It’s All a Daydream

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Israeli soldiers look toward the Gaza Strip from Israel, August 3, 2014. Credit: Reuters
Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy

This is what Benjamin Netanyahu should have said in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly this week:

“I stand here before you today ashamed and mortified. I’m ashamed and mortified by the outcome of the brutal Israeli attack on Gaza. Ashamed and mortified by the alarming number of civilians my country killed, ashamed and mortified by the scope of devastation its unrestrained army spread. The Israeli army made a certain effort to reduce injury to civilians, but I know that this was no more than conscience-soothing measures, if any conscience still remains in Israel, and the rest is propaganda tricks.

“The results rest before you – 2,200 bodies – and they speak for themselves. They should torment every decent Israeli, they torment me as well. From this podium I’d like to bow my head, express sorrow and apologize to the residents of Gaza for what we have done to them. My country will contribute as much as it can to compensate them.

“We launched this attack after we detected a golden opportunity – the abduction and murder of three teens in the West Bank – to wreak revenge on Hamas and sabotage the Palestinian reconciliation government, which threatened to advance an agreement with Israel. Hamas fell into the trap we laid for it and in retaliation to our harsh steps against its people in the West Bank, it began firing rockets at Israel. We responded in the language we love most when dealing with the Palestinians – the language of military power, killing and destruction. By so doing we also proved to the world that we don’t give a damn about it and have no reason to do so. The world grumbles and Israel conquers and kills.

“If anyone thought that after the Goldstone report there won’t be another wild operation in Gaza, we proved that not only will there be one, but it will be more brutal than its predecessor. Why should we listen to the world? The United States is deep in our pocket – there isn’t another state in the world that can disregard it as we can – and all the rest doesn’t matter. Public opinion? International law? They’re mere anti-Semitism.

“But all these are matters of the past. In the morning after the war in Gaza, Israel, myself included, awoke to new insights. Suddenly we understood that force and aggression aren’t advancing the state anywhere. We realized that Israel cannot live by the sword forever – there’s no historical precedent for that. Even Israel’s seemingly unlimited power has limitations and we cannot wipe Gaza out or remove the Palestinians. We realized too that the dozens of Israeli fatalities had died for nothing, that Israel had achieved nothing and that in another war it will pay an immeasurably higher price.

“The morning after the terrible war I realized what I had never understood before – that the only way to ensure my state’s future is to make an effort to integrate it into the problematic space it is located in, rather than turn its back on it, as Israel has done so far. I understood that precisely because of the upheavals in this region we must find a solution to the Palestinian problem, the mother of all problems, before it’s too late. I realized that if there’s still a chance for the two-state solution, which I committed myself to but never meant, this is the last opportunity.

“From this stage I now call on the representatives of the reconciliation government to enter into quick negotiations with Israel. Everything has already been discussed to excess and all we need to reach an agreement is to decide. Israel, for its part, will undertake to end the occupation completely within an agreed time frame. On the eve of opening the negotiations it will free thousands of Palestinian prisoners, to prove to the Palestinian people that it has truly changed direction. At the same time I propose to the Palestinian government to hold a joint Israeli-Palestinian referendum, to determine whether we’re going for a two-state solution within the 1967 borders, or a solution of one egalitarian democracy, a state whose citizens all have equal rights.”

All this never happened – and won’t happen. It’s all a daydream. Instead we got another propaganda-filled, hollow, patronizing speech. The obsequious advisors cheered, the Adelsons invited the Netanyahus to dinner and Israel remained, of course, intransigent.

Comments