So fatigued by their own rhetoric have Israeli and western leaders become, that they will not think or say that Israel has run out of options.
Superficially, some parallels might have merit; but to frame the issue in this way is disingenuous, and misses the key point that Israel’s situation is far graver, than widely understood.
Israel has painted itself into a tight corner. Trump certainly helped Netanyahu with this, but the dynamic was as much a child of Clinton-Obama myopia, as that of Trump.
Netanyahuism has been a phenomenon many years in the making; although undoubtedly was accelerated, and put on steroids, during the Trump era, when the power and platform of the U.S. government became the echo chamber of the Israeli Right.
So, what precisely, was the smoke-screen of ‘is Netanyahu channelling Trump’ obscuring? It obscures the reality that Israel has turned decisively Right – across the political spectrum. This may be described as Bibi’s personal ‘doing’, but it is no longer a matter of Netanyahu’s personal charisma.
Israel has become structurally right-wing. It has become culturally right-wing, too. No longer the secular, ‘socialist’ Kibbutzim of yore (long since marginalized).
Israel’s military and political leadership rather, is now predominantly Religious-Nationalist and Settler. This represents a ‘cultural revolution’ largely unnoticed in Europe.
The biggest fear gripping religious Zionists had been that of surrendering territory. The fallout from the 2005 evacuation of the Gaza settlements, pushed the settler community to expand inside Israel.
Thus began the move of young religious Zionists to embed themselves into policy making, communication and government. Christian Zionists are Israel’s political foot soldiers in Washington.
The early cultural components of hanging on to territory have however, undergone a revolutionary shift: Settling the land of Israel is no longer the main issue occupying religious Zionism.
Most of the Israeli public holds right-wing positions when it comes to issues of security and politics – and the West Bank is positively brimming with settlements that will most likely never be evacuated.
Anything that seeks to change the perception of family life and advance gender equality and equal treatment of non-Jews is perceived to be an existential threat to the very foundations on which the Jewish state was built”
This dictates that the ‘People of Israel’ must be saved from foreign influence – and more particularly from Leftists: “Not those [Leftists] who want to evacuate settlements in order for a Palestinian state to arise, but those who march in the Gay Pride Parade and believe in equality for men and women.
The vast majority of religious Zionists are more liberal than this, and as such send their children to pre-military yeshivas and youth movements. But it is in these very places – that such extremely conservative worldviews are often introduced”.
The incitement amongst the Israeli Right has become very, very aggressive. Though Netanyahu loyalists are attacking Bennett and his Yamina party MP’s, they largely believe in the same causes: settlement building, annexation of much of the West Bank, and Jewish supremacy over Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Netanyahu promotes a clear message that his new rivals are “traitors” who have betrayed the “people of Israel”. He has called Bennett a “habitual liar”; the March election he described as the “biggest election fraud in the history of the country.
He lambasted the so-called “Deep State” in Israel for pushing to form a “dangerous left-wing government” backed by “terror supporters”.
While Netanyahu built his political base on extreme polarization, the discourse of hatred now is eating alive the Israeli Right.
And, because Netanyahu believes his only way to maintain power is to call Bennett a traitor, as his supporters threaten to kill Knesset members, the atmospherics are being compared to the days prior to November 1995, when Israeli Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated in Tel Aviv.
Paradoxically, since these leaders hail from the same right-wing camp and were close to each other, the anger and sense of betrayal are even stronger.
EU Antisemitism Chief motivated by Christian movements.
What is the point here? Direct talks on the permanent status issues will go nowhere—the politics on each side, the real gaps on the substance, and the disbelief of their public’s guarantee nothing would be achieved.
In other words, talks between Palestinians and Israel are pointless. The Israeli polity effectively is self-locked into entropy. There is no political way out from this very tight corner.
The strategic shift Rightwards in Israeli politics, which marks a tectonic change, is understood in Washington to have foreclosed on the two-state solution – and on the one-state solution, too.
As a one-state solution is clearly incompatible with Religious Zionism’s ‘post-modern’ shift, and contradicts too, the very essence of Religious Zionism. And so we have Grid lock.
For while U.S. state apparatus is locked onto the old mantras of ‘Israel has the right to defend itself’ and Hamas is the ‘threat’, and Congressional élite’s remain lock-solid, America is experiencing its own tectonic shift.
Two surprising polls were released recently: Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) commissioned the Barna Group to survey evangelical Christians about their views on Israel/Palestine.
The poll suggests support for Israel has dropped considerably: only 33.6% of young evangelicals (between the ages of 18 and 29) said they support Israel; 24.3% said they support Palestine; 42.2% said they support neither side in the conflict.
Compare this survey to one carried out in 2018 – then a staggering 69% of young evangelicals said they supported Israel.
They have no idea what to do next, and Israel’s success in weaponizing ‘antisemitism’ (Corbyn being its prize scalp) effectively has Europe self-paralyzed with fear for their careers.
Israel’s ‘military edge’ has gone. It is the axis of Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Iraq, Iran and AnsarAllah (the Houthis), rather, which now has the military – and political/strategic – edge.
The strategic balance is inverted: Israel’s control of airspace is unrestricted – over Gaza only. Deeply buried and dispersed smart cruise missiles surround Israel, and radar blocking drone swarms, together with EWS, have altered the military calculus.
The reason the Israeli crisis is graver than many suppose is that no one wants to admit that Israel effectively has wasted its window to any political solution – chasing hegemony and its ‘victory narrative’.
It has succumbed to Netanyahu’s narrative of ‘mission accomplished’ – the Palestinian issue supposedly made irrelevant – only to find the window of politics closed shut, at the same time that Israel’s military situation has reversed itself, decisively.
The old certainty of Israeli military domination ultimately securing Palestinian acquiescence now looks decidedly frayed.
So fatigued and numbed by their own rhetoric have Israeli and western leaders become, that they will not think or say that Israel has run out of options. And so western policy continues on auto-pilot.
Inevitably there will be further Right-wing provocations at al-Aqsa. The IDF will default to its policy of ‘mowing the Gaza lawn’ – only one or other of these times (maybe quite soon), Israel will find itself in a multi-front war.
Are they certain America will spend its blood to extract Israel from its self-made quagmire? Are they convinced Gulf States will be there too, shoulder-to-shoulder?
Strategic Culture / ABC Flash Point News 2021.