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   DECEMBER 2000 -  Issue #130    


Tweedle-Dum & Tweedle-Dee

Herbert Zweibon

Ehud Barak has resigned, paving the way for new elections for Prime Minister within 60 days. Ordinarily we would enthusiastically welcome that resignation: Barak has been a catastrophe for Israel. However, he is not resigning in humility, acknowledging his misdeeds and criminal misjudgments, but resigning as a ploy, hoping to prevent Benjamin Netanyahu from running against him. Polls show Netanyahu has the best chance of defeating him decisively in new elections.

Unfortunately, were Netanyahu to run, the outlook for Israel would be equally bleak. Some commentators have pointed to the reduction of terrorism under his watch, but Netanyahu established the perilous principle that violence produces concessions in negotiations. After the Hasmonean tunnel was opened, and Arafat orchestrated his first mini-war, far from freezing all further negotiations, Netanyahu (with Ariel Sharon's full support) signed the Wye agreement, turning over yet more territory to Arafat. In one crucial respect Netanyahu was the worst Prime Minister Israel has ever had: in robbing Israelis of a large, principled opposition, he robbed them of hope. This was because, unlike Shimon Peres, who concocted the poison Kool-Aid called the Peace Process and administered the potion to Yitzhak Rabin, from the outset Netanyahu had no illusions. The New York Times (September 8, 1993) quotes him: "The biggest lie of all is that this distorted agreement will bring peace. It won't bring peace. It will bring more terror, more terror, more terror, and set the stage for the next war." The Wall Street Journal (September 10, 1993) quotes him: "The underlying goal of the PLO remains the dismantling of Israel and Zionism. This march of folly is unprecedented even in this century of follies." Netanyahu furthered a "peace process" he knew to be a lie.

We come back to the bedrock reality that Israelis have still not been willing to face. Israel needs a new leadership untainted by Oslo, determined to repudiate the peace process as the sham and folly it is. The Clinton administration was opposed to Israel's releasing the White Paper (reprinted in this issue) because it seemed obvious that the Paper's analysis precluded further negotiations. For a rational people and government, it would indeed signal the end of the road. But it has not prevented Barak from open pleas to Arafat for more empty agreements.

In The Process: 1,100 Days That Changed the Middle East, Israel's chief Oslo negotiator Uri Savir quotes Yitzhak Rabin: "If the Palestinians do not pass the test of reality, we can instantly control any diversion by them from the path we have agreed on." (That's clumsy Rabin-speak for "We can reverse the process any time if Arafat does not behave.") Savir describes the way the entire Israeli negotiating team pounded away on the issue of security. To take two examples out of many, Savir quotes General Uzi Dayan, chief of the General Staff's Planning Branch: "There simply cannot be flawed security in the West Bank." And Amnon Shahak, then Deputy Chief of Staff, told PLO representative Nabil Sha'ath who was complaining that the Israelis were focussing too much on short term concerns, "Nabil, if there is terrorism there won't be any long term to worry about."

Now, in place of security, there is terror and more terror (as Netanyahu originally predicted) and the Palestinians have not passed "the test of reality." At this point Israel has two choices. It can continue the current path of incremental suicide or, as Herut Knesset member and lone voice of sanity in that body, Michael Kleiner, demands, move into Judea, Samaria and Gaza with full force and as Rabin once promised, "control any diversion by them from the path we have agreed on." That means packing Arafat, his 30,000-man "police force," and assorted Hamas operatives back to Tunis. Unthinkable? Impossible? It will be far more difficult once Arafat has declared his state and the world has recognized it. And there would be no action that could so thoroughly and speedily remove Israel's current image as Arab punching bag and restore her old deterrent power.

Herbert Zweibon is chairman of Americans For a Safe Israel.


The First Deadly Sin ...3

The Israeli Government 's Report
on Palestinian Non-Compliance ...5

December 2000               - 1 -               Outpost


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