A collection of the week's news from Israel
A service of the Bet El Twinning Committee of Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto

 

12 MarCheshvan 5760
October 22, 1999
Issue number 242

Events...

Sunday November 28

NCSY presents Avraham Fried & Yehuda, with Kol Chaverim Choir & Nafshenu Orchestra In Concert at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Limited seating available. Call (905) 761-6279 ext. 21.

 

News...

Barak and Yesha Council Reach Compromise; Evacuations Begin

A compromise was reached last week between the Yesha Council and Prime Minister Barak on the dismantling of civilian outposts in Judea and Samaria. The agreement was formulated by Head of the Prime Ministerial Staff Danny Yatom, Housing Minister Rabbi Yitzchak Levy, Yossi Vardi - Assistant to the Defense Minister for Settlement Affairs, Barak's settlements advisor Shilo Gal, and Yesha Council member Ze'ev (Zambish) Chever. The details of the compromise are as follows:

In sum, from the neighborhoods that Ehud Barak had threatened to uproot, 60 out of 75 families will remain. Barak has changed his mind regarding a review of 16 other outpost neighborhoods. Their development will be frozen for now.

MK Rabbi Druckman (NRP) said that the agreement represents a recognition by the government of the settlement enterprise in Yesha, including the outpost neighborhoods. MK Ran Cohen (Meretz) objects to the agreement, and said that the government should have evacuated at least 30 outposts. The left-wing organization Gush Shalom calls upon Meretz to quit the government in protest. MK Rechavam Ze'evi of the National Union, on the other hand, called the agreement a "surrender" on the part of the Yesha Council. "The concessions by the Council," he said, "are not necessarily agreeable to the residents themselves. If we're compromising, we might as well compromise on all of Eretz Yisrael. This new agreement is a precedent for the evacuation of other places." Ze'evi objected to the uprooting of the outposts for other reasons, as well: "These neighborhoods don't bother anyone, they're not on Arab land, nothing. The issue is not the law, but rather that Barak wants to show that he's the boss, and that he's in charge. If the wrong clerk in the Defense Ministry signed, then this does not require a Ministerial Committee - they should get the right clerk to sign, not uproot people from their homes!" Dor HaHemshekh leader Shimon Riklin, of Michmash: "I am sure that the leaders struck the best deal they could, but if you ask me as Shimon Riklin and the Next Generation movement, we do not accept this [agreement]. We will continue in our efforts to prevent the evacuation of any one of the outposts, because if the government uproots these neighborhoods... there is no reason Barak will not then say that it wants to evacuate 40 full-fledged communities, and then he'll 'compromise' on 15 of them. Where is all this leading us?" Abu Medein, who holds the Justice portfolio in the Palestinian Authority, objects to the agreement, and said today that it grants legal recognition to the outposts. "The Barak government is more dangerous to the peace process than its predecessor," he said. (Arutz 7 Oct 14)

The compromise was achieved largely thanks to the fact that Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh was out of the country, and was replaced by Barak-aide and General (res.) Danny Yatom. Yatom and Ze'ev Chever (Zambish) - who was authorized by the Yesha council to agree in its name to whatever arrangement he saw fit - are long-time acquaintances and have worked together well in the past. Zambish's guiding principle, according to HaTzofeh, was: "If in exchange for a partial evacuation of a point, we earn its approval - it's worth it." Thus, two caravans out of four will be removed from a spot near Susia, and the site will attain official recognition; Outpost 777 outside Itamar will be evacuated, and in exchange thousands of dunams will be officially incorporated into the town; Mitzpeh Chagit and N'vei Erez will dismantled - for the sake of permanent recognition in the future. When the of negotiations were completed, Yatom reported back to the Prime Minister. At the end of the phone conversation, he said with relief, "You can't imagine what a third-degree I just went through - but he agreed." Zambish made the rounds through the various outposts through the last week, in an attempt to convince the residents - many of whom he himself enlisted in the Yesha cause - to agree to the compromise.

