By Gideon Levy
The Kadima primary this week is no more than the election of a condo committee. And this is the last chance: The condo is slated for demolition, an urban renewal project. Kadima will not survive. The ideological power of the new Dash has been exhausted, its leadership used up, its job over. The house that arose as an electoral exploit by Ariel Sharon will hardly manage to run one more time, and then it will be evacuated.
Living together happily in this condo are the representatives of the imaginary Israeli political center, which does not exist; residents who came from the right, but want to feel good about themselves, giving themselves a moderate and enlightened appearance. They are also the most mediocre of political hacks, they and their neighbors across the hall. The most captivating resident, Tzipi Livni, has already been elected chairwoman of the committee in place of the corrupt chairman, who was appointed in place of the elderly chairman who collapsed. Now the residents will put together a list of their friends.
In this condo you can find everyone: Kadima’s Moshe Feiglin in the form of Shaul Mofaz; a “moderate” settler at whose home you can spend the Sabbath in the form of Otniel Schneller; you can always borrow a drill from the friendly neighbor Yoel Hasson; Professor Yitzhak Ben-Israel from the top floor can fix the satellite dish; Ronit Tirosh will give private lessons and Ruhama Balila-Avraham can be on the decorating committee. More than that you will not find in this house in the Israeli center.
For a moment, this house looked attractive to many Israelis: A “model apartment,” all shiny from a distance, perfectly designed, like in the magazines. But it’s not real, only a virtual “model apartment.” The most senior tenant, Livni, is just like that, a product of her upbringing. Like most Israelis, Livni does not like extremism. She faithfully represents the residents of the house, terribly indifferent and anti-extremist. Human rights activists who oppose the occupation and dispossession, and the settler-pogromists who burn apartments and shoot Palestinians, they are all the same to the residents. More than anything else, they like to watch, on their high-definition televisions, pictures of peace negotiations. Thus they are amazingingly similar to their chairwoman, the leader of negotiations for negotiations’ sake.
Some have begun recently to hate the settlers – God forbid they should say so – and certainly that is not a reason to evict them. They will tell the pollsters who call that of course they are for a two-state solution, they are even for a Palestinian state, imagine that; but not now and not today.
“Conditions are not yet ripe,” conditions will never be ripe. They want peace, but more than that they want the Arabs out of sight, which is another way of saying “separation,” “disengagement” or “convergence” – take your pick. Of course, they are for the fence, part of which was built illegally on Palestinian land, but they are law-abiding. Respect for the law? They are pure as snow in their own eyes. Above all they are against corruption, but heaven forbid not against the biggest corruption of all, the violent and brutal control over another people.
They, too – how can we forget – are for the “settlement blocs,” not illegal like the outposts, which will remain forever in the territories where most of them have never gone, except for reserve duty, which went by with no unnecessary moral qualms whatsoever. Why “settlement blocs”? They may mumble something about security, their only religion, perhaps even something about heritage, a groundless claim for those who consider themselves secular, like these residents. The main thing is that they are for peace and the settlement blocs; two states, but not now; an end to the occupation, but not tomorrow.
In the politics of the occupation – for some reason the main issue in every one of our election campaigns, after which nothing happens in any case – there is no center. Either you are for the occupation or you are against it, that is the question and it has only two answers. Sharp, clear and unequivocal. Those who do not say “no” to the occupation immediately say “yes” to it, and thus are on the right, not in the center or anywhere else. Those who do not work to end it, those who love negotiations that lead nowhere, are also right-wing, and all the camouflage and disguises in the world will not change that.
Livni is the embodiment of this disguise: Reciting messages honed by shrewd consultants, she has yet to say anything significant since she was elected Kadima’s leader. Oh, yes, she is against Shas. And also, from time to time, she has right-wing slips of the tongue, like at the end of last week: You cannot always bring all the soldiers home, the national aspirations of Israeli Arabs will be met in the Palestinian state, and of course, in the competition with Ehud Barak, Livni is for bombarding Gaza. The residents of this condo are certainly pleased: That is what they want from the chairwoman of their committee: leading negotiations and bombarding. But this house cannot survive. It is devoid of ideas and a world view. Therefore, avanti populi – come on people, vote Kadima, for the last time.