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A Hot-Headed Government - Must Read Editorial

GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 - http://www.gush-shalom.org/

[The following Ha'aretz editorial is a must read.]

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

A hot-headed government

Editorial

"The Sharon government, and especially the prime minister, are doing nothing to stop the hostilities. Indeed, they are fanning the flames. The government's deeds and failures show that the fate of the state is to a large extent in the hands of unbalanced people. Their continued rule puts the safety and stability of the state in danger."

A hot-headed government

The security cabinet's decision on Sunday night to step up attacks on the Palestinian Authority and to conduct a "continuous campaign" was implemented yesterday in a series of violent attacks in the West Bank and Gaza. An IDF force returned to the Jenin refugee camp, while other forces took action in Ramallah, Rafah and the Nablus area. According to the prime minister's statements to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the IDF is planning to operate in other refugee camps "to destroy the will and ability of the terrorist organizations."

The "continuous campaign" already resulted in tragic results, with the IDF's hitting innocent people, including four children in Ramallah, and the head of the Red Crescent in Jenin. Palestinian and Israeli sources provided contradictory versions of the two incidents yesterday, but that does not change the lethal results. All those who are shocked by the deaths of innocent Israelis cannot be apathetic to the deaths of innocent Palestinians. As we count our dead, they count theirs.

Israel's course of action, chosen in the wake of the terrible attacks on Saturday night and Sunday morning, is similar to that which was approved following the attack on the Ein Ariq checkpoint. Those operations were halted after two days, at the request of the Palestinians, who proposed convening the joint security committee and attempting a cease-fire during Id al Itha. But the cease-fire did not last and hostilities resumed. Now it appears that neither side has any intention of halting the spiraling violence.

Against the background of Palestinian celebrations over their successful attacks on Israelis, some right-wing figures are exploiting the gloomy atmosphere in Israel to fan the flames, advancing the most extremist ideas. Avigdor Lieberman and Benny Elon have stood out in this regard with their usual repulsive rhetoric, but others considered more moderate in the Likud, like Meir Sheetrit, have added their voices to the chorus of hot heads.

Regrettably, the stormy and outrageous statements heard in the past on the fringes of the political map have entered the mainstream of Israeli political discourse. And now there are government ministers using that rhetoric. In effect, it appears that their positions have been guiding the government's decision. The voice of the Labor Party, the senior partner in the Sharon government, has practically no influence on the government, and its supporters wonder what the party is doing in a government being dragged by the extreme right into escalating the conflict without any chance for a political horizon.

Without discounting the role of the Palestinian Authority, and in particular its chairman Yasser Arafat, in the serious deterioration of the conflict, it is clear the Sharon government, and especially the prime minister, are doing nothing to stop the hostilities. Indeed, they are fanning the flames. The government's deeds and failures show that the fate of the state is to a large extent in the hands of unbalanced people. Their continued rule puts the safety and stability of the state in danger.

© Copyright 2002 Ha`aretz. All rights reserved

Link To Ha’aretz

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NB: Full transcript of the war crimes panel available on the Gush site

For Hebrew http://www.gush-shalom.org/archives/forum.html

For English http://www.gush-shalom.org/archives/forum_eng.html

Also on the site:

the weekly Gush Shalom ad - in Hebrew and English the columns of Uri Avnery - in Hebrew, Arab and English (and a lot more)

http://www.gush-shalom.org

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