So, Who Is Relevant?
year 2001 is about to end, but at the last moment a new word – a Latin
one to boot – has entered the Hebrew political lexicon: “irrelevant”.
This is a new
phase in the fatal duel between the two veteran gladiators, both
experienced and shrewd, Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat. Sharon has
declared that Arafat is “irrelevant”. Arafat has turned the tables by
making a speech that focused world attention on him. All the while
Sharon’s tanks are parked a hundred yards from Arafat’s office, their
cannons aimed at his head.
imagined that Arafat would run away or plead for his life, he doesn’t
know the man. In 1982 I met him in a besieged West Beirut, during the
heavy bombardments, when hundreds of Sharon’s agents were searching for
him in order to kill him. He was in high spirits, at his best.
imagined that by the speech he would disarm Sharon and cause him to
stop, he doesn’t know the man. Sharon never lets up. When he encounters
an obstacle, he goes around it. When he doesn’t get what he wants on the
first try, he will wait and try again and again and again.
Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a clash between two great historic
movements, Sharon and Arafat are their most outstanding representatives.
Sharon is the ultimate Zionist. Arafat is the embodiment of the
Palestinian national movement.
This is a
clash between an irresistible force and an immovable object.
On the one
side, Zionism, whose consistent aim is to turn all the land between the
Mediterranean sea and the Jordan river (at least), which is called in
Hebrew “The Land of Israel”, into a homogenous Jewish state. This to be
achieved trough a “strategy of phases” - a Zionist method, and the
settlers implement it.
other side is Palestinian nationalism, whose aim is to establish an
independent Palestinian state on Palestinian land. For lack of an
alternative, the Palestinians have given up 78% of the land between the
Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea, which they call Filastin, and
is designed to turn the other 22% into the State of Palestine.
came to power, he presented himself as the benign grandfather, who loves
sheep and children, and whose only desire is to enter the history books
as the man who brought peace and security to the area. That was a
successful fraud, in the spirit of “make war by tricks”. The Israeli
public, which wants peace and longs for security, believed him and
elected the Israeli de Gaulle, the old general who has lost his best
comrades in battle and understands that nothing is more precious than
who know Sharon, is was both sad and frightening to behold: a naive
public following a pied piper.
doesn’t care a damn either for peace or for security. For him they are
signs of weakness and degeneration. From the moment of attaining power,
he had a quite different agenda: to destroy the Oslo agreement, remove
the Palestinian Authority and its armed forces, give new impetus to the
settlement movement. For that purpose he acquired Shimon Peres on the
cheap, in order to camouflage his true designs in the eyes of the world,
and started the great campaign. (Actually, he had started it even
earlier, when he went to the Temple Mount and lit the fire.)
assert that “Sharon has no political plan” are quite wrong. He has got a
clear plan: to go on with the offensive and liquidate the Palestinian
leadership, in order to break the spirit of the Palestinian people,
bring Hamas to power, so that he will be able to say that there is
nobody to talk with. He believes that the Palestinians will eventually
flee the country (as in 1948) or resign themselves to a life in several
isolated and surrounded enclaves (like South African Bantustans).
this onslaught, Arafat resorts to the classic Palestinian strategy:
Sumud (steadfastness). Survival. Not to move. Not to surrender. Not to
be dragged into a civil war. To use the meager means in his arsenal –
political action, diplomacy, violence, in varying doses – in order to
enable his people to hold on. His greatest asset is the ability of his
people to absorb punishment, which makes Israeli generals mad with
The battle is
far from finished. I believe it will end in a draw – no mean feat for
the weaker side. And the draw will lead, inevitably, to a historical
Ein anderer Kampf gegen Terror:
Gusch Schalom ausgezeichnet
Uri Avnery und seine Frau Rachel haben Anfang des Monats
den alternativen Nobelpreis erhalten. Die Vergabe wurde mit dem Einsatz
der 1993 gegründeten Gruppe Gusch Schalom für Frieden zwischen Israelis
und Palästinensern begründet.
"Ändert sich die Siedlungspolitik Israels in den
palästinensischen Gebieten nicht von Grund auf, werden hier täglich neue
Bin Ladens geboren", begründete Jakob von Uexkull, der Stifter dieses
zum 21.Mal verliehenen Preises, die Entscheidung. Gusch Schalom - "
Repräsentant eines anderen Israels" (Uexküll) - setze sich für einen
vollständigen Rückzug Israels aus den besetzten Gebieten ein, sowie für
das Recht der Palästinenser, einen eigenen Staat mit der Hauptstadt
Ostjerusalem zu gründen. Forderungen, die, so Uexküll "die
Grundvoraussetzungen für die Schaffung friedlicher Verhältnisse" seien.
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haGalil onLine 20-11-2001