FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Sharon Must Go

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:

December 13, 2018
John Davis
What World Do We Seek?
Subhankar Banerjee
Biological Annihilation: a Planet in Loss Mode
Lawrence Davidson
What the Attack on Marc Lamont Hill Tells Us
James McEnteer
Breathless
Ramzy Baroud
The Real Face of Justin Trudeau: Are Palestinians Canada’s new Jews?
Dean Baker
Pelosi Would Sabotage the Progressive Agenda With a Pay-Go Rule
Elliot Sperber
Understanding the Yellow Vests Movement Through Basic Color Theory 
Rivera Sun
The End of the NRA? Business Magazines Tell Activists: The Strategy is Working
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Historic Opportunity to Transform Trade
George Ochenski
Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections in Another cCollaboration Failure
December 12, 2018
Arshad Khan
War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned
Paul Street
Blacking Out the Yellow Vests on Cable News: Corporate Media Doing its Job
Kenneth Surin
The Brexit Shambles Rambles On
David Schultz
Stacking the Deck Against Democracy in Wisconsin
Steve Early
The Housing Affordability Crisis and What Millennials Can do About It
George Ochenski
Collaboration Failure: Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections
Rob Seimetz
Bringing a Life Into a Dying World: A Letter From a Father to His Unborn Son
Michael Howard
PETA and the ‘S’-Word
John Kendall Hawkins
Good Panopt, Bad Panopt: Does It Make A Difference?
Kim C. Domenico
Redeeming Utopia: a Meditation On An Essay by Ursula LeGuin
Binoy Kampmark
Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Immemorial Divisions
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Democratizing Money
Laura Finley
Congress Must Reauthorize VAWA
December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail