5 Sivan 5759 May 20, 1999 Issue number 218
Barak Wins, Netanyahu Quits Likud Leadership
According to final, unofficial results of Monday's Prime Ministerial election, Ehud Barak received 55.9% of the vote, and Binyamin Netanyahu - 43.9%. The apportionment of Knesset seats to the various parties will apparently be as follows:
One Israel (Labor-Gesher-Meimad) - 27, Likud - 19, Shas - 17 ,
United Torah Judaism - 5, National Religious Party - 5
National Union - 3, Yisrael B'Aliyah (Natan Sharansky) - 7
Yisrael Beiteinu (Avigdor Lieberman) - 4, Centrist party - 6
Meretz - 9, Shinui (Tommy Lapid) - 6, Am Echad (Amir Peretz) - 2
Arab Democratic Party - 5, Hadash - 3,
National Democratic Alliance - Arab 2
The Tzomet and Third Way parties will not be represented in the 15th Knesset, and Penina Rosen bloom's party is close to receiving the minimum number of votes for Knesset representation. The final allocation of Knesset seats may change due to the votes from the hospitals, IDF soldiers, Police and Border Police, which will be tallied by Wednesday morning. In a dramatic and surprise move, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu conceded defeat to Ehud Barak only 30 minutes after the polling stations closed Monday night, following the television exit-poll results showing a wide-margin victory for Barak. Netanyahu also announced that he would resign from the leadership of the Likud party, although he will serve as a Member of Knesset. (Arutz 7 May 18)
Coalition Talks to Begin This Week
On Sunday, Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak and his colleagues will commence coalition negotiations. The Israeli political scene is rife with speculation as to whether Barak will prefer Shas or the Likud as his central coalition partner. Tuesday, Barak welcomed Shas leader Arye Deri's announcement that he will not serve in the upcoming Knesset, nor will he conduct any of the coalition negotiations. Barak added, however, that a situation in which Deri would conduct negotiations "behind the scenes" is unacceptable. Senior Labor party MKs are already publicly making a bid for ministry portfolios. MK Avraham Burg would like either the Education or Communications ministry; Oslo architect MK Yossi Beilin has his eyes set on being Foreign Minister; MK Shlomo Ben-Ami is bidding for the same job, but has indicated that he would be satisfied with the Finance Ministry; MK Chaim Ramon says that either the Finance or Justice Ministry would suit him. For his part, Barak has not yet made any clear promises regarding such appointments. (Arutz 7 May 19)
MKs Deri & Begin Resign from Knesset
MK and Shas Party leader Arye Deri resigned from the Knesset Tuesday night. Deri, who was convicted of bribery and is currently appealing the ruling, said that he will continue to serve as party chairman, but will limit his activity to the party's institutions and social projects. In a surprise move, National Unity Party leader Dr. Benny Begin has announced his resignation from both the Knesset and the party. Begin explained that he represents a specific approach which is a combination of two agendas: the territorial integrity of the Land of Israel, along with a liberal social platform including advancing the rights of the Arabs and other minorities. "Many of those who understand that one cannot divide between the right to security and the right to our land, are not partners with me in the second part of my platform - a liberal social agenda... I am a leader with no following. Thus I have decided to discontinue my service in the public realm." (Arutz 7 May 19)
US & Arabs Look Forward to Wye Implementation
U.S. President Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat discussed the Israeli election results on the phone Tuesday night. In the course of the conversation, Clinton promised an anxious Arafat that he would do everything in his power to bring about the implementation of the Wye River accords and further Israeli withdrawals. US Middle East Envoy Dennis Ross is expected to come to Israel in approximately two weeks, after Prime Minister-elect Barak forms his coalition, in order to discuss with Barak the American plans for an accelerated implementation of the Wye River agreements and launching the final-status talks. Meanwhile, the Arab world is deliberating on its next steps in light of the Israeli election results. The first meeting on the topic will be held in the near future between Syrian President Hafez Assad and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Damascus. The Palestinians plan to declare an independent Palestinian state by the end of 1999. So said Palestinian Authority secretary, Taib Abdal Rachem in the name of Yasser Arafat at the dedication ceremony of a Gaza school. Following a meeting of senior PA officials after the Israeli election results were announced, the PA released a statement which declared, "In the coming days we will be witness to the liberating of more land and the restoration of our rights." (Arutz 7 May 19)
