Monday, December 05, 2005


From Israel: Arlene Kushner, December 5, 2005

From Israel: A heavy day

Arlene Kushner
December 5, 2005

[] It happened again today: The same mall in Netanya that was hit five months ago has been hit again by a suicide bomber. Over 50 are wounded, five are dead. And with this, it could have been worse, because the guard on duty grew suspicious and stopped the bomber from going in; he blew himself up outside.

Islamic Jihad has apparently claimed responsibililty, but there was an earlier claim by Al Aksa Brigades, as well.

Six weeks ago there was a suicide bombing in Hadera, north of Netanya. In total there have been five such bombings this year.

What must be noted however, is that this does NOT represent a reduction in the desire of Palestinians to kill us, but rather an increase in our capacity to prevent them from doing so. Israeli security indicates that there are some 40-50 warning DAILY. G-d bless Israeli security, which knows now how to stop most of them.

Do not be misled by those who indicate that the pullout from Gaza, the negotiated deal at Rafah, etc. etc. have brought the time of violence close to an end. Do not be misled at all: The potential for violence is there -- the Hamas agents are slipping into Gaza, other terrorists are slipping out of Gaza and into Judea and Samaria via the Sinai and the Negev. Arms are being stockpiled in Judea and Samaria. They are out to get us, still.
Time was, that when I learned of a suicide bombing, and saw on TV the pictures of the search in the streets for body parts, I would weep. Today I didn't weep, I felt rage, and I think that is healthier.

Rage, for the state of this world and the obtuseness of people refusing to see what is happening here and the obtuseness of people who make it more possible for such things to happen here.

[] I listened on TV today to the news that PA president Abbas condemned the bombing and I choked on that. I await word of what he has said about this not in English, but in Arabic. And even in English, it should be noted, he spoke, as he usually does, about how this is bad for the Palestinian cause. Nothing about the immorality of such acts. And Saeb Erekat, PA Minister, on TV as well, intoning reasoned words about how this hurts the peace process. The peace process?? And how the hudna between Israel and the PA still holds. Well, folks, a hudna, to begin with is not, as often assumed, a cease fire; it is a temporary cessation enabling the troops to regroup for the next hit -- and it was not arranged between the PA and Israel, it was a deal between Palestinian groups, who haven't honored it in any event.

And yet, I knew as I watched (this was on CNN) that millions of others in the world were also watching and probably thinking about how peaceful the PA is.

No wonder I am enraged.

The PA has done less than nothing to reign in or disarm terrorists or take down their weapons factories. The PA is responsible for what's going on.

[] Uzi Landau, MK, former minister fired by Sharon because of his refusal to back the "disengagement" and erstwhile candidate to lead the Likud party, today held a press conference and withdrew his candidacy.

This is a sad moment for all of us who were hoping that this candidate with the greatest integrity and best representing traditional Likud values would emerge victorious. The polls weren't pointing in that direction, however,

Rumors broke last night and Landau made his final decision today. He has thrown his support to Binyamin Netanyahu. Not a man to be trusted, whatever his perfect English and his charisma and his anti-terrorist credentials. Says Landau, however, Netanyahu will not work with Sharon. This is true. There is enormous enmity between them. And in spite of those around me warning that Netanyahu heading the gov't would not represent a good scene, I find myself eager to believe, whatever else may transpire, that Sharon will not emerge victorious in this upcoming electoral battle.

The current situation is somewhat surreal. Sharon broke off from the Likud, but left party apparatus behind that remains in good part loyal to him. Thus, in some measure he is controlling two parties. Coming up fast in the race for party leadership is Defense Minister Mofaz, precisely because that Sharon-loyal party apparatus is working on his behalf. Many had thought Mofaz (who has worked tightly with Sharon) would leave Likud and follow Sharon to his new party. But what a sweet deal they must have decided this would be: Sharon heading Kadima, Mofaz heading Sharon, and the two joining in coalition for unbeatable strength. This, surely, was what Uzi Landau was thinking when he withdrew and threw his support to Netanyahu.

"There are those trying to destroy the Likud from outside and burn our home," said Landau in his press conference at the Knesset today. "This makes a man have to decide how best to save the home. The best way is to unite behind the chairman that advances it, believes in its principles and can bring it to victory."

I believe that in return for this support Landau had garned certain commitments from Netanyahu on policy positions he will take regarding matters such as no more unilateral withdrawals and keeping Jerusalem united. Landau has become convinced (with good reason) that Sharon would move to do both of these things.

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