Israel's Red Riding Hood and the Arab Wolf

The prime minister is certainly correct that Israel has the right to defend itself. But don't we have the right to know at long last which Israeli state he is referring to?

During a quiz show on Channel 2 television last week, a contestant was asked which of three towns - Kalansua, Tul Karm or Jenin - was located within the Green Line. The contestant, a nurse with an M.A., hesitated for quite a while and then said she thought the answer was Tul Karm. In order to verify her answer, she requested the assistance of 71 fellow contestants. Seventeen of them - almost one in four - responded that either Tul Karm or Jenin was an Israeli town.

Kalansua, Tul Karm, Ariel, Hebron - they are all the same to them. Give us the Iron Dome missile defense system from the sea to the Jordan River, shell Gaza even harder and tell us the fable about the good Israeli that the wicked Palestinian wolf is waiting to devour.

If I believed in conspiracy theories, I would suspect that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the rocket fire on the communities in southern Israel at the weekend. After all, it isn't possible that Bibi hasn't learned that after every assassination of a senior terrorist leader, the residents of the south will feature in the television news headlines. Against the backdrop of a sad little girl from Sderot who remained at home with her Red Riding Hood costume for the Purim festival, the fable of "We gave them Gaza and we got Qassam rockets" sounds much more convincing. Dear children, this is further proof that there is no connection whatsoever between territories, peace and security. Only an American president whose middle name is Hussein could claim that withdrawal from Kalansua - sorry, Tul Karm - would help him put a stop to the Iranians' nuclear plans.

The Israeli public is religiously safeguarding its right not to know. It does not want to know that Netanyahu rejected a Palestinian offer to hold negotiations on a two-state solution to the conflict within the 1967 borders, with agreed-upon territory swaps and the deployment of an international force in the West Bank. After watching "Big Brother" on TV it's easier to fall asleep with the story about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas not responding to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's offer of the entire West Bank.

So why, in fact, does Netanyahu not repeat that offer and reveal the Palestinians' true face? Who really cares? People who are scared of "a second Holocaust" don't want to hear that, in two weeks' time, the 10th anniversary will be marked of the missed opportunity of the Arab League's peace plan. The plan that offered us normal relations with the Arab states in return for withdrawal from the territories and a just and agreed-upon solution to the Arab refugee problem on the basis of UN Resolution 194.

The prime minister is certainly correct that Israel has the right to defend itself. But don't we have the right to know at long last which Israeli state he is referring to? A Jewish state with agreed-upon and recognized borders? A binational and democratic state between the sea and the Jordan? A Jewish, pseudo-democratic and despised state that perpetuates its conquest of another people and steals its land? Who cares? Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich, who is more concerned about the riches of a number of Israeli tycoons than about the enrichment of uranium in Iran? Political newcomer Yair Lapid, who said last week at a closed meeting that of course he supports peace with the Palestinians but that, to his very deep regret, there is no one with whom to talk? That prophesy is getting closer than ever before to fulfilling itself.

True, peace and Israel's identity bother opposition leader Tzipi Livni, but everyone knows she's a sucker. Otherwise she would not have missed the opportunity to join the Netanyahu-Avigdor Lieberman, Ehud Barak government simply because of her principles. Zahava Gal-On of Meretz also has something to say about this, but who gives a hoot about the talk of left-wingers? And what about those good people who don't remain in their armchairs facing the TV and instead go out to demonstrate in the streets or on Facebook? They are busy closing ranks in an "apolitical" struggle over the price of cottage cheese and chocolate bars.

We are leaving the struggle over the image of the country in which our children will grow up in the hands of right-wing organizations Yisrael Sheli and Im Tirtzu. Their activists are very well aware of whether Tul Karm is inside or outside the Green Line. They drive past it every day on their way to their settlements. For them, that line was erased a long time ago, together with the basic boundaries of an enlightened democracy. The same will happen to us soon.

Read this article in Hebrew