There was a time - before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad starred here in the role of Hitler - when the "elites" were Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's number one enemy. He isn't all that sure about how to beat the Iranians, but he roundly defeats the "elites." Their leader, Ehud Barak, who drafted this "peace camp," grasped the hem of the prime minister's robe; Kadima was revealed to be a "cocktail party;" the Labor Party is fleeing from the Palestinian issue like the plague; and Yair Lapid pledges to maintain the "unity of Jerusalem." The only political challenge the Bibi has to deal with is the messianic wing of the right, the section that is helping the Likud look like a moderate centrist party.
The "elites" enthusiasticly buy into the idea that the Palestinians rejected the "generous offer" that peace-loving Israeli leaders placed at their doorstep - and paid us back in terror. Who remembers, for example, that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wrote in the New York Times last September that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had not rejected his plan. So what if as far back as 10 years ago, the Palestinians adopted the Arab peace plan, which not only recognizes Israel in the 1967 borders, but also offers normal relations with all Arab countries. We only believe Arabs that call for Israel's destruction.
The "elites" supported former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's decision to show the Palestinians that Israel is willing to withdraw from territories as long as the Palestinian rejectionist front can take credit for it. Ever since Hamas has been lobbing Qassams at Israel, the "elites" feel that the Palestinians have "taken us for a ride."
In an article eulogizing the "old peace," Ari Shavit wrote that after the "bold and justified" unilateral withdrawal (in terms of the outcome? ) from Gaza resulted in Qassams and Grads, we started to have "butterflies in our stomachs regarding what we might expect after the really big withdrawal." ("A new peace is needed," February 9, 2012 ). And the Palestinians, like all of us, learned from Dov Weisglass, who was Sharon's right-hand man, that disengagement from Gaza was only intended to serve as formaldehyde, to stop the "really big withdrawal" (interview with Shavit, October 8, 2004 ).
And what did Israel offer the Palestinians in the good years (1996-2000 ), in which the security forces of the occupied saw to the safety of the occupier? More expropriations, more settlements and more check-points. But the stomachs of the "elites" feel better with the good old "no partner."
To judge by Shavit's article, Netanyahu has managed to convey to the "elites" the paralyzing fear of dramatic change in the Arab world, including ties between the two major Palestinian factions. Shavit has determined that anyone with eyes in his head understands that the Arab awakening "has killed the diplomatic process."
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, who, in the 1990s, headed the Middle East desk at the White House and who, as everyone knows, has eyes in his head, said last month in a lecture in Jerusalem that the Muslim Brotherhood was likely to adopt a pragmatic attitude that would allow Egypt to maintain relations with the United States.
From the latest contacts with the Americans, it appears that the heads of the largest Egyptian political party understand that to maintain such relations, they have to honor the peace agreement with Israel. However, Indyk warned, the new regime in Egypt would not maintain business-as-usual with the policies of the Israeli occupier.
Shavit's proposal to exchange the old peace, based on agreements and timetables, with a "gradual" one reflects the mood among the lost "elites" (and weren't the maligned Oslo Accords a "gradual peace"? ). The Hamas hawks will be only too glad to bury the reconciliation agreement with Fatah and take the West Bank for free as well. They will wait patiently, as Shavit proposes, until the local demography and international delegitimization do their job.
A new survey by the Israel Democracy Institute shows that most Jewish Israelis prefer Israel to be a Jewish state than to continue to control all areas of the land. Paradoxically, most of them, including the "elites" who once threatened the right-wing government, think they can have it both ways. That is just what Bibi says.