National Union MK Michael Kleiner, however, came out sharply against the Yesha Council today for agreeing to the compromise on the outposts. "The Yesha Council has concluded its role as leader of the struggle over the future of the settlements," Kleiner said, according to an IMRA report. "An alternative body must be established that is not tied at the waist to the Treasury Ministry and that can run the ideological struggle for the Land of Israel while clear of dependence on government ministries." Kleiner said that he would prefer the forced evacuation of 15 settlements rather than an agreed-upon dismantling of one: "Those who agree to the evacuation of one Jewish settlement in the end will find themselves losing all the settlements, and the moral right to struggle. They will always be asked: If you agreed on settlement X, why can't you agree on settlement Y?" Kleiner also addressed remarks to Meretz MK Ran Cohen: "Cohen cries out in the name of the rule of law. I would like to see massive law enforcement measures also in the Arab sector. The destruction of 17,000 illegal buildings in the territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, another 15,000 within the State of Israel, and the dismantling of the scores of illegal Arab village outposts." (Arutz 7 Oct 15)

The water tower at Shvut Rachel 8 was successfully dismantled Tuesday, after all protestors had left. Wednesday, an outpost near Eli (Shuna) was evacuated and, at the Maon farm - an outpost of several families similarly targeted for evacuation - a festive Torah Scroll arrival ceremony took place. The Assistant to the Defense Minister for Settlement Affairs, Yossi Vardi, who represents the government in the outpost-evacuation issue, visited Mitzpeh K'ramim Wednesday - and was visibly surprised at what he saw: "Eight families living there, in a real-live community," reports Arutz-7's Kobi Sela. Although K'ramim is slated to be evacuated, Vardi talked with the residents, and Sela came away with the impression that there may very well be "positive developments." Yechiel Chamdi, secretary of Michmash and a resident of Mitzpeh K'ramim, told Arutz-7, "I would like to point out that before the compromise, when it looked as if Barak would dismantle and evacuate all 15 of the outposts without any alternative arrangements, all our representatives put their heads down in despair, except for one - Zambish [Amanah head Ze'ev Chever]. He was the only one who was willing to get out all the maps and go into the Prime Minister's Office and start working on the nitty-gritty details of each and every point, and try to save what he could from the situation - and he saved a lot." Yasser Arafat now claims that Barak has violated the Sharm a-Sheikh agreement by not evacuating 43 outposts in Yesha...Former Chief Rabbis Shapira and Eliyahu have given their approval to the compromise. Rabbi Shapira was reassured by the fact that Israel will retain control over the areas in question, and Rabbi Eliyahu - who asked what would happen if the government does not stand by its word to re-populate many of the sites - was assured by Yesha Council member Uri Ariel that the government's commitments were made publicly. (Arutz 7 Oct 20)

Singing to Victory

Almost 6,000 people participated in a demonstration Sunday night, organized by the Dor Hemshekh (Next Generation) movement, against the evacuation of the Yesha outposts. Dor Hemshekh leader Hevron Shilo addressed his public remarks to Prime Minister Barak: "If you continue along this path of destruction, Honorable Prime Minister, we will be forced to begin a struggle - a just struggle, but responsible; tolerant, but determined. People ask us how we will struggle. I call upon everyone, every outpost that is to be evacuated, to come with musical instruments. We will sit on the roads and sing, we will stand next to the tractors and we'll dance. No one can promise us victory here and now. But a Jew who knows how to sing his faith, a Jew who can sing for his Land and who can sing for his G-d, can rest assured that in the end, his faith will emerge victorious." Shimon Riklin, head of Dor Hemshekh, said that many young people had requested to join the outposts, and that he was surprised to see that many of them were "bare-headed, except for their long hair..." Yechiel Chamdi, Secretary of Kokhav HaShachar and a resident of the scheduled-to-be-evacuated outpost of K'ramim, read aloud a chapter of Psalms. MK Meir Porush, head of the United Torah Judaism party, at a different gathering Sunday night, said, "Whoever thinks that even the evacuation of some of the outposts will put an end to the demands by Arafat, is simply mistaken. After the outposts will come a demand for the settlements. And after that, may G-d preserve us, will come a demand for the return of millions of refugees. And then will come a return to the 1967 borders, what the statesman Abba Eban called nothing less than 'Auschwitz borders.'" Uri Ariel, Mayor of Bet El and chairman of the National Union's Tekumah movement, said "Like any compromise, no one comes away totally satisfied. I can assure you that no one in the Yesha Council recited the Shehecheyanu blessing afterwards... It is the right of the residents to protest, and it is even a good thing - I don't think that [this compromise] should pass without a reaction from us. But at the same time, we must remember that the struggle should be just, and not pass certain lines-there should not even be verbal violence."(Arutz 7 Oct 18)

Israel Returns Lists to P.A.

Israel has found the lists of Palestinian para-military policemen submitted by the Palestinian Authority to be unsatisfactory, and has returned the lists to the PA. The policemen must be approved by Israel, according to the Oslo accords, and Israel need not approve members of terrorist groups such as Hamas. The submission of the lists was a pre-condition for the release of the first group of imprisoned Arab terrorists, which Israel freed six weeks ago; the second group was released several days ago. The PA para-military force presently comprises 41,000 armed men, which is more than 15,000 over the permitted number. In addition, the Palestinians were to have submitted their plan for collecting illegal weapons Saturday, but have not yet done so. (Arutz 7 Oct 19)

 

Israel Releases Murderers

Fifty Arab terrorist murderers were set free from Israeli jails last Friday, many years before their sentences were to have ended, in accordance with the recent Sharm a-Sheikh agreement. The victims of the terrorists were Palestinian collaborators with Israel; some of those released today killed more than one, and several of them committed additional murders within prison walls. Another 100 terrorists were also freed, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad members whose attacks against Jews did not result in any deaths. All of them signed papers saying they would not return to terrorist activity. Justice Minister Yossi Beilin said this morning that from an ethical point of view, there is no difference between the release of terrorists with or without blood on their hands. Hundreds of people demonstrations at 35 intersections throughout the country. (Arutz 7 Oct 15)

Some of the terrorists who were released last Friday have already been incorporated into the Palestinian para-military police force, and have received Kalachnikov rifles for the purpose. (Arutz 7 Oct 17)

Dr. Yosef Burg, 91

Dr. Yosef Burg passed away last Friday at the age of 91. Leader of the National Religious Party for many years, he was a Knesset Member from 1948 until 1984, from the 1st through the 11th Knessets. Born in Dresden, Germany, in 1909, he received a doctorate in philosophy and rabbinical ordination, and immigrated to Israel in 1939. He served as a government minister from 1951 through 1984, in the ministries of Health, Welfare, Posts, Interior, Police, and Religious Affairs. Burg, whose son Avraham presently serves as Knesset Speaker, was involved in many public causes, including saving Jews during World War II, government missions to various countries, heading the World Mizrachi Organization for two years, teaching, and Bible commentary. President Ezer Weizman, who served with Burg in several Israeli governments, said that Israel has lost a leader and a guide. Prime Minister Barak, in an official announcement, noted that Burg struggled tirelessly for decades to pass on Jewish values. (Arutz 7 Oct 15)

New Blood in Golan

MK Yuli Edelstein (Yisrael B'Aliyah) has finally agreed to a request by the Golan Residents Committee, and will head the Golan lobby in the Knesset. Edelstein told Arutz-7 correspondent Haggai Seri that his main goal will be to form a bloc of 60 MKs that will vote against a withdrawal from the Golan. Eli Malka was unanimously elected last week to head the Committee, replacing Avi Ze'ira. (Arutz 7 Oct 15)

Coalition of Jewish Federations Chooses Arafat For Peace Prize

United Jewish Communities (UJC), the umbrella organization of 189 local federations in North America (including Toronto’s UJA Federation), chose Yasir Arafat to receive their annual Isaiah Award for his contributions to the peace process. Arafat was informed, the prize was purchased, a draft of the presentation script was prepared and arrangements were made for the presentation in Ramallah on Oct. 13. It seems that only Arafat’s decision to be in Tokyo on that day prevented his being presented the award. The script was to say that Arafat was receiving the award "for efforts to hasten the prophet Isaiah's vision for all people." The Advocate has documentation indicating all of this. However UJC is now denying such plans and says that no Isaiah Award be given this year. The idea of giving Arafat the award has been roundly criticized in the US and Israel from all political sides. (Boston Jewish Advocate Oct 15)

 

 

Commentary...

Some Reactions to the Removal of Outposts and Related Protests

Professor Yitzhak Klein:

It was an important event because, at the beginning of this new stage in the struggle, the response was much, much greater and more enthusiastic than anyone had a right to expect. I had gone to the demonstration expecting no more than a few hundred people to show up. I was as shocked as the Prime Minister's office and the press apparently were-given the strength of their reaction-to find thousands present. The estimate of 4-6 thousand is, for once, pretty accurate. There was obviously a good deal of money and an encouraging amount of organization behind the demonstration; a music and public address system were provided, good lighting, and a video of one of the new settlements. Moreover, it was a long, long time since I've been to a demonstration with such a strong spontaneous display of spirit. When the moderator told the crowd to join in the songs, they SANG. Before I went to the demonstration I took it for granted that we cannot now mobilize sufficient strength to prevent Barak from peeling these settlements off the ground. My confidence in my pessimism has been shaken. From the headlines in Yediot today-reporting that Barak has consulted with the GSS about how to deal with "extremists," and the chief prosecutor Arbel weighing in with an overtly political statement, I imagine they are concerned. There is much to be done in parallel to whatever happens ba'shetach.

Suggestion #1: Barak is presenting this, not as a political decision, but a "legal" one. That's nonsense, but how about taking him up on his word? Sue in Bagatz for a 45-day restraining order, asking the PM's office to justify its decision on legal grounds. Barak has clearly promised the US to remove some settlements as soon as possible, to establish a precedent, and this will make him break a promise. Also, who knows? He may be on shaky legal ground on some of these settlements. Let's get some legal talent and check it out.

Suggestion #2: The government is clearly planning preventive arrests of activists, beatings, etc. Let's be ready this time: First, with a press conference with foreign correpondents (let the Channel 1 people wait outside), explaining to them how we expect the government to violate civil rights and asking them to keep watch. Also, we should establish preliminary contact with Amnesty International. Also legal observer teams to organize, photographers, etc.

Klalo shel davar, there are a large number of media, legal, and administrative things that need to be done to make the struggle much more effective and that weren't done adequately last time. Our organization can form the core of a public committee whose job it is to raise money and ensure that these things get done. Let's get together and plan, please.

PS. From the important to the inconsequential. Best posters at the demonstration: "Barak: You transfer Us, We transfer You." Also, across the street from the Dor Hemshech demonstration were 50-60 Shalom Achshav people demonstrating. One held a sign: "Better Peace without Life Than Life without Peace." ["Tov shalom bli hayim Mihayim bli shalom."] I am not kidding. -That message just about sums it up, I guess.

From: B. Svetitsky:

I am troubled by the use of the Left's terminology regarding Yesha. I suggest that we replace "pinui" with "gerush", "settlements" with "towns" or "villages", and most important, "dismantling" with "destruction" - "churban" (or "hachrava"?). Indeed, "dismantling settlements" sounds like taking apart a fair after closing day; and "pinui" sounds like these people live on an army base. Isn't the phrase "destruction of a village and dispossession of its inhabitants" more evocative of the truth? (PSI Oct 20)

 

 

The Real Thing By Uri Dan

Ramat Aviv Gimmel is not only a silly Israeli TV series which attempts to depict the empty lives of Tel Aviv yuppies. Ramat Aviv is a real place: a well-established and prosperous neighborhood suburb, where there are many supporters of the Labor Party and of the Left. The same is true of the neighboring Afeka suburb.

This is also the location of the Tel Aviv University campus, where there are numerous professors and lecturers who, even in their lectures, support the establishment of a Palestinian state and the uprooting of the settlements.

It is therefore ironic that Ramat Aviv Alef, Bet and Gimmel, as well as the campus, stand on the land of an Arab village, Sheikh Munis, whose inhabitants abandoned it in the spring of 1948. No one evicted them. They fled, together with the inhabitants of Jaffa, after believing the Arab leaders who promised them that the invasion of Israel by the Arab armies on May 15 of that year would be immediately followed by an Arab victory. They would then be able to return, not only to Jaffa and to their villages, but also to conquered Tel Aviv itself. These Arab promises were broadcast and publicized non-stop at the time in the Arabic media.

The same thing happened to the villagers of Sumeil. They also did not return, and the rich Tel Aviv suburb known as Shikun Bavli, with its huge, expensive penthouses, was built on their land.

The Palestinian spokesmen have never waived their public claims "to return to Jaffa, Haifa, Acre" and to their abandoned villages. Jewish falsifiers of history are helping them to map the hundreds of abandoned villages and to draw up a list of the "Arab houses" in Safed Jaffa and even in western Jerusalem. For those who are unaware, the Knesset building, the Prime Minister's Office, and the magnificent Supreme Court building, all stand on what was once the Arab village of Sheikh Bader, which was abandoned by its inhabitants in 1948 during the terrible war in besieged Jerusalem.

If we therefore apply the principle of morality and justice proclaimed by people of the Left to these Israeli institutions, they should also be called "outposts": the Givat Ram outpost, Ramat Aviv outpost, Shikun Bavli outpost, and university outpost.

Do these Jews really think that if they uproot the outposts in Judea and Samaria the Palestinians will forget their claims to Sheikh Munis, Sheikh Bader and Kafr Sumeil and will allow them to live there in peace?

Furthermore, the outposts in Judea and Samaria were not set up on the abandoned land of Palestinian villages, but on state land, most of which was rocky ground. Only the convoluted brains of cabinet ministers, who are not prepared to face facts, can refer to them as "illegