Monday, November 21, 2005


From Israel: Arlene Kushner, November 21, 2005

From Israel

Arlene Kushner
November 21, 2005

[] Well...he's done it: Sharon is going to bolt the Likud party and start a new presumably centrist party that will, he hopes, give him more latitude to pursue his horrendously destructive agenda. I will not here belabor all of the possible political parameters of what might happen next. It's too soon to know how this will play out. Factors to watch:

-- Who will leave Likud along with him. Some dozen or so of its members will.

-- Who will bolt Labor (from Labor's right, now that Peretz is pulling far to the
left) and join Sharon. Look for Shimon Peres to likely do this.

-- How those remaining in Likud will handle themselves. Remember that in its
origins Likud was a right wing nationalist party. Those remaining hope to return
to the party's original principles. It is Sharon who betrayed those principles.

What is more, there is talk by Uzi Landau of uniting the right-wing
remainer of Likud with the right wing parties such as National Union and NRP to
form one large right wing nationalist party. This would be a positive move.

Then of course there is the issue of who will head the Likud with Sharon gone.
The key contenders are Netanyahu and Landau, of course. But others, who would
not have taken the risk with Sharon still present, are also contemplating the run.

A great deal that is bureaucratic now follows in terms of how the gov't will actually come down -- there are a variety formulas for this to happen. It is likely that the election will be in March.

I will do my best to keep the readers of this list apprised of the process as it unfolds.

[] I return here to the issue of the Rafah deal, because it is still uppermost in my attentions -- the critical nature of what is going on merits that attention! Part of what I will be watching, and judging, is how various candidates in the election now gearing up will respond to this issue. There is an unfortunate tendency to put this aside, and it horrifies me because it is so shortsighted and ultimately irresponsible. (Similarly, I find most Americans oblivious and most American media ignoring this.)

Just today I have learned several new things. The situation:

With this Rafah agreement, which has not yet been signed, Israel is signing away her status as a sovereign nation.

A sovereign nation has two basic rights -- to control its borders and to self defense. Both of this things are about to be surrendered.

Consider the following:

-- There was a terrorist warning at the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel. Israel, under this agreement, no longer has the right to close it unilaterally. She must ask permission. Israel, per the understanding, asked the US if the crossing could be closed. The US said no, it cannot be completely closed. (This is from Steve Rodan of the Middle East News Line, a superb and reliable source.) Can you imagine this? A situation in which Israel no longer has the right to say who may and may not enter the country, or when?? Unheard of for a sovereign state. Imagine a situation in which Mexicans tell America they have the right to come in whether the American gov't wants them to or not.

-- According to Rodan, the PA is now insisting that Israel has no right to enter the "liaison office" to be headed by the EU that is spelled out in the agreement. This is the office where there will be live video feed and computer feed from the Rafah crossing. That is, not only will Israel not be able to stop anyone from crossing, it turns out that if the PA has its way, Israel won't even know who is crossing. The PA says the agreement doesn't say Israel has a right to be in that liaison office.

I took a close look at the wording of that agreement with Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA this morning. Actually, the wording does not spell out Israel's presence specifically, but Dr. Lerner says in diplomatic parlance the term "liaison" implies the presence of all parties. Certainly this is the way it was understood here -- Sec. of Defense Mofaz made a statement to the effect that we would have the right to view the video to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee last week.

-- Also according to Rodan, the PA is now demanding that its security people accompany the convoy of buses of Palestinians who will make their way per the agreement between Gaza and Judea/Samaria. This is a most serious matter as it would establish a principle of Palestinian sovereignty within Israel.

-- There is nothing new on the matter of checkpoints in Judea/Samaria that Israel has agreed to try to reduce in number, in consultation with the US. But we can extrapolate a bit. If the US refuses to "allow" Israel to completely close Erez while checking for terrorists, because doing so interfers with Palestinian commerce, it is easy to imagine what pressure the US will now bring to bear on Israel to cut those checkpoints to ease Palestinian traffic flow.

The agreement, as it stands, if signed, will have one of two results: It will cause a tremendous weaking of Israel as a sovereign state -- which certainly will lead to instability in the region and the strengthening of terrorist elements. Or it will simply blow up because it is untenable as is, and there will be considable loss of life.

With all of our strength we must attempt everything possible to halt the signing of the agreement.

Over on The Christian Prophet blog the Holy Spirit indicates that Likud will still be strong, but the overall situation will be weakened. There are hints that a major realignment in the region might happen.
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