The News Behind The News
Late yesterday the Israeli Government announce the death of Ariel Sharon. Sharon will be remembered as a warrior and statesman for Zionism. He may also be remembered as someone who was kept alive in a vegetative state for almost 7 years following a massive stroke in 2006. It is hard to understand the technical heroics that were necessary but now Sharon is free.
But that is not all the news.
The day before Sharon’s death, the Israeli Government also announced additional settlements in the greater Jerusalem area. And the land upon which these buildings will stand is land taken from Palestinians. Hmmm. Peace process? I don’t think so.
Sharon gained his fame fighting against Arab aggression. At a time when the Arab world could have recognized Israel and begun a reconciliation process, the Arabs instead used terrorism and outright attacks hoping to crush Israel and push them into the sea. Sharon and others rallied Israelis and defeated the Arab aggression.
Fast forward to 2014, Israel’s future prospects seem clear. One option is an honest negotiation involving land swaps around the 1967 borders and the creation of two separate States. The other option which is consistent with unconstrained settlement expansion is a one State solution with second class status for the remaining Arabs. In other words, an Israeli apartheid solution.
Israel is a democracy. Its government represents a widely diverse electorate. Ultra-orthodox on one side and reformed progressives at the other end of the spectrum. In between are all sorts of Zionists. But while the decision to continue building on Palestinian land may delight certain factions more than others, it is never the less the result of a democratic process and reflects the responsibility of all.
Israel has the memory of other former warriors and leaders. These men and women defended the right to a Zionist State. It appears now that Israel will need to find a new type of warrior, this time one who seeks to outrightly impose Zionism on whoever lives in the land Israel seeks to call its Zionist State where ever those borders may fall.
The news, however, will find it easier to dwell upon Sharon than on the death of democracy which is also taking place.