Since the summer of 2012, when the battle cries to attack Iran reached their peak and were immediately exposed as nothing more than hot air, and even more so during the last elections last January, there is a consistent shift of Israeli public opinion toward the center. This trend was reflected in the eroding power of the Likud party, the appearance of the centrist Yesh Atid Party and the integration of Justice Minister Tzipi Livni into the new cabinet as leader of the negotiating channel with the Palestinians.
The explanations for this phenomenon are two-fold. First of all, the public finally understands the connection between its economic plight and the continued nurturing of the settlements and attendant handling of the conflict with the Palestinians. The public probably understands that the “equal burden” spin of the last election campaign, according to which the root of all evil lies in the economic-social arena, is self-delusion and dangerous repression.
Secondly, the ideological right wing has been in the process of an internal, political split for a decade. Ask yourself, for example, what all these public figures have in common: former Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, former Knesset members Roni Milo, Michael Eitan, Ronnie Bar-On and Dan Meridor, current Knesset Members Tzachi Hanegbi and Meir Sheetrit. All of them were at one time the aristocracy of the Likud and of its predecessor, the Herut Party, raised on the idea of “a greater Land of Israel”; all of them traded in that ideology for the idea of partition [two state solution]. Several of them even adopted, in one fashion or another, the Arab Peace Initiative as a basis for an arrangement ending the entire Israeli-Arab conflict.
When the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin was called upon to decide on a withdrawal from the Sinai , and when Sharon formulated the plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip , their friends from the hawkish, ultra-right wing challenged their leadership. Today, this wing is preparing itself for the possibility that Netanyahu will opt for the Begin-Sharon approach over the do-nothing approach espoused by the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. Defense Minister Moshe ”Bogie” Ya’alon has already positioned himself at the head of this camp, lifting up the banner of mutiny against the “land for peace” formula and encouraging the belief that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is insoluble in the foreseeable future.
I like this smell of new hopes… it was just necessary a bit of serious symbolic statehood proclaiming, together with noticing the way people sees Israel nowadays to switch a spark…
Lesson to be learnt as well by Palestinians… that UN proclamation has done more for Palestine than any life lost for decades. It made conservatives go so far in their paranoia that normal people had to react somehow… let’s see what comes out of this.
Hope is the last thing to loose.