Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

From the sidelines, we have been watching some of our friends and associates fight it out over what Netanyahu intends to or doesn’t intend to do: Annexation, Sovereignty, or Applying Israeli Law.

At this moment, I find the blame game far more interesting and relevant.

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Some within the Likud (presumably channeling Netanyahu) and in the US administration are already pre-blaming the settlers in case Israeli law is not applied onto communities in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, claiming their obstinance is changing the minds of the US administration – who will now throw away 3 years of hard work, because they unexpectedly face some justified criticism on some very bad details from people living in a country where everyone expresses their strong opinions.

(Of course, immature, ad hominem attacks like calling very worried people “kindergartners” instead of better explaining themselves, didn’t help convince anyone either).

While among the settlers, they are blaming certain people in the US administration (primarily Jared Kushner) whom they believe keeps moving the goal posts on Netanyahu – and that Kushner’s real goal is about trying to create a Palestinian state, and he hasn’t really wanted Israel to unilaterally apply Israeli law from day one. Not to mention the fact that the settlers can’t get straight or even any answers to some very serious questions they keep asking.

Some Deal of the Century advocates claim that the plan makes it impossible for a Palestinian state to arise due to the many conditions and demands it makes from the Palestinian Authority. It’s a nice argument, if you believe that.

Other advocates say, let’s take what we can now, and fight off the rest later.

While most on the settler council are saying, simply make a unilateral decision to apply Israeli law (or did they sovereignty) and outright reject a Palestinian state.

To us it looks like people are playing a very dangerous game here, relying on strategic ambiguity and semantics to hopefully push the ball in the direction they want, while other players – on the same team – are pushing in opposite directions – and no one wants to outright say what they really want (as the settler leaders are demanding), because that would mean game over.

Throwing his two agurot into the ring, Israel President Ruby Rivlin said,

“We are brothers and sisters, I want to remind us today, and not in an abstract or distant way. In recent days, the question of annexation is once again the subject of difficult conversations. Us and them. Are you with us or against us? We all suffer from this kind of discourse.

“We do not flinch at the critics or the questioners, but we must beware of those who silence the conversation. We must not prevent questions, doubts or criticism from any political side.”

Discussing fateful questions – and the question of annexation is indeed a fateful one – must take place. It must take place in every country that wants the best for its people. Each person has their own view of the world. This is the stuff of Israeli democracy.

We do not flinch at the critics or the questioners, but we must beware of those who silence the conversation. We must not prevent questions, doubts or criticism from any political side. Disagree – yes. Argue – absolutely. But the verbal violence, the name-calling, the ridiculing, and the contempt must stop.

I, who remember well the attempts to silence the critics at the time of Oslo and the disengagement and remember how hard we worked to recover from that shut-down, make this request of you – enough.”

Very nice, but someone needs to politely tell the president, we’re not using the word “annexation”.

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