Grandfather Sharon
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Grandfather Sharon

January 10, 2001

"The Oslo accords are dead. Period." Ariel Sharon

If the polls remain as disastrous as they now are for Ehud Barak, expect him to be pushed out and Shimon Peres substituted. Barak has no chance; Peres has some, especially with the "Arab vote". And with Sharon positioning himself as the candidate that believes all past agreements with the PLO are "null and void" he just may have given his opposition the opening they need to outflank him in a desperation move coordinated with the Americans, the Arab "client regimes", Arafat's "Authority", and the Europeans -- all of whom have a great interest in keeping Oslo from being finally buried and keeping Sharon out of power.


JERUSALEM (Associated Press - 10 Jan) - Ariel Sharon, the leading contender in Israel's race for prime minister, declared in an interview published Wednesday that he considers the Israeli-Palestinian accords of recent years null and void.

He accused Palestinians of killing the current peacemaking effort in more than 100 days of violence.

Meanwhile, a last-ditch mediation drive was thrown into doubt, with President Clinton's envoy postponing a Mideast trip and a top Palestinian negotiator denouncing Israel's leaders as war criminals.

Senior Israeli and Palestinian officials met late Wednesday to discuss security matters, the second high-level meeting in as many days. The Israeli team, with army commanders and security officials, was headed by Cabinet minister Amnon Lipkin-Shahak. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat led a Palestinian team of security chiefs.

In the interview with Kfar Habad, an ultra-Orthodox weekly, Sharon indicated he would not consider himself bound by the landmark interim peace accords signed after secret talks in Oslo, Norway in 1993. The interim accords have guided peacemaking ever since.

``The Oslo agreement exists no more - period,'' Sharon was quoted as saying. The interview, to be published in the magazine this week, was widely excerpted in Israeli newspapers Wednesday.

Sharon holds a double-digit lead in the polls over Prime Minister Ehud Barak ahead of the Feb. 6 election. Sharon formally kicked off his campaign Wednesday night with a rally in Jerusalem.

Sharon's campaign has sought to portray him as a moderate, distancing him from his long history of operations against the Palestinians and a disastrous invasion of Lebanon in 1982 that led to his ouster as defense minister. A preview of his television campaign ads Wednesday showed a grandfatherly Sharon, 72, holding a small child and walking through pastoral scenery.

At the rally, he said that as premier he would not negotiate with the Palestinians before the violence subsides. But he added: ``There is no peace without concessions. The peace we will reach will be based on a compromise.''

In the Kfar Habad interview, Sharon was quoted as saying that merely allowing the Palestinians to keep the areas Israel ceded to date was a ``painful concession'' because ``all those places are the birthplace of the Jewish people.''

He did not advocate retaking areas now under Palestinian control - about 40 percent of the West Bank and two-thirds of Gaza. But he indicated that the Palestinians would get no more territory from him if he is elected.

He also promised not to give up control of any of Jerusalem - including a key disputed holy site, where the Al Aqsa Mosque is built atop the ruins of the ancient Jewish Temples - and said Israel must retain all its settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for security reasons.

The current round of unrest erupted after Sharon's Sept. 28 trip to the holy site. Since then, 364 people, most of them Palestinians, have been killed.

The Palestinians want to create a state in all of the West Bank and Gaza, with sovereignty over the Arab section of Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa compound. They describe the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza as illegal encroachment on their land and demand their removal.

Barak has offered the Palestinians a state in more than 90 percent of the West Bank and Gaza. Clinton's peace proposal also would give the Palestinians sovereignty over east Jerusalem and the holy site in exchange for Palestinians dropping their claim that millions of refugees and their families have the right to return to homes in what is now Israel.

Barak has worked for an agreement with the Palestinians before he faces the voters. But all sides now doubt a peace deal can be reached before Clinton's term ends Jan. 20.

U.S. mediator Dennis Ross postponed a trip, set for Thursday, meant to try to narrow the gaps between the sides. Larry Schwartz, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, said Clinton held up the mission to see whether the level of violence can be reduced.

Also Wednesday, chief Palestinian negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo demanded that Barak and his Cabinet be prosecuted for approving the assassination of Palestinians figures.

Palestinians say more than a dozen leading activists have been killed by Israeli special forces. Israel has acknowledged targeting Palestinians who plan attacks against Israelis but has not admitted involvement in specific cases.


JERUSALEM, Jan 10 (AFP) - The Middle East peace process appeared doomed Wednesday as US mediator Dennis Ross postponed indefinitely a visit to the region, and Israeli right-winger Ariel Sharon, favorite to win next month's elections, declared the seminal 1993 Oslo accords dead.

But efforts to end more than three months of deadly violence sputtered on, with a meeting of Israeli and Palestinian political and security officials due later Wednesday, Palestinian officials said.

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in an interview with AFP that Ross, originally scheduled to arrive Wednesday, had postponed his trip pending the completion of the security talks.

"The security aspect of this has been of great concern to us, and it was felt that Dennis should wait," Albright said.

"The security people are meeting, and we want to make sure that that part of the process is working and Dennis will be going, but I can't give you an exact time," she said. "But it is wrong to say the trip is off."

Albright said she would further discuss the matter with Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben Ami, whom she will see during a stop in Paris Thursday.

She stressed the importance of ending months of deadly clashes in order to restart peace negotiations, the prospects for which have dimmed substantially as President Bill Clinton's term winds down.

"Time is definitely running out, and decisions have to be made," she said, expressing frustration with what she termed a "kind of kicking-the-can approach" to the peace process of some Middle East leaders.

"We are running out of time; the road is ending," Albright said.

She also slammed Sharon's death pronouncement for the Oslo accords, the basis of the current peace process, as a "mistake."

"We believe that the Oslo Accord is the basis of very important work and something that has created the possibilities for an agreement" between Israel and the Palestinians," Albright said.

"So I would hope very much that he would not declare it dead; I think it's a mistake," she added.

"The work that has been going throughout this administration has been based on the Oslo Accord and a lot of good has come out of it," she said.

Sharon's Likud party earlier Wednesday backed up Sharon's remarks, given in an interview with an Orthodox Jewish weekly Kfar Habad to be published this week.

"Oslo, of course, is dead, and died in practice a long time ago", Sharon's foreign policy advisor and Likud official Zalman Shoval said.

"The Oslo accords are dead. Period," Sharon told Kfar Habad, according to excerpts published Tuesday on the Yediot Aharonot newspaper's internet site.

The hawkish right-wing leader is far ahead of his main rival, caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Barak, in the polls for the February 6 prime ministerial election.

While Shoval said a Sharon government "would aim at reaching long-term, interim agreements with some aspect of permanency", the Likud leader indicated he would be offering the Palestinians far less than they could have expected under Barak.

He would concede no more than 45 percent of the West Bank captured by Israel in 1967 and none of east Jerusalem, claimed by the Palestinians as the capital of a future state.

Israel would also not demolish any of the Jewish settlements Sharon helped to build all over the West Bank and Gaza Strip when he was last in government with the express purpose of hampering the viability of such a state.

Shoval said, however, that Likud was sure peace negotiations would resume -- "after a necessary recess" -- with the involvement of the new US administration led by President-elect George W. Bush.

Shoval added that he hoped Bush would not "rush into picking things up where Clinton left them", and that he would rather "reassess the peace process as a whole".

"There will have to be mutual concessions", and "sacrifices will indeed have to be made by both sides", if an accord is to be reached, he nevertheless added.

Reacting to Sharon's statements, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP they were a recipe for war.

"What he has proposed means that it is impossible to reach an agreement. The result is a description of war," Erakat said.

On the ground Wednesday at least seven Palestinians were injured in clashes with soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but the territories were relatively quiet.

A Palestinian official said Israeli and Palestinian political and security experts would meet late Wednesday at the Erez crossing point between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

This followed a "positive" meeting on Tuesday between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli security cabinet member Amnon Lipkin-Shahak.

The Palestinians say Israel must lift its blockade on the territories and halt "aggressions" before cooperation can resume.

Israel says it will not hold peace negotiations while there is violence on the ground.

A total of 375 people have been killed since the intifada flared after Sharon visited a disputed east Jerusalem holy site on September 28, most of them Palestinians killed by Israeli troops.

The Palestinian Authority's deputy health minister Muzer as-Sharif alleged Wednesday the Israeli army is shooting to kill and has increased its use of live ammunition.