Inside the Likud
Bids for the Likud leadership have begun. Senior Likud MKs and ministers have decided that outgoing Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon will be taking over temporarily, enabling the likely candidates for the permanent leadership to prepare their campaigns. Among the candidates are Finance Minister Meir Shetreet, who has already expressed his desire to compete and Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert. Centrist party founders Dan Meridor and Roni Milo may be "returning home" to the Likud in light of Netanyahu's resignation. In a conversation with reporters yesterday, Milo did not deny that he may consider this move, while Meridor has been in contact with Communications Minister Limor Livnat and Ehud Olmert to discuss the possibility. Yitzchak Mordechai's Centrist party captured only 6 seats in the elections, a disappointing figure considering the prediction of 12-15 seats several months ago. (Arutz 7 May 19)
Two Terrorists Cross Border
The IDF is still investigating how two terrorists succeeded in penetrating the Jordan Valley security fence last Wednesday. Only several hours after the two crossed the border did an army tracker identify signs of >penetration. In army searches conducted thereafter, it became apparent that the terrorists reached Tubas in northern Samaria, and from there travelled to Shechem. Descriptions provided by a local Bedouin man have led the IDF to suspect that the two Arabs are Iranian, and have come to assist Arab terror organizations in Judea and Samaria. (Arutz 7 May 19)
Barak to Be "Prime Minister for All"
"May G-d grant strength to His people, May G-d bless His people with peace." So did Ehud Barak conclude his first victory speech at 2:30 AM in the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv. This was followed by another speech before tens of thousands in Rabin Square. Flanked by Rabbi Yehuda Amital (Meimad), David Levy (Gesher), and Labor seniors, Barak said: "I respect the hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who chose not to vote for me, but from now on, we are all together, and we are all one nation. I intend to be the Prime Minister of everyone. We are all brothers, and brothers stay together!... " He listed his four "red lines" for an agreement with the Palestinians: A united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty; no return to the borders of 1967; most of the Yesha residents to remain under Israeli sovereignty; and no foreign army west of the Jordan River. He added that he would not be afraid to "make hard political decisions." Tuesday, Ehud Barak visited the Western Wall. From there he traveled to the gravesite of Yitzchak Rabin on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem. In a visit to Ofrah last year, Barak made the following remarks: "I live in Kochav Ya'ir, 50 meters from the Green Line. When I open my eyes in the morning and I look east, and I see the hills and the mountains, [I know that] this is Eretz Yisrael. We have no disagreement between us regarding our connection to the Land of Israel, to the places in which the Jewish nation arose and in which its spiritual identity was carved. I remember well who placed the rock underneath his head in Bet El, and what happened the night after... The argument between us is the political act - namely, what is the best way to guarantee the continued existence of the nation and its security. And I say that Beit El and Ofrah will be ours forever, but we have to be open-eyed enough to understand that Ramallah and Schechem will be the Palestinians' always [sic], and we have to ask ourselves how we solve this equation..." Yasser Arafat has welcomed the victory by Barak. Other PA figures said that there is no need to hurry and rejoice, and that "let's first see what Barak's policies will be." The Hamas terrorist organization said that it sees no difference between Barak and Netanyahu: "Both Labor and the Likud want to steal the Palestinians' land and their right to an independent state," said Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. (Arutz 7 May 18)
Prime Minister-elect Barak has still not given a hint as to what type of government he plans to form. Meretz and Shinui have said that they will not
participate in a government with Shas. The only two parties that appear to be certain partners at this point are Yisrael B'Aliyah (7 seats) and the Centrist party (6). This leaves Barak with three options:
An extreme left-wing government with Meretz, Shinui, the Arabs, and others;
A middle-of-the-road government with Shas, the NRP, and others;
A national-unity government with the Likud and others, which Likud seniors have already expressed a willingness to consider. Netanyahu's withdrawal from the Likud party leadership strengthens the likelihood of this option.
