We gave peace (more than one) chanceland for peace just isn't going to happen.
ISRAELIS LIVE in a world of utter cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, our region is becoming ever more dangerous and our foes ever more honest about their desire to destroy the Jewish state. And on the other hand, much of the world insists that "land for peace" simply must work; some American Jewish leaders actually urged Israel, even in the midst of the Gaza conflict, to return to the negotiating table. It would be funny were it not so sad and so dangerous.Read the whole thing. He's spot-on.
That is why the upcoming election, sobering though it is, may actually prove important. Israelis across the spectrum are acknowledging what they used to only whisper: the old paradigm is dying.
Naftali Bennett of the Bayit Yehudi party explicitly states that "land for peace" is dead and advocates annexing the portion of the West Bank known as Area C. Yair Shamir of Yisrael Beytenu says that regardless of Netanyahu's Bar- Ilan speech, the Likud never endorsed a Palestinian state. Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party's website makes no mention of going back to the negotiating table.
Neither does the Labor Party platform.
Even Meretz recently acknowledged that Oslo is dead.
To give up hope for peace is not to choose war. Egypt's present and Jordan's future indicate how little is guaranteed by a treaty; the Palestinian present shows that we can have quiet even in the face of stalemate. What Israelis now want is quiet, and a future. Nothing more, nothing less. And most importantly, no more illusions.
The demise of the peace addiction is no cause for celebration; it is merely cause for relief. There is something exhausting about living a life of pretense; with the death of illusion comes the possibility of shaping a future. After a new government is formed, a genuine leader could actually lead Israelis into a "what next" conversation. Deciding what comes next, now that we sadly know that the idea of "land for peace" is dead, will not be easy. Israel could make wise decisions or terrible mistakes.
But if, as a result of this election, we begin to have a conversation about a future that we can actually have, the Jewish state will be much better off.
Israel, though, is likely to make much better choices if it is joined in its hardearned realism by forces outside the country too. Now that Israelis are getting honest, the question is whether the international community - and then American Jews - will follow suit. On the former front, there are occasional causes for optimism. The Washington Post, for example, recently acknowledged that the international community's rhetoric has become an obstacle rather than a help. "Mr. Netanyahu's zoning approval is hardly the 'almost fatal blow' to a twostate solution that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described... If Security Council members are really interested in progress toward Palestinian statehood, they will press Mr. Abbas to stop using settlements as an excuse for intransigence - and cool their own overheated rhetoric."
Amen to that. But what about American Jewish leaders? They will likely find admitting that "land for peace" is dying no less difficult than anyone else. Will they listen carefully to what the Israeli electorate, across the spectrum, is saying? I hope so. Because loving someone means helping them to fashion a future that is possible, not harboring an exhausted illusion that can only yield pain and disappointment. The same is true with loving Israel.
By the way, if you go through the parties he listed there, the only party left that is still promoting land for peace is HaBdicha, the Tzipi Livni party. Old ideas die hard.