Seeds Carried by the Wind

The ideological buds springing in the heart of the desert should not be approached too closely, for fear that they will turn out to be mirages of the most deceptive kind.

At the peak of the hot summer months - when in other places people go fishing, go for a picnic, splash in brooks and lakes - it's customary in the Middle East to roll up your sleeves and get down to the most popular vacation activity: a war, military operation or provocative incident. And it's well known that during this season, even more than other times of the year, there's no point in trying to find proof of any exceptional brain activity in our region - particularly not anything related to political thought. And behold, this year a miracle occurred: From the very heart of the leadership wasteland, and perhaps because of it, a kind of ideological renaissance is taking place. Even - is it possible? - in the political minefield of the religious Zionist right.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman

Like those "seeds of summer" about which Meir Ariel sang, those that are "carried on the wind / arousing memories / awakening yearnings" - suddenly the air is filled with daring initiatives, sharp concepts, new ways of thinking filled to the brim with potential. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has proposed disengaging from Gaza once and for all; settlers and advocates of annexation are coming out of the woodwork, declaring a binational state preferable to withdrawal - in other words, they're admitting openly that they would be willing to sacrifice Israel for the Moloch of the territories.

Intellectuals from other political poles are also refusing to surrender to the wrath of Tammuz: Prof. Yehouda Shenhav suggests we forget about the Green Line, accept the right of return and oppose the evacuation of settlements.

Nor is it quiet on the Palestinian front. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas - in an outburst of creative thinking - declared (and immediately denied ) that he is willing, out of the goodness of his heart, to let us keep the Western Wall.

What could possibly lift one's spirits more than these ideological buds springing in the heart of the desert? At least some of them, however, should not be approached too closely for fear that they will turn out to be mirages of the most deceptive kind. After all, it's doubtful whether these seeds of summer will ever encounter loose earth that will actually absorb them.

Take, for example, Lieberman's idea of "disengagement from Gaza, but this time in all seriousness." Before the echo of his words had died down, his proposal was being attacked derisively from right and left to nip it in the bud, each side with its own longstanding reasons. And it's no surprise that leading the pack of those expressing shock and rejection were the Palestinians themselves, for reasons of their own; and primarily Hamas, which of course doesn't want to have anything to do with the Zionist entity, not even one that will do away with the "occupation" itself. Because without an occupation there is no "resistance" and without "resistance" there is no self determination.

The death of the proposal even before it was born did not prevent Lieberman's apprentice, Deputy Minister Danny Ayalon, from appearing on television and praising it effusively in all seriousness, as though he were some kind of urban planner describing one of those cities hidden from the eye. And the more he spoke, the stronger the impression that the summary rejection and the hopelessness of the proposal were actually what led to it being embraced by him so passionately. This is reminiscent of the members of the settler neo-renaissance, who began to utter effusive praise for the concept of a binational state precisely because they knew that nobody would spoil this vision by actually implementing it.

With the usual delay of several decades, finally they too have learned from the left and discovered the refined pleasure called "playing chess with ourselves." Its an enjoyable, pleasant game in which you move pieces around the board to your heart's content, with a raised pinky. The left played for 40 years, and now the settlers and the right are having their turn: to grant citizenship, to annex, "to guarantee human rights," to move, to close, to open, to arrange. That will happen until they also discover, as did their predecessors, that in real life the actual opponent tends occasionally to flip the board over unexpectedly, or not move from his positions even by a millimeter or to maintain his refusal in the face of any sophisticated idea.

Now, when a non-interlocutor after their own hearts has been found for the Palestinians in the guise of the Netanyahu government, the two rivals are staring at one another motionless from the two sides of the game board - both of them with a single, separate and actually common vision: mutual, almost symmetrical "resistance"; stubborn, frozen, mutually nourished. It's no wonder the only moves and awakenings are coming from the kibitzers.