Israeli elections and the big, fat Palestinian elephant in the room

Hardened by terror and frustrated by failed peace efforts, Israelis don’t want to hear about the evils of occupation or ways of ending it.

By Chemi Shalev | Haaretz | Feb 17, 2019

While the world might regard the occupation and Palestinian violence as chicken and egg, Israelis have managed to convince themselves it’s the other way round — It’s not the occupation that sows the seeds of terror and violence, but rather the Palestinian propensity for terror and violence that justifies and mandates continued occupation.

As of 2019, there are 6.7 million Jews in Israel, the occupied territories and Gaza, and 6.7 million Arabs, according to the latest official estimates.

Of the Arabs — or Palestinians, if you will — nearly 1.9 million are Israeli citizens, another 1.9 million live under a ruthless Hamas regime fixated on fighting Israel and 2.9 million live in the hybrid West Bank, under military occupation or the semi-autonomous rule of the Palestinian Authority.

An objective observer might surmise that Israel is caught between a rock and hard place, with a sword hanging over its head to boot. It won’t recapture Gaza but won’t release it from its stranglehold either. It won’t surrender the West Bank, for both religious and security reasons — and because Israelis are convinced that it would soon turn into another Gaza as well.

Israel won’t annex the West Bank either, less because of concerns over the international backlash and more because such a move entails enfranchisement of the Palestinians, which would upset the demographic balance, upend Israel’s democracy and jeopardize the country’s continued existence as a Jewish state.

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