Sunday, November 26, 2006

Peretz: no better, no worse

By Gideon Levy

"Amir Peretz is a lousy defense minister; but his predecessors in this position were no better than him. The shrieking chorus now calling for his removal - the prime minister, the Labor Party ministers, residents of Sderot - forgets that Peretz is no worse than his predecessors.

How is Peretz worse than his predecessors? Was the security situation better before him? Is it because of the helplessness he has demonstrated in countering the Qassams? Even the IDF admits there is no military solution. The Qassams did not start with Peretz and will not end with the blows he inflicts. And the IDF acts exactly as it did under the previous defense ministers: showy operations of vengeance, excessive use of force, ground intrusions, liquidations, shelling and bombing from the air - actions that only stir hatred and terror. His predecessors also did this.

The fact that the IDF is almost the sole dictator of defense policy is also not something that started with Peretz. And the liquidations - Barak owns the copyright for this futile method. Ben-Eliezer and Mofaz expanded it, and regretfully Peretz is following in their path. Peretz also did not invent the confused notion that applying pressure on the Palestinian population will lead to a solution. Neither did he invent the wholesale injury of innocents or the fleeing from negotiations. This is the way they acted before him and this is what the prime minister is dictating now.

The idea that replacing Peretz could bring change is an outrageous fraud. Barak? Ami Ayalon? Ephraim Sneh? Avi Dichter? Ben-Eliezer? Every one of them would act like Peretz, and perhaps even worse. After all, each of them would seek to immediately show their superiority to Peretz and would do this by exercising more force. And the result would again be pointless bloodshed. "

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