Analysis News

Why Israel won’t sign any ceasefire that’s fair

A fair ceasefire would bring major relief for Gaza, which would mean Hamas wins the war.

The ceasefire that the world is now pushing for – one that, as UN chief Ban Ki-Moon put it, not only ends the fighting but also ends Israel’s “chokehold on Gaza” – is one that the Netanyahu government will not accept. It should accept it, because Gazans have the right to be free, but it won’t. Its rejection of John Kerry’s offer on Friday – which reportedly would have allowed the Israeli army to go on destroying Gazan tunnels even during a week-long ceasefire – is a sign of this.

Secretary of State John Kerry with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, September 15, 2013 (State Dept. Photo)

Secretary of State John Kerry with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, September 15, 2013 (State Dept. Photo)

If Israel agrees to end the war on terms that grant major, transformative relief to Gaza, that largely lift the blockade on the Strip and allow Gazans substantial freedom of movement – which is what Ban and even Kerry are talking about – then Hamas wins the war.

And this Israeli government will not allow that, not only because of false national pride, but also because if Hamas wins freedom for Gaza, it will take over the West Bank, directly or indirectly. The Palestinian Authority will collapse – to be replaced by Hamas or the Israeli military, either scenario being a nightmare for Israel – or the Palestinian Authority will refuse to go on playing Israel’s cop and begin demanding freedom for the West Bank, too.

As Noam Sheizaf wrote, Israel could agree to a ceasefire that ended the chokehold on Gaza if it was ready to end the occupation of the Palestinian territories altogether, in the West Bank as well. But it’s not. And so the only ceasefire the Netanyahu government will agree to is one that gains Gaza nothing or, at most, finds Israel throwing it a bone, thereby teaching Hamas and the rest of the Palestinians that firing rockets at Israel – even under extreme Israeli provocation – gets them nothing but a lot more pain.

So long as the Israeli government is committed to ruling the Palestinians, any meaningful  relaxation of that rule as a result...

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Israel during wartime: Loving our soldiers to death

War brings out the best in Israel, and the worst. But it’s the worst qualities that allowed this war to happen in the first place, and that are preparing the ground for the next one.

I’ve always thought, and still think, that if I were in real trouble somewhere, if I were being mugged in Miami, say, and I could choose the nationality of the nearest bystander, I would choose Israeli. They are brave, and they don’t hesitate to help someone in danger, even at risk to themselves. It’s a worn-out cliché, and I’ve found it to be very true.

And the war going on now, from an Israeli Jewish vantage point, is sort of that quality played out on a national scale. First of all, of course, there are the ground troops going into Gaza. As wrong as this war is, the young combat soldiers going in to fight are risking their lives, and some of them are dying or getting very badly wounded. They are brave. And they are ready to die to save their fellow soldiers. (And I don’t blame them for this war; they were born and bred for it.) I don’t think there can be many Israeli Jews today, no matter their political opinions, who, if they think about these soldiers, can help being moved by them and caring for them.

Funeral of Israeli soldier Banaya Rubel, Holon, Israel. Rubel was killed during clashes in Gaza. (photo: Activestills.org)

Funeral of Israeli soldier Banaya Rubel, Holon, Israel. Rubel was killed during clashes in Gaza. (photo: Activestills.org)

And Israelis’ instinctive readiness to help in a time of need is coming out abundantly across the home front, across Israeli society at large. One tiny example: This morning I went to the neighborhood grocery store and they’ve got a box for people to donate sanitary wipes, underwear and other items for the soldiers stuck for days and nights in the field. They have another box to donate nuts and cookies and stuff for the shiva, the seven-day Jewish mourning period, for a soldier in Modi’in who was just killed.

This is a very emotional experience. Most Israeli Jews have family members or friends in Gaza; I do, too. But even for those who don’t, everyone is just surrounded by this story of young guys going in to...

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‘Finish the job’

This is the watchword in Israel today, no matter the price.

Late last night (Monday), I was driving home from work and listening to the talk show hosted by Jojo Abutbul, who is sort of an old-time folk hero in this country – a Mizrahi Jew with down-to-earth wisdom. An Israeli common man. He speaks mainly to an older, Likud-oriented Mizrahi crowd, which is still very reflective of Israeli mainstream views, and is disproportionately represented in Sderot and some of the other towns near the Gaza border that have taken the brunt of Hamas’ rockets. Jojo Abutbul and his callers are an important voice in Israeli public opinion, especially now, during the war. They’re thought to be on the right wing of the mainstream.

