Mitchell Plitnick talks to Scott about the dizzying state of the Israeli elections. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has finally formed a government after three rounds of elections that looked to be tilting toward his main rival, Benny Gantz. Plitnick theorizes that Gantz simply is not as savvy a career politician as Netanyahu is, and in part he just got tired of the endless fight. He may even have used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to call off his campaign. Now his coalition has supposedly entered a power sharing agreement with Netanyahu, in which the latter will serve as prime minister for 18 months with Gantz as his deputy, before the two switch roles. Scott and Plitnick are virtually certain that Netanyahu will find a way to avoid following through on this agreement, all the while avoiding prosecution for his corruption charges. In the meantime, Israel’s brutal subjugation of the Palestinians continues apace.
Discussed on the show:
- “Israel’s unity government protects Netanyahu from prosecution, paves the way for annexation” (Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft)
Mitchell Plitnick is president of ReThinking Foreign Policy. His writing has appeared in Ha’aretz, the New Republic, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many other outlets, and he has regularly offered commentary in a wide range of radio and television outlets including PBS News Hour and the O’Reilly Factor. Follow him on Twitter @MJPlitnick.
This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: NoDev NoOps NoIT, by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State, by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott; Listen and Think Audio; TheBumperSticker.com; and LibertyStickers.com.
The following is an automatically generated transcript.
For Pacifica radio, April 26 2020. I’m Scott Horton. This is anti war radio.
Alright y’all Welcome to show it is anti war radio. I’m your host, Scott Horton. I’m the editorial director of anti war calm and author of the book fool’s errand time to end the war in Afghanistan. You can find my full interview archive, more than 5000 of them now going back to 2003 at Scott horton.org. All right, you guys introducing Mitchell Plitnick. He is the president of rethinking foreign policy and he’s got a new piece at the Quincy Institute for Responsible statecraft. And it’s called Israel’s unity government protects Netanyahu from prosecution paves the way for annexation. Welcome back to the show, Mitchell. How you doing?
Mitchell Plitnick 1:03
I’m doing all right. How are you?
Scott Horton 1:04
I’m doing great. appreciate you joining us today here. So first of all, can you take us back here? This is the third election or the fourth election that they’ve had in a row. They’re trying to figure out who can form a majority in the Israeli Knesset, and they finally got it done by having the two major opponents compromise and join in a coalition government together. Is that it?
Mitchell Plitnick 1:26
Right. This is the third election in just over a year. And you know, in the end, what they came to was something they could have come to after the first election, if they, you know, had so chosen. It came about because some right wing parties, particularly the Israel as our home used to have a new party of Avigdor Lieberman decided they would not join a coalition with Netanyahu. So that sort of tipped a balance. The problem from the other side was that in order for the opposition led by Benny guns to form a government, they would have had to have the support of The joint list, which is mostly it’s a coalition of parties that are mostly parties of Palestinian citizens of Israel. And that was difficult because some of the people involved including guns himself, were not very comfortable with getting support from Arab parties.
Scott Horton 2:18
Yeah, and now, I mean, was it the case that if he had gone ahead with the joint list that other parts of his coalition would have dropped out? Or he actually could have been the Prime Minister, if only he had made a deal with them?
Mitchell Plitnick 2:29
Well, it would have been, it would have been difficult, it’s hard to say that other parts of the coalition would have necessarily dropped out. What we saw was that two members of his own party his own guns, his own blue and white party, bolted at the idea of even just getting support from the joint list. Now, this was about the joint list supporting guns from outside of the government. So it would have been a minority government, but would have had the support of the joint list to defend itself against no confidence votes had it actually I managed to get the government that would have been been approved by the President and the Knesset.
