A collection of the week's news from Israel
14 Tishrei 5761
October 13, 2000
Issue number 295
The Federal Government’s action this week to vote at the UN to condemn Israel was deplorable. We appear to be entering an election campaign. Let your Liberal party member know what you think of their party’s duplicitous actions. The Liberal MP’s representing much of Toronto’s Jewish community and their phone numbers are:
Elinor Caplan - Thornhill - (905) 886-9911
Art Eggleton - York Centre - (416) 638-8700
Joe Volpe - Eglinton-Lawrence (416) 781-5583
Jim Peterson - Willowdale - (416) 223-2858.
Kudos to Stockwell Day and Monte Solberg of the Canadian Alliance for their position on the UN resolutuion - see below.
Kudos as well to the National Post. Their news coverage and especially their opinion pieces this week were balanced and therefore, exemplary. The Toronto Sun has also been generally fair. Why anyone in the community would be subscribing to or supporting any other paper - especially the Arabist Toronto Star - we cannot understand.
Kudos as well to all the organizers and speakers at the Kiddush Hashem that was the rally on Wednesday night. 5000 people! Chag Sameach, Ed.
Canada Votes to Condemn Israel at UN, US Abstains
On Saturday, Canada voted in favor of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1322 , which read as follows:
"The Security Council, recalling its resolutions 476 (1980) of 30 June 1980, 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980, 672 (1990) of 12 October 1990, and 1073 (1996) of 28 September 1996, and all its other relevant resolutions, Deeply concerned by the tragic events that have taken place since 28 September 2000, that have led to numerous deaths and injuries, mostly among Palestinians,
Reaffirming that a just and lasting solution to the Arab and Israeli conflict must be based on its resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, through an active negotiating process,
Expressing its support for the Middle East peace process and the efforts to reach a final settlement between the Israeli and Palestinian sides and urging the two sides to cooperate in these efforts,
Reaffirming the need for full respect by all of the Holy Places of the City of Jerusalem, and condemning any behaviour to the contrary,
1. Deplores the provocation carried out at Al-Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem on 28 September 2000, and the subsequent violence there and at other Holy Places, as well as in other areas throughout the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, resulting in over 80 Palestinian deaths and many other casualties;
2. Condemns acts of violence, especially the excessive use of force against Palestinians, resulting in injury and loss of human life;
3. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and its responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949;
4. Calls for the immediate cessation of violence, and for all necessary steps to be taken to ensure that violence ceases, that new provocative actions are avoided, and that the situation returns to normality in a way which promotes the prospects for the Middle East peace process;
5. Stresses the importance of establishing a mechanism for a speedy and objective inquiry into the tragic events of the last few days with the aim of reventing their repetition, and welcomes any efforts in this regard;
6. Calls for the immediate resumption of negotiations within the Middle East peace process on its agreed basis with the aim of achieving an early final settlement between the Israeli and Palestinian sides;
7. Invites the Secretary-General to continue to follow the situation and to keep the Council informed;
8. Decides to follow closely the situation and to remain seized of the matter.
Response From Stockwell Day and the Canadian Alliance
Opposition Leader Stockwell Day and Opposition Foreign Affairs critic Monte Solberg expressed their concern with Canada voting to support UN Security Council Resolution 1322 in regard to heightened tensions in the Middle East. "I am disappointed that the Chretien government appears to be openly taking sides in this crisis by passing Resolution 1322," said Mr. Day. "The resolution is clearly slanted with an anti-Israel bias. I am not sure we will further the cause of peace if we as a nation join in the finger pointing, rather than working with both sides co-operatively." Solberg went on to note, "The resolution itself is unfair in referring to the holy site in question only as Al-Haram Al Sharif, as it is known by Muslims and not also as the Temple Mount, as it is known by Jews. The Canadian government has made a grave error in supporting this unjust resolution." "If peace is the goal then both Israelis and Palestinians need to be able to trust Security Council members like Canada to fairly assess the situation in the Middle East. By supporting resolution 1322 Canada risks eroding that trust," concluded Day. (un.org, CA Oct 9)
US Tries To Explain Abstention
The lack of a U.S. veto of the UN resolution against Israel has embittered many officials in the Israeli government. Staffers in the Prime Minister's Office say that Barak feels "betrayed" by Clinton, and that Clinton has "stabbed him in the back," by not vetoing the UN resolution condemning Israel for the war that has been foisted upon it. The official U.S. explanation for the non-veto is that it would have prevented the Americans from acting as a mediator between Israel and the Arabs. (arutzsheva.org Oct 8)
Two Israeli Soldiers Lynched in Ramallah; IDF Bombs Back
The IDF reacted to Thursday's brutal lynching of two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah by bombing three buildings in Ramallah: Arafat's headquarters, the Palestinian television and radio broadcasting complex, from where heavy incitement against Israel is broadcast daily, and the police station where the lynch occurred. Palestinian television in Gaza broadcast pictures of the destroyed buildings. The two soldiers were brutally lynched by a wild mob of Arabs, when they were on their way back to their army base at Bet El after a short furlough from their reserves duty. Palestinian sources falsely reported that they were undercover agents. They entered the city by mistake, and were detained by the Palestinian police. After they were brought to the police station in central Ramallah, a crowd of between 1,000 and 2,000 Arabs broke into the building, overcame the police, and murderously beat and killed the Israelis. Some of the Palestinian police took part in the lynch. The body of one of the Israelis was dragged around the city chained to a car. Television pictures show Arabs in the window of the station, alternately beating and stabbing someone inside and gleefully making a V sign out the window. Communications and Housing Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said after the lynching: "There is no peace process, period. It is dead, it is behind us. Arafat wants war, that's all." The residents of Psagot, bordering immediately adjacent to the Ramallah suburb of Al Bireh, were instructed to enter their bomb shelters. Palestinian police opened fire Thursday morning on IDF soldiers in the Gush Katif junction; no one was hurt. Earlier, a firebomb was thrown at a Jewish school in Jaffa; a classroom was burnt. Not far from there, a Jewish boy was stabbed Wednesday. Wednesday night, there was heavy firing in Psagot - where bullets penetrated one house - and in Hevron, where three soldiers were wounded. Other shootings took place outside N'vei Tzuf, wounding one Jew, and three soldiers were lightly wounded in shooting incidents in Gush Katif and Halhoul; Palestinians fired shots outside Rechelim, Luban a-Sharkiyeh (north of Ramallah), Tulkarm, Rafiah, and elsewhere. (arutzsheva.org Oct 12)
Arabs Murder Rabbi, Then Ambush, Fire on His Funeral Procession
Rabbi Hillel Lieberman was murdered by Palestinian Arabs last Shabbat; after being told that Joseph's Tomb was in flames(see below), he attempted to make his way to the holy site. His funeral procession, attended by well over 1,000 people, was attacked by Palestinians on Wednesday. The two-pronged ambush attack included rifle shots from the Arab village of Kafr Kalil and a barrage of rocks on the participants. Two Jewish women were lightly wounded by the shots, and were evacuated to the hospital. The Jews responded with gunfire, and large army reinforcements, including a tank, quickly arrived. Army snipers and submachine guns fired towards the source of the fire in Kafr Kalil. When the Palestinian firing did not abate, helicopters and additional tanks were sent in. After the funeral ended, Arabs fired upon IDF forces from another direction, and the army prevented the participants from leaving Yitzhar for about an hour. In order to allow the funeral procession to continue safely, army jeeps were interspersed with the mourners' cars along the route to the cemetery in the Shomron town of Yitzhar. The funeral departed from Rabbi Lieberman's hometown of Elon Moreh. Rabbi Lieberman is said to be a second cousin of the US Vice Presidential candidate. (A7 Oct 11)
Arabs Burn Joseph's Tomb
Early Saturday morning, the government ordered the army to retreat from Joseph's Tomb in Shechem. An agreement had been reached with Palestinian Authority officials there, but the latter proved unable - or unwilling - to keep their end of the agreement. A mob of Arabs ransacked the holy site - which served as a yeshiva for over 20 years until this past week - and then burnt it down, and even took apart the stone dome marking the grave of the Biblical Joseph. Even Oslo-architect Shimon Peres had criticism last night for Arafat and the behavior of the Palestinians in Shechem. Peres said, "The Palestinians made a terrible mistake in Joseph's Tomb. They pulled the rug out from under their feet regarding their demand for control of the holy places, by showing that they don't know how to preserve and respect them." During the Israeli retreat from the holy spot that PLO gunners had targeted for the past week - and where an Israeli soldier died of his wounds last week - one Border Guard policeman was shot in the face, and was wounded moderately. The retreating soldiers removed holy items, including Torah scrolls, prayer books, and Jewish texts, before surrendering the site to the PLO. It marked the first time that Israel had evacuated its forces from Yesha in the face of Palestinian violence. Barak and other top officials implied that the evacuation was only "temporary." On Tuesday the Palestinians built a mosque on the site.
