Israel is isolated from the world

The greatest disaster in the history of Israel gave rise to the greatest sense of entitlement in its history. Israel does not have to adapt to the world by defining clear borders and ending the Occupation. On the contrary: now the world must adapt itself to Israel. ■ The whole world speaks one language. And Israel speaks a different language. Mostly talking to itself. And this process is scary.

The Palestine Project

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By Rogel Alpher Translated by Sol Salbe

The renewed discourse in Israeli society about a Palestinian state does not stem from some internal process, but from external pressure. The United States, the European Union, Britain, and the moderate Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia, are sending Israel a clear message. The massacre on October 7 indeed stemmed from a horrific Israeli military and failure of the “Conceptzia”, and from Hamas’ murderous and jihadist ideology. But — in the words of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who infuriated the Israelis — it did not indeed take place in a vacuum. It took place in a situation in which Israel, headed by Netanyahu, systematically strengthened Hamas in order to weaken the Palestinian Authority and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, so that the Occupation, Apartheid, and harassment of the Palestinians could continue unhindered.

Biden is telling Israelis that the main and most urgent lesson from the October 7 massacre is to strive for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. And if this is the lesson, then in his opinion the absence of such a s state is a major cause of the massacre. Europe agrees with him. Saudi Arabia agrees with him, and conditions normalisation on the establishment of a Palestinian state (as it was supposed to do at the outset). But in so far as it depends on the Israelis, the establishment of a Palestinian state is off the agenda forever. Moreover, their lesson from the war is that the military Occupation must be strengthened, the size of the Stasi (Shabak/Shin Bet) must be doubled, and control over the Palestinian population must be deepened.

Even the leaders who plan to replace Netanyahu in the elections, such as [Benny] Gantz and [Gadi] Eisenkot, do not attack Netanyahu’s opposition to a Palestinian state and do not support the US vision. Netanyahu, still a better politician, has appropriated for himself the most popular and consensus political position among voters: No to a Palestinian state. It reflects public sentiment by presenting the two-state vision as an evil idea that will lead to the slaughter of Jews.

Israel shuts itself off, sealing itself off from the world, distances itself from it. Not a-la North Korea, but in its own way. The government, army and media do not tell the general public what destruction Israel is wreaking on Gaza. And the public doesn’t want to know. An us-versus-the-world mentality is taking root here. In this comparison, the world (The Hague) is crazy, and Israel is sane and good. The world separates the massacre from the war and refuses to see one as a moral justification for the other. Israel, on the other hand, stubbornly refuses to be realistic. The kibbutzniks and moshavniks of the Gaza enveloping region, the vast majority of whom belonged to the protest camp against fascist Bibism, demand to see the sea from their homes [ie to flatten Gaza]. If once only the extreme nationalist Right, like Smotrich and Ben-Gvir, called for it, now the entire country, including Gantz and Lapid voters, is calling for it. They, too, believe in an Israel which now enjoys absolute justification to do whatever it pleases in the region. The greatest disaster in the history of the country gave rise to the greatest sense of entitlement in its history. Israel does not have to adapt to the world by defining clear borders and ending the Occupation. On the contrary: now the world must adapt itself to Israel.

Participation in the anti-Houthi coalition is also terribly sparse. The EU hasn’t joined, and neither have Saudi Arabia and Egypt, although Houthi activity in the Red Sea directly harms them. The main thing for them is not to be identified with Israel. The post-October 7 public discourse taboo censors any mention of the Occupation and massive civilian killings in Gaza. The whole world speaks one language. And Israel speaks a different language. Mostly talking to itself. And this process is scary.

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