The books are part of an industry and industries are built around harvesting and processing stable commodities. If anyone thought that Israel would be at peace tomorrow, next week or next year; the market for pro and con books would suddenly bottom out. Norman Finkelstein, that self-described “Old-Fashioned Communist”, would have to try his hand at working for a living, Tony Judt’s estate would be forced to republish his essays on Marxism, and Peter Beinart would have to go door-to-door peddling vacuum cleaners or encyclopedias.
The Peace Process is a permanent state of crisis. A Zeno’s Paradox in which the Jewish State shoots for peace, and seems to keep getting closer and closer to privileged observers, even as physically the arrow can never reach its target.
To pursue peace is to perpetuate the crisis and the entire publishing industry built around it. It ensures that Peter Beinart, Norman Finkelstein and the rest of the horrible bunch will have more books explaining why Israel is a horrible country because it won’t solve the crisis… even though it is entirely within its power. It ensures that Jimmy Carter will drag his senile smirk into more false piety and terrorist toadying– perhaps with another book deal. And it ensures that two years from now a Secretary of State will icily mention an apartment building in a Jerusalem neighborhood, where Jews, rather than Arabs, live, as the death of all hope for peace.
The only way to solve an unsolvable crisis is to de-crisis it, to stop trying to solve it. To declare that there is no crisis at all to solve and that perhaps all the people trying to solve it should find a real job. Netanyahu, like so many advocates from the right, has tried to prove that peace is impossible by making peace, and then showing that the other side is the obstacle.
That approach hasn’t worked now. And that approach will never work. It will not work if a hundred Israeli Prime Ministers offer 99 percent of the country for a hundred years to the radioactive zombie corpse of Yasser Arafat. It will convince the occasional observer of good-will, but it will not convince a single politician, diplomat, journalist or any of the other people who are the actual problem.
Israel can withdraw from every scrap of land that it took back in 1967 and the cries of “End the Occupation” will only grow louder. It can split Jerusalem, split Tel Aviv, split Haifa and split Ben Gurion Airport and there will be forty books on the history shelf next year explaining how the Zionist Devil Entity fueled by lobbyists, tears and racism has deprived the perpetually oppressed peoples of the other half of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ben Gurion Airport.
And there will still be no peace. Only the perpetual crisis of constantly being pressured to urgently make peace before, that favorite phrase of diplomats and seriously serious pundits, “time runs out”.
Well the time has run out. It ran out a while back.
Israel has to decide whether it wants to live in crisis mode or go back to the way things were before a drunken Prime Minister, whose only qualification for the job is that he once looked good in a military uniform, shook hands with a sleazy Oxford grad who talked a great deal about hope, and a greasy terrorist pedophile, to the brief acclaim of the politicians, diplomats and journalists who hailed the new era of peace. Hasbara is not a solution, it’s crisis management, and no amount of publicity or informed responses will offset a crisis; so long as you accept that there actually is a crisis.
The longer the crisis goes on, the worse Israel’s position becomes, the lower its morale falls and the fewer options it has. The crisis of unfulfilled peace cannot continue indefinitely and while it does, the only ones who benefit are those who write the books and plant the bombs.
The Jewish State can have the peacetime war of the peace process or the wartime peace of the old status quo. Jabotinsky warned once that it came down to ending the exile or the exile will end you. The ashes prove the truth of his words. Now Israel has another choice, either it will end the peace process or the process will end it.