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December 25, 1992 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-12-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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A Matter Of Viewpoint

Condemned abroad, the deportation of 415
Hamas and Islamic Jihad members was hailed in
Israel and bolstered Rabin's standing.

LARRY DERFNER AND INA FRIEDMAN

W

ithin Israel, Prime
Minister Yitzhak
Rabin suddenly
looks bigger and
more confident than he has
since the early, triumphant
weeks of his administration.
His decision to expel 415
llamas and Islamic Jihad
members answered the
public's angry demands for
action against escalating
terror. Fully 91 percent of
the Israeli Jewish public
backed Mr. Rabin's move,
according to a survey by Dr.
Mina Tsemach, the coun-
try's best-known public opi-
nion pollster.
All the right-wing opposi-
tion parties praised the ac-
tion. Tsomet and the Na-
tional Religious Party (NRP)
cancelled their planned no-
confidence motions against
the government, and now
say they want to join Mr.
Rabin's ruling coalition.
The left-wing Meretz party
vowed to leave the govern-
ment if Tsomet and the NRP
came in. Should the switch
take place, the Rabin coali-
tion would be transformed
from a center-left to a center-
right government.
The expulsions have split
Meretz. Party leaders such
as Shulamit Aloni and Yossi
Sarid are being criticized
vehemently by many in the
Meretz rank-and-file for
supporting Mr. Rabin's deci-
sion. Meretz cabinet min-
isters and Knesset members
faced demonstrations by
their own party activists,
who accused them of selling
out the party's progressive
ideals and cooperating with
a policy • of "transfer." One
protester's sign asked them,
"Have You Gone Mad?"
The expulsions have also
redefined the difference
between Israel's left and
right wings, between the
government and the opposi-
tion. Before, Mr. Rabin was
being denounced by the
right as too soft on the
Arabs, both at the negotia-
ting table and in the ter-
ritories. In the wake of the
deportations, the difference
between the two sides is that
the government believes a
hawkish approach on the
ground will enable its dovish
policy at the negotiations to

succeed; the right-wing in- -
sists on a single approach to
terror and the peace process
— no compromise.
Government leaders say
they want to advance on the
peace front by strengthening
the "moderate" Palestinians .
— represented by the main-
stream PLO and the Pales-
tinian delegates in Wash-
ington — while the right-
wing draws no distinction
between the PLO and
Hamas, saying they are all
terrorists who must be
hunted down equally.
Politically, the expulsions
were the timeliest of moves.
In the past few months, the
Rabin administration's pop-
ularity had been going
straight downhill. The prime
minister had promised three
things in his campaign — a
decrease in terror, jobs, and
progress toward peace. After
nearly six months in office,
Mr. Rabin had nothing to
show.
Unemployment, at 11 per-
cent, was as bad as ever,
with no improvement in
sight; the peace talks had
returned to a standstill, with
Arab delegations talking
about pulling out altogether,
and terror — the overriding
issue — was substantially •
worse.
From the outside world,
the early returns on the ex-
pulsions were markedly
horrible. The United
Nations, the U.S., Europe
and everyone else denounced •
them, the deportees' tent
camp was a llamas public
relations trump at Israel's
expense, the PLO was clos-
ing ranks with llamas
rather than making recipro-
cal gestures to Israel, and all
the Arab delegations warned
that if the deportations

Correction

In a Dec. 11 article
on Borman Hall, it
was inaccurately re-
ported that Alan Funk
was asked by the
board to resign his
administrative posi-
tion. He resigned vol-
untarily.

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