Upping the Stakes in Israel

Paul Flewers hatchet.job at virgin.net
Sat Dec 8 11:29:05 MST 2001

I've been thinking over recent events in Israel, and have come to some
conclusions. For some time, the Israeli authorities have been carrying out a
multi-dimension campaign against the Palestinians -- general harassment of
the population (obstruction of movement, destruction of houses, etc),
widespread shootings of demonstrators, assassination of prominent militants,
a scorched-earth policy against the Palestinians' economic infrastructure
(destroying olive groves, wells, farms, etc) -- whilst expanding the
Israeli-controlled areas through building more settlements. Arafat's
political authority is being undermined by Sharon's insistance that he
arrests Islamic militants and by Israeli military action against him.
Although this will reinforce the position of the Islamic groups, and thereby
increase the chances of bombings in Jewish areas, this, I believe, is part
of Sharon's plans as a risk worth taking.

In the aftermath of the events of 11 September, and particularly with the
USA's promulgation of the 'war against terrorism', Sharon can intensify his
policies -- and has done so -- in the knowledge that Palestinian resistance
can be branded as 'terrorism' and will thus be crushed mercilessly.

If Arafat is demolished or even severely discredited, the political
leadership of the Palestinians will fall into the hands of the Islamic
militants. With their predilection for suicide bombings that do little more
than kill inoffensive Israeli citizens, tactics that play into Sharon's
hands, the Palestinians are likely to become branded as a 'terrorist
nation', and will face the consequences that other people labelled as
pariahs have faced. Having finished off Arafat, the Israeli authorities will
then turn on the Islamic groups, leaving the Palestinians without a
political leadership. I believe that Sharon and the Israeli right want to
deal a stunning blow to the Palestinians, one that will so heavily defeat
and demoralise them that they will be unable to fight back effectively , and
can then be pushed into ghettos or even out of Israel itself. A 'final
solution' to the Palestinian question, in other words. If they are
successfully portrayed as a 'terrorist nation', Sharon will get away with
this; after all, who complained when 200 000 Serbs -- who were also
portrayed as a nation as pariahs -- were expelled from the Krajina, and 200
000 non-Albanians, mainly Serbs, were expelled from Kosovo?

Paul F

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