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Sludge Report #53
The Child Killer Readies His Arrows - Waiting For The Trigger Point
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon now has his Cabinet in place, and the real aftermath of the disastrous election result of February 6th is now upon us. It is hard to be anything other than extremely pessimistic about what the future holds.
Ariel Sharon is famous for his surprises. Now all he is waiting for now is his trigger point. Already Israeli security forces have begun to ratchet up the pressure – in order to ensure Sharon soon receives the excuse he needs to push the “go” button on what will almost certainly be a war crime of some serious scale.
Decades of Israeli military and diplomatic thought (if you can call it that) has conditioned all involved in this tragedy to understand, indeed know, exactly what will happen next:
Phase 1 - PROVOCATION
- This phase is already underway. Pressure is being brought on Palestinian communities. They are being blockaded into their villages and settlements, tanks at the door. Unable to attend school. To shop. To work. The rights of 10s of thousands of Palestinians to move – and to get to where there is food – are being suppressed. The intention of this phase is provocation.
Phase 2 - RETALIATION
- Someone, Hamas, Hezbollah or Palestinian, it matters not whom, will become sufficiently alarmed about the Israeli blockade that they will fight back. A bomb will be detonated in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ramallah, Gaza - it matters not where. Maybe another bus driver will become enraged and run over another bus stop. People will die.
Phase 3 – REVENGE/WRATH
– With fresh Israeli blood to avenge Ariel Sharon will have his trigger point. He will unleash his dark side. An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, will be his word, just as it has been Ehud Barak’s. Israel’s military response under Sharon will be audacious and spectacular, and very well reported on CNN. And if Ariel Sharon - the war-criminal of old - is true to his form he will kill lots of innocent women and children in the process.
Where things then go is anyone’s guess, but you can probably safely assume there would be very little chance of Arafat meeting with Sharon to discuss peace, ever.
In addition you could also probably safely assume that the governments of Jordan, Syria, Egypt and even Saudi Arabia will find it very difficult not to take events in Israel/Palestine extremely seriously.
So, in summary, we have a situation that is very grave.
In Sludge’s view the above scenario can only be averted in the event we have, to put it simply, a miracle.
At least one of the following scenarios would need to occur for the above tragedy to be averted.
1. All the anti-Israeli armed groups supporting the Palestinian cause could decide to ignore the Israeli provocation. That is, they could collectively decide not mount any attacks against Israel, thereby denying Sharon of his excuse. (Sludge calls this the Gandhi scenario.)
2. The Israeli Military Leadership could decide to refuse to follow Ariel Sharon’s instructions;
3. Israeli field commanders could refuse to obey direct orders;
4. Ariel Sharon could be refused permission for whatever dastardly scheme he has planned by his coalition partners in Cabinet. That is assuming he keeps them informed about what he has in mind;
or 5. Sharon could realise his moral error, change direction and raise his blockade of Palestinian communities.
Interestingly, as far as Israel’s official military/diplomatic policy position is concerned, the first of these scenarios - the Gandhi scenario - is the only way the Palestinians can legitimately expect to prevent themselves being massacred at this juncture.
However, there are several reasons why, of all the possibilities above, the Gandhi Scenario is the least likely.
From a Palestinian strategic position, Sharon’s brutality and stupidity are most probably his greatest weakness.
And as far as the Israeli electorate is concerned, their decision to elect Sharon with such a landslide majority, makes them potentially vulnerable to be attributed with guilt in the event Sharon does commit a war crime.
Following this logic you can conclude that the best way to combat a popular extremist such as Sharon – with an electoral mandate for violence – would be for him and the Israeli military, to be given enough rope to hang themselves.
That is, in the event Ariel Sharon commits another war crime, and kills 150 in a bombing raid or artillery bombardment, then the international community, might, finally, come to its senses and put real pressure on Israel to try and find a negotiated peace.
Alternatively, and even better as far as the Palestinians are concerned, it might give rise to a desire for peace among Israelis who feel complicit in Sharon's offence. Sharon could in these circumstances possibly even be forced to step aside.
The problem for the peace loving posed by all this is that if this logic is followed, then it makes very little sense for the Palestinians and their supporters to wait too long before providing Sharon with his excuse to lash out.
If he has too much time he may realise he could potentially be walking into a political trap. In addition the sooner Sharon is forced to play his hand the sooner the whole mess comes to a conclusion, one way or the other.
Hence, if you believe in peace, then it is probably high time to start praying for that miracle. Right now it would appear the world needs it.
Anti©opyright Sludge 2001