Sharon marches on, Barak stumbles on
January 25, 2001
REVISIONIST ZIONISM ABOUT TO TRIUMPH AS NEVER BEFORE
SHARON STILL AHEAD IN POLLS BY AT LEAST 15%
"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."
With or without the "Arab vote", Barak and Labor Zionism are in all likelihood
going to be trounced by Sharon and Revisionist Zionism in just a few days now.
This even though nearly everyone in the world -- especially the Europeans, "liberal"
American Jews, the Arab client regimes, and Arafat's "Authority" -- have collectively
done all they could to prevent just what is about to happen in the Jewish State.
And though there are many similarlities between the two major historical Zionist
movements, as well as between Barak and Sharon, there are also very important
differences not just in style but most importantly in ideological outlook and
This is not the place to even attempt to spell out these complicated differences.
There's plenty of literature available however. Those interested should start
with the biography of Jabotinsky, the father of the Revisionist Movement, just
as Ben-Gurion was the father of Labor Zionism. It's not really possible to seriously
understanding what is happening today either within the Israeli polity or between
the Jews and the Arabs, without a firm historical grasp of what has come before
and how we have gotten to such a historical moment pregnant with such dangers.
Meanwhile, this selection of articles from the Israeli Press about Sharon,
Barak, and the election campaign, helps put the current moment in better perspective:
PA CALLS ON VOTERS NOT TO VOTE FOR SHARON
Ori Nir, Ha'aretz Correspondent
[Ha'aretz - 1/24/01:} Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo and
chief negotiator Saeb Erekat called on Israeli voters Wednesday not to vote for
Likud Chair Ariel Sharon in the upcoming election. In an interview in an Arab
magazine published in Israel, they both warned of the consequences of having
Sharon as prime minister.
"We do not want Sharon to be elected as prime minister. Our stance on this
subject is not neutral," said Abed Rabbo. "The election of Sharon will lead to
disaster and war. Choosing him is a stupid move because he is a bloodthirsty
racist who has no responsibility to his countrymen," Abed Rabbo added.
Erekat, who heads the negotiations with Israel, said, "If Sharon is elected,
we should expect the total
collapse of negotiations."
Many Arabs who are prominent in the public sector said that senior officials
in the Palestinian Authority
requested that Arab leaders work towards voting for Prime Minister Ehud Barak,
in order to prevent the
rise of Sharon to the position of prime minister.
SHARON: LEBANON PULLOUT LED TO INTIFADA
By Gil Hoffman and Janine Zacharia
JERUSALEM POST (January 25) - Likud prime ministerial
candidate Ariel Sharon yesterday accused Prime
Minister Ehud Barak of indirectly causing the recent
wave of violence by showing weakness in the manner in
which he withdrew the IDF from Lebanon last May.
"I have tough things to say about the way we left,
which influenced, in my opinion, what happened later
on, and the feelings of the Palestinians, our
neighbors," Sharon told a Federation of Chambers of
Commerce forum. "We did not act the way an independent
country is supposed to act."
Sharon maintained that Israel showed weakness to the
Palestinians in the pullback, which invited them to
fight back and feel confident against a weakened IDF.
He made the comments at a time in which his campaign
has begun to break with its hesitant strategy and
strike back at Barak's negative commercials.
Sharon campaign sources said that new commercials
tonight will slam Barak for continuing the Taba
negotiations and accuse him of "not learning the
lesson that a nation with dignity does not negotiate
The commercials will run under the new slogan: "Barak
promised peace; Barak brought war."
The increasing negativity of the Sharon campaign is a
response to a particularly sharp Barak ad that
premiered Tuesday, describing step by step what would
happen between the election of Sharon and an all-out
regional war. The ad angered Sharon aides.
"Barak has killed all the sacred cows," Lior Horev,
Sharon's information and strategy team manager, said.
"We could have used the Kfar Darom children in our
advertising, but we did not because there is a line
that people do not cross, even during a campaign."
Responding to the Barak campaign's repeated use of the
Lebanon War in its ads, Sharon addressed the Sabra and
Shatilla killings for the first time since the race
"What happened in Lebanon, which we didn't have any
connection to or anything, was that Christian Arabs
killed Moslem Arabs," Sharon said.
Sharon said that by October 1982, Israeli forces had
already withdrawn from major Christian locations in
southern Lebanon. At that point he recommended leaving
Lebanon and continued to advocate a negotiated
withdrawal for years, but that various prime ministers
and IDF chiefs of General Staff disagreed.
