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Gush Shalom Critical Of Sharon's 'Defence' Policy

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

International release, October 3, 2004

[Though falling short of pointing out the immoral character of using missiles and tanks against residential areas, todays editorials in two of the most important Israeli papers are expressing dire criticism at Sharon's policies. See also Avnery's analysis of antisemitic myths in a world crisis with at its core the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.]

[] Sharon led Israel to the only war which was not a reaction to a real threat - Ofer Shelach in today's Yediot Aharonot editorial

[] An operation without a purpose In Gaza "the government of Israel must act to calm the situation" Haaretz editorial quoting Defence Minister against government policy [] Eggs in one basket Uri Avnery about old and new antisemitism, neo-cons and how the oil lobby is hiding behind them

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[] Sharon led Israel to the only war which was not a reaction to a real threat - Ofer Shelach in today's Yediot Aharonot editorial

A Unilateral Illusion

Yediot Aharonot editorial, Oct. 3, 2004 - from Ofer Shelach translation by Adam Keller

The State of Israel has always presented unilateralism - in peace as in war, in forward as in backward motion) as an unavoidable necessity, forced upon us by the absence of a partner (or the unworthiness of the existing partner). In fact, however, with us unilateralism can be said to be an ingrained nature. After all, our almost official motto is David Ben Gurion's favorite saying "It does not matter what the gentiles say, what matters is what the Jews do". Especially when the gentiles in question are Arabs, most especially when it is the Arabs who live nearby. Unilateralism is, primarily, a psychological condition. Most of us perceive of Israel as "a villa in the jungle", a civilized island in the midst of a sea of fanatic and backward fundamentalism . To this self-perception is added a frustration at the fact that Israel's might is not enough to determine Israel's fate.

The greatest prophet of unilateralism is Ariel Sharon. As Defence Minister, Sharon has led Israel to the only war which was not a reaction to something perceived as a real threat, but a unilateral attempt to change by force the internal situation in an Arab country and reshape the entire region. As we all remember, that attempt ended with total failure.

But Sharon - and many others, including most prime ministers since then - have not learned the lessons of 1982. Again and again we hear about unilateral steps which will solve the basic problems of Israel. Again and again we are being told that we can decide everything by ourselves, and that the enemy will have no choice but to accept the reality.

This mind-set is even more dominant in Israel since July 2000. The perception of "no partner" has not only created a narrative in which we are right and the other side is a criminal, but has organized a whole world-view fitted with this deep current of unilateralism in the Israeli soul. If there is no partner, then we have the right to - in fact , we must do things unilaterally. This is what Ehud Barak said after the failure of Camp David. This is what Sharon is saying for more than a year, since he had become definitely reconciled to building the Separation Fence and came up with the Gaza Disengagement Plan.

According to this characteristic of his personality as well as our collective inclination Sharon is also insisting upon marketing the Gaza Disengagement as something which "the Palestinians will pay for heavily." Any time that some Palestinian finds something good to say about the Disengagement, the PM reiterates that it is not so, that Disengagement is bad for the other side and is being imposed on it by our might. This marketing tactic proves how much the PM is trapped in the illusion of unilateralism - and how much he assumes that we are all trapped in it.

But reality has its own plans, with all due respect to the Israeli collective psychology. In the pa st week reality is showing us again and again that a unilateral step is in most cases an illusion. It is an illusion that the people on the other side of the fence will be reconciled to the reality of our won creation. It is an illusion to think that Hamas will make it possible for us to present the disengagement as a victory. It seems that it is an illusion to think that Hamas will let us implement it at all, in other conditions than running away under fire.

At the end of this month, the political and legislative process of the Disengagement of Gaza is supposed to reach its peak. At the beginning of the same month, the army is deeper than ever inside Gaza. Nobody has yet presented a solution for the scenario that the Qassam missiles will pursue us beyond the withdrawal lines, and that the army will be required to return immediately to the territories it evacuated and even deeper. Nobody has yet explained how this unilateralism is supposed to work. But only a few dare to tear up these new clothes of the king, and to say that without an agreement with the Palestinians (which means with Yasser Arafat, directly or indirectly), there will be neither withdrawal nor disengagement.

[] An operation without a purpose In Gaza "the government of Israel must act to calm the situation" Haaretz editorial quoting Defence Minister against government policy "The deployment of tanks in crowded neighborhoods is meant to protect the lives of the soldiers. But experience has shown that such tactics necessarily increase the number of casualties among civilians."

An operation without a purpose

Ha'aretz editorial, Sunday, Oct.3, 2004 http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/484069.html

Hebrew/òáøéú http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/pages/ShArtPE.jhtml?itemNo=484083 ~~~

[] Eggs in one basket Uri Avnery about old and new antisemitism, neo-cons and how the oil lobby is hiding behind them

culminating in an advise to the Israeli government "not to put all its eggs in one basket."

http://www.gush-shalom.org/archives/article324.html

Hebrew/òáøéú http://www.gush-shalom.org/archives/article324_heb.html ~~~

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You can still donate for the families made homeless in Rafah, Gaza Strip. The campaign is co-ordinated by Anat Matar, and donations sent to Rafah human rights activist, Khalil Shahin.

Donate by sending a cheque, made out to Anat Matar, to: Anat Matar, 33 Bernstein-Cohen Street, Ramat Hasharon 47213, Israel - or ask her for how to donate by bank transfer or ph:972-3-5408977

Campaign results so far - in Hebrew/Arabic/English at: http://taayush.tripod.com/new/20040914-rafah.html#vulgar

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Make Israeli-Palestinian peace talks a number one priority" the American Jews' "open letter to the next president" can be signed online http://openletter.btvshalom.org

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The Hijacked Agenda - dilemmas of the peace movement in times of crisis Read about it in the lead article of THE OTHER ISRAEL September issue: http://otherisrael.home.igc.org/ed.html

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Truth against Truth - reconciliating opposite views on the history of the conflict in 101 steps

Hebrew / òáøéú http://www.gush-shalom.org/Docs/Truth_Heb.pdf

English http://www.gush-shalom.org/Docs/Truth_Eng.pdf

Russian http://www.gush-shalom.org/russian/book_web.pdf

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