Sharon's Unlikely Legacy of Peace

Discussion in 'Israel and Palestine' started by NATO AIR, Jul 11, 2004.

  1. NATO AIR
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    NATO AIR Senior Member

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    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5412184/site/newsweek/


    For Sharon, an Unlikely Legacy

    Having spent his life opposed to a Palestinian state, he now explains that it is inevitable. He has recognized that there is no alternative. By Fareed Zakaria
    NewsweekJuly 19 issue - The real story about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not what happened at the International Court in The Hague last week but what has been happening inside Israel for the past few months. Consider these facts. In the elections of January 2003, the Labor Party leader, Amram Mitzna, ran on a single issue, unilateral disengagement from Gaza. He was roundly denounced as a peacenik and Labor suffered its worst defeat in history. One and a half years later, Ariel Sharon is implementing Mitzna's plan. The withdrawal from Gaza has the support of 60 percent of Israelis and 75 percent of Palestinians. At a time of tension and anger on both sides, there is a chance for progress.

    Whether he intended it or not, Sharon has now made a Palestinian state inevitable. A hard-line Likud general who built most of the settlements in Gaza has now pledged to destroy them. Why? Because Sharon understands the Israeli people. After being elected prime minister, Sharon gradually realized that while the public had voted for a right-wing prime minister, it still favored the left's solution: two states. Israelis had wanted to achieve this goal through negotiations. When these failed in June 2000 and terrorism mounted, they came to the view that they still wanted a two-state solution. But now the goal could be achieved only through unilateral disengagement.

    And so Ariel Sharon, who had spent his life opposed to a Palestinian state, now explains that it is inevitable. He has recognized that there is no alternative. Israel cannot remain a democracy and rule millions of Palestinians against their will indefinitely. The prime minister now routinely cites the demographic realities that he had long brushed aside. By 2020, only 16 years from now, the population in Israel plus the occupied territories will be 6.4 million Jews and 8.5 million Arabs.

    Sharon has placed himself to the left of his party—or rather of his party activists. Though 65 percent of Likud voters support the Gaza withdrawl, only 40 percent of Likud members voted for it in the party's referendum. His two rivals, Bibi Netanyahu and Silvan Shalom, are unhappy with it. Whether this means a national government with Labor or new elections, Sharon is pressing ahead because he knows he has the broader public with him.

    This extent of the reversal in policy has been masked by two factors: antiterror operations and the wall. The Israeli Army is determined not to repeat the experience of the withdrawal from Lebanon, which many Israelis believe emboldened hard-line Palestinians. So it has been engaged in aggressive operations in Gaza, striking any and all targets it views as suspicious. This has made it much more difficult to portray what's been done in Gaza as "running away" or being "chased out."

    The second factor, of course, is the wall. This too, was a Labor Party proposal, advocated by Ehud Barak, among others. Likud opposed it because it believed that were a wall to be constructed, it would inevitably demarcate the boundary of the Palestinian state. If what's on one side of the wall is Israel's, on the other lies Palestine.

    Sharon is hoping to deny this inevitability by building parts of the wall beyond the 1967 lines. But much of it is being built on that border. And the recent monumentally important decision by the Israeli Supreme Court has declared that building the wall must take into account the rights of Palestinians. Thus the new plans will be even closer to the 1967 lines. The International Court's decision reinforces this trend. If and when negotiations over the final status ever take place, these precedents make more likely the kind of final deal that was discussed at Camp David, Taba and Geneva.

    The proposed withdrawal is having a fascinating effect on the Palestinian community in Gaza. Faced with the prospect of real power and sovereignty, Palestinian groups are beginning to rise up and challenge Yasir Arafat's rule. Because Arafat has been the symbol of the resistance to Israel's occupation, he was untouchable. As the occupation in Gaza draws to a close, Arafat is losing that status and being seen for what he is—a corrupt autocrat.

    The withdrawal from Gaza could set off a chain of positive trends—if it works. But it might not work. The Saban Center at the Brookings Institution has issued a report pointing out that if the withdrawal produces chaos, a collapse of local authority, warlords, mafia-style corruption and a renewed terror offensive, it will be seen as a disaster by all and actually retard progress. If, on the other hand, it is done with careful planning, international support, investment in Gaza and coordination with local groups, it could have a big payoff. As in Iraq, success will depend not on the military mission but on the follow-on phase of nation-building. Let's hope Sharon will learn from the mistakes of his friend in the White House.

