In an interesting case of idealistic realism, the last bastion of the peace camp in Israeli politics, Meretz, has introduced a party platform that calls for a four-year path to Israeli-Palestinian peace, while simultaneously acknowledging that they don’t stand a chance.
As Haaretz reported yesterday:
The leftist Meretz party on Tuesday unveiled its diplomatic platform – a four-year path to peace based on the Arab League initiative.
The platform calls for immediate recognition of a Palestinian state followed by negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, a freeze on settlement construction, release of Palestinian prisoners and removal of West Bank roadblocks, Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On said on Tuesday at a Tel Aviv news conference.
The plan would also cancel the Oslo Accords in agreement with the Palestinians, and replace them with a new interim pact. Gal-On said she would be meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah to discuss the plan on Wednesday.
Which is all well and good, and after having spent several weeks reading about how everyone else in Israeli politics appears to be in a race to see who can be the biggest supporter of two-state wrecking settlement construction, is also a real pleasure to see. Despite what statistics are starting to suggest, apparently some Israeli Jews aren’t yet ready to shrug their shoulders over peace.
Yet despite the time-honored tradition of acting like you’re going to win even when you know you’re going to lose, not even the folks at Meretz are spinning their plan’s chances.
The platform was prepared by Ilan Baruch, a former career diplomat who resigned his post to South Africa in 2011 saying he could no longer represent the Netanyahu government’s foreign policy. At the same Tuesday press conference, Baruch said:
[This] is a plan intended to jump-start the process that has gone into deep freeze, [which is] completely the responsibility of the outgoing government and apparently the incoming one. Any plan that pretends to reinvent the peace process is not serious. Our plan is based on existing materials. The first and supreme test is the applicability of such a plan. [emphasis added]
Baruch is right. Any plan that pretends to reinvent the peace process isn’t serious, and at the same time, there is absolutely no reason to believe that the next Israeli government will have any interest in any peace process whatsoever. Meretz will certainly not be a coalition partner.
But it is an honorable tradition for the opposition to stand firm in the political desert and tell the truth, whether or not the people in charge want to hear it.