Scott Horton 3:06
So in other words, you’re saying definitely a difficult road, they would have had a majority in the Knesset to have the government but they would have not gotten any minister posts within swear say,
Mitchell Plitnick 3:15
exactly. I mean, they would not have officially been part of the government, but they just would have gotten something from that government when one would think in exchange for assurances that they would protect it against no confidence votes. But even at that, it would they would have only been, I mean, even with that the joint list included they would have only had about 62 out of the 120 seats in an optimal situation. So it was a government that could easily have been brought down and would have over almost any dispute because it would have depended on parts of even the blue and white coalition, such as the talent party is a right wing party led by Moshe alone. They were not They’re all comfortable with with the joint list, but they were willing to go along with it to get Netanyahu out same with Lieberman’s party. So it wouldn’t have taken long for something to happen to shatter that coalition. So it wasn’t a very realistic option. But it was certainly something that gums could have pursued if he wants to stick to his campaign promise of not joining government led by Netanyahu.
Scott Horton 4:22
And now, it’s interesting, right, that this is not the law in Israel. But this is the tradition that so far any would be prime minister would prefer to lose and let the other guy be prime minister rather than joining a coalition with these Arab parties.
Mitchell Plitnick 5:33
I mean, essentially, I mean, that that I don’t think that’s the way any of them would characterize it, of course. And I don’t think in fairness, I don’t think that is the way they think about it. But in practice, certainly that’s the way it works out. They, the the mainstream parties do not want to be in in a coalition with the parties. Now they will say that is because those error parties are not Zionist, which is which is true. And there’s a certain validity to that since virtually all of the Jewish parties are Zionist, except for the religious parties which have religious objections, Zionism, but not political ones, so on the political questions of the Jewish state, they usually go along with design as parties not just cynically, but but you know, honestly. But that the the reality is that that people are uncomfortable with the idea of the Jewish state, being in part run by some of its non Jewish citizens. And this is Look, I mean, it’s the inevitable result when you have in an ethnic cracy. That’s the kind of attitude you’re going to get. And the notion that you can somehow have equal rights under those circumstances is just, you know, it just doesn’t work out that way in any ethniccracy.
Scott Horton 5:56
Well, just put the shoe on the other foot for a second here and we have a history like this In the United States, but just think of how absolutely intolerable it would be for the Democratic or Republican Party Coalition’s to say, Oh, yeah, but no Jews no blacks.
Mitchell Plitnick 6:14
Of course, there was a time when they did say that. And, you know, I think that’s where you want to place, I think, a little bit of hope for the future because there was a time that Democrats, you know, would say, you know, we will not have blacks in our Congress, even though they were unable to necessarily Stop it. But they certainly isolated anyone who was, you know, African American from any sort of college and even today, you still have, you know, I would say racism in our government, but that, you know, in very practical ways, so there’s a way that we can hope that this changes in the future, and we can look at our own past and see that that in some ways it has changed, not to the point of equality, but certainly better than what you have where people can expect At least say we will not sit in the government with Arabs. So one has to hope. And I think you can also look even at this election and say, the jointless managed to get 15 seats. And they did better than expected because they were able to really rally a lot of the Palestinian citizens of Israel to vote for them. But also, because there was an unprecedented number of Jews in Israel who voted for them. So there are people who recognize that any progressive future for Israel depends on Arab Jewish cooperation and transcending the ethnography of Israel today.
Scott Horton 7:35
Yeah. And just for the record in the United States, they outlawed the all white primary in the 1960s, about 10 years before I wasborn.
Mitchell Plitnick 7:44
Yeah, but that’s not that long ago.
Scott Horton 7:46
Yeah, no, it’s really not. It’s that that if you check all the white hair and my beard, then you start to wonder, in the scheme of things, yeah, was quite quite a long time ago. All the kids that were hippies then are all the old right wing
Mitchell Plitnick 8:08
All right, so now um, okay, so ganz had promised that there’s no way that he is going to join in a coalition government with Netanyahu, as you said, That’s why they had three elections. They could have made this deal back when. And I understand what you’re saying that if he had joined in the coalition with the Arab joint list that wow, that probably would have fallen apart before too long. Yeah. But still, we would have been rid of Netanyahu, and maybe actually keeping him out would have been a good enough incentive for the disparate parties to stay together in the coalition because at least they got rid of Netanyahu. Why was that so hard for him to decide that?
