On Thursday, May 13, 1999, Ehud Barak had scheduled to the Etzion communities, south of Bethlehem, a settlement area that had once been thought to lie within Israel’s national consensus.
However, on Sunday, May 9th, Barak met with a delegation of the Israeli Communist and Arab Nationalist political parties, both of whom favor the forceable expulsion of ALL Jews from ALL areas taken by Israel in 1967.
At his meeting, Barak requested and received the endorsement of the Israeli Communist and Arab Nationalist political parties.
On May 10th, Barak announced that Labor, Meretz, and Israeli Communist and the Arab Nationalist political parties would formally organize “joint” May 17th election day campaign committee to bring out the vote.
Meretz platform also calls for withdrawal from Judea and Samaria and for the dismantling of their Jewish communities.
As a first gesture to his new political coalition, Barak announced the cancellation of his planned visit to the Etzion bloc of settlements.
The Israel Broadasting Authority reported that the reason for Barak’s cancellation of his visit was due to threats to “explode his visit”. I checked with every Israeli reporter. None had heard of any such “threats”.
“Threats” were not the reason for the cancellation of Barak’s visit.
Ten people carrying signs would never deter an Israeli politician from going anywhere, and there is no evidence any threat issued from the Etzion residents at any time against Barak.
It should be noted that former Deputy Foreign Minister Yose Beillin, now running alongside Barak, declared in a taped briefing at the Israel Foreign Ministry on December 8, 1993 that all residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza who decided to remain within their settlements would be forced to live under the rule of the Palestinian Authority. That tape remains on my desk.
If there was ever a doubt as to Barak’s policy and attitude to the Jewish communities of Judea, Samaria and Katif, that doubt was removed yesterday.