Likud cabinet ministers, together with outgoing Prime Minister Netanyahu, convened Tuesday to discuss and draw conclusions from Monday's crushing election defeat. Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon has been chosen to head the Likud in place of Netanyahu. Sharon is in favor of joining a Barak-led national-unity government, "in order to help impede the erosion in the negotiations with the Palestinians." Likud MK-elect Danny Naveh also supports the idea of joining a national-unity government, while MK-elect Yisrael Katz is opposed. Science Minister Silvan Shalom says that the Likud should join such a coalition only if Barak is prepared to arrive at guiding principles agreeable to both Labor and Likud. Labor dove MK Yossi Beilin hinted this morning that Barak would not include the Arab parties in his coalition, but would settle for their from-the-outside support . The Likud, Shas, and United Torah Judaism are considering forming a joint front for conducting national-unity government negotiations. The National Religious Party has already appointed a two-man committee to conduct such negotiations. None of the parties have yet been contacted by Ehud Barak. The National Religious Party will also convene for conclusion-drawing meetings early next week to discuss its drop from 9 to 5 seats. Party seniors blame it on the split caused by the break-away of MKs Porat and Hendel to the National Union party. Others, however, note that the National Union basically received the support of Moledet voters, and that most of the NRP's losses can be chalked up to the 'credit' of Shas. (Arutz 7 May 18)
Hizbullah Welcomes Barak with Katyushas
Six volleys of some 70 katyusha rockets fell in or near Kiryat Shemonah and in the western Galilee Monday night. Nine people have reportedly been wounded, and one of them is hospitalized. Significant property damage to at least four homes has also been reported. Commentators see this as Hizbullah's "welcome" to Barak, who had promised to withdraw Israeli troops from Lebanon "within a year." The residents of Kiryat Shemonah and the north were instructed to enter their bomb shelters in the middle of the night, and were able to leave only at 10:30 Tuesday morning. Schools were not opened. One resident said that the attack took both the residents and the army totally by surprise, as the shelters had not even been unlocked before the attack. An Israel army spokesman said today that the IDF "views with gravity" the Hizbullah's violations of its mutual understandings with Israel. IDF artillery pounded the sources of Hizbullah fire Tuesday morning. (Arutz 7 May 18)
The Yesha Council and Barak's Victory
Yesha Council chairman Pinchas Wallerstein has announced his resignation, explaining that he sees the Yesha Council itself as responsible for Netanyahu's defeat. Taking the diametrically opposed view, former Yesha Council head Yisrael Harel said that the Council's definitive support for Netanyahu - despite his compromises to the Palestinians - was both a political and ideological error. Secretary-General Aharon Domb said that the settlement enterprise in Yesha remains strong, despite the victory of the left. "Rallies and demonstrations will not be helpful at this point," he said. "Instead, we must begin a dialogue with Ehud Barak -and I also call upon Barak himself to make efforts in this direction." Election results showed that nearly 20% of Yesha residents voted for Ehud Barak. United Torah Judaism earned significant support in several religious settlements. In the Shomron community of Yitzhar, for example, nearly 40% of the residents voted for UTJ. (Arutz 7 May 18)
Reactions from the National Union Party
The failure of the National Union party to receive more than three seats in Monday's election was a grave disappointment for many Judea and Samaria residents. In Bet El, for instance, the list received 1,027 votes, compared to 352 for its nearest competitor, the National Religious Party.
In Ofrah, the National Union beat the NRP by a 420 to 237 margin. MK Rabbi Benny Elon, #5 on the National Union list of Knesset candidates said the following in his speech to party workers Monday night: "The people have chosen. We can't say that they are at fault, or that they are mistaken. It could simply be that they will be made to understand the hard way that which we were trying to explain to them... I'm not saying that we have nothing to learn politically - we made very bad mistakes, and received a ringing slap in the face from the voters. But we most not let the picture be distorted: Israel is in danger from the imminent creation of a neighboring state that wants to inherit our land. We do not believe in the illusion of a Palestinian state that wants to live with us in peace... We must be strong... I hope that Barak will not make the same terrible mistake made by the late Prime Minister Rabin, who formed a narrow left-wing government. Instead, I hope that if he goes for painful cutting measures, he should do them with most of the nation with him [in a national-unity government]." Another of the driving forces behind the merger of Moledet, Benny Begin's Herut, and Tekumah into the National Union list was Bet El Mayor Uri Ariel, who was placed #7 on the party's Knesset list. Regarding Ehud Barak's pledge that the majority of Jewish settlers - but not settlements - will remain under Israeli sovereignty, Ariel stated, "What he means to say is that he is in favor of the transfer of Jews from their homes in the Land of Israel. It is a very grave situation when an Israeli Prime Minister takes this position... As mayor of Bet El, I am confident that our community will put up a tenacious struggle against such an approach." Asked about the party's failure, Ariel listed several possible reasons: "Our very late entry into the elections, our perceived 'one-dimensionality,' and several internal errors that we made, which I need not discuss now." He rejected criticism that the party's members of the Land of Israel front in the Knesset were responsible for the fall of Netanyahu: "Pure nonsense. It was Netanyahu who can be blamed for the fall of Netanyahu. He made all the mistakes possible [during his tenure], as can be seen by the huge margin by which he lost. It pains me to think that Netanyahu was told by MKs of the National Religious Party before he left for Wye Plantation that no matter what he signs there, the right-wing will not topple him."
