By Avigail Abarbanel*
So he won and I have to say I am relieved. There wll be no more endless cycles of pointless ‘negotiations’ with Israel pretending that some day it will agree to a two-state solution while continually escalating both settlement (colony) building and the maltreament of the Palestinians. Now everyone will see that the Palestinians were right all along and that Israel has never been a partner for negotiations.
There is no real political Left in Israel and if the other side got to form a government, all we would have seen is more of the same. Now we’ll see if the EU has the decency and conviction to enact proper sanctions. Then of course there is the US. The US Administration might stall for a while, but we’ll see if they have what it takes to do the right thing. Israel is no friend to the US and the sooner they realise it the better.
Israel is on a slippery slope of its own making. Get your popcorn, sit and watch. Israel is becoming more radicalised than ever before. Certainly much more than when I was growing up there. Of course I could be wrong — and I hope I am — but I think Israel’s pathological siege mentality will now become more pronounced and more evident to outsiders. Israel has for a long time been readying itself for when the time comes, to bunker down, live with austerity and give up the fancy lifestyle the country has become increasingly accustomed to in the last 20-25 years. They can do this.
Israel has always prepared itself psychologically and economically to being isolated. All that openness to the rest of the world that Israel has enjoyed increasingly in the last generation or so, and Israel’s acceptance by others, have always been seen as temporary in the eyes of most Israeli Jews. They had always expected it to end and had the mentality of ‘let’s enjoy it while it lasts and make the most of it while we can’. Fundamentally Israeli Jews believe that the world hates them because they are Jewish (in their mind it has nothing to do with colonialism or the Palestinians). So although Israel has brought its own situation upon itself, that is not how Israeli Jews see it. They believe things are ‘happening to them’ for no fault of their own. They expect isolation and have dropped all pretences to pander to the West and are behaving more in line now with their true nature. Even less radical people will become radicalised now in Israel. There will be even more propaganda and more brainwashing than ever before.
Netanyahu really does represent most Israeli Jews even though some of them do not like him. But the reasons they do not like him are not what you expect. Most Israeli Jews identify with Netanyahu’s perception and understanding of what the rest of the world is like and of the world’s relationship with Israel. After all Netanyahu is a product of Israeli society just like I was, and believe me, when you have that kind of psychology and that incredibly effective, powerful propaganda machine all around you, it is easy to believe that what you see is really how it is… Israeli Jews have always lived in a psychological ghetto and it’s that ghetto that I got out of back in 1991.
Life will get very difficult for Jews in Israel soon enough, and many with dual citizenship will abandon ship. Those who remain will be the die-hard fanatics and zealots who are dangerous because they might have the psychology of murder suicide. I believe that before it is over, things will get really bad there and extremely dangerous. Israel will become much more fanatic and extremist than ever before with a lot less inhibitions.
I am therefore worried about the Palestinians and wonder how much more of this they could possibly take and what they can expect in the next few months and years. Israel isolating itself is more dangerous for the Palestinians because world public opinion will no longer be a moderating factor on Israel’s behaviour. And believe it or not, it did have a moderating effect. What you have been seeing so far and what Palestinians have been experiencing is not yet the worst. Gaza gives you the idea of what Israel has in mind for all Palestinians.
So the message to those of us who support the Palestinians is to get ready to escalate our support. It is about to get very very tough. With Netanyahu at the helm the end of colonialism and occupation is nigh, but it is about to get a lot worse before it gets better.
About the author:
*Avigail Abarbanel was born and raised in Israel. She moved to Australia in 1991 and now lives in Scotland. She works as a psychotherapist in private practice and is an activist for Palestinian rights. She is the editor of Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012).
This article was published at Mondoweiss.net, which may be found here.