First, I mean, even if God had committed himself to to trying to form a government with the support of the giant list, it’s not at all certain he would have been able to succeed, as I said, just at the just with the idea floating about to have his own. Two members of his own party bolted and said we will not you know, we will not agree to support this kind of government. So that right away took away the good shot at the potential majority that they could have had. So it was it was definitely a bumpy road. And and one that if you had to bet probably would not have succeeded. Now, you know, that being said, guns didn’t really try all that hard. And I think there were a couple of reasons for that. I think one was that God is really not a politician. I don’t think that he when he came into this, he signed up for, you know, three rounds of elections in a year and a half of constant campaigning. I mean, he he’s a reluctant campaigner at best if you actually, you know, when you watch him speak publicly, it is not he’s not comfortable doing it. It’s not something he enjoys. It took him forever to come out with a platform even last year. So yeah, this is not a game that he enjoys playing anything like yeah, nothing ever does. This is nothing Yeah, whose life so I think Cuba exhausted. And then I think, you know, when the Coronavirus crisis hit, from his point of view, it gave him a way out. It gave him an excuse to say, look for the good of the country. We can’t go to more elections. And I’ve got to find some way to make an agreement with Netanyahu, just so that we can get through this crisis. How much of that was an excuse? And how much of that was sincere? I think, you know, it’s a mix. I think, as I said, I think he was exhausted. I think he was also frustrated by the fact that it really didn’t look like there was a very solid path forward to a new government. It was clear that Netanyahu was going to do anything that he could to, to hold on to power. And it just wasn’t it’s not a game that God says up to I mean, one of the reasons that Netanyahu has survived election after election is that he just hasn’t had a really strong opponent. God was the strongest one and he just couldn’t go 15 rounds with this guy.
Scott Horton 10:57
Yeah, well, which makes sense. If there’s a fanatic in Israel, it’s Benjamin Netanyahu fanatic for his own power anyway. Now, but now, so what kind of compromises were made here? You know, Netanyahu had floated a couple of weeks ago, and I think was pretty clearly lying at the time that Oh, yeah, dance agreed to join in a coalition government with me. And I promise I’ll turn over the Prime Minister shipped to him in about two years or something like that. And Dan said, Well, that’s a lie. If that’s true, how come you’re announcing it in the papers instead of sending your guys to discuss it with my guys and this and that, but then I think from what I’ve read here, they’ve made no such deal. Netanyahu does not have to step down at any point in the near future at all.
Mitchell Plitnick 11:42
No, no deal is Netanyahu will be the Prime Minister for 18 months, at which time he will switch roles with guns and become the deputy prime minister. That was an important aspect of the deal for Netanyahu because they have also made an agreement that the Deputy Prime Minister I can continue to serve, even if he’s under indictment. So members of the Knesset cannot serve if they’re indicted. They have to leave the the Knesset, the but the actual way that works is that it’s not that they have to leave, it’s that the Prime Minister has to fire them. So this was a loophole that allowed them to Yahoo despite being indicted to stay in because he’s the Prime Minister. So he doesn’t have to his you know, he would have to fire himself, which he doesn’t do and therefore, he stays in. So they’ve now added that that the Deputy Prime Minister has the same field. Essentially, they’ve changed the law so that so that the Deputy Prime Minister can also stay in government despite being indicted. That’s part of this agreement. So Netanyahu wouldn’t attend yo gets is that if he sticks to this agreement, in 18 months, he would step down and become Deputy Prime Minister still serving despite being under indictment. While he fights his legal battles, which he can, of course, prolong for years and years, that that’s what he fought for. Now, so according to the deal, yeah, he would have to step down. Nobody, literally, I have yet to find a single person who says, Yeah, sure, I believe that Netanyahu is going to step down in 18 months. Right, right, left or center, nobody believes it. Because people don’t know better. And of course, Netanyahu now has 18 months to destroy this agreement. And in 18 months, you know, one has to one has to be pretty sure that that he’s going to find a way to do just that. That’s plenty of time for him. So somewhere in there, I expect he will bring down this government he will call for new elections or do something else to to just change the nature of the deal. So that he doesn’t have to step down in 18 months, but you know it right now on paper, that is what he has to do.
And now, so have they already been And they do have the right to form this government now. And I wonder about all the different parties that made up the blue and white coalition that ganz had promised and never support Netanyahu or any of them dropping out now?
