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Road Map Demography

28 May 2003

By Yisrael Ne’eman

The name of the game is demographics, hence PM Ariel Sharon and the Likud led government accepted the ‘Road Map’ despite their 14 reservations.  Israel fully objects to the Palestinian ‘right of return for refugees’ and mention of the Saudi (Beirut) initiative returning Israel to the 1967 frontiers.  The US has promised to relate fully to all Israeli comments.

Sharon has made clear the message plied over the years by the Left and Center, Israel cannot enforce an “occupation” over 3.5 million unwilling Palestinians.  In the previous government with Labor, then Foreign Minister Shimon Peres advocated the two-state solution even louder than Sharon citing the Palestinian population as 49% of the total from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.  Due to one of the highest birth rates in the world it is just a matter of a few years before the Arabs are a majority.  Apparently Peres spoke more for Sharon than anyone expected.  Everyone knows if Israel is to survive as a Jewish/democratic state the idea of Greater Israel must be forfeited.

So this leads us to the miserable comment by Elyakim Haetzni, veteran Hebron resident (and not counted in the religious camp) who, when told 56% of Israelis supported the ‘Road Map’ commented that Jews also went willingly to the death camps during WWII.  Haetzni is a well known sharp attorney who over the years is a leading spokesman for settlement causes.  One can only conclude he represents much right wing thinking, preferring Greater Israel to democracy and a Jewish majority.  For them the Land of Israel is the ultimate G-d and all else may be sacrificed.  Does Israel really need Nablus, Ramallah, Jenin, etc. and a never ending war?  And yes, Hebron as a Jewish holy city is an issue and Jews do have a right to live there.

On the Left we have Ha’aretz with the usual insults (especially by Burston and O’Dwyer at the beginning of the week).  First an historical correction, this is far from being the most right wing government ever, the Shamir administration (1990-92) and Menachem Begin’s second government (1981 – 84) were much farther to the right with no centrist party like Shinui to add a balance, nor were decisions tempered by the serious possibility of Labor entering in place of the right wing factions (National Religious and National Union).  The Left should understand they lost the elections and that includes Ha’aretz whose commentators are fervrently anti-Likud.  Many like Gideon Levy who compares Israel of today to the commencement of Nazi Germany and the pro-Palestinian Amira Hass are suspected of seeking the destruction of the Jewish state.  Being viciously knee jerk anti-Sharon, even a tacit government acceptance of the ‘Road Map’ is not good enough.

So where is Sharon heading?  Certainly towards a two-state solution, but on the condition that all Palestinian terrorism ends, there is no refugee return to the Israeli side of the border and that Israel does not withdraw to the 1967 lines.  Some settlements will be uprooted.

With no real chance of Palestinian terrorism being liquidated, Sharon is building the separation/security fence, unilaterally determining Israel’s borders, whether it is internationally accepted or not.  Fait accompli.