Gideon Levy Feb 26, 2017 1:27 AM
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog deserves praise for the 10-point plan he published in Haaretz on Thursday. His 10 points reveal a vision and create a horizon of great hope. I would like to add just one tiny additional point to them, one that would turn his plan into the peak of perfection: the 11th point.
The parties should announce a 10-year period during which Isaac Herzog will remain in a cage. During this time, they will move toward realizing the two-state vision. At the same time, the economic development of the cage will be accelerated dramatically, among other things through regional and international assistance.
Pieces of bread will be thrown into Herzog’s cage from time to time, and over the years the addition of various spreads will be considered. The parties will work to renovate the cage, including building a seesaw (subject to strict security arrangements).
If his behavior conforms to expectations, Herzog will be entitled to declare his cage a state with temporary borders. At the end of the 10-year period (if Herzog is still alive), and on condition that he has behaved properly, the jailors will begin direct negotiations with the cage’s occupant, backed by the countries of the region and the international community, with no preconditions, as equals, seriously and resolutely, while moving toward a full and final peace agreement.
If Herzog would just agree to this provision – and why shouldn’t he? – it would be possible to put his plan into action immediately. Nothing would stand in its way, and at the end of 10 years we would have peace.
But if Herzog objects to the addition of this 11th point, we will have to declare his plan one of the most despicable plans ever proposed by an Israeli politician.
Without this 11th point, Herzog’s proposal is a plan for another 10 years of occupation, after which ... we’ll see. It’s a proposal for another Oslo, without learning anything from the Oslo fiasco. It’s another interim agreement on the way to nowhere. It’s a proposal for the rapist to continue raping his victim without let or hindrance for at least another 10 years. And then, perhaps, negotiations will be opened between them – direct, equal, without preconditions, blah, blah, blah, all the lies.
It’s a trial period for the rape victim, of all people, during which the rapist will continue his crimes (“The IDF will continue acting throughout the West Bank up to the Jordan River, and around the Gaza Strip”). And this will be called “a new, realistic process ... to implement the two-state vision.” There is no limit.
For the leader of Israel’s center-left, the true victory of Zionism is retaining the settlement blocs – so says Herzog. From now on, the settlements are a victory for Zionism – not just for the Zionism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, but for that of Herzog as well. With a center-left like this, it’s better to be on the right. With a Zionism like this, it’s better to be anti-Zionist.
But beyond this not terribly important argument with Herzog, a petty politician on borrowed time, his proposal once again highlights Israel’s moral blindness – on both right and left, from wall to wall – in all its shame. Israel does not see that every additional day in which the occupation continues to exist is a day in which additional crimes are committed: an infinity of daily crimes of dispossession, destruction, arrest, killing and humiliation. At any given moment.
Therefore, the immediate end of the occupation is the only thing a man of conscience and culture is permitted to discuss. There is no other legitimate topic. To tell the victim, “Wait, remain with the rapist for now and, if you behave nicely, we’ll talk in another 10 years,” is an abomination.
Similarly, the idea that the abyss can be crossed in stages, rather than with a single leap – a crazy idea that has been tried so many times, and each time merely further entrenched the injustice – is outrageous. Proponents of interim arrangements or of economic peace are always either cowardly or led astray.
So instead of Herzog’s 10-point plan, I hereby offer a more modest proposal, consisting of a single point: end the occupation. Yesterday. Today. Immediately. There is no alternative.
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