Ezer Weizman's perspectives

Fri, 8 Aug 97

The BBC summarized a statement by Pres. Weizmann from Radio Israel. It reveals a interesting willingness to see some of the complexities of the present situation.

EW was interviewed while (or after?) visiting wounded survivors at hospitals after the Jerusalem suicide bombings. He says that Arafat called him, gave condolences and said that both sides must "fight the terrorists." EW's response: "Very good; how do we do that? Anyway, he promised to do something." Additional comments: "We have now to be very patient. We have to demand certain things, and we have to understand - all of us - that unless we have peace, it won't stop, because to go and fight the whole Arab world is very difficult."

Question: Has Netanyahu used a comprehensive "all of us" in any of his statements on the bombing? Or has it been a relentless "us" and "them"? EW was also asked (by David Ze'ev, the correspondent from Radio Israel) whether the suicide bombing was "linked" to the decision by the Jerusalem Municipality to allow construction of a Jewish neighborhood at Ras al-Amud. EW's answer: "The truth? I believe so." EW also "made a link" with the pig posters in Hebron: "And the cartoon of the pig - which I ask myself: What would [have] happened if someone, an Arab, a Muslim Arab, would have drawn a cartoon like this with a pig and the name of our of our leaders on it and stepping on the Bible? - so, definitely, it does warm up tension." I have seen nothing in the American media about these comments. Marcus Smith

I have seen these statements by Weizmann in a number of places on the net. I do not expect to see to much in the daily press, because the journalistic herd all grazes in the same patch of meadow. However, vis-a-vis the current government, EW may as well be ET.

Regarding ol' Bibi, I can refer you to Josh Fischer's statement wherein he stated that he did not have high expectations of him, but that he failed to meet those low expectations.

Regarding the Ras El-Amud situation, when my fellow Californian Irving Moskowitz can throw his wealth around to create situations in which people end up dying in MaXane Yehuda, something stinks in the State of Israel. I think that the good cop/bad cop game that bibi and Olmert are playing over it is a sham. The municipality in Israel is pretty much a "creature of the state." It does not operate on its own charter but as a municipal council getting all of its funds from the the state, and being policed, etc., from the Israeli police and not a separate department, etc., I just cannot buy it that Olmert can decide as the mayor that he can issue building permits without the acquiescence of the national government and its bureaucracy.

Moskowitz is a toll-call fighter, he can afford the long-distance charges; so others have to spill their blood while he mouths rightwing platitudes about integrating Arab neighborhoods, and if Jews cannot build in Jerusalem, where can they build -- this is, in my eyes, a bunch of bloodsoaked fol-de-rol. At the same time, though, the Arabs are building at an unheard of rate, and it is unheard in the general press. (The herd doesn't graze in this part of the meadow either.) So much of the demolition of Arab houses are actually houses that were built without the knowledge that anyone was planning on any imminent building on sites, and suddenly, a city inspector ventures into an area supposed to be vacant, and, voila! houses! So down they come.

I remember back in the fifties in Tel Aviv when people tried to construct houses without permits and the municipality also demolished the un-permitted structures. So the demolition of Arab houses is not necessarily special treatment. What I cannot determine, of course, is the actual difficulty pulling permits for Arabs in Jerusalem and other places. We hear that permits are not being issued, but we do not know if the reasons are legal, such as nonconformance to code, or arbitrary.

While we hear the claim that it is arbitrary, we also know that there is a an inbred reticence for Arabs to "recognize" the Jewish administration of the city accompanied by a tendency to build without permits with demolitional results when detected. On the other hand, it is no great feat of imagination to believe that the current policy of the municipality is not encouraging for Arab residence within the municipal jurisdiction.

I have to admit that I do not have great expectations for the Olmerts or the Bibis in their peacemaking roles, and I try to keep an objective viewpoint, but they are very difficult for me to begin to attempt to defend in terms of what their actual policies may be. This is not the case with Ezer Weissmann who has his flaws, but he is not an ideologist. The problem is that he is president of Israel, and not prime minister.

Jerry Blaz

Jerry Blaz/The BOOKie Joint 7246 Reseda Blvd./Reseda, Ca 91335

(818)345-2983/(818)343-1055 ffdog@earthlink.net/bookiejt@interloc.com

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