EVEN MOSES SOUGHT CONSULTATION
By Emanuel A. Winston, a Middle East analyst & commentator
April 14, 2003
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel (Arik) Sharon has repeatedly said "I am ready to make painful concessions." Regrettably, Sharon has forgotten that he was elected to office as a temporary steward to care for the affairs of the Jewish nation. However, his statements are peppered with "I" and "me", in effect, making proclamations solely on "his authority" which he has assumed as Prime Minister.
The first PM who discovered he could ignore his cabinet and his Knesset was Yitzhak Rabin, seconded by Shimon Peres. They discovered that they could bypass the Knesset and the people by merely issuing a proclamation after a decision was made in secret. Thus, we were given Oslo by ?royal? fiat.
Now, Sharon, has made his intentions plain and very public. In a long pre-Pesach interview with Avi Shavit for Ha?aretz (1) on April 13th, he mentioned Shilo and Beit El as "settlements" that "I know we will have to part with some of these places. There will be a parting from places that are connected to the whole course of our history. As a Jew, this agonizes me. But, I have decided to make every effort to reach a settlement...One has to view things realistically. Eventually there will be a Palestinian state. I do not think that we have to rule over another people and run their lives. I do not think we have the strength for that." But, he refused to allow his cabinet to discuss his diplomatic plan, promising an in-depth discussion when the so-called road map for Middle East peace is publicized." (2)
His reason for not discussing the contents of the so-called "Road Map" plan is that it might leak out to the public. (Imagine, letting the people of Israel and the Jews of the world know what the "Quartet" plans for them!)
In his Ha'aretz interview Sharon said: "I would definitely say that we will have to take steps that are painful for every Jew and painful for me personally." Clearly, his need for pain of this sort should be personal. Shilo and Beit El have long passed the designation of settlements for they are now fully fledged towns. But, even if they were not, who in Heaven?s name does Sharon think he is? He seems only to be concerned with himself, his pain and how he will be written in history.
Moses was a humble man who sought advice from man and G-d. But, Sharon, like Rabin and Peres is above such trivial matters of "advise and consent". He refuses advice and certainly avoids the consent of the governed.
Rabin and Peres found that they could get away with their leap into a democratic dictatorship when the number of people who demonstrated against Oslo were not enough to stop the imperial actions of a non-democratic Prime Minister and his cronies. Even when Oslo turned out to be a fraud and a total failure, the rage was subdued. Even though more than 1300 Israelis were murdered by Arab terrorists, with thousands more wounded, many maimed for life. Except for some notable exceptions, the streets were quiet. Those who did demonstrate and protest were denigrated as ?radically right? or ?extremists? for defending their homes.
Thereafter other Israeli Prime Ministers, having learned that ordinary people are too consumed with daily problems - like cleaning for Pesach or trying to make a living - to bother assaulting the iron fences that surround the Israeli government.
So, now we see Sharon testing the waters for the limits of ?Civil Disobedience?. Will the people protest Sharon's high-handed proclamations - with no consultation with either the Knesset or the People.
What arrogance! What Chutzpah! What usurpation of authority - never given to him as Prime Minister! His own Likud Party's platform rejects a Palestinian State. The guidelines for the formation of this current government rejects abandoning Jews in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Sharon speaks of peace IF the Arab Palestinians do this or that. Why would they do this or that, having proven through Oslo over 10 years that, they will agree to anything and abrogate everything. The Arab Palestinians and the Arab nations have broken every agreement and promise with Israel and with each other. They now vow to take all of Israel whenever they are able. That would seem to be a small matter to PM Sharon.
Sharon and President George W. Bush, fresh from his Iraqi triumph, are now testing Jewish resolve. The test is whether there will be a public outcry and continuous ?Civil Disobedience? or numb acceptance. If the response is muted, polite, courteous, (as Jews are usually wont to be) then Sharon will feel confident in pushing the Jews out of YESHA (Yehuda, Shomron and Gaza) and giving their homes, farms, wineries and factories to the Arab Palestinians - along with the keys to their cities.
The Middle East is, indeed, going to change. Syria and Iran will not obey the Bush doctrine or ?diktats?. They are already shifting into a terrorist phase in Iraq. The Jews of Israel have faced this problem, although somewhat late. Nothing has changed, even with the arranged charade of putting Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), a better looking Terrorist than Arafat, but with the same end goals in mind - another Arab Palestinian State, west of the Jordan River, "covering ALL of the Jewish State of Israel with Jerusalem as the capital of that state and only that state" as Yassir Arafat has declared loudly and often even wearing such a map on his sleeves.
I am sure that Arik believes he is doing the right thing but, then again, Rabin, Peres, Beilin were also certain they were doing the right thing when they secretly evolved Oslo. Tommy Lapid agrees with Sharon?s public stance. Does that make it right? Or wrong?
The people grumbled about Oslo, accepted the horrendous casualties and made no great effort to stop an agreement that was killing them. Is this then our M.O. (Modus Operandi), going quietly "again" to our own destruction?
Now, Sharon, without the advise and consent of the Knesset or the People, joins Bush in paying for the defeat of Saddam. Sharon says he will not jeopardize the nation but, he already has. The Arabs expect Sharon?s capitulation, knowing that President Bush needs to offer something palliative to makeup for humiliating all Arabs by soundly beating Iraq in war.
Israel has been selected for this honor and Arik has been appointed "the enabler". I am sure he believes that he is in charge and can control ?things?. I am just as sure that he cannot, once Sharon starts evacuating people out of YESHA.
Now, we wait to see if the People will pour into the streets or accept another Oslo in silence.
Clearly, it is time to put restraint on the office of Prime Minister before it becomes a democratic dictatorship.
P.S. Today on CNN, Gerald Kessel, always a detractor of Israel, seemed especially pleased with Sharon and his statement of compliance with the "Road Map" of Bush. When the enemy starts to smile and claps you on the back for your good judgement, be assured, you have made a grievous mistake.
1. "PM: ?Iraq war created an opportunity with the Palestinians we can't miss"? by Avi Shavit HA'ARETZ April 13, 2003
2. "PM comments on leaving settlements cause stir" by Herb Keinon & Tovah Lazaroff JERUSALEM POST April 14, 2003