TAKE (ONLY) A MOMENT'S REST
By Emanuel A. Winston
Middle East analyst & commentator
Stop for a moment, say a prayer of thanks and take a rest - but, not too long. Don't be mislead by Sharon's statement that he accepts the judgement of his Likud Party or those who worked to defeat his planned Gaza retreat.
You have already heard from his mouthpiece, Ehud Olmert, that the plan to evict 8,000 men, women and children will proceed. You have also heard from the head of the Shinui Party, Joseph (Tomy) Lapid. He said something to the effect that, those who voted against 'withdrawal' are 'only' a small part of the people.
Perhaps Lapid forgot that Oslo was pushed through by only one vote, with only a handful of Labor Leftists led by Rabin, Peres and Beilin. At least, this referendum was out in the open unlike the conspiratorial Oslo which was planned in secret with the assistance of the Norwegians. Take a rest - but remember - when Sharon acts humble he may be planning his meanest acts. Like the Oslo gang, the Sharon gang of Olmert, Dov Weissglass and his son Omri also engaged in secret plans with the Colin Powell, the U.S. Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice, National Security Advisor - all with the approval of President George W. Bush - to give the President a pre-election boost with the Jews in the South and East of Israel paying the ultimate price.
Sharon's next moves will be to attack those of his party and even his Cabinet for not obeying his "commandments". He will likely replace them with either conventional party hacks or select those who are known to be Left leaning. In this, he will likely collaborate with Shimon Peres so the Labor Party can undercut the landslide referendum decision by Likud, Sharon's own Party.
Frankly, Sharon is very much like several party switchers of the past whose loyalty was only to themselves, namely Ezer Weizman, Moshe Dayan and Sharon, himself. All would and did switch ideologies if it temporarily benefitted their status in government. However, when weighed in the balance, all three were Left to radical Left in their characters.
Sharon is obdurately set on pulling in Israel's borders, both in the South and the East. His retreat from Gaza was only one indicator. His dividing wall is another indicator of where everything east of that Wall/Border/Fence will eventually be relinquished to the mix of Arab Muslims Palestinians.
Part of Sharon's plan was taken from the early Rabin/Peres plans of the early 1980s. I frequently wrote about their intentions extensively but few believed that such men would betray their fellow Jews and place them in jeopardy or in harm's way.
The game plan then was to put extensive pressure on all the Jewish citizens east of the so-called green line to force them out. Besides cutting back on their municipal services (water, electricity, sewage treatment, roads, security, funding for individual and community buildings) the plan called for actually allowing only minimal armament for the settlers in YESHA (Yehuda, Shomron and Gaza).
The regular army of the IDF was to be withdrawn. There would be no patrols, no checkpoints so that the Jews driving the roads would be left to the vicious actions of Arafat's shock troops. Presumably under that Plan, the Palestinians would drive the last of the settlers out.
Now, we wait to see if Sharon, through his Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, starts to withdraw troops from Gaza, Judea and Samaria. It will be done slowly, allowing the pressure to increase incrementally. There would be fewer responses to road-side shootings (as just happened to Talia Hatuel, who was 8 months pregnant and her four daughters, aged 11 to 2.) Sharon's retaliation hit a radio station and some empty buildings - only. There would be less reaction to mortar, missile or RPG (Rapid-Propelled Grenade) bombings and terror attacks within the settlements.
Even today, the most stalwart of defenders in the YESHA communities believe that the bare 15 minutes worth of ammunition they have on hand is insufficient because within 15 minutes, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will be there to defend them. Not if the Arab Muslims within the newly created Palestinians 'entity' collectively attack. If Egypt, Syria and/or Jordan are making aggressive moves, the IDF will have to defend Israel's external borders. Then the settlers, men and women, will be on their own and too many of them are NOT prepared, mentally, emotionally or physically with sufficient equipment.
On the political level, Sharon, joined at the hip with Peres, will repeat the Rabin/Peres psychological policy of building resentment among the Jews who live along the coast in Tel Aviv, Haifa, etc. In coordination with the Leftist Media (Ma'ariv, Ha'aretz, Yediot Aharonot and the TV news channels, they will cast each terror attack in Israeli cities as the result and, therefore, the fault of the settlers NOT giving up their homes, farms, factories, land, etc.
