Waving a white flag? (ISRAEL INSIDER COMMENTARY) By David Wilder 11/24/03)
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I planned on writing today about one of the most extraordinary
Shabbatot I´ve ever experienced. After all, it´s not every week you
participate in a Hebron Shabbat together with another 25,000 Jews.
Friday night it was virtually impossible to get into Ma´arat
HaMachpela - The Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. It was simply
packed. There wasn´t room to move inside. And outside, in the
courtyard, thousands of people participated in Shabbat evening
prayers. It was a sight to behold.
So too, Saturday. Thousands upon thousands of people walking the
streets, visiting the different neighborhoods - it was really
However, current events will not let me dwell on the wonders of this
past Shabbat in Hebron. There are other matters which are more
While in the United States, I heard rumors that Ariel Sharon was
planning another landmark address, Herzliya II, as it was called.
During the first Herzliya speech, in December 2002, Sharon officially
accepted the ideas behind the Roadmap, culminating in a fully
sovereign Palestinian state. Realizing that the Palestinian terrorist
authority does not have the desire or ability to fulfill even the
most minimum requirements in order to convince a majority of Israelis
to back this arrangement, Sharon is planning the next stage in his
farcical premiership. This is being labeled Herzliya Two. This
morning it hit the headlines.
According to media reports, Sharon is fed up with the current
deadlock and is looking for a way out. He promised Israelis peace and
security and hasn´t yet been able to deliver the goods. Without
a ´peace partner´ it´s difficult to negotiate. So, Sharon has decided
to go it alone. Latest accounts say that Sharon is planning a
unilateral withdrawal of Israeli forces to the vicinity of the
new ´wall´ (which seems to be known to some as the Messiah in
disguise). This unilateral withdrawal includes the destruction
of ´isolated settlements,´ most probably in Gaza - like Netzarim,
Morag, and Kfar Darom. However other communities in Yesha have not
been ruled out. Jews evicted from their homes are to be transferred
to new settlements, this time in the Negev.
Other communities are scheduled to be ´moved,´ creating ´settlement
This is, in brief, what has been floating around today.
Now, it´s important to understand why Ariel Sharon is even
considering such measures:
Ariel Sharon is facing massive legal problems in Israel. He is likely
on the verge of being indicted for illegal financial dealings, some
of which concern campaign funding, illicit loans, and possible
bribery. Should he be indicted, Sharon will have to resign. But
Sharon knows that the left understands that they will never be able
to evict Jews from Yesha - only a ´right-wing´ bulldozer like Ariel
Sharon, who was responsible for much of the development of Judea,
Samaria and Gaza will be able to take it apart. He has experience -
he did it in Sinai. Sharon also knows that the decisions taken
concerning his future political life and tenure in the Prime
Minister´s residence lie in the hands of the left. In other words, if
he is a ´good boy´ and practices what they preach, they will, more
than likely, leave him alone. In other words, he will trade Eretz
Yisrael for political survival.
Reason number two: George Bush and the White House. Ariel Sharon
knows that George Bush is a good friend of Israel. All things
considered, he´s probably the best friend Israel has had in the White
House in decades. He also knows that George W. is in trouble. Iraq,
dead American soldiers, and continuing world terror is ruffling
feathers. The elections, a year away, are already catching headlines.
The campaign has begun. Sharon also knows that the democratic
alternatives to Bush spell catastrophe for Israel. So, Sharon is
interested not only in saving himself; he´s also interested in saving
George W´s skin. So, he is willing to trade pieces of Eretz Yisrael
Reason number three: Yossi Beilin, Shimon Peres and Geneva.
The ´Geneva Accords´ initiated by Yossi Beilin are covered with the
fingerprints of several well known players. First on the list is
Shimon Peres, who was Yossi Beilin´s teacher. The first big Peres
production, "Oslo" was such a hit, that he decided to produce a
follow-up. Not being able to sponsor a ´by-pass´ plan to a government
which he still hopes to sit in, Peres assisted Beilin into Geneva,
another cataclysmic suicide plan for the State of Israel. Geneva
includes the worst of the worst-case scenarios conjured up since the
commencement of Oslo, leaving Israel as a virtual nonentity.
Another player in the Geneva fiasco is undoubtedly the European
Union. Last week Beilin and Company put two million copies of the
Geneva Accords into the Israeli mail. Do you have any idea how much
it costs to print up and send two million copies of anything? I don´t
have exact costs, but it is a tremendous amount of money. I am
certain that the financial backer of this escapade is the EU. I might
also surmise that the EU is receiving a great deal of that money from
another power broker - very likely Saudi Arabia. So from the Saudis
to the Europeans to Beilin. What a team.
But please, do not underestimate these players. The Geneva Accords
are exerting overwhelming pressure on Ariel Sharon. These accords are
being backed by world media. Foreign governments are starting to get
involved, viewing them as an alternative to the dying roadmap. And in
Israel, again, the left is initiating something solid, as opposed to
the waffling of the other side, whoever they are. Sharon remembers
only too well the pressures that brought Ehud Barak´s cowardly flight
from Lebanon. He knows that the name of the game is not to sit on the
fence; rather it is to grab onto something solid and pave the way. It
makes no difference which direction the path goes in - to heaven or
to hell. What is important is to offer an alternative. And that is
what Sharon is doing.
Ariel Sharon has not despaired of several dreams: He still wants to
dispel the ´war-monger´ image he picked up during the Lebanese War in
the 1980s. He would also like to be remembered as a statesman and as
the ´great peacemaker.´ And last, but not least, he would like
another term in the office of the Prime Minister, despite his age
(and seemingly deteriorating mental health).
All of this adds up to transferring Jews, destroying communities, and
abandoning Eretz Yisrael.
The big question is, of course, what we can do to prevent this
madness. There are no easy answers. We have to make a lot of noise,
and let this government know that the People of Israel will not allow
Ariel Sharon or anyone else to chop up Eretz Yisrael, we will not
allow appeasement to terrorists, and we will not commit communal
suicide. The very fact that these ideas are being floated around have
already caused immense damage to Israel. The idea of withdrawal at
all, but especially in the middle of a war, is unthinkable.. This is
exactly what our enemy wants and we must not give it to him.
Withdrawal is surrender, and surrender we will not. Our flag is blue
and white, and that blue makes all the difference in the world.
Abandonment and transfer of Jews from Yesha is tantamount to the
removal of blue from our flag.
Israel must not wave a white flag. (© 2001-2003 Koret Communications
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