Friday, September 24, 2004

Column: Yom Kippur

On erev Rosh Hashana, N'vei Dekalim, the largest community in Jewish Gaza, was bombarded overnight with 19 mortar shells. That brings the number of shells and rockets that have exploded in Jewish areas of Gaza in the past four years to 4,409 -- according to a Arutz 7's source in Gush Katif.

In the Western Negev city of Sderot, which has also been hit over the past several months by Kassam rockets, a warning and announcement system has been installed. The system identifies a launching of Kassam rockets, including time and place, and passes the information on to Sderot within two seconds. The automatic announcement that is then sounded gives the residents 20 seconds in which to find shelter before the rocket explodes.

As Sharon bulldozes ahead with his "disengagement" plan are Israeli's supposed to ignore what is happening in Gush Katif and be encouraged by a warning system that gives 20 seconds to run and hide for residents of Israel proper -- inside the "green line?" One can only ask and wonder who is Ariel Sharon and what possesses him to proceed with this madness that will bring newer and better rockets and mortars within striking range of areas even deeper within Israel?

For those of us that may have forgotten and have come to think that Sharon has no choice because Bush is pressuring him I offer the following from a letter of April 14, 2004, sent from Sharon to Bush:

..."I attach, for your review, the main principles of the Disengagement Plan. This initiative, which we are not undertaking under the roadmap, represents an independent Israeli plan, yet is not inconsistent with the roadmap. According to this plan, the State of Israel intends to relocate military installations and all Israeli villages and towns in the Gaza Strip, as well as other military installations and a small number of villages in Samaria. ... Upon my return from Washington, I expect to submit this Plan for the approval of the Cabinet and the Knesset, and I firmly believe that it will win such approval."

As we now know, Sharon never got any real approval for his "Israeli plan." It is also clear that President Bush was not the architect of this mess. Is he pressuring Sharon nonetheless? Is there any evidence of that? So what is motivating Sharon? Perhaps it is the EU? Perhaps he hopes to win favor with the fading and wilting powers that be in Old Europe before its sun sets? Does that make any sense? Bush is up clearly in the polls and with Dan Rather crashing in disgrace to earth what does Sharon care about Old Europe with a Bush win looking more and more likely?

Maybe some light can be shed on Sharon's motivation -- or maybe not -- by this recent story related by Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin to HaTzofeh newspaper last week:

"On my last visit in Strasbourg [site of part of the European Parliament], at a convention of parliament leaders from around the world, the heads of the French Parliament invited me to visit them in Paris. I came, and after a few words of courtesy, they asked me, 'Tell me, Mr. Israeli Parliament Chairman, you are known as one of Prime Minister Sharon's close friends, so why is it that you do not support his disengagement initiative?'

"I said, "Well, the truth is that I should ask you. He has been trying to convince me that the moment we disengage, Europe will give us at least 15 years of quiet and won't put pressure on us [to make further concessions], and during this time we will be able to stabilize our control over areas on which we cannot compromise, such as the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem. So tell me: Will you in fact give us 15 years of quiet?'

"They started to laugh and said that they now understand why I don't support the Prime Minister. Later on, I asked them if they would give us 15 months of quiet? They laughed. I said, 'How about 15 weeks?' and they continued to laugh. '15 hours?' - and they still laughed. Regarding 15 minutes, they didn't laugh, but neither did they nod."

Well, if we still don't know what Sharon is up to at least we know how to make the French laugh.

Does that clear things up?

Gmar Chatima Tova


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