They were speaking after a day in which seven Israeli soldiers had been killed, and a family of 26 had been killed in Gaza. The first tragedy overhung everything they said; the second was not mentioned. And the phrase that kept being repeated was, “Finish the job.” Abutbul said, “It hurts me, the number of soldiers who have fallen. But I think I’ll be able to withstand any number if they finish the job. But if even one soldier meets his fate and they don’t finish the job, then I’m going to find this impossible to take.”

A mourner carries the body of a child among 24 members of the Abu Jamea family, who were killed the previous day during an Israeli attack over the Bani Suhaila neighborhood of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip.

A mourner carries the body of a child among 24 members of the Abu Jamea family, who were killed the previous day during an Israeli attack over the Bani Suhaila neighborhood of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip.

I thought, well, that’s an “authentic” Israeli voice today, but it’s not the only one, and it’s probably somewhere to the right of the center of gravity. I still believed there were a lot of Israelis who are saying “enough” – not just left-wingers but centrist Israelis who cannot take anymore Israeli soldiers getting killed and want the fighting to end now. This, after all, is supposed to be a basic truth about the Israeli political mentality – that they won’t stand for large numbers of casualties in war. And seven soldiers were killed yesterday,...

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The ‘terror tunnels’: Another Israeli self-fulfilling prophecy

There were non-lethal ways to preempt Hamas’ underground attacks, but the Netanyahu government rejected them all.

Here is the current, ostensibly airtight rationale for whatever the IDF chooses to do in Gaza: armed Hamas militats are coming up out of tunnels that start in Gaza and end not far from kibbutz and moshav communities on the Israeli side. So if the IDF doesn’t go as far into Gaza as necessary to destroy the last of these underground passages, sooner or later Hamas will succeed in carrying out “catastrophic” terror attacks, as Netanyahu puts it. The army has stopped several of them since Thursday night’s ground invasion of the Strip; today (Monday) soldiers were wounded in Israeli territory stopping another one.

Funeral of Israeli soldier Banaya Rubel, Holon, Israel. Rubel was killed during clashes in Gaza. (photo: Activestills.org)

Funeral of Israeli soldier Banaya Rubel, Holon, Israel. Rubel was killed during clashes in Gaza. (photo: Activestills.org)

An unnamed IDF commander put the case very well to Yedioth Ahronoth’s Nahum Barnea:

The IDF’s war to wipe out the threat from the tunnels is not an aggressive operation. It’s a preemptive attack, a completely defensive operation. … Imagine if someone in Hamas makes the decision to send out on some dark night, by surprise, teams of commandos through all the tunnels, and they go on a killing spree in the communities near the Gazan border. …

It’s true that many soldiers [13 – L.D.] were killed tonight. It’s likely that more will be killed. But think of the alternative. How could we look kibbutz or moshav members near Gaza in the eye if a commando unit were to infiltrate and kill dozens of their people? Now that we know the tunnels are there, we can’t allow ourselves the luxury of doing nothing about them.

It sounds entirely reasonable – Hamas is using tunnels to try to kill Israelis on Israeli territory, so the IDF has to go into Hamas’ territory and wipe out those tunnels. And it might be reasonable – if there were no other way Israel could avoid being attacked through those tunnels. It might be reasonable if Israel wasn’t choking Gaza and the West Bank for 47 years. It might be reasonable if Israel hadn’t provoked the war that led to these underground...

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Blame Israel and Hamas both for Gaza’s civilian deaths

Sorting through the propaganda war.

The main outrage now, in the fourth day (Friday) of Operation Protective Edge, as Israel calls it, is the rising number of killings of Palestinian civilians by Israeli airstrikes, mainly as a result of attacks on residential buildings where militants live or are thought to live.

Haaretz reported that the Palestinian Health Ministry said that of the 86 Gazans killed by Wednesday night, most were children (22), women (15) and the elderly (12). And that didn’t count the five members, at least, of the Ghaneem family in Rafah who were killed when their four-story building, home to some 30 people, was hit overnight.

