Gideon Levy: Israel does not want peace

I was celebrating Easter this week-end with my family. I had no time to post. However, between meal preparations and visits I read the news and gathered material for some posting next week and was saddened at fellow pro-Palestinian blogger's Ben Heine censorship at Daily Kos. His post was erased and treated as a troll post following an article he published there drawing comparisons between Avigdor Lieberman's ethnic cleansing project for Israel and the Nazis'. Autocensorship regarding sensibilities toward the Israeli question are very strong among western so called 'liberals'. Because the west stands with its both wings, right and left, as a barrage against criticism against Israel, voices for Peace and Justice are not heard these days and the current thinking want us to blame the victims, the palestinians, for the absence of peace.

There was some consolation for me in reading this article by Gideon Levy in Haaretz. Because every time there is a censorship of plain facts, we make a step away from Truth and Peace, and courageous voices, like Levy's, must be heard if we want to make the effort of debunking lies and the demolition and vandalism of the Truth they achieve.

The moment of truth has arrived, and it has to be said: Israel does not want peace. The arsenal of excuses has run out, and the chorus of Israeli rejection already rings hollow. Until recently, it was still possible to accept the Israeli refrain that "there is no partner" for peace and that "the time isn't right" to deal with our enemies. Today, the new reality before our eyes leaves no room for doubt and the tired refrain that "Israel supports peace" has been left shattered.

It's hard to determine when the breaking point occurred. Was it the absolute dismissal of the Saudi initiative? The refusal to acknowledge the Syrian initiative? Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's annual Passover interviews? The revulsion at the statements made by Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, in Damascus, alleging that Israel was ready to renew peace talks with Syria?

Who would have believed it? A high-ranking U.S. official says Israel wants peace talks to resume and instantly her president "severely" denies the veracity of her words. Is Israel even hearing these voices? Are we digesting the significance of these voices for peace? Seven million apathetic Israeli citizens prove that we are not.

Entire generations grew up here weaned on self-deception and doubt about the likelihood of achieving peace with our neighbors. In our younger days, David Ben-Gurion told us that if he were only able to meet with Arab leaders, he would have brought us peace in his time. Israel has demanded direct negotiations as a matter of principle and Israelis have derived great pride from the fact that their daily focus on "peace" has concealed their state's lofty ambitions. We were told that there was no partner for peace and that the ultimate ambition of the Arabs is to bring about our destruction. We burned the portraits of "the Egyptian tyrant" at our bonfires on Lag Ba'omer, and were convinced that all blame for the lack of peace lied with our enemies.

After that came the occupation, followed by terror, Yassir Arafat, the failed second Camp David Summit and the rise of Hamas to power, and we were sure, always sure, that it was all their fault. In our wildest dreams, we wouldn't have believed that the day would come when the entire Arab world would extend its hand in peace and Israel would brush away the gesture. It would have been even crazier to imagine that this Israeli refusal would have been blamed on not wanting to enrage domestic public opinion.

The world has been turned upside down and it is Israel that stands at the forefront of refusal. The policy of refusal of a select few, a vanguard of the extreme, has now become the official policy of Jerusalem. In his Passover interviews, Olmert will tell us that, "The Palestinians stand at the crossroads of a historic decision," but people stopped taking him seriously a long time ago. The historic decision is ours, and we are fleeing from this crossroads and from these initiatives as if from death itself.

Terror, used as the ultimate excuse for Israeli refusal, only helps Olmert keep reciting, ad nauseum, "If they [the Palestinians] don't change, don't fight terror and don't adhere to any of their obligations, then they will never extract themselves from their unending chaos." As though the Palestinians haven't taken measures against terrorism, as though Israel is the one to determine what their obligations are, as though Israel isn't to blame for the unending chaos Palestinians suffer under the occupation.

Israel makes a point of setting prerequisites and believes it has an exclusive right to do so. But, time and time again, Israel avoids the most basic prerequisite for any just peace - an end to the occupation. Of all the questions asked during his Passover interviews, no one bothered to ask Olmert why he didn't react with excitement to the recent Arab initiatives, without preconditions? The answer: real estate. The real estate of the settlements.

It's not only Olmert who is dragging his feet. A leading figure in the Labor party said last week that "it will take five to 10 years to recover from the trauma." Peace is now no more than a threatening wound, with no one still talking about the massive social benefits it would bring in development, security, freedom of movement in the region and by establishing a more just society.

Like a little Switzerland, we are focusing more these days on the dollar exchange rate and on the allegations of embezzlement leveled against the Finance Ministry than on the fateful opportunities fading away before our very eyes.

Not every day and not even in every generation do we encounter an opportunity like this. Although it's not for sure if the initiatives are completely solid and believable, or if they are based on trickery, no one has stepped up to challenge or acknowledge them. When Olmert is an elderly grandfather, what will he tell his grandchildren? That he turned over every stone in the name of peace? That there was no other choice? What will his grandchildren say?


Richard said...

Hope you & the family had a happy (as poss) Easter.

As for this post re: Kos. In the past I've had (completely uncontroversial, imho), comments I'd made removed too.

Recently, I removed Kos from my blogroll. Not that that will cause him any loss of sleep, of course.

However, I will be passing your info re: similar shennanigans along to several other people & places.

Sophia said...

Thanks dear Richard. Your opinion on this matters very much to me and I am transferring it to Ben.

Ben Heine said...

Many thanks Sophia for your kind support and for all your investigations that helped us a lot. I'll send you an email very soon so we can exchange our views a bit more.

Anonymous said...

Sophia , Greetings and a happy Easter to you.

Israel has never had an interest in peace . It is a country bent on expansionism,racism and an ingathering of the Jews of the world. That is the essence of Zionism.

A two state solution is no longer possible for Israelis and Palestinians because of the expansion of settlements in the West Bank.

The one state solution has been unfortunately rejected by the majority on both sides.

We are now witnessing the final solution and triumph of Zionism over all of Mandated Palestine with the exception of the concentration camp of Gaza.

I think that Israel will eventually seek peace with Syria and consequently Lebanon but only so it can consolidate its hold on Palestine before it continues its march in pursuit of its maximalist Zionist goals in the countries surrounding it.

This is the logic of power and settler-colonialism.

What can we do?

We need to reach out to Jews everywhere with a message of peace and support people who reveal the true evil face of Zionism.

It is people like you that are able to articulate these truths that will eventually make Zionism and its lies wither in the light.


Sophia said...

Dear Issam,

How are you ? Happy Easter to you and your family. I am convinced, like you, that the One State solution is all what is left if we want a just Peace in the Middle East. Never mind that many people on both sides do not want this solution. israel will sign peace with unrepresentative Arab regimes. My generation will not see a just peace but I am an optimist by nature and I believe that Living together is the natural destiny for the people of the Middle east and that this natural destiny will triumph one day...

Sophia said...

My support for you is normal. You are a real friend of the Palestinian people who, unfortunatley, have many false friends.

Since March 29th 2006