Palestinian Arab terrorists opened fire on a busload of Israeli workers returning from their shift at the Rafiah terminal on the Israeli-Egyptian border Saturday night. Five Israelis sustained light injuries, but another three were severely wounded and were evacuated by helicopter to Soroka hospital in Be'er Sheva. The shooting apparently originated from within the Palestinian airport, and it continued upon IDF troops who arrived on the scene shortly after the attack. Exchanges of fire followed. Prime Minister Barak ordered the Dahaniya airport, which services the Arabs of Gaza, closed to all air traffic, except for Arafat's personal plane.. (arutzsheva.org Oct 8, jpost.com Oct 10)
Three Soldiers Kidnapped
Hizbullah Saturday kidnapped three Israel soldiers on a routine patrol near Har Dov on the Lebanese-Israeli border. The terrorists took advantage of the lack of a border fence in the area. Prime Minister Barak was reminded by reporters that during the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon last May, he had promised to react with a "strong arm" and the bombing of vital Lebanese infrastructures in the event of post-withdrawal Lebanese violence against Israel. When asked if he plans to fulfill this promise, Barak said that for understandable reasons, he could not go into details about Israel's retaliatory plans. He continued today with his policy of silence on the matter. Former GSS head Yaakov Peri, who has been entrusted with the handling of contacts regarding the three captured soldiers, hinted that Israel would negotiate when he said that Israel would not enter into any contacts with Hizbullah unless a sign that the three were alive and well was received. Negotiations have reportedly begun with German mediators. Barak said that he sees Syria as bearing supreme responsibility for the soldiers' welfare. (A7 Oct 8)
Israel Retreats From Temple Mount for a Day
Israel entrusted full control over the Temple Mount last Friday to the hands of the Moslem Waqf and Arab security personnel. The Barak government decided that no Israeli policemen would be stationed on the Temple Mount or in the alleys leading to it, in order not to avoid a clash that could lead to bloodshed. Police leaders said their presence on the Mount would have led to dozens of Arab deaths, as well as another week of violence. For the first time, armed PLO policemen guarded the gates of the holy site and oversaw the entry of Muslim worshippers - whom they did not limit in any way, despite an Israeli police recommendation that teen-aged Arabs not be allowed to enter. "Protection of the gates and sovereignty of the Mount was given to PA Security Chief Jibril Rajoub," in the words of MK Benny Elon (National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu), who was an eyewitness to today's events in the area. Elon also said that it was agreed beforehand between Rajoub and the Israelis that Arabs on the Mount would be allowed to throw stones "in a supervised manner, for 3-5 minutes" from the Mount over to the Kotel [Western Wall] below. The police evacuated the Jews from the Wall when the stone-throwing started; the Jews returned to pray there after a few minutes. MK Elon said that he refused to leave, and in fact suffered a small wound from a rock that hit him. Center Party MK Dan Meridor, a former Likud government minister and presently the Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, sharply attacked the police decision to abandon security to the PA: "The Palestinian Authority has no business being anywhere that is under Israeli sovereignty. If the police choose to stand on this side of the gates or on that side, that's their decision. But in no way should the PA have been allowed to have a part in preserving order there." Israeli police generally do not patrol on the Temple Mount during Friday prayer services, but merely stand at the gates. The difference last Friday was that they stood 50 meters away. Opposition leaders responded with anger at today's abandonment of the Temple Mount. Likud MK Ruby Rivlin said that the decision was "a disaster" and will cause the PLO to use the same tactics to achieve additional Israeli giveaways. The Yesha Council announced that Barak's promises to safeguard all Israeli holy sites are hollow. On the other hand, Palestinian Radio said last Friday that there is no difference between Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak, nd Binyamin Netanyahu - "they are all settlers who are trying to conquer our land." (A7 Oct 6)
Arabs Storm Lions Gate Police Station and Burn it Down
The sum-up was, "It could have been much, much worse" - but it was still quite bad. After the Moslem prayer service on the Mount last Friday, hundreds of Arabs on their way out launched an offensive against Israel's Lion's Gate police station 100 meters from the east side of the Mount. The station had earlier suffered great damage when Arabs hurled huge stone blocks through its roof, destroying computers and other equipment. Now, however, it was burnt down by the Arabs, who came close to killing eight policemen inside. Faced by a hail of bricks, bottles, and metal objects, the Israeli policemen locked the doors; the Arabs then surrounded the building and threw in burning rags and a tear-gas grenade. With fire and tear-gas on the inside, and Arab mobs beating on the structure from the outside, the policemen radioed for help. Back-up forces arrived, shot their way into the station, and found two policemen unconscious; the other six were suffering from breathing difficulties. They retreated 20-40 meters away from the area, and journalists filmed Palestinian Arabs proudly standing next to the burnt police station. The station is presently under the control of neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians. The Arabs began the attack on the police station by throwing bricks, bottles, and metal objects, while shouting, "Continue on Until Jaffa, Haifa, and Tel Aviv!" and "Death to the Jews!" The total number of injured Israeli police was reported at 12, while the number of Palestinian rioters who were hurt was 24. Several foreign journalists were hurt as well. Palestinians reported that two Arabs were killed. The Moslem sermon on the Temple Mount included the following supplications: "We want the battle against the enemy to be orderly. We want dead amidst the enemy. We want to kill and not be killed. We must fight guerilla warfare." Later in the afternoon, rock-throwing over the Wall down to the worshippers below continued. Additional policemen were injured in an Arab riot inside the narrow streets of the Old City.(arutzsheva.org Oct 6)
Prime Minister Ehud Barak appeared at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee today, and warned that the Palestinian Authority's wholesale release of Hamas terrorists from prison in recent days has increased the danger of terrorist attacks. This follows the announcement by Hamas Tuesday of a general call-up of its fighters, as part of its efforts to "escalate" the intifada. An Arab from Gaza was stopped at the Erez Checkpoint this afternoon, on his way to carry out a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv. Arabs opened fire on Israeli targets near Jenin and Hevron; one soldier was wounded, and the army returned fire. (arutzsheva.org Oct 11)
Police Call it an Accident
Alon Zargari, 28, was killed Wednesday when a Palestinian-driven car crashed into him as he was standing at a bus stop. The accident/attack occurred along the Jerusalem-Shechem road, at the Eli junction north of Ofrah. Eyewitness Alex Garbesh, also of Eli, said that he saw the car purposely veer towards the bus stop, and that, as far as he could tell, it did not slow down. The police initially said that it was an accident; later, after they went to the scene to investigate, they said that the driver apparently lost control of his car. The Arab driver, a resident of a refugee camp near Shechem, was hurt and is hospitalized in Jerusalem. (arutzsheva.org Oct 11)
Paris Synagogue Burnt down
Two synagogues in Paris were the targets of arson Tuesday; one was totally burnt, while another one was only lightly damaged. In Brussels, Belgium, Moslems rioted last night in solidarity with the Palestinians; the Belgian Foreign Minister refused to condemn the disturbances. (arutzsheva.org Oct 11)
Gore-Lieberman Advisor Presents Arab Demands
A senior adviser to the American presidential campaign of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman is now lobbying the State Department to reduce military aid to Israel. James Zogby, who was appointed last week as Senior Advisor to the campaign on Ethnic Americans, has praised the Hizbullah terrorist group as "the Lebanese armed resistance;" Hizbullah is now holding three kidnapped Israeli soldiers. The Washington Times reports that Zogby, who has been accused by the Anti-Defamation League of "crude anti-Semitism," recently led a delegation to the State Department "to present a series of demands on behalf of Arab-Americans. The demands include a possible halt to the supply of helicopter gunships to Israel if they are used against Arabs - the same Arab mobs that have been shooting and killing Jews during the past ten days. The Zionist Organization of America is calling on Gore and Lieberman to rescind Zogby's appointment. ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, "Vice President Gore claims to be pro-Israel, yet his new campaign adviser is lobbying to slash U.S. military aid to Israel." Klein told Arutz-7 he has received no response from the campaign. (arutzsheva.org Oct 11)
Jerusalem, Efrat and Hebron Shot at; Bet El Attacked
On Monday night, after gunfire directed at Jewish homes in Hevron was identified as coming from Hebron's Abu-Sneinah and Harat-a-Sheikh neighborhoods, under Palestinian control, IDF attack helicopters fired on open areas in Abu-Sneinah... Near Nazareth, the gravesite of Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, a Mishnaic sage, was ransacked by Arabs... IDF forces barricaded the southern exit from Bethlehem, after gunfire was directed at the Efrat... Shots were also fired at the Jerusalem neighborhood of N'vei Ya'akov, at security forces close to N'vei Daniel, in the northern area of Tulkarm, at the checkpoint north of Shechem, at the Ayosh Junction, and west of an IDF position in Gush Katif, where fire was directed at a mobile patrol. In all of these incidents, security forces returned fire. Towards the end of Yom Kippur, a mob of hundreds of Arabs nearly stormed the fence around Beit El, but army forces repelled them using tear gas, rubber bullets, and live fire.