As usual, the propaganda war between Israel and the Palestinians over civilian casualties goes like this: Palestinians accuse Israel of deliberately targeting civilians, while Israel blames the deaths and injuries on Hamas and other militant groups for using the civilian population as “human shields.”

But the Palestinians’ accusation against Israel is false, while the Israeli claim against the Palestinians is partly false, partly true, but basically misleading. The main reason for the high number of Palestinian civilian casualties, obviously, is that an incredibly powerful air force is bombing the hell out of one of the most crowded, vulnerable places in the world – and the fault for that lies with Israel, whose punitive, often lethal blockade of Gaza, together with its military occupation of the West Bank, invites Palestinians to fight back. As in all its wars with the Palestinians since 1967, Israel is the aggressor in Operation Protective Edge.

But while the Israeli Air Force’s assault guarantees that a high proportion of civilians in Gaza are going to get killed and maimed, that’s not because of the air force’s efforts in this respect, but despite them. TIME Magazine’s Karl Vick wrote on Thursday:

The problem is not that the Israeli army is unusually brutal, as armies go; if anything, the opposite is the case. The problem – in Gaza and the West Bank, now and before – is that the IDF is a colonial army, which is an inherently brutal role, one that other armies were ordered by their governments to give up decades ago.

About Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other armed groups using Gazan civilians as “human shields.” This Israeli claim is based on the fact that Gazan militants live among the civilian population and keep much...

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How Netanyahu provoked this war with Gaza

His antagonism to all Palestinians – to Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority no less than to Hamas – started and steadily fueled the chain reaction that led to the current misery.

On Monday of last week, June 30, Reuters ran a story that began:

So even by Israel’s own reckoning, Hamas had not fired any rockets in the year-and-a-half since “Operation Pillar of Defense” ended in a ceasefire. (Hamas denied firing even those mentioned by Netanyahu last week; it wasn’t until Monday of this week that it acknowledged launching any rockets at Israel since the 2012 ceasefire.)

So how did we get from there to here, here being Operation Protective Edge, which officially began Tuesday with 20 Gazans dead, both militants and civilians, scores of others badly  wounded and much destruction, alongside about 150 rockets flying all over Israel (but no serious injuries or property damage by Wednesday afternoon)?

We got here because Benjamin Netanyahu brought us here. He’s being credited in Israel for showing great restraint in the days leading up to the big op, answering Gaza’s rockets with nothing more than warning shots and offering “quiet for quiet.” But in fact it was his antagonism toward all Palestinians – toward Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority no less than toward Hamas – that started and steadily provoked the chain reaction that led to the current misery.

Israeli tanks on the border with Gaza. (photo: Activestills)

Israeli tanks on the border with Gaza. (photo: Activestills)

And nobody knows this, or should know it, better than the Obama administration, which is now standing up for Israel’s “right to defend itself.”

It was Netanyahu and his government that killed the peace talks with Abbas that were shepherded by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry; the Americans won’t exactly spell this out on-the-record, but they will off-the record. So a week before those negotiations’ April 29 deadline, Abbas, seeing he wasn’t getting anywhere playing ball with Israel and the United States, decided to shore things up at home, to end the split between the West Bank and Gaza, and he signed the Fatah-Hamas unity deal – with himself as president and Fatah clearly the senior partner. The world – even Washington – welcomed the deal, if warily so, saying unity between the West Bank and Gaza was a...

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Why isn’t the West Bank rioting, too?

And why doesn’t anyone in Israel seem to notice this? Answer: for the same reason that the Palestinian riots started in the first place.

With Palestinians protesting violently in East Jerusalem and the Israeli north, and with Palestinians in Gaza, or some of them anyway, firing rockets into Israel’s south, who are the only Palestinians in this land who are not raising hell these days?

The Palestinians of the West Bank. They threw a lot of rocks when the Israeli army invaded the Hebron area gunning for Hamas and looking for Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaar and their kidnappers, but since the boys were found murdered a week ago and the army left, the West Bank has been remarkably quiet. Even in the last few days, following the discovery of Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s burnt body, when Palestinian violence has spread through East Jerusalem and Israel’s “Arab Triangle,” when we’re on the verge of war with Gaza again, there’s little news from the West Bank.

