Reprinted from Gush Shalom
It is time to take stock.
The net result is that Israel has given up all pretense of desiring peace and that Israeli democracy has suffered a blow from which it may never recover.
ISRAELI GOVERNMENTS -- with the possible exception of Yitzhak Rabin's -- have never really desired peace. The peace that is possible.
Peace, of course, means accepting fixed borders. In the founding declaration of the state, which was read out by David Ben-Gurion on May 14, 1948 in Tel Aviv, any mention of borders was deliberately omitted. Ben Gurion was not ready to accept the borders fixed by the UN partition resolution, because they provided only for a tiny Jewish state. Ben-Gurion foresaw that the Arabs would start a war, and he was determined to use this for enlarging the territory of the state.
This indeed happened. When the war ended in early 1949 with armistice agreements based on the final battle lines, Ben-Gurion could have accepted them as final borders. He refused. Israel has remained a state without borders that it recognizes itself -- perhaps the only one in the world.
This is one of the reasons for the fact that Israel has no peace agreement with the Palestinian nation. It did sign official peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, based on the internationally recognized borders between the former British government of Palestine and its neighbors. No such borders are accepted by the Israeli government between Israel and the undefined Palestinian entity. All Israeli governments have always refused even to indicate where such borders should run. The much-praised Oslo agreement was no exception. Rabin, too, refused to draw a final line.
This refusal remains government policy. On the eve of the recent elections, Binyamin Netanyahu unequivocally declared that during his term of office -- which for him means until his demise -- no Palestinian state would come into being. Thus, the occupied territories would remain under Israeli rule.
No peace agreement will ever be signed by this government.
NO PEACE means attempting to keep the territorial status quo frozen forever, except that settlements will continue to grow and multiply.
This is not the situation concerning democracy. It is not frozen.
Israel is famously "the Only Democracy in the Middle East." That is practically its second official name.
It is debatable how a state that dominates another people, depriving it of all human rights, not to mention citizenship, can be called a democracy. But Jewish Israelis have been used to this for 48 years, and just ignore this fact.
Now the situation inside Israel proper is about to change drastically.
Two facts attest to this.