Many Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Barak, continued to insist that the Israeli-Arab riots are organized by a small minority of extremists. A poll in March 2000 by the Institute For Peace Studies in Givat Haviva, however, found that among Israeli-Arabs, those who call themselves Palestinian, Arab, or Arab-Palestinian now number 79.8%, up from 45.1% five years ago. Only 18.6% of Israeli-Arabs define themselves as Israeli, Arab-Israeli, or even Palestinian-Israeli - down drastically from 54.9%. (arutzsheva.org Oct 10)
Israeli-Arab Throws Rock to Kill Israeli Citizen
An Israeli citizen was murdered on the weekend on the Coastal Road Expressway between Haifa and Tel Aviv when a large stone block crashed into the car in which he was travelling. The block hit him in the chest and killed him as the car passed by the Israeli-Arab village Jisser Azarka on what is perhaps Israel's most traveled highway. The victim, 54-year-old Jean Bechor, of Rishon Letzion, arrived at a Hadera hospital in critical condition, and efforts to save his life failed. The Arab attackers were not apprehended. Attacks Sunday included light-weapons fire near the Jordan Valley outpost of Shadmah, and shots at an IDF position near Beit Tsahour between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. A cease-fire was reportedly reached in Gaza, after the IDF destroyed several Palestinian command post buildings at the Netzarim junction. (arutzsheva.org Oct 8)
Rabbi Brovender Beaten
Rabbi Chaim Brovender of Jerusalem, dean of Yeshivat Hamivtar and Midreshet Lindenbaum, was severely beaten last Thursday night by Palestinian police on his way home from Gush Etzion. While in a convoy of cars on the Tunnels Highway, he mistakenly followed an Arab car into an Arab village, and was stopped by Palestinian police. They began beating him, and were joined by young Palestinians nearby. He was later hospitalized, and is listed in moderate condition. (arutzsheva.org Oct 6)
A Letter From a Yeshiva Student in Jerusalem By Avi Poupko
Dear Jews All Around the World,
I am writing this email with much trepidation and caution as i realize the possible importance and impact of this letter. I do not write this to scare any of you, nor to shock you, i write this merely to wake you up as to what is really going on in our holy land and holy city.
Friday afternoon, as Jerusalem was preparing for our most holy day, rumors began to circulate of riots at the Kotel, and that Jews were being stoned as they were praying the afternoon service before Rosh Hashana. There had been newspapers stories about the possibility of riots starting, but nobody expected that sort of violence "erev" Rosh Hashana, at the Kotel. But the holiday was fast approaching and i did not have time to worry about rumors of possible riots. As i walked into synagogue Friday night, i was greeted with the sight of my Rabbi's son bloodied and bandaged forehead. People were talking about what was really happening, numbers were being thrown around of injured and dead, but nobody really knew for sure. So the holiday started and we quickly forgot about the events of Friday. Due to the restrictions of the holiday I was unable to hear any news until Sunday afternoon, as the holiday was coming to an end. I and a friend decided to walk to the Kotel to pray the last tefilah of Rosh Hashana. On the way I bumped into a friend, who told me that on Friday a boy by the name of Tuvia Grossman was badly beaten up by Arabs. Who is this Tuvia Grossman? Tuvia is a 19 year old kid from Chicago, presently studying in a yeshiva in Jerusalem. He is a normal guy just like me and you spending a year in Israel. He was on the way to the Kotel on Friday afternoon, to daven before the holiday. Him and three friends were in a cab, and as they were driving through an Arab neighborhood, they began to get stoned. The cab driver stopped the car. Six Arab teenagers stormed the car and took out one of Tuvia's friends. They began to beat him terribly, but thank god he was able to escape by slipping out of his jacket. They went after the second boy, and again began to it hit him and kick him, he also managed to escape somehow. Unfortunately Tuvia was not so lucky. He was grabbed and punched and kicked mercifully. They took out a knife and stabbed him twice in the foot, they threw him over a fence into a ditch. But they weren't finished they continued to kick him and beat him. Tuvia was sure this was the end, he said the verse of Shema Yisarel Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echod, but suddenly he remembered learning as a kid in yeshiva a story in the gemara of holy Jew who was about to be killed by anti-Semites he said Shema and then he let out a tremendous scream, the Gemara says that miraculously the enemies dispersed. Tuvia remembering this story let out a cry, and the Arabs were startled for a second, taking this opportunity Tuvia slipped by, and ran two blocks to the nearest police station.
I spoke to Tuvia an hour ago, I was in yeshiva with him for two years in New York, and I was his "chavruta" for a year. You could say we were best friends. And now he's in the hospital recovering from this, he is still there after spending the entire Rosh Hashana in the emergency room. Sunday night as I was freaking out from this news, my roommate gets a call that a friend of his Avi Chermon and his wife are in the hospital they were also attacked and beaten. Another friend of mine is in the religious unit in the army. His unit was called into Jericho to control the riots. Unprovoked the Palestinian Police began to shoot at them from a building filled with school children. Not wanting to shoot back the Israelis asked them to evacuate the children, instead using the children as cover, they brought in more children to the building, this all while Israeli soldiers are getting shot. Where ever I look friends of mine are in the hospital.
So I call up a friend in Montreal last night, literally on the verge of tears, expecting to hear that the Jews of Montreal are freaking out running to help. Instead I hear probably the hardest words I have ever had to hear. The students in Montreal feel that the Israelis are to blame, We have been too "excessive " in our use of force, everybody is shocked from the pictures of the 12 year old boy, we are shooting at helpless Arabs, Ariel Sharon etc....
There have been many blood libels in the history of the Jewish people, but never before have Jews believed that we were actually killing the babies. I could say its Arab propaganda, but you will all think I’m crazy, I could tell you twenty more stories of ruthless behavior by Arabs, I could show you pictures. But will it help?
I just want to tell you one thing. There appeared in the New York Times on Saturday a picture of youth badly bloodied and bruised, a very gory picture. The picture was attached to an article claiming that the Israelis are going crazy against the Arabs. The caption of the picture read "Palestinian youth beaten up by Israeli Soldiers." A friend of mine in New York was reading the article, and something looked strange, Arabs don't normally dress in black and white, with horror he realized it was Tuvia in the picture. Don't worry the New York Times has already been notified and they hopefully will run a correction soon. But that's not the point, so what should I say that Arabs are liars, and the Gazette are wrong, you'll all think that Poupko is crazy he’s a right wing fanatic, Bibi just spoke two weeks ago at his shul. I’m sitting here at my computer exasperated of the events of the last five days, I can’t fall asleep at night I’m so upset about what’s going on, and I call home and I hear how the students are afraid to counter an Arab demonstration, because maybe we are guilty. I’m just so frustrated, how can I make you want to defend Israel, how can I make you believe in helping in Israel? I can't. I just beg of you to believe in Israel, believe in the Jewish people, care about the Jewish people, care about Israel. Don't Listen to people. Listen to yourself. Jews are being killed left and right, it’s your responsibility to do something.
I don't know what more I can say, I apologize if was condescending at all. I just pray that you all do believe in Israel. Shana Tova, Avi from Jerusalem
The writer is the son of Rabbi and Rebbetzin Reuven Poupko of Montreal.
The Downfall of Israel? By George Will
Although weary from 52 years of nationhood without peace, realistic Israelis understand the causation behind this correlation: Today Israel has the most accommodating diplomacy in its history, and is in the most perilous position in its history.
Israel's position is worse than in 1973, when it was attacked by concerted Arab armies, worse than when Egypt mobilized in 1967, worse than in 1948, when Arabs rejected the U.N. partition of Palestine that Israel accepted, and sent armies to kill Israel. Israel's position is worse today because then the threats were military, manageable by an Israel confident of the legitimacy of its positions. Now just 17 months of Prime Minister Ehud Barak's diplomacy have demoralized Israel by delegitimizing all its previous principles, and destroying the absolute prerequisite for successful negotiations--the insistence that something is nonnegotiable. Even a Barak ultimatum is, inevitably, penultimate.
Barak may be the most calamitous leader any democracy has had. He risks forfeiting his nation's existence. Bad leadership during the 1930s caused France to suffer swift defeat and four years of humiliation, but not annihilation.
Barak has made territorial concessions no previous government contemplated, including the sparsely populated and strategically vital Jordan valley. He has thrown away longstanding U.S. support for an undivided Jerusalem. Under Barak, Israel's rights in its own capital are negotiable. And what has Barak's policy bought? Only Arafat's promise to reject violence, which is akin to Hitler's promise, after Munich, to make no more territorial claims in Europe.
Barak's attempt to satiate Arafat with a feast of Israeli retreats has even produced the idea of giving the United Nations, that nest of anti-Israeli regimes, control of the Temple Mount. The consequence of all this may be fulfillment of the undisguised aim of Israel's "partner in peace," the Palestine Authority, whose maps, textbooks, television broadcasts, and public places, treat Israel as nonexistent.
