26/09/2008

The Israeli extreme right in a spiral of violence

A pacifist attacked for his ideas of compromise with the Palestinians, a force raid on a Palestinian village in response to an aggression … the level of violence from the extreme Israeli right is increasing more and more. Opposites in a first time only to the Palestinians, in a second time to Israeli Defense Forces, the settlers and their ultra-orthodox and ultra-nationalists supporters are now attacking the camp of non-violence and peace.

In 1995, a similar logic led to the attack on Prime Minister Yithzak Rabin. And yet, despite the shock caused by the killing and despite the high esteem in which most Israelis still hold Rabin, the ultra-Orthodox continue to act with impunity.

It is interesting to analyze the weight of these small groups on Israeli politics. To obtain a majority, the big parties have to get allied with these small ultra-Orthodox parties which manage to anchor the religion more deeply in Israeli society. And apart from these minor reforms, they’re also managing to protect the settlements in the West Bank. That is why reality is taking shape far from the promises from Israel to freeze settlements or even to dismantle them, and largely why the peace process is blocked.

The relationship of Israel with these ultra-Orthodox formations from which the most recalcitrant settlers are coming from is similar with the relation of lax parents with their arrogant and capricious children. Thus, while enjoying a special status, ultra-Orthodox are not even grateful to the state and accuse it to protect the Palestinians, and to abandon Eretz Israel (the « Greater Israel »).

Indignant reactions came from the society following the attack against the historian Zeev Sternhell and death threats launched against the movement Peace Now. Does Israeli society finally decide to educate these recalcitrant children?

The enemy of peace is not always to be found in the camp of the opponent. Violence has never solved anything, even the coldest mind could make this calculation. Only dialogue, compromise and negotiation will make the outcome of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict possible.

N.J.O.