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Thursday, July 05, 2007

There is no shame in Israel - Part 2

The Knesset held a special session today on the state of the expelled Jews of the Gaza Strip nearly two years after the expulsion. Once again, the Olmert - Barak - Livni government proved that it has no shame and will take no responsibility for its actions. Two years after the expulsion from Gaza, 85% of the former Gush Katif residents are still living in 'temporary' sites and only two of the promised twenty-six new communities to house the refugees have started to be built.

Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert, who was able to avoid being embarrassed by not attending the war memorials on Monday, on the grounds that 'too much security' would be required, was forced to attend today's Knesset session because National Union MK Uri Ariel got forty MK's to sign a petition demanding that Olmert be there, thereby requiring him to attend under the Knesset rules. Here are some excerpts of what some of the MK's had to say:
All eyes turned to the Knesset podium when it was ascended by Gush Katif expellee MK Tzvi Hendel (National Union), who is now living in Yad Binyamin in a temporary dwelling, together with his neighbors and friends from Ganei Tal. Hendel said, "I am sometimes asked whether a bumper sticker sported on many cars, which reads, 'We won't forget and we won't forgive,' is not too strong and mean-hearted. I explain that in Judaism, forgiveness has rules. We are called upon to ask forgiveness every year on Yom Kippur, and we are forgiven only if certain conditions are fulfilled. For one thing, the person who sinned must ask forgiveness - and this has not been done in this case. Secondly, the one who sinned must admit his error and express regret, and this was not done either. Thirdly, he must commit himself not to do it again, and neither has this been done! Therefore, under these circumstances, there is no place for forgiveness regarding the expulsion."

Finally, Prime Minister Olmert himself took the podium. Appearing to be trying to stall for time, he began by addressing something Arab MK Muhammed Barakeh had said earlier: "I would like to say in principle, following what MK Barakeh said, that [he is right in saying] that the government did not send people to live anywhere [as MK Cabel had said]. No one was sent anywhere. However, none of the people in Gush Katif lived there against the will or policy of the government. The government was able to stop people from living in places when it wanted to. It evacuated people from various places, and helped and encouraged others who lived elsewhere. They are citizens, they lived there according to law, and they were removed from their homes against their will; on this there is no dispute."

Olmert Won't Apologize
"I will not apologize for the Disengagement," Olmert then said, "despite MK Hendel's request, but the fact is that they were evicted against their will. The State did so in accordance with its policies, and it is now responsible to find solutions to all the problems that follow as a result."

"Secondly," Olmert continued, "this session can be held on two planes. One way is for us to argue over every detail - and if I wanted to, I could provide many good answers for many of the points raised here by the MKs who have claims against the government. The picture is certainly not a one-way street, in no way or form. To say that the government has done nothing [for the expellees] is totally wrong. It made hundreds of decisions on this matter, and in a very generous manner. The reparations paid out are much higher than were ever paid out - including the concept of 'communal evacuation,' which is much more expensive than what happened in Sinai."

Upon hearing this, MK Hendel interrupted: "I'll assume you're saying this out of ignorance." Olmert: "No, it is out of knowledge." Hendel: "Then it's an outright lie." MK Benny Elon: "Menachem Begin did not throw them out [from Sinai, in 1982] before their homes were ready - as opposed to here, where they were thrown out with nothing ready."

Olmert soon continued, "So I don't want to get into all the details, because I have many good answers. But I will say, unconnected to the mistakes made by all the sides --" At this point, Hendel yelled out again, and then at another MK, and Knesset Speaker Yitzchak Cohen of Shas threatened to remove him from the session; one MK called out, 'You would remove him even from this session??'

Finally, Olmert continued, "The delays are not caused by the government, but rather by the bureaucracy put in place by the State of Israel for these types of issues - and all the righteous MKs who usually insist on every jot and tittle, yet here they dare to say how cruel it is, etc., I would advise them not to be so hypocritical." [Who controls that bureaucracy if not the government? CiJ]

"Thirdly," Olmert said, "I have instructed all the government bodies -and MK Ariel knows this - to look into the problems not according to who is right, but rather how to ease difficulties for these people, because in the end, no matter what, they were removed from their homes and we were the ones who made the decision to do it." MK Ariel was then given permission to interrupt, and said, "Why don't you change the building and construction law, it costs nothing, it would be a one-time act, in order to speed up the construction process of the new communities."

Olmert responded, "I am willing to look into this in a positive light. I am open to a change of approach in order to speed up the process." Olmert also said he would speak with the Attorney General regarding a solution for the Disengagement-protest criminal record of many youngsters. "We don't want to fight with the evacuees, nor do we have to answer their every plea, but our hearts and pockets are open, and we hope to reduce the controversy and pain."

Gush Katif Committee head Lior Kalfa, who was present at the session, told Arutz-7 afterwards, "We have heard enough talk for two years; the time has long come for action... I will wait a week or two to see if something happens - for instance, for the Prime Minister to instruct that a law be prepared to bypass regular procedures in order to help the new communities be built without bureacracy. This was done when one million Russian immigrants came, and it has to be done now."