Israel's multiplying problems include the Western media. For example, a Los Angeles Times story on a Palestinian officer engaged in the fighting carried this headline: "A militia commander in Nablus, though obedient to Arafat, sees armed struggle as crucial." The word "though" conveys the media's permanent presumption that Arafat eschews violence and desires peace. Yet he constantly promises a jihad against Jerusalem.
At Camp David, Arafat reportedly told President Clinton that he, Arafat, speaks for a billion Muslims. This inaccurate claim accurately casts the issue: This is not a dispute between Israelis and Palestinians about land, it is a clash of civilizations and is not solvable by splitting differences.
The mentality of those Israelis who believe all differences are splitable was displayed on Sunday when former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for the peace currently convulsing Israel, spoke to ABC's "This Week." He said the peace process cannot be dead. Why? "Nobody can kill the peace process because we need it like air." So Arafat can punctuate the "peace process" as often as he likes with as much war as he likes, and Israelis who think as Peres does will always return, gasping gratefully for air.
Besides, Peres explained, Arafat no longer runs "a terroristic organization." Rather, he "is responsible for an administration which is 120,000 people strong. ... It is one thing to be a head of a revolution, and it is another thing to be a head of a state in being." But what if it is a revolutionary state devoted to devouring Israel?
Peres is puzzled. If Arafat had behaved like a bourgeoisie politician, Palestinians "could have escaped the poverty" they still suffer, and could have built "a modern life." But Peres is hopeful: "If somebody would tell you in 1944 that within one year you can have a different Europe, that you can have peace, I think everyone would be laughing. But look what happened. ..."
Yes, look. What happened one year after the worst year in Jewish history was the defeat of those vowing to eradicate the Jews.
As the 52-year (so far) war for the destruction of Israel continued last week, a cleric leading prayers in al-Aqsa mosque enjoined the faithful to "eradicate the Jews from Palestine." When Israeli soldiers pulled a wounded policeman away from St. Stephens Gate in Jerusalem, Palestinians, taught from Holocaust-denying and anti-Semitic textbooks, publications and broadcasts that the Palestinian Authority falsely promised to eliminate, chanted "Slaughter the Jews." Thousands of Jordanians marched in Amman chanting "Death to the Jews." When Hitler threatened "the destruction of European Jewry," sophisticates, searching, as sophisticates do, for nuances, wondered, What do you suppose he meant? (Washington Post Oct 10)
For Israeli Doves, Idealism Turns into Doubt By Lee Hockstader
Today's program at Givat Haviva had been scheduled long ago. One hundred and twenty high school students, half Jews, half Arabs, were to meet for an all-day encounter, a cross-cultural dialogue meant to promote peace, understanding and maybe even friendship.
the session at Givat Haviva, a pro-peace institute north of Tel Aviv, was canceled. The organizers, ordinarily hard-core idealists, were afraid of a brawl. "It's useless right now," said Sarah Ozacky-Lazar, co-director of the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva, despair thick in her voice. "It would have exploded."
Israel's peace activists, a mainstay of the left wing since before the Oslo agreements inaugurated negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in 1993, are in retreat. Jolted by the violence of the last two weeks and stunned by the hatred they see driving the Arab rioters, many Israeli peaceniks are concluding that the cause they embraced years ago has been a failure.
Some wonder whether--even if their goal of peace and coexistence was worthy--their methods were not deeply flawed. Others, convinced the country faces an existential crisis, now advocate even tougher measures to quell the Palestinian and Arab Israeli riots--using more brute force if necessary.
Asked how she now regards her work of recent years, Ozacky-Lazar responded succinctly: "Complete failure," she said, snapping off the answer before the question had quite been put to her.
"All the things we've done so far didn't work at the crucial moment, from both sides. When I saw these Arab youngsters throwing stones on the main road I've been going on for the last 15 years back and forth to work--and many of them maybe were involved in our project--and when I saw the Jewish riots last night, and when I saw the police shooting at civilians--after working with the police department for many years and lecturing them about the meaning of Arab citizens in this state-- ...the first reaction is: What am I doing here?"
If the response of left-wing Israelis toward the riots and bloodshed has been emotional, it is no great surprise. Peace and war, left and right, are not subjects only for scholarly debate in Israel. They are opposing camps and strongly held identities that define families, towns, neighborhoods and institutions. That the pro-peace left is discouraged and in disarray does not mean simply that it may be losing an argument. It means, for some, questioning their role in Israeli society in recent years.
For some peace activists, it was a rude awakening to observe the depth of hatred among Palestinians, especially in the Palestinian media, which have called on Arabs to attack Israeli army positions and sacrifice their children's blood if necessary.
"Something in me snapped. Something in me broke," said Tali Amnon, 26, a graduate student at Tel Aviv University. "If they can call their children to fight, there is no peace process. Maybe we're really at war and it's only us stupid jerks on the left who don't know it."
Danny Baruch, 49, a Jerusalem contractor, has covered his car with stickers, including one that reads, "The majority votes for peace." This month, though, he finds himself reassessing his core beliefs and political convictions.
"I would vote for Sharon these days because he's tough," he said, referring to the right-wing opposition leader, Ariel Sharon, whose visit to a Jerusalem shrine holy to Muslims and Jews on Sept. 28 helped sparked the riots that erupted the next day. "The peacemakers will come later. Keep the closure [on Palestinian territories], impose curfews, shoot until they lose enough people that they'll [negotiate]. . . . God, I never thought I'd feel this way."
Some peace activists are asking themselves if they fundamentally misjudged the Palestinians, as well as the Arab citizens of Israel with whom they worked. The rioting among Arabs in Israel, in particular, came as a rude awakening to many people here. Some had believed, perhaps unrealistically, that long exposure to Israel's democracy, civil society and modern economy had fostered a more or less content Arab community.
Arabs make up 18 percent of Israel's 6.3 million people. Although spared the travail of their Palestinian cousins in Gaza and the West Bank, they have long complained of being treated like second-class citizens, cut short on government expenditures in their towns and relegated to dead-end jobs.
"I feel like a total failure," said Nava Izan, 55, who heads the Adam Institute, a conflict resolution center based in Jerusalem. "I've been involved for 10 years now. . . . What have I done? It's like a very thin skin that was covering so much hatred [among Arabs]. I don't know; I'm very disappointed with myself."
The peace activists' despair is general, but their analysis of the roots of the current strife varies considerably. While many find the hatred directed at Israel nearly incomprehensible, others are convinced it was entirely predictable--and that the fault lies with Israel itself.
"We were wrong the way we treated the Palestinians," said Shulamit Aloni, a veteran left-wing politician. "We were humiliating them all the time, playing that might makes right. And might is not always right."
But to others, particularly grass-roots activists, the sense of failure is often personal and emotional. Mimi Ash, 47, an American-born peace advocate who has been in Israel for 20 years, has devoted much of her time to coexistence projects--discussion and education groups of Jews and Arabs who thrash out problems and perspectives. She has learned a fair bit of Arabic and cultivated Arab friends. But now, she said, she is doubting some of the ideals that guided her.
"People are saying, 'I told you so', " she said. "Even in the best of times, when I tell people what I do they laugh and say I'm naive and this won't help. I argue and say we're trying to work on the grass-roots level. But there's this big gap between what's going on and what we've been trying to do. . . . It all seems so futile in a way."
According to some commentators, the despair of the Israeli peace camp and the trauma of the violence and mounting death toll suggests Israeli politics may have reached a watershed. Perhaps, they say, it is a watershed to compare with the 1967 Middle East war, in which Israel captured huge swaths of Arab territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Oslo accord of 1993, which launched peace negotiations.
Despite the discouragement, some analysts argue that the violence has set back the cause of peace only temporarily and that negotiations--and peace groups--will get back on track eventually.
"Since Oslo, fights have been part of long-term historical bargaining, after which the parties go back to the negotiating table," said Yaron Ezrahi, an Israeli political philosopher. "So [the current despair] can't be more than a momentary response." (Washington Post Oct 11)
Doves' Day of Reckoning By Michael Kelly
In all arguments of policy and politics, there comes sooner or later the inevitable moment when it becomes simply undeniable that one side of the argument is true, or mostly so, and the other is false, or mostly so. Sometimes the moment arrives as a thunderclap, as in the case of American isolationists on Dec. 7, 1941. More typically, it is reached in cumulative fashion, as a gathering weight of facts finally passes some tipping point.
The inevitable moment is no petty-minded partisan. It arrived for conservatives on the issues of civil rights and the environmental movement; and it arrived for liberals on budget policy and welfare reform. Inevitable moments are ignored at peril. Political factions that refuse to admit what the general public no longer accepts as debatable propositions are condemned to irrelevancy. Thus, the fate of the isolationists after Pearl Harbor, the fate of the segregationists, the fate of the American left for its decades-long refusal to admit the truth about Russia, China and communism.
