Israel's protest tents should expect September downpours
It is not only in the protest tents, the Labor Party and the Prime Minister's Bureau that a fateful month begins on Thursday morning. The summer is over, friends. Fasten your seatbelts.
Good morning to the protest, which will reach its moment of truth on September 3. The protest was the event of the summer. It was supposed to be the event of the decade. But the day after the demonstration of the 300,000, the protest lost its way.
On exactly that date, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed the Trajtenberg Committee. The committee was, and is, a one-time opportunity. If the protest had embraced the Trajtenberg panel, it would have been able, through it, to bring about a dramatic economic and social change. But the protest rejected Trajtenberg out of hand, and at that moment, it began to decline.
It lost the political and moral power of a movement of the people. It started to behave like a movement that was unclear, nontransparent and immature. That is why the demonstrations began to get smaller. That is why the tent encampments started to flounder. What had been a mighty waterfall became a muddy trickle.
Granted, the truth that underlies the protest is still there. The opportunity embodied in the pressure the protest will apply on Netanyahu is also still there. If the protest issues a strong, responsible, level-headed statement this Saturday night, it might well save itself yet. True, the summer is over, but September is what will determine whether the big summer of protest was in vain.
Good morning to the Labor Party, which on September 12 will reach its moment of truth. Over the past summer, Labor came back to life. After years of being at death's door, it was reborn. Divorcing itself from Ehud Barak and falling in love with Shelly Yachimovich enabled Labor to find a second youth after menopause.
Both the cynical center and the extreme left dislike this new youthfulness. They prefer a small Labor Party that is faded and miserable. That is why they are now making every effort to destroy the hope embodied by Yachimovich.
If there were a chance to replace the charismatic candidate with Isaac Herzog, Amram Mitzna, or Erel Margalit, that would be okay. All three are worthy candidates. But Yachimovich's only real rival is Amir Peretz. And if the Labor Party were to enter the next election under Peretz, that would be its end.
Summer is indeed over, but in September, the Labor Party will decide whether to renew itself and grow stronger with Yachimovich, or to break up and disappear with Peretz. Whether to be or not to be.
Good morning to Benjamin Netanyahu, who will reach his moment of truth on September 20. The last 30 months were a golden opportunity for Bibi. There was no violence, there was almost no terror, no war broke out. Three complementary miracles occurred simultaneously in the West Bank: an economic miracle, a political miracle and a security miracle. Life in the West Bank has never been this quiet and content. True, there was no one with whom to make peace, but there was something to work with to prevent a disaster.
But Netanyahu didn't do a thing. He offered neither a final-status agreement nor an interim agreement. He didn't take any unilateral steps and didn't make any gestures. And that was how Netanyahu lost the world. In so doing, Bibi weakened Israel dangerously. He brought about the collapse of the diplomatic immunity system that is the Jewish state.
In another few weeks, Netanyahu will pay the price. If he does not take some last-minute action, Israel will be defeated at the United Nations. Even the European states will likely not stand at its side. Thus the decision to establish a Palestinian state (one that is not demilitarized, not democratic and not peace-loving ) will be approved with a huge majority.
In its wake, one can expect harsh local and international developments. After Israel wasted 30 precious months, in September or October, it will find itself in crisis. Summer is over, and the storm will arrive in the fall.
It is not only in the protest tents, the Labor Party and the Prime Minister's Bureau that a fateful month begins this morning. A rare configuration of events has resulted in the entire world now being at a crossroads of extreme uncertainty. The global economy is unstable. Europe is on the verge of shutting down. The Middle East has spun out of control. Thus at the end of this summer, decision makers in both the West and Israel are returning from their vacations to an incomparably challenging autumn.
It will get interesting come September. It will also be interesting in October and November and December. The summer is over, friends. Fasten your seatbelts.