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Palestine to elect new leader - what about Israel?

Palestinians elect new leader, but what about Israelis


TOI-Billboard - Jan. 9, 2005

-- Introduction - activism this week
-- The disengagement - a typical Sharon bluff -- B.Michael in Yediot Aharonot
-- Free and open to all – Ha’aretz Editorial Tue., Jan. 2004
-- Sharon and the Future of Palestine, by Henry Siegman
-- Palestinian Democracy and the forty thieves
-- No Peace in Palestine by Charley Reese
-- The three highschool musketeers ("no uniforms in the classroom")

Introduction - activism this week

The last week before the Palestinians elections saw increased confrontations between the Israeli army and the Gaza militants. Elections under fire it was called in the Gush Shalom weekly statement ( And an interim report with evidence about the situation on the ground was sent out by MachsomWatch (, concluding:

"Less than a week before the elections, it is evident that there are no changes on the ground. No new instructions, with regard to the elections have been issued by the IDF to the soldiers in the checkpoints. The system of permits and checkpoints remains a dominant factor infringing on the basic human right of Freedom of Movement".
(A comprehensive report to be expected after the elections.)

Meanwhile, Winter in Qalandia a play written by Lia Nirgad on the basis of reality (she is among the more than 500 women constantly monitoring the checkpoints) is getting good reviews and a lot of audience - at the Seminar Hakibbutzim Theatre in Tel-Aviv.

From Yesh Gvul ( was received a message about two reservists imprisoned for their refusal to serve the occupation. A question arising is whether the army will be as tough with all those who announced their refusal to take part in dismantling settlements, or that for them ways will be found for smooth exemption.

Jayyous, squeezed between the Wall and settlement expansion about which we wrote last week, continues to be a focus of an international campaign. Jerusalem-based Angela Godfrey can be approached for ongoing updates

And today, Saturday Jan. 9, hundreds of Israelis came to the call of Ta'ayush ( demonstrating near the Wadi Ara junction on behalf of the unrecognized Arab village Dar al-Hanun.

The disengagement - a typical Sharon bluff -- B.Michael in Yediot Aharonot, Jan. 1, 2005

Already raking in the profits

Sharon can already do whatever he wants, with nobody to protest - either in Israel or elsewhere in the world.

[Translation by Adam Keller for TOI-Billboard, Jan. 9, 2004]

The real meaning of the Disengagement Plan could have been understood on the very day of its birth from the circumstances which brought this plan into the world, the personality of its initiator and the accumulated experience of his beliefs, his methods and his escapades. All this makes the disengagement clear and transparent to anybody who refuses to close his eyes and sink (again) into the illusion of "The New Sharon".

Those who refused to understand by themselves the purpose of the disengagement were given a second chance with the interview of Sharon's confidential adviser Dov Weisglass to Ari Shavit of Ha'aretz, an interview which evidently went out of control. With candor and an almost childish pride he revealed the truth behind the Sharon Plan.

Those who persisted in refusing to understand what it was all about, even after the Weisglass confession, got from Sharon himself an abundance of other opportunities to find out. On countless occasions, the Prime Minister set out his true intentions, whose unconcealed principle is "we give back half a finger, so that we could keep the hand." True, Mr. Sharon takes care to reiterate with a kind of religious fervor his adherence to the Bush "Road Map". But between the lines - and in fact, also in the lines themselves - one can read Sharon's version of this map: as is usual with him, the Sharon map is composed entirely of crooked roads leading nowhere but into every obstacle around.

And anybody who, despite all of the above, still insists upon keeping his eyes closed without peeking, is invited to take their heads out of the sand for at least a brief moment and glance at what is happening recently in the imperial dominions. Without any difficulty you could see there how Sharon already started raking in the profits from his Disengagement Plan.

Under the smoke screen of the intensive discussion of this plan, and protected by the umbrella of silence spread over his head by the so-called left (thrilled by the prospect of Shimon Peres being appointed viceroy to King Arik) Sharon has gone back to his old games. Restraint and self-denial were, after all, never among his conspicuous qualities. So, construction in the settlements, far from any sign of freeze, is blooming and flourishing. In the southern sector of the West Bank the route of the Fence is once again moving eastward - to again rob Palestinian lands, again annex settlements, again imprison thousands of people in enclaves and enclosures.

"The Disengagement", which has not yet moved further than the stage of planning and mumbling. is already having its desired effect: Sharon can already do whatever he wants, with nobody to protest - either in Israel or elsewhere. The "disengagement craze" has infected the entire world.

Even the biggest fool can read the signs of what is ahead: the next stage in Sharon's crooked "road map", which leads neither to negotiations, nor to agreement, and certainly not to peace, which is nothing but a long-term license to continue robbing land and rights.