The moment has now arrived for the doves of Israel. The argument over peace in Israel has been for many years at its core a simple one. The hawks on the right have argued that the Palestinians do not, in their hearts, want a peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state; they want no Jewish state at all. The doves on the left have argued that the Palestinians, if given a measure of land and autonomy, would support at least a side-by-side peace, where Jews and Arabs would tolerate each other as neighbors on contested land.
Throughout the "peace process" that began with the Oslo accords in 1993, the doves have maintained their position, and they have maintained it in the face of a great deal of evidence to the contrary: the continued killings of Jews, Yasser Arafat's insistence that what was being forged was a Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital, the unchanged hostility of the man in the Gaza street. They have maintained that Arafat's Palestinian Authority was something approaching a state with which a democracy might do mutually honorable business--when any visitor to Gaza can see that Arafat's land is a gangster-police state, or more precisely, a gangster-police non-state.
Meanwhile, all along, the Israeli right has grimly, glumly said: No, you are wrong; the Palestinians don't want to be our friends; they want us dead or gone.
On Sept. 28, Ariel Sharon, accompanied by a small army of Israeli troops, visited the spot in Jerusalem claimed by both Jews and Muslims as a holy land--what the Jews call Temple Mount and the Muslims call Haram ash-Sharif. Sharon made no attempt to enter an actual Muslim place of worship. Nevertheless, the visit was clearly a provocation, and it succeeded. The resulting anti-Jew, anti-Israel, anti-peace riots quickly blossomed into something more like war, with not only Palestinian civilians throwing rocks but Palestinian Authority troops and police engaging in firefights with Israeli forces. By Oct. 10, at least 89 were dead, most of them--not surprisingly given the overwhelming superiority of the Israeli forces--Palestinian.
For a while, the doves and their allies in the international press presented the facts on the ground through the usual lens: It was all Sharon's fault, the resulting venting of Palestinian rage was regrettable but understandable, the Israeli forces were massively and murderously overreacting.
But then a curious thing happened. Time passed; and the Palestinians were still in the streets, still attacking Israeli positions, still insisting on a war that past lessons had taught them could be won diplomatically by losing militarily. At a certain point, it became impossible to maintain the fiction that what was happening in the streets did not express not only popular will but the will of Yasser Arafat. The Palestinians, it seemed, actually did not want peaceful coexistence; they wanted war, and they wanted the Jews dead or gone.
Things of course will not rest here. Great pressure is being exerted and will be exerted even more to paper over what has happened and, as they say, move on. But there is no moving on from the inevitable moment. One side was right in its fundamental assessment of the Palestinian view of "peace." The other was wrong. Maybe this will change over time, but that is the reality now, and in Israel, everyone knows this. (The Washington Post Oct 11)
The writer is the editor in chief of National Journal.
Address the Nation Tonight Jerusalem Post Editorial
Israel is facing one of its darkest hours. At no time since the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War has our country feared more for itself and its future. The belief that we had finally won an accepted and permanent place in the region has been shattered. The devastating power of this fateful revelation affects us as much in our psyches as it does in our besieged communities and riot-stricken streets. For the first time in a generation, Israelis of all stripes and from all corners can conclude nothing other than that our state is in grave danger.
We have no choice, for the moment at least, but to retreat into a self image that nearly all of us thought we had escaped. Yet here we are. Exposed to ourselves and the world as a tiny embattled enclave forced to fight again for our right to live here. Of all the searing questions that this unprecedented turn in our national fortune presents, one can not be answered soon enough. How can we most effectively repel our attackers and restore order to our small realm. The answer, which we have been proposing for weeks, is twofold.
First, Prime Minister Ehud Barak must demonstrate that his words have meaning. When the likes of Shimon Peres worries aloud that the events of the past few days have damaged the deterrent power of the IDF, it is long past time to take the steps necessary to forcefully restore it. Of all his mistakes, Barak's decision to waive his sternly issued ultimatum may prove to be the most costly. Not following through on threats is always risky, but this latest and most dispiriting capitulation could not have come at a worse moment. Occurring after Hizbullah kidnapped three soldiers, forcing him to abandon his strategy of "disproportionate response," in three short days, Barak has put at risk a defense strategy that took decades to build.
Second, the prime minister must spare no effort to create an emergency government of national unity. He should invite all Zionist parties to participate. This invitation should be extended by Barak himself in the form of a nationally televised address to be given as early as tonight. If there are political leaders who are preventing him from achieving this objective, then he should name them. If, on the other hand, it is he who is preventing the creation of such a government, he must tell us why. If it is because he fears closing the door on the Oslo process, he must tell us how he possibly thinks a peace agreement could ever be reached in the current climate, let alone approved and trusted.
Barak must explain why he suspended his ultimatum and how he plans to restore Israel's damaged credibility. But most importantly, he needs to tell us what he is doing to protect his citizens.
In short, Ehud Barak owes us answers and fast. We have offered more support to the prime minister in these past few weeks than any other newspaper in Israel. We have done so because he is the only prime minister we have. Elected overwhelming less than two years ago, we have always believed that Ehud Barak was granted a national mandate to pursue his agenda and that granting succor to those seeking to prevent him from doing so would undermine our democracy. We have also supported the prime minister because we just plain like him. We have liked his image of personal strength and determined purpose of mission. In short, we have liked Ehud Barak because even when we didn't agree with him, he made us proud.
While we want to continue that support, it has its limits. We do not believe that Prime Minister Barak was elected to permit his country to slide into chaos. He was not elected to weaken the deterrent capability of Israel's armed forces nor was he chosen to relinquish national sovereignty by subjecting vital security decisions, such as the ultimatum suspension, to the approval of a foreign power, namely the United States.
Time is running out for Ehud Barak. But he can stop that clock the moment he chooses. For the bewildered people of Israel that moment can't come soon enough. (Jerusalem Post Oct 11)
Palestinian Euphoria, Israeli Myopia By Daniel Pipes
Why now the campaign of violence against Israel? The Israeli explanation, espoused by Prime Minister Ehud Barak and other officials, blames Yasser Arafat; he turned it on and he can turn it off. Why did he start the violence now? Shlomo Ben-Ami, the acting foreign minister, says he wanted to distract attention from American "bridging proposals" intended to break the deadlock in his negotiations with Israel.
But this fails to account for all the violence outside Arafat's control.
Hizbullah, the Lebanese Islamist organization, captured three Israeli soldiers and shelled Israeli positions. Israeli Arabs resorted to unprecedented violence. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians and Moroccans took to the streets shouting anti-Israel slogans. Saddam Hussein promised to "put an end to Zionism."
Focusing on the role of the Palestinian Authority, in other words, misses the larger point, which is that the violence of the past two weeks results from a growing mood of exuberance in the Palestinian and Arab "street." That mood has deep roots.
When the State of Israel was declared in 1948, Arabs widely assumed they could quickly snuff out the nascent Jewish country. This confidence eroded as the Arabs lost one war after another: 1948-49 and 1967 marked the worst defeats; 1970 and 1982 were also bad; and 1956 and 1973, though portrayed as political victories, were widely recognized as military disasters.
For Arabs, the lowest point came in 1991 with the defeat of Iraq and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Victory over Israel appeared very remote indeed.
Then, at its moment of greatest power, instead of destroying the PLO, Israel in 1993 magnanimously extended a hand in friendship toward it. In what became known as the Oslo process, the government recognized Arafat as a "partner for peace." It took this step assuming that Palestinians and their supporters had learned from their 45 years of failure to destroy Israel; and that, sobered by this experience, they would now accept the permanent existence of a sovereign Jewish state in the Middle East.
BUT, AS EVERY survey (plus much other evidence) shows, most Palestinians as well as their Arab and Moslem allies did not give up on the hope to destroy Israel. Instead, they put this ambition in the freezer, to be thawed out at a future date when again opportune.
That thaw began surprisingly quickly. Acting from a sense of strength, Israeli leaders, Labor and Likud alike, encouraged a friendly Palestinian disposition by handing over land, granting political autonomy, helping with economic development, and generously conceding on contentious issues (such as the control of holy places). They also did not hold the Palestinians to the letter, or even the spirit, of signed agreements.
This Israeli high-mindedness prompted not reciprocal feelings of constructive intent but a boisterous sense of Palestinian strength. What began as cautious winks and tentative statements soon turned into open defiance and explicit hatred. By the time of the Camp David II summit three months ago, the Palestinian mood had reached such a state of enthusiasm that the "street" prevailed on Arafat to turn down even Barak's shockingly generous concessions. These they found too little, too late.
With this rejection, Palestinians signaled that they had no more need to truck with the Zionist enemy; from now on, they implied, the Hizbullah method of victory through force would be their model. But Israel's leadership, myopically projecting on to the Palestinians its own hopes for a harmonious resolution, ignored the reality that they were preparing for a violent offensive.