Yet nobody notices.

Why is the West Bank, the heart of the Palestinian nation, the most populous part of it, and the part that comes most harshly under Israel’s malign power, davka the one part of the Palestinian nation that isn’t rebelling against Israel today? Why is the West Bank, which is most closely associated with the first and second intifadas, now largely absent from the action that threatens to turn into a third one?

Because of Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. It’s not that the people of the West Bank don’t want to attack Israeli soldiers and settlers, it’s that the PA security forces are doing their best not to let them. PA troops, not Israeli troops, keep order in the cities, villages and refugee camps where the West Bank’s Palestinians live, and it is those PA troops – unlike Israeli police in East Jerusalem and the Triangle these days – who are keeping a lid on the tension. It is thanks to Abbas and the PA that the 2.5 million Palestinians of the West Bank are not rioting en masse against Israeli soldiers and settlers.Newsletter banner 6 -540
And nobody in Israel notices. Just like nobody in Israel noticed it for the past several years when PA troops, at Abbas’ orders, were working alongside the IDF and Shin Bet hour-by-hour to shut down...

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The bigoted rants of Shmuley Boteach, 'America’s rabbi'

If any gentile in America wrote about Jews the way he just wrote about Presbyterians – for any reason – he or she would be ostracized from public life for good.

So many pro-Israel Jews are coming down on the Presbyterians as anti-Semites because of their divestment vote, which is a slander. But why aren’t any of them calling out Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s rabbi,” for the bigotry he has been spewing? From his Jerusalem Post column a few days ago:

The rotting corpse of the Presbyterian Church got another nail in its coffin with the vote on Friday …

Now the Church demonstrates that it has no moral compass …

The Presbyterians supposedly believe in the Bible. I say supposedly because I’m confused by their general approach to morality, which seems to follow a show of hands every year at their general conference.

I’m not surprised that the Presbyterians – once the Church of choice for American presidents – is on a steep downward decline and seeing its membership being slowly decimated. The first responsibility of a religion is to serve as a moral voice and teach people right from wrong.

If any gentile in America said that about any stream of Judaism for any reason, he or she would be ostracized from public life for good. But “America’s rabbi” gets away with it.

News flash: Jews aren’t weak anymore, they aren’t oppressed, not in Israel nor in America, and in Israel they are the oppressors, so Jews who defend that oppression with hate speech, like “America’s rabbi,” are entitled to no immunity whatsoever.

Shmuley Boteach is not my idea of a rabbi. He’s my idea of a right-wing religious hustler.

Related:
Is Presbyterian divestment a BDS victory? Who cares
How Israel’s settlement addiction led me to support BDS



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The Israeli media’s hit job on MK Haneen Zoabi

In a now-infamous radio interview, the nation’s Public Enemy No. 1 made it clear she disagreed with the kidnapping of the three Israeli boys. But that part has been edited out of the story by every major news medium except ‘Haaretz.’

MK Hanin Zoabi (photo: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org)

MK Hanin Zoabi (photo: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org)

Once again, Knesset member Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian from Nazareth, is Public Enemy No. 1 in Israel. The Knesset just gave her a bodyguard because of all the death threats she’s been getting, and she’s being investigated for incitement. Everyone is convinced she endorsed the kidnappings of the three Israeli teenagers.

I was convinced, too, after I heard the news reports on Tuesday about her radio interview. It was only this morning, Wednesday, when I saw a translation of the interview and read the story in Haaretz about the whole uproar that I saw Zoabi had made it clear she disagreed with the kidnappings.

“Even if I do not agree with them …” is the phrase she used – and that phrase has been edited out of the reporting of this latest “Zoabi affair” by Israel’s most popular TV news show, Channel 2; its second-most popular one, Channel 10; its most popular newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth; its most widely-distributed newspaper, the freebie Israel Hayom; by the once-influential Ma’ariv newspaper; and by two of the three leading English-language news sites, the Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel (the latter did, however, report that “Zoabi later clarified in an interview on Israel Radio that she does ‘not support the kidnappers, but [kidnapping] is the result of frustration.’”)

