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 You Can Continue with the Liquidations
 Shulamit Aloni, Israel
 January 18, 2002
 
In view of the developments of the past two days, it is hard to find in the government's actions not only justification, but even a hint of intelligence.

After the destruction of the houses in Rafah and Jerusalem the Palestinians continued to act with restraint. Sharon and his army minister, who apparently feared that they would have to return to the negotiating table, decided to do something, and they liquidated Raad Karmi. They knew that there would be a response, and that we would pay the price in the blood of citizens. Thus it turned out that the blood of the celebrants in Hadera is apparently a reasonable price to pay to maintain the ferment in the occupied territories.

There are no negotiations, there will not be peace, the settlements will expand and get stronger, and we will be able to continue liquidating, demolishing and uprooting.

Who Triest the Heart and Mind

Over the course of the year 2000 the Palestinian Authority invested over two billion shekels in development, construction and tourism. Those investments were made with representatives of the donor states and under their supervision, and we can assume that whoever is investing in this way is not preparing an intifada. Whoever has seen the construction and development in the territories of the Authority, and who sees destruction and ruin today, and proceeds to say that all this is due to Arafat's murderous and destructive nature, is an incorrigible demagogue.

Since Arik Sharon was elected Prime Minister, Fuad [Binyamin Ben-Eliezer] as his army minister, and Mofaz sits as the supreme commander, we hear everywhere what Arafat is thinking, what he is planning, that he is an irrelevant liar, that he has fulfilled his role but is doing everything to destroy us in stages. Before those potentates carry out their plot and eliminate the strongest and most awesome army in the Middle East, it is our duty to bomb, destroy, liquidate, crush, uproot, expel, plug wells and to harass at checkpoints—for the sake of "peace with security" that Sharon and his ministers want to bring us.

But since the Chief of Staff and his generals are not psychologists and not given to examining the heart and mind, and since the shamefulness of their actions tears the heart, I decided to go to Arafat personally and hear his version; and maybe to tell him: not all of us are Sharon.

Arafat repeated his words that we Israelis are trying to forget: that already in 1988 the institutions of the PLO accepted UN Resolutions 242 and 338, that is the Green Line borders, and from their point of view that means that they gave up on greater Palestine and recognized the existence of the State of Israel, he repeated that if Rabin had not been murdered, there would already be peace between the two peoples. One may disbelieve, but it is hard to deny that the man was murdered by "opponents of peace" among us.

Arafat also spoke of the economic hardship. Of the hunger and poverty that we are imposing on his people. He recounted that when Rabin decided on closure, he passed 15 million dollars to the Authority to pay salaries. Whereas now, for the past 18 months Israel has held 900 million shekels belonging to the Palestinians, in addition to the fact that many communities have been converted to internment camps, which are also starvation camps.

The "All-Powerful" and the "King of Israel"

Israelis say that Arafat can control Hamas and the Jihad and subdue them. In view of the many years I have been living, I can recall that Ben-Gurion, who stood at the head of the leaders of the organized Yishuv [the Zionist Jewish community in British Mandate Palestine] could not restrain the Lehi [the "Stern gang," of which Yitzhak Shamir was a member] and Etzel [the Irgun, led by Menahem Begin] "terrorist" organizations—that continued with the killing, the bombing and the liquidations against the British and the Arabs. Sharon apparently will not rest and will not be silent until the "all-powerful" Arafat launches a civil war among his people, who are under the boots of Israeli soldiers at checkpoints or under the settlers who rob their land.

Whoever claims that the settlements are Israel's catastrophe from a security and economic point of view is not an anti-semite but a patriot. Whoever says that this government is committing crimes against humanity is not an anti-semite but an honest and humanist person. Whoever condemns the demolition of houses in Rafah and Jerusalem, opposes the provocative liquidations and fostering of turmoil in the area so that we can avoid going to the negotiating table, does so out of love for their homeland.

What goes around comes around. The intifada will continue and Sharon, the "king of Israel," along with Lieberman, Alon, Landau, Hanegbi and others will continue to wave the flag of righteousness and the flag of Greater Israel.

I went to Arafat in order to tell him that in spite of everything there are still many in Israel who will not let despair destroy the hope of peace. It is incumbent on all who believe in the cause of a just peace to work together to conquer injustice, greed and power-worship to bring peace and prosperity to the two peoples.

Translated from Hebrew by Mark Marshall.

Shulamit Aloni, was a Knesset Member for many years, and headed the Meretz Party until her retirement from the Knesset. Recipient of the Israel Prize for Human Rights, Aloni has never stopped speaking out on behalf of peace, justice, and equality for all Israel's citizens.

From Yediot Aharonot, Internet edition, January 18, 2002.