Even if this isn’t evident by their facial expressions or daily conduct, there has been great anxiety among Israel’s rulers for years now, and most certainly these days. Right before their very eyes, a world they built for dozens of years is collapsing.
After 45 years of controlling the territories, and when it appeared to many that the world has reconciled itself to Israel’s rule in Judea and Samaria, the planet woke up from its long slumber. Now, they are telling us from all corners of the world: “It won’t work!” Or in other words, you shall be going back home, to the 1967 borders, whether you like it or not.
By now it appears that even the American approval of the “large settlement blocs,” Ariel Sharon’s big achievement during President George W. Bush’s era, is dissipating. The world wants to see 300,000 settlers moving house to within the Green Line. This cynical world is unimpressed by the numbers: Not by thousands of houses and buildings, roads, flourishing gardens, or hundreds of thousands of people, including some born there.
In a world where millions are still being butchered in Africa and whole populations are being moved from one region to another, a few thousand homes and hundreds of thousands of people are almost a minor matter, especially should such operation spare the world a constant headache.
Yet around here, even many of those objecting to Israel’s presence in the territories don’t believe the above scenario could materialize. For 45 years we’ve been fooling the world and deceiving everyone; we tricked the Arabs, Europe and the United States, while almost building another country – how could all that go down the drain?
Time is running outThe anxiety among Israel’s decision-makers is growing, because they realize that time is running out, not only in the Iranian nuclear context but also in respect to the territories. In America, the president is expected to be elected for a second term in office; a president who owes nothing to nobody and may be the one to put an end to the games. And by the way, quite a few Jews in the US support him.
Arab states are undergoing an Islamic revolution, and the US is doing the simple math: It’s better for Washington to try and live in peace with the Arabs, even at the expense of hundreds of thousands of Israelis in the territories (who are akin to a small Cairo suburb, before the latest births.)
Yet nonetheless, the Jews around here are convinced that they will continue to do what was done here for the past 45 years in the next 45 years as well.
“Please, remind me, for how many years did the Crusaders rule the Holy Land?” a Jordanian friend asked me during a visit to Amman a month ago. “Roughly 200 years,” I said. “Well, so we have to wait a little more,” he replied.
p.s. the above does not express my wishes, but rather, what may indeed materialize.