Photo: Reuters
Netanyahu - you promised security, keep your word.
Photo: Reuters
Shimon Shiffer

Somewhere between repression, denial, and despair

Op-ed: Israel's leaders, from left and right, refuse to take action. Sticking in place seems to aid them in preserving their interests, while Israel and its citizenry sink deeper into the diplomatic quicksand.

The good news we've been waiting for, the news that promised to bring in a stream of fresh mountain air that would fill our lungs, came shortly before the past weekend began. That's when we learned that the new local area alliance between Israel, Cyprus and Greece had been cemented. You might tell me to not be so petty, and enjoy what I can. So what if the UN secretary-general justified terror attacks and France is threatening to recognize a Palestinian state? We have an alliance with Greece and Cyprus.



Prime Minister Netanyahu, right, with the leaders of Greece and Cyprus (Photo: AP)
Prime Minister Netanyahu, right, with the leaders of Greece and Cyprus (Photo: AP)


True, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz was punished for his little show of independence in the face of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, finding out to his horror that he was moved to the second row of the group photo of Israeli and Greek ministers. Katz decided to leave the room: He won't be in the back row while Ministers Erdan and Akunis are in front. He later got over the insult, saying, "what happened at the group photo ceremony was an incorrect act," but also that "what's important is knowing where you're going and not where they seat you."


Katz moved to the back row - and left the room (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Katz moved to the back row - and left the room (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


The government's spokespeople insist that all of the talk about Israel's diplomatic isolation is baseless, a media creation. I wish it was so. Who among us wouldn't want Israel to reach the status of a respected society in the international arena?


And if everything is so swell, where does the feeling of despair, experienced by so many in Israeli society, comes from?


Israelis refuse to swallow the message pushed on them by the policy makers, that the number of those killed in stabbing and shooting terror attacks is not bigger than the number of people killed in traffic accidents.


If I were to attempt to speak on behalf of many readers, I ought to say this directly directly: Mr. Netanyahu, you promised us security – so keep your word. There's no reason to get "used to" life under the threat of terrorism. There's also no reason to show understanding for a policy of inaction as far as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is concerned.


For the moment, Netanyahu makes do with issuing responses to international statements and initiatives: The UN secretary-general is backing terrorism, the French peace initiative is backing terrorism, and the like. It's true that there's no chance an international conference or recognizing a Palestinian state will bring the Palestinians even one centimeter closer to sovereignty or independence, but an Israeli initiative whose goal is a solution – and not the "management of the conflict" – is still in order.


Operation Protective Edge. No independent inquiry. (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
Operation Protective Edge. No independent inquiry. (Photo: AFP)


On one hand, the discovery that Hamas continues digging tunnels into the Israeli territory along the Gaza border must give rise to the question of why an independent inquiry commission to examine the failures of Operation Protective Edge in the summer 2014 was never formed. The operation's failure, after 51 days of fighting, is not inconsequential. Those responsible for the fact we will have to defend ourselves from rocket fire in the future have not paid for their failure.


Beyond what can be defined as a series of oversights regarding security matters, you can't forget what many Israelis define as the lack of a leadership alternative. While Opposition Leader Herzog appears on television with a frosty Paris in the background – seeming momentarily more like a weatherman than a statesman – and tells viewers that as of now there's no partner for peace on the Palestinian side, he strengthens the feeling among many people that it's better to stick with Netanyahu, as well as increasing the feeling of despair among many others who live here.



פרסום ראשון: 02.01.16, 21:09
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