Netanyahu can feel safe. The threat of Bennet and the extreme right demanding the adoption of the single state project as a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians lost all force. The Israeli Prime Minister’s reassurance is the result of the unprecedented enlistment of the main opposition behind his project to perpetuate the status quo in the region.

Netahyanhu and Herzog walking together

After a year and a half of stammering behind a disappointing flirtation with the aim of joining the Netanyahu government, Ytzhak Herzog, the main opposition leader, publicly announced his proposed settlement of the conflict with the Palestinians. In an extensive note published in the Haaretz newspaper, the head of the Avoda party promises that compliance with the 10 basic points proposed in its publication gives security that everything can be resolved in negotiations that would begin “within 10 years”, an eternity in the Levantine calendar.

In the second point Herzog states: “The parties must set a time limit up to 10 years, during which the whole area west of Jordan will be declared a place free of violence”. Subsequently, point 9 expresses his wishful thinking that, “After this period, assuming that it has passed without violence, both sides will start direct negotiations, with the support of neighboring countries and the international community. The talks will be held without preconditions, between two equal partners, in a serious and resolute manner, and will lead to a global and definitive peace agreement that will solve the controversial issues, establish permanent borders and end the conflict”.

This illusory assumption of an end with diplomacy in the best style of peaceful Scandinavian neighbors, Herzog promises that if during that decade basically the following conditions are fulfilled:

– Israel completes the separation fence that was partly built on Palestinian lands confiscated by army force.

– Even if it is tacitly inverse, Israel will continue to expand Jewish settlements in recognized settlements in the West Bank and will not exceed them.

– The Palestinians will continue to operate with all efforts to prevent terrorism.

– The Israeli army will continue to operate throughout the West Bank area to the Jordan River and around the Gaza Strip.

– A long spate of theoretically fanciful and virtually fictitious promises to support the economic and civil development of Palestinian society.

To tell the truth, it is difficult to find a description so brief, but very close to reality, of the situation that this region has been living for at least 20 years.

Not by chance, the considerations that anticipate and later clarifications of the 10 mentioned points were written in the style of Netanyahu. In this way, Herzog expresses himself: “What is more important, the slip towards annexation, a hell of the kind we have seen in Bosnia and now in Syria” (neutralize Bennet, DK) will stop. “The paradigm of the two states will be preserved.” (The evasive will continue. DK). To end with the main goal of the status quo: “This is how we will save the settlement blocs and keep them under Israeli sovereignty. It will be the true victory of Zionism”.

Netanyahu is expected to return in the coming days on a successful tour in Singapore and Australia. Probably his first act after landing should be run to embrace Herzog.

These positions of Herzog clearly demonstrate that in a cardinal issue of the political direction of the country there are no differences between government and opposition. In spite of a flourishing speech in favor, one can safely say that 95% of the Jewish component of Israeli society is in practice opposed to the two-state project for two peoples to cling to the eternalization of the current situation.

Herzog, as leader of the Avoda party, shows that he is very concerned about keeping the tradition of political betrayal very well to the old principles of the party to approach the soft couches of the government, as instilled by its creators: Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak. This is again demonstrated by the fact that, given the lack of practical opposition in critical areas of the country’s political management, the slogan “only democracy in the Middle East” lacks an important part of its content.

The policy of eternal support of the current status quo has bewitched Israeli society. It may be worth remembering the times of Golda Meir in the early 1970s. Then, between general banquets and victory albums, Moshe Dayan, Minister of Security, categorically stated that “time plays in our favor,” until everything exploded in the face.

Daniel Kupervaser

Herzlya – Israel 24-2-2017

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