Ja oder Nein?
Shulamith Aloni und Jizhak Laor
Moderation: Uri Avnery
20:00h im Museum Erez Israel
Between Cholera and the Plague
I am in turmoil, more so than for a long, long time.
All my life I have opposed the blank ballot. I have written articles
much more convincing than the current propaganda cliches of Yossi Sarid.
the Ehud Barak slip, my hand will tremble and refuse.
I know all the arguments. A blank ballot is a ballot for Sharon.
Of course. But those who voice this argument must prove that Barak is
than Sharon. As of this moment, it is nearly certain that a
government will be set up after the elections. Either Sharon will be
with Barak as his Minister of Defense, or Barak will be Prime Minister
as his minister of Defense. Big deal. Does this justify casting a vote?
Isn't this whole campaign a puppet show for the feeble-minded?
Twenty months ago, when the television anchorman announced Barak's
I rushed to Rabin square and danced for joy. The end of the Likud era!
The beginning of the era of peace! But in the short period since then
destroyed all that could be destroyed: the peace momentum, Rabin's
the national morale, the trust and goodwill of the Palestinians.
How has he done this? He has not given back to the Palestinians one
square inch, flagrantly violating the Oslo agreement (the third
He has enlarged the settlements at a feverish pace, built countless
for annexation and tried to dictate to the Palestinians terms of
He has destroyed the trust created with great difficulty between Rabin
describing the leader of the Palestinian people as a terrible person,
in whose company he suffers perpetually (as he said this week on
an election broadcast). And in the end he sent Sharon - yes, the
of his election propaganda - to the Haram al-Sharif, accompanied by 2000
thus igniting with his own hands the violent intifada.
Now he has started the "eliminations campaign" and the choking
towns and villages, which borders on a war crime.
The sins can be counted one by one, but the worst of all is unforgivable:
he has made the Israeli public hate peace. He created a mendacious
that he had "turned every stone on the way to peace", made
broken all the taboos - and in return the Palestinians opened fire and
This means that there is no "partner", that peace is an
illusion, that Oslo was
a terrible mistake. If so, why the hell not vote for Sharon?
The truth is, of course, quite different.
For one and a half years Barak has driven the national train on the
said down by Sharon. It was Sharon who created the settlement map, in
cut the Palestinian territories into pieces and foreclose any
possibility of peace.
Barak took over Sharon's map under the code-words "settlement blocs"
and tried to
impose it on the Palestinians. The decoration is different (peace
endless negotiations) but the policy is the same. The "red lines"
but as there is not a single Palestinian who would accept Barak's lines,
the end result is the same.
It is unjust to blame the Israeli people. There was very little
Barak announced his virtual concessions. The public was ready go a long
way with him.
But he stopped. Even on the eve of the elections, public opinion polls
half the voters are ready to elect Shimon Peres, who is now identified
in the public
mind with peace and the "new Middle East". It is being said:
That's all true,
but Sharon is worse. He will bring terrible partners with him. I do not
But Barak has brought the same partners. And I am fed up with choosing
Cholera and the Plague (as the Jewish saying goes). There is at least
thing about a Sharon government: All the world knows who Sharon is, we
Sharon is. The international community, which has pampered Barak because
his talk about peace, will stand on its hind legs to oppose Sharon.
The Israeli Left, which has invented endless justifications for Barak,
will come out
and demonstrate en masse when Sharon does the same. Some say that blank
do not help. They will not even be counted. That's nonsense. When the
count discloses hundreds of thousands of "invalid" ballots,
added to wide-spread
abstention, the political clout of the peace camp will become evident
and future Prime
Ministers will know the risk of ignoring it. This is neither revenge nor
but a logical political act in the present situation. I don't want this
Even at this late hour I practically beg Barak:
Promise us that you will on no condition join a "unity"
government with Sharon,
cancel the "red lines", present a reasonable peace plan. If
you are unable to do this,
turn the candidacy over to someone else. If you don't take either of
there will be a terrible crash. We shall enter a difficult time, perhaps
difficult we have known.
We shall have to build a new, more solid peace
of the one that has broken apart as a result of the destructive Barak
We will need to get rid of the whole bunch of cowardly political
failures, as we got
rid of Golda and her bunch, and find a new, courageous leadership.
On the morrow of the elections,
we must start again from the beginning.
GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv
61033 - http://www.gush-shalom.org/
On Sunday, Jan. 28, a public
meeting will be held on an issue which is foremost in the minds of many
of us: whether or not to cast a blank ballot ("petek lavan")
in the upcoming elections for Prime Minister.
The meeting, held under auspices
of Gush Shalom, will feature ex-minister Shulamit Aloni and poet
Yitzchak Laor and will be moderated by Uri Avnery. It will take place on
the 28th, at 8.00 PM, in the Klatchkin Hall of the Eretz-Yisrael
Museum, Ramat Aviv (corner of Namir Road and Haim Levanon St.).
Entrance fee: 20 Shekels, Students & Pensioners 15 NIS.