Well, yeah, the government has not been officially voted in yet. They’re still in the process of hammering out all the last details of the agreement. And those those details are still coming out. So that that is still to come, probably in within the next week. But almost immediately when God said he was going to, you know, negotiate a unity government with with Netanyahu, his blue and white coalition split. So the blue and white coalition had been him it him basically four leaders, himself, and two other former Chiefs of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, and most you’re alone and you’re Latina. Yeah, you’re lucky to have the Tea Party, let ya alone and the peat split off immediately they they abandoned the coalition and said we are not going to sit in this government. We’ve promised we’ve been opposing Netanyahu. And that’s what we’re going to do. You know, as many people have pointed out for both lepe and yeah, alone, it’s personal. They really really hate Netanyahu and Netanyahu has stabbed them both in the back in the past when, when each one of them has been part gotta learn used to be. Netanyahu is defense minister. He used to be his partner used to be in the coalition with Netanyahu and Antonio stabbed them both in the back, they hate him, they want him out. So for them, it’s personal. Whereas for guns, it’s a it’s a political issue. So I think that’s part of where that split comes from. But what one of the things that that does is that with half of the former blue and white coalition in the opposition, sitting with a victor Lieberman just started detainer party right now also sitting in the opposition is the Left wing merits party obviously the joint list. And also the the far right wing yamina party would all be in the opposition. So what does that add up to? It adds up to a completely incoherent opposition that, you know, would agree on on absolutely nothing except that they hate Netanyahu. So that that will mean a divided divided opposition that Netanyahu will be facing, and he has the relatively centrist guns at his side. So the way it the way it’s shattered, blue and white also means a chatter in any serious opposition to Netanyahu. His dominance for the at least for right now.
Scott Horton 16:46
Yeah, you got a hand to him. He’s good at math.
Mitchell Plitnick 16:48
He’s very good at politics. I mean, he’s he this is this is the game he plays. He plays it very, very well. Dance frankly, never stood a chance.
Scott Horton 17:41
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Mitchell Plitnick 19:07
Well, guns, I mean, right now the primary the primary concern for the Palestinians, given that Trump has basically taken everything away from them, the the thing that is most immediately worrisome is that Israel will annex large chunks of the West Bank, and and would probably, at this point do so in accordance with Trump’s deal of the century plan, which would put, you know, almost, you know, all of the significant areas of the West Bank under Israeli control and would leave Palestinian towns and cities as islands in an ocean of Israel, essentially on the West Bank. That is something that this agreement really paves the way for him. God does not oppose the annexation. All he wants to do is slow it down so that it doesn’t you know, create a massive backlash against ninja and I think it his view also on Your mind hopes for better cooperation with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. That’s God. So God and Gods basically was on the same page as Trump, or at least the Trump administration. In doing that. That’s why part of their agreement is that this emergency government that he and Netanyahu has now formed, can’t really do anything for the first six months with the one exception of annexation. They can annex large chunks of the West Bank and dances stances that they need to do this in coordination with the United States. And as he put it, the international community and the Palestinians, which is nonsense, because the international community will object to any annexation. And obviously, the Palestinians are not going to work with Israel on how to annex the West Bank to Israel. So what it really means is that they that that they will cooperate with the Trump administration to do it. And I think that that suits Netanyahu find the reason he had a problem. That was because of his right flank. But with with this agreement, Netanyahu had the freedom to freeze out the Amina party that I mentioned before, which is the far right party, representing not only settlers, but but it’s that sort of the settlers sort of point of view on these issues. And with them outside the coalition, the the pressure on Netanyahu is lessened. And he can much more easily make the case of Hey, look, you know, the Trump administration is gonna let us do this. We just have to do it, you know, a little bit more carefully than we otherwise might have. And I think that’ll sell to a lot of his right wing supporters. And for Trump, he, you know, his whole reelection strategy is the same as his election strategy was four years ago, which is feed the base, and the way you feed the base on this issue is by annexation. So Trump wants to now know Trump also has a relationship with Saudi Arabia, so this is a concern that he so he wants to make sure that they that Israel can annex according to the Trump plan without basically upsetting Saudi Arabia. And there’s now a timetable. starting July 1, the Israeli government can agree to annexation. Trump will want to do it somewhere between July 1 and election day. So we know that’s going to happen. We know Israel will want to do that because Joe Biden opposes annexation and should Trump lose that that whole plan is then off the table. So all of this is happening. You might have noticed in my description, all this is happening completely outside of the Palestinians control outside of their influence at all. Basically, Trump laid down His plan and said, if you if the Palestinians want to go along with this and want to talk with us about it, that’s fine. But that’s what they’re gonna need to do. They’re going to need to come to us and say, you know, we want To discuss this and figure out how to basically how to implement your wonderful deal of the century, Palestinians are obviously not going to do that. And so Mike Pompeo just just this week, made it very clear that annexation is Israel’s decision. That is what he said right now. So US policy is now that Israel can annex whatever it wants. in coordinating, he said, we’ll discuss it with them. And, you know, he’s clearly sent the message, you know, you do this in coordination with us. But Palestinians essentially have nothing to say about it. That’s US policy now.
Scott Horton 23:36
And just to make it clear, for people who aren’t all the way caught up on this, by annexation, this doesn’t mean all of the West Bank but it means what some huge percentage of the settlements that are already there as well as the entire Jordan River Valley and what what are the Palestinian have left?
Mitchell Plitnick 23:54
Essentially what the Trump plan envisions is that Israel will Next, pretty much all of the West Bank except for Palestinian towns and villages, and then they will Yeah, there will be small strips of land that would be used for roads to connect those towns and villages. And Israel will also compensate with some areas near the Gaza Strip. And essentially, what it does is creates is complete Israeli control over the West Bank without actually having to admit the Palestinians living there as citizens. So they have some sort of some sort of technical autonomy within their own towns, but no, you know, but the but the region as a whole is completely controlled by Israel. So, you know,
Scott Horton 24:46
it’s really the inverse of what I just said, rather than annexing the settlements and the roads between them. It’s annexing everything and just leaving the Palestinian towns as though they are the settlements with the roads between them.
Exactly. And and Actually, that’s a good way of putting it because that’s the way many, you know that that’s the reality that many people now perceive they perceive the Palestinians as settling in Israel. So Israel has managed through this project over these decades to completely reverse reality. And and give the impression that somehow Palestinians are interloping on Israeli land, which is, of course, the reverse of, of the truth. And the, the process by which they’re doing this is a is at the same time a political one, but also a practical one. So in reality, Israel already controls all of that those areas. And it’s simply a question of the acknowledgement of that and and taking the idea of any pressure to make changes off the table. And that’s what the US is pushing for. And, you know, Europe is doing very, very little other than collecting its tongue. The United Nations is pretty much powerless with given the US veto at the secret Anyhow, so, and the Palestinians right now are looking for help from wherever they can get it. And frankly, in the United States, we’re a little busy with the Coronavirus. So it’s very unlikely that we’re going to see any serious pressure for to stop this this momentum anytime soon.
Well, and when you mentioned that Biden is for the two state solution, I mean, so as the Center for American Progress doesn’t mean anything.
Mitchell Plitnick 26:26
Right. It means I mean, it means that he was opposed to this step. He’s opposed to formally annexing the West Bank. And that isn’t nothing. It is important if the if Israel does annex all of its settlements and Area C and, you know, the Jordan Valley that all of these areas if Israel does do that, yeah, there will be all sorts of protests and yelling, screaming, but 10 years from now, that’s going to be the new normal. It will be it will be something that everyone simply accepts as the way it is just as we now Except that Israel has settlements that, you know, the major settlement blocks will be part of Israel. Everyone just accepts that even though there’s no real basis for that. And certainly Palestinians haven’t agreed to that. So it is important that this be that this be averted, it’s not impossible that it can be if it can be delayed until Biden gets in because Biden will object to it. It’s not, you know, Biden, I don’t think anyone confused Biden was a great friend of the Palestinians. But at the same time, the difference between him and Trump is still enormous. And taking this step would make a difference.
