"Sharon leads to peace"
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"Sharon leads to peace"

January 11, 2001

" 'Sharon leads to peace,' the banner of the stage declared."

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. This time, if Barak gets out of the way as may happen as early as next week, the Israeli "Arab vote" might be just enough to push Peres ahead of Ariel Sharon, keep "Oslo" alive, and keep the Arafat Regime (as well as a few others) in power.

But even should that happen Oslo is in a coma, on life-support. Peres or no, the Knesset remains the same, the issues remain the same, the deep contradictions remain the same, and most importantly, the "Apartheid Peace" championned by Peres and Barak remains the same. Not to mention, there are so many good reasons not to trust Shimon Peres who shares far more with Ehud Barak then he wants to admit; for after all, he wants and needs the "Arab vote".

SPECULATION MOUNTS OVER BARAK'S ELECTION BID

Israel seems set for further political tumult, as Derek Brown explains

The Guardian - Wednesday January 10, 2001: There is vigorous speculation in Israel that the prime minister, Ehud Barak, is about to abandon his bid for reelection on February 6.

Opinion polls show Barak trailing badly behind his far-right challenger, Ariel Sharon. But one poll - interestingly enough produced by Barak's own brother - shows that Sharon would be beaten by Barak's One Israel party colleague and former prime minister, Shimon Peres.

Several close observers believe that Barak is about to throw in the towel and concede the candidature to Peres.

Such a sensational development would not be out of keeping in the rumbustious context of Israeli politics. And, with less than four weeks to polling day, more sensations may yet emerge.

Sharon has kicked off his campaign with a typically blunt assertion that the Oslo peace accords - Israel's favoured shorthand description for the agreement secretly negotiated in Norway with Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organisation - are dead.

He has already promised dire retaliation against the Palestinians if their current intifada (uprising) continues.

The intifada erupted at the end of September, sparked by Sharon's provocative visit to the main mosque compound in Jerusalem. It has since claimed around 360 lives, the overwhelming majority of them Palestinian.

Most Israelis believe that the violence is being cynically directed by Arafat and his lieutenants, in the hope of squeezing territorial concessions with Barak, who has long portrayed himself as the only man who can bring about a final peace settlement.

Now Barak's drive for peace is over, and the former army chief is widely seen as a lame-duck leader bereft of ideas for quelling the unrest.

Peres, on the other hand, is seen as Israel's most seasoned politician, with more than half a century's experience and an unrivalled relationship of trust with Arafat, his fellow Nobel peace laureate.

Barak's woes, meanwhile, have been deepened by a strident campaign within Israel's Arab minority for a poll boycott. The nation's 1.1m Arab citizens, who identify strongly with their 2m Palestinian kinsfolk in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, are deeply disillusioned with the prime minister.

He promised them rapid improvements in living conditions, and failed to deliver. He pledged himself to peace settlement which, for now, has evaporated in violence. Most of all, he presided over the heavy-handed response to the rioting in Arab areas which accompanied the start of the intifada.

Thirteen Arab citizens of Israel were shot dead, and the community, which largely supported Barak in the last prime ministerial election in 1999, is in no mood to do so again.

ISRAEL'S SHARON KICKS OFF CAMPAIGN
By MARK LAVIE

JERUSALEM (AP - 11 January) - Smiling, white-haired and portly, candidate Ariel Sharon holds a small child, every bit the gentle, grandfatherly type, in a new campaign ad preview shown on Israeli television.

It's part of what supporters and rivals alike call the new, soft image of the hawkish general and longtime politician whom Palestinians blame for touching off violence when he visited a disputed Jerusalem holy site on Sept. 28.

Enjoying a double-digit lead in polls over Prime Minister Ehud Barak, with elections set for Feb. 6, Sharon formally kicked off his campaign with a Jerusalem rally Wednesday night.

``There is no peace without concessions. ... The peace we reach will be reached on a compromise,'' Sharon told supporters, in a gentle preface to a list of suggested compromises he ruled out one by one.

The new TV ad showed Sharon as a young boy on a farm, then in the company of Israeli pioneers and in uniform as an army general.

For one of Israel's toughest hawks, Sharon's softer style is brand new - a gesture to the apparent yearning of most Israelis to reach some sort of settlement with the Palestinians.

He has so far avoided specifics on how he would handle peace talks - and fighting - with the Palestinians.

But his message is in line with his hard-line past: Barak offered the Palestinians too much in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, projected weakness that invited the current violence there, and has been too reluctant to strike back.

The campaign so far has seen few challenges over Sharon's past, which features the disastrous 1982 invasion of Lebanon he directed as defense minister and the subsequent 1983 commission of inquiry that found him indirectly responsible for the massacre of hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon by Israeli-allied Christian militiamen.

Sharon insisted last week he could not have dreamed the militiamen were capable of such an act - even though other officials have said there was warning.

Signs and banners Wednesday stuck to his new theme: ``Sharon leads to peace,'' the banner of the stage declared.

His campaign song, cooed by a female choir of soft voices, mentions the word ``peace'' over and over.

``Only Sharon will bring peace,''

``A peace that will protect us.''

The message - qualifying the nature of the peace as protective - is aimed at Israelis shocked by more than 100 days of Israeli-Palestinian violence that has killed 364 people, most of them Palestinians.

Sharon spelled out his tough stand in a newspaper interview and later at the campaign rally.

``The Oslo agreement exists no more - period,'' Sharon said in an interview with an ultra-Orthodox Jewish weekly, Kfar Habad, referring to successive interim accords that have guided Israel-Palestinian peacemaking since secret negotiations in the Norwegian capital in 1993.

Sharon charged in the interview - widely excerpted in Israeli newspapers Wednesday - that three months of Palestinian violence have, in effect, voided the accords.

The violence began after Sharon's Sept. 28 visit, starting with Palestinian protests of Sharon's assertion of Israeli sovereignty at the site.

Sharon said he not would retake the land under Palestinian control under the interim accords, about 40 percent of the West Bank and two thirds of the Gaza Strip. But he left little reason for Palestinians to hope they would get more land from him.

Speaking to supporters at a packed convention center, Sharon did not repeat his negation of the interim accords, but said he would never cede any part of Jerusalem, nor would he give up the strategic Jordan River Valley ``and areas necessary for Israel's security and the (Jewish) settlements in them.''

Admitting that peace means compromise, Sharon said that after all violence ceases, ``we will renew the negotiations on a new basis that will lead to real peace.'' He did not define the new basis.

Palestinians want a state in all of the West Bank and Gaza, with the Arab section of Jerusalem as its capital, including a holy site also claimed by Israel. Sharon insists he can make peace by lowering Palestinian expectations.


January 2001


Magazine



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 effect...in 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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