On This Passover, Face the Truth: Peace Is Dead

America won’t present an ultimatum, Vladimir Putin won’t put a gun to our head, Europe won’t boycott until the situation becomes unbearable. Don’t count on another splitting of the Red Sea.

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Israeli Peace Now activists protesting in Jerusalem on May 15, 2010.
Israeli Peace Now activists protesting in Jerusalem on May 15, 2010.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

The time has come to acknowledge reality: There will be no peace. Not in the near future. Not in our lifetime. Not in any sense that is relevant to our lives here. There will be no peace along the lines of the model that has stirred such a mighty uproar here for the past decades, over which Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. In fact, let’s admit it -- the uproar has been fading for some time. The burning issue has consumed itself and turned to dust. All that passionate, feverish arguing has grown hollow. All that remains is an empty shell that echoes with the raucous shouts of the ghosts of Rabin Square.

There won’t be two states for two peoples. It’s not going to happen. Jerusalem will not be divided, no arrangement will be found for the Holy Basin, settlers will not be evacuated, construction in the West Bank will continue, the occupation will not end, no agreement will be signed and there won’t be any unilateral withdrawal, no land swaps will take place, America won’t present an ultimatum, Vladimir Putin won’t put a gun to our head, Europe won’t boycott until the situation becomes unbearable. For peace to happen, a miracle must occur. And while miracles do occur, they do so very rarely – that’s what makes them miraculous. And miracles that have yet to happen are not a starting point for holding discussions and writing articles, for posting on Facebook and sketching maps, for forming policy or predicting the future. Don’t count on another splitting of the Red Sea.

Advocates of the two-states-for-two-peoples solution have always insisted that any reasonable, practical person can see that there is no other choice, that it has to happen, that any other scenario is madness. Because only the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel will avert the demographic disaster that a loss of the Jewish majority would entail; only this will prevent apartheid, the international isolation that would ensue from annexation, the continuation of the messianic occupation – hell on earth, basically.

But it won’t happen. There are many reasons for this, and there’s no point going into them. They’re all so terribly dull and tiresome by now. The myth used to be that Israelis were all sitting around on their balconies chomping on slices of watermelon that dripped juice onto their shirts, or gathered in their living rooms on Friday evenings around bowls of sunflower seeds, as they passionately argued late into the night, in something akin to a national ritual, about partitioning the land. That’s over and done with. Most Jews in Israel just don’t care. They don’t think that the establishment of a Palestinian state symbolizes normalcy and sanity. They think they’re already normal and sane.

Optimists will say – all hope is not lost. Let’s see what they have to say after the third intifada. But then the third, like the second, will only bolster the naysayers in their view. Others will pin their hopes on an economic embargo – It will hurt the big shots where it really counts, in their pockets, and then they’ll be ready to sell out their mother. Perhaps. But that will take time. By then it will be too late to save the two-state idea. These are the same optimists who were so stunned when Benjamin Netanyahu came to power after Rabin. The faith that, when the day of reckoning arrives, Israelis will support concessions is just as pathetic and unrealistic as the faith that following annexation all the Jews of the world will make aliyah and the Messiah will come.

It’s time to come out of denial, you’re just hallucinating: Israeli Arabs will never be part of the coalition; among the Jews in the Knesset the right has a big majority, and this will only increase. On Passover 2014, look the truth in the eye: Peace is dead.

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