In late September, in a spirit of exhilaration and even millenarian expectation, the Palestinians finally initiated a new round of violence.
More than any other single act, the desecration of Joseph's Tomb, a Jewish holy site, symbolized their triumphalist spirit. The more modest of them spoke of liberating the Temple Mount or Jerusalem; the more ambitious saw their actions as a first step towards the destruction of Israel itself.
Looked at historically, the Palestinian and Arab mood vis-a-vis Israel is today more resolute and optimistic than at any time since before the Six Day War of 1967 - or possibly since 1948.
The enemies of Israel again feel they are on the road to eliminating the "Zionist entity." Listen closely; hardly a word of caution or skepticism emerges from them; they agree their moment has arrived.
Re-establishing the acceptance of 1991-93 won't be easy for Israel. It will require great exertions and probably substantial sacrifices. But, with enough will, it can be done.
The writer is director of the Middle East Forum. (Jerusalem Post Oct 11)
The Pessimists Were Right By Yoel Marcus
It may be depressing but you have to admit that the pessimists and extremists were proven right. For years, they have been hopping up and down, and aggravating all of us with the statement that our basic problem is the Israeli Arab community. Now they can award themselves an Olympic gold medal. While a violent confrontation took place between two armies of very unequal proportions, this intifada broke out in the place we would have least expected: within the Green Line. Israeli citizens versus other Israeli citizens. Arabs versus Jews. These Israeli Arabs expressed a passionate identification with their brothers and sisters beyond the Green Line, articulating that identification with the cry "Death to the Jews!" and encouraging the creation of an independent State of Palestine with the cry "With blood and fire we will redeem Palestine!".Strangely enough, we have not yet seen any of those who made such declarations standing in line to be allowed into the country of their dreams that is now in the making as Diaspora Jews came into pre-1948 Israel as the Jewish state they had dreamed of took form. The reason is that these Arab Israelis want to remain citizens of Israel. Apparently, it is not so horrible to live here. They should spare us their claim that they have been discriminated against for so many years. There are social strata of Jews who are no less disadvantaged. But they have never shut down major traffic arteries or hurled Molotov cocktails or cried "Death to the Jews!"
They should spare us their claim that they are merely exercising their right to identify with their brothers and sisters in the Palestinian Authority. Many of our brothers and sisters the world over identify with Israel without compromising their loyalty to the country in which they are citizens.
There is a very fine line running through the department of dual loyalty and that line was shattered this past week. What we saw was not the kind of legitimate protest that is acceptable in a democracy. What we saw was an uprising that has been justly termed by Public Security Minister (and acting Foreign Minister) Shlomo Ben-Ami a "revolt."
It was very difficult watching those scenes of violence in the heart of Israel: Traffic junctions under siege, Jews pelted with stones as their cars were torched.
The slingshots, Molotov cocktails, vandalism, guns and flying rocks returned us to the days preceding the establishment of the State of Israel. What was particularly shocking was the outburst of venomous hatred towards Jews.
The flames of this hatred were fanned by fanatics influenced by the ayatollahs of Islamic extremism or taking directions from Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. These are the very same leaders who were so happy to learn that Iran had launched the Shihab-3 ballistic missile (whose range poses a real threat to our national security), who are calling on Hezbollah to renew its terrorist attacks on Israel, who refer to Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz as a "murderer" and to Israel Defense Force troops as "Nazis," who are encouraging the Islamic Jihad and Hamas to resume their terrorist activities against Israeli targets.
This is a period that will long be remembered. Nor should we forget to mention the members of Knesset who are supposed to be supporting the government led by Prime Minister Ehud Barak and enabling that government to sign a peace treaty with the Palestinians and to present the Israeli public with a national referendum. With allies like these, Barak certainly does not need enemies.
When one in every six Israeli citizens challenges the very authority of the state in which he or she is represented in the national legislature, we find ourselves in a situation that is far more problematic than our relationship with the PA. Sooner or later, we will reach an agreement with the PA, permanent borders will be established and the State of Israel will be physically separated from the State of Palestine. However, Israeli Arabs live in our midst, they are part of us. This is a ticking time bomb whose explosion will trigger a civil war.
Dr. Eli Reches, an expert on Israel's Arab community, has said that we have reached the watershed. After September 30, Israel is no longer the same state it was before that date. The patterns of activity of Israeli Arabs have changed in terms of the level of violence, and the demarcation line between the territories and Israel has been erased.
The Green Line has been destroyed, the line between law-abiding citizens and citizens who violate the country's laws has become the difference between citizens who do not use firearms against police officers and innocent civilians, and those who do. Israeli nationality as a self-understood entity has been broken.
Perhaps most alarming is the fact that the very sovereignty of the State of Israel has been challenged. This is a new theme that we have never before encountered. The worst nightmare for any general in the midst of battle is the opening of a second front. That was precisely Barak's predicament when the rioting in the heart of Israel merged with rioting in the territories.
Barak, who aspires to end the century-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict, is now facing the problem of how to get through the next two months. His agenda has become thoroughly skewed because Israeli Arabs have played into the hands of domestic-variety extremists. Ten Arab MKs who were supposed to give Barak the 60-member government he so desperately needs, have turned into a burden.
In the antagonistic atmosphere they have created, it is unclear whether the Israeli public is ready for a national referendum that will need the Arab vote. Israeli Arabs will have to decide what they really want to be: Citizens of Israel who have all the rights (and obligations) of all other citizens here (and who also have the right to demonstrate their sympathy for the Palestinian state-in-the-making in the same way that the Jews of America demonstrate their sympathy for the Jewish state) or the armed wing of the PA (in other words, a fifth column operating "behind the lines" inside Israel).
If it isn't already too late, the rift between us and Israeli Arabs must be sutured and closed. (Haaretz Oct 6)
So Where Does the 'Peace Process' Go From Here? By George Melloan
One of Mr. Clinton's legacies may prove to be chaos in the Middle East
Bill Clinton has been double-crossed again, this time by his little terrorist friend Yasser Arafat. Slobodan Milosevic pulled the same stunt two years ago when, on the heels of the much ballyhooed "Dayton Peace Accord," he unleashed his savagery on the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo. Maybe at some point the American president will learn that character is an important consideration in global politics. If you lie down with dogs, as the old saying goes, you're liable to wake up with fleas.
It has been repeatedly observed that Mr. Clinton wants to leave behind a "legacy" when he relinquishes the presidency in January. How does chaos in the Middle East sound for a legacy? That seems to be what is shaping up right now as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak threatens to end the peace process entirely if Arafat persists in his use of violence to support his demands.
The Israelis already have been condemned by the United Nations Security Council for using "excessive force" in containing the Palestinian rioting unleashed by Arafat, so what does Mr. Barak have to lose by cracking down more determinedly? The U.S., by the way, abstained from the U.N. vote, for fear that a veto of this one-sided resolution would reduce U.S. influence with the Palestinians.
Some influence. Arafat showed his contempt for the Clinton administration last week by walking out on a meeting with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Mr. Barak at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Paris. Ms. Albright rushed after him and ordered the gates closed so he couldn't escape. But escape he did, using the incident to demonstrate, as a Wall Street Journal Europe editorial noted, that Ms. Albright is more in need of a peace deal than he is. If this view persists, Mr. Clinton's search for a legacy could prove to be very costly to Israelis and Palestinians alike.
Indeed, the Clinton penchant for grandstanding about the "peace" deals he has orchestrated already has carried some high costs. His liaison with Milosevic continued long after it became clear that the Serbian thug had engineered ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and was not a trustworthy negotiating partner. Milosevic delivered the Dayton accord Mr. Clinton so badly wanted, but then assumed that his cooperation gave him carte blanche to resume his bloodthirsty practices in another venue, Kosovo. When that became too much for the world to stomach, the only U.S. recourse was a bombing attack on Serbia. Last week, Milosevic was overthrown by the Serbian people themselves, but as Jeffrey Gedmin wrote in these pages Monday, the country's new leader, Vojislav Kostunica, can hardly be described as a friend of the U.S.
It is of course true that "peace" is an honorable objective and it speaks well for the American people that efforts on behalf of peace are so politically popular in the U.S. It can also be said that the U.S. officials employed in these endeavors, Ms. Albright in particular, are hard-working and sincere public servants. The fault lies elsewhere, in the failure of Mr. Clinton himself to properly evaluate the politicians he is engaging and to understand the limitations of his role.
The fate of Israel became his responsibility when he, in effect, intervened in Israeli politics to help unseat former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and install Mr. Barak. Mr. Barak assumed that this White House interest in his election was merely a further reflection of the longstanding special relationship between the U.S. and Israel and that he could count on continued U.S. support in dealing with Arab militants. But he has no doubt by now begun to notice that in the Camp David talks it has been Israel and not Arafat's Palestinian Authority that has been asked to make most of the concessions. Hillary Clinton, now running for the Senate, gave her support for a Palestinian state, one of Arafat's goals. Mr. Barak came very close to accepting the re-partition of Jerusalem, a truly horrifying idea to anyone who remembers the partition that existed before June 1967.
