I am no Clark Gable, but I feel at this moment like Rhett Butler did.
I have fought with myself. I have
literally spent sleepless nights. Now I can no longer avoid a decision.
I have made up my mind.
I shall put the Barak ballot into
I respect my many friends who
have decided to put a blank ballot there. But I cannot join them.
I, too, have a long list of
arguments why not to vote for Barak. I have only one argument in favor
of voting for him.
If I were asked to set out all my
argument in favor of a blank ballot, all the pages of this newspaper
would not suffice. To make a long story short: He promised peace and
brought war, and not by accident.
While speaking about peace, he
enlarged the settlements. Cut the Palestinian territories into pieces
with "by-pass" roads. Confiscated lands. Demolished homes.
Uprooted trees. Paralyzed the Palestinian economy. Did not do a thing to
put an end to the daily harassment of Palestinian civilians at the
hundreds of army roadblocks all over the territories. Caused a huge
accumulation of rage in the hearts of the Palestinians.
Conducted negotiations in which
he tried to dictate to the Palestinians a peace that amounts to
capitulation. Was not satisfied with the fact that by accepting the
Green Line, the Palestinians have already given up 78% of their historic
homeland. Demanded the annexation of "settlement blocs" and
pretended that they amount only to 3% of the territory, while in fact he
meant that more then 20% would remain under Israeli control. Wanted to
coerce the Palestinians into accepting a "state" cut off from
all its neighbors and composed of several enclaves isolated from each
other, each surrounded by Israeli settlers and soldiers. While agreeing
so it seems to divide Jerusalem, did not agree to turn over to
the Palestinians the crucial sovereignty over their holy mosques.
Violated dozens of articles of
the signed agreements, and specifically did not implement the "third
withdrawal" from all the West Bank and the Gaza strip (except
"specified security locations") nor open the four "safe
passages" agreed upon. Boasts publicly that he has not given back
to the Palestinians one inch of territory.
When the situation was already
ripe for an explosion, he allowed Ariel Sharon to "visit" the
compound of the holy mosques. When the intifada broke out, sent snipers
to shoot in cold blood from a distance hundreds of unarmed demonstrators,
adults and children. Blockaded each village and town separately,
bringing them to the verge of starvation, in order to get them to
surrender. Bombarded neighborhoods. Started a policy of mafia-style
"liquidations", causing an inevitable escalation of the
Has a complete lack of empathy
with the other side. Continues to treat it as an enemy. Abused and
humiliated Yasser Arafat even while negotiating with him (and never
uttered even one positive word about him). Got the Israeli public to
hate the Palestinians and their leaders. Caused the people to despair of
any chances for peace (and thus convinced them to vote for Sharon).
Treated the Arab citizens of
Israel with contempt. Did not appoint an Arab minister. Was silent when
the police killed 13 Arab citizens during demonstrations. Did not send
the commanding officer to hell. Has not apologized to this very day.
Has shown complete indifference
to every social and human issue. Has done next to nothing to minimize
the social gap and treat the other social ills.
And so on and so forth. These
arguments are more than enough to justify putting a blank ballot into
There is only one single argument
for putting a Barak ballot instead: Ariel Sharon and his gang.
There is certainly no analogy,
and the circumstances are quite different, but there is some food for
thought in the following:
In 1932, some months before the
Nazis came to power, the German Communists helped them to remove the
last bastion of democracy: the government of Prussia, which at that time
controlled most of Germany as well as the strongest police force in the
country. The Communists wanted to destroy their Social-Democratic
competitors and did not believe that the Nazis could hold on to power
I vividly remember a newsreel:
the Nazis had declared a transportation strike in Berlin, in order to
bring down the democratic government. They were joined by the Communists.
The newsreel showed the Nazi storm-troopers in their brown shirts and
the Communist "Red Front" members in their distinctive
uniforms standing together in the cold night and warming their hands
over an open fire in a Berlin street.
I was 9 years old, and I remember
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