Wed, Dec 12, 2012 - Page 9 News List

The Dome allowing Israeli leaders to abdicate responsibilities

With the collapse of Arab Iron Fists around them, Israel has insulated itself in a wall and dome that are allowing leaders to avoid West Bank resolution

By Thomas Friedman  /  NY Times News Service, TEL AVIV, Israel

I am stunned at what I see here politically. On the right, in the Likud Party, the old leadership that was at least connected with the world, spoke English and respected Israel’s Supreme Court, is being swept aside in the latest primary by a rising group of far-right settler-activists who are convinced — thanks, in part, to the wall and dome — that Palestinians are no threat anymore and that no one can roll back the 350,000 Jews living in the West Bank.

The far-right group running Israel today is so arrogant, and so indifferent to US concerns, that it announced plans to build a huge block of settlements in the heart of the West Bank — in retaliation for the UN vote giving Palestinians observer status — even though the US did everything possible to block that vote and the settlements would sever any possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state.

Meanwhile, with a few exceptions, the dome and wall have so insulated the Israeli left and center from the effects of the Israeli occupation that their main candidates for the Jan. 22 elections — including those from former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s old Labor Party — are not even offering peace ideas, but simply conceding the right’s dominance on that issue and focusing on bringing down housing prices and school class sizes. One settler leader told me the biggest problem in the West Bank today is “traffic jams.”

I am glad that the wall and the Iron Dome are sheltering Israelis from enemies who wish to do them ill, but I fear the wall and the Iron Dome are also blinding them from truths they still badly need to face.

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