And the London-published Jane's Defence Weekly reported that Israel is to pour new cash into its army intelligence unit because it has proved an effective weapon in clashes with armed Palestinians.

January 2001


Leila Khalid - refugee from Haifa, fighter for Palestine
(January 31, 2001)
When Palestinian liberation fighter Leila Khaled hijacked her first plane in 1969, she became the international pin-up of armed struggle. Then she underwent cosmetic surgery so she could do it again. Thirty years on, she talks to Katharine Viner about being a woman at war.

The end of Israel?
(January 30, 2001)
At a time with rampant current events breaking daily, often hourly, there is much need to remember the importance of sometimes taking time for reflection, of sometimes stepping back to contemplate both the past and the future.

Sharon - the REAL legacy of Clinton and Barak
(January 30, 2001)
As the Barak era fades from view -- more short-lived than anyone predicted just a long year and a half ago -- his epitaph is already being written and Ariel Sharon's government and policies are already being debated.

Looming civil war in Palestine
(January 29, 2001)
Fears are growing in the international community that Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority (PA) is heading for collapse.

Arafat blasts, Peres maneuvers, Barak sinks
(January 29, 2001)
For all practical purposes Ehud Barak is gone and Yasser Arafat is now desperately trying to save his own skin.

Barak's 3 no's, and Bush's 7 minute call
(January 28, 2001)
The Americans leaked it, a 7-minute Saturday call from the new U.S. Pres to the sinking Israeli PM -- leaked its brevity that is.

The Bomb and Iraq
(January 28, 2001)
As war clouds gather in the Middle East public opinion is being prepared for a possible regional war that could likely include a combined Western/Israeli effort to take out the weapons of mass destruction in Syria, Iraq and Iran.

The "nuts" in the next room
(January 27, 2001)
In recent years Israel's most important and serious newspaper, Ha'aretz, has taken to not only reporting Palestinian affairs much more deeply but to interviewing major Palestinian personalities abroad.

Get ready for Prime Minister Sharon
(January 27, 2001)
The new Ma'ariv-Gallop poll questioned a particularly large sample of 1,100 people, putting special emphasis on the Arab population and new immigrants.

Panic in the Barak camp
(January 27, 2001)
All the tricks and lies of the Israeli Labor Party have now come back to haunt it. Barak, never a politician, bears the brunt of popular blame for all the political deceptions and tricks that have for so long accumulated.

War alert in Europe and Middle East
(January 27, 2001)
We've noted the "war fever" growing in the region for some months now. There's considerable anxiety about who may now strike first.

Israeli and Jewish soul-searching
(January 26, 2001)
The Intifada, coupled with Israeli brutality and recognition that the term "Apartheid Peace" is in fact applicable after all, are having an effect on at least some Israelis and some Jews; even while Ariel Sharon marches to the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem (and maybe because of this).

"Disastrous" American intervention
(January 26, 2001)
ou've got to wonder about these Palestinian "negotiators". What others saw decades ago those who have been most involved are apparently beginning to see only now.

Sharon marches on, Barak stumbles on
(January 25, 2001)
The 554,000 Arabs eligible to vote represent 12.3 percent of the electorate. The Arab turnout in 1999 was 76%, and 95% voted for Barak.

An alliance of the outcasts? Iran, Iraq and Syria
(January 24, 2001)
So the Israelis are going to elect war-criminal tough-guy General Ariel Sharon to be Prime Minister. This after the most top-heavy military-intelligence government in peacetime history for Israel -- that of General Ehud Barak.

General Powell says no to sanctions on behalf of Corporate America
(January 23, 2001)
Hamas has struck again and the "negotiations" are "suspended" again. Two Israelis were assassinated by masked men while eating at a restaurant in Tulkarm. Though this time it was Israelis who were killed it was another warning to Yasser Arafat. Last week similarly masked men in Gaza killed a close Arafat friend, the head of Palestinian TV in Gaza, just as it was rumored Arafat was about to sign some kind of new deal with the Israelis.

EyeWitness Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa
(January 23, 2001)
The depressing element of this entire struggle is that the Arafat regime survives and...will be the one to ultimately determine the fate of the Palestinian people.

