Hell in the Holy Land
Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority are confronting challenges that have cast shadows over their future prospects, and fast-rising tensions between the two sides are approaching a breaking point. Worse, international diplomacy has succumbed to peace-process fatigue just when it is needed most.
JERUSALEM – A massive double crisis is emerging between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority are confronting internal challenges that have cast shadows over their respective futures, and fast-rising tensions between the two sides are approaching a breaking point.
In Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu has returned to power by allying himself with extreme ultra-Orthodox and right-wing parties that are determined to change the very nature of Israel’s constitutional order. Among other things, the government is pursuing reforms that will politicize the judiciary and strip it of its most important powers, as well as threatening to eliminate any remaining possibility of achieving a sustainable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian question.
Meanwhile, Israelis have taken to the streets en masse to protest the government’s proposals. In a recent speech unveiling his own “People’s Directive” to end the crisis, Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned that the risk of a civil war cannot be dismissed. Within minutes of his own proposal being released, Netanyahu’s government had already rejected it. Barring some miracle, Israel will continue to descend into the deepest domestic political crisis since its founding. The nature of the Israeli state that will emerge from this crucible is now an open question.
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