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Why Israel’s shift from hope to fear could help shrink the Occupation

TJI Pick
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Published: 19 February 2018

Last updated: 4 March 2024

IT IS FASCINATING to observe how the right and left have become mirror images of each other: The right no longer believes that settling the territories will bring redemption but says withdrawing will bring disaster.

The left no longer believes that withdrawing from the territories will bring redemption but says remaining there will bring disaster. Left and right have undergone similar processes: They have both moved from hopes to fears.

This is good news. This transition from hope to fear should in itself spark a glimmer of hope for the political debate in Israel. Between rival political dreams, there necessarily exists a zero-sum game. There is neither a middle way nor room for compromise between the dream of peace and the dream of a Greater Israel.

For years, each camp took ownership of a single dream that totally negated its rival’s dream. No such dynamic exists between fears. Anyone with personal experience of phobias knows that fears can easily accumulate. One who is afraid of heights can easily also be afraid of spiders and confined spaces. This is exactly what has happened in the Israeli public conversation.

Many Israelis have simultaneously assimilated the fears of both left and right. In reality, most Israelis have been convinced, to a greater or lesser extent, by both the right’s existential argument (that a territorial withdrawal would constitute a geographic danger) and the left’s (that remaining in the territories would be a demographic danger).

For the first time ever, Israel has a new political space that does not exist between left and right, but rather encompasses both left and right.

FULL STORY How Israel can shrink the occupation, without shrinking its security (Haaretz)

Photo: Rainbow over the Shoafat Palestinian refugee camp in Jerusalem (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

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