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|Charlie Reese Article|
|02/12/01 at 23:37:48|
|Charley Reese |
A vote for war, against peace
Published February 13, 2001
The Israelis have voted for war and against peace. That is the naked
truth of the election of Ariel Sharon as prime minister.
Those who try to pretend otherwise delude themselves that Sharon, at
age 72, will repudiate his whole life, which has been brutal and bloody.
In fact, he already has killed the peace talks by taking Jerusalem off
the table and telling the Palestinians that any new talks must start at
ground zero. In other words, Sharon considers any agreements reached
with the previous prime ministers null and void.
It's a sad day. Israel stood in the doorway that leads to peace. All it
had to do was return to the long-suffering Palestinians what rightfully
is theirs -- the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem -- and acknowledge
the right of refugees to return or compensation. Had Israel done that,
peace would have followed.
But the Israelis stepped back from the door and turned to their dark
past. Their lust for land is greater than their desire for peace. Their
faith in the sword is greater than their faith in justice. They prefer
oppression to cooperation.
It won't be immediately obvious, but the Israelis really have chosen
national suicide. You're seeing the beginning of the end of the Zionist
dream. Oh, they can kill thousands of Palestinians, and probably will.
The killing will not yield the Israelis peace. The French won the
military battles in Algeria, but the French left. We won the military battles
in Vietnam, but we left.
In a real sense, the Israelis have created their own unconquerable
enemy. The Israelis have made the lives of Palestinians so miserable, so
impoverished, so hopeless that the Palestinians literally have nothing
left to lose. It is a lot easier for them to die for freedom and
independence than it will be for well-off Israelis to die to continue the
"Sharon will pose grave dangers not only for Palestinians, whom he is
likely to brutalize, but also the entire region and possibly to world
peace," said Michael Lerner, rabbi at San Francisco's Beyt Tikkun
synagogue and editor of Tikkun magazine. "The path Israel is following is no
surprise. Countries that seek to maintain by force the occupation over
another people will eventually drift toward repressive or even fascistic
leadership. The mean-spiritedness in Israel that leads to a Sharon
landslide makes many younger Israelis wish to leave Israel."
The formidable Jewish lobby, which has had a hard enough time trying to
rationalize the brutality of Ehud Barak, really will have its hands
full trying to rationalize the actions of Sharon. In the 1950s he led a
massacre of men, women and children in Qibya. He was also the architect
of expanded Jewish settlements and the invasion of Lebanon.
The Israelis may, in fact, push their American lobby to such extremes
that a backlash occurs. After all, how many Palestinian children shot to
death or beaten to death can you blame for their own deaths? How long
can you maintain the myth that the people with 346 dead and 10,000
wounded are causing all the violence and the side with only 46 dead are the
How many times can you get away with crying anti-Semite every time a
church group, a human-rights group or an international organization
criticizes Israel's brutality?
I've always believed that Israel's support in this country is 10 miles
long and an eighth of an inch deep. It consists mainly of the lobby,
the rapture cult and those cowards in the Congress. In the past, nobody
had to pay a price for supporting Israel. It was Israel's critics who
had to pay the price.
Sharon, judging on the basis of his past, probably will reverse that.
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