Pogrund in The Guardian on the Israeli elections

Benjamin Pogrund in The Guardian:

“Therein lies some explanation for the growing strength of the right. Despite the Gaza attack, the missiles are still landing. They are fewer in number but hundreds of thousands of people in the south of the country continue to live under threat of attack. A truce with Hamas is said to be in the offing but is not certain. In addition, a few missiles landing in the north, fired from Lebanon, have served as a reminder that Hizbullah is believed to have thousands of rockets ready to fire into Israel’s populated areas.

The vast majority of Israelis believe the government was correct to attack Hamas. Some feel stricken and ashamed about the death and damage inflicted on Palestinians; but it’s clear that national sentiment accepts this could not be avoided given the army’s set goal to suffer minimum casualties among its soldiers – and Hamas’ commitment to destroy the Jewish state.

Nor do most Israelis care much about the widespread international condemnation of the Gazan horrors.”Where were the world’s protests when the missiles were raining down on us for eight years?” is an often-heard question. The criticisms of Israel are dismissed as hypocrisy at best and antisemitism at worst.

Add the pervading suspicion and rejection of Palestinians because of suicide bombings during the intifada; weariness about peace negotiations without end; anger at indications that Israeli Arabs, who form 20% of the population, are siding increasingly with their Palestinian brethen; worry that Iran will soon have nuclear weapons and the unceasing poisonous rhetoric of its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and there is ample scope for those whose policies are based on fear.

Most Israelis want a strong leader who will protect them.”

Boycotting British Greens, insofar as they have any discernible effect, only confirm this. The kind of hostility to Israel we see among boycotters will never bring about a change of heart – it’s very simple: ordinary Israelis feel they have no choice.

The main business of those who make the Palestinian national liberation their priority is to do what they can to help build a consensus for peace among Israeli and Palestinian society for a negotiated settlement and a renouncement of violence.

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