AUTHOR:G.
DATE:12/14/2002 03:49:00 PM
-----
BODY: Questions answered

A few days a go I got an e-mail form an Australian reader in which he asked me a few rather basic questions about the situation. I Bring you his questions and my answers. I have said all those things in the past but new readers might not have read them. (I recommends to anyone who read my blog to read the blog’s annex “The basic idea” in which important/classical posts of mine are gathered.

Q - can you at least understand the sentiments of the Palestinians toward Israel? From my point of view, it looks like they are living under a terrible occupation by IDF forces, especially when it comes to the tactics such as roadblocks and curfews. I can imagine how these kind of actions by an occupying military could remove any sense of national sovereignity or dignity.

A - Of course I understand the sentiments of the Palestinians toward Israel. There is no reason for them to like us to say the least. The Palestinians leave in a miserable situation, which was mostly created by numerous Arab and Palestinian poor moves. (Just a few of them: Arab declined the U.N. decision on partition of Palestine in 1947; The war they waged against the newly born Israel in which they lost; Egypt and Jordan annexed the lands that were supposed to be a Palestinian state but didn’t take good care of the Arabs living there; 1967 – another failed Arab attempt to destroy Israel ends with defeat and lose of land; 2000 – Arafat declines Israel’s offers, thinking he can extort more by waging a terror attack). Israeli governments did mistakes as well but the blame is to be put on Arab shoulders. The point here is that the current situation must be observed with its historical context.

Arafat waged a bloody terror attack to extort concessions from Israel. Now what would you expect from Israel to do? The only option was to fight back. Think about the Palestinian immorality: In 1993 they declared the end of their armed struggle in Israel in return to Israeli recognition and the opening of negotiations to solve the conflict. For 7 years the Palestinians got more and more all on the basis of their promise that the conflict is going to be solved in peaceful ways. In 2000 Israeli PM Barak offered the best offer Israel can make. It was a foolish move by Arafat to reject the offer but yet it’s a legitimate decision, after all the final agreement needs to be accepted by both sides, not forced. Arafat declined the offer but Israel didn’t stop negotiating, low key negotiation between the sides continued. Arafat thought a couple of month and decided to force Israel into a solution. This is unacceptable.

The roadblocks and curfews followed Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis not the other way around. Every time Israel ease its grip on a Palestinian city the immediate Palestinian response is the launch of terror attacks from that city. So yes they do suffer but I what other option is there in the hands of Israel?

Q - How did such a powerfully right wing government and in particular, leader such as Ariel Sharon, come to power in Israel? Sharon seems like a very very militaristic leader and if his actual battlefield experience (which he is currently being charged as a war criminal for) is anything to go by, I cant imagine how a peaceful country such as Israel, still very much feeling the shocks of the atrocities of WWII could elect a war hungry leader.

A - I’ll guess you meant the government Sharon had a couple of month ago with the Avodah (Labor) party. That government wasn’t a “powerful right wing government”, it was a national unity government which reflected quite good the will of the Israeli public. Sharon came to power after the Israeli public watched how Yasser Arafat bedrails the peace process when Israel was headed by the left Avodah party. The election of Sharon happened after the violence broke, not before. People tend to forget it but Arafat waged the Palestinian attack when Barak was PM with a leftie coalition.

Sharon isn’t the monster like world media portrays. He definitely was war hungry 20 years ago, but that was… well, 20 years ago. People change. The world glorifies Egyptian President Anwar Saadat who signed the peace agreement with Israel. The same Anwar Saadat launched the heinous attack on Yom Kippur 1973 which claimed the life of thousands on both sides. Yet Saadat decided to change his way and choose the path of peace. Sharon has changed, if he would have been “war hungry today” we’d now be in the middle or past a wide range war, we’re not. Sharon declares again and again that he supports a future Palestinian state but it doesn’t fit some peoples’ perceptions so they either ignore or dismiss Sharon’s words.

Q - Its a big question, but what do you consider to be the begginings of a "way forward"? In your most optimistic of opinions, what needs to happen?

A - That’s big question. In my humble opinion Arafat must go. The man has proven time after time not to be trusted so it will be foolish by Israel to sign any agreement with him. The new Palestinian leader must call and actually stop the terror attacks against Israel. Till this day Arafat didn’t call his people to COMPLETELY stop the attacks against Israel. Of course it will be hard for the new Palestinian leadership to control the "Islamofascists Hamas and Islamic Jihad but he sure can and must take control over the Fatah murderers for beginning. Israel can accompany the new leader with the ease of IDF grip in a few places. It’s a long shot but I don’t see any other way.



