terror attacks harm Palestinian interests
both in the realm of international
opinion and by preventing the ascen-
sion of an Israeli government willing to
make concessions under fire, the ter-
rorist groups see further escalation of
the conflict as. a Palestinian interest.
Sharon's tack in the campaign has
been away from the right and toward
repay the loans, when his business had GIL SEDAN
the center, but Palestinians say he
by demonstrating that he had failed to
been suffering from cash flow prob-
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
to keep the election campaign
provide security for the Israeli public.
lems and the Israeli economy was
to secure right-wing support.
In fact, it seemed to aid Sharon, as
going through a period of deep reces-
will not leave us alone,"
voters felt he would better deal with
ontrary to the hopes of the
Palestinian Authority official Saeb
Israeli left, the old adage
• Did the prime minister mislead
Erekat said. "He is determined to
has said he would unilaterally uproot
that terrorism helps the
Israeli authorities when, as part of the
mark the election campaign with more
right seems to be holding
investigation, he failed to mention the
and Gaza Strip within a year if he can't Palestinian blood."
true in this election.
money from Kern? Did he mislead
Even if Arafat's embrace is of dubi-
strike a deal first with the Palestinians.
Scandals involving the Likud and its
the Israeli public when he said he did-
ous value, the Israel Supreme Court's
leader, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,
n't know how his sons had repaid
decision to allow firebrand legislators
allowed Labor to climb out of a deep
Azmi Beshara and Ahmed Tibi to run
hole ahead of Israel's Jan. 28 election.
On Jan. 13, the Ma'ariv newspaper
in the elections has averted.the threat
Suddenly, Labor and its left-wing allies In addition, even if Arafat wants to help
added a new twist, claiming that Kern
of an Israeli Arab boycott and put an
began to hope that they might prevent Labor, his embrace could prove fatal: His
had tried to interest Israeli business-
important constituency in
the Likud and its allies from win-
men in huge gold and diamond deals
ning the 61 Knesset seats needed
in South Africa and had kept Gilad
Columnist Gideon Levy
to form a right-wing coalition.
wrote in Ha'aretz that the
This week, however, Labor's
That might imply that Kern has
court's decision gives Israeli
upward trend showed signs of
business interests in Israel, making his
Arabs an opportunity to help
financial aid to the Sharons suspect.
mold the face of the country
The main reason may have
There is a precedent for such suspi-
for years to come. "They
been that a financial scandal, in
cions: One of the main reasons for
should come to the polls with
which Sharon was accused of tak-
President Ezer Weizman's resignation
no ifs and buts," Levy wrote.
ing an illegal $1.5 million loan to
in mid-2000 was the revelation that
Reactions to the ruling seem
pay back earlier illegal loans to
his benefactor, Edouard Saroussi, a
to indicate that they will do
his political campaigns, has
French businessman, had business
so. That would contrast
exhausted its impact.
interests in Israel.
sharply with the 2001 elec-
But another important factor
tions, when only 18 percent of
seemed to be continuing
Israeli-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cuts the ribbon
voters showed up at the
Palestinian terrorism — despite a opening a new overpass on a congested highway in
polls to protest the killing of
call by Palestinian Authority
The Labor Party is campaigning heav-
Haifa, Jan. 14. The ceremony was also attended by
12 Israeli Arabs in October
leader Yasser Arafat for terrorist
ily on the corruption issue. Ironically,
Amram Mitzna, Haifa's mayor and Sharon's opponent
2000 riots of solidarity with
groups to stop killing Israel civil- in the upcoming elections.
though, if Sharon wins the election
the Palestinian uprising.
ians until after the elections.
but ultimately is forced to step down
The latest polls show that
At the weekly Israeli Cabinet
because of the scandal, it's not Labor
will win 11 Knesset
session on Sunday, Sharon said Arafat's support of Labor ends up hurting the
that will benefit.
also are expected to
party, as Ma'ariv columnist Ben-Dror
call showed that he "was in control of
Under the recently abandoned sys-
contribute two or three seats to Jewish
tem of direct election of the prime
parties such as Labor and Meretz.
Even Mitzna this week went out of
Sharon accused Arafat of trying to
minister, the prime minister's resigna-
However, some voices in the Israeli
his way to declare that Arafat was "irrel-
swing the election to the Labor Party,
tion would have sparked new elec-
community still are urging voters
evant," a term taken straight from
whose dovish chairman, Amram
the elections. These include
Sharon's political diction-
Mitzna, has pledged to negotiate with
However, under the current system
ary. But he quickly added
Arafat if elected. Since taking office in
of voting only for parties, Sharon
of the Islamic
that a Labor-led govern-
March 2001, Sharon has refused all
would simply be replaced by another
Movement, which refuses to vote to
contact with Arafat and has convinced
Likud member who has the confi-
avoid conferring legitimacy on the
with Arafat, regardless.
the Bush administration that Arafat
dence of the Knesset — such as his
Whether Arafat con-
must be replaced for Israeli-Palestinian
party rival Netanyahu, for example.
Minister Eli Yishai of the
demns or condones ter-
peace to have a chance.
Exchanging Sharon for Netanyahu,
Shas Party recently ordered
ror, much of the Israeli
Arafat's ability and desire to control
who is more hard-line and less
of an Islamic Movement
terrorism is, as always, a matter of debate public interprets his
inclined to cooperate with Labor,
accusing it of inciting
statements as meddling
in Israel. His own Fatah Party claimed
would be a net loss from the point of
against the state. The High Court of
responsibility for a Jan. 5 double suicide
view of the left.
Justice is due to review the case. But
In any case, the leaders of Hamas,
From a purely partisan point of view, bombing in Tel Aviv that killed 22 peo-
the Islamic Movement's leader, Sheikh
Islamic Jihad and Fatah's own Al-Aksa
ple. On Jan. 12, two more Israelis were
then, Labor's corruption-based cam-
Brigade show no sign of silencing their Ra'ed Salah, wrote that the move really
killed in attacks, one on a farming corn-
paign against Sharon and his sons may
was "an attempt by the Likud and
guns. This may tip the scale in favor
munity in the Galilee and one in the
prove to be counterproductive. ❑
Shas to increase their voting percent-
of the right, as in past elections.
— JTA correspondent Moira Schneider Negev near the Egyptian border.
age in the Jewish sector." ❑
Though Arafat says in English that
Left wingers might have hoped that
Terrorist violence seems to be helping Likud.
in Cape Town contributed to this report.