The Gaza bloodbath was timed both to coincide with the maximum support from the U.S. at the fag end of Bush’s disastrous tenure and to impress the far right Zionist settlers. In addition it stoked up fear among others that they would only be safe with the current leadership. Was the sacrifice worth it for them. At the moment it hardly looks that way as further and further right they go with people like Lieberman fanning the flames of hatred.
Already the Israeli-Arab population who make up 20% of the population are oppressed. Half are out of work. Lieberman speaks of terrorism from inside as an ever present danger. He wants a large Arab town still inside Israel transferred to the Palestinian Authority and he wants Arab representation in the Knesset banned. And Israel is a democracy? That is what the world declares.
Western leaders keep stating that they want to see the peace process succeed with a two state solution but how that can happen given the one-sided power game is very unclear. The failure to even appear critical of Israel first in the Lebanon and now Gaza, let alone the daily hardship, abuse, attacks on Palestinians throughout the West Bank, gives little confidence in the appeasement approach.
Yet there is internal protest in Israel, but this is repressed often brutally. Young people who refuse military service, both women and men, end up in long periods of solitary confinement. As was the case with communities and northern Ireland, children are brought up knowing nothing about each other with prejudiced information fed to them. The experience of both Arab and Jew in initiatives such as the East-West Divan Orchestra have shown the shock they have when they come to realise their deadliest enemies are human too.
No doubt the Israeli state wants the ignorance to continue and spread, but it is not the sentiment that many Jewish Israelis hold who want peaceful lives for themselves and their families. Will the polls next Tuesday reflect this? It seems doubtful.