Scott Horton 27:36
Yeah, I mean, I wonder about that. It seems like the kind of steps that he wouldn’t have taken if he’d been sworn in three and a half years ago. And yet, his support for a Palestinian state is always just not in the real sense, but just in the BS sense that Yeah, we’re gonna kick this can down the road and let more and more facts be created on the ground. You can go ahead and annex at the end of my eight years instead of the beginning.
Mitchell Plitnick 27:57
I think there’s a bit of that. I do. Think that he is pretty much in line with groups like the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Groups like that, you know, who certainly see this as as pushing a quote unquote, two state solution that really favors Israel that, you know, includes a demilitarized Palestinian state that’s completely dependent on Israel. So, you know, that’s true. At the same time, I think more progressive forces have a way of at least trying to steer that conversation. If that’s where it is, we leave if if we move to annexation, there’s almost nothing for you know, that that groups like j street groups like the US campaign for Palestinian rights groups like Jewish voice for peace, the American friends Services Committee, these groups that that really try and, you know, defend actual Palestinian rights and try to come up with a truly just solution to this that that works for everyone. there if annexation moves forward. The road to any kind of progress in that vein, I think is very, very, might be closed off completely and certainly becomes very, very narrow.
Scott Horton 29:10
Well, so what about the kind of strange counterfactual here that actually Netanyahu is committing suicide for the Jewish state. And because he’s so good at politics, he’s so stupid about the reality of the situation. He’s trying to create, not just a de facto, but a jury apartheid state there in a way that maybe the planet Earth has let them get away with so far, while pretending that someday there’s going to be a Palestinian state, where now they’re virtually announcing that half the population of Israel will never be represented, they’ll never have any civil rights to participate in the government. And they’ll never have any, you know, actual civil liberties protections the way Israeli citizens do in their courts or from the shin bed or the IDF and essentially just half the population or A substantial part of the population of Israel is not free and will not be free because they’re not Jewish. Simple as that, and that from the river to the sea, and that that is untenable, even though, you know, that kind of half solution of Oh, yeah, yeah, we’re going to give you a Palestinian state someday, which will never come they were getting away with that. And maybe they won’t be able to get away with this. What do you think?
Mitchell Plitnick 31:09
Well, I mean, that’s possible, it remains to be seen. I certainly that’s the argument, that, that this precludes the idea, and it clearly precludes the precludes any notion of a Jewish and democratic state. Some would argue that those two things can’t go together anyway. But whether they can or not, certainly the course that Israel’s on now precludes any real meaning of democracy in any serious sense. Now, is it tenable? I mean, you know, who knows, Israel has Things me probably one of the things about this particular moment is we’ve seen that things are terrible that we constantly said, we’re not. You know, the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem was supposed to set off a massive conflagration crash in the Middle East. It didn’t. Something I warned people about saying at the time, it said, You keep saying this is what’s going to happen. If it doesn’t happen, and it’s very likely that it won’t. What people are going to realize is that a lot of these arguments are just not very valid, and they can go ahead without fear very many consequences. So far, no one has stopped Israel from these things. Israel defeat this sort of argument that you just made, and the fear of it is what has stopped Israel itself. But the more that Netanyahu pushes the envelope, the more people realize that you know, life goes on, no matter what Israel does, no matter how much they deny Palestinians their rights, no matter how deeply entrenched, they they make the occupation. So until something actually turns them back. I I’m not, you know, I’m not certainly going to bet on the idea that that these that blatant apartheid in this way, you know, taking the mask off is something that the world isn’t prepared to tolerate. so far. Nothing, you know, nothing has been too far.
