“The situation in the occupied territories is irreversible, and Israel no longer has any chance of dislodging itself from these territories.” So we hear again and again from all-knowing analysts, from gleeful settlers and right-wingers, from deniers of Israel’s right to exist, and from many despairing leftists.
I am among those who fear that the path being pursued by Benjamin Netanyahu and the settlers who control him is leading Israel toward a historic catastrophe. To me, the not-too-distant future appears quite bleak. Still, I suggest that we be a bit more wary about using the term “irreversible.” Anyone who remembers the birth of the State of Israel three years after the Holocaust, who saw Egyptian President Anwar Sadat getting off the plane at Ben-Gurion Airport, and Menachem Begin welcoming him and then returning all of the Sinai for peace, who witnessed the absorption of a million immigrants in a very short span of time, who saw Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres shaking hands with Yasser Arafat, who saw Ariel Sharon’s bulldozers uprooting Sharon’s settlements in Gaza and the northern West Bank, who saw Mikhail Gorbachev dismantle the Communist world, should be careful about using the term “irreversible.”
I am very far from confident that the two-state solution will come to fruition anytime soon, but the only thing that’s irreversible apparently is death, and that may well have to be reexamined sometime too.