Only in Haaretz did anyone read that Zoabi said from the beginning that she disagreed with the kidnappers and their deed. (Full disclosure: I work on the desk at Haaretz in English, but I was off Tuesday.)

Here’s the key passage from Zoabi’s remarks Tuesday morning on Radio Tel Aviv:

Myself, I don’t think the occupation or anything else compels people to kidnap 16-year-old boys – though it clearly provokes them to. And the kidnappers do fit the common definition of “terrorists” – militants who target civilians – but the term “terrorists” also implies that they act purely out of evil intent, without any legitimate political cause, and...

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The kidnapping is indefensible – but Israel helped provoke it

The pain Israelis feel over the three missing boys must be respected, but the fight to end the occupation – including a major BDS effort in America this week – must not stop.

The three boys kidnapped in the West Bank Thursday night are innocent victims. And given their youth (Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaer are both 16, Eyal Yifrah is 19), there’s absolutely no justifying this attack. Youngsters should never be targeted, no matter the political cause.

But while the three boys are innocent and their kidnapping wrong, that doesn’t mean Israel is innocent or right in what it does to the Palestinians; the opposite is the case. Israel is running a military dictatorship in the West Bank, which means Israel shares in the blame for the kidnapping because Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians was at least one of the things, probably the main thing, that provoked it. So ultimately the answer to kidnappings and other acts of terror against Israelis is to end the occupation, let the Palestinians have their state, put up a border between Israel and Palestine like there’s a border between Israel and the other neighboring states, and such attacks will end – especially if Israel has a peace treaty with Palestine like it does with Egypt and Jordan.

A long time ago there were influential Israelis making this argument, even in the wake of terror attacks. But you don’t hear them today, because anybody who says such a thing in 21st century Israel is by definition a person without influence. Outside of Arabs and Jews on the left-wing margin, who weigh nothing in the Israeli body politic, nobody is going to be influenced by such an appeal; nobody wants to hear it. Israelis are convinced they offered the Palestinians everything they could ask for – first with Oslo, then with disengagement from Gaza and the prospect of more withdrawals from the West Bank – but the Palestinians turned it down both times, so Israel is off the hook. That’s not true – Israel never offered the Palestinians anything anywhere that could be called independence, sovereignty or statehood – but that’s what Israelis believe.

So the virtually unchallenged view today is that Palestinian terror comes out of the blue – it has nothing to do with the occupation, or Israel’s stance in the just-ended peace process, or its policy toward Palestinian prisoners, or anything...

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First do no harm, J Street

With nothing left to offer except hollow pep talks about the peace process, the liberal lobby is fighting BDS – together with the pro-Netanyahu, pro-occupation American Zionist right. Next stop: the Presbyterian Church USA’s General Assembly.

What is J Street doing? Why is it acting in concert with right-wing Zionist organizations like AIPAC and StandWithUs in fighting against boycott, sanctions and divestment, while offering no alternative of its own for ending the occupation?

Because the truth is that J Street offers no alternative anymore; now that the Kerry talks have failed, and all the secretary of state has to show for them is a footprint on his pants seat courtesy of the Netanyahu government, America is through trying to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And everybody seems to acknowledge this except J Street. Which is not a surprise, because without America in the peace process, J Street’s reason for being is gone.

That’s tough; the organization is going to have to change or close shop. And I hope it does change successfully by finding a new way to advance the two-state solution. Moreover, I hope it finds a less antagonistic way than BDS to accomplish this. And if it does find such a way, I will join J Street in a minute, because as an Israeli I don’t particularly enjoy supporting the boycott of Israel – but I do it because I see no other way anymore to end the occupation and allow the two-state solution to come into being. And nobody else has come up with another way, either. So as far as anyone can see, it’s either BDS or occupation forever.

Yet J Street, by default, has thrown in on the side of occupation forever. With nothing left to offer except hollow pep talks about the peace process, it’s fighting BDS – together with the pro-Netanyahu, pro-occupation American Zionist right.

Its Seattle branch just joined with AIPAC, StandWithUs, the Jewish Agency and Hillel (the last is not a right-wing organization; the first three are) to defeat a BDS motion before the University of Washington’s student government. Not only that, its Seattle branch wrote on its Facebook page that “global BDS is an ineffective, and worse, anti-Semitic, movement.”