As pointed out above, the Oslo accords, another Clinton "achievement," created an armed Palestinian camp within territories ceded to the Palestinian Authority. Arafat agreed under terms of the accord to use his Palestinian police to prevent terrorist attacks on Israel, and for a while he seemed to be living up to the agreement as terrorism diminished. But when he didn't get his way at Camp David on the Jerusalem question, he went home and unleashed the riots that now are causing Israel and the Clinton administration so much chagrin. That is easy enough to do when Palestinians have for years been indoctrinated to hate Israel and to be implacable in their demands for Arab control of the Holy Lands.
Some Arafat apologists, numerous among American liberals, argue that the Palestinian Authority leader has no control over the riots. That is a ridiculous assertion. He rules the Palestinian areas as a dictator, presiding over a high-handed and corrupt PA administration, and his well-armed police could easily bring rock-throwing youths under control if they wished. They are instead shooting at Israeli soldiers.
Arafat achieved his present prominence through terror, practicing it not only against Israel but other Arabs, including the moderate Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. Why should he give it up now, when it has served him so well? An even more interesting question is why would an American president risk so much on the assumption that Arafat could be charmed and bribed into becoming something other than what he has always been? The probable answer is that Mr. Clinton has had a lot to gain in American politics from playing peacemaker, whereas the Israelis have taken all the risks.
The fat is in the fire now. The sacking of Joseph's Tomb in Nablus is an affront to Jews everywhere. The short-lived truce that existed when the Israeli Defense Force pulled out of Southern Lebanon is over, with the Hezbollah attacking northern Israel. In the well-armed Palestinian Authority police, Israel is faced with a hostile force operating inside territory it once controlled. If it uses massive force, as Mr. Barak now threatens, the results won't be pretty. Israel will face further censure in the U.N. and cries for retribution from its enemies in Europe. The British, for example, still resent their ouster from Palestine by Israeli guerrillas in the late 1940s and the French have made a business of supporting Arab causes.
Most importantly, the American president who helped get the Israelis into this mess decided last Friday night that a veto of a skewed Security Council resolution might further inflame the Arabs. So the U.S., putative leader of the Free World, abstained. Where do we go from here? (The Wall Street Journal Oct 10)
Betrayal at the UN Jerusalem Post Editorial
The United States made a grave mistake in failing to veto what Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called a "one-sided" UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel. The US abstention was a mistake, despite the three seemingly cogent arguments used to explain it: that a worse resolution was blocked, that Israel was consulted all along, and that "US interests" dictated the move.
The UN resolution deplored "the provocation carried out at al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem on 28 September 2000, and the subsequent violence there and at other holy places, as well as in other areas throughout the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, resulting in over 80 Palestinian deaths and many other casualties." The resolution, which passed 14 to 0 with the US abstaining, also condemned "acts of violence, especially the excessive use of force against Palestinians." An innocent observer reading the resolution might reasonably conclude the Palestinians were quietly minding their own business when, out of the blue, Israeli forces decided to throw seven years of talks out the window and attack their negotiating partners. The opposite is the case.
After weeks of official Palestinian broadcasts encouraging violence and lionizing martyrs, and after attacks against Israelis in which both soldiers and civilians were killed, Yasser Arafat took advantage of Likud leader Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount to turn the flames on full burner.
In any case, the twisted nature of the resolution is not at issue - US Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke called it "unbalanced, biased, and really a lousy piece of work." This recognition begs the question, which was leveled at Albright and Holbrooke repeatedly over the weekend: If the resolution was so lousy, why did the US not exercise its right to veto?
Standard answer No. 1 - that a worse resolution was blocked - does not wash, because it is a truism. The Arab lobby at the United Nations always asks for the moon, in the hopes of passing a slightly less outrageous version after negotiations. According to Holbrooke, the US would have vetoed an "operational" resolution, but it could oppose what was watered down to "just empty rhetoric." Far from "empty," the Security Council resolution was exactly
what Arafat needed: an international judgment saddling the blame for his attack against Israel squarely on Israel's shoulders. Now the international commission of inquiry that Arafat fought for in Paris is redundant. The inquiry is over and the verdict is in: Israel is guilty.
The next line of defense used by Albright and Holbrooke was that Israel was closely consulted and "understood" the US position. That the Israeli government "understood" this failure of American will and judgment is itself unfortunate, but in no way excuses US behavior.
Having taken every "risk for peace" expected by the US and more, Israel is now a victim of US weakness, even betrayal. As a tactical matter, Israel may have had to choose its battles with the US, and therefore decided not to more openly resist the US position. But an Israel under siege should not have been forced into giving the US a pass in the Security Council, one of the few arenas where the US has a decisive voice.
Albright argues that "our role in the Middle East is to try to be the negotiator, the mediator, the honest broker." Could Albright mean that the US must be an 'honest broker' in the face of a wholesale attack by the party that has rejected their peace proposals on the party that accepted them? An "honest broker" that cannot differentiate between aggressor and victim is not doing the peace process any favors. An "honest broker" role makes sense in the context of negotiations, not when the negotiating track has been unilaterally tossed out the window by one party.
Finally, Albright alludes to America's "larger responsibilities within the whole region" in explaining the US abstention. This is veiled allusion to the risk of riots against American embassies and relations with the Arab world, but again the logic is backwards and dangerous.
A US veto would have signaled to Arafat and the Arab world that this round of blaming the victim is over. Now Arafat, Hizbullah, Saddam Hussein (who just called again for Israel's destruction), and anyone else who wants to jump on the absurd bandwagon that Israel is threatening al-Aksa Mosque can see that Israel's great ally, the United States, is unwilling to come to her defense. This can only be bad for Israel, bad for the United States, and bad for peace. (Jerusalem Post Oct 10)
A World Gone Mad By Evelyn Gordon
For the last 10 days, we have been living in a world gone mad.
It isn't that our "partner for peace," after signing no less than five agreements renouncing violence in the last seven years, initiated a shooting war. That has happened before, in the fall of 1996, and it will doubtless happen again as long as Yasser Arafat continues to walk away from such conflicts with diplomatic gains. Indeed, since the violence in 1996 produced increased international pressure on then prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and consequent Israeli concessions in the negotiations, it was almost inevitable that Arafat would try such tactics again. Success begs for repetition.
Nor is it that - unlike in 1996, when the world blamed Palestinian violence on Netanyahu's "intransigency" - the current round of fighting follows the most far-reaching concessions any Israeli prime minister has ever offered. At Camp David, Ehud Barak offered Arafat sovereignty over two of the Old City's four neighborhoods, free access to the Temple Mount, and the return of tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees to pre-1967 Israel. He was even willing to discuss UN sovereignty over the Mount. All these proposals would have been anathema to most Israelis only a few months earlier - but they still weren't enough for Arafat. And since Arafat has said clearly all along that he would go to war if his every demand weren't met, it should not have come as a surprise when he did exactly that. It isn't even that this time, the gunfights in the territories were accompanied by pitched battles inside the Green Line, in which Israeli Arabs shot at policemen and even tried to storm Jewish towns. Over the past seven years, Israeli Arabs' identification with the Palestinians has become increasingly strident, to the point that community leaders, including Arab MKs, have repeatedly called for violence against Israel.
Only last month, MK Mohammed Barakeh urged residents of Umm el-Fahm to stone the police; MK Abdulmalik Dehamshe has exhorted Arabs to break the police's bones and, if necessary, "spill blood." It is doubtful that Arab MKs would keep making such statements if they were not popular with their constituency. Thus it should not have been a surprise when these calls for violence translated into action.
Nor is it the fact that, despite Israel's withdrawal from every last inch of Lebanese territory, Hizbullah has resumed its terrorist activities, kidnapping three IDF soldiers. The organization has said more than once that it wants the Zionist entity wiped off the map, and IDF intelligence consistently predicted that the lull in terror would last for only a few months after the pullback. Thus despite the peace camp's optimistic predictions that withdrawal would bring peace on our northern border, one can hardly be surprised at Hizbullah's actions.
YET there is one aspect of the past week's events for which I can find no explanation but sheer insanity: the fact that most of the Western world seriously considers Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount sufficient justification for a bloodbath. Virtually every major Western newspaper and every major Western leader has declared that the Palestinian riots were understandable in light of Sharon's "provocation."
One can understand the Palestinians being upset by the visit, which was essentially an attempt to demonstrate Israeli sovereignty over the site. As someone who believes Israel should retain control of the site, I get upset when the Moslem Wakf bars Jews from praying there, thus demonstrating de facto Palestinian sovereignty of the site. But I and those like me have never translated our distress into mass riots with automatic weapons, and I doubt the Western world would "understand" if we did.
