Monday, January 7, 2019

Israelis are no longer split down the middle on peace - by Jonathan S. Tobin

...If an acknowledged centrist (though the prime minister labels Gantz a closet “leftist”) determined to defeat the prime minister wants to hold onto Ofra “forever,” then it’s time to stop pretending that most Israeli think the lack of peace can be blamed on Netanyahu, rather than on the fact that Abbas and the Palestinians are still clinging to their century-old war on Zionism.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
05 January '19..

The 2019 Israeli election campaign is only a couple of weeks old, and already there’s been plenty of drama. The splitting of various parties has also been accompanied by drama about the possibility that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be indicted on corruption charges—or subjected to hearings about an indictment—in the weeks before voters head to the polls.

We don’t know yet what the final lineup of parties and candidates will look like or if Netanyahu, who is favored to win his fourth consecutive election and fifth term as prime minister, will be sunk by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit with consequences that cannot be predicted.

But there is one thing that would appear not to be in doubt. The results will once again vindicate a broad consensus about peace with the Palestinians that has existed in Israel since the end of the Second Intifada more than 15 years ago.

That was made clear by a statement made by Benny Gantz about the future of some controversial Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Speaking to Israel’s Channel 12 television network, Gantz stated that “the Etzion bloc, Ariel, Ofra and Elkana will remain forever.” While he added that the question of “how we arrange that they will remain forever” was still to be determined, the significance of his choice of those four places cannot be underestimated.

(Continue to Full Column)

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