Thursday, June 23, 2005

Could It Be True?

While I find it hard to believe that a leader, a military hero, could be so horribly selfish, one still has to wonder. In her latest column in the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick discusses a new book, Boomerang, that's been released about why Ariel Sharon, who was once the champion of the settler movement, came up with his disengagement plan. The reason, if true, is nothing short of a betrayal of Israel.

... stemmed from considerations that had absolutely nothing to do with Israel's national security interests. According to the two writers, Sharon's basic impetus for adopting the radical left-wing plan – that had been overwhelmingly rejected by voters in the January 2003 elections – was his desire to avoid indictment for his role in corruption scandals for which he and his sons Gilad and Omri were under police investigation.

How can a hero do something like this just to save his own (and his sons') skin? I truly can't wrap my head around it. The writers allude to private conversations in which Sharon was advised how best to turn the nation's attention away from the investigations into his actions. They claim to have spoken to people who are closest to Sharon. The following paragraph made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

Several months ago, a senior government official who was involved in the government discussions about the withdrawal plan told me, "Sharon placed the legal establishment on the horns of a dilemma. They had to decide what moved them more, their love of the law or their hatred of the settlers. It was an easy decision."

Why turn on your own? What is with the demonization of your fellow countrymen and women? I realize I'm naive, but I don't get it. Here's another doozy from the Glick article:

SHELACH AND Drucker's book gives the lie to the notion that any security or strategic considerations were taken into account by Sharon and Weisglass in formulating the withdrawal plan. Indeed, as Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yaron, who now serves as Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's senior policy adviser, is quoted as having said, "If the disengagement goes through, it will be proof that there is no need for any decision-making process in the State of Israel."

This is the case because, as the authors demonstrate, the plan, which was Weisglass's brainchild, was made without any staff work, without any discussion with the army, and without any debate by the cabinet. Weisglass presented it to then US national security adviser Rice without any discussion with or forewarning to the IDF or the Shin Bet and against the strenuous objections of both.

Charming. The more I read, the more angry I get. Glick then goes on to discuss all the moves I think I've discussed before (but don't mind repeating), that seemed incredibly dubious in nature.

To counteract the security establishment's opposition, Sharon effectively fired the IDF chief of general staff, Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, and Shin Bet director Avi Dichter by not extending their tours of duty, as is routinely done for both positions. He simultaneously stacked the General Staff and the Shin Bet with commanders who, like Mofaz, understand that they are personally indebted to the prime minister.

I already did a post about how the Israeli media has played into Sharon's hands with their one-sided coverage. Apparently, they're continuing this trend with their silence about this book. Glick is not afflicted by this illness.

DRUCKER'S AND Shelach's findings point to two critical and acute problems in Israel. The first is that Sharon, in sharp contrast to the public image that his advisers have carefully crafted for him, is neither a great visionary nor a strong leader. He is an old widower moved by personal ambition and an overarching desire to be perceived as a man he is no longer capable of being. The second problem is that our legal establishment is perceived by our political leadership as so prejudicial that it is capable of inspiring policies that are antithetical to national security.

The fact that, in spite of their clear support for the left-wing platform of an Israeli return to the 1949 armistice lines Drucker and Shelach could not ignore the fact that Sharon's entire policy was based on nothing other than his desire to be admired and to avert criminal indictment, shows clearly how history will look back on this period. It also shows that, as was the case with the critics of the Oslo process, critics of this plan – which, like the Oslo agreement, was put together with no discussion or debate, against the strenuous opposition of the defense establishment and with no thought of what would come in its aftermath – will be proven right in all of their warnings of impending disaster.

And Glick would know about Oslo. She was one of those negotiating with the Palestinians for Rabin. While her language is off-putting to many on the left (hi Dad), I still feel that she's someone to listen to and respect. Her closing statement...

There are still two months before this ill-begotten and breathtakingly ridiculous plan is to be carried out. In the time that remains it will be interesting to see whether those, both in Israel and the US, who were brave enough to oppose the Oslo plan on the basis of its obvious and gaping flaws but who today, placing their trust in large part on Sharon's reputation as a strong leader, support the withdrawal plan, will reconsider that support. If they do not, they, like Sharon, will not be remembered by history for their past bravery, but rather for their decision to prefer momentary and opportunistic accolades for their "moderation" over the long-term security of the State of Israel and the stability of the Middle East as a whole.

