Saturday, October 22, 2005

Although I do not read the English edition of Ha'Aretz on a daily basis anymore, the newspaper's website ( in Hebrew, with most of the interesting and relevant articles normally translated into English, which makes online references easier ) remains my first choice whenever I am looking for new updates and analyses. This weekend I read three good articles by some of the newspaper's most senior writers. Nehemia Strasler, whom I know as an expert of economics and finances who spares neither Right nor Left with his criticism rather than as someone with fierce (party-)political passions, wrote a harsh piece on what he calls the State of Judah vs the State of Israel. I do not know if everything that he writes is totally true ( I have never read such an emotional piece by him ) but when I read his piece my mouth fell open, out of surprise and a certain feeling of agreeing with much of its content: " Since the Sebastia settlement, all Israeli governments have squirmed, stuttered and lied when it comes to the settlements, but in effect, they have executed the plans of the state of Judea: to spread as many settlements as possible throughout the West Bank to make compromise and evacuation impossible. While the state of the Jews gets unlimited resources for spacious bypass highways, tunnels and huge bridges, in the State of Israel, the infrastructure is deteriorating, the roads and clover-leafs are reminiscent of the Third World. The lack of budgets is also a main reason for poverty because for 30 years, the State of Israel has not had enough money for education, welfare, vocational training and environmental protection. It has all gone to the state of Judea, where there's money for everything..." Ze'ev Schiff, who is also known for his expertise, heavily criticizes the former Shin Beth chief, Avi Dichter. Schiff gives highly critical comments on some of the compliments that Mr Dichter received for his work, as well as on the claims of victory over terror, claims made by Dichter and others: "In the present conflict with the Palestinians, Israel lost more than 1,000 people, most of them civilians, an all-time high relative both to Israel's losses in the past and to the enemy's losses. Nothing as serious as this has occured since the War of Independence. Moreover, in not one of Israel's wars were so many civilians killed on the home front. [...] If this is victory, then it is reminiscent of Pyrrhus of Epirus' famous statement: "Another such victory and I shall be lost!" ". Finally, Zvi Bar'el provides us with an analysis - from the perspective of an Israeli expert on Arab affairs - of the recent events and developments in Lebanon and Syria. Notice that he does not mention Israel even once in his article: " The release of the UN probe, the critical damage to Syria and Lebanon, the international pressure and the Larsen report on the implementation of Resolution 1559, which is due to be released next week, all provide the Lebanese government with an important opportunity to assert its sovereignty over all of Lebanon. The question is whether Lebanon will take advantage of the opportunity it is being offered. "

No comments: