The Real Right and the “Deal of the Century”

Was written on April 7th , 2019

The elections for the 21st Knesset take place in two days, but it can be already said that any retrospective analysis will surely indicate “fear of the Left-wing” as one of the campaign’s most predominant features. Similar to the vuvuzela of the 2010 soccer World Cup, the Left have become the persistent irritant of the 2019 elections and, in the rhetoric of Right-wing leaders, “Left-wing” has become the official term of derision: Gantz is a lefty, Lapid is a lefty, everyone is a lefty. All our other troubles have been forgotten: the cost of living is no more, there is no shortage of affordable housing, the public transport and medical services are not in a state of collapse.

But let’s look forward a bit – to the day after. In the army we were taught that every Shabbat has a Motzei Shabbat – the day after Shabbat. And thus, US President Donald Trump, who came to the party with American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem, the cessation of funding to UNRWA and the other organizations financing Palestinian refugees, and the acknowledgment of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights – that same Donald Trump may, according to all the estimates, remind us the day after the elections that it’s time to pay the bill, when he presents his “deal of the century” for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The main fundamentals of the deal have already been largely leaked: territory swapping, the establishment of a Palestinian state on 90 percent of current Palestinian territory, division of Jerusalem into two capitals with Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem, the evacuation of illegal outposts and halting expansion of isolated settlements. According to reports in the Arab media, the deal to be presented to the Palestinians also includes delineation of the borders of the future Palestinian state in the West Bank. Reports published last weekend also included the naturalization of approximately 1 million Palestinians in Jordan.

Assuming that these reports are correct, the question must be asked: If reelected, what will “Right-wing” Binyamin Netanyahu do different from “Left-wing” Benny Gantz, if these are indeed the fundamentals of the plan? Will he turn his back on Trump after all the favor the American president has heaped upon him and us? Or maybe, he will make arrangements to accept the “deal of the century”? And if we presume that Netanyahu will at least attempt to acquiesce to Trump’s deal – how will this affect the meaning of “Right-wing” and “Left-wing”, and how will he be able to justify the fact that he chose to derisively call Gantz “Left-wing”?

It is said that Netanyahu is relying on the precedent that appears in the Pesach Haggadah and is hoping that God will harden the hearts of the Palestinians and of Putin, just as he hardened Pharaoh’s heart. If the Palestinians reject the plan or if Putin puts a stoke in Putin’s wheels in order to prevent American expansion in the Middle East, Netanyahu could have it both ways: he could avoid leaving Trump empty-handed while at the same time avoiding implementation of a plan in which he appears to have no interest.

But what does saying “yes” to Trump’s deal mean? For decades we thought that this was the core of the disagreement between Right and Left in this country: for and against the partition of our small strip of land into two states – Israel and Palestine. Should Netanyahu, proud as he is of being Right-Wing, lead us to Trump’s peace plan, there may no longer be any significance to these terms and divisions.

The Right-wing is therefore charged with the mission of bringing about an Israeli refusal to the deal.

About the Author
Miri Shalem is CEO of the Institute for Zionist Strategies and Blue & White Human Rights movement. The Institute is a Right winged, Zionist, Liberal Think and Do Tank that works in the Checkpoints and in East Jerusalem..Miri was for many years an activist for social change for women. Her activities in this field include organizing the national dance conference for Orthodox women and initiating a flashmob protest by Bet Shemesh women against gender segregation in the public space. She worked to establish a women's counseling center in Beit Shemesh, for which she won the Yaffa London Award in 2012. Prior to her current position, Miri was the Director of the Ramat Beit Shemesh Community Center where she was the founder and the chairperson of the city's Women's Council. on 2014, she was one of the heads of the campaign of Eli Cohen, a mayoral candidate in Bet Shemesh. Miri was a columnist for "Makor Rishon" and now she writes for "Yedioth Achronot" She has a BA in Economics and Political Science and an MA in Gender Studies. Miri has lived in Beit Shemesh for almost twenty years and, despite the city's difficulties, reaffirms daily her choice to stay there and continue her activism. She is married and a mother of 4.
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