Hoping for a tough year

by Uri Misgav
09 October 2009
TEL-AVIV - Our well-wishes for the New Jewish Year are always replete with hope and tenderness. Let this year be good and blessed and sweet as honey. Yet not this year. What we need this year is a tough year. A year of decision.

The State of Israel needs a decision. One hundred and twelve years after the First Jewish Congress and more than 61 years after the establishment of the State, the Zionist enterprise has reached the most fateful junction in its history.

There is no more time to buy. Demography has spoken. Should the current Israeli leadership, with the endorsement of the White House and European community, fail to decide at this time to partition the land between the two peoples, in the near future there will no longer be anyone who wishes to split it with us.

A year ago I was present at a convention of Israeli and Palestinian peace groups in Italy. One of the speakers, Sari Nusseibeh, spoke about the increasing Palestinian support for the notion of one bi-national state. Back then it sounded like an attention-getter or a theoretical provocation. Yet Jimmy Carter returned this month from his meetings with Palestinian figures with an even more dramatic impression. Most Palestinian leaders he met, Carter reported in the Washington Post, agreed to renounce the dream of an independent Palestinian state. Instead, they prefer to receive Israeli citizenship and then fight from inside for equal rights.

Officials in Jerusalem like to dwarf Carter, the first American president to successfully serve as mediator in securing peace between us and an Arab state. They refer to him as an old and delusional Israel-hater. Yet Carter clearly sees what most of us refuse to see. The international circumstances and the domestic pressure will not allow Israel to maintain an endless apartheid regime in the Holy Land. A Jewish minority would not be able to forever rule over an Arab majority around here.

A modern Sparta

Instead of preparing to face this grim reality, we continue to argue over settlement construction. It’s okay to build 500 new residential units but not 1,000. We exhaust Special Envoy Mitchell. We wear out Obama. We take pleasure in seeing the Palestinian stubbornness.

Israeli society is reminiscent of passengers sitting in a car that quickly approaches an abyss, while they argue over which radio station to listen to. That’s crazy.

The Zionist enterprise was premised on the vision of Theodor Herzl and Ahad Ha’am, Leon Pinsker and A.D. Gordon and David Ben-Gurion—not on the vision of Moshe Yaalon and Tzipi Hotovely [members of Knesset for the Likud party]. The settlement enterprise and reinforcing our hold on occupied territories were not the pillars of the Declaration of Independence. Neither was the notion of diplomatic isolation or the establishment of a modern Sparta that is only familiar with living on its sword.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak recently declared that he is afraid the Palestinians are about to miss out on a huge opportunity. But what about the opportunity we’re about to miss out on? After all, we too have too much to lose. The time has come to decide. Decisions are always difficult. Let’s hope for a difficult year. The honey can wait this time.


* Uri Misgav writes for Ynetnews. This article is distributed by the Common Ground News Service (CGNews) with permission from Ynetnews.

Source: Ynetnews, 30 September 2009
Copyright permission is granted for publication.
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