Rapprochement for Israel-Palestine a lost cause?
In a story that didn’t get a lot of column inches in the Western press, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s party wants to introduce legislation to ban Israeli Arabs from marking the anniversary of what they term “the Catastrophe” in 1948, which of course near enough corresponds with Israel’s own celebration of its creation. The Yisrael Beitenu party said it would propose legislation next week for a ban on the practice and a jail term of up to three years for violators.
Such a position seems yet another blade into the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. An encompassing and liberal democracy encourages dialog, suffers dissension, and moves to agreement through negotiation, not imprisonment. There are many ethnic and cultural sects globally that celebrate similar developments – the Aboriginal people of Australia or the native Red Indian population in America serve as examples – yet you do not see Canberra or Washington tabling such legislation. Israeli and Palestinian rapprochement seems more and more like a still-born pipe dream under this Knesset.
The initiative could fuel racial tensions stoked by Lieberman’s February election campaign call to make voting or the holding of public office in Israel contingent on pledging loyalty to the Jewish state.
Arabs, who make up 20 percent of Israel’s population, said the allegiance demand was aimed at them and accused Lieberman of racism – Middle East News | Jail Arabs who mourn Israeli creation: Lieberman.
In anther report, the Israli press observed that attendance at the Gaza anniversary events were reduced over previous years. Following the Gaza attacks and the threat of such legislation, this should not be a surprise as it would appear merely that the event moved underground.