Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of January 28, 2001

AM I REALLY GOING
TO VOTE FOR SHARON?

By David Margolis

Not happily, not comfortably, but in a word, yes, I am going to vote for Ariel Sharon. I know about Sabra and Shatilla, but Ehud Barak has so completely betrayed the hopeful vote I cast for him in 1999 that by now even most of my ambivalence is gone, replaced by an urgency to oust Barak and his clique of professional delusionaries.

Barak's only two successes during his year-and-a-half in office are an inversion of his mistakes. With his violations of principle, he has rekindled Zionist fervor, unifying Right, Center and parts of the Left against him. With his concessions, he has exposed the Palestinians' nasty secret: that they will not make peace even if we divide Jerusalem, give them three-quarters of the Old City, and surrender the Temple Mount, the Jordan Valley and control of the border crossings.

This is very good for us to know.

The Palestinians' design has become so clear, in fact, that only a child or an academic could fail to see it. Their leaders string us along, making concessions from one round of negotiations the starting point for the next round. Their idea of peace is our suicide - the "peace of the grave," with three million Palestinian refugees dancing on it. They boldly deny any Jewish historical connection to the Land of Israel and destroy Jewish historical and religious sites that come into their possession. We're dealing, in short, with barbarians.

This, too, is good for us to know.

Meanwhile, our own leadership continues to impersonate the Wise Men of Chelm. Every day something new strains one's credulity. While the Palestinians shoot and bomb, the government continues to funnel money to the PA and to fatten Arafat's private bank account in Tel Aviv. Shimon Peres counsels Arafat to help reelect a sympathetic government by reducing the violence until the elections - after which, presumably, Arafat would have permission to increase the violence again.

Another government minister, Matan Vilna'i, opines that negotiations should stop in response to terror by the PA, but denies that violence by the Tanzim, Arafat's Fatah militia, is in that category - even while Israel's security services blame the PA itself for approximately 80 percent of attacks since September.

In 1999, Barak was a security-conscious general skeptical of the Oslo Accords who would cautiously pursue a treaty with the Palestinians. His eloquence about the Jewish connection to Jerusalem made him seem trustworthy to act resolutely, from deeply Jewish motives, in a time of difficult compromises.

"Only those who are completely removed from any connection with their historical legacy and who are estranged from the vision of the nation - from its faith and from the hope it has cherished for generations - only persons in that category could possibly entertain the thought that the State of Israel would actually concede even a part of Jerusalem."

It was all an act, a lie - just like Arafat's handshake on the White House lawn, just like the "peace of the brave."

So, yes, I'm going to vote for Sharon, even if he is a bully overly confident in military solutions who should have disappeared from public life after the Lebanon War. I don't think he'll last long as prime minister - we'll have elections again soon - and that's fine with me. I need Sharon only long enough to reduce Barak to a historical footnote, with his capitulations to our insatiable Palestinian neighbors, reversing Israel's transformation into a defeated nation suing for peace on terms that shame us.

Anyway, maybe a bully is just what we need to cope with the bully Arafat.

Perhaps, instead of being coddled and spoken to earnestly, the Palestinians, like wayward children, need to be slapped - hard - once or twice to bring them to their senses.

And if they cannot be brought to their senses, that too is good for us to know.

Barak's greatest failure is that he has brought Israel to the point where it needs Ariel Sharon. But he has, it does, and that's how I'll cast my vote.

(c) Jerusalem Post 2001



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