Thursday, May 12, 2005

Column: Any Good News?

Looking this week for some good news on the front against the expulsion plan I came up pretty dry. The Jerusalem Post actually said that Natan Sharanksy has now denied that he would lobby against the expulsion – that after a week ago reporting the exact opposite. I haven’t seen that anyone but the Post has carried this latest twist and it looks suspect considering the import of the story.

Also in the news was the story of the first administrative arrest to be used against an anti-expulsion activist. The order to jail Neria Ofan was signed by Defense Minister Sha’ul Mofaz. Ofan will sit for six months in the Ashkelon prison without ever being charged or tried.

According to Arutz 7: “Security services sources have spread numerous leaks to the press, alleging that Ofan was suspected of illegal activity and violence, but both human rights groups and anti-expulsion activists are demanding the government either file charges or admit they are stepping over the boundaries of a democratic society”

Bottom line: Ofan sits in jail without a trial based on a British Mandate Law while citizens of England have been protected from such brutality since -- if my memory serves me correctly -- the early 17th century. More than that, there is no reason to think that there won’t be many more of the same political arrests.

Unfortunately, the world will turn a blind eye; Ofan has been labeled a dangerous extremist by the security forces and the press and once so labeled he has no civil rights. I hope that Natan Sharansky speaks up quickly on this because Israel could quickly sink into what he calls a “fear society” – one where people are afraid to speak their minds – and the hallmark, according to him, of a tyrannical regime, one where citizens dare not say what they think in the town square.

So, where is the good news?

Avner Shimon, Mayor of the Gaza Regional Council made these encouraging comments to Arutz 7:

“The government is showing that it is confused by our strength, bewildered by the growing rate of opposition to the disengagement plan as shown by public polls, and it simply is not sure what to do.”

Avner Shimon’s optimism confirms something Moshe Feiglin said earlier this week:

“I had a very good feeling during this Pesach (Passover),” Feiglin said. “When you are in the Likud and closer to the decision-making circles, you see what’s going on. I am telling you that there are very serious cracks forming in these circles… It is much harder for Sharon and his gang than we think.”

Shimon also made these remarks that might make one hopeful in a saner world:

“By the way, the city of Ashkelon now has a ‘Red Dawn’ missile alert system just like they do in Sderot, and in addition, the government is beginning to implement a plan to reinforce houses in communities that border on Gaza. Apparently the government is expecting something that it doesn’t want to talk about publicly.”

The implication here is that there is recognition by the government that missiles would start landing in Ashkelon soon after the expulsion. One would think that that would translate into a serious rethinking of its plans.

Now I thought I’d tell you about some interesting video I found on the internet to help make the Independence Day celebrations more interesting and educational.

If you search for “Book TV Natan Sharansky” you can watch a one hour interview where Sharansky discusses his book “The Case for Democracy.” I highly recommend it.

Next, if you search for “Ariel Center for Policy Research” and go to their homepage you will find documentary films on the top of the page that bring you into the communities of Gaza and the Northern Shomron, giving the viewer an opportunity to really see and hear what these communities look like, what the people are like, what the issues are and what is at stake.

I learned a lot about the Northern Shomron communities and what the expulsion there would mean. For example one sees that it would created a huge block of terrorist controlled area within 10 miles of the coastal town of Hadera where that the Electric company has it’s largest plant and produces somewhere around 50 percent of Israel’s electricity.

Scrolling down on ACPR’s homepage, there is a great “Flash Presentation (in English) on The Importance of the Judea and Samaria Mountain Ridges.” This is really an excellent presentation and an easy way to learn why Israel must keep the high ground in order to guarantee its security and viability.

Enjoy the celebrations and let’s hope for a lot more good news.


Post a Comment

<< Home