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February 06, 2004 - Image 27

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-02-06

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

Editorials are posted and archived
on JN Online:
www.detroitjewishnews.com

The New Arik

W

ho is this new prime minister of Israel, and
what has he done with the real Ariel
Sharon?
Surely the architect of the West Bank and Gaza set
Clements, the man who urged Israelis to "seize the high
places" and build homes on them just four years ago,
can't be the same man who told Hakretzs columnist
Yoel Marcus on Sunday that "I have given an order to
plan for the evacuation of 17 settlements in the Gala
Strip."
And how is it conceivable that the former general
who has said repeatedly he would not negotiate with
terrorists could strike a deal with the Lebanese-based
terrorists of Hezbollah to hand over 436 prisoners in
exchange for one rogue businessman and the bodies of
three soldiers? Isn't this essentially the same group of
prisoners that Sharon refused to release to the
Palestinian Authority last year when doing so might
have propped up a centrist prime minister, Mahmoud
Abbas, who actually wanted to rein in the Palestinian
terrorists? e
Something has clearly changed. Whether it is a
change for the better or the worse is hard to tell.
We don't buy the theory that Sharon is simply look-
ing to divert attention from the police investigations of
his campaign finances and of his son's sweetheart deal
with a wheeler-dealer who was trying to get Israel to
approve a resort development in Greece. If anythingfr
Sharon's accommodation with Hezbollah and is uni-
lateral undercutting of the Gala settlements are likely
to increase his troubles, not reduce them.
The prisoner deal is the more worrisome develop-
ment. Sharon himself acknowledged that Israel was
paying "a heavy price" for what he called "a right and
moral decision." Included in the price were two prime
troublemakers — Abdel Karim Obeid and Mustafa
Dirani — who are virtually certain to resume quickly
their guerrilla activities.

To be sure, the
deal, negotiated over
several months -with
the help of German
intermediaries, was-
n't all that much of a
substantive break-
through. The bulk of
the 400 Palestinians
released had just
about completed
their sentences, any-
way, and the deal
may also open the
door to more infor-
mation about Capt.
Ron Arad, an Israeli airman who was captured in
southern Lebanon when his plane was shot down in
1986.
But appearances are important. The Middle East is
filled with a lot of opportunists who will see in the bar-
gain the opportunity to profit by kidnapping other
Israelis. It sets a worrisome precedent that could be
applied to American soldiers and civilians in
Iraq.
And the timing was awful. The swap
went ahead even though two hours earlier a
Bethlehem policeman from the Al Aqsa
Martyrs Brigades of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's
Fatah movement, blew himself up on a bus in
Jerusalem, killing 11 others. The message was that ter-
ror carried the day.
The Gaza statement seems more forward-looking.
We have long held that the 7,500 settlers there do not
advance any worthwhile cause for the Jewish state and
that protecting them unnecessarily burdens the mili-
tary. In the end, those settlements are going to have to
be uprooted, as are some West Bank enclaves that will

fall outside the security barrier that is now being Com-
pleted.
The Gaza relocation process is going to require
negotiations with the settlers themselves and with a
responsible Palestinian leadership, should that ever
emerge. Sharon seemed careful to avoid giving any
timetable for the process and insisted that all he had
approved so far was planning for the eventual removal
of the settlements, not the actual mechanics.
Still, the prime minister, in the interview
and in accounts of his briefing of Likud party
members, was more direct about the issue
than he had ever been before. Taken with the
Hezbollah deal, the action suggests that his vision of
how to get some sort of lasting peace with Israel's
neighbors is changing.
Given that the old vision wasn't really getting any-
thing and that the Palestinian violence has continued
unabated, a shift is clearly needed. We've given up on
expecting that Arafat will recognize Arik's change, but
we hope the leadership of the Arab world is more per-
ceptive of the opportunity to move in positive direc-
tions. I-1

EDIT O 'UAL

`Now Is The Time For Crying'

The writer wrote this piece in 2001 in response to
terrorist attacks. On Jan. 29, 2004, he, himself, was
one of at least 11 Jews murdered by a Palestinian
suicide bomber aboard a Jerusalem bus.

Jerusalem
he scene: 7:30 a.m. Israel time, Sunday,
eight hours after the
Dec. 2, 2001
triple terror attack at Jerusalem's popular
Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall.
He walked into shul, synagogue. I nodded my
acknowledgment, as I always do. He made some
strange gesture, which I didn't comprehend. I

T



Yechezkel "Chezi" Goldberg, 42, was a Jerusalem-
based counselor specializing in adolescents and families
in crisis. He also hosted Youth Beat, a program on
Arutz-7's English-language radio station. This piece
was first published on Dec. 3, 2001, by Jewish World
Review, www.JewishWorldReview.com

from the heart, enter the heart." He was
continued praying.
right, of course. Why wasn't I crying?
A few minutes later, he walked over to
I could not answer. I had nothing to
me and said: "Didn't you hear?"
say.
"Hear about what?" I replied.
He pointed around the shul. "Why
He grew impatient, almost frustrated.
aren't all of my friends crying?"
"Didn't you HEAR?"
I could not answer. I had nothing to
I understood that he was talking about
say.
last night's terror attack on Ben Yehuda
YECHEZKEL
"Shouldn't we all be crying?"
mall, a trendy nightspot frequented not
"CHEZI"
I could not answer. I had nothing to
only by Israelis, but also Western tourists.
I assumed that 'he obviously was intimat- GOLDBERG say.
Special
What has happened to all of us, myself
ing that someone we knew was hurt or
Commentary included? We have turned to stone. Some
killed.
would call it "numbness." Some would
I replied: "About who?"
call it "collective national shock." Some would
He looked at me as if I had landed from anoth-
say that we all have suffered never-ending trauma,
er planet. "About who? About everyone who was
and it has affected our senses.
attacked last night."
Frankly, the excuses are worthless. All the rea-
I nodded. "Yes, of course I heard."
sons in the world don't justify our distance from
"Then why aren't YOU crying?"
His words shot through me like a spear piercing
GOLDBERG on page 30
my heart. Our sages teach, "Words that come

2/ 6

2004

29

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