Friday, August 1, 2014

The Danger of Denial for Israel // Editorial // Jewish Daily Forward

May 2 seems like an eon ago.  It is when the Kerry/Obama peace initiative hit the wall.  The Jewish Daily Forward editors summed up the situation with prescience.
The Danger of Denial for Israel
Editorial - Jewish Daily Forward
May 2, 2014

We are not, of course, John Kerry. We have not, in the past nine months, met 34 times with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and reportedly twice that many times with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, staking so much personal energy to achieve the two-state solution that these men say they want but are unwilling to grasp.

Since we are journalists and not diplomats, we won’t get into trouble for speaking the truth, which is that Israel does risk becoming an anti-democratic state where a minority rules the majority unless the occupation ends. We won’t utter the A-word — Israeli politicians are allowed to, but it’s unwise and inflammatory for anyone else, especially if you are secretary of state, even if you thought you were speaking in a private, off-the-record conversation.

We are, instead, Americans who care deeply about ensuring a secure, Jewish and democratic Israel, and about finding a way to satisfy the legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinians. From this perspective, half a world away, it looks like Netanyahu and Abbas are in a dangerous state of denial.

Politics in America, in Washington especially, hardly provides a model for finding common ground, but it is far enough from Jerusalem and Ramallah to see what those leaders cannot or will not acknowledge. We may be wrong on this. We rather hope so. But the view from here is that the situation there is not likely to get better, or easier, or more advantageous to one side or another anytime soon.

Israel’s continued occupation of roughly 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank will corrode its soul and destroy its democracy, diminish its international standing and hasten the alienation that too many American Jews already feel. Palestinians’ continued refusal to accept the reality of Israel as a predominantly Jewish state will prevent them from establishing their own independent nation. Israel is in the neighborhood for good. Boundaries can be adjusted, compensation for lost property arranged, but the central fact of Israel’s existence is by now immovable. Get used to it.

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