Friday, June 22, 2018
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Another tsunami

Binyamin Netanyahuby Adam Keller

It was not Binyamin Netanyahu who started the occupation. Keeping millions of Palestinians under military rule, constantly expanding settlements throughout the Occupied Territories, diverting the country's best resources for it - many previous governments have done the same, including governments headed by the Labor Party.

But Netanyahu's watch happened to be the last straw, and the Palestinians are no longer ready to listen to empty promises and wait until it would please the State of Israel to graciously free them from the yoke of occupation and dismantle the settlements which go on swallowing ever more of their land. They are fed up with going thought round after round of negotiations leading precisely nowhere.

Now the Palestinians are going to the UN to demand international recognition of their right to establish a state - not just a state in the abstract, but a state in the 1967 borders, and Israel's military and police are preparing for large scale demonstrations and clashes, and a day before yesterday Likud Minister Yossi Peled described in concrete words the diplomatic tsunami which can be expected in September: "The isolation of the State of Israel is likely to intensify,  some countries might prohibit Israeli ships to unload goods, Israeli companies will be damaged, and the opponents of Israel will get a boost". And PM  Netanyahu is sweating and running around from one country to another in order to rally support at the UN against the Palestinian proposal and is making speeches and more hollow promises.

It was also not Netanyahu who first embarked on dismantling the Israeli welfare state. Undermining the public health system, public education, social welfare and organized labor, privatizing everything in sight and selling assets for next to nothing to a select group of Tycoons - all this, too, was also done by many previous governments, among them Labor governments,  though hardly ever with as much enthusiasm and conviction as Netanyahu brought to the job.

And also here, Netanyahu's watch happened to be the last straw. Also the citizens of Israel - especially the young ones - are fed up with empty promises, fed up with waiting until it would please the government to provide them with affordable housing and functioning health services and truly free education for  their children. No longer are they content to again and again vote in elections and  discover again and again that even if the party in power changes, government policy changes hardly at all.

And protest camps get set up and spread from Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv to places all over the country and young people take to the streets in their tens of thousands and boo and hiss every time when they hear in speeches from the podium such words as "privatization" or "market forces", and they burst out chanting "The People Demand Social Justice!" And Netanyahu is sweating and running around, making speeches and throwing some crumbs - but his promises are just not believed, and the social tsunami is already here in late July.

And the Prime Minister was forced to cancel his flight to Warsaw where he intended to mobilize the Poles against the Palestinian proposal in the UN, and instead went to meet the  representatives of Israel's student unions and offer them all kinds of inducements aimed at splitting up the struggle but they did not swallow the bait and the PM will have to think about another trick and oh God why did it all have to fall on his head?

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