Opinion | Israel collapses, because conflict controls us

Yitzhak Rabin’s government sought to address discrimination against Palestinian citizens and signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. When Mr. Rabin was assassinated in 1995 for his nascent efforts to end the conflict, gradual change on some social issues continued, but liberal interpretations of the law and of the Supreme Court itself ended up under intense attack. of the Israeli right.

The failure of another peace process in 2000 gave way to a second violent intifada, pushing Israeli society further to the right and paving the way for Mr. Netanyahu’s return to power in 2009. Mr. Netanyahu said worked diligently to undermine a two-state solution. . And he and other right-wing nationalists and populist leaders set out to undermine the institutions of Israeli democracy itself.

Since 2009, Mr. Netanyahu’s governments have adopted discriminatory legislation against Palestinian citizens, laws targeting the left political activities and laws constrain civil society. These laws have their roots in the conflict over national identity or occupation. They elevate the status of Jews over Palestinians, or they are designed to limit criticism of the occupation.

The motive for this effort is no mystery: it aims to ensure that Israel remains a Jewish-dominated state, with minimal political opposition. Both would be essential if Israel advances the annexation of the West Bank, which would change the demographic makeup of the state and raise challenges to the character of the state and its undemocratic governance of the Palestinians.

The most ambitious campaign by the Israeli right in about a decade has been a sustained attack on the judiciary. Right-wing leaders talk about correcting the balance of power between branches of government and restoring the sovereignty of the “people”, rather than the elite, referring to judges – especially judges of the Supreme Court. The main supporters of this cause are overwhelmingly attached to the colonies and annexation. Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Yamina party and former Minister of Defense and Education, was previously head of the settlers council of Yesha. Ayelet shaken, Minister of Justice from 2015 to 2019, is openly in favor of both objectives. Simcha Rothman, a mark of fire anti-supreme court crusader and a settler from deep in the West Bank, entered the Knesset in 2021 with the religious Zionist Jewish-ultranationalist party.

Undermining the judiciary has nothing to do with repairing institutions; he will help what right-wing leaders call “governability“- a word which also appears in the name of organization Mr. Rothman founded. The term is a euphemism, and a mantra, for government power unrestrained by the courts, which allows both continuing to rule the Palestinian territories and an increasingly undemocratic Israel.

Finally, the conflict is directly linked to Israel’s leadership chaos. Mr. Netanyahu retains the stable support of almost a quarter voters, in large part because of his image as a man who will not make concessions to “Arabs” (many right-wing Israelis avoid the word “Palestinian”). He used the most recent escalation with Hamas to improve his image as a master of security. The crisis also persuaded Mr. Bennett of the Yamina party to remove negotiations to join the potential alternative government and revive the option of another Netanyahu coalition.


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