FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Sharon Must Go

by Gideon Samet

It’s time to start saying that the Sharon government is irresponsibly cooperating in the slaughter of its citizens. True, no statement can be more damning. But for some time now, the prime minister has practically been inviting it. His guilt for not preventing more casualties reached a new climax this week. The Palestinians, of course, bear their own share of the blame. But the Israeli leader makes their despicable work all that much easier.

Since his unique resurrection from someone who was banned from a decisive role in government to prime minister of the country, Sharon has done everything in his power, over and over again – and with determination – to miss every opportunity to calm the situation. The list of proof of this is long, very long, and meanwhile, as the old poem goes: our corpses are piling up. There is no need to recollect the periods of sharp declines in the violence that could have enabled Sharon, if he had only wanted, to use the relative quiet to talk instead of shoot; nor to remind anyone that even with a forgiving interpretation, if his actions were not meant to preserve the tension, they nonetheless certainly contributed to unnecessary bloodshed.

This week’s new record was the response to Arafat’s acquiescence to Israel’s demand that he arrest Rehavam Ze’evi’s murderers. From Sharon’s point of view, it could have been considered an achievement: his pressure on Arafat squeezed the arrests out of the Palestinian leader. If only he had wanted to, he could have carried the momentum into consolidating the security talks. Nothing prevented him – as General Wellington once recommended – from declaring victory and withdrawing from his boom-boom line. That line, which he promised would put security with peace just around the corner, has not brought either. More unnecessary casualties have fallen on both sides.

Under European Union pressure (and disappointing ongoing American apathy) it briefly seemed that the arrest of the assassins could breathe life into the dying security committee. But after a useful meeting of that committee, Sharon returned to his Temple Mount Syndrome: at the critical moment always do something that obstructs any chance for understanding, and guarantees a riot instead.

So, he announced another humiliation for Arafat. He can leave his prison cell, but only to walk around in the yard. The movements of this irrelevant man are so relevant in the eyes of Sharon that he is ready to endanger our lives for them. Security intelligence experts agreed that the continuing humiliation of Arafat serves no security purpose. Arafat, the spiller of Jewish blood, may deserve it in a court headed by his historical enemy, Sharon. But for a stunned nation, the prime minister’s moves have no result other than worsening the violence and the killing. Under these circumstances, the historic conflict with the Palestinians is reduced to some kind of personal obsession between James Bond and the head of SMERSH.

Based on Sharon’s behavior at the various opportunities to reach at least partial calm, reasonable assumptions can be made about his real position on wider developments that might be able to change the situation. He has asked for clarifications about the motives for the statement by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. Sharon has nothing but contempt for any chance for an agreement, but he’s no fool, heaven forbid. He’s clever as a fox. Someone who isn’t ready to exploit any chance for calm can not be suspected of readiness to genuinely discuss a much more far-reaching initiative. He’ll kill it with politeness. The blood will flow in the streets and the prime minister will go on, accompanied by his entourage of sycophants from the Labor Party.

He’s apparently convinced that his wrong way is the right way, but he is taking a huge political risk. Over time, the Israelis who bear the burden of that risk will not be ready to follow him. They will gradually reach the point where they have to decide between fear for their lives and support for a leader who seeks only to survive politically by satisfying his extremist right-wing partners.

As crazy as the Israeli public can sometimes be, it is not stupid. This week, the prime minister took a another hasty step toward the signpost on the road to a bitter choice for many of his citizens: between the political life of a leader who fans the flames of a deadly conflict, and their fears for the lives of their dear ones.

Gideon Samet writes for the Israeli daily paper Ha’aretz.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail