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Annexation Will Free Israel From the Fake Commitment to Liberty and Equality

yossi klein
Yossi Klein
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A man carrying a boy walks past the remains of a Palestinian house in Beit Jala, West Bank, April 2, 2019.
A man carrying a boy walks past the remains of a Palestinian house in Beit Jala, West Bank, April 2, 2019.Credit: Mussa Qawasma / Reuters
yossi klein
Yossi Klein

Two hard slaps, one on each cheek, is what we need to give ourselves in order to wake up from this dream of the only democracy in the Middle East. Two smacks in the face to understand that the election – with bots or without – do not make a democracy out of a country where 2.5 million out of the 10 million people who live in it have no civil rights. Two slaps to remind us that we are only extras in the show that opens Tuesday – and closes Wednesday.

The election on Tuesday is a “let’s pretend” performance of democracy. Our participation is just a bit of one-off background scenery lacking any influence. In a true democracy, a man pursued by the law does not impose elections on 9 million people as a means to avoid a trial. In a normal democracy, we don’t hold an election over corruption. You are tried for corruption, not elected. We hold elections over education, religion, economics and a 71-year-old war.

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The fate and future of our children, not that of Benjamin Netanyahu, will be determined by this war. We have been sweeping this war under the carpet, even though it is what gave birth to the aggression and corruption that have brought us to where we are today. But we are not talking about this war and not dealing with it. There is nothing to talk about. No one to talk to and nothing to talk about.

When nothing is on the agenda in the election except for Netanyahu’s future, it is clear that what came before Tuesday will be what comes after it. But it will be even more flawed, more extreme, crazier. This is not a “crucial” election, it is only crucial for Netanyahu. The choice between one nationalist right and a different nationalist right is critical only for the right. The destruction of the legal system is more fateful, the internal rift is more painful, but we are in denial, insisting stubbornly on business as usual, driving a car without brakes – but making sure to signal on the curves.

Two smacks in the face will wake us up, not just from the illusion that we are living in a democracy but also the illusion that it really bothers us one way or the other. It’s simply not true. Is there anything that can convince us not to busy ourselves with the psychoses of the candidates and return to the reality of the checkpoints and arresting children?

Yes, there is such a thing. Annexation of the Palestinian territories and imposing Israeli law on 2.5 million people without rights will convince us. Only then will we be able to look in the mirror and admit sadly – though with a certain amount of relief – that we are finished with democracy. Because only annexation will force us to realize that even now we are a country without any borders, and that 20 percent of its residents lack rights.

When we sober up from the illusion of democracy, we will understand that for years we have been without it, wearing the emperor’s new clothes and not understanding why we are seen as crazy. Annexation will remove the restraints of having to act like a normal country. It will be something liberating, wild, uninhibited – we will be the crazy, violent guy who fled the hospital, we will not be embarrassed about anything, we will be like Donald Trump, like Itamar Ben-Gvir, like South Africa.

Annexation will free us from the fake commitment to liberty and equality, rescue us from the lie of “the most moral army in the world,” and enrich the dictionary with words like “transfer,” “expulsion,” “exile,” and “voluntary emigration.” Nothing will stop us; one who doesn’t stop at red lights no longer pays any attention to stop signs.

After the annexation, we will have here – as we have now – over 11 million people. More than Sweden and similar to Belgium. But in Sweden and Belgium everyone is equal before the law, and here they aren’t. When the law preventing the investigation of a sitting prime minister, whether it is called the French Law, the Portuguese Law or the Law to Save Netanyahu from Prison, we will no longer be a country with two sets of laws, but a country with three sets of laws: One set for the Arabs, another set for the Jews and a special set for selected, powerful, strong Jews who work night and day on our behalf.

They will continue to do little for us and a lot for themselves. We will be an island of Sicilian protection rackets in the middle of a shark-filled sea. Tough men in sunglasses will then pass through the neighborhood, everyone will know who they are, and they won’t deny it. True, they’ll say, we’re not saints, but show us someone who’ll protect you better than we will. After all, what are they asking for? For us to put the slip of paper in the envelope that we know we should put there. And remember, they’ll tell us, they have a lot of cousins to feed.

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