The Israeli public's disregard for the freeze in negotiations with the Palestinians stems from a perception of reality opposite the one in 1993, when the Oslo Accords were signed. The willingness for compromise and dividing the land has been replaced by the faith that "it's all mine." The illusion that you can get the bride (the Land of Israel) without the dowry (the Palestinians) has returned and taken over the Israeli consciousness.
The danger of losing the Jewish majority between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is obscured by soothing "facts" such as the disengagement's removal of Gazans from the ledger, the erasure of a million West Bank residents from statistics-bureau publications, and a "promise" that the next confrontation will enable a national "price tag" that will transform Jordan into the Palestinian homeland. There are also "democrats" among us who think they are authorized to offer the Palestinians Jordanian citizenship, or "Israeli citizenship contingent on allegiance to Zionism," so that Jews alone will maintain the right to decide about land on which Palestinians live.
The injury to personal security and the economy in the days of the intifadas seems like a distant nightmare. Operation Defensive Shield, Operation Cast Lead, the security fence, the exclusion of Palestinians from East Jerusalem and the doubling of the number of settlers are perceived as the only appropriate answer to Hamas' terror, but also to the diplomatic path Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has chosen. The security coordination and the war on terror by the Palestinian security forces in the West Bank are viewed as self-evident and guaranteed to last forever, even though Hamas-ruled Gaza shows us that things can develop otherwise.
Ruling another people, deprived of civil rights, is no longer considered contrary to the democratic regime and a threat to Israeli society's moral strength. The evil spirit that is blowing from the corridors of the Knesset and government is based on supra-state principles - the biblical promise to the Jewish people trumps the Palestinians' terrestrial rights, the land transcends the state when it comes to realizing the messianic destiny, halakhic rulings vanquish the rule of law, the Knesset's laws defeat the rights of the minority and the individual, and the power to silence defeats the right to protest.
The international position and American pressure, which dragged Yitzhak Shamir to Madrid in 1991, once again are dismissed with Oom-Shmoom scorn, to borrow a derisive term for the United Nations from David Ben-Gurion. Israelis are convinced that the number of standing ovations from the U.S. Congress during Benjamin Netanyahu's speech assures him another term as prime minister free of pressure, for the most part. After all, it's clear you can give a speech at Bar-Ilan University while rejecting the parameters for a permanent agreement. You can declare a freeze and allow tens of thousands more Israelis into Judea and Samaria. So it's possible to warmly adopt the Quartet's proposal while refusing to present an Israeli proposal to counter the Palestinian one.
The erosion of Israel's image and credibility among world leaders and global public opinion is presented as "that same anti-Semitism in other garb." The process of delegitimizing the booming settlement enterprise and the opposition to continued Israeli control of the territories are termed "wild incitement." The latest excuse: The upheavals in the Arab world will lead to an anti-Israeli Islamic Winter not dependent on our actions, since, after all, "the Arabs are the same Arabs and the sea is the same sea."
When I bumped into far-right politician Baruch Marzel in Hebron recently, he explained the shift in Israeli perception succinctly. "The truth won out," he said, against the backdrop of a Shuhada Street shockingly empty of its Palestinian residents. "The evidence for this is the ever-smaller number of people who attend the memorial for Rabin as opposed to the ever-growing number who attend the memorial for Kahane."
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