Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

Jerusalem Diary: 16 February

Posted by gaetanoditommaso su 16 febbraio, 2009

16 February 2009

By Tim Franks
BBC News, Jerusalem


“The thing about Israelis,” said Oron – and then paused, as he searched for the right words.

He was helping pack the wine that I had just bought from his shop close to the Jaffa Street.

It was two days after the election. Oron had voted Labour. His vote had helped the Labour party to limp to 13 seats – barely one-in-10 of the Knesset.

He picked up: “The thing about Israelis is: they like to slaughter sacred cows.”

Labour used to be one of Israel’s most sacred cows. When it was a group known as Mapai, it won every election from Israel’s establishment until 1969.

In this election, it was knocked into fourth place, behind the hard-right Yisrael Beiteinu party.

But the numbers do not tell the entire story. Some Israelis are questioning whether the left exists at all.

Labour’s leader, Ehud Barak, prosecuted the war in Gaza, as defence minister. He is reported to have offered to build a large new settlement in occupied territory to house settlers from Migron, the biggest unauthorised outpost (illegal even under Israeli law) in the West Bank.

It was four years ago next month that Talia Sasson wrote her report on unauthorised outposts. She was a government lawyer, and was commissioned to investigate the issue by the then Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon.

Her report detailed how Israel’s officials actively colluded in the establishment of dozens of outposts across the West Bank.

We met for a coffee, on a bright morning, in a cafe across the street from the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem.

It was three days after the election. Talia Sasson, no longer a civil servant, had stood for the small left-wing Meretz party.

She had not been elected: she was seventh on the list, and Meretz had ended up with a measly three seats.

Was there a way for the left to clamber out of the hole? Or had Israel simply moved on, and away?

Time and again, Talia Sasson took refuge in what she believed was the iron logic of removing settlements from the occupied territories.

“I think that the one which is not Zionist is the right-wing,” she insisted.

“Because where they take Israel to is to a single bi-national state.”

But how does the left end up not just talking to itself? There was a long pause. Listening back to my recording of our conversation, the silence lasted for a painful 12 seconds.

Eventually: “I think there is some historical process that we can’t change,” she said, quietly. And then, later: “I’m not sure we have anyone brave enough to challenge the stupidity.”

Talia Sasson said she did not know whether she was cut out for politics.

This was her first campaign, at the age of 57. As it is, she is still living with the threats and the intimidation which followed the publication of her report into outposts. But she says she also fears that time is running out for Israel.

A couple of miles away, in the wine shop, Oron takes a more relaxed approach, perhaps built on the patience of someone used to leaving bottles in a cellar.

“Israel will come to its senses,” he says. “Maybe in about 200 years.”




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