IMRA'S WEEKLY COMMENTARY ON ISRAEL NATIONAL RADIO - 28 June 2001
Aaron Lerner Date: 28 June 2001
#1 America's Confidence BREAKING MeasuresFrom Bush's photo session ambush to Powell's surprise announcements in Ramallah, Israel has been witness to a series of confidence BREAKING measures.
I am glad that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon went to Washington this week. Anything less and he could always make excuses that the problem was the messenger and not the message.
And the message from the Bush Administration is clear: "sacrifices for PR" simply does not work.
Let's consider how we are being "rewarded" for "sacrifices for PR":+ The Bush administration is pressing for the setting of a "realistic" level of acceptable Palestinian violence. The question is not IF the Palestinians can continue murdering Israelis - just how many they can murder a week - or how many TIMES they can try to murder Israelis a week. Jew hunting season will continue indefinitely.No. "Sacrifices for PR" does not work. And as each day passes it will be that much harder to pull out of the Tennet/Mitchell/Oslo vortex that will ultimately lead to war AFTER an Israeli surrender at the negotiating table puts us at an even weaker opening position than we have today.
+ Without ADVANCE warning to Israel, Secretary of State Powell called for the presence of observers. And let's not kid ourselves, observers will only serve Palestinian interests by providing cover for Palestinian forces and papering over Palestinian violations. It is the height of chutzpah for Powell, whose own State Department adamantly REFUSED to EVER state that the Palestinians have made even ONE violation of Oslo to suggest that Israel put its trust - and future - in the hands of so-called "independent" observers.
+ Powell's call for a "calendar timeline so we don't get stuck" in trying to move forward with the Mitchell plan is a CLEAR message to Arafat that once the "Mitchell train" pulls out of the station he will enjoy a free ride since WHATEVER he does or does not do, the time will pass and Israel will be pressed to meet the schedule REGARDLESS.
+ Powell and Bush continue to refer to the "cycle of violence" as if there is a symmetry between the deaths of suicide bombers, attacking Palestinian security forces and Palestinian civilians hit in cross-fire and Israelis targeted for murder. That Bush and Powell refer to the "cycle of violence" is also the strongest proof that Israel has gained ABSOLUTELY NOTHING from the policy of not returning fire.
+ The Bush Administration has remained SILENT in the face of Palestinian official demands that Israel release EVERYONE it currently holds. And they mean EVERYONE. Here we have Arafat's apologists claiming that there are all kinds of forces that are not under his control, yet Arafat insists that Israel release ALL the terrorists it has captured from those very same "uncontrollable" groups. How can anyone in his right mind HONESTLY say that Arafat is serious about stopping the violence when he wants Israel to free these "uncontrollable" terrorists? Arafat just made a PR move by calling for the arrest of the terrorists who just murdered an Israeli woman - yet Arafat demands that if Israel captures them that Israel RELEASES THESE SAME TERRORISTS!!
#2 Peres the undermineTime and again it has been asserted that Israel's information campaign in the world is failing because of technical problems. Problems that might be solved, for example, if someone wrote a nice fat check to an American public relations firm. But the WAY the message is packaged or delivered is not the problem. The problem is the message.
Today's Peres-Powell meeting is a classic example of Foreign Minister Shimon Peres doing his absolute best to undermine Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's efforts to actually require the Palestinians to stop murdering Israelis.
A reporter asks FM Peres "is it your view that we've already had three or four days of almost complete calm" - this when EACH day there have been many attacks both in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. FM Peres is SILENT. His silence constitutes acceptance of the notion that this level of violence - a level that less than 12 months ago would warrant continuous media coverage - qualifies as "almost complete calm".
FM Peres starts by talking about "effort" rather than PM Sharon's "results".
FM Peres then goes the next step, with his "do list" for Arafat:+ Issue orders (the test being how well they are written, not how they are implemented.Then, just for added measure, he raises the possibility that he will meet with Arafat over the weekend.
+ Call to arrest people who carry a potential of explosives or bombs or shooting ("call" - not really implement).
+ Cessation of the incitement (stop the talking - not the actual violence)
All of the above happens after Peres already said on television yesterday that a way would be found to "bridge" between Sharon's call for "results" rather than "efforts".
What "message" would a multi-million dollar PR campaign push? Sharon's or Peres'?
Time and again PM Sharon has told his supporters that his partnership with Peres plays a vital role in the success of his efforts. And time and again FM Peres does his very best to UNDERMINE Sharon's efforts.
#3 Time for a re-evaluationPrime Minister Sharon now faces his ultimate test: He KNOWS that "sacrifices for PR" has failed. He KNOWS that FM Peres is undermining him. The Arik Sharon I looked up to as a hero in the Yom Kippur War was the man of action who looked at a most disheartening reality and rose to the occasion - leading Israel to victory.
I hope and pray that Ariel Sharon can do the same today.
©2001 - IMRA