The recent article from Haaretz which indicates movements in the Netanyahu administration with regards to the peace process shows at least one ground breaking development in Likud, and raises the possibility of another major domestic development.
A Break from An Old Ideology
The ground breaking development is Netanyahu’s statement “However there are those in Israel who think that one state is a good idea. I think it is a disaster.”
For years Netanyahu and his Likud allies have defined the Palestinian demographic figures as lies and fabrications. They have denied flat out that any possibility exists that the Palestinians in the occupied territories could outnumber Israelis in 20 years time. Very often they have accused the Palestinians of lying about their birth rates.
The new statement shows that Netanyahu has now come to accept the question of Palestinian demography and how it will be a powerful factor. That indeed if Israel does stay in the West Bank, it could lead to the end of Israel as a Jewish, democratic country. The importance of this new development must not be overlooked, nor underestimated.
Possibility of New Elections
This new development could either lead to new elections, or an alliance with Kadima. Its very unlikely that Netanyahu can move forward with his current coalition. The one person to watch out for is Lieberman. A decision to move forward with the peace process could bring Likud closer to Kadima. This will reduce Yisrael Beitenu’s leverage.
The isolationist camp in Israel, have stated that recent developments in the region actually justify settlement building. To this camp, there are only three important political entities. They are The Israeli government, the US government and AIPAC. Everyone else is irrelevant.
The reality is different. The world is a much bigger place. The state of Israel is a sovereign and independent country that is situated in the Middle East, and not in the Mid West of United States. Our neighbors include Egypt and Jordan, not Texas and Oklahoma.
In 1978, in a US TV show called “The Advocate”, a 28 year old Israeli representing himself as Ben Nitay (an absolute must see) amongst other things , hoped that all Arabs will one day have democracy.
Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be noticing how Ben Nitay’s hope is being slowly realized.
Israel must move forward and engage the new and democratizing Middle East. This is no time to retreat and hunker down behind the walls of West Bank’s gated communities.