Yehoshua Mor-Yosef, political analyst and senior National Union advisor, told Arutz-7 Tuesday: "Residents of Judea and Samaria and nationalist-camp members should not feel that this was their personal ideological loss, as the issue in the campaign was never Eretz Yisrael. What happened was that Netanyahu wanted the main campaign issue to center around Arafat and who would stand up to him [Arafat] more strongly, as it was in '96, while Barak wanted it to be Bibi's personality. Barak won that round when the central issue in fact became Netanyahu himself, and this is what determined the results of the elections... The National Union, which was speaking about the Land of Israel and the dangers it faced, were speaking in a language that the public simply didn't understand." Mor-Yosef was also optimistic that Barak would not form a narrow left-wing government. "Chaim Ramon and Yossi Beilin [Labor seniors known for their left-wing positions] are not even sure if they'll be in the government. Barak has reasons to want to take the newly-crushed Likud under his arm, and he need not turn only to the extreme left-wing... His speeches last night were much more conciliatory than Rabin's post-victory speech [in 1992]. Barak talked about 'we' and 'us,' and offered an outstretched hand to the settlers, etc. This could be merely for appearances' sake, but he seems to have learned from the mistakes of the narrow governments of '92 and '96..." Mor-Yosef wished to answer those who say that the National Union erred in bringing down the Netanyahu government: "Let's not forget that [former Finance Minister] revealed that Netanyahu and Barak had reached an agreement on a national unity government a few months ago, which would have included a total withdrawal from the Golan up until the Sea of Galilee, and an unclear agreement on the small Yesha communities that likely would have left them under Palestinian rule. This was enough of a reason to topple him. Even if Barak forms a national unity government that will do the same, it will be better that he heads it and not Netanyahu." (Arutz 7 May 18)
Yisrael B'aliyah Comments
Minister of Absorption and Immigration Yuli Edelstein, #2 on the Yisrael B'Aliyah list, told Arutz-7 Tuesday that though his party preserved its seven Knesset seats, "I can't say that the current Knesset line-up fills my heart with joy. But, we are facing a new reality, and our job is to figure out how to turn it into a government that fairly represents the various elements of Israeli society. We said before the elections that we would negotiate with whichever candidate was elected, and that we would work for the widest government possible." Edelstein indicated that his party's joining Barak would depend on the formation of "a broad, stable coalition." Edelstein, a resident of Gush Etzion, implied that his party's seven seats could help guarantee that the coalition will not "dry up" settlements: "An acceptable set of formative principles for the government, and not offers of ministerial positions, will determine whether or not we join Barak." (Arutz 7 May 18)
For the first time in four months, Arabs backed by the Palestinian para-military police army stopped a truck bound for Netzarim filled with construction materials. In response, the IDF closed the Erez Checkpoint to trucks similarly bound for Arab areas. Two hours later, the Arabs released the Netzarim-bound truck. O.C. Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yom Tov Samiyeh said that he views the events gravely, and said that these and other measures will be taken whenever the Arabs prevent the passage of Israeli trucks. Arabs threw firebombs and stones at Jewish cars not far from Ramallah overnight. No injuries were reported. (Arutz 7 May 18)
Construction in Ma'aleh Hazeitim (Ras El Amoud) Begins
Dr. Irving L. Moskowitz announced Tuesday the next stage of construction at Ma'aleh Hazeitim, his 132-unit housing and community development project at Ras El Amoud, adjoining Jerusalem's Mt. of Olives burial ground. The philanthropist told Arutz-7 correspondent Yedidya Atlas that the 16-dunam (4-acre) development, on which ground was broken last October, will include a shopping center, synagogue, and kindergarten. He characterized Ma'aleh Hazeitim as "in complete harmony with the concept of an eternally united Jerusalem under exclusive Jewish sovereignty - an idea endorsed by all Jewish political parties as well as Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak... It completes the geographical contiguity of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem without in any way impinging on the civil or property rights of the city's Arab community." Moskowitz noted that all the legal requirements for the continuation of construction were met long ago. "Under the circumstances," he said, "we anticipate that the government, the Jerusalem municipality and the law enforcement authorities will exercise whatever efforts may be required to ensure the security of this project. We look forward to the full cooperation of all concerned." Peace Now has asked Ehud Barak to act to freeze all construction at the site at once. (Arutz 7 May 18)
