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Invitation to Terror & Contemplation After Akaba

Invitation to Terror & Contemplation a week after Akaba

* Invitation to Terror

* Contemplation a week after Akaba / Adam Keller

Invitation to Terror

[Translation of ad appearing in Ha'aretz, June 13]

Five generals took the decision to assassinate Hamas leader Abd-al- Aziz al-Rantissi: the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense, the Chief- of-Staff and the chiefs of the Mossad and the Security Service.

This military Junta is running Israel in practice - instead of the bunch of dwarfs called Government and the group of clowns and delinquents who have taken over the Knesset.

The aim was:

* to bury the Road Map right at the beginning, destroy Abu Mazen (Mahmud Abbas) and prevent the planned Hudna (truce),

in order to:

* save the settlements, continue the occupation and prevent the establishment of the State of Palestine.

Sharon & Co. invited violence - and violence we got.

Gush Shalom

Contemplation a week after Akaba

Suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Once again, one cannot escape the horrors flooding every TV screen, and every news broadcast carries the details of sixteen simultaneous funerals. And as many family lives for ever marked. But - - as always, it is a selective horror show. The Israeli media is far more sparing in showing the results of "our" retaliatory bombing on Gaza. The body count is already showing more than twenty Palestinians dead in the past forty-eight hours, at least half of them civilian bystanders; and the number seems set to increase.

Precisely a week after the Akaba Summit, and before one could even decide between scepticism and hope, the cruel game of blow and counter-blow and counter-counter-blow is rolling again, full steam ahead.

Once more, as on so many occasions in the past years, the assassination of a prominent Palestinian leader - offcially justified as a way of fighting terrorism - only stoked the fires of anger and hatred on the other side, escalating the horror all the more.

After assasinations had this same result so many times before, one need not be a brilliant strategist, or have access to confidential files, in order to accurately predict the result of sending helicopter gunships to Gaza in order to assassinate the well-known Hamas spokesman, Abd-el-Aziz Rantisi. (In this case, Rantisi survived - but a mother and child who happened to walk in the street were killed and dozens more wounded.) Prime Minister Sharon certainly knew exactly what he was doing.

Many potentially positive developments, in the past two years, were foiled by a judicious assassination on crucial moment. The cease-fire of December 2001, which had lasted for more than a month and aroused many real hopes, is a prominent case in point. But hardly ever before were the stakes quite so high - an ambitiously (re-)launched peace process under the personal patronage of the president of the world's sole remaining super-power.

Two societies torn and weary by two and half terrible years and praying for a respite, opinion polls on both sides showing a high percenatge in favor of making concessions, a hope against hope that this time the light in the end of the tunnel would prove real.

Is everything irretrievably lost? Hamas, which a week ago seriously contemplated the idea of a cease-fire, has been pushed into the most militant of moods, and Rantisi - always on the organization's most radical wing - has gotten an enormous boost in personal popularity courtesy of Sharon's gunships. And, the position of Prime Minster Abu Mazen - even at the best of time never very strong among the Palestinian masses - has been grieveously, perhaps fatally eroded. His speech in Akaba - by far the most conciliatory ever made by any Palestinian leader, and for which he had already to wheather considerable Palestinian criticism - was not answered by any real confidence-building measures but by lethal provocation.

Certainly, if George W. Bush regards his jaunt to this region last week as something more than a convenient photo opportunity, it is time for him to take a strong hand in the situation. Past experience has shown that when Bush seriously makes his will known, Sharon hastens to take notice. (What a paradoxical situation for those who heartily detest the present incumbent at the White House, and who still find themselves hoping for his intervention!)

And supposing Bush effectively washes his hands off the process he had just launched and lets "The Roadmap" go the way of countless earlier peace plans and diplomatic initiatives? In that case, the present cycle will run its bloody course, and things will calm down a bit, and then a new provocation will start a new cycle, and so on. But still, the game could not go on forever. The Israeli economy in in shambles, with virtually all economists and business leaders agreeing that advance towards peace is needed for its recovery. Not for nothing did the Tel- Aviv stock market jump sharply up when the Sharon Cabinet adopted the Roadmap, and take a plunge when news came of the botched Rantisi assassination. Israeli generals no longer make confident predictions of an imminent Palestinian surrender, and when pressed admit that there is no real military solution (indeed, virtually all militiary options short of large-scale outright war crimes have already been tried and failed to subdue the obdurate Palestinians.)

Whatever the outcome of the Roadmap interlude, Sharon as Prime Minster of Israel already made unprecedented and irrevocable statements - however little he meant them - recognizing the two-state solution and declaring continued occupation to be unacceptable. Despite the sorry state of the Israeli Labour Party and its utter inability to present a real alternative, sooner or later some leader will be found to seriously lead Israel along that path. But meanwhile, be prepared for more funerals.

Adam Keller


Note: we got some worried messages from people who wondered about our prolonged silence. It was not because we had nothing more to say, but rather because a nasty virus invaded our computer. By now it seems we overcame it but to be on the safe side: don't open attachments which seem to come from us.

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