Sharon was held indirectly responsible for the 1982
massacre in the Beirut Palestinian refugee camps by
the government-appointed Kahan Commission. He was
subsequently forced to step down as defense minister.
The Barak campaign responded by saying, "The
overwhelming consensus says that getting our children
out of Lebanon after 18 years of being there for no
reason and more than 1,000 casualties is one of the
greatest achievements in the history of Israel and one
of the most courageous acts that Barak did in his long
In an address to the Council on Foreign Relations in
New York and Washington via satellite video conference
yesterday, Sharon offered a slightly contradictory
view of the current wave of violence.
In the beginning of his remarks Sharon said: "A war is
going on here, Barak promised peace." During the
question-and-answer period, Sharon said: "It's not
going to be war. We don't see a war."
Sharon revealed that he has initiated quiet contacts
with Arab countries and has started communicating with
the Palestinian leadership. He did not specify which
countries he had contacted.
One source privy to these contacts said Sharon had
been in touch with Palestinian Authority Chairman
Yasser Arafat's deputy Mahmoud Abbas.
Sharon gave special praise to Jordan as an important
stabilizing factor and pledged to try to strengthen
ties with it, but it was not clear if Jordan was among
the countries Sharon had approached.
Sharon outlined his now well-known "multi-stage" plan
for peace, or at least for a "non-belligerency"
arrangement. He ruled out for the first time the
possibility of unilateral separation from the
Palestinians should peace talks fail. Barak has
solicited ideas for such a break.
"It looks like a slogan. How can you divide? We live
together. I don't see any possibility of separation
that can last," Sharon said.
To lend legitimacy to his gradual approach to
peacemaking, Sharon cited the ideas of former US
secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who Sharon says
"has been preaching this approach to prime ministers
of Israel" for years.
"[Kissinger] emphasized that the only way to reach
peace is by going slowly, gradually, step-by-step, and
implementing something which is more similar to
non-belligerency, and only when we see the benefits
and a relationship will develop will we be able to
reach a permanent peace," Sharon said.
As foreign minister under prime minister Binyamin
Netanyahu, Sharon promoted stronger ties with Russia,
the cosponsor of the original multilateral peace talks
in Madrid. Yesterday, Sharon called for a reduced US
role in peace negotiations and said he would establish
immediate contact with Secretary of State Colin Powell
The US is "a traditional friend of Israel" which can
help bring the sides together if needed, Sharon said.
"But I think that basically, it should be for both
sides to decide - to negotiate and decide - and I
think it should be very, very clear that Israel should
not be under any pressure."
Sharon then said he sees the US as a "mediator, honest
broker" and as Israel's continued strategic ally with
which it would work to combat the spread of ballistic
missiles in the region.
Sharon vowed to invite the Labor Party into a national
unity government the night of his election and
promised to initiate negotiations immediately with the
Palestinians, but not if Israel is under fire.
Asked repeatedly how he could make peace with the
Palestinians and other Arab countries, Sharon said he
has been "demonized for many years" by the Left and
called on all parties to look to the future and leave
the past behind.
Sharon ducked questions on whether he would dismantle
settlements, saying Barak's gravest error was to
publicize which concessions he would be willing to
make in advance.
After outlining his terms of a non-belligerency accord
- no acceptance of a Palestinian right of return, no
division of Jerusalem, no handover of the Jordan
Valley to Palestinian control - Sharon said the ideas
had been part of a plan that was put on the table
during short-lived, permanent-status negotiations when
he was foreign minister.
SHARON: I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH CAMPS MASSACRE
By Yossi Verter
[Ha'aretz - 1/25/01}:
Meretz MK Zahava Gal On yesterday petitioned the High
Court of Justice to release the confidential reports
on which the Kahan Commission recommended that Sharon
be dismissed as defense minister after the 1982 Sabra
and Chatilla massacre in Lebanon.
The petition was in response to Sharon declaring he
had nothing to do with the massacre in the Palestinian
refugee camps. "I had nothing to do with what happened
there. Christian Arabs killed Muslim Arabs, and as a
result of the atmosphere of hysteria in Israel, I was
forced to leave my post," Sharon told the Federation
of Israeli Chambers of Commerce at the Hilton hotel in
Sharon resigned from Menachem Begin's government after
the Kahan Commission report into the slaughter of
hundreds of Palestinian civilians by the Phalangist
militia during the Israel Defense Forces siege of
Beirut. The commission wrote in its report that "the
defense minister reach personal conclusions of the
shortcomings he exhibited in carrying out his duties,"
and recommended that Prime Minister Begin dismiss
Sharon - in fact he resigned on his own accord.