    Write the author at comments@fareedzakaria.com
     
  2. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Intersting post and at least a hopeful sign. I think that the relative small size of Israel has caused 2 problems. One being the difficulty in defending it and the other being the inevitable overcrowding. I think that some Israelis are now realizing that as in the US, the primary enemy is terrorism and not being overrun by a large army. Border control is seen now as the primary line of defense against these actions and I hope the US will learn from this. Israel may finally beginning to accept the limitations that thier small area places on them and willing to live with the ramifications.
    If the Palestinians are given an Independant state, much of the wind will be taken out of thier sails and world opinion may question why they continue the terrorist attacks on Israel instead of using the effort to improve thier infrastructure and live style for thier own people.
    Hate will still exist but it will become less of a justification for violence.
    Good luck to em
     
  3. ajwps
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    ajwps Active Member

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    Inevitablity?

    The only thing inevitable about an Arab state in Israel is the fact that it will not happen.

    Click the following site to hear the poem read aloud...

    http://www.robertburns.plus.com/voicemouse.htm

    Men and mice devise evil plans but in the end their desires come to naught. Israel cannot be given away or sold away as it does not belong to man.....
     
  4. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Guess you'll have to ask Sharon what he meant when he used that word. I would assume he might highly likely enough to accept it and head in that direction.
     
  5. ajwps
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    ajwps Active Member

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    What Ariel Sharon meant when he declares his intent for a Palestinian Arab state in Israel is as valid as the president of Iceland declaring that he intends to melt all the ice in iceland.

    What are the chances?
     
  6. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Maybe he didn't mean IN Isreal but along SIDE of Israel .
     
  7. ajwps
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    ajwps Active Member

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    Sharon's intent of meaning and direction are exactly that an Arab land be made IN Israel and not along SIDE of Israel.

    Israel captured the west bank from Jordan all the way to the river by the same name and it took the entire Gaza in a war waged against it by the Egyptians.

    Ergo by definition, there is no Arab country, state or land within captured lands which had become a part of the whole State of Israel by war waged against it and by historical possession.

    Transients who had settled in this land do not constitute any new country or government.

    My prediction is that there is no way that any plans made by either Sharon or mice are meant to be. Until the fact is a fete-accompli, there is nothing even remotely inevitable about an Arab state within Israeli territory.
     
  8. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Many times and in many threads I am reminded of a quote from Dune which goes something like " whoever has the abilty to destroy something, controls it."
     
  9. Shazbot
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    I don't think that is possible. According to my limited understanding, the Palestinians will not be content with anything short of everything. They don't want to merely be an independant state alongside Israel. Rather, they want to be an independant state, in control of Jerusalem, with no Israel around. Thus, by giving the Palestinians their own state along certain boundaries, nothing will be accomplished except, perhaps, a very short-lived peace.

    -Douglas
     
  10. ajwps
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    Imagine if you will the divergent rival Islamic groups, albeit with the same ultimate goal, forming some form or basis for an independent Palestinian state inside the borders of Gaza and a connecting west bank.

    A country needs more than a goal to destroy it's neighbor's people. It needs normal services no longer provided for by the enemy State of Israel; electricity, garbage pickup, governing elected officials, telephone service, medical, hospital care and supplies, civil police forces and many other aspects as seen even in the surrounding Arab dictatorship states.

    The Palestinians (PLO and other terrorist groups) have demonstrated time and time again that all they are capable of is civil war and intergroup fighting and destruction of civil life. Even today they kill each other in numbers far exceeding the death from Israel's incursions into their terrorist enclaves. Example: When they were pushed out of Jordan and into Lebanon. In both countries they were able to do nothing but create destruction and murder of civilians.

    The history of the so-called Palestinians gives me great assurance that there will never be an inevitable independent Palestine in Israel or for that matter anywhere in the world.

    Bush and Sharon makes their plans for such a Palestinian state inside and along Israel. But if you attempt to create any statistical probablity of this coming to be, you would have a far greater chance of jumping over the moon.
     

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