الرئيسية » هاني المصري »   09 شباط 2015

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Let Bibi Win‏
هاني المصري

The record shows that left-wing Israeli governments are no better than their right-wing counterparts; it would thus be better for Bibi Netanyahu to win the coming elections so as to reveal Israel’s true face, says Hani al-Masri in Palestinian al-Ayyam

As Israel prepares to hold early elections next month (March), a brief survey of the history of successive right-wing, centrist, and left-wing Israeli governments shows that no political force is willing to make a just and sustainable peace with the Palestinians, maintains a leading Palestinian commentator. It would therefore be better for current right wing PM Netanyahu and his coalition to win the coming elections since that would ensure that Israel's true nature remains clear to the world.

WASHINGTON’S AIM: "Ever since early elections were announced in Israel, the U.S. administration launched a process whose indirect aim is to topple Binyamin Netanyahu and his extremist government and empower a new government that would help to revive the so-called 'peace process'," writes Hani al-Masri in the leading Palestinian dailyal-Ayyam.

It is in this context that [U.S. Secretary of State] Kerry tried to convince the Palestinian president [Mahmoud Abbas] to postpone bringing the Palestinian/Arab draft resolution before the UN Security Council [last December]. And when he failed, he exerted strenuous efforts to ensure that the draft would not secure the nine votes required to put it to the vote, and that Washington would not have to use its veto against it. That would have sent a negative signal to the Palestinians, the Arabs, and Muslims at a time when Washington needed them to secure a victory in the new war it has declared on terrorism in its ISIS-version.

This is the same broken record that we have been hearing for the past forty years whenever efforts to reach a peace agreement fail as a result of successive Israeli governments' intransigence and extremism. The Palestinians are deceived by being told that they have to be patient until a new Israeli government comes to power, and that if it fails to be more responsive, the U.S. president will pressure it as soon as he is elected for a second term when he has nothing to fear from pro-Israeli pressure groups.

But Israeli governments come and gone, and every new government has been more extreme than its predecessors. And American presidents have come and gone, and every one of them has competed with his predecessor in currying Israel's favor. Bill Clinton broke his promise to Yasser Arafat and held him responsible for the failure of the [2000] Camp David summit. Bush Jr. took office and led the campaign to replace Arafat's leadership, until the Palestinian president was assassinated with American approval.

As for Obama, and although he wishes to get rid of Netanyahu, he has not held him responsible for the failure of U.S. efforts. The furthest that Kerry has gone has been to hold both sides responsible for the failure of over forty shuttle trips he undertook. That was his verbal position; but in practice, he threatened the Palestinians to use the U.S. veto, cut off aid, and sever relations with them, should they proceed with the policy of internationalizing the conflict.

Israel itself– and not just its right wing parties– has proven that it is not ready for peace with the Palestinians, or any settlement that would grant the latter the very bare minimum of their rights. There may be some important differences in Israel over certain issues; but there is a consensus over the basic 'No's' that unite the various Israeli parties, despite their differing agendas. These are: ‘No’ to a return to the 1967 borders; ‘no’ to concessions regarding Jerusalem which must be kept as the eternal and united capital of Israel; ‘no’ to the right of return or any just solution for the refugee problem. In addition, Israel's security is the sole and basic point of reference for any negotiations or solution, while the Israeli state’s Jewish character is a matter of unwavering principle.

The disagreements between the various Israeli parties, are between those who call for a Palestinian state on the basis of these 'No's'; those who insist on imposing self-rule on the Palestinians forever; those who believe that recognition of 'Jewish' Israel is a precondition for resuming the negotiations or signing any agreement; and those who hold that Israel is 'Jewish' and should remain so, and that there is no need to recognize the Palestinians or any ‘other’.

There are some who believe that a united Jerusalem does not conflict with Israel's abandonment of some densely inhabited Arab neighborhood in the city's eastern part as a means of preserving the purity of the 'Jewish' state. They believe that rejecting the right of return does not conflict with permitting a few thousand refugees to return to Israel, but only as part of Israel’s 'family reunification' policy that has existed ever since the Hebrew state was founded, allowing a few individuals to join their families.

As proof of the above, we note that [former Israeli PM] Yitzhak Rabin – who signed the 'peace of the brave' with Yasser Arafat and received the Nobel Prize for peace – was asked after signing the 1993 Oslo Accords: What do you intend to give the Palestinians in the final status agreement? He said: 50% of Judea and Samaria. He was then told: No Palestinian leader can agree to that. He responded: In that case, each side will keep what it already has!

Similarly, [former Israeli PM] Ehud Barak was asked about the ‘generous offer’ he presented in the Camp David summit. He said: I was going to give them 85% of Judea and Samaria (not the rumored 96% as some Palestinians and Arabs believed). But what was in fact offered to them was barely 69% at best, with the partition of East Jerusalem and sovereignty over the Aqsa Mosque and a resolution of the refugee problem based on Clinton's parameters.

Nor is what [former Israeli PM] Ehud Olmert had offered much different to what Ehud Barak had offered; in fact it was worse. Moreover, his proposals were made against the background of his attempt to avoid the scandals that were pursuing him from every side. In fact, his proposals were not even accepted by his foreign minister Tzipi Livni at the time, who said that these proposals would not get past the government he was heading, and that Israel would not accept them. She proclaimed her opposition to the return of even a single Palestinian refugee, and her insistence on Israel as a Jewish state.

Finally, there is no need to offer evidence of how hostile Netanyahu's government is to peace, or even to the establishment of a puny Palestinian state. Everything it says and does indicates that it only believes in force, expansion, and buying sufficient time to impose a fait accompli that renders its version of an Israeli solution as the sole practical possibility.

Moreover, there is no real alternative to the Israeli right, because the center and the remnants of the left do not differ that much from it. This is especially true in light of the fact that U.S. or any outside intervention to topple Netanyahu is likely to work in his favor. In fact, it may be better for the Palestinians if Netanyahu wins again, despite the fact that his hands are still dripping with Palestinian blood. This is because he and the parties in his coalition display Israel's true nature, which will force the Palestinians, Arabs, and all lovers of freedom in the world to unite against him, intensifying the pressures on his government.

By contrast, should the so-called [Herzog-Livni led] 'Zionist camp' succeed in coming to power together with some right-wing and centrist parties and the remnants of the left and an obstructive Arab parliamentary bloc, this would only mask Israel's true face. At the same time, such a government would remain subject to blackmail by the strong right-wing parties, because the former parties do express the prevailing mood in Israel.

A new government will continue the ongoing aggression, settlement construction and racism, just as the various Labor governments have done ever since the establishment of the state, coupled with meaningless talk of peace, the search for Palestinian partners and the need for a Palestinian state.

"This is the state that [former Israeli president] Shimon Peres and his ilk gave us headaches when talking of, while providing the best cover for the right wing that is destroying all the requirements for its establishment," concludes Masri.

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