Meretz MK Ilan Gillon yesterday wrote to Supreme Court
Justice Aharon Barak, who was a member of the Kahan
Commission, and asked him to clarify for the public
the committee's stance on Sharon.
"It is unacceptable that Sharon is blaming a
commission of inquiry, which found him responsible, of
succumbing to hysteria and distorting justice, while
he takes advantage of the fact that none of the
committee members can respond," he said.
Gal On said "it is the public's right to receive the
information that directly relates to the actions and
shortcomings of Ariel Sharon."
Sharon continued efforts to dispel his anti-Arab image
and yesterday said if elected prime minister, he will
begin a new chapter in relations between Arab Israeli
citizens and the state.
Speaking to members of One Nation Sharon said "I
intend to open a new chapter with them [Israeli Arabs]
in the name of Israel's government. I will personally
work to bring equality to their conditions in
infrastructure, education, civil service jobs ... a
Jewish child and an Arab child must receive the same
Minister Shimon Peres yesterday responded to Sharon's
claim, made on Monday at a high-school in the Negev,
that it was Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Peres as
his defense minister that brought Israel into Lebanon
Peres said Israel did not occupy or remain in Lebanon,
and did not even have liaison officers working with
local militias. Peres said early 1976 was at the peak
of the civil war in Lebanon and the Christians sought
support from Israel against Palestinian and other
organizations. Israel helped the Christians with
humanitarian aid at first, and later also with weapons
ARAB LEADERS: ONLY APOLOGY WILL GET US TO VOTE FOR BARAK
By David Rudge
JERUSALEM POST - NAZARETH (January 25) - Arabs would
consider voting for Prime Minister Ehud Barak only if
he publicly apologizes for the government's handling
of the disturbances last October in which 13 Arabs
were killed, and reaches a draft accord with the
Palestinians, Ibrahim Sarsur, the head of the Islamic
Movement, said yesterday.
The movement would then reconsider its call to
supporters to boycott the vote, Sarsur told The
In previous prime ministerial elections, the Arab
vote was viewed as having a pivotal role,
especially in close-fought races.
"We Arabs have decided to liberate ourselves from
the handcuffs of this concept. In our opinion, [Ariel]
Sharon and Barak are equally bad and neither will
bring about peace or equality. If Barak won
350,000 Arab votes in the 1999 elections, he will
be lucky to get 40,000-50,000 this time," Sarsur
"If, however, the Palestinians and the Israelis reach
a framework agreement and Barak makes a public
apology for the October massacre, and not just
expresses his regrets as he has until now, then the
Islamic Movement and all the factions in the Arab
sector would have to reconsider their positions in
light of these developments and give him another
chance," he said.
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.
Barak's problem of raising support in the Arab
sector was underlined yesterday during a visit to
Nazareth, where scores demonstrated outside the
hall where he met with supporters.
Many of the demonstrators were relatives of the
three Nazareth residents among the 13 killed in the
October riots. They accused Barak of having
overall responsibility for what they described as
police brutality and excessive use of force.
There were reports that some of the demonstrators
spat at those who arrived to attend the meeting with
Barak and called them traitors.
Barak, who was accompanied by Justice Minister
Yossi Beilin and Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On, did
not have to run the gauntlet of protesters and entered
the hall by another route. Regional Cooperation
Minister Shimon Peres did not attend the meeting
despite reports that he had been scheduled to
Inside the hall, the atmosphere was totally different,
with Barak reiterating his regrets and expressing
sorrow over the 13 deaths, and urging supporters to
do their utmost to garner votes in the Arab sector.
He said that confrontation between police and
demonstrators should not end in fatalities and that
he is certain that the government would accept the
findings of the state commission which is
investigating the riots.
Barak warned that a boycott of the elections or
casting blank ballots would be a vote for Sharon.
Ministers Beilin and Matan Vilna'i have been
working hard among Arabs to try to calm the
atmosphere and forge a core of activists willing to
canvass for Barak.
Beilin, who spoke at the meeting, criticized
comments made by Shas spiritual leader Rabbi
Ovadia Yosef that likened Palestinians to venomous
snakes and described Barak as someone who hated
Israel and Judaism.
According to many political pundits, an Arab
boycott or a decision to cast blank ballots would
have a seriously detrimental effect on Barak's
chances of being reelected.
