of the territories of the West Bank or Judea and Samaria that were conquered by Israel 50 years ago. There is also division on how we relate to the relationship between our Jewish identity and our state. The failure of the peace process has accelerated and enhanced these divisions. The failure of the peace process has increased the sense of “no partner” on the other side, and as a result of political stagnation there is a rise in support for unilateral action by Israel. Parts of our society are calling on the government to unilaterally annex parts or all of the West Bank, while others are calling on Israel to cease settlement building east of the separation barrier and even for the unilateral withdrawal of civilians living east of the barrier, leaving only the army there until an agreement can be reached.

Naftali Bennett and his Bayit Yehudi party have stated explicitly what we can easily understand implicitly is the opinion of the prime minister and his Likud party: the choice for Israel is between the two-state solution or a “Greater Israel.” If this is the choice, Netanyahu, Bennett and all others in the Israeli government accept the latter option; even those who don’t express it explicitly are implementing it by acquiescence to policies that in practice prevent the two-state option. But they are not only fooling themselves, they are lying to the public and engaging in the creation of facts on the ground that place our great State of Israel in existential danger. There is no one-state option that enables Israel to be both the nation-state of the Jewish people and democratic. Anyone who states differently is either living in a dream world or is consciously lying. It is possible that there are those messianics among the annexationists who honestly believe that whatever they do, God is on their side and will protect the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I wonder what they will say when reality proves differently and more Israelis are going to be burying their loved ones, killed in more senseless violence generated by a conflict which thrives on hatred. Annexation of parts of the West Bank or all of the West Bank will not eliminate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – quite the opposite.

Almost everything that the current government of Israel does is in direct opposition to almost everything I believe in – and I believe that many other Israelis who love Israel as well disagree with their government and love the country no less than those who support the government. This government is moving Israel further and further away from any chances of peace with our neighbors and even with our own Palestinian Arab citizens, 20% of the population. Rather than seeking to solve problems of planning and building in the Palestinian communities in Israel, which have been neglected by governments since the founding of Israel, Netanyahu and his government destroy, demolish and breed hatred and despair. The Palestinian citizens of Israel, who most recognize the benefits of being Israeli citizens, are increasingly being told by their country that this is not really their country and that they will never really achieve full and equal rights.

There is much that Israel can do to improve the relations with our Palestinian neighbors, even without a peace process, but the government of Israel is doing the opposite. Palestinians will never agree to increased settlement building. They will never acquiesce to having their land confiscated and having Israelis build houses in their place. Legalizing land theft by passing a law in the Knesset will not remove the stain of theft and will never lead to peaceful relations between Jews and Palestinians.

Beyond the issue of settlement building, the tool of economics is not utilized by the government of Israel to even slightly improve the situation. Rather than recognizing the economic power that Israel possesses in its ability to enable the Palestinian economy to grow and prosper, even before reaching full political agreements, the government of Israel tightens control and makes it increasingly difficult for Palestinians to live on their own land. The Israeli noose around more than 60% of the West Bank (Area C) under full Israeli control limits more than anything the economic growth potential of the Palestinian economy. Increased home demolitions throughout Area C sends a clear message to Palestinians – there is no room for you on this land. Controls on movement and access, imports and exports, electricity and water, the flow of capital – every aspect of the Palestinian economy is controlled by Israel and rather than working with Palestinians to improve their daily lives, Israel is constantly making their lives more intolerable. Where is the logic in this? Do the members of Netanyahu’s government and he himself really believe that millions of Palestinians are going to pick up and leave?

I, like many other Israelis, about half of the country, are truly fearful for the immediate future of our home. Netanyahu and the Right have been in power long enough to show their true face. They have led us down a very dark path and we are now standing on a cliff, staring into the abyss. Too much is at stake and too many innocent people will continue to pay with their lives. Netanyahu is dangerous for us all.

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


World Wide Web aixpaix.de

Beiträge von Gershon Baskin
2017

Where to, Israel?

Get out of our lives already!

The authority of the Authority

2016

The state of denial

Settlements, annexation and the death of Zionism

It’s not just the economy

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

Atomwaffen raus aus dem Arsenal

Was Abbas Israel sagen sollte

Obama, gestatte es uns nicht!

Ist mein zionistischer Traum gestorben?