Dividing The Holy Land


We will see. Now that hard-line Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been ousted, now that his critics got their wish on May 19 with the election of Labor Party leader Ehud Barak, the whole world will soon find out whether the “peace process” they’ve been envisioning will really work.

Barak is just the sort of politician many have been looking for. A firm believer in the “land for peace” formula so integral to the Middle East peace agenda, Barak seems eager to engage several land giveaway requests. He has already expressed willingness to accept an independent Palestinian state. He has promised to withdraw troops from Lebanon within a year. He is prepared to concede parts of the Golan Heights.

Carving up his territory to appease: This is the same policy Tony Blair is using to dismantle the United Kingdom. Barak was in fact the “unofficial” favorite in the election by American and British governments, who openly rejoiced over his victory. The ideological similarity of Barak to Mr. Clinton is further reflected in Barak’s choice of James Carville (of Clinton’s camp) as his campaign adviser. The polemic Carville was able to win him the election —with little care for the political climate he’ll now inherit.

In Israel, religion determines policy. Wider than ever now is the rift between Israel’s Orthodox and secular Jews, violently split over the sacredness of their possession of Mideast land.

Remember Yasser Arafat’s threats to declare a Palestinian state on May 1? He put it off until after Netanyahu could be put out—after receiving “unofficial” word from Clinton that he’d have his state within six months to a year if he’d only sit tight. (Incidentally, Barak was also the “unofficial” favorite of the Palestinian government.)

The Trumpet has long asserted that no amount of land will make the Palestinians peaceful neighbors. Netanyahu did not achieve peace, but he did stave off a major Middle East explosion. With Barak in office and territorial concessions soon to follow, we’ll now see how long it takes for the Palestinians’ appetite for land to exceed Israel’s capacity to satisfy it.