Scott Horton 32:50
Yeah. All right. So let me ask you this, and it’s all hypothetical future oriented stuff, but and, you know, my Palestinian friends that I interview on the show, they hate this idea. Ali Abu Nima and Ramsay baru, they’re both one state guys, but they want a brand new state. And my idea is that all the Palestinians, and there’s so much, you know, non violent protests, civil disobedience type protests that goes on not that they get any media coverage most of the time anyway, but there’s so much kind of peaceful protesting on the part of the Palestinians anyway, that my idea is that all demand Israeli citizenship, they ought to go ahead and admit that Israel annex The West Bank and the Gaza Strip back in 1967. And they just been pretending that they haven’t this whole time. That’s exactly what they did. And one state for one people call it Israel. And if you want to rename it is really Stein later or whatever, after the big fight in the Knesset fine, but just they should demand citizenship, like the one fifth of the population of Israel or less now, I guess, of the Muslims and Christian Arab citizens of Israel, or Palestinian citizens of Israel, as they’re called and and join with them, then, you know, it’ll be the end of the pretense of some sort of independent state or some sort of limited autonomy under the PA or any of this kind of thing. And then that way, all of the kind of, you know, the wall has been pulled over everybody’s eyes will be completely cleared out of the way and it’ll be a much simpler argument to take on as the Israelis have to figure out a way to deny citizenship to them. Millions of people who live under their control in a way that right now, the argument is just too diffused, I guess between one state that looks like this or two states that look like that, and things like that. But so what do you think would be the reaction insight is or like, wouldn’t that put their back up against the wall where they really have no choice now? They’re going to annex the land, they’ve got to annex the people to?
Mitchell Plitnick 35:24
I think there are certainly people who are very afraid of that. I mean, that’s at this point. But that’s where most of the support for the two state solution comes from. Is that very argument? I, I also, I mean, I’m aware of number of Palestinian friends of mine and believing activists who think that’s exactly where things are going and that that’s where things should go that this is not an issue of one state or two states or any of that it’s an issue of rights, and that Palestinians demanding their rights is the is the way to go is and that Israel has really left. Left power Indians no option. I tend to agree with that. I think that, that that’s exactly the argument that should be made that this is a question of rights. That and that you can bring Palestinians into existing structures in Israel. I mean, I do think that creates a completely different country. You know, as I characterize Israel before, as an ethnic cracy, it wouldn’t be that anymore would actually be a democracy. And that would be a country that looks completely different from what Israel is now, although it would still have a lot of its Jewish sort of spirit. Hebrew language and and, you know, obviously would have the greatest, you know, the highest percentage of Jewish population in the world. But that is exactly the direction that it’s going in, and it would remove I think, you know, I’ve said for, you know, decades now, that the entire argument about one state or two state is irrelevant. It is we’re, we’re, we’re nowhere near there. And the question of structures is something that we can decide when We decide that everybody’s rights are first going to be knowledge respected and and given legal protection. We don’t have that until we have that there’s no resolve in this conflict. And I, I believe that 20 years ago, I believe it now. So yeah, I agree with that concept. I think a lot of Palestinians are agree with that concept. I think more and more of the Israeli left is recognizing that that’s the only possible feature. That that doesn’t include, you know, literally denying millions of people their rights. So, yeah, I think that and i and i do think it’s more than just a theoretical question. I think it is a question of how do we discuss the issues now, I know that for me personally, as somebody who is neither Israeli or Palestinian, but as as an American Jew, who’s somebody who’s very, you know, obviously concerned and and involved with this issue. That’s the way I try to pray me there’s a question of rights and I don’t really care how rights are recognized as long as as long as everyone’s rights are fully recognized equally. That should be the framework. It’s a framework that I think Americans can understand an awful lot better than the question of what is to state. What is the two state solution mean? And how does that square with historically justices and etc, it just gets so complicated? Whereas equal rights is a very simple is a very simple concept and one that that Americans believe in very strongly,
Scott Horton 37:28
you know, all right, you guys. Well, that is Michel plitt Nick, and he is the president of rethinking foreign policy. That’s it rethinking foreign policy.org and here he’s got this great piece at the Quincy Institute for Responsible statecraft, otherwise known as the low blog. Israel’s unity government protects Netanyahu from prosecution paves the way for annexation. Thanks very much. Appreciate it.
Mitchell Plitnick 37:53
Glad to be here anytime.
Scott Horton 37:57
All right, That’s it for anti war radio for this Morning. I’m your host, Scott Horton, author of the book fool’s errand time to end the war in Afghanistan and editorial director of anti war calm. The Scott Horton show, Antiwar Radio can be heard on kpfk 90.7 FM in LA, APSradio.com antiwar.com ScottHorton.org and libertarianinstitute.org
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