--------
AUTHOR:G.
DATE:12/13/2002 11:09:00 PM
-----
BODY: The Likud primaries - the plot thickens

The stench of that suppose to be democratic process was so strong that the police launched an investigation to check claims of bribery and illegal unkosher deals. Sharon, in an attempt to minimize the damage this affair is causing the Likud, ordered to set up a team that would come up with ways to change the party's primary election system.

As disgusting as the Likud elections were I don’t think it will cause too many people from voting Likud. Well maybe except Imshin and me.



--------
AUTHOR:G.
DATE:12/13/2002 10:36:00 PM
-----
BODY: The European attitude is driven by guilt

In this Shabbat Political section of Yediot Ahronot there is an Interesting interview French delegate to the European Union Parliament Francois Zimeray.

Zimeray has interesting things to say: “The Europeans don’t understand Israel. In the modern shallow world it’s very difficult to explain complex issues. If you don’t have a clear interest to deepen in certain subject, it’s easy for you to stay superficial and except the reality as it portrays by the media. And in this arena Israel loses.

We, the Europeans, suffer from parallel guilt feelings towards the Jews and towards the Arabs. On one hand the Holocaust, and the fact that the European states were involved in it, or didn’t do enough to prevent it.

On the other hand, it’s easy for us to think that yesterday’s victims are today’s criminals. If those who suffered from us cause the same suffer to other people, Maybe we are not so bad”
(My translation)

Zimeray is running a campaign to obtain the necessary signatures from parliament members to initiate a commission of inquiry into the EU's funding of the PA. He has already obtained 110 of the 172 signatures required to put the matter on the parliament's agenda.

Die Zeit: Zimeray wants to know why an educational system was being financed, when its text books were "nothing less than anti-semitic propaganda, which, in any EU Member State, would be prohibited under the law on 'incitement to racial hatred'" (translation by Stefan Sharkansky)

Zimeray also maintains that if the Palestinian Authority has used a single Euro given to them by the EU to fund military operations or suicide bombings, then the EU must immediately stop funding the PA.



--------
AUTHOR:G.
DATE:12/13/2002 09:01:00 PM
-----
BODY: Shas

If you want to understand what goes on in Israeli politics and in the Israeli society you have to understand who Shas, currently the third biggest party, is. Harry sums it up pretty good what are Shas and the non-taxpaying/draft dodging segment of our society it represents.



--------
AUTHOR:G.
DATE:12/13/2002 06:56:00 PM
-----
BODY: 2 IDF soldiers killed in Hebron Yesterday

The two, Corporal Keren Ya'akobi, 19, from Hadera and Sergeant Maor Kalfon, 19, from Kiryat Yam, were shot dead while guarding 500 meters from the alley where 12 Soldiers and civilian security men were killed about month ago.

Keren Ya'akobi is the first female operational fatality since women in the IDF began serving in combat roles about 5 years ago.




--------
AUTHOR:G.
DATE:12/11/2002 11:02:00 PM
-----
BODY: Beilin moves to Meretz

After they’ve been pushed to unrealistic spots on the Avodah list Yossi Beilin and Yael Dayan joined Meretz, the most leftist Jewish party. The truth is that this is where they really belong ideologically. Beilin knows his views are similar to Meretz’s not to Avodah but he wanted to be a part of big party where he can make a difference. It doesn’t matter if you like Beilin or not you must give him credit for being the mind behind the Oslo Accords. The man was able to maneuver Israel into a significant move (whether if you consider it to be a good a or bad move). Beilin is joining Meretz because his other choice is staying out of the Knesset. He knows he will not be able to influence on a major scale anymore.

Ha’aretz reports this evening that: “Labor fears Beilin-Dayan defection will lose them votes” I think Ha’aretz leftie approach infiltrated this item. First of all I think the parties lists for the Knesset have little significance for the Israeli voter and to add to that one, Beilin isn’t such a major figure. Of course some people will choose to vote for Meretz instead of Avodah because of Beilin move, but I don’t think it will sum up to be more than 1 seat. On the other hand removing it’s far left man will attract more voters from Likud and Shinuy then it will repel towards Meretz.

