|A green light for the next murder
By Yoel Marcus (Haaretz) Aug 2, 2002
A friend who attended the funeral of one of the West Bank terror victims
this week told me the following story: It was a quiet, respectable service,
a gathering of family and friends, when all of a sudden a rowdy, disruptive
bunch of hooligans materialized out of nowhere, brandishing signs reading
"Prosecute the Oslo criminals" and cursing everyone who was
involved in the peace process or had worked to promote it. Within moments,
he related, the funeral had turned into a frenzied, violent demonstration.
My friend, who served in an official capacity in the Barak administration,
was worried that someone might recognize him and rough him up. "For
the first time in my life," he said, "I felt real physical
These people, the likes of whom we also saw this week in Hebron,
running wild and coming to blows with Israeli policemen, go from funeral
to funeral spreading fear and panic, and, most of all, hatred. They
are referred to as the "lunatic fringe," but in practice,
they set the tone. They terrorize the state and their impact on the
national atmosphere threatens Israel's democratic character.
When Benjamin (Fuad) Ben-Eliezer - not the kind of guy you'd like
to meet in a dark, narrow alley - says at the Labor Party convention:
"You're brave, Haim Ramon. Let's see you dismantle 200 settlements.
Let's see you dismantle one," it's clear that they've already
got him quaking in his boots. The political policy of not removing
a single settlement was dictated long ago.
They've also managed to create an atmosphere in which anyone who
has any connection to peace is a criminal or a traitor. They can be
seen at the site of every terror attack, inciting the crowd with their
anti-Oslo rhetoric. In the confusion following the suicide bombing
at the cafe on Allenby Street, we saw how quickly "Death to Arafat"
turned into "Death to Peres." Their demands to put the whole
government on trial are as catchy as Asiatic flu. The world of politicians
is now divided into patriots and traitors.
In these seditious times, when a poster demanding that Peres be shot
or hung for treason appears around town; when Michael Kleiner calls
the architects of Oslo a "fifth column;" when MK Uri Ariel
calls for the criminals of Oslo to be prosecuted on charges of endangering
IDF soldiers, nothing is surprising anymore.
A while back, 43 academics signed a petition, like they do in Egypt,
to prevent Yossi Beilin from giving a lecture on campus, "because
he is responsible for the deaths of 400 Israelis since the beginning
of the intifada." Prof. Zaritsky said at the time: "I am
not ashamed to say that the people behind the Oslo accords ought be
put on trial for secretly conducting illegal negotiations - a crime
that merits the same punishment as treason."
Traitors or criminals, these hotheads forget that the Oslo accords
were approved by the Knesset in 1993, hence they are also binding
on the Sharon administration. So what are they going to do? Hang everyone?
We said it was catchy, didn't we? The left-wing Yesh Gvul movement,
which says soldiers should refuse to serve in the territories, Sharon
should be indicted for war crimes, and Dichter and Ya'alon should
be tried for assassinating Salah Shehadeh is no different from the
lunatic fringe on the right. Both are steering us toward violence
and civil war.
The atmosphere of today is even more poisoned than it was in the
last month of Rabin's life. The poster of Rabin in an SS uniform held
aloft at Zion Square; the non-stop personal incitement; the statements
of Prof. Hillel Weiss of the Professors for a Strong Israel who explored
the possibility of prosecuting Rabin as a traitor - in the end, all
of this produced a murderer.
In the light of this bitter experience, it is astonishing how complacent
we are about the ugly tide of physical threats now sweeping the country.
For the rioters in Hebron not to be prosecuted is unacceptable. For
the attorney general to ignore demands to investigate those who utter
such threats and print posters that implicitly encourage the assassination
of leaders is also unacceptable.
The one and only traitor and criminal of the Oslo accords is Yasser
Arafat, who, with all his incitement and provocation, lost a state
with his own two hands and led his people to the edge of the abyss.
That a crazed minority in Israel should cooperate with the murderers
of peace in the Palestinian camp by denouncing the elected leaders
of Israel is intolerable. Equally intolerable is that this minority
should infect an entire nation with its messianic disease, and use
freedom of expression and the weakness of the law enforcement system
to give a green light for the next murder.