The threat from within

Gideon Levy, Haaretz, March 16:

Defense Minister Ehud Barak is a bitter disappointment. He was the first statesman who dared suggest brave, though lacking, solutions. Now, he has turned into the chief saboteur of any chance for a calm in the fighting, a cease-fire or diplomatic progress. Barak has long forsaken talk of peace. He certainly does not believe in Olmert’s peace initiative and istrying his best to destroy it.

If you fear Likud Chair Benjamin Netanyahu, how much worse can his potential damage to the peace process be than Barak’s? Their rhetoric, as well as their actions, have now become indistinguishable. If calm seems at hand, Barak gives the go-ahead for a silly and dangerous assassination attempt in tranquil Bethlehem; just to rekindle the fire, lest there be a lull.

If there’s a lull in Qassams fired, then Barak does everything he can to ensure their renewal to justify the “large-scale op” in Gaza he intends to make. IF Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is desperately trying to push forward talks, Barak eliminates any chance of bolstering his support. If Hamas suggests a cease-fire, Barak responds: “We will witness harsh scenes in Gaza before a calm is reached.” If all’s quiet on the northern front, then Israeli pyromania claims Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyah, according to allegations. The security establishment does as it pleases: Killing; destroying; barring; seizing funds; issuing orders…  to close stores and factories in the West Bank; allowing construction in West Bank settlements; utterly humiliating the Palestinian Authority. It is oblivious to negotiations, Israeli commitments or lofty talk of peace.

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