Sharon did not spit on the mosques or otherwise demonstrate contempt for a Moslem holy site. He merely visited. And in a sane world, such a visit - by someone who is not even a member of the government, and to a site that is holy to Sharon's religion as well - would not be considered a valid excuse for igniting a hot war.
In the face of what, at this writing, looks like it could yet become a multi-front war, this may seem like a trivial detail. Unfortunately, it is not. Because as long as the world is prepared to justify Palestinian violence on the most spurious of pretexts - even at a time when Israel's government is offering unprecedented far-reaching concessions, and to the point that it even blames Israel for shooting back - the Palestinians have no incentive to refrain from violence. On the contrary: They have learned that starting a war is an excellent way to achieve diplomatic gains in the form of increased pressure on Israel.
And as long as the world continues to teach the Palestinians that violence does pay, they would have to be insane to refrain from using it.(Jerusalem Post Oct 10)
No Longer a Loyal Minority By Yosef Goell
Are the Israeli Arabs a loyal minority, or are they a potentially dangerous subversive element in the heart of the Jewish state?
That question has been debated among Israeli Jews for the better part of the past quarter of a century since the 1976 Arab Land Day. It is one of those questions that is hard to answer, for who can tell what lies in the hearts of other men and women?
Enlightened Jewish opinion had it that despite mounting evidence of local Arab participation in Palestinian terrorism in the heart of Israel and the rise of a vociferous Israel-hating Islamic Movement, the overwhelming majority of Israeli Arabs were loyal, and the above phenomena only represented the work of "bad seeds."
The sorry events of the past 10 days have totally demolished whatever basis there may have been for that enlightened opinion. A large minority of Israeli Arabs - apparently including a significant majority of the young males among them - proved that they were ready to resort to the most outrageous violence against any Jew who came their way, not out of frustration over their economic situation, but in clear support of the Palestinian radicals in the territories. These radicals are dedicated not merely to the realization of an independent Palestinian state that would live in peace alongside a Jewish Israel, but to the annihilation of that hated Zionist entity.
The slogans which the rioters shouted, the frenzy with which they attacked anything Jewish or Israeli, where they could, and the exquisite coordination of their uprising with that of the terrorist Tanzim in the territories are all damning evidence that what we have here is not an understandable eruption of a downtrodden minority (unless one considers the very existence of Israel such a trodding down), but an Arafat-sponsored internal rebellion against Israel.
This evidence is further corroborated by a Yediot Aharonot poll last week that found 66 percent of the Israel Arab population declaring that they would clearly support the Palestinian side in any confrontation with Israel, as opposed to only 13% who would support Israel.
This would explain the really bad news of the uprising last week, in which the overwhelming majority of the Israeli Arabs - first and foremost their 10 Knesset members - made not the slightest effort to rein in the rioters. They were either too spineless, too terrorized by the dominance of the anti-Israel radicals in the streets of nearly all Arabs towns and villages, or secretly proud of the rioters, although too cowardly to join them.
DID THAT justify the police shooting down the rioters "like dogs" as Arab spokesmen claimed? Certainly not. But that is not what happened. Vastly outnumbered police first tried normal riot control methods, then tear gas and rubber bullets, and only then, in life-threatening situations, resorted to live fire. As they should have. That police restraint is why there were "only" 10 Arab rioters killed.
In connection with the worst rioting, in Islamic Movement-controlled Umm el-Fahm it is critical to make the following tragic but unavoidable point: Umm el-Fahm lies on one of the most critical internal security roads in the country, the Wadi Ara road. Every mother and father in Umm el-Fahm should be aware that in the case of a future war, if there is the slightest attempt by "innocent" Arab
villagers to slow up Israeli reserves rushing to the front, their town will be razed to the ground, with a massive loss of life.
True, Israel is a democracy, but it is a democracy under threat by an increasingly militant Arab minority. We must henceforward predicate our attitude to that minority on the assumption that they harbor dangerously subversive elements in their midst. Until proven otherwise, Israeli Arabs are not loyal.
It is understandably difficult for most of us, with our memories of being Jewish minorities (which never threatened any regime) to internalize that new reality. But we must do so.
The mind boggles at the fact that until 10 days ago, Prime Minister Ehud Barak was seriously considering basing a narrow coalition on the mostly subversive 10 Arab MKs. What should be done now is to declare the Islamic Movement illegal (like its predecessor el-Ard was in the 1960s) and dissolve all Arab municipalities headed by Islamic Movement mayors - first and foremost that of Umm el-Fahm.
Much more difficult, but equally essential, is adopting legislation that would withdraw Israeli citizenship from those who declare their foremost allegiance to our Palestinian enemy, and who will refuse to serve in the IDF or a parallel national service which must be developed speedily.
Israeli Arabs may have a "right" to identify with their Palestinian brethren; Israel has even more of a right to take extreme measures to defend itself against its Palestinian and other Arab enemies. (Jerusalem Post Oct 10)
My Heart Weeps for Hillel and Yosef By Shmuel Sackett
Who does one cry for first? Hillel Lieberman, the brave Jew from Elon Moreh who was brutally murdered or for Yosef Ha’Tzaddik, the Righteous Joseph, whose tomb was destroyed, pillaged and burnt to the ground by the same people… bloodthirsty Arabs who want one thing in life; the death of every Jew that walks this planet.
The connection between these two holy Jews is quite close. Hillel was the head of a group whose dream was to settle in the city of Shechem. Until this dream was realized, he temporarily lived with his wife and seven children in the nearby settlement of Elon Moreh. He knew every road in Shechem. Although great danger lurked about, he constantly walked around Shechem and learned every square inch of the city. He knew its history and its holiness. Before every trip I took to America on behalf of Yeshivat "Od Yosef Chai" in Shechem, I spoke to Hillel and he explained many interesting things about the city. He had hundreds of pictures which clearly proved the Jewish history of this place. He spoke about Shechem with great happiness and said that very soon, the day will come when Jews will once again live there. I often asked him where he got his strength from. After all, he had been shot at, stoned over 100 times and molotov cocktails were thrown at him on numerous occasions. Yet, even though this would have broken even the bravest of men, Hillel got stronger! His dedication to Kever Yosef (Joseph’s Tomb) was unshakeable and he told me that his strength and motivation came from Yosef himself. He told me that when compared to Yosef, we all live easy lives. Yosef was ripped apart from his family, forced into slavery and thrown into the dungeon. This would have broken a normal man but Yosef kept the faith. His belief in G-d never diminished. His dedication and service to his people never stopped and finally, after many long and difficult years, Yosef was rewarded by becoming second only to Pharoah in the mighty Egyptian empire.
Yosef was buried in a plot of land purchased by his father Jacob. It was in this exact spot that Yeshivat "Od Yosef Chai" was founded 18 years ago. The young men studying at the Yeshiva displayed amazing courage since from the very first day, it was at the center of tremendous hostilities. The Arabs always looked at these men as conquerors and made thousands of attempts to drive them away. Only through "mesirut nefesh" (self-sacrifice) was this Yeshiva successful and Hillel stood at the forefront of this battle from almost the very first day. Hillel told me that the greatest day he could remember was when Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh became Rosh Yeshiva of "Od Yosef Chai". He was very close to Rav Ginsburgh and explained to me that the personal example set by the Rav plus his unique style in teaching the secrets of the Torah was exactly what the Yeshiva needed. Indeed, in the years that Rav Ginsburgh has been the Rosh Yeshiva, the Yeshiva tripled in size. Hillel was right!
This dream came to a sudden end when the Barak government surrendered Kever Yosef to the PLO terrorists on the morning of Shabbat Shuva. The irony of it all is that this particular Shabbat was one of "Shuva Yisrael" Return o’ Israel and instead of returning to our roots, our history and our G-d we abandoned, surrendered and desecrated G-d’s Name. As soon as the Arabs gained control of Kever Yosef they entered the complex and took out everything of value. They stole the Yeshiva’s bookcases, computers, desks, chairs, and even the sinks and toilets. After those items were removed, they smashed the building and burned the tomb. Contrary to news reports that the IDF removed all holy books before surrendering, the truth is that over 2,000 sacred books were burned, plus many pairs of Tefillin and Talaysim. The tomb itself was smashed and totally destroyed. The building was leveled and thousands of bloodthirsty Arabs cheered and danced. Hillel heard this in shul at 8:30 Shabbat morning. He couldn’t bear the fact that Yosef was in trouble and nobody was helping. Immediately he ran to Yosef. He had to be near him in his time of need… he had to help him… he had to show the world that Yosef’s brothers had not forgotten him once again. The next part of the story is unclear. All we know is that Hillel never returned.
During his life Hillel was tied to Yosef and even in death he was connected to him. It was clear to everyone that Hillel could simply not live without Yosef Ha’Tzaddik. On a deeper level it proved that these two very holy and special Jews were really one. It is our prayer that G-d watch over Hillel’s family and bring about the Resurrection of the dead so that we can dance with Hillel and Yosef Ha’Tzaddik soon in the holy city of Shechem!