I don’t know what it is with Yair Lapid. Does he seriously just not read—anything? Ever?The other day, Lapid said the following. Out loud. With his mouth.
Both parties understand that they have to go back to the Road Map. We have to jumpstart [the negotiating process]… People have to understand that we’re talking about the two-state solution.
Then he said this:
I think the Olmert administration went too far, and I think they made the mistake of starting with issues that should be postponed—like Jerusalem; like the right of return….I’m against any kind of withdrawal from Jerusalem. Jerusalem is not only a place, it is also an idea. I mean, this is the founding ethos of this country, and countries do not give up parts of their ethos.
Aside from the fact that the Jerusalem to which Israeli officials (and near-officials, like Lapid) repeatedly refer is a modern construct, has very little to do with the Jewish people’s actual holy city, and is, for all intents and purposes, a lie; aside from the fact that any Jerusalem to which we might refer is an actual, physical place with streets and people and garbage and sunsets and domes and hip hop, and thus not “an ethos” or “an idea”; aside from the fact that countries give stuff up all the time (whether ethos or geography) in order to make past wrongs right and better the present-day lives of their citizens—aside from all of that, here’s what the Road Map actually says about Jerusalem:
Second international conference [to be] convened by Quartet, in consultation with the parties, at beginning of 2004 [writer’s note: ha!] to endorse agreement reached on an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and formally to launch a process… leading to a final, permanent status resolution in 2005 [writer’s note: haha!], including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements.
…Parties reach final and comprehensive permanent status agreement that ends the Israel-Palestinian conflict in 2005 [writer’s note: sob], through a settlement negotiated between the parties based on UNSCR 242, 338, and 1397, that ends the occupation that began in 1967, and includes an agreed, just, fair, and realistic solution to the refugee issue, and a negotiated resolution on the status of Jerusalem that takes into account the political and religious concerns of both sides, and protects the religious interests of Jews, Christians, and Muslims worldwide, and fulfills the vision of two states, Israel and sovereign, independent, democratic and viable Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security.
I’ve written before about Yair Lapid’s shockingly willful ignorance on this issue, but as he doesn’t appear to be taking my calls, I’ll say it again: The Road Map, just like every near-solution of this eminently resolvable conflict, explicitly presumes a shared Jerusalem, because there is no way to a two-state solution without it.
There is not now, nor has there ever been, anything holy (or ethical, if we’re going to talk about an “ethos”) about Har Homa, or Givat Zeev, or the wholesale takeover of Palestinian villages and farmland in the immediate wake of the 1967 Six Day War in which Israel’s government unilaterally expanded Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries ten-fold. There is nothing holy, ethical, or even wise about destroying the homes of Palestinian families, the much-ballyhooed E-1 construction, or denying a reality that is everywhere around you.
I know that the thing we’re supposed to take from Lapid’s ill-advised talking with his mouth is that he slammed Ehud Olmert (who, by the way, was the last Israeli official to make any genuine effort toward peace), and sure: That takes some chutzpah. A dude who has zero experience with government or diplomacy slamming a politician whose entire career has involved one or both, a politician who has openly discussed the evolution he underwent as a result of his actual lived experience as Prime Minister of a country in a state of perpetual war. That’s something special, right there.
But what disturbs me much more is the sheer ignorance that Israel’s apparent kingmaker reveals at every turn.
If Yair Lapid doesn’t want to bother to read any books about the conflict in which he’s been living his entire life, maybe he could do us all a favor and at least read the documents to which he refers in his speeches.
Then maybe we could start to deal with the actual Palestinians, rather than the imaginary ones Israel has been peddling all these years.