There will be every effort by the party hacks of Labor, Likud and Shinui to encourage hatred against the Jews of YESHA. The theme will go something like this: "If only the Jews of Gaza and the rest of YESHA would evacuate so a Palestinian State could be formed, we have 'assurances' from the Arabs and from America that the Arab Muslims will cease terror."
Also, if the Arabs have another Arab Muslim Palestinian State, they will promise not demand the entry of 3-5 million descendants of the 450,000 Arabs who left Israel in 1948. Sharon, Peres, Olmert will also offer assurances that the Wall will guarantee safety and the Arab Muslim Palestinian "refugees" will not pile up against the Wall/Fence in a long and massive teeming refugee camp. Those assurances of peace and no terror will also come from Arafat, Saeb Erekat and perhaps even Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Tanzim, Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades.
In the meantime, Sharon and his gang will work the Knesset with threats, bribes and whatever it takes to override their defeat in the referendum.
First, recognize that those close to the Terror and who know it intimately voted NOT to bring the Terror even closer. The Terrorists, across their entire spectrum, have plainly stated that, as long as the Jewish State exists, they will attack the State and individuals, including as they did on Sunday, pregnant women and little children. Why, other than the personal interests of these two men, Sharon and Bush, believe that appeasing dedicated Islamic "Jihadists" will bring any kind of peace?
Bush is learning in Iraq that appeasing the Iraqi people has brought nothing but excessive death to American troops. Why then does he believe he can get even one day of peace from Arafat, all the Arab Muslim Palestinians linked to Hamas, Hezb'Allah, Al Qaeda, etc. who are further linked to Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc. (remember the nineteen 9/11 hijacker/suicide bombers were 15 Saudis and 4 Egyptians)?
The simple fact to remember is that, the Arab Muslims will NOT give the West even one day of peace. Sharon and Bush know this beyond question. Why are they ready to sacrifice the Jewish people for their petty, political needs is something the historians will argue about long after these two men have gone.
So...What to do??
1. Anticipate all of the above and more.
2. Don't rely on Sharon's assurances but re-double your efforts to bring your case directly to the people.
3. Pull together politically and, if necessary, start the process of framing out a new party from the disenchanted Likud members. (Become a political power to be reckoned with.)
4. Anticipate the collusion of Sharon and Peres. Anticipate the most dirty and scurrilous tricks and, even then, you may likely fall short of the tricks they may invent.
5. Work the Knesset and let them know their seats will disappear in the next election IF they betray any of the Jews outside of Sharon's Wall/Border/Fence.
6. Don't trust or believe promises made by other nations. As Bismark said: "Nations do not have friends, only interests!"
7. Watch for collusion between the State Department, Sharon, Peres and the Beilin Geneva cabal. Think about how they would set in motion their collective dirty tricks department.
We have already observed Dennis Ross, formerly of the U.S. State Department and Ambassador to Israel - now on TV - offering suggestions on how to overcome the impact of Sharon's failed referendum. Some may recall that Ross, along with Daniel Kurtzer (current U.S. Ambassador to Israel) and Aaron Miller were often referred to as James Baker's Jew Boys. Listening to Ross on FOX NEWS with Brit Hume (1), I clearly heard the State Department setting in motion a campaign to insure that Sharon tramples the Jews in Gaza and all those who defy Sharon and Bush on their march to "ethnically cleanse" Gaza, Judea and Samaria of Jews. When you see Baker's Boys acting as point men, be assured that the State Department is close by and manipulating their former employees.
I would guess that the U.S. State Department with the approval of President Bush, will come up with some sort of seemingly unrelated penalty, which will be used as a bargaining lever to force the Gaza Retreat/Road Map back into motion.
There will probably be other tricks but, if you know they are coming, you (all) will be on the alert for the smell.
So, take a brief rest and then re-double your efforts for Sharon's next push. Don't believe the excuses by Sharon's strategists that "the settlers had millions of dollars to spend and that's why we lost". It seems that the most effective campaign strategy was when the actual residents of Gush Katif volunteered their time to visit with the potential voters and tell them the facts. When the issue had a 'face' and the real story, the propaganda lost and the people won.
1. "SPECIAL REPORT with Brit Hume" on FOX NEWS May 3, 2004 5 PM EST
Emanuel A. Winston is a member of the Board of Directors and a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.