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Zur Hetzkampagne des Likud:
Wenn Ehud Barak Palästinenser wäre...

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Arafath liebt Barak
Gut Freund mit Antisemiten:
Barak - ein Knecht der Feinde Israels
<<< Sendungen zum Wahlkampf
Der Terroristenfreund
Barak als Terrorist:
Sympathien für die Mörder jüdischer Kinder
<<< Sendungen zum Wahlkampf
Barak heisst Terror
Die Arbeiterbewegung:
Türen auf für Mord und Terror
[Diskussion] Weitere Likud-Spots

By Gideon Levy
© copyright 1999 Ha'aretz. All Rights Reserved

What would have happened had Ehud Barak been born a Palestinian?When I asked him this question on television, I never dreamed that a year later the Likud would make such persistent use of his answer in their election broadcasts. Only his advisers, who left the studio enraged, and perhaps he himself, understood the problem that had been unleashed. But is it really a problem?

Every evening I sit down and watch television and I fail to understand - what, for heaven's sake, is wrong with Barak's answer? What does he say that can harm him, undermine his fighting image or help his adversaries? And, above all, how would Benjamin Netanyahu answer an identical question?

I just wanted to know how a person like Barak, who has spent most of his life in the army, fighting Palestinians and killing more than a few of them, saw the world from their point of view.

I wanted him to put himself for a minute in the shoes of those who have lived all their life under the crushing boot of the occupation, who have no reason to get up in the morning apart from their despair, and who long to be a free people in their own country.

As Barak knows full well, even wars are planned using this kind of simulation, an exercise that provides the best means of understanding the other side's behavior. So I asked Barak my question and Barak replied straightforwardly, "I would have joined a terrorist organization."

Within hours the country was in turmoil, and no attention was paid to the fact that Barak's answer was really the only possible unevasive and true answer.

To his credit, it must be said that Barak has never tried to alter his reply. If Ehud Barak, the much-lauded Israeli warrior, had been born a Palestinian, he would have fought for his people; if another ex-commando, Benjamin Netanyahu, had been born a Palestinian, he too would have fought for his people - although less than Barak.

Barak and Netanyahu volunteered in their youth to serve in the elite units of their nation's army. If they had been Palestinians, they would not have had an army or an elite unit to volunteer for. They would have volunteered for an organization that we refer to as a terrorist organization and they would have called it a liberation movement, for exactly the same reasons that led them to volunteer for "The Unit." From this point of view, there is no difference between Barak and Netanyahu.

Barak has taken part in several morally questionable "wet jobs." In "Spring of Youth," more than 50 Palestinian leaders and officials, including those who certainly did not merit a death sentence, were murdered in Beirut in 1973 under his command (and that of Amnon Lipkin-Shahak). To Palestinian eyes, this was a terrorist action.

The man who proudly commanded "Spring of Youth" (Netanyahu would be no less proud of taking part in such an operation) would have taken equal pride in Palestinian actions that we describe as acts of terror.And what else could a Palestinian Barak do? Would he have become a Quisling for the Israeli Shin Bet security service and betrayed his comrades? Would he have wandered through his home village, pointing out houses with his head hidden by a hood? Encouraged prisoners to talk? And what would a Palestinian Netanyahu have done? Traded in land with the Israelis? Or would the commando officer have become a pacifist?

Ehud Barak, an Israeli patriot, would have been a Palestinian patriot and as such, with his tendency to military affairs and to war, would have joined a terrorist organization. And Netanyahu would have done exactly the same.

The pair of them might not have blown up buses in the center of cities, but they certainly would have taken up arms, and the only weapon available to the Palestinians for years to counter the continuing occupation was the weapon of terrorism. They had no other weapon.

One does not have to be an apologist for terrorism to understand that no alternatives were available to the Palestinians in their struggle for self-determination and independence.

The world - and Israel - only began to pay attention to their problem when they began to struggle, and their struggle could only be a violent struggle, even if they sinned by undertaking particularly vicious activities that caused heavy damage to their own cause as well.

But the Intifada, it must be admitted, led to a change in Israeli society's view of the Palestinian problem and also to the world's recognition of their problem, even more than Arafat's peregrinations. Airplane hijackings brought worldwide condemnation, but also worldwide attention. The struggle for statehood sometimes takes the path of violence, sadly, as we Israelis have learned only too well: How many of our leaders started out as terrorists and have blood on their hands?

The Palestinians, it must be said with courage, had no other way except terror, for all the disgust that it arouses; Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu would have had no other path than to join that armed and cruel struggle if they had been born Palestinians.

If Netanyahu and his party are critical of Barak's courageous reply, then they must supply an equally genuine alternative answer to a wicked question. But there is none.

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17.Mai 1999

haGalil onLine - Dienstag 11-05-99

Die hier archivierten Artikel stammen aus den "Anfangsjahren" der breiten Nutzung des Internet. Damals waren die gestalterischen Möglichkeiten noch etwas ursprünglicher als heute. Wir haben die Artikel jedoch weiterhin archiviert, da die Informationen durchaus noch interessant sein können, u..a. auch zu Dokumentationszwecken.

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