Despite Sharon's claims to the contrary, no Israeli settlement has been dismantled, although more than 200 such settlements have been built since the year 2000. Three of the four settlements Sharon said he was ready to dismantle were already empty. Sharon was the man who initiated the idea of erecting a settlement on every hill. Now, he is scratching his head to square the circle, because he will have to evacuate them himself. They are so far between that they are indefensible. This is ironic. The American administration has made it clear to Israel that it opposes all unilateral steps that have political significance and can be construed as imposing a solution on the Palestinians. America also opposes the plan of the eastern wall, proposed by Sharon, because it thwarts the establishment of a Palestinian state and imprisons the Arabs in a large cage.
On the other hand, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli minister of finance, warned of what he described as the "Arab demographic time-bomb" because the Arabs would account for 35 - 40% of the total population of Israel. If they were to be integrated therein, the Jewish state would be abolished, and its democratic texture jeopardized, (as if democracy was exclusively suitable for Jews). This is reminiscent of the racist mentality of the British, who hypocritically claimed that they were "democratic", yet imposed their rule on an "empire" extending far and wide, as if democracy was a solely British product, not applicable to the nations and regions they ruled by sheer, brutal force.
In fact, for the first time, the Israeli press admits that long persistent occupation is a crime violating all international norms and laws. There are calls to put an end to the occupation, which is causing degeneration in Israel. Otherwise, optimism shall never return to Israel. Due to the occupation, corruption has become rife, and many Israelis are defending and justifying every base act, plunging towards new depths of immorality and fraud. Sharon's own sons, Omri and Gilaadi, are under investigation on charges of suspicious financial dealings; and even the rightwing paper Hatsofeh, organ of the Mifdal, Sharon's partner in the coalition, describes him as "the most corrupt head of government in Israel's history. Silence about him is a spit in the face of the law!" At the same time, Israeli experts estimate the number of heroin addicts in Israel at 30,000, with double that number of alcoholics, thus bringing more violence, cruelty, disease and crime into social life. On the other hand, Israel's exacerbating economic and social problems are driving away investors and migrants. During the last two years, for example, 7164 immigrants arrived from Argentina, but more than 10,000 people returned to that country for good. Some 25,000 Jews came to Israel from former Soviet countries, but 50,000 preferred to go to Germany.
For the first time, officers and fighters from the elite special forces known as the "Sibert Mitkal" decided to refuse military service in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, because they did not want to be tools of repression and trigger-happy hunters of women, children and innocent, old and unarmed Palestinians in the streets. They wrote in the papers that the army they had loved was becoming a brutal force, protecting Israeli criminals just because they were Jews, and holding millions of Arabs hostage in a big prison, without hope or rights, on the verge of starvation. It is this situation which breeds terrorism, they concluded. Meanwhile, Shinwe member of Knesset Elan Shelgi asserts that Israel needs nuclear weapons, as Mofaz threatens to attack Iran's nuclear project.
Can anybody trust such people or believe that they are seeking peace?