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   JUNE-JULY 2000 -  Issue #126    

PUBLISHED BY AMERICANS FOR A SAFE ISRAEL



Clinton, Barak & Shas: Partners for Disaster

Herbert Zweibon

Three political leaders with no mandates from their own voters are poised to seal a Middle East agreement that will be a disaster for both Israel and the United States.

President Clinton, a lame-duck president who need not answer to America's voters; Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who ran on a relatively hawkish platform and is now reneging on every campaign promise he made about security and territory; and the Shas Party, which is ignoring the nationalist sentiments of its own voters in order to obtain more government funds--Clinton, Barak, and Shas, each acting for their own reasons, lending a hand to a process that will help seal Israel's doom. Can anything be done to stop it?

In June, Americans For a Safe Israel, the National Unity Coalition for Israel, and the Christians' Israel Political Action Committee sponsored a visit to Washington by Knesset Members Michael Kleiner (Herut), Ayoob Kara (a Druze, from Likud), Yuri Stern (Yisrael Beitenu) and Yisrael Katz (Likud). These MKs were so concerned about the direction in which Israel is headed, that they felt compelled to speak directly to Members of Congress to explain the dangers of the "peace" process--dangers to both Israel and the United State.

The MKs emphasized to their Congressional counterparts that what Barak is now planning is not even a final agreement--it would be an interim accord, not much more than a ceasefire, and inherently volatile because it would leave crucial issues to simmer, and then eventually explode. Israel would be surrendering 90% or more of Judea-Samaria-Gaza, in exchange for another round of worthless Palestinian promises. In the vacated regions, Arafat would create an independent Palestinian state with its own army--a radical, anti-American regime with dreams of expansion both westward and eastward. Israel would be virtually helpless to prevent the Palestinians from bringing in weapons or foreign "volunteers." And the weapons and "volunteers" will surely come, because Barak's plan is to leave the two most difficult issues, Jerusalem and Arab "refugees," temporarily unresolved. Negotiations on those topics would continue. But since Arafat's demand for the "return" of millions of "refugees" is a death sentence for Israel, and since Israeli public opinion is unlikely to acquiesce in a surrender of the nation's capital city to Arafat, war will loom on the horizon. In a year or two, Arafat will have the perfect pretext to wage war: he will declare the negotiations "stalled" and--with the aid of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Libya--wage war.

The four MKs' warning received a sympathetic response on Capitol Hill. Many Congressmen recognize the dangers of a Palestinian state and resent Clinton's unilateral foreign policy decisions. They are especially incensed at reports that the impending agreement will carry a price tag of some $100-billion for resettlement and "compensation" for Arab "refugees." The Clinton administration has reportedly already promised that the U.S. will contribute a staggering $25-billion out of that $100-billion. Prominent Congressmen say that Congress will not approve any sum even remotely close to that figure.

The unreliability of Clinton's funding promises are not the only problem that a potential accord faces. First and foremost, there is the question of whether or not Barak can keep his coalition together long enough to make the deal work. Earlier this summer, Israel endured weeks of high-stakes brinksmanship and Shas's near-resignation from the Barak government. Barak was so desperate to keep the Oslo process moving--for which he needs Shas inside the coalition-- that he gave Shas literally everything it asked for: large amounts of

(Continued on p.10)



IN THIS ISSUE:

The Last Zionists? ...2

The Psychological Impact of a PLO State ...3

Time is Growing Short ...6

The Wisest Men of Chelm ...9


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