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[Olam Habah News] After considering the results of the recent Fatah primaries, Mahmoud Abbas has decided to join the Kadima party. A top aid to Abbas confirmed that Abbas would announce his decision later this week.
Abbas is reported to have said "They took my party from me. Barghouti and the other outsiders took over. It is not my home any more. "
Only last week, Abbas circulated a letter to Fatah faithful asking them to remain with the party, "The Fatah is my home. One doesn't leave home," wrote Abbas.
Now however, he says that the Barghoutis have taken over the party. "Sharon is the best hope for peace. If Sharon is elected I will sleep soundly," said Abbas. "Sharon is building the wall, which is the best way for reconciliation between peoples," said Abbas. "I had my doubts, even after Hosni Mubarak endorsed Sharon, but after I read that Gershon Baskin, a veteran dialog leader, supports Sharon, I was convinced."
Writing in Bitterlemons, and syndicated to the Beirut Daily Star, Professor Baskin used his influential voice in the world of peacemaking to throw his support to Sharon:
Abbas's brother compared Barghouti to Franco.
Abbas will reportedly be given the ministry of petroleum exploration, and will share an office with Shimon Peres, who will be in charge of peace negotiations. Neither one is expected to have much work.
Ariel Sharon said he was glad of support from any quarter. "Platform shmatform," said Sharon. "What difference does ideology make? After this election we will change the system and all that sort of thing won't matter any more." He explained, "Kadima doesn't care about your political views. You can support bombing the Palestinians back to the stone age like Shaul Mofaz, or diplomacy like Peres, or peace moves like Dalia Itzik, or dialog like Gershon Baskin of IPCRI. You can be for social legislation like Meir Shitrit or against it like Uriel Reichman. What difference does it make? As long as you vote for me, it is OK. Provided of course, you are not a police investigator. Those people are not welcome here."
Peres meanwhile is incognito. According to reports he has changed his name to Yehudah (Judas), and moved to the Krayoth (Cariot).
Rumors that Bashar Assad is joining the Kadima party could neither be confirmed or denied. Assad is reported to have said, "Sharon is known to be an enemy of the UN. The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Assad is reportedly attracted to the Kadima party because like Assad, most of the leaders of Kadima have pending police investigations against them.
Well OK, it didn't happen yet, but outside of real diehards and religious fanatics of all stripes, Assad and Abbas are about the only people in the Middle East who did not join the Kadima party yet or express support for Sharon. Incredible as it may seem, Gershon Baskin really did throw his support to Sharon. He really did write: I do it with a deep belief that my vote will produce the results I wish for.
What results do you wish for, or rather, for what results do you wish, Professor Baskin? (Sharon tastes lousy. Like a politician had oughta.) Do you wish for (yet another) postponement of safe passage from Gaza to the West Bank? You will get it. Do you wish for more checkpoints and targeted assassinations? You will get them. Do you wish for more money to be spent on settlements? You will get it. Do you want the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer? Surely you will get that too. The Sharon genie will grant you all your wishes, if only you let him stay out of the bottle. After all, didn't he deliver until now? A report issued today, documents what we already know: in Israel, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. As long as Sharon is in power, nothing's surer.
Professor Baskin did not content himself with supporting Sharon, but called on other "Peaceniks" to desert to the Kadima party:
Professor Baskin is only the latest and least turncoat. Kadima has attracted so many deserters and refugees from other parties that it is asking them to lay low.Shimon Peres and Dalia Itzik have to keep quiet about their leftist opinions. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, defected from the Likud to Kadima immediately after circulating a letter to Likud members saying "The Likud is home. One doesn't leave home." Every time he tries to explain this defection, it sounds more and more like a satire of an Israeli politician. The dovish Ha'aretz newspaper, loath to say good things about Sharon, has instead been dumping steadily on Peretz. Peace advocate Akiva Eldar joined the fray by disseminating rumors about Labor insiders' dissatisfaction with Peretz.
The Sharon-Kadima tidal wave defies all logic. An outsider might think it is a fad or perhaps a plague caused by a hidden virus that is sweeping Israel. Right now the polls forecast an easy victory for Sharon - 40 to 44 mandates, perhaps more.
Peretz's critics cite his inexperience. Perhaps people forgot what Sharon's experience was before he became Prime Minister? Sabra and Shatila and the Qibieh massacre. This is the man that Gershon Baskin chooses to "produce the results I wish for." True, Peretz has a high school education. But what was the education of Levi Eshkol or Golda Meir that prepared them to lead Israel? Can all those people really hold their noses and vote for Omri Sharon, Ariel Sharon, Tzachi Hanegbi, Shaul Mofaz and all the other potential jailbirds, turncoats and morally challenged individuals? Can they forget that Sharon and Mofaz are the architects of a vicious and cynical policy that is contributing mightily to making peace impossible? The Apartheid wall has suddenly become the good fence for people like Baskin.