Sarsur said the decision to call for a boycott was
based on what he described as Barak's ongoing
policies of aggression, killing, and destruction
against the Palestinians, the regression in the peace
process despite initially high expectations, the
non-implementation of his promises to improve the
lot of Israeli Arabs, and the "massacre by police
under the command of the prime minister" of the 13
Sarsur, who represents the more pragmatic southern
faction of the Islamic Movement, categorically
denied reports that his decision to call for a boycott
was a move toward the more radical northern
branch, headed by Umm el-Fahm Mayor Sheikh
Raed Salah, as part of efforts to reunite the
The northern faction and its leadership have
consistently opposed participation in national
politics, while the southern branch has its
representatives in the Knesset in the United Arab
List and has established the Arab Unity Party.
"Unfortunately, negotiations over reunification
stopped over a month ago and have been frozen, and
therefore there is no linkage between this and our
decision to call for a boycott of the election,"
Abed Inbitawi, executive director of the supreme
monitoring committee of the Israeli Arab
leadership, said that "obviously to say one is sorry
is insufficient, although even an apology does not go
far enough. Barak also has to take responsibility for
"If he does and if there is a draft peace accord with
the leadership of the Palestinian people prior to the
election, then it would make a difference to the
present trend under which more than 80% of
eligible voters will either boycott the election or
cast blank ballots.
"There is also a third factor - the need for a detailed
program, with a mechanism for implementation, to
bring about full equality for Arab citizens in all
fields. These are the three conditions which have to
be met to bring out the Arab voters."
Inbitawi said it had been decided to convene a
meeting of the monitoring committee a few days
before the election to recommend - on the basis of
prevailing circumstances - how the Arab public
should vote. The committee is composed of Arab
MKs, council heads, and other prominent public
JEERS AND ANGER GREET BARAK AND HIS ARAB "DIGNATARIES"
ON CAMPAIGN VISIT TO NAZARETH
By David Ratner and Jalal Bana
"An Arab girl cursed me. I have never been cursed
by a girl before. The Arabs have become like the Likud."
[Ha'aretz - 1/25/01] - When Ehud Barak ended his election visit in Ganei Nazareth
Hotel last night, some of those invited stayed behind to argue among themselves
whether the prime minister had really apologized for the deaths of 13 Israeli
Arab demonstrators last October.
The text of his speech shows Barak indeed expressed "sorrow and a need to express
condolences" - but in no way did he apologize or take responsibility for the
death of the 13.
Stormy weather and a few dozen angry demonstrators greeted those invited to the
election meeting. The guests were identified as "Arab dignitaries and their families."
Barak was brought in through a back entrance to avoid him meeting the demonstrators,
and most of the 250 guests looked like they would rather be somewhere else.
"Dignitaries" was a bit of a misnomer. Apart from the mayors of Rami and Ilut
- both Labor Party activists - other mayors boycotted the event on orders from
the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee.
Representatives of families of the 13 Arabs killed in the October riots held
up color photographs of the dead loved ones and angry placards. There were a
few megaphones and a great deal of fury.
They waited on the hotel driveway, spitting insults at all the arriving guests.
"They have no honor," said Barda Afifi of Nazareth. "Pig, traitor," he shouted.
"See them run to kiss the feet of those who kill them," he said.
There were pale faces of teenage girls and boys behind the curtains of a bus
bringing them from the village of Kara. Mazen Zahalka, a dignitary from the village
of Kara, said "on one hand, it is hard to look the mothers of those killed in
the eye, but on the other, I know the alternative to Barak is Sharon -and that
The demonstrators began to shout "Collaborators!" and Zahalka scurried into the
hotel. A young woman with curly hair from Barak's office gave them yellow roses.
The children were taken aside and dressed in white Barak campaign T-shirts, some
with the slogan from the previous campaign, "Israel wants a change." Scattered
about the hall were white balloons that occasionally burst with a feeble pop.
Barak's entourage entered the hall at a quarter past five. Barak was accompanied
by Ministers Beilin, Vilnai, Cohen and Tamir and a few Meretz MKs. Gradually
the trauma outside was forgotten. Beilin stole the show when he said Sharon
was born a racist, and that his inability to make peace was genetic.
MK Hussniya Jabara (Meretz) called Sharon a "war criminal" but Barak repudiated
the epithet. By the time he got up to speak, the crowd had warmed somewhat but
his speech was predictable and superficial. He said he had wanted to meet the
families of those killed in October, but did not have the opportunity. He said
that until a few
weeks ago, he had not been aware of the deep damage wrought to the fabric of
relations between Israel's Jews and Arabs. He told them to vote according to
their interests, and not to cast a blank ballot.
Afterward, everyone went home. Afif Halili from Majdal Krum was still upset by
the demonstration outside. "An Arab girl cursed me. I have never been cursed
by a girl before. The Arabs have become like the Likud."