The Israeli Right has offered up legislation to deal with stone throwing, supported new settlements, and at times even championed annexation. The result has only led to a worsening security situation.
In the thick of a wave of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, Israelis are either looking backwards to figure out how we got here, or forward to see if tomorrow things will get worse. And tomorrow looks like a mystery; the Israeli media treats Palestinian violence like the autumn rains that began this week — it comes and goes arbitrarily.
But what about the longer-term future? Is there any chance for a policy shift? After three wars in Gaza, nothing there fundamentally changed. Regarding the West Bank, several main policy approaches have emerged in recent days: from the broad left, the far right, and the prime minister, who reflects the mainstream right wing in Israel today.
The Israeli Left calls half-heartedly for a negotiated two-state solution. But there is a feeling in the air that they must apologize or keep silent for the special crime of believing that ending military rule through a negotiated political framework could reduce violence. Their voice is stifled, because at moments like these, Israelis view a two-state solution as a prize for violence, or at the very least, a generous concession Palestinians do not deserve.
The left’s all-but discredited approach hardly matters anyway, since it has no political power. The two streams of right-wing thinking are those that will determine Israeli policy now and for the foreseeable future.
The prime minister, as usual, indicates no overall vision regarding the future of the conflict. Instead, Netanyahu used his press conference on Thursday to insist that the current violence is not caused by settlements (or by extension, the occupation). He scoffed that the attackers inside the Green Line “just want to destroy.” He talked about protecting the security of Israeli citizens; nary a word about the long term. It is fair to conclude that there will be no change in his no-policy approach.
The response of the further-right — settlers and certain members of the Jewish Home party and Likud — involves several themes.
Get tough. Many demand a crackdown, as if Israel has been soft until now. Over the summer, Israel passed legislation stipulating sentences of 10-20 years’ prison time for different types of...Read More