The evil has many roots. Amir Peretz finally cleaned the stables of the Israel Labor party, but it is probably far too late. Most of the party bigwigs may have had nothing left except the desire for power. Some, like Peres and Itzik deserted. Others, like Barak, chose to sulk in their tents. Another factor is not discussed in polite company. It is hard to believe that the fact that Peretz was born on the wrong side of the Mediterranean does not play a role in the new fondness of people who should know better for Sharon. Ha'aretz and its friends, who represent "liberal" Israel in the true sense of the word, are afraid of Peretz because he "threatens" to turn the Labor party into a party of the workers, which would of course be a great tragedy. Large parties should always have a policy that is directly opposed to their name and platform.
There is also the satisfaction, not to be denied to us frustrated advocates of peace, of finally seeing someone stand up to the Greater Israel people and defeating them in their own turf, even if the disengagement was only a tactical move. Sharon gets credit for making the rabbis of the West bank sweat. Let's face it, anyone who has a pulsa di nura voodoo death ceremony performed over him by fanatic settlers can't be all bad.
However, the overwhelming factor is probably the venerable problem of Israeli politics - the shadow of giants. We are still obsessed with "the old ones." Sharon is the only prominent politician who was among the generation of 1948. For all his faults, he is the evil that we know, and he can maintain a semblance of orderly policy in some direction, without going off into the pie-eyed adventures of the right-wing extremists.
We tried Barak and Bibi Nethanyahu. They turned out to be disastrous, not just because of their policy errors, but perhaps even more, because they showed they do not have the stature to impose their political will on their own colleagues. Sharon proved the opposite. Bibi and Barak were grafts that failed - they were rejected by their parties. Sharon was rejected by his party so he simply wrecked his party. Ben Gurion only thought that he was synonymous with Mapai. He withdrew from Mapai and found out that he is not indispensable. Sharon can apparently say "the party is me" and he has the credentials to prove it.
What does Sharon offer? It is a mystery kept under wraps, but it is not a mystery. Sharon offers more of the same. Whether it is his doing or not, the violence of the Intifada subsided, European and American pressure on Israel subsided, and the Israeli economy recovered a bit. Whether this is due to brilliant moves by Sharon, the good dialogue fence or the "apartheid wall," the death of Arafat, the Palestinians running out of ammo or deciding that blowing yourself up can be hazardous to your health, it is a fact. Nobody wants to return to the bad old days and nobody wants to rock the boat.
If we look at the empty part of the glass, we can say that Kadima is the Mashiach party. Mashiach means Messiah in Hebrew, but, as an IDF radio commentator noted, it can also be an acronym for "Ma'har Shuv Yihieh Auto 'Harah" - Tomorrow it will be the same sh*t again.
For many reasons, this situation cannot last. Critical decisions about Jerusalem, Israel's borders, Israeli undertakings like eliminating illegal settlements and free passage loom in the offing. The Palestinians are increasingly frustrated, and Hamas is gaining power, with a promise to renew violence - in January or after the Palestinian elections. Staying on the course is good policy of course, when the road is flat and wide, but when you are about to drive over a cliff, it just might be a mistake.
Professor Baskin wrote that with Sharon in office, he may be able to sleep soundly. Perhaps he will, if he has earplugs. People who think there is justice in the world will point out that those who vote for Sharon will get what they deserve - a government of jailbirds and turncoats dedicated to the status quo and personal power. There problem is, that the rest of us will get the same government.
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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000413.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to email@example.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.
Replies: 2 comments
I enjoyed Ami's satirical comments here. Perhaps his references to Gershon Baskin as "professor" is also meant satirically. For a tireless peacenik, Baskin's embrace of Sharon is surprising, to say the least.
He believes that Sharon will do much more in his new term to concretely reverse the settlements enterprise-- and he's probably right in this. Will this be enough for peace? Probably not, but he's also been led to believe-- with more than a wink and a nod, that peacenikim will have influence. This is wishful thinking, but ever since Arafat blew up the peace process in 2000, wishful thinking is what the peace camp has been left with. Baskin may be wrong in putting any faith in Sharon, but he's not a turncoat.
Posted by Ralph Seliger @ 12/14/2005 04:15 PM CST
Even if Sharon is going to continue withdrawing from territories or even making peace (and with Sharon who knows?), it still makes more sense for peaceniks to vote for peace camp parties who will support Sharon if he makes moves towards withdrawl but will not if he tries to make the current state of affairs permanent.
Posted by Micha @ 12/15/2005 08:45 PM CST
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