September 7, 2002
Sharon attacks Gush Shalom in Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) radio address
In his New Year interview on the radio, Sharon once more lashed out against Gush Shalom. Seemingly as a spontaneous answer to a spontaneous question the PM came up with a long quote of the ancient historian Josephus Flavius about how the Romans nearly 2000 years ago defeated the Jews "who were fighting among themselves." All this was intended to show the Israeli public how evil and abject is Gush Shalom for having sent warning letters to officers of the Israeli army, officers who had openly boasted about acts which constitute violations of the Geneva Conventions. By telling the officers that what they themselves had told the media might be used as evidence in court - an Israeli court or an international court - the Gush Shalom activists earned already twice in the past months a furious outburst of the PM, who demanded of the Attorney General to probe Gush Shalom for it - not to mention a widely publicized attack by Israeli Air Force commander Dan Halutz and sundry broadsides by various ministers, Knesset Members and columnists.
This week, the Attorney General came however to the conclusion that there was no reason to prosecute Gush Shalom. Thereupon, the Minister of Justice announced that he would take legislative measures to bring the Gush Shalom activists to trial anyway. On the following day the Attorney General told him that there was no need: Gush Shalom members could after all be put on trial within the present legislation.
The newest chapter in this war of nerves: PM Ariel Sharon decided to carry on his personal hate campaign against Gush Shalom. Former Knesset member and Gush Shalom leader Uri Avnery commented: "Israelis remember very well what was the result of that earlier hate campaign - against Rabin - in which Sharon played quite a central role."
In the same radio interview, Sharon also said that he did not feel a sense of failure as a result of the increasing terror, the economic crisis and the diminished prospects for peace during his tenure. "It was indeed a difficult year, but I think that we must also look back on the achievements," he said. "First, we established a national unity government, which is no small feat. On the terror front, we waged war against terror and the Palestinian Authority, which tried to break us. We didn't break, but stood fast. The battle is not yet over." The question rises: Is the PM planning a further escalation, involving measures which might get him and his military officers in trouble with the new Hague War Crimes Court? Could that be why he wants Gush Shalom out of his way?
For more information:
Adam Keller, spokesperson +972-3-5565804 / +972-56-709603 / +972-56-709604
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