War Fever - Israel and Syria
(January 23, 2001)
Tensions continue to grow in the Middle East region, armies continue to prepare, public opinion continues to be manipulated. Though Ehud Barak too is a militarist -- a former commando, General, and Chief of Staff of the Army -- Ariel Sharon brings with him historical baggage and war-criminal image which could easily contribute to a clash of armies sooner rather than later, even if not fully intended by either side.

EyeWitness Gaza
(January 22, 2001)
A year or so ago, I visited the Mouwasi area in Gaza. It was a green paradise, on top, and in the midst, of white sand dunes. I particularly remember this Guava grove, where the guavas hanging from the trees were the size of large oranges; I hadn't seen anything like that ever before.

Reaping what they have sown
(January 22, 2001)
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak abruptly cut short a radio interview on Sunday after being asked about his poor showing in opinion polls, prompting speculation he was buckling under pressure of a February 6 election.

Israel's president departs
(January 21, 2001)
There has never been, and there probably never will be, a president who had such fantastic relations with the State of Israel. It's unbelievable.

Ross officially join Israeli lobby
(January 19, 2001)
During the Lebanon War of 1982 -- some think of it as Sharon's war -- the Israelis and their American Jewish friends felt they had a difficult time when it came to public relations. And when the American Marines pulled out, symbolizing the failure of the Israelis to force Lebanon into the American-Israeli orbit and out of the Syrian-Arab one, the Israelis realized that they had much power in Washington on Capitol Hill, but not enough power with the media, intellectuals, and think-tanks.

War preparations in Israel
(January 19, 2001)
It's always called "The Peace Process" but more behind-the-scenes the whole Middle East region continues to be an arms bazaar with more weapons being sold to the countries in the area than ever before, most by American arms merchants and allies.

Palestinian TV Head killed
(January 17, 2001)
It may have been a warning to Arafat not to dare sign any new agreements, as has been rumored in the past few days he was planning to do tomorrow in fact. It may have been another Israeli assassination - though usually they don't take such risks and use such methods, strongly preferring instead to use high-technology and long-distance means.

Iraq, Saddam and the Gulf War
(January 17, 2001)
It was 10 years ago yesterday that the U.S. unleashed the power of the Empire against the country of Iraq after created the regional conditions that lead to the Iraq-Iran and then the Iraq-Kuwait-Saudi wars. In that period of time somewhere in the number of 1.5 million Iraqis have been killed, the history of the Middle East altered, the future of the region more uncertain and dangerous than ever.

Last night in Gaza ghetto
(January 16, 2001)
It's quite a game of international political brinkmanship. At the same time that Yasser Arafat is being tremendously pressured, and quite possibly further tricked, to sign some kind of "framework agreement" with Clinton and Barak before it is too late -- his regime is also being threatened with extinction both from within and without.

Generals Sharon and Barak as politicians
(January 16, 2001)
With Jan 20 (Clinton leaves office) and Feb 6 (Barak likely to be defeated by Sharon) fast approaching, desperation and near panic are evident in the traditional power centers, including various Arab capitals.

"Unilateral separation" one way or another
(January 15, 2001)
The separation plan would go into the event of one of the following three scenarios: as a response to a unilateral declaration of statehood on the part of the Palestinians; under a severe security threat; or as part of an agreement with the Palestinian Authority

Up in arms against Apartheid
(January 13, 2001)
At the end of the second millennium, three million Palestinians are imprisoned in ghettoes by the very man whom the Palestinian leadership hailed as the saviour of peace. Netanyahu had driven the peace ship off course. Barak scuttled it.

Locking in Oslo
(January 12, 2001)
The Americans and the Israelis continue to try to twist the screws. Their minimum goal now is to "lock in" the "Oslo Peace Process" approach to the conflict. It may be an "Apartheid Peace", and it may have resulted in considerable bloodshed, but even so it is leading to a form of "Palestinian Statehood" and "separation" that the Israelis strongly desire as the best alternative for themselves.

Sharon charges on
(January 12, 2001)
he long-serving (now recalled to Cairo) Egyptian Ambassador to Israel was quoted saying last week that if an Israeli-Palestinian agreement isn't reached in the next two weeks there won't be an agreement for the next two decades.

"Sharon leads to peace"
(January 11, 2001)
The last time the Israeli "Arab vote" was pushed toward Shimon Peres for Prime Minister -- back in 1996 -- there was much resistance. Then Peres was acting Prime Minister after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli Army had just committed the Qana massacre in Southern Lebanon, and Peres was busy trying to cover it up.

