I'm not asking Israel to be Utopian. I'm not asking it to allow Palestinians who were forced out (or fled) in 1948 to return to their homes. I'm not even asking it to allow full, equal citizenship to Arab Israelis, since that would require Israel no longer being a Jewish state. I'm actually pretty willing to compromise my liberalism for Israel's security and for its status as a Jewish state. What I am asking is that Israel not do things that foreclose the possibility of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, because if it is does that it will become--and I'm quoting Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak here--an "apartheid state."
And foreclosing the possibility of a Palestinian state is exactly what the current Israeli coalition wants to do.
You ask what has changed. First, year after year of settlement growth at triple the rate of the Israeli population (including this year, since in practice, Netanyahu's "partial freeze" has led to no slowdown of building, and in any case he has said it will not be renewed after September). The more the settlements expand, the more settlers--including fanatical settlers--take over parts of the Israeli bureaucracy and become integral to the Israeli army and rabbinate, all of which makes the prospect of removing them without outright civil war more remote. These people have already murdered an Israeli Prime Minister, and they routinely use violence against Israeli troops and Israeli leftists, not to mention Palestinians. Their young "hilltop youth" are so extreme that they actually scare the settler old guard. "When will the state of Israel wake up and realize that it is facing a real threat from an enemy within," those words are not from a dove, they are Ben Dror Yemeni, the hawkish editor of Maariv last year. And it's not just the growth and increased radicalization of the settlers, it's the emergence of a political coalition determined to protect them and make a Palestinian state impossible.
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