Peres must put alternatives to Sharon's policies
Liverpool yesterday, I joined a large number of people who marched from
Mulgrave Street to the Pier Head to voice their anger at the present
Israeli incursion in the West Bank and Gaza.
My position, I wanted
to protest at the treatment of journalists within the present conflict
which has set a terrifying precedent and I am sure will have grave consequences
for those who report on conflict around the world.
These actions against
journalists also take away hope for those suffering oppression for fair
reporting of their plight and can only be regarded as a tactic of terror
by those who impose “closed security areas” and dole out sanitised
images to CNN and the BBC, with official army spokespersons addressing
the camera in a more than media savvy manner in their battle fatigues.
In recent days Operation
Protective Wall has been protected itself by the shooting of journalists,
the use of stun grenades and live rounds to force those who would report
to the world, the conduct of engagement in this conflict, to stay out.
It is apparent that there is a game being played and time has taken
on a strange dimension.
The US has called for
IDF forces to pullout from Palestinian-ruled territory in the West Bank
"now ... not tomorrow" this statement by President George
Bush's national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, and echoed by Colin
Powell totally ignored by Ariel Sharon and the Likud led right wing
coalition in the Knesset.
In fact one would be forgiven
for thinking Israel had been given a week to mop up by the US, given
that speaking of his trip to try and broker a cease fire, Colin Powell
went on national television last night and stated that he doubted if
he would return to the US with a deal. He will visit Morocco, Egypt
and Spain before arriving in the region on Friday of this week. A certain
lack of urgency and will to resolve the situation.
Analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian
position and recent statements from President Bush and Tony Blair brings
into question the current position of Shimon Peres and the Israeli Labor
Party. The time is surely right for MK Peres to leave the government
and take up the leadership of the Israeli peace camp.
Events in recent days
have led to National Religious Party ministers, led by Effi Eitam a
former Brigadier General, described in the Israeli press as an extreme
hawk, being invited to join the government. Eitam is on record as stating
that “Arab Israeli’s are a cancer” evidence enough of
an even wilder swing to the extreme right in the Knesset. The NRP representatives
will be joining the security cabinet and influencing governmental decisions.
Yisrael Beitenu, with its hard-line positions, and Gesher, are also
conducting talks about joining the government.
will mean that hard-line right wing figures such as Avigdor Lieberman,
Benny Elon and David Levy will also possibly join the coalition.This
will surely lead to a split in Israel. Between those who would favour
possible peace and security within a framework that would mean no further
settlements and a return to 1967 borders in compliance with UN resolutions
and those who see the end game being played out with the integration
of the Palestinian occupied territories into the state of Israel. Fulfilling
the religious and ideological hard line Zionist project that calls for
the occupation of the whole of Palestine.
The time is right for
the Israeli Labor Party to summon up the will and determination to seize
the opportunity at hand. There is worldwide pressure on Israel to moderate
and negotiate and the Labor party are the only faction capable of engaging
in this process. After the extreme right joins the coalition, Labor's
influence in the government will be virtually nil, especially whenever
there is a vote in the Knesset.
The demarcation is clear,
for Jews worldwide not only in Israel, must make their moral decision
upon which camp they join. This the real dividing line between the peace
camp and the right wing. This is how the state of Israel and Jewish
individuals must align themselves and be counted. Opinion polls in Israel
suggest that 60% of the population support current Israeli government
A clear alternative to
Sharon's policies should be outlined by the Labor Party, this can only
happen if Labor leave the present government and present the foresight
of an Israeli state that wants to live in security inside the 1967 borders.
The future of Israel’s standing in the world community depends
on the personal decision of every Jew on this key issue.
Photo Credits: Kristin Karlsson
Joseph Cooper is a journalist, documentary film-maker, and ex-TV Producer of Current Affairs programming focussed on Europe and the Middle East. He is
currently based in Liverpool, England.
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