WHICH SHARON? GAZA OR WYE?
By Emanuel A. Winston
In the 1970s Arik Sharon cleared the Muslim terrorists called fedayeen' out the Gaza area.
In 1973 over the objections of a fearful General Staff, Arik Sharon took his tanks over the Suez Canal and single-handedly surrounded Egypt's Third Army Corp. In hindsight all agreed, he saved Israel by creative daring and sound military tactics. His routing of the Egyptian third Army, forcing their surrender, is studied in American War Colleges to this day.
A little known fact of history demonstrates this. Arik Sharon was always a visionary whose prognoses were usually correct. After the 1967 Six Days War, Sharon was certain that the Egyptians would attack again which of course, they did on Yom Kippur in 1973. While Israel had control of all the Sinai Desert, Arik built footings to anchor a pontoon bridge for a probable Suez Canal crossing, and then covered them with sand. In 1973, Arik relocated those footings so that Gen. Israel Tal's rolling steel bridge could be quickly anchored allowing the IDF's tanks to cross into Egypt. (Tal was the creator and builder of the Merkava tank, the tank a Jewish mother could love.)
Arik of the Wye negotiations may win him an invitation to the White House but Arik of Gaza and Sinai is the strong, intelligent leader who the Israeli people must rely upon to save the nation. Barak had an open door to the White House as long as he offered the Arabs debilitating concessions. I have little doubt that, should Arik move to eliminate terror and NOT genuflect to the Washington Arabists in the American government, they will smear him as they did PM Yitzhak Shamir and earlier PM Menachem Begin.
Accommodating foreign interests by concessions designed to appease the Arab governments or Yassir Arafat just didn't and won't ever work. The more tangible assets that were gifted, the greater the expectations for even more gifts. The gifts were taken as a plea from a foe whose will to fight was collapsing. Therefore, more terrorism became the rule rather than the exception. Today Israelis are faced with a Palestinian Para-Military Force of up to 60,000 well-armed men in uniform plus at least 9 Secret Services in mufti. Oslo allowed only 24,000 lightly armed Police.
However, Arafat has illegally smuggled in major heavy weapons such as: Kalashnikov rifles, Katyusha rockets, antitank and antiaircraft missiles, night vision sniper rifles, explosives, bombs, and more. Some are visibly in use, although most are still hidden for Arafat's next War. They have proven themselves to be a deadly and growing threat who, together with the Israeli Arabs, act as a collaborating Fifth Column loyal to Arafat. This creates an impossible danger in the center of the country. During a hostile attack from outside the borders, they will effectively prevent mobilization of the reserves.
Barak's ignominious retreat from Lebanon, abandoning our Christian Lebanese allies of 18 years, was viewed as absolute proof that Israel was well on its way to collapse and its leader, PM/DM Barak really was like the woman of his now famous commando disguise. Never had the Israeli Army fled on orders of her Prime or Defense Minister, leaving behind tanks, artillery and tons of ammunition which, do doubt, will be used by the Syrian-backed Hezb'Allah against the cities of Israel's North. Would Arik have issued such orders to flee from the terrorist rabble? I don't think so.
Everyone is waiting to see if Sharon's soft approach to voters of the Center represents the Arik of Wye. I personally hope that, in the face of terrorism now grown into a War of Attrition activated over all Israel, that the Arik of Gaza will emerge. Yes, he will have to carry the burden of liberal cynics in Israel and the U.S. who will try to smear him - even as he saves their precious cowardly skins.
Yes, the Leftist Media will attack him, echoing the prompting of Peace Now in their ads petitioning the division to Jerusalem. (This is happening even now!)
Yes, the State Department will use their channels to the American Media to castigate Sharon for daring to save the Jewish nation because he may embarrass America's Arab friends by once again defeating them. Today's papers (Jan. 11, 2001) have already started the State Department's manipulated smear campaign.
But, Arik of Gaza and the Suez Canal has broad shoulders and he can carry the burden.
Clearly, after the failed experiments for peace called Oslo 1, Oslo 2, Hebron, Wye, Camp David 2 and Sharm, it is time to consider developing a cold peace. Israel should be in control of her own security, destiny and sovereignty. Concessions to the Arabs brought nothing except the murders of over 350 Israelis, including 14 Americans, with thousands more wounded, some maimed for life.
If anyone can, Arik Sharon can bring Israel a "Peace of Respect" by once again convincing the Arab world that Israel is too strong to defeat on the battlefield or through terror in her cities and on her roads.
Emanuel A. Winston is a Middle East Analyst & Commentator and a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.