Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

21 Shevat 5761 - Febuary 14, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











The Economist: "The World Hasn't Collapsed"

One of the newspapers which attacked Sharon with special venom was the British Economist. This weekly, which is well known for its sharp and cynical style, published a special article against Sharon prior to the elections. Now, after Sharon's victory, an article has appeared with a new tone, which proves that the British have been blessed with keen political senses.

The Economist now writes that the world has not collapsed after the Israelis chose Sharon as prime minister with a startling majority of votes.

" . . . but it is darkly overcast. In his younger years, Mr. Sharon committed, or allowed others to commit, deeds that were vile, dangerous and sometimes both. But the past is another country. Mr. Sharon's current concern is to demonstrate his new-found maturity, and his ambition is to create a broad coalition.

"If he succeeds, nothing much may change--with the big exception that the seven years spent weaving a permanent settlement between Israel and the Palestinians will have come to an end. The Oslo process, which began with the signing of a declaration of intent on the White House lawn in September 1993, has run its course. The search for a permanent peace, probably under a different formula, will be resumed at some point. But for the moment it is over.

"One of Mr. Sharon's most popular campaign promises was that he would not allow any talk of peace so long as violence persisted. Fine, but his related pledge, to end the violence, is unconvincing. Israelis elected him because they believed that he would somehow make them safer from Palestinian attack. Although Israel has long since stopped feeling threatened as a nation-state, nearly 50 Israelis have been killed since the Palestinian intifadah (uprising) broke out at the end of September. The voters dismissed Ehud Barak, who acknowledged their decision by resigning as Labour's leader, because they blamed him for their personal insecurity.

"But what can a Sharon government do that a Barak government did not do? The Israelis, resenting the criticism, have already been chided for excessive use of force--shooting to kill by snipers, bombing from helicopter gunships--and for the collective economic punishment of every single Palestinian. As Palestinian casualties soared, local Palestinian leaders changed their tactics in order to raise the cost to Israel: soldiers and settlers were declared legitimate targets. Mr. Sharon may hope to silence the revolt by even fiercer retaliation--he has talked of wholesale house- demolishing--but, at this stage in the intifadah, ferocity is more likely to deepen the cycle of violence and counter-violence than to halt it."


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