I don't know anything about the two authors, but Sharon's resume is known to all. Glick is someone I respect and doubt would give credence to something without checking it out, simply because it supports her take on things. If this is true, it's too vile for words.


At 10:26 AM, Blogger Gindy said...

I have had mixed feelings about all of this. Most of it comes from the fact that the Palestinians have not changed their goal of wiping out the Jews. Yet Sharon talks about pushing ahead anyway. I actually think the Gaza disengament would have happened either way. But, a West Bank disengagement bothers me a little more. That seems like it may be a security mistake. I also think the indictment thing may have something to do with his push for withdrawl/retreat. But, President Bush has been pushing pretty hard as well. Too hard if you ask me.

The most disturbing thing about this is the way that the settlers are demonized. Even the Sharon government is using words like extremists to describe them.

At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Rory said...

It certainly would explain a lot. There had to be a very compelling reason (aside from the pressure being put on Sharon by George Bush, who's trying to take some of the heat off Tony Blair for his unpopular stance on the Iraq war) for someone like Sharon to have done a complete turnaround like this. Also, the fact that the authors of the book are described as being left-wing would seem to add validity to the accusation. After all, it's not in the left's interest to have more people turning against the disengagement. In addition, I wonder what the payoff is for Ehud Olmert, who has also taken to demonizing the settlers and, presumably, must feel there's something in it for him. And I thought we had some venal politicians in this country.

At 4:36 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

I still would like to think there will be a rabbit emerging from the hat (somehow).

At 10:22 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Two words:

Conspiracy Theory

At 11:44 PM, Blogger patrickafir said...

I'll quote Dr. Carl Sagan here: "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence."

Show me the money.

At 2:41 AM, Blogger muse said...

Very dangerous, very sick.
Listen to Caroline Glick.

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Gindy said...

"I still would like to think there will be a rabbit emerging from the hat (somehow)."

I am in that camp. But, that maybe overly hopeful at this point.

At 11:53 AM, Blogger JayM said...

i havent study much to know the facts but my opinion is that Sharon is doing all these for the sake of peace. And if the palestinians dont see this and continue the bombings i think they should be pushed to the desert. I personally think israel has been very kind, too kind to the palestinians. how many years have passed and this kind of bombings still going on in israel? There was only one trade bombing and america started two wars; one in afganistan and one in iraq and all in the name of WARs Against Terror! so why put so much presure on Sharon? I think he is being very kind for Peace.

And by the way,
if im him, oh one bombing in a super market or a public bus is enough. All palestinians will be gone far far away from my city. No palestinians will be working in my city. i'll deal with them far far away from home.Any country that harbor or help the palestinians do suicide boombings in israel will pay a very heavy price. Why cant Israel do that? Israel is a powerful nation and america is behind you so what are you afraid of? why are you putting your people in danger everyday by not getting rid of these palestianians? Start by not doing business with them. no employments or trade whatsoever with them. sort of the like the america and cuba type of deal:) i dont know but everytime i see the bombings in israel is just make me sad and wonder why israel are letting it happen again and again. why?

At 12:01 PM, Anonymous gravelrash said...

Druckers' claim certainly came out of 'left field', but in all the furor he has come out and re-affirmed it.
Esther - Israels "left". Is it European style (neo-Marxist) left....or Californian, (New Age) left? If you know what I mean.
I'm like you jaym, not really qualified to comment very much, but if this is "for peace" than maybe the "rabbit out of the hat" isn't too far away! Let's hope so.
I came to awareness of Israel in 1967, and it was a feeling of AWE. I still have that feeling about anything to do with her, and I do expect a much larger "sovereign hand" to come into play again.
Israel is the only nation on this planet who can truely say "with God on her side."

At 12:13 PM, Blogger SEAWITCH said...

I agree with patrickafir - show me the money


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