Text: Min. Landau's Letter to PM Sharon Protesting Quashing of Debate
Aaron Lerner Date: 20 April 2004
The following is IMRA's unofficial translation:
Dr. Uzi Landau, Minister
20 April 2004
Prime Minister Mr. Ariel Sharon
Mr. Prime Minister,
Mr. Prime Minister. I do not write this letter to you as a politician. As
politicians we have disappointed. I write to you as one of the People, who,
by right, should have his voice heard even if he opposes your position.
I wish to start not with what I, along with most members of the Likud,
opposed with our hearts and souls all these years but instead with what I
support with a certainty:
I am for peace, and I know that there will be compromises for that.
I am for that my grandchildren aged one and a half year won't have to still
go to war.
I am for battling terror to its defeat, as you demonstrated again last week
that you can do.
I am for a Likud that is based in the principles, wisdom in diplomacy and
pragmatism in security of Jabotinzky and Begin.
I am for the same Ariel Sharon that helped to build the Likud. And that we
all worked hard for in order to elect you as prime minister and as leader of
the People of Israel.
And I am for our strong ties with our great friend the United States, and
with our important friend President Bush.
But I am not for the fact that we, the opponents of disengagement, have not
received any opportunity in the Likud. I am not for the fact that the
democratic process has been shamed, the process that is the basis of our
movement and our State. I am not for the fact that the institutions of the
movement are crippled for over a year and a half and that there is no proper
decision making process.
I am not for your decision that a referendum of such dramatic and historic
importance should be made in a forceful grab.
I am not for the fact that the voting public has been given a total of gross
three weeks, that in practice is less than ten days, to study a matter that
has such a fateful impact on the future of the Jewish People.
I am not for that the democratic Party Election Committee should be
pressured from above, without having even one representative of the
disengagement opponents, and act as the long arm of the prime minister's
I am not for the way that decisions were made about the having and then the
canceling of the debate - exclusively in accordance with the needs of the
media advisors of the prime minister and without any consultation with us.
I am not for the fact that the prime minister promises party members to
accept their decision on his plan, but in practice creates a situation that
prevents any possibility for a genuine referendum.
And in particular I am not for the fact that a hidden threat is added as if
opposition may endanger the strategic ties with the USA, and your status,
Mr. Prime Minister.
I am not for the disgraceful campaign that your advisors have organized
against your opponents, opponents who are saying virtually the same things
that you said only half a year ago. And I speak, Mr. Prime Minister, on
behalf of many members in our Party.
I am not for the fact that our Party, the ruling Party, is driven more by
the force of personal interests than commitment to principles and true
Mr. Prime Minister, if the path of the referendum that you have imposed on
us was not so crushing, it would be only natural that I would argue with you
in this letter about the quality of the program and ask you how, of all the
people in the world, you should be the one found rewarding terror.
I would argue that this is not true disengagement. After all, you know that
we are not leaving Gaza as we are not now in Gaza, and the Palestinians will
continue to enter to us via the Erez Crossing in their masses to Ashkelon,
Ashdod and Tel Aviv, some with bombs strapped to their waists!
I would have shown, black on white, that there is absolutely nothing
committal in the "benefits", as they were presented in the letter of
President Bush, but after all, you knew this already in the middle of the
celebratory press conference at the White House.
I would also sue for the honor of the Jewish People.
Between Holocaust Day Ceremonies and Memorial Day and Independence Day
ceremonies the Government of Israel says that "the friction has been
reduced" between Jews and Arabs when the meaning of it is the exclusive
transfer of Jews and the advancement of a process under which there will be
two and a half Palestinian states and barely on complete - ever shrinking -
state for the Jewish People. This is moral? This is just?
The truth is that from your standpoint the results of the referendum are no
longer relevant. The politicians are exhausted.
But I want to reveal something to you, Mr. Prime Minister - the Nation is
strong! The members of the Likud are strong!
My friends and I embarked on an unpopular struggle within our Party, whose
institutions don't give any fair chance to. At a time that most of the media
has been recruited to support the plan and make no effort, and not even the
semblance of an effort, to present our positions in a balanced way.
In our eyes, Mr. Prime Minister, this referendum is no longer on the plan
that you agreed upon with the Americans before we knew the plan. It marks
the beginning of a campaign on the dearest to our heart. On what remains
from Judea and Samaria. On Jerusalem. On personal security in Tel Aviv. On a
democratic Likud. On principles. On diplomatic wisdom. On clean politics. On
the image of the State of Israel.
The cancellation of the planned debate between us put an end to the
possibility of having - and even just the semblance of having - a public
discussion of your unilateral withdrawal plan that is the subject of the
referendum. The public has a right to know. It is your obligation to make
possible democratic debate.
To my great sorry the fact that if you wish - there is a debate and if you
don't - it is cancelled, serves witness to the entire referendum process: a
But despite all this we are in this game in order to win.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
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