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September 20, 2002 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-09-20

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Israel. But that is a far cry from the
heady days of Oslo, when more than
As the intifada enters its third year,
80 percent of Israelis believed in peace
612 Israelis have been killed, including with the Palestinians.
427 civilians. Of those, 250 were
In addition, the terror has changed
killed in suicide bombings, including
the way Israelis go about their daily
227 civilians.
lives. During waves of violence, people
More than 4,500 have been wound-
don't travel unless they have to, so
ed, 3,200 of them civilians.
places of entertainment, restaurants and
While the Palestinians have suffered
shopping malls suffer — even though
more casualties, the percentage of
more than 100,000 Israelis work as
civilian victims on the Israeli side is far security guards in public places.
higher — a reflection of the fact that
Such lifestyle changes, and the fact
Israel has striven to avoid harming
that the violence has driven away
Palestinian civilians, while the
tourists and investors, have hurt the
Palestinians have made civilians their
Israeli economy, creating unprecedent-
primary targets.
edly high unemployment and wreak-
ing havoc among small businesses.
Yet with Israeli military and admin-
Hardening Attitudes
istrative responses to the terror —
But despite the Israeli resolve, the
closing borders to Palestinian workers,
intifada has had a devastating impact
imposing- curfews on Palestinian areas
on the Israeli psyche and on Israeli
and mounting counterterrorism opera-
public opinion. It even has affected
tions in all the West Bank cities — it
core notions of the meaning and pur-
is the Palestinians who are suffering
pose of the Jewish state.
most from their offensive. Their econ-
One central strand of Zionism, asso- omy, their cities, their government and
ciated mainly with the right-of-center
their daily lives all lie in ruins. Since
Likud Party, stresses the prevalence of
Operation Protective Wall this spring,
anti-Semitism and the resulting need
the Israel Defense Forces has devastat-
for a place of Jewish refuge and self-
ed the terrorist organizations.
defense. Another, associated mainly
Voices on the Palestinian side increas-
with the left-of-center Labor Party,
ingly are calling the intifada a disaster
focuses on Zionism's role in normaliz-
and urging their leaders to turn to non-
ing the Jewish people and integrating
violent means of opposing Israel.
them into the Middle East.
Though they have succeeded in
The ruthlessness of the intifada has
dominating such international forums
strengthened the more pessimistic
as last year's U.N. World Conference
Likud view. If elections were held
Against Racism, the Palestinians have
today, opinion polls . show, Likud
failed to mobilize the international
would crush Labor by 'almost 2-1.
community to intercede and force
The indiscriminate murder of inno-
Israeli concessions.
cents also has led to a-hardening of
As for Arafat, while still the toast of
Israeli attitudes toward Palestinians
anti-globalization activists and a few
and a readiness to accept countermea-
other idealists, he finds himself
sures that may impinge on Palestinian
shunned as , a terrorist by the world's
civil rights. Those measures include
lone superpower, can't convince his
destroying the houses of terrorists' rel-
own parliament to approve his cabinet
atives or deporting relatives who aid
and scarcely ventures forth from his
terrorists from their homes to other
ruined compound.
Palestinian-ruled areas.
Both Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
And the impact of the violence on
and Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-
Israeli opinion has been enormous.
Eliezer say a new Palestinian leader-
According to a recent poll in the
ship would be willing to strike a deal
Israeli daily Ma'ariv, 79 percent of
quickly. If and when Arafat goes, they
Israelis say the Oslo peace agreements
seem to think, the intifada will go
are no longer valid, and that Israel
with him.
should adopt a different path to
Yet the intifada, Ya'alon noted, is
accommodation with the Palestinians.
like judo —yOu think you are about
Most Israelis see Arafat as the evil force
to throw your opponent, and suddenly
behind the intifada, and 81 percent are
find it is you who are being thrown.
convinced he does not want peace with
Even if it does succeed in decisively
Israel under any circumstances.
beating back the Palestinian onslaught,
Yet 45 percent of Israelis still believe
Israel may find the world demanding
that the Palestinian people as a whole,
that it quickly give the Palestinians at
under different leadership, would be
the bargaining table what they failed
ready for a peace agreement with
to win on the battlefield.

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