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Saturday, October 14, 2006 

Foolish Amir Peretz thinks demolition is the key to everything

It seems that, with support for his position as Labor chairman waning, the only thing that Amir Peretz can think of doing is to threaten to demolish what are called outposts in Judea. From Israel National News:
Defense Minister Peretz has announced yet again that he plans to demolish unauthorized outposts in Yesha - prompting criticism that he is merely trying to keep Yisrael Beiteinu out of the coalition.

At issue are up to 24 outposts built throughout Judea and Samaria since 2001, including several with between a dozen and over 40 families. Though their demolition is not specified in the government's guidelines, some government figures say that the Road Map plan includes an Israeli commitment to destroy them.

In actuality, however, Israel is not obligated to any of the Road Map clauses until Palestinian terrorism and incitement cease. This is because in May 2003, the Israeli government, under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, voted that a series of 14 reservations - including an end to all Palestinian terrorism and incitement - must "be implemented in full during the implementation phase of the Road Map."

"Full performance [of the above conditions] will be a condition for progress between phases and for progress within phases," the May 2003 government resolution states.

It is widely assumed that the timing of Peretz's announcement is related to his desire to keep Yisrael Beiteinu, the right-wing party headed by Avigdor Lieberman, out of the coalition. One of Lieberman's demands is to freeze all outpost-removal plans.

Peretz is facing criticism within Labor as well.

"There is a great crisis in the nation," one party figure told Arutz-7's Uzi Baruch, "in light of the IDF's failure in the war, and there is no reason at all to open up another war front between IDF soldiers and their brothers in Judea and Samaria. Does he want another Amona? It is unnecessary at this point."

Amona is a Jewish community above Ofrah in southern Samaria at which hundreds of youths were injured in clashes with police who came to destroy nine illegally-built houses.

"If it is a question of law," the Labor figure said, "then the Defense Minister is welcome to start implementing the law by removing the hundreds of illegal outposts in the non-Jewish sector. When he finishes there, he will have a green light to start enforcing the law in Judea and Samaria... The situation allows us to change our priorities. Olmert, too, reached the conclusion that his plan for a further withdrawal at this point is unnecessary and dangerous."

MK Zahava Gal'on of the far-left Meretz Party attacked Peretz as well: "He is abusing the rule of law and making cynical political use of the unauthorized outposts. If he wants to remove them, all he has to do is give the order. Why didn't he do it until now? It looks like he's just trying to flex his muscles, for the purpose of his own political survival."
There is a good point to be made that no matter what Peretz does now, it does not garuntee his political survival. He's proven himself no true defense minister and it's quite likely that he's going to be pushed out by the other members of Labor very soon.

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