Anti-Semitic? Is Jewish Voice for Peace anti-Semitic? Is Stephen Hawking anti-Semitic? Is the European Union anti-Semitic? That’s slander. That’s not liberal Zionism, that’s McCarthyite Zionism....

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Israeli leaders' obscene reaction to the Brussels murders

Netanyahu, Bennett and Liberman used the most horrible sort of anti-Jewish attack as a shield against criticism of their anti-Palestinian policies.

Right-wing Israeli leaders get away with such shameless political exploitation of Jewish tragedies, and no one calls them on it. Their use of the Holocaust is of course an old story; the new one is the way they’ve capitalized on the murders of four people, including a Tel Aviv couple, at the Jewish Museum in Brussels on Saturday.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said the killings were caused by “ceaseless incitement against Jews and their state. On European soil, tales and falsehoods against the State of Israel continue to be heard …”

Far-right religious party leader Naftali Bennett made roughly the same point on his Facebook page: “In this generation anti-Semitism has disguised itself as anti-Israel or anti-Zionist. Why are there people who hate the Jews? That is just the way it is. Why are there people who hate Israel? That is just the way it is.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman singled out the BDS movement for blame. “It’s the result on the ground of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement, among other things in calls to boycott Israel and Israeli products, in anti-Israel activities in international forums and in an automatic, one-sided anti-Israel position.”

Every decent, intelligent person can see what this is: Israel’s leaders are using the most horrible sort of anti-Jewish attack as a shield against criticism of their anti-Palestinian policies. And every decent person has to be appalled by this. Yet you won’t hear any criticism of Netanyahu, Liberman or Bennett from mainstream Jews and certainly not from European gentiles. They’re intimidated, they’re being emotionally blackmailed – the Jews by their fear of being accused of Jewish self-hatred, or treason, or collaboration, or whatever; the gentiles by their fear of being called anti-Semites.

So Israel’s right-wing leaders get away with this, and with everybody else remaining silent, their views are considered the “official” Jewish position, and maybe even the accepted “truth” of the Brussels murders.

This is depressing. As with so much having to do with contemporary Israel, it brings to mind the line from Yeats’ “The Second Coming”: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

The murders in Brussels were most likely committed by a Toulouse-style jihadist or a Kansas City-style neo-Nazi – and neither of those two lethal...

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After Kerry, only BDS may save the two-state solution

Not even Ben-Gurion would be able to rally the political support necessary to displace masses of settlers as long as there is no price to be paid for the occupation. So how much longer can liberal Zionists sit and watch the status quo remain static? If instead of trying to persuade Israel to change, two-state supporters started holding it responsible for refusing to change, it could have a jarring psychological impact on the country and its leaders.

Secretary of State John Kerry waves goodbye. (File photo by State Dept.)

Secretary of State John Kerry waves goodbye. (File photo by State Dept.)

Now that the Kerry peace talks have failed and everyone has given up hoping that Netanyahu will change, what’s the new plan for ending the occupation one day? For liberal Zionists – people who want Israel to become a Jewish state that respects Arabs – it would seem to focus on Isaac Herzog, head of the Labor Party. Unlike fellow centrist party leaders Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid, Herzog hasn’t been in a position of leadership long enough yet to fail or sell out, so he’s the one. The hope is that he can get elected in the coming years to head a coalition government of the center, left, maybe an ultra-Orthodox party, maybe even an Arab party for once, and do what prime ministers going back to Yitzhak Rabin 20 years ago tried but were unable to do – reach a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Putting their hopes on Herzog is a natural progression for liberal Zionists. After all, they can’t just throw in the towel and resign themselves to the occupation being permanent; it’s unthinkable, psychologically insupportable. Besides, who can tell the future? Herzog seems solid; he’s very smart, competent, likable, the son of a beloved army general and president – a consensus-type figure. And now that the Kerry initiative has failed, and even the timid Obama administration is blaming the Netanyahu government for it while exonerating the Palestinians (off the record), clearly the thing to do is replace the Netanyahu government. Then there will be a fighting chance for peace again (unless of course the Republicans get elected).

Here is my heartfelt, urgent advice: forget it. It’s a waste of time. Electoral politics in either Israel or America, as far as it...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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