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We're not stuck with Palestinians, we're stuck in our own fear

A group of ex-generals is warning Israelis that another Netanyahu-Bennett government will mean being stuck with the Palestinians forever. But no matter what happens, Israelis and Palestinians will always be stuck with each other.

“With Bibi-Bennett, we’ll be stuck with the Palestinians forever.” I noticed a billboard carrying that slogan the other day and was immediately appalled. It is among the most offensive and racist I’ve seen in this campaign — and there is no lack of competition in that department. (i.e., Lieberman just added to his “death penalty for terrorists” slogan a suggested policy of beheading Palestinian citizens of Israel who support terror.)

"With BibiBennett we'll be stuck with the Palestinians forever." Peace and Security Association Facebook campaign page (Screenshot)

“With BibiBennett we’ll be stuck with the Palestinians forever.” Peace and Security Association Facebook campaign page (Screenshot)

At first I thought it was an election campaign poster, maybe by the Zionist Camp. But it is in fact sponsored by an obscure group of former army generals, self-proclaimed “experts in national security” who call themselves the “Peace and Security Association,” one of many ad-hoc groups popping up lately to campaign against Netanyahu. Their years of professional experience, it appears, qualifies and drives them to campaign on hatred and disgust for the Palestinians — which makes them no different than Bennett, Netanyahu, Liberman and others.

But the Palestinians are human beings, not objects you are “stuck” with. And if anyone is stuck, it is the Palestinians — “stuck” with Israel’s occupation for nearly half a century. It is hard to articulate in words just how insulting it is for a group of privileged members of Israel’s version of the military industrial complex to address an entire national group over which it has total control in such a way — and in the name of peace, no less. Think about what it is like for Palestinians citizens of this country to walk past these sign.

And I have news for the “Peace and Security Association”: no matter what happens, Israelis and Palestinians will always be “stuck” with one another. One state or two states, whatever the constellation, Israelis and Palestinians will have to find a way to live together and cooperate — economically, socially, politically, on every level.

So telling Israelis that by unseating Netanyahu they can avoid being stuck with Palestinians is not only offensive, it’s inaccurate and misleading. It is the same misguided thinking that inspired the Labor camp to negotiate and sign the Oslo accords: the idea that it is somehow possible to give the Palestinians a little money and some semblance of autonomy in order to detach and disengage from them and pretend they don’t exist.

Since almost none of the major issues facing Israel have been addressed in this election cycle — i.e. the country has no defined borders, its capital is not internationally recognized, there is no separation between religion and state, and oh yeah, it has held an entire population under military occupation for nearly half a century — it’s tempting to conclude that these elections are about nothing.

But actually, I’ve come to the realization that these elections are in fact about something; they are about how stuck most Israelis are in their own fears, hatred and ignorance. Like Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man wrote, 50,000 Israelis rallied to get Netanyahu out of government but not against the occupation itself, which preceded Netanyahu and transcends him. It’s easy to blame Netanyahu but the obsession with him is psychological projection. Israelis are deflecting their own responsibility for the state this country is in.

While both Netanyahu and Bennett have been inciting against the “Left” throughout the election campaign, at least they are explicit about their hatred and bigotry. The poster claiming to offer an alternative to them is even worse, since it is marketing hatred of the Palestinians behind the disguise of peace.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Johanan

      But the slogan really has a point. A few more Bibi-Bennett governments and the next Rosh-ha-memshalah after them is going to be Isma’il Haniyeh.

      Reply to Comment
    2. JOHN QUINN

      Thank you so much, for your insightful comments of irrefutable truth and decency. As someone whose son is Jewish and has family in Israel, and who grew up in a heavily Jewish neighborhood withcountless personal interactions with victims of the Nazis, this devastation of the lives and entire culture of millions of innocent and basically defenseless humans – Palestinians – is profoundly, wrenchingly troubling. The percentage of Jewish Israelis who seem to hold extraordinarily negative views of Palestinians – to put it MILDLY – is staggering to me. Their land was taken from Palestinians by international decree. This is in no way whatsoever to diminish what Jews suffered under Naziism and otherwise, and previously. But it wasn’t the Palestinians, who historically were quite okay living with Jews, as almost all Arab and Islamic cultures have been. The situation in Israel is horrific. It IS, right now, a massive human rights/humanitarian disaster; a vicious and utterly indefensible state oppression – a slow-motion genocide – of an entire people. If it isn’t changed radically, very soon, there will be a huge uprising. It’s inevitable and totally understandable. And then zionists’ true colors will be seen unequivocally because it seems certain, they will then attempt to commit fast motion genocide. No one is going to say Israel must disappear. That’s ridiculous. It’s here. But so are the Palestinians. There MUST be peace, or else hell on earth.

      Peace. The best way.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Brian

      Mairav do you ever hit the nail on the head with this:

      “It’s easy to blame Netanyahu but the obsession with him is psychological projection. Israelis are deflecting their own responsibility for the state this country is in.”

