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Labor Politics in Schadeh’s Shadow

31 July 2002

By Yisrael Ne’eman

The Schadeh elimination controversy has quieted down in most places, except in the Labor party where Defense Minister Ben Eliezer is under attack by Knesset member Chaim Ramon for giving the order.  Ramon claims the Palestinian Authority was on the verge of arranging a cease-fire with the Tanzim when the order was given to kill Schadeh and by innuendo accused Ben Eliezer of scuttling any possibility for a negotiated solution to end the violence between the Palestinians and Israel.

Ben Eliezer for his part claims Schadeh was planning six major bombings in major cities just as Israel eliminated him.  As for the overall anti-terror situation, there are sixty warnings of impending terror attacks.

Ramon is vying for Ben Eliezer’s party leadership post and but in his objections to the move against Schadeh make little sense since Schadeh is a member of the Hamas and not the Tanzim.  The secular Tanzim is very close to the PA while the Hamas (and Jihad) represent the religious opposition, both having declared they will battle Israel to the end.  The Tanzim can stop all suicide/homicide bombings against Israel but that has no effect on Schadeh and associates.

Ramon is the internal opposition to Ben Eliezer and wants Labor out of the government.   He misses no opportunity to attack the defense minister in his quest for the Labor party leadership.  In politics this if perfectly legitimate, however when Israel is absorbing massive international criticism over the Schadeh incident Ramon’s voice only encourages Israel’s enemies.

Ramon and others like him have every right to criticize, but in certain cases they should exercise discretion.  Let’s remember we are all in the same boat in the battle against terrorism.