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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

December 05, 2002

Ballots Under Bullets
By Uri Dan

That last week's day of terror occurred during the Likud primaries was further proof that Arafat means to destroy Israeli democracy prior to dismantling the Jewish state

Ariel Sharon's real achievement in the Likud primaries was not his victory over Binyamin Netanyahu, but the knockout blow he delivered to Yasser Arafat and his supporters.

Netanyahu had made a personal and political mistake in forcing Sharon to take part in a democratically justifiable but unnecessary political struggle whose results were known in advance while a real war was under way against Arafat's terrorist offensive.

That last week's day of bloody terror occurred during the primaries was not by chance. The murderous Palestinian attack on the Likud branch in Beit She'an at least was deliberately timed. And if those missiles had hit the Arkia airliner full of passengers as it was taking off from Mombasa, it is hard to believe anyone would have dared to go ahead with the primaries. The pain and shock felt over the six people murdered in Beit She'an and the many wounded, including three of MK David Levy's sons, threatened to affect the major democratic process taking place that day.

It was further proof that Arafat's intention remains the destruction of Israeli democracy, on the way to the implementation of his plan to destroy the Jewish state.

Israel's act of bringing Arafat to the gates of Jerusalem in the winter of 1994 was what led to Sharon's election, in February 2001, as Israel's fifth prime minister in less than seven years. Arafat had succeeded in getting Shimon Peres, Binyamin Netanyahu, and Ehud Barak ousted from their posts.

All of them had warmly shaken the PLO leader's hand; Sharon was the only one who listened to the voice of his conscience, rejected the advice of political idiots, and forcefully refused to extend his hand to the terrorist leader.

It was therefore hardly surprising that the smile returned to Arafat's face when Binyamin Ben-Eliezer broke up the national-unity government. Arafat and his accomplices began speaking openly, in declarations, articles and interviews, about the "window of opportunity" that had opened up for them to get rid of Sharon.

Over the course of the last 20 months they discovered the bad bargain they had made by helping bring Sharon to power in the hope that he would be a new Milosevic who, aided by international pressure, could be thrown out "in six months" (a consolation offered them by Yossi Beilin and his supporters).

The precise opposite occurred. Arafat was the one who became illegitimate, not only in US eyes, but also for some of the European countries. To the IDF and the Shin Bet Sharon returned their freedom of action in area A so as to minimize as far as possible losses caused by Palestinian terror. After first besieging Arafat in the Mukata and eventually sending in bulldozers to flatten the whole complex, Sharon turned Arafat into the world's best-known homeless person. [Read More]