Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Words from the Man of Peace
In several end of the year Israeli newspaper interviews, Ariel Sharon admitted that he had no plans to follow the road map and that Israel may move to kill or exile Yasir Arafat. In Ma'ariv, Sharon stated:
"We operated against Ahmed Yassin and Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi when we thought the time was suitable. On the matter of Arafat we'll operate in the same way, when we find the convenient and suitable time. One needs to find the time and to do what has to be done."In Yediot Ahronot, Sharon said that after "disengaging" from Gaza, there would probably be a "long period when nothing else happens." Of course by nothing else, Sharon means that nothing else productive will happen. Surely the settlement construction will continue, as will the construction of the wall, as will operations and incursions inside Palestinian cities and towns. Also from this interview, Sharon specifically denied those who hoped that the Gaza disengagement might fit somehow within the road map, in effect marking a first step toward removal of settlements and easing of the occupation of the West Bank.
"[Former Labor PM candidate Amram] Mitzna suggested something different, to start the Netzarim evacuation and to continue dismantling settlements, based on the road map," Mr Sharon said. "This would have brought Israel to a most difficult situation. I didn't agree to this. Today, we are also not following the road map. I am not ready for this."It is really quite frustrating to have a situation in the United States where nobody dares to say a word against Sharon, even in the face of such counterproductive (and frankly, when it comes to Arafat, inciteful) statements. Bush, of course, because he couldn't care less about resolving the situation. He's got his own problems in Iraq and probably doesn't feel too sorry for a few more dead Arabs. Kerry, of course, because he wants to "play it safe" in the run-up to the election. Also, the fact that everybody with half a brain knew that Sharon had no intention of ceding any parts of the West Bank means that Sharon is simply stating openly what many assumed to be true in the first place. The combination of all these things will mean hardly a blip in the American media, in American politics, or in America's approval ratings throughout the Arab and Muslim world.
Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian cabinet minister, said Mr Sharon's comments had confirmed Palestinian fears that the disengagement plan was a ploy to cement Israel's control over large areas of the West Bank.
"I think that those who saw the Gaza disengagement as an opportunity, because they counted that it would be part of the road map, should really understand that their good intentions are one thing and that Sharon's good intentions are another," Mr Erekat told the Associated Press.