Grandfather Sharon
(January 10, 2001)
If the polls remain as disastrous as they now are for Ehud Barak, expect him to be pushed out and Shimon Peres substituted. Barak has no chance; Peres has some, especially with the "Arab vote".

The Dangerous weeks, months ahead
(January 10, 2001)
Guys like Commando-General-Prime Minster Ehud Barak don't go easily from the scene. Barak's daring-do was lavishly praised just a few years ago; now it has even the military types fretting. No telling just what Barak and friends might try in the next few weeks.

Assissination, siege and war crimes
(January 9, 2001)
The Israeli government, both as a group and as individuals, bears full responsibility for the crimes that were committed. We will do everything possible, including declaring members of this government war criminals who are eligible for trial by the world tribunal." Palestinian Authority "Minister"

Soul-searching Israelis
(January 9, 2001)
The "liberals" among them, the most cosmopolitan and internationally-oriented of the Israelis, are now getting extra nervous. Not only is Ariel Sharon coming to power, not only is regional war possible, not only are the cold treaties with Egypt and Jordan in jeopardy, but even Israel's future has come into question

Israel acts while Arafat talks
(January 8, 2001)
srael continues to take major steps designed to shrink, isolate and control the Palestinian areas forever. The policy is termed "unilateral separation" and it is linked to bringing about a so-called "Palestinian State" that serves Israeli interests, making everything worse than ever for the Palestinian "natives".

Clinton's Israel speech
(January 8, 2001)
On his way out the Presidential door Bill Clinton went to New York City to speak to his American Jewish supporters and further grease his way toward his future. This is the Bill Clinton that turned the U.S. government over to the Israeli/Jewish lobby in his years in office; of course pretending otherwise.

Specter of an "ugly future"
(January 5, 2001)
Lofty, humanitarian goals like 'peace and democracy'? No, America's primary interest in the Middle East is effective control of the world's most important energy reserves, Noam Chomsky tells Ha'aretz

Prime Minister Sharon
(January 5, 2001)
Did President Hindenburg and the German intelligentsia feel this way in 1930s when they saw that Adolf Hitler, and his brownshirt thugs, were about to be elected to power?

Barak and Sharon
(January 5, 2001)
While the Labor "Doves" are busy running ads in Arab papers showing dismembered corpses in Palestinian Refugee Camps -- with the caption "Sharon" -- the reality is that Generals Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon are more two of a kind than anything else.

Arab nations add their voices to the chorus of despair
(January 4, 2001)
All chance of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians in the near future is vanishing, destroyed by hardening opinions on both sides, continuing violence, the precarious position of the political leaders involved and disagreements over key issues.

Darling of American Jewry
(January 4, 2001)
Over the years, most of the strongest advocates of Israel have usually been people who are not Jewish....[I] look forward to working with him...

Barak publicly warns of regional war
(January 4, 2001)
Amid veiled threats from the Israelis to start targeting even more senior Arafat Regime persons, and even to bring the Arafat "Palestinian Authority" to an end, Ehud Barak has also started publicly talking about the possibility of regional war.

No deal for Arafat
(January 3, 2001)
In particular, the Palestinians are concerned that the proposed settlement would create Palestinian territorial islands separated from each other by Israeli territory and therefore not viable as a nation. They object to a proposed land swap that would allow some Israeli settlers to remain on the West Bank in exchange for land that the Palestinians claim is desert and a toxic waste dump.

Arafat rushes to Washington
(January 2, 2001)
Clinton and the Israelis have set the stage for the last act of their multi-year drama attempting to trap the Palestinians on controlled reservations and calling it "an end to the conflict". But like a modern-day computer game the users can interact and change the outcome to various scenarios.

Top Palestinian Leader in the Arafat Regime
(January 2, 2001)
The whole house of political quicksand built by Bill Clinton at the behest of the Israelis (and popularly known as the "Peace Process") is bubbling, steaming, and swallowing many of its key participants.

Arafat hangs up on threatening Clinton
(January 1, 2001)
The coming issue of TIME magazine reports that Arafat hung up the phone receiver on Clinton a few days ago, turning to an aide and saying: "He's threatening me!

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