Almost Half the World's Jewish Children Live in Israel
Forty-six percent of the world's Jewish children and young people up to age 25 live in Israel, according to demographic research carried out under the direction of Prof. Sergio DellaPergola of the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University. The research found that Israel's Jewish population of 4.8 million represents about 36% of the total world Jewish population of 13.1 million. In 1948, only 6% of the world's Jews were living in Israel, and in the early 1970s, the percentage had risen to 21%. Demographers agree that a majority of the world's Jews will soon be living in Israel. (Arutz 7 May 17)
Secret Barak-Bishara Deal Remains Undisclosed
A Supreme Court justice rejected the appeal by MK Michael Kleiner Monday regarding the secret deal made between Azmi Bishara and Ehud Barak. Kleiner asked the court to order the deal publicized. The court said that a three-judge forum will hear the case after the election. (Arutz 7 May 18)
Deri Pressed for Wye
In his book about Aryeh Deri, Yoel Nir relates that during the talks at Wye, the Americans noticed that whenever the talks got deadlocked, Netanyahu would become involved in long telephone calls. They understood only the word "Aryeh," and only later did they learn that during these conversations Deri had warned Netanyahu that if he came home without an agreement, he could forget about Shas. At that time, Deri had been conducting a series of long talks with Abu Mazen, and he had been passing on messages from him to Netanyahu. In Shas, they are counting on Ehud Barak following in the footsteps of his teacher and mentor, Yitzhak Rabin. They assume that after he wins the election, he will forget their support for Netanyahu. When he needs Deri to cut a deal with Arafat, he won't hesitate to make use of him (IMRA/Ha'aretz May 12)
Straight to the Chase By: Aaron Lerner
The only way Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak can effectively pursue the peace process while maintaining the national unity we so desperately need is by jumping now to truly final-status talks. This is a move that friends of peace everywhere should encourage, rather than undermine.
Let's get one thing clear: Contrary to Shimon Peres's gloating, Monday's elections do not signify an endorsement of his leftist ideology, but rather disgust with Netanyahu's performance. Only the pathologically blind can really believe that when the likes of Benny Begin vote for Barak they have joined the Peres camp.
The votes for Lapid's Shinui Party were against the haredim - not the Hermon. The vote for Amir Peretz was for paychecks - not Palestine. And the Central Party does not deny that the votes they received came from ex-Likudniks who would never vote Left.
The country remains very much divided over Oslo. Some two weeks before the election, the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace research survey of adult Israeli Jews found only 48.7% favoring the Oslo Accords. And while Peres and others will claim that Monday's vote is a mandate to leave the Golan, only 27.7% support full withdrawal from the Golan in exchange for a full peace treaty between Israel and Syria.
Truly final-status talks are talks that cover all the issues, leaving nothing open - be it Jerusalem or refugees or any other thorny issue - to shatter an agreement in the future.
These are negotiations for an agreement that is not just another "stage" in a program of stages whose "final stage" in much of the Palestinians' rhetoric is a Middle East without a Jewish state.
Unfortunately, Barak now faces pressure, from many of the same people who supported his election, both here and in the White House, to fritter away his public support on painful and dangerous interim activities. Activities that, if the final-status talks fail, would leave Israel in a far worse position on the ground than it is today.
Here is the puzzle: It is a tenet of faith of these same interim-withdrawal supporters that the only obstacle to a truly permanent agreement was Netanyahu's obstinacy. With Barak at the table what can be gained by wasting time - and national unity - on interim activity? After all, whatever interim steps not implemented to date can readily be incorporated into the final deal.
Barak's reaction to this pressure will ultimately determine if he is leading us to the true, secure peace the nation yearns for or, instead, down the amorphous path of concessions followed by both previous administrations.
