If history records the greatest accomplishment of the government of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu so far, it should be that of a master juggler. As the newest Wikileaks documents reveal, Netanyahu has being able to achieve a feat that, in my opinion, rivals the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict itself. One way or another, he has managed to present himself as a thoughtful, concerned and peace-seeking leader to the international community, while at the same time maintain a right-wing coalition that had, slowly but surely, and with the complicity of the Labor party, eroded human rights, democracy, and the values of the Zionist movement. He has deflected pressure both from the international community, and from his own coalition partners on the right, by carrying on small gestures, on one direction or the other, that ultimately do little but maintain the status quo.
That is really impressive. Just like a juggler, being able to maintain his equilibrium while being pushed form all sides, while keeping the little balls in motion. The problem is, the balls go nowhere. They continue moving in a perpetual circular pattern with no forward direction.
No serious person can argue that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not complex, or that the solutions are simple without painful concessions and sacrifices of both sides. It is clear that any agreement carries tremendous risk with it. But the evasive and maneuvers of the current government just make the situation worst because they send the signal that we have no end-game. It is not only that it is hard to get to a solution, we don’t even agree on what this solution should be. And the absence of an endgame is frustrating and creates hopelessness among Palestinians, which in turn will eventually just fuel more violence.
There is a simple way to end this. Regardless of the difficulties in negotiating an agreement, a clear commitment today to a two-state solution, with assurances that a future Palestinian state will receive equivalent territory to the pre-1967 armistice lines, will mark a clear path, and show light at the end of the tunnel. But that commitment will jeopardize Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition, and for now, he seems content to just keep the balls rolling in circles.
However, the problem is, no matter how skillful the juggler, sooner or latter, the balls must stop rolling, and the act must come to an end.