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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail