War is peace. Now we know.
It's only going to get worse.
The Metaphysical Club
U.N. diplomats give Bush a blank check.
Next Stop, Southeast Asia?
The United States may have a new target.
Nation building vs. globalization.
Anthrax is bad, but smallpox is worse much worse.
At the Gates of Power.
I cannot find the glory in this day.
Patriots and scoundrels.
Israel's Labor Party is silenced as violence erupts.
Bush administration hawks want to deploy "mini-nukes" against Osama bin Laden.
Under cover of war, the Bush administration pushes for fast track.
Green takes the runoff amid charges of race-baiting and miscounted votes.
Ecuadorian Indians fight Texaco with U.S. tort law.
Suffering in solitary confinement.
ART: William Kentridge's animated politics.
BOOKS: The story of Arming America.
October 26, 2001
Israels Labor Party is silenced as violence erupts.
JERUSALEMYou, who killed my father, you are temporary residents
and Canaanites. Im letting you know: We are staying because [the land]
is ours. That was how the son of Israels slain tourism minister
warned Palestinians when he spoke at the state funeral.
In life, Rehavam Zeevi was the modern incarnation of ideas many Israelis thought
had disappeared. Zeevi, who advocated the physical transfer of Palestinians
from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, only came into his ministerial seat on the
heels of right-wing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in February. Two days before
Zeevi was killed on October 17 by Palestinian assassins, he had tendered his
resignation in protest of government policies he believed were soft on Arabs.
But in his death, Zeevi may have brought to pass both the final downfall of
a meaningful Israeli left, as well as a further hobbling of the Palestinian
leadership governing parts of the Occupied Territories. Listen well, killers
of Ramallah, listen well, assassins of Jenin, said Knesset speaker and
leading Labor official Avraham Burg in his eulogy. All our differences
are not weaknesses, but differences. ... We will not surrender.
In retaliation for the killing, the Israeli government took a series of dramatic
steps. First, it reimposed a blockade on Palestinian towns and villages that
had been eased two days earlier as part of a joint ceasefire. Next, it invaded
six Palestinian towns and left its tanks to patrol those areas, including almost
all of the town of Bethlehem. Twenty-two Palestinians, a number of them women
and children, were killed over four days. Palestinian fighters resisted the
invasion, injuring nine Israeli soldiers. Finally, Sharons government
shrewdly demanded that the Palestinian Authority hand over the assassins from
the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who killed Zeevi.
The Palestinian leadership, aware that its people will not accept a handover,
staunchly rejected the Israeli demand but outlawed the Popular Fronts
military wing. There is no chance of such an extraditionand whoever
drafted the Israeli ultimatum knew this well and planned his steps accordingly,
wrote analyst Danny Rubenstein in the Israeli daily Haaretz. In
other words, this ultimatum is in fact not an ultimatum, but a declaration of
Appalled by the armys invasion, some members of the Labor Party have
loudly expressed their concern. We are very close to a brink, says
Matan Vilnai, Israels culture, science and sports minister. Maybe
we are going to cross it. It is the brink of a Lebanon-style operation. I hope
we will be clever enough and smart enough to examine the situation and not
cross this red line.
The evoking of Israels war in Lebanon, in which then Defense Minister
Sharon led the Israeli army all the way to Beirut, is further indication of
unease. That 1982 incursion ended in the Palestine Liberation Organizations
banishment from Beirut and the killing of more than 1,000 Palestinian refugees
by Lebanese Maronite forces under Israeli army watch.
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has already hinted that he felt misled in discussions
of how far the Israeli army would go inside the Palestinian-controlled areas.
As a result, Peres wants out of the government coalition, say some analysts.
The very identity of the Labor Party could be at stake. The Labor Party
has to have its own profile, says Open University of Israel professor
Benny Noberger. Even if it is in the government, it has to be clear that
it is influencing policy. Otherwise, in the next election, it will disintegrate.
Since the Labor Party joined the right-of-center Likud in the government, it
has been plagued by infighting and disputes. The Palestinian-Israeli confrontations
that broke out last September, and the widespread belief that peace with Palestinians
is no longer possible, have caused a mass exodus from Israels left flank.
The party at the heart of Israels creation, the roots of the kibbutz
movement and the ideology of Zionist founder Theodor Herzl himself could be
reduced to a position as Israels fourth largest political party (behind
Likud, ultra-orthodox Shas and far-left Meretz) if it does not now distinguish
itself in meaningful opposition.
Slowly but prudently, Sharon has followed a policy of assassinating Palestinian
activists, invading Palestinian-controlled territory and economically weakening
Palestinian businesses as a way of undermining the peace process begun in Oslo
in 1993, which he has always opposed. Oslo is not continuing, Sharon
told a group of settlers at a meeting last week. There wont be Oslo.
Oslo is over.
This week, the prime minister pointedly defied a blunt U.S. request that he
withdraw the army, telling the Knesset that Israel is on its own.
The few remaining on the Israeli left fear that Sharon is headed for catastrophe.
In an editorial last month, journalist Amira Hass noted the dangers of a weakened
opposition in the context of a distracting American war. Skepticism that
Israel may try to expel the countrys Arabs
is natural and encouraging,
she wrote. It shows that the majority of Jewish Israelis accept as an
unequivocal fact that the Palestinians are natives of this land. Still,
Hass warns, now is the time to ask, Is Israeli society immune to an idea
such as the transfer of the Palestinian population as a solution
to the protracted conflict?
A poll taken just after Zeevis assassination gave credence to Hass
concern: 66 percent of Israeli adults surveyed said they would support a voluntary
transfer of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
While one advocate of transferring Palestinians through military force is now
dead, the specter of his ideas remains a living possibility.