Beilin is now number 11 in Meretz list which according to recent polls does not guarantee him a place in the next Knesset. What about Yael Dayan you ask? She doesn’t worth a word.

And if I’m already talking about Meretz, I must say that Yossi Sarid, Meretz’s leader is one of the most arrogant people in Israel and I’m not referring to his political views at all. I will even dare and say he is at least as arrogant as Bibi is.



--------
AUTHOR:G.
DATE:12/11/2002 10:24:00 PM
-----
BODY: Canada finally decided to totally ban Hizballah

The Canadians already banned Hizballah’s military wing about a year ago but they insisted not to ban Hizballah’s “political” wing. Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham even described the “political” wing as legitimate political and social movement. For god’s fuckin’ sake!!! I don’t know if Graham is aware that Saddam Hussein is the head of a political party and his regime take (bad) care of the Iraqi people, offering the education, health care and so on. Did ever came to Graham’s mind only to oppose Saddam’s military wing?!?

Did the Canadians really thought that Hizballah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah is “not aware” to the terror attack the group’s military wing is doing? The man personally orders it! One must be totally naive to think that Nasrallah is not the men behind the terror attacks of his organization. The funny thing is that I don’t think Hizballah is trying to do this separation between “political” and “military” wings.

Well, better late than ever.



--------
AUTHOR:G.
DATE:12/10/2002 10:22:00 PM
-----
BODY: This is how to do it

One day after the corrupted election process in the Likud the Avodah (Labor) party showed us how to run clean, honest, democratic primaries. About 60,000 Avodah members voted all around the country, thus making impossible all kind of dirty dubious “deals” that were made in the Likud primaries yesterday.

As for the results: The dovish MKs Yossi Beilin, Yael Dayan and Tzali Reshef were demoted to an unrealistic spot on the list. All by all the Avodah list is abit more to the right than it’s leader Mitzna.



--------
AUTHOR:G.
DATE:12/09/2002 09:36:00 PM
-----
BODY: Disgusting

The Likud list for the Knesset was set yesterday. The process of electing the future Knesset Members of the Likud was 99.99% corrupt process. The MKs were chose by the Likud Central Committee which consists of 2000-3000 (I don’t remember the exact number) small petty go getters (I’m not sure that’s the term I’m looking for, anyway I mean it as a negative thing). All that interests those 2000 people is how many jobs the MKs can get for them and for their family and friends. Nothing else. Most of those Central Committee Members can be compared with apes (and I’m sorry to insult Apes by that comparison).

The Likud had a great success registering over 300,000 members over the last few months. Those 300,000 members voted for the Likud leader last month. Why the hell didn’t the Likud give them the right to vote and choose the MKs as well? Instead they chose to continue with the corrupt way.

The results of this corrupt system are obvious, to the first place in this primaries (3rd after Sharon and Netanyahu) came Tzachi Hanegbi. Hanegbi is a pathetic corrupted man. He never did anything worth mentioning. How did he get to first place? He is the record holder for political appointments.

Ha’aretz: “The petition (of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel) claims that the names of 80 members of the Likud central committee, appointed by Hanegbi to positions in his office, the ministry he runs (Environment) and various government organizations and corporations connected to the Environment Ministry, have been detailed in leaflets distributed in recent days.

This election process is revolting and got nothing to do with democracy. The only bright thing about this list is that Sharon already stated that he will not appoint Ministers by their rank on the Likud list.

For more on this Likud elections go read Harry R. who also writes from Israel and has a fine blog "the view from here" that was just added to my blog list).



--------
AUTHOR:G.
DATE:12/08/2002 10:08:00 PM
-----
BODY: No Tourists

Driving along Tel Aviv’s boardwalk during nighttime reveals the sad fact that there are almost no tourists in Israel these days. The big hotels along the beach, some of them with hundreds of rooms, are completely empty, it’s easy to tell by the number of rooms with the lights on. I counted about 10 in the Hilton. A few days ago the papers reported that over a thousand restaurants had been closed in the last 2 years (or was it only during last year).

Last Friday night I went to a party in old Yafo (Jaffa), which was renovated a few years ago and is now a beautiful place. The nightclubs (Dance, Salsa and “Mizrahit” music) were crowded but only with Israelis, I didn’t spot even one tourist all night.



Come visit us, we are lonely and we miss you.



--------