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Harsh words. Lieberman (L) and Bibi Photo: Gil Yohanan
Harsh words. Lieberman (L) and Bibi Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
 

Both sides at fault

Op-ed: Israelis, Palestinians engaging in heated exchanges, cheap diplomatic gimmicks as catastrophe looms

Emanuel Rosen
Published: 12.04.12, 00:34 / Israel Opinion

Remember November 2012. Remember the month in which Bibi and Lieberman gave Hamas the seal of approval and essentially affixed the state of Hamastan in Gaza. It was a month in which we marked another amazing international achievement and bowed our heads before the world's recognition of the state of Palestine in the West Bank; a month in which a politician who claims the Palestinians are merely Arab-speaking parasites becomes part of the mainstream in the ruling party's top echelon; a month in which Arafat's body was exhumed (how symbolic) to check if he died of natural causes or died under the auspices of those amongst us who did not care for him.

 

Remember November 2012 and look a few months into the future. It is hard to believe, but in September we will mark the 20th anniversary of the handshake between Rabin and Arafat at the White House and the Israeli-Palestinian attempt to end the conflict which prevents any possibility of a normal life on this sliver of land. Much can be written about these 20 wasted years, but they can be summed up in one sentence: These were years in which those who wanted to talk and move forward were powerless against those who looked for any excuse not to advance toward a historic solution.

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It is not the extremists on both sides who should be blamed for the missed opportunity. They are following their truths. They do not want reconciliation and an end to the conflict. It is the fault of those who are aware that the current situation will end in disaster but do nothing and replace action and diplomatic courage with tempestuous exchanges of harsh words and insults. These people exist on both sides.

 

On the one side there is a prime minister who says "two states for two peoples" but does not believe it for a second. On the other side there is the head of the Palestinian Authority who, like his predecessor who panicked when Ehud Barak presented his offer, also recoiled during the talks with Ehud Olmert and preferred a cheap public relations gimmick over the opportunity to be a real president in a real state.

 

Wasted years. Rabin (L), Clinton and Arafat (Photo: Reuters)
Wasted years. Rabin (L), Clinton and Arafat (Photo: Reuters)

 

Abbas' achievement in the UN does not impress me, just as I am not enthusiastic over Jerusalem's reaction to the initiative. In the mirror of history, both sides looked mostly pathetic this past week – engaging in wordplay and puffing out their chests without understanding or admitting that both sides are losing, while the clock continues to tick toward a catastrophe that is brewing right around the corner. When this catastrophe does occur, history will accuse both Netanyahu and Abbas of criminal negligence and extreme irresponsibility.

 

Those who did not want Arafat got Abbas. Those who did not believe in Abbas got Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh. Those who did not seal the deal with Sharon, Barak ad Olmert got Netanyahu, and those who did not take advantage of the PM's Bar-Ilan speech got Feiglin and Danon, a duo that is stronger than Bibi-Lieberman.

 

While Bibi and Lieberman are busy with heated verbal exchanges and are setting silly conditions for a real diplomatic process, those around them who are not interested in any sort of solution are gaining strength.

 

Remember November 2012, the month in which Mashaal stopped being a dirty word in the White House and Moshe Feiglin was no longer a persona non grata in the Likud. Slowly but surely, the voice and power of those who are willing to 'blow everything up' to prevent this land from being divided is growing. The Titanic is sinking, and Abbas is busy producing a fictional state. The Titanic is sinking, and in Israel those who are not willing to give up an inch of the land are dancing on the deck.

 

 

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