By Jeff Halper, Founder of ICAHD
14 September 2019
I've been struggling to find something profound, insightful, even mildly interesting about Israel's elections, including the (yawn) drama around Netanyahu's announcement that after the elections he will annex the Jordan Valley, followed by all the settlements, but - he emphasized - without giving one Palestinian Israeli citizenship. But it’s all deja vu all over again, no development different from the process of apartheid we have known for decades.
I guess the "news" of this election is that political Zionism has exhausted itself. The Zionist "left" has disappeared, victim to the illusion that a settler colonial enterprise could - and would - "make peace" with its victims while maintaining its control over the entire country. The election has been reduced to a contest between two right-wing Likud parties, Netanyahu's (whose only purpose seems to be keeping him out of jail) and "Blue/White," a part of generals whose slogan is "Israel over everything" (Israel uber alles -- really!). Its leader Gantz opened his campaign by bragging that he killed 6000 "terrorists" in Gaza. (A case against Gantz for war crimes in Gaza is now being heard in a Dutch court.) And Blue/White agrees to annexation.
The only "issue" is whether the government will be secular (and right wing) or will include the ultra-orthodox (and be right wing). The only bright light is that in his ideological blindness Netanyahu is finally casting off the cloak of the two-state solution and revealing for everyone to see Israel's true intention: the creation of an apartheid regime over the entire country. That, of course, has been the case for at least the past 20 years, but it has been impossible to shake Jewish liberals (including Bernie & Warren) and governments from the two-state illusion, and that is what has saved the day for Israel. Thanks to Netanyahu (and Trump), as Gideon Levy writes below, reality emerges in all its starkness: either a Jewish state of apartheid or a single democratic state of equal rights for everyone, Israelis and Palestinians alike. That battle, however, will be won or lost outside of elections and political parties, since apartheid has become acceptable to ALL Israeli parties, with the exception of the Joint Arab List that remains stuck in the two-state illusion.
The ball is in our court -- civil society: the Palestinians, of course, the few Israeli Jews who can begin to see a different future, growing numbers of Jews abroad who see the betrayal of Jewish values by Zionism more clearly, and a worldwide movement for Palestinian rights, all supported by international law, human rights conventions and elemental justice. Whether we will have the agency to organize politically so as to be bring about a single state, or whether we will have to wait for future generations to do the work (with all the suffering that will occur in the meantime), is up to us. The Israeli elections are merely a sideshow.
Please Bibi let the annexations begin – Gideon Levy