There are no negotiations on the horizon, no deals on the table and no calls to end the violence. This moment in Israeli politics is dismal, yet sobering.
It was hard not to feel just a bit giddy in recent weeks about the possibility that corruption investigations against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may eventually bear fruit. It was also hard not to feel some excitement about the prospect of early elections due to a coalition breakdown, which would mean the possibility, however minute, of ending Netanyahu’s nearly decade-long reign. Even though Netanyahu’s conviction is still out of reach, and general elections, whenever they happen, are no reason to rejoice —Netanyahu’s Likud Party continues to dominate the polls, and the alternatives are all variations on the same theme — it was tempting to feel there might be a minuscule ray of light in the endlessly dark tunnel. A sudden bit of oxygen in the room.
For those of us who have been living, following and writing about Israeli politics for many years, the current moment is significant. Not because there is anything new, but precisely because nothing is new. For those of us who internalized some time ago that Israel’s occupation is not an unavoidable situation or a temporary condition, but, in fact, the country’s largest national project; for those of us who have for years scoffed at the notion of an American-mediated “peace process” — this moment is significant.
For the first time since I can remember in my brief lifetime, we are squarely in a period where there is not only no peace process, but no facade of one, no developments to look forward to except for further violence. There are no negotiations on the horizon, no deal on the table, no set of parameters, no scheduled summits, no backdoor meetings, no time-frames, no guiding principles, and no calls to end the violence. The Trump Administration’s entrance a year ago, and its subsequent policy decisions, has made this all the more evident. While it is refreshing that there are no longer any smokescreens, it is also utterly depressing.
Growing up in the 1990’s, I remember there was always some benchmark in Israeli politics and its conflict with Palestinians to look forward to, always some ball in motion, some hurdle to cross, something to somehow feel hopeful about. When I was 12, Rabin and Arafat shook hands on the White House Lawn,...Read More