When leaders from center-left aren’t willing to deepen the struggle against the occupation, it’s hard not to feel that they, too, prefer the status quo. Notes from the Haaretz Conference for Peace.
The most genuine moments at Thursday’s Haaretz Conference on Peace came from two right-wing speakers — Yariv Levin and Ze’ev Elkin, both ministers in Netanyahu’s government — who unequivocally called the two state-solution a “hallucination,” which they have no plans of ever implementing. Since neither of them have any intention of granting citizenship to Palestinians under occupation, they view the current situation as the solution.
Around the same time Prime Minister Netanyahu tweeted that despite what he may have said during his recent trip to the United States, he has no intention of unilaterally evacuating West Bank settlements:
אין לי שום כוונה לפנות או לעקור יישובים, הטעות הזאת לא תחזור. pic.twitter.com/LHSxIPuFUu
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) November 11, 2015
(Translation: I have no intention of evacuating or uprooting settlements, this mistake will not be repeated)
And just as Netanyahu is not willing on signing an agreement that any sane Palestinian leadership could live with, he also believes that the status quo is the solution — at least in the near future.
I spent a good part of the day at Haaretz’s conference (I did not stay until the end), and the incredible thing is that these declarations — which did not come from the fringes of the right, but from the Israeli government and its spokespeople — did not seem to make an impression on anyone there. Very few of the speakers or panelists referred to them, and those who did — such as Joint List head Ayman Odeh or Amir Peretz of the Zionist Union — argued with Elkin and Levin, rather than dealing with the significance of their statements. As if Levin and Elkin were two internet trolls who happened upon the conference and decided to disrupt us while we were busy drawing up maps and tried to restart negotiations.
Martin Indyk, who was interviewed onstage by Haaretz Editor-in-Chief Aluf Benn, implored the crowd not to give up hope, saying that the problem between the two sides has been a “lack of trust.” Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair believes that Netanyahu is not interested in maintaining the current situation, and that if we only create...Read More