Israel Right Now, with Shrinking Options
EDITORIAL, 27 June 2016
#435 | Johan Galtung
Israel’s options shrink, with decreasing legitimacy; Palestine’s options increase, with increasing legitimacy:
- UN resolutions, however often vetoed by USA[i] are having a bite;
- More important: the UN legitimation of Palestine as a “non-member observer state”, member of UNESCO, maybe soon of UN under a GA Uniting for Peace formula, recognized by Sweden, soon by other Western states;
- BDS helped finish South Africa’s apartheid regime and may bring down another, Israel[ii], by being mainly symbolic;
- The key US pillar for Israel, AIPAC, is dwindling; Israel overplayed its cards, like bribing US law makers; irritation increasing;
- The US campuses have turned against current Israeli policies, often under the leadership of US Jewish students;
- The Jew among the US candidates for nomination/election[iii] will treat “Palestinians with respect and dignity”, others are for withdrawal; only Hillary is for politics as usual, against revolt in both parties;
- The war is now inside Israel, but ritualistic genocidal bombing of Gaza–women, children, schools–was not used, will hurt Israel more[iv];
- Israeli women, also Zionists, increasingly reject Orthodox Judaism —defining women as 2nd class citizens–as spiritual basis for Israel;
- Key Mossad-Shin Beth-IDF leaders openly reject Israeli policies[v];
- Palestine has more options than ever before to behave like the State it wants to be, not only focused on Israel, but on the whole world;
- Geopolitically, the Islamic State (IS, not ISIS-ISIL) is now a major force, recreating empire and caliphate similar to EU and the Vatican;
- Geopolitically, the West strengthens IS by killing instead of using UN-based defensive defense to protect 1967 Israel, and many others.
The synergies of these 12 factors may lead to the USA seeing Israel as a liability; a revolt-coup inside Israel; both; or other U-turns. Or worse, a devastating attack; big dirty bombs for instance.
There is no effectual peace movement in Israel; demoralized? Anti-war movements, women in black on both sides, but peace movements working for solutions? One person, Uri Avnery, compensates for much. And moderate Alon Ben-Meir; and TIKKUN, Rabbi Michael Lerner, in USA. Others are weak on concrete alternatives. Only a former Mossad chief wanted negotiations based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative API.
Walid Salem lists Arab peace initiatives[vi] after a No-No-No 1967 Khartoum Summit to recognition-reconciliation-normalization of Israel:
- the 1973-74 establishment of a Palestinian authority, “in any span liberated, or Israel withdraws from”;
- the 1988 Palestinian National Council Resolution to accept a Palestinian State based on 1967 borders;
- the 1996 Cairo Summit: peace is the “Arab Strategic Option”;
- the March 2002 Beirut Summit: API request for bilateral negotiations on relations to Palestine, Syria, Lebanon followed by normalization.
API was prefaced by a reference to the Qur’an 8:61, “when your antagonist inclines toward peace, do likewise”. Neglected. Israeli realists–looked at the API as–an Arab weakness–to push the Arabs to make further concessions. Palestine today is Gaza and some dots on Israeli territory; same as Palestine 1947 had some Jewish dots along the coast and in the Northeast, the “homeland”. Came Nakba. The horror.
Says the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in the second paragraph:
“it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil or religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status of Jews in any country“.
A remarkable foresight a century ago: the Jabotinsky wall and freedom to move; violence against Jewish communities all over.
Walid Salem: API is Out, with all these opportunities missed. In is “elevating Palestine, not in the UN only but also on the ground by creating Palestinian facts there in cooperation with the international committee”. This is what is now happening; see the 12 points above.
How about the Jewish side? Same as stereotypes, pre-judgments, about Jews: most loyal to Israel, too much power in the business world, international finance markets, only caring about their kind, too much control over global affairs, think they are better than others, too much control over the USA, over the global media, talk too much about the Holocaust, responsible for most wars (Rothschild?).
Pre-judgments? Or hypotheses, based on reality, to be tested? Many would fit Nazi-Germany under Hitler, as disgusting hypotheses about reality.
Netanyahu is part of reality. Do not see him as an extremist but as simply honest, telling the world that Judaism is a geopolitical statement obliging believers to fight for Eretz Israel, from the Nile to Euphrates; dismantling nine states by today’s map. That will not happen, in spite of current efforts. Look at Syria: the beneficiary may very well turn out to be IS; expanding province by province.
Look at the TIME Person of the Year for 1938: Adolf Hitler, for “better or worse” as Henry Luce, Time founder, put it. The first was Charles Lindbergh, a Hitler admirer. King Bibi, 28 May 2012, came close.
Look at Marion Gräfin Dönhoff 22 Sep 1948[vii], after Nakba and the killing of Count Folke Bernadotte, who liberated 20,000 Norwegians from German concentration camps and produced a plan for Israel-Palestine: “We can only hope that the shock that the death of Count Bernadotte is for the responsible in Israel’s government, at least for a moment, will make them reflect and understand how far they have come on that road that only a short while ago led another people into catastrophe”.
Then turn from the past to Martin Buber’s future: “yes, we Jews are chosen people, to show that we can live in peace with everybody“. That is where the future is located, not in the past: a UN 242 Israel with Arabs in Israel, and Jews in Arab countries, proving Buber right.
Israel, time has come for negotiations under UNGA auspices–for a realistic security through peace, not a realist peace through security! [viii]
[i]. Example: the UN votes over the “necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba. In 1992 59 Yes, 2 No (USA, Israel), the rest abstaining. Yes steadily increased to 191 in 2015 with the same 2 No, 0 abstaining. At most 2 others joined USA-Israel, like Marshall Islands, Palau, Micronesia abstaining; all 3 now recognizing Cuba. The process took time, but political insanity has its limitations; USA followed.
[ii]. Noam Chomsky, “On Israel-Palestine and BDS“, The Nation, 21/28 Jul 2014, points to a major difference: the Cubans were fighting South Africa, militarily and with soft, medical power; the Palestinians have nothing like that to help them.
[iii]. Roger Cohen refers to “Bernie’s Israel heresy”, INYT 19 Apr 2016, positively “because there is an emerging constituency particularly among young Americans for a different approach to Israel”. But Hillary Clinton’s white old age home is strong.
[iv]. Robert Fisk, “Israel-Gaza: No Victory for Israel Despite Weeks of Devastation”, The Independent, on email@example.com 29 Aug 2014.
[v]. Example: “Former Mossad chief: For the first time I fear for the future of Zionism”, Shabtal Shavit, 24 Nov 2014. And of course Yoshefat Harkabi from the 1980s, playing a major role.
[viii]. Our recommendation, again: like 1-2-6-20; 1 Palestine recognized, in a 2 states reality, in a 6 states community, in a 20 states organization for security and cooperation.
Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment and rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He has published 164 books on peace and related issues, of which 41 have been translated into 35 languages, for a total of 135 book translations, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 27 June 2016.
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