Topic: Sharon's Disengagement
Arutz-7 News: Tuesday, January 11, 2005
NRP Leader: We Won?t Participate in Sharon?s Civil War
NRP leader Effie Eitam sharply castigated PM Sharon during the Knesset debate, accusing him of spurring a civil war, refusing democracy, weakening the army, and turning his back on his loyal allies.
MK Effie Eitam of the National Religious Party, wearing a bright orange shirt in solidarity with Gush Katif, attacked Prime Minister Sharon very sharply in his Knesset speech last night. Introducing his party's no-confidence motion in Prime Minister Sharon's government, Eitam said that Sharon was a "democracy refuser," is responsible for dividing the nation and for weakening the army, and is acting with ungrateful cruelty towards those who were loyal to him when he most needed it.
"I must tell you, Mr. Prime Minister - and though you are not honoring us with your presence, the words will certainly reach you - that I have served the country for many years on the battlefield, and during difficult and tense moments, but I have never heard from government elements in the State of Israel such unrestrained incitement as that which was heard from your confidantes and coalition partners this week. 'Break their bones!' your confidantes whispered, and the headlines blared it. Whose bones precisely do you intend to break, Mr. Prime Minister? Those of little children? Pregnant women? Civilian protestors?
"...Are the residents of Gush Katif, Judea and Samaria truly enemies of the State who wish to destroy it, that their bones must be broken?
"And who will destroy these bones, Mr. Prime Minister? The soldiers of IDF Battalion 890, who serve as officers and soldiers, the sons and brothers of all of us, of the residents of Gush Katif and Yesha - they should lift their gun-butts and break bones?
"And then I read that we have a Vice Prime Minister [Ehud Olmert], 'Ehud the Cutter.' He says we should 'cut off their hands' - he's the Rottweiler of the government! I would like to tell you, dear Ehud, that some of these children no longer have hands or legs to cut off [a reference to the three Cohen siblings of Kfar Darom, each of whom lost a leg or foot in a terror attack four years ago - ed.].
"You, Mr. Prime Minister, are the main refuser, possibly the only real refuser in this country! You refuse to hear the voices, you refuse to see the sights, and you refuse to do the simple basic thing that your responsibility to the unity of this country and army and our society obligates you to do [i.e., hold a referendum].
"[Instead], you say, and I quote, 'The settlers are endangering the very existence of this country.' I remember many years ago when I led a group of settlers to Hawara [south of Shechem] on roads that detoured IDF checkpoints [to start a new settlement] ... and your heated car waited up there in Hawara, and you came out and patted me on the shoulder, and I felt at that moment that I was receiving a medal of valor from you. You didn't think then that our bones should be broken, or that our legs should be cut off, or that we were a danger to the State. Today I know that we were then just another naive tool along your dictatorial path that knows only one thing: Ariel Sharon.
"Your new partners in the government are, unfortunately, joining up with you. I was astonished to read of late an article by [Labor MK and former minister] Ephraim Sneh, a doctor bound by the Hippocratic Oath. He writes that it won't be so bad if we have a little civil war and some blood will be spilt...
"And I hear of a new star in our political skies, who wants to head the Labor Party, Ami Ayalon. He explains that maybe we need another Altalena [a ship carrying men and weapons in 1948 against which David Ben-Gurion ordered the IDF to open fire; some 16 were killed] in order to solidify the nation. This terrible rhetoric is simply a call to murder citizens, for bloodshed... Who is the contemptible and unbridled fool who ordered Battalion 890 to be the first and front-line force to evacuate two caravans from Yitzhar? And there is even a young armed paratrooper who thinks that he should fire into the air...
"We know for a certainty that the provocation at Yitzhar was your provocation, Mr. Prime Minister. You want a second Altalena. You want to fire the 'holy cannon' [as Ben Gurion later referred to the event] - but we won't let you.
"You can break our bones, you can cut off the hands and legs of our children, you can take advantage of the volunteer spirit of young paratroopers, to tell them that this is the main mission of the country - to get rid of two caravans from some hilltop - and to bring them to think that they should shoot at simple citizens. But we won't return fire... [We talk about restraint, against refusal], but you have your confidantes and partners in the government of cutting off, uprooting and shooting. You will not get another Altalena from us. You won't get a civil war from us, because we - the citizens whom you wish to go to war against - will not fight against our brothers the soldiers."
At this point, Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin interrupted and noted that during the Altalena period in 1948, the civil war was avoided because of a directive issued by Menachem Begin not to fight back.
Eitam continued, "Correct, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Maybe Ami Ayalon who wants another Altalena will learn this chapter in history...
"You, Mr. Prime Minister, are a refuser of democracy. You refuse to go to a referendum or elections. There is no country that makes a decision of this type without specific elections or a precise referendum on the question. But what do you do? You destroy the entire political framework, and turn everyone into confused marionettes. Look at the new opposition head [Shinui leader Tommy Lapid], how he is almost weeping that you left him behind. Look at your partners from United Torah Judaism who tell you that they won't support you on the disengagement. Is this the way to approach this type of move?! With an opposition that is a coalition and a coalition that is an opposition and by switching and replacing parties and coalitions as if they were socks? And then by firing ministers, and by deceiving and reneging on promises to adhere to the results of the Likud referendum?
"You can continue to barrel through one red light after another, you might run over some children on the way, maybe some houses or pregnant women - but we will stop you. We will not give in to your corruption and obtuseness.
"As a Brigadier General in the reserves, I call upon you to take the army out of this story. Firing and dismissing officers who said they object to refusal and will carry out all legal orders, but also said that it's not the function of the army to expel citizens from their homes. They said a simple truth. Why did you dismiss them? Now a witch hunt will start and you will throw out every officer who thinks differently, who wants to say something. This won't strengthen the army, it will only weaken it. It won't make the army more ethical, but will rather confuse it and divide it, and the responsibility will be upon you!
"I would like to conclude and tell you one last thing: When the investigative committees and your friends threw you out from your position as Defense Minister [following accusations against Sharon for his alleged role in the Sabra and Shatila massacres], and you spent many years here as a leper and an outcast in the political and judicial establishment, and no one sat next to you in the Knesset lounge - and we, the simple and na?ve people, were the ones who believed in you. We were your only friends and supporters. The cynicism, cruelty and obtuseness you show us in return will yet boomerang back at you - and you will be remembered, on the last page of your political history, as the man who destroyed the IDF, and the one who is liable, Heaven forbid, to destroy the State of Israel. You have many merits, but you have no right to come and burn everything merely because you were once a partner in the construction!
"We won't respond in kind to your maliciousness, and we won't respond to your violence with violence, and not to your incitement with incitement. But we will say to you clearly: If you don't listen to our call to return this decision [regarding the disengagement] to this healthy and strong nation, we will send you home, and it will be painful and shameful, erasing all your previous accomplishments."
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