Peacenik is widely used as a insinuation in Israel. Here four campaigners explain their demise and why they hold on

It’s a sad-looking protest. A few dozen members of Israel’s beleaguered peace flow mill around on a road in eastern jerusalem, impounding mansions in Arabic, English and Hebrew declaring:” Stop the occupying forces .” Older, well-dressed intellectual leftwingers with grey-headed “hairs-breadth” and round spectacles mingle with a scruffier younger crowd.

One man with a cigarette dangling in his opening resounds a cowbell. A few Israeli police look on with bored looks. Traffic moves by as normal. Everyone seems to know each other. Another person sitting on the side of the road gestures to a writer.” Do I have shit on my intelligence ?” he expects, gazing up for fowls on power lines overhead.

This is part of what remains of the Israeli peace camp, crippled by a political plan that has careened wildly to the right. “Leftist” and “peacenik” are widely used as dismissive slurs against an ever-embattled section of civilization who are increasingly on the periphery and threw as traitors.

In an upcoming election, topics of the Palestinians- once the central focus of Israeli politics- is often avoided. A December poll noted while more than half of Jewish Israelis want peace negotiations, almost 75% believed they would fail. The radical that extended the survey, the Israel Democracy Institute, said the peace issue has ” disappeared almost entirely from the Israeli public discourse “.

Four members of Israel’s beleaguered leftwing please explain how this happened and why they are viewing on 😛 TAGEND

The protester

Pepe Goldman:’ We exclusively live once. I could not forgive myself if I let this happen .’ Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum/ The Guardian

One demonstrator at the rallying, Pepe Goldman, an Argentinian Jew who emigrated to Israel in 1976, has protested ever since.” There is a process of burning out ,” he says on the sidelines.” Regrettably, we are a small minority. Israelis are very, very …” he says, before restarting the sentence:” I would say they don’t give a shit about what is going on .”

After years of failed strives, many Israelis are asking themselves whether treaty , not to mention a Palestinian state, is necessary when Gaza is entirely blocked off, the West Bank occupation is tightly coped, and the economy is booming.

The 67 -year-old no longer demonstrations to convince his fellow citizens. He comes for more limited but concrete concludes- as an Israeli, with the extra rights under the law that necessitates, he can stand as a human shield for Palestinians who are facing forced evictions or onrushes from settlers.

Despite beats by immigrants and lessening numbers, he resumes his activism every Friday.” We simply live once. I could not forgive myself if I give all this happen .”

The repentant soldier

Yehuda Shaul:’ Remember McCarthy? He’s alive and kicking and here in Israel .’ Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum/ The Guardian

Yehuda Shaul is 37, but his whitened beard, wide-reaching shoulders and weatherbeaten face paint a picture of a much older man. On numerous daytimes, the Israeli ex-combat soldier is at the front of a bus, touring the West Bank to show Israelis and foreign visitors what the occupation looks like. The organisation he founded, Breaking the Silence, is made up of veterans who want to expose the reality of Israel’s grip over Palestinian life.

Shaul’s insight is encyclopaedic. He appears to know the date of every agreement- and there are more than 140 with approximately 600,000 tenants- was created and how each one changes the Palestinians living around it.

When Breaking the Silence first started after the violent second intifada, Shaul says his group was ” mainstream”- critical articulations, but one that came from the respected institution of the armed forces.” We had given the right to speak out .”

But after Benjamin Netanyahu made deals with hard-line religious nationalists in 2015 to form the most rightwing coalition government in the country’s history, pro-settler violences developed in power.

That is when the attacks on Breaking the Silence ramped up. Shaul reels off some from recall: an arson attempt on their parts; parties working undercover to infiltrate the organisation; a law that was dubbed the” Breaking the Silence” legislation to ban them from spoke about academies; and a murderou snout last-place summertime when a settler perforated him during a tour. Netanyahu even cancelled a find with the German foreign minister after he told you he would speak to the former troops.

One particularly bitter occurrence passed after phone numbers of his colleague’s family members were posted online by a troll. Someone called her grandparents at 3am pretending to be a hospital worker to say she had died in a car disintegrate. Shaul was sickened but unsurprised.” When the defence minister calls you a agent, and the prime minister says you crossed a red wrinkle, and the tourism official says you’re a traitor. People answer the see ,” he says.” Remember McCarthy? He’s alive and kicking and here in Israel .”

The columnist

Amira Hass in 1999 … a new generation “re coming”‘ to regard this reality as normal’. Photograph: Don Mcphee/ The Guardian

Amira Hass drinks a small whiskey in a forbid in Ramallah to fend off a coldnes. Behind her the famed 1936″ Visit Palestine” poster hangs on the wall. Since 1993, she has lived in the territories, first in Gaza and now in the West Bank. As an Israeli writer, she says you should reside in the place you be talking about. But she cannot think of a single other Jewish Israeli columnist who lives here.

Ending 51 -years of Israeli armed govern is not an issue in this election, she says, because a new generation “re coming”” to regard this reality as ordinary “.

There used to be an ” unhappines” in society,” because there was still an understanding that there was a contradiction between our self-image as instructed, progressive, radical, democratic, and the occupying forces. You had had a generation who knew what life was like before[ the occupation began in] 1967.”

As the settler action has succeeded in becoming a significant sector of society, the idea of annexing the huge swaths of country they have taken is rapidly becoming a mainstream idea, she says.” They are high middle class, they are savvy, they are in the military, they find themselves in hi-tech .”

There is no longer pro- or anti-peace cliques in Israel, Hass contributes, only” the prevail camp “.

The politician

Dr Yosef’ Yossi’ Beilin:’ Sometimes it[ conciliation] is the elephant in the room[ but] this is the real story of Israel .’ Photograph: Quique Kierszenbaum/ The Guardian

Yossi Beilin, the only one of the four to have supported a position in government, is also the most optimistic. Much of his three decades of political life was in the pro two-state Labour party but also in Meretz, which is firmly anti-occupation. Both defendants are now in decline. In the 1990 s, he was part of secret talks in Norway that led to the Oslo accords, a framework to make a peace deal that ultimately stalled.

” There is a general feeling that there is nothing to do ,” he says.

Few doves like him remain in the Israeli parliament. The former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, one of the country’s most prominent peace campaigners, left politics this month after ballots indicated her tiny party would not make it into parliament again. In her bequeath lecture, Livni said serenity had become a ” dirty word “.

Beilin , now 70, says he promised to leave politics at 60 to allow a younger gathering to deliver new ideas. But would he have retired if his pro-peace ideology had been more successful?” It’s a good question. Maybe not .”

Still, he denies serenity is off the agenda. It is a primary part of the Israeli psyche, he quarrels.” Sometimes it is the elephant in the room( but) this is the real story of Israel .”

Asked to explain his steadfast confidence, he replies:” Because we need it severely .”


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