We’ve dropped the ball on this for a week, but it’s still important, Gideon Levy’s column in Haaretz last Sunday saying that it would be better for everyone if Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud coalition is reelected because if the “Zionist camp” of Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni win (Labor and Hatnua), the world will take the pressure off Israel in the belief that there’s been change. But there will be no change, Herzog will maintain the occupation through years of more pointless peace talks. Better that Netanyahu stay in the hot seat and Europe imposes sanctions.
Many folks have sent this column along. As Jerome Slater wrote, “Levy is not only amazingly courageous, honest, and principled: he’s almost never wrong.”
Below are excerpts of Levy’s column, “A Labor win will only entrench the occupation.” He begins by agreeing that Zionist Camp is a nicer face than Likud because it “doesn’t have people with nationalist and racist views inciting and agitating.” But.
Now let’s assume Zionist Camp wins. Jubilation; Netanyahu will be ousted and a new day will dawn in Israel with a Herzog-Livni government. Actually, the first and most dramatic change will come from abroad — a global sigh of relief.
Not a statesman around the world will be sorry to see Netanyahu go, other than maybe Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah and Khaled Meshal of Hamas. All will be pleased with the victory of the “moderates.” The world will applaud, Herzog will be invited to Washington and Livni to London — and vice versa.
And soon, as promised, the “diplomatic process,” not to say the “peace process,” will begin. Herzog will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Livni with Palestinian leader Ahmed Qurei in a series of moving photo-ops. The cheering around the world will grow louder.
This change will be happening just as it appears the world has had its fill of Israeli policy, of Israel thumbing its nose at international law, the United States and the across-the-board opposition around the world to a continuation of the occupation.
And just when it appears that sanctions against Israel — the only nonviolent way to push the country to leave the territories — are about to be introduced — then of all times Israel will be applauded. There will be no prospect of action at The Hague or at the UN Security Council, no pressure and no punishment. Quiet, they’re talking — those sacred negotiations are in progress.
Those negotiations will, of course, go on endlessly unless this time Abbas refuses to lend a hand to the farce. Herzog has already announced that he will devote five (!) years to negotiations that could be wrapped up in five weeks. In other words, Herzog has no intention of reaching an agreement. Over those five years, the world won’t put on pressure; the two sides are talking.
The occupation will become even more entrenched. Herzog has said his government will continue to build in the “settlement blocs.” And the last chance for a two-state solution — if it still exists — will be squandered. Herzog and Livni will delude the world and perhaps the Palestinians too. Those two will never achieve a just agreement.
This scenario need not surprise anyone. Herzog is at the helm of Israel’s party of occupation. The Labor Party is the founding mother of the settlement enterprise; it never considered stopping it.
Its historical responsibility for the occupation is greater than Likud’s. The Labor troika of Golda Meir, Yisrael Galili and Moshe Dayan founded it, Shimon Peres continued it, and Herzog will go down the same path.