If you haven’t read my “Looking Behind Ha’aretz’s Liberal Image“, you may expect Israel’s “liberal newspaper” to stand up clear and loud against the recent Israeli aggressive escalation, in which Sharon, breaching a cease-fire that had lasted for some 20 years, sent his jets to bomb a target deep inside Syria.
Well, let’s see all what Ha’aretz actually had to say.
(1) Editorial, 7.10:
“The bone of contention is not Israel’s right to strike at those who operate against it under the cover of Assad. Israel has the right […]; but this does not testify to the wisdom of such moves. […] The Syrian president could, contrary to Israeli expectations, cause an additional escalation […] There is a need for tight control to prevent a move planned as minimalist from leading to a major escalation.”
-So now we know it: Sharon had the right to attack Syria, and his intentions were benevolently “minimalist”; at worst, if escalation occurs, it will be blamed on Syria.
(2) Columnist Amir Oren, 7.10, reiterates the same line in a nutshell, for readers who missed the point:
“Is that a shrewd plan, or a wild gamble? The answer depends upon Syria’s response.”
(3) From Gideon Samet’s column, 8.10 – a writer considered extremely dovish – the future historian would be able to assume that the attack was not uncontroversial in Israel:
“Criticism of the air force sortie into Syria behind the back of Bashar Assad was completely predictable”, Samet writes. He doesn’t even bother to reveal the arguments of that criticism. His own view is that “Syria deserved that little blow” – yes! – but he does warn, to maintain his critical image, that “The action in Syria may be a fragment of the regional strategy of a leader whose dangerous potential has been fulfilled on more than one occasion.”
-So here you have the entire spectrum that “liberal” Ha’aretz offers to its readers: Either you support Israel’s attack and warn (of) Assad; Or you support Israel’s attack and warn (of) Sharon. How did they say it in Latin? Tertium non datur – there is no third option.