The true inclinations of Sharon can be discerned by comparing his activity in the West Bank to what he actually does in connection with the Disengagement. In the West Bank, there is a very concrete action going on: bulldozers crush, trees are uprooted, fences go up, houses are built, highways are laid out, millions and billions are enthusiastically buried among the rocks.

With regard to the Disengagement, to the contrary, Sharon takes care (so far) to implement nothing but the verbal and oral parts. Discussions were held, votes conducted, bills drafted and presented, committees and commissions and task-forces were formed, speeches delivered and complicated maneuvers held among coalitions of political parties and factions. But in practice, nothing happened, and nothing continues to happen. No settlement budget was cut, no evacuation budget was allocated, no area was blocked to the entry of extreme-right hooligans, not a single "unauthorized outpost" was removed - not even as a symbolic step, no construction was stopped, no settlers-only road was closed down.

On the contrary: the government and the army high command seem to make every possible effort to enhance the settlers' power. The army chief-of-staff meets with the settler leaders and trembling begs them to leave his soldiers alone. The chief commissioner of police announces that if the settlers increase their resistance, he might not be able to fulfil the task of evacuating them. With an idiocy which is incomparable (unless it is a deliberate and intentional policy) the whole government exhibits its panic at the settler threats to foment refusal in the ranks of the army, rather than react with amused tolerance and prepare some extra cells in the military prisons.

To state the grotesque truth, the Disengagement will not take place. There will be problems in the government coalition, or problems with the settlers, or problems with terrorism, or an earthquake and tsunami... something will conveniently come up to explain away the non-implementation. But this marginal and obvious fact will certainly not prevent Sharon from squeezing to the last drop the malevolent benefits for advancing his true policies.

There is nothing to be done about it - the "Disengagement" is a typical Sharon bluff. Of course, there is no way to avoid supporting it, if only to call the bluff. But there is certainly no reason to get enthusiastic over it. Because if it does take place, God willing or God forbid, there is no knowing if the damage may not be even greater.

Free and open to all – Ha’aretz Editorial Tue., Jan. 2004

Five days before the Palestinian Authority's election day, one gets the impression that Israel is uncertain that this is truly its heart's desire. The restrictions on movement between Palestinian cities and between different districts are still in force, even if checkpoints have been removed here and there; Palestinian prisoners have petitioned the High Court of Justice to grant them the right to vote; leading candidate Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has been allowed to visit Jerusalem, but some other candidates who wish to campaign among the city's Palestinian
population have been arrested or forbidden to enter. No less important, large Israel Defense Forces contingents remain in the Palestinian cities of the West Bank, despite promises that these forces would be withdrawn before the election.

Full text:


Sharon and the Future of Palestine, by Henry Siegman

Volume 51, Number 19
NY Review of Books 12/2/04

"Unfortunately, [the recent optimism is] based on a misreading of both Israeli and Palestinian realities. Sharon is not about to agree to the minimal conditions for a workable Palestinian state. His unshakable resolve to avoid dealing with the Palestinians—even to prevent chaos in the wake of the promised withdrawal from Gaza—and to widen Jewish settlement activity throughout the West Bank, which has increased following the announcement of his disengagement plans, gives the lie to such wishful thinking."

Full text:

Palestinian Democracy and the forty thieves
by Salama El Mashoukhy*, Dec. 28, 2004

[Mashoukhy points out questions which cannot be ignored ins this very bitter article].

"All these events increase the Palestinians suspicions about the partners in crime who isolated Arafat during his life, continuing during his time in hospital, and even more so on his way to burial in al muqatah. All these passed events are in mind as we face the introduction of the presidential election, which was not allowed during Arafat’s life because “they” all who care of and are concerned about the faith of the Palestinians (e.g. Israel, USA, the European community and all the “democratic” Arab regimes) had preferred to avoid another show of support for Arafat by his people."

*Electric engineer, currently PH.D student in political science in Hamburg, Germany

Full text:

No Peace in Palestine by Charley Reese, Jan. 8 2005

"The Palestinians are powerless. There are no concessions they can make. Only the United States can force the Israelis to make concessions so that a Palestinian state can be established. The United States refuses to do so. Hence, the never-ending war will go on and on and on.
Eventually, Israel will be destroyed by the Arab birthrate. In the meantime, thousands on all sides will die because of the cowardice of American politicians."

Full text:

The three highschool musketeers

[American poet David Wolinsky paid tribute to the Tel-Avivian highschool pupils who demonstrated against militarization of schools - and was apparently inspired by the Gush Shalom ad in Ha'aretz of Dec. 31.]

In the Holyland

The Minister of Education
announced her intention
to attach a Colonel
to every school in Israel.

Before a striding General
the students of High School One
chained themselves, in Tel
Aviv, to its iron gate.

Blessed are the children
who can command officers
chained in blood and iron,
for they see another future.

-- David Wolinsky

For background:

Lessons in life by Asaf Carmel


No entry for officers in uniform, by Shaul Berger-Mughrabi in Ha'ir Weekly


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