While in the case of the PLO, Barak is being pressed to "withdraw first, negotiate later," on the Syrian front he must deal with those who seek not peace for generations, but a deal for the hour.
They will seek security based on technological "solutions" doomed to obsolescence; reliance on the goodwill of neighboring governments with unpredictable futures and would pin Israel's very survival on the guarantees of foreign governments whose future desire or ability to deliver on those guarantees can't necessarily be counted on.
No one questions Barak's intellect. The question is whether, in trying to "square the circle" he will succumb to the temptation to sacrifice intellectual honesty for short-term achievements - the photo opportunities that the Jewish state has been served up during its last two governments. For all of our sakes, I hope not.
If Barak succeeds in cutting a truly comprehensive peace deal with Yasser Arafat or Hafez Assad, then his success will be a blessing for all of us, regardless of our political stripe.
On the other hand, if after making a good-faith effort, Barak finds that Arafat's demands in the final-status talks are not acceptable or that truly workable arrangements cannot be reached with Assad, he can rest assured that the overwhelming majority of the Israeli public will accept Barak's decision to reject them. This is an advantage that Barak enjoys over Netanyahu and any alternative from the national camp. Besides endorsing the jump to the final-status talks, the Clinton administration can promote peace via a series of confidence-building measures to help Barak face the difficult challenges ahead.
These include: agreeing to Israel's use of its own ELTA radar in the pending jet deal; finalizing the remaining funding to bring the Nautilus anti-Katyusha laser defense system on-line promptly (and providing the laser control codes so that its range can be extended beyond Katyushas); and putting the unfortunate Pollard episode behind us.
Ultimately, the choice of path is Barak's alone. But his choices, possibly more than any made by a prime minister since the days of Ben-Gurion, will determine Israel's destiny. (Jerusalem Post May 19)
During the Israeli election campaign now nearing decision time, the leader who showed the most political daring and skill, vastly outclassed his opponents in collecting international support and gave his followers his clear vision of the Israel-Palestine future has been Yasir Arafat.
Repeatedly he has told Palestinians that whoever is elected Israel's prime minister and whatever "final settlement" may be signed between Israelis and Palestinians, not to worry -- it will not be final at all, and neither is Oslo or any other agreement that helped create the Palestinian state. He outlined a new strategy in the old Palestinian plan for dealing with Israel by slicing at its territory and strength, phase by phase.
The top two Israelis running for prime minister did almost nothing to raise an alert to their country. They had a terrific excuse -- alerts might hurt their campaigns.
Mr. Arafat's renewed message to Palestinians is that their goal remains to push Israel back at least to the land the Jews held before Israel became a state. Israel would be amputated to indefensibility with the loss of at least three cities, militarily critical roads, water supplies, chunks of the Galilee and the Negev desert the Jews so enriched, and without legal control of any part of Jerusalem.
It is an unconcealed variation of the 1974 Palestinian phase plan --reduce Israel to impotence by a succession of interlocked diplomatic and military stages so that one day the final settlement could be Israel's defeat or dessication of its national will.
The Arafat path to that end is now the 1947 partition resolution (No. 181) of the U.N. General Assembly. It was rejected by the Arabs, who began the half-century war against Israel. They lost territory to Israelis that the Jews claimed but were willing to give up then, to create Israel. Now Mr. Arafat wants it all back. That would suffocate Israel's security viability -- as a starting point.
Mr. Arafat got a formal statement from the entire European Union that no part of Jerusalem was legally under Israeli control. The U.N. Human Rights Commission, as it is called, went further: All Israeli-Palestinian negotiations must be based on the lethal 181.
From the U.S. came no rebuke of Mr. Arafat for returning to 1947. Why should Washington take him on when the incumbent Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud, and Ehud Barak of Labor did nothing to denounce the new Arafat line except say a few private words to foreign diplomats that they really did not agree with his logic.
Almost all the Israeli and American press matched them in aloofness. I get my documentation mostly by phone and fax -- from furious Israeli insiders, and monitoring organizations like the Middle East Media and Research Institute, which is hugely valuable for translations of Arab-language material (www.memri.org).
I asked Labor people close to Mr. Barak: Was he silent because he did not want to remind Israelis that Labor had promised that a recognized Palestine would abandon any more claims to Israeli land? Good thinking, I was told.
