“Stop the Peace Process.” That’s the name of an editorial that appeared this week on Walla!, the most popular of Israel’s indigenous Hebrew websites. What’s surprising is that Walla! is strongly left-leaning and was founded by Haaretz, Israel’s left-wing daily.
The editorial is quite interesting and worth quoting. “Israelis observe with total indifference,” it says,
the political process that Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas, and Barack Obama are trying to sell them. The streets were supposed to be churning with political activity, pro and con. In the city squares the believers in the process were supposed to be angrily confronting the opponents. But the Israelis aren’t fools. Their sense of smell, which is sharp and sensitive after years of peace follies and piles of corpses, can well detect when a genuine political process is occurring and when it’s a matter of PR for an [Israeli] prime minister who pretends to be a statesman, a president of an [i.e., Palestinian] Authority who’s scared to death, and a U.S. president who’s determined and naïve to the same extent.
Aside from the arguable characterizations of those three leaders, especially the obligatory jab at Netanyahu, Walla! is right. Anyone who lived in Israel in the 1990s recalls the fierce standoffs between those who supported the “peace process” of that time — and in many cases continued supporting it even as those corpses from terror attacks kept piling up — and those who opposed it. In comparison, the situation today can be described as “eerily silent.”
True, left-wing columnists and opposition politicians have been lashing out at Netanyahu for allegedly wrecking peace by failing so far to make all the concessions — first the settlement freeze, now the extension of the settlement freeze — that Abbas and Obama demand of him. But the passion is lacking. In the ’90s, Peace Now would have mustered tens of thousands in the streets beating the drums for a renewed settlement freeze. Now there isn’t a peep out there.
Walla!, to be sure, keeps slamming the right-of-center Israeli prime minister:
When Netanyahu disingenuously declared his acceptance of the two-state principle, at a typical delay of 17 years, people on the left sobbed with joy, believing the Messiah was knocking on the door. It’s just that Netanyahu’s pacifist declarations came wrapped in a set of conditions that torpedo any possibility of progress, and it looks as if his insincere moves were only aimed at appeasing American anger.
Walla! then starts in on Netanyahu’s cabinet, and particularly on two members of his “inner cabinet” of seven ministers: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. In a radio interview this week, Yaalon said there was “no chance of reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians in the near future.” In his speech to the UN two weeks ago, Lieberman said “decades” would be needed to reach real Israeli-Palestinian peace.