Monday, May 06, 2002
An important poll from Ha'aretz: 90% of Israeli Jews back Operation Defensive Shield, including 60% of Meretz voters. Also in the poll: 91% of Israeli Arabs believe there was a massacre in Jenin, and only 9% supported the Israeli military operation.
Think about what this means. Sharon is the bete noir of Meretz, a "deeply despised man" as President Mubarak of Egypt once referred to him. A Meretz voter and a Likud voter disagree about, well, everything. And 60% of Meretz voters supported Sharon's operation in Jenin and the rest of the West Bank.
There is, practically speaking, no Jewish dissent on Israel's war. None. In any population at war, you'll find a handful of people who identify completely with the enemy. That's the case in Israel, too. But apart from these few, there is a universal consensus in support of Israel's war on Palestinian terrorism. Left-liberal American pundits should bear that in mind the next time they suggest that "neither Sharon nor Arafat" can bring peace. This is not just an insult to Sharon; it's an insult to Israeli Jews, who are squarely behind their elected leader. If Sharon is a problem, then Israel is a problem, and our op-ed writers should be honest enough to say that.
But the statistic about Israeli Arabs is deeply distressing. There is increasing talk on the left - the left! - about exchanging Arab-dominated areas in the Galil for the major settlement blocs in the West Bank. By even discussing such a thing, left-wing Israeli Jews - Yossi Beilin, for example - are admitting that they do not consider Israeli Arabs to be real citizens; after all, if they did think so they would have to at least consult these people before consigning them to a new country. And they may be right. The radicalization of the Israeli Arab sector is a massive disaster, one that could have far worse implications for Israel than the Oslo War. Sharon once argued strongly for close cooperation between the Jewish and Arab sectors in Israel. He still mouths the same words, but I wonder what he - or anyone on the Jabotinskyite right - still believes is possible.