I asked Likud people close to Mr. Netanyahu: Was he so silent because his campaign was fouled up by focus on political personalities, where he is not a dream boy, instead of the survival issues where he is strong in public acceptance? Good thinking, I was told.
What is Mr. Arafat up to? He certainly does not think Mr. Barak or Mr. Netanyahu would sacrifice Israel to the dead 1947 partition plan.
He is up to convincing Palestinians that in the end all will be theirs. He knows Israel is strong enough militarily to fend off another Arab attack . But it is reasonable for him to hope that one day that will change -- say when Iraqi and Iranian nuclear weapons power coincide with a hostile U.S. Presidency.
Then the U.N. may decide that the Arab League is a regional defense group just like NATO, which attacked before being attacked.
The most important duty for Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Barak before and after the election outcome is to inform Mr. Arafat, publicly, that unless he immediately renounces his dangerous switch from Oslo to 181, Israel will no longer honor the concessions it made to create the Palestine over which he now presides. He will keep dreaming, but not for a while. (The New York Times May 14)
While they have many positive traits and interests in common, Israel and the US also share a highly undesirable characteristic: Vulnerability to attack by missiles that can carry weapons of mass destruction.
Increasingly, enemies of Israel and the US are acquiring the ability to attack our countries with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, delivered by ballistic missiles. In just the past year, we have witnessed the testing of ever-more-capable missiles by North Korea and Iran. Other states, such as India and Pakistan, are also working on such systems.
These ballistic missile development programs and others around the world, moreover, are benefitting from technical help and other assistance from Russia and China.
So serious is the menace posed by hostile ballistic missiles that the Clinton administration - which until recently maintained that it would be at least 15 years before a rogue state could acquire the missile technology needed to reach the continental US - has now acknowledged that the danger is more imminent and there is a need for the US to respond by deploying at least a limited national anti-missile defense.
Regrettably, rogue-state missile threats are maturing much more rapidly than defenses against them are being developed and deployed. And this gap between threat and defense is growing.
The good news is that, with help from the US, Israel is well on the way to deploying its Arrow missile defense system. The Arrow has demonstrated an impressive ability to intercept simulated attacking warheads.
As good as the Arrow is, however, it is not a complete answer to Israel's missile defense needs. The Arrow will provide one important layer of defense, but multiple layers are needed to secure oneself against the range of relevant threats. So, even after the Arrow's deployment, Israel will remain at risk of missile attack.
For its part, the US has no defense whatsoever against long-range missile attack and present plans will not provide one for a decade or so.
Both the American and Israeli peoples have an interest in prompt development by the US of effective, world-wide missile defenses. Ideally, this would be accomplished by creating "multi-layered" defenses - involving systems capable of intercepting missiles during boost, mid-course and terminal phases.
Israel and the US should work jointly and separately to deploy effective anti-missile systems as quickly as possible that can work together - "synergistically" - with the Arrow. This would protect the Jewish state and could also begin defending American territory and US troops overseas.
For example, Israel and the US are both developing boost-phase intercept concepts. The US Navy is currently pursuing modifications to its fleet of AGEIS fleet air defense ships that could permit them to attack incoming missiles at various stages along their ballistic trajectory.
And the US Army's Theater High Altitude Defense System (THAAD) will be able to enhance terminal defense capabilities.
Even before last summer's Iranian and North Korean missile tests, we were convinced that anything either of our countries could do to accelerate the development of missile defense technologies would benefit both nations. Toward that end, in May 1998, we agreed to initiate the US-Israeli Inter-parliamentary Commission on National Security.
As it happened, the commission's first and highly productive meeting occurred in the US last September, just weeks after Iran's launch of its Shihab-3 ballistic missile and North Korea's test of the Taepo Dong 1 missile.
The commission's work helped encourage Congress to include nearly an additional $1 billion for missile defense in last year's omnibus supplemental appropriation bill. More recently, the House and Senate have each approved bipartisan legislation that would make it US government policy to deploy effective national missile defenses.
What must be done now is for both countries to intensify their efforts to bring effective and mutually beneficial anti-missile systems to fruition by assigning their development and deployment still higher priority and translating that priority into action.
The Inter-parliamentary Commission, which has plans to meet in Israel this summer, looks forward to continuing to play a catalytic role in achieving these changes for the protection of the US and Israel and for the promotion of international security generally. (Jerusalem Post May 18)
The writers are, respectively, a US senator from Arizona, and an MK who chairs the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.