If the recent remarks by Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon had been made by MK Aryeh Eldad of National Union or MK Miri Regev of Likud's lunatic wing, we might be able to take a deep breath and hope for the best. But when Ya'alon proposes to Ari Shavit, as he did in Haaretz Magazine over the weekend, that we live another hundred years by the carrot and the stick, our hearts skip a beat.
Ya'alon is vice prime minister, the top member of the cabinet's security forum and one of the closest people to the prime minister. Most importantly, in the interview, Ya'alon wipes the makeup off the prime minister's face. Three years after the Bar-Ilan interview, in which Benjamin Netanyahu presented a two-state solution, the vice prime minister announces that the solution to the conflict is self-delusion.
When Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the UN Security Council in 2010 that a permanent solution was an illusion, Netanyahu said his office hadn't seen the speech. Do Ya'alon's remarks also not represent our leader's opinion? When Ya'alon was chief of staff, he wanted to "sear the consciousness" of Yasser Arafat so the Palestinian leader would realize that violence couldn't win; that is, he had to give up the "wanted men" before we'd consider talking to him.
What can be done about the fact that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spares no effort in stopping the violence? Ya'alon wants Abbas to prove that the consciousness of every toddler in Ramallah is seared with the fact that Israel belongs to the Jewish people. And what if that Palestinian child continues to dream about his grandfather's house in Jaffa? Ya'alon has patience. Time, he knows, is on our side. Optimistically, he compares his children's situation to that of his grandparents. But what about his grandchildren?
And what about Israel's Jewish character and its moral face? Ya'alon thinks the demographic argument is a lie and that the occupied nation whose land is being expropriated and whose homes are being destroyed is the aggressor. He says they have an ethos to destroy, while our ethos to build will triumph. Israel's number-one strategist is burying the two-state solution alongside Oslo and the road map. He is taking us 30 years back, to the idea of autonomy.
It's hard to believe that even Ya'alon thinks a Palestinian partner will be found for that stale old plan. Three years ago he proudly told Likud's Jewish Leadership faction, headed by Moshe Feiglin, that "every time the politicians bring a dove of peace here, we as an army have to clean up after it." He meant of course the unbridled use of force, which has eradicated any chance of a cease-fire and reconciliation.
Today this kibbutznik with a sense of humor can relax. Netanyahu's office isn't contaminated by dove droppings. The Palestinian section of the Ya'alon interview is the Netanyahu government's entire policy in a nutshell: The chance for peace and a two-state solution, on the one hand, and the dream of annexing the territories, on the other, have made way for a third option.
In his book "Israel's New Wars: An Historical-Sociological Explanation" (Tel Aviv University ), Uri Ben Eliezer defines this option as separation politics that contains a connection: It separates Gaza from the West Bank, the Palestinians from themselves within the West Bank, the Palestinians from the settlers, and Israel from parts of the West Bank. At the same time, it links Israel to parts of the de facto annexed West Bank and Israel to the settlers, who are its citizens. That's the opposite of the idea on which the Oslo Accords were based: connection by means of separation based on reciprocity, compromise and social and economic ties between the peoples.
The general definition of the word "terror" ignores that the Palestinians are fighting for their right to national self-determination. Ben Eliezer, a sociologist at the University of Haifa, notes that this definition helps the Netanyahu government export the third option to the United States and even Europe. This method lulls to sleep most Israelis who fear an all-out war but also a peace that requires territorial concessions.
The third option grants indirect legitimacy to the occupation and leaves room for nightmare scenarios of a bombing by Iran, persecution of African migrants and incitement against anyone who thinks differently.