      As for —

      “One state or two states, whatever the constellation, Israelis and Palestinians will have to find a way to live together and cooperate — economically, socially, politically, on every level.”

      — folks here might want to begin reading or rereading Bernie Avishai’s ideas about confederation:

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/16/how-the-israeli-palestinian-peace-process-became-the-world-s-greatest-bore.html

      http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/durham-redux-one-state-illusions-from-canada-to-the-middle-east

      Reply to Comment
    4. Bryan

      Fear is a powerful weapon in the wrong hands. It is the raison-d’etre of a general, who if he cannot point to mortal threats to the state might as well give up the day-job. It is exploited by preachers of every type, who, while maintaining that they have a message of love and hope and justice, keep their congregation in line by asserting that otherness threatens the purity of their religious community and endangers its redemption (whatever that is). And it is the calling card of the unscrupulous politician, since such is the ease with which an ill-informed human herd can be swayed, it is easier to gain votes by appealing to the worst instincts of the population – hence the denigration of Jews, reds, blacks, yellows, liberals, pacifists, Arabs and Palestinians. Please note I am not saying that Netanyahu is like Adolf Hitler or Joseph McCarthy or Jesse Helms or John McCain – just that he uses the same methods.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Pedro X

      Israel might feel like the man in the Sugarland song “Stuck like Glue”.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iDPw_qjhtM

      Israel does not want to be wed to the Palestinians. Israel offered the Palestinians a equitable divorce but the Palestinians have continually rejected a split preferring fighting and misery for them and their children. After the 1948 war, the Palestinians did not form an independent state. They instead carried on terrorist attacks against Israel. One might recall that after the 1967 war Israel offered to give back most of Judea, Samaria and Gaza to the Arabs but at Khartoum the Arabs issued their three no’s, no peace, no recognition and no negotiations. In 1978 Israel and Egypt offered the Palestinians a seat at the Camp David peace talks and autonomy followed by possible statehood according to the Egyptians. The Arabs responded with shelling from Lebanon. In 1993 Arabs answered the Oslo Accords with blowing up buses and suicide attacks. In 2000, 2001 and 2008 the Palestinians eschewed peace agreements and an independent state. The Arab response to Barak’s offers was the second intifada. Ariel Sharon took all Israeli citizens and soldiers out of Gaza in 2005 and the Palestinians rained down rockets on Israeli civilians.

      In the meantime since 1967 Jews have returned to areas in Judea and Samaria from which they were ethnically cleansed in 1948. They have reclaimed their right to build and develop land as was granted to them by the international community in 1922 and guaranteed by the UN in 1945. President Abbas has said many times that the Eastern part of Jerusalem and all of Judea and Samaria must be ethnically cleansed of Jews again in order for a Palestinian state to be established and the descendants of Arab refugees from 1948 must be allowed the choice to flood the Israeli state. Hamas simply states its goal is to destroy the Israel state and commit genocide against the Jews.

      So go figure, Israel will not remove its military force from Judea and Samaria.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        Surprising isn’t in that the Palestinians do not love and accept the state of Israel for what it is. They are composed of three groups: a discriminated-against group within the 1948 borders who lived under military rule for many years, refugees and their descendants, forced from their homes in 1948 and later, and denied the right to return, and Palestinians in territories conquered in 1967, and still occupied, dispossessed and brutalized nearly fifty years later. As for the myth that Israel wanted to return the occupied territories, Israel at a very early point decided to take the choicest areas, and in reality has only ever offered a limited autonomy, and never national indep0endence to the occcupied.

        Reply to Comment
        • Joel Cantor

          If the palestinians are the original inhabitants of the land, how come they live in towns with Hebrew names?

          Hevron means “Little Friend”
          Bethleham means “House of Bread”
          Jericho means “Moon Town”
          Ramallah means “Heights of God”
          and so on.

          Also, how come there is no such thing as a palestinian language?
          Why there is no such thing as a palestinian religion?
          Additionally, why there was no palestinian state in the West Bank pre-1967?
          Going back to 500 years of Ottoman rule, there was NEVER anything carved out called palestine either. In fact, the region was divided into Sanyaks or Divisions that did not geographically correspond to the palestine claim today.

          If you think about these questions critically, you will soon realise that there are gigantic holes with the palestinian version of history.

          Reply to Comment
          • Hilary Rost

            Just because a name has a Hebrew root therefore it must be Hebrew is nonsense. On this basis every place in Britain with the word Bourg or Borough must be German all places ending in ing have to be Scandinavian etc. When I was a child in the 1940s my bible had a map in it of Palestine. No mention of Israel although some people called Israelites did appear in it.

            Reply to Comment
        • C.C. DeVille

          Bryan, in one of your recent nonsensical, insensitive, erroneous postings, you claim that Hamas terrorism is a “golden oldie” and encourage people to get over it. In this posting, you mention the martial law that ended in 1966 among other historical items as living grievances. I can’t decide if you are a mere putz or an obnoxious bitch.

          Reply to Comment