Well, look, I so want to believe you. I want to derive some hope from it but, you know, just recently John Kerry the Secretary of State who'd been championing these peace talks, he actually came out - he subsequently apologised - but he did say if Israel doesn't reach a deal on an independent Palestine it risks becoming an apartheid state... Do you fear that?
It's been an apartheid state since its inception.
Look, I don't accept any of the South African comparisons...
I thought not.
... but I've opposed the occupation throughout my adult life. I always thought settlements were a bad idea...
No kidding! But what did you do about it?
... so without getting into names and definitions, I think that the need to deal with occupation and to end settlement activity is essential and I'm saying it as a very proud and committed Israeli.
So even Sharon who started that whole movement said, We can't occupy this place forever.
Obviously, obviously, so again I think this is part of the tragedy but also I see the problem is that at the moment because we do have extreme right-wing forces in Israel, because there is so much Palestinian extremism, which makes so many people in Israel suspicious and afraid about moving forward because we tried peace 3 or 4 times and each time it ended up with turmoil and violence and did not lead to where we wanted it to...
Damn it, if only the occupied and the colonised would put more effort into reassuring their occupiers and colonisers.
Because of all that there is a kind of apathy that serves the darker forces on both sides. I actually believe, as I told you, that definitely there is a reasonable, benign Israeli majority that does not express itself politically right now - I hope there is a Palestinian one as well - and its challenge to Secretary [of State] Kerry and other leaders of the international community is to come up with an idea that is realistic.
Oh, I see: apathy rules in Israel, so it's the Yanks and their mates who have to pull their fingers out and fix things. Right.
Hey, you want a realistic idea, Ari?
Here it is. It's called BDS:
Boycott all Israeli products, institutions, and cultural ambassadors;
Divest from all corporations and businesses that aid and abet Israeli apartheid;
Sanction Israel until the occupation is ended, equality between Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis is won, and Palestine's refugees are finally allowed to return to their homes and lands in Israel.
You cannot end this conflict in Israel in one year, in one month, with one piece of paper. You have to create two state dynamics. You have to have Israel gradually, cautiously ending the occupation. It cannot be done overnight. You have to help the Palestinians build their own state, again in a long process, and you need to bring the Arab neighbours, the moderate Arab neighbours, as parties to this process, and you need the international community to stop promoting ideas that are totally detached from the reality on the ground. I think that if we'll adopt this kind of pragmatic, realistic approach we will move in the right direction because right now things are not very promising and the collapse of Kerry's initiative is something that troubles me very much and I hope we'll soon have this new kind of peace concept that will replace the old one because the intellectual vacuum, the conceptual vacuum is a very dangerous one right now.
And your solution is?
You know, interestingly, Danny Danon, the increasingly powerful chairman of the Likud, Netanyahu's own party, and Israel's deputy defence minister, has actually been very concerned about Netanyahu being possibly, according to the reports in the Guardian, preparing to do some sort of deal, and they've stopped Netanyahu from making a lot of decisions on his own. They're more and more sitting on his shoulder. Do you think Netanyahu is the sort of man who could break out and astonish us all, like Begin did?
Games people play:
"Until this week, the question posed by 'neutral observers' about Binyamin Netanyahu was whether he was going to follow the examples of Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon. Would he transform himself into a peacemaker like Begin and Sharon by uprooting settlements and relinquishing occupied territory, or would he be an immovable object like Shamir, aiming only to keep things 'quiet' so he could build more settlements and close the door on Palestinian statehood? After the start of this week, though, would-be neutral observers are no longer asking this question, at least not with a straight face..."
All except Geraldine! The preceding lines were written in 2010 by Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner.* Enough said.
Geraldine may be smitten, but I'm giving Shavit my Talking Under Wet Cement award for 2014:
Well, we have this hope for a long time. I must say that Netanyahu did some things though ideologically surprising, they never turned into a change on the ground. I think there is some potential there, but I'll share with you a secret about my country. I think that by and large Israelis, Israeli society is quite remarkable. I think it's a rich, smart, vibrant, promising society. I think there is a lot of good in us. Our politics is totally dysfunctional. Israel is experiencing an ongoing - I know you have some political crises - political crisis...
Small challenges by comparison hahaha...
... Israel has been going through for decades. It did not have the kind of worthy leadership and worthy political system that will represent the people as they really, will be true to their amazing achievements, what I call the man-made miracle Israel really is. So my hope, and I'm not getting to Netanyahu or different people, my hope is that at long last we will free ourselves of this situation. The forces, the strong, promising forces in Israeli society will have a leadership worthy to this remarkable people and then we can move forward, but again it has to do with the international community as well. People in the West... who want peace as I do, as we all do, have to think in a fresh way because trying to impose concepts, whether it was democracy under Bush or an ideal peace tomorrow under others on the Middle East that is rough, brutal, violent and dangerous. That does not lead us anywhere so we have to look at the region as it is with all its brutality and yet with a humble and modest hope that there is there. So we have to look for new ways in order to try to end occupation, to bring about a reasonable peace, and for my own people to guarantee the future of the Jewish democratic state because I think when you look at the story of my people you see this really remarkable people, the story of a people that almost were extinguished and saved themselves and created something quite unique and quite endearing that needs protection both from the roughness of the region and from our own flaws and faults and we must let the triumph triumph over the tragedy.
Well, look, that eloquence, maybe you've got to enter parliament...
[*Rattling the cage: any more doubts about Bibi? 13/10/10)