When reminded that just today, the Knesset voted down a proposal by Likud MK Michael Eitan to create a committee for this purpose, Kalfa said, "So you see? We are not optimistic..."

Netanyahu Notes Three Failures
Olmert was followed by Opposition Leader Binyamin Netanyahu, who emphasized three failures: The first is the government's "treatment of our uprooted brothers. I was in Nitzan, and I saw the peeling walls - and behind them, the broken families. The government first took their houses, and then it took their self-respect... We know the bureaucracy, Mr. Prime Minister, but it's like a jungle - you just have to take the governmental machete and smash a way through. But that has not been done..."

The second failure, Netanyahu said, was one of policy: "When Israel left Sinai [in 1982], it was done effectively, even if not everyone agreed with the plan. There are arrangements and supervisory mechanisms in place, and there is peace, and it worked. But the policy of unilateral withdrawals, which began [under then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak] in Lebanon, has simply not worked, neither in Lebanon nor in Gaza, because whatever area we abandon simply fills up with extremist Moslem elements. I can tell you, unlike what I have heard here from some speakers today, there will not be a third example of this policy [in Judea and Samaria]."

Netanyahu then mentioned the third failure, which he attributed in part to Ehud Olmert himself: "I have asked myself, what caused these withdrawals and running away? I believe that there is a failure of national will, a form of material fatigue. Olmert said in New York, 'We are tired of winning, we are tired of fighting.' ... No one wants wars, but when they're forced upon us, we have no choice - we must win. There can be no more 'we are tired.' I don't know how much longer you'll be in office, Mr. Prime Minister, but in the time you have left, you must change this theme. We are not tired in any sphere, and we must make it clear to our enemies that we will defeat them every arena. All of these three failures must be corrected -- if not by this government, then by the next one."

The government mustered a strong majority in the Knesset, and the Prime Minister's announcement was approved by a 55 - 18 vote, with 10 abstentions.
But there may be someone in Israel who is even more shameless than Olmert. YNet published an article tonight from a man who belongs in jail due to his financial misdealings and who would be in jail but for the expulsion of Jews from Gaza. His name is Gilad Sharon and he is the son former Prime Minister Arik Sharon. If you read carefully, you will note that he is against making 'deals' with the 'Palestinians' but he has no problem with more unilateral withdrawals expulsions of Jews from their homes.
There is no point - as it has been demonstrated over and over again during the past 13 years - in reaching an agreement with any key Palestinian element. This is futile.

It suffices to look at the vast number of ceasefire agreements the Palestinians have signed among themselves during the infighting in Gaza (they even signed the Mecca Deal, which was supposed to give it some religious validity.) Every one of the agreements was breached even before the ink had dried on the documents they signed.

If this is the value they attribute to agreements among themselves, what then is the value of agreements signed with us, which of course were never adhered to? There is also no point to the choir of voices here calling to bolster Mahmoud Abbas, so that the murderers of his camp can defeat another murderous camp in their midst. Such talk is futile.


We should do what's best for us and not depend on any Palestinian element to do anything. There is no point in discussing an exchange deal with them, because there is no such exchange. We evacuated the Gaza Strip, for example, because we are better off not being there, as per the opinion of the vast majority and leadership. [In other words, no apologies for Gaza and he would do it again if the 'vast majority' wanted to do it. No, there was no vast majority (outside of North Tel Aviv) in favor of expelling all the Jews from Gaza. But Sharon's father railroaded it through to keep himself and his sons out of jail. The other son - Omri - is going to jail, but he was sentenced to nine months and last week, that sentence was commuted to seven months after the judge who wanted to exchange the jail time for community service was outvoted. The branja take care of their own. CiJ]

Let's imagine that we had left Gaza with an agreement, which would have obviously been immediately breached, could we then have flaunted something imaginary in return?

Our goal is to live in safety and calm. If we have to reach a local understanding to achieve this objective, that's quite alright. There is no point in trying to force a western central government on the Palestinians or to force our values on them. This reeks of arrogance and patronage, and it won't work.
The Rabbis tell us that the characteristics of Jews are "rachmanim, bayshanim, v'gomlei hasadim" - merciful, shy and always doing good deeds for others. Someone who does not fit those characteristics, we are told, is probably not really Jewish. I'm beginning to wonder about some of the people in power in this country.


At 2:40 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

can you explain the link between the withdrawel and Sharon's son. Was a left wing prosecutor blackmailing Sharon?
During the withdrawel I heard many conspiracy theories- casino, Arik was being blackmailed by an ivestigator, etc.
I was against the disengagement, but having been a Sharon supporter all my life ,I was willing to hope that he haqd a card up his sleeve.
Of course, even if he did his putz successor does not.

At 7:47 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


If you follow the links in the blog post, you will see that a couple of them discuss Sharon's legal problems. The IDF Chief of Staff who was fired for opposing the disengagement said it publicly last summer: the disengagement was to keep Sharon out of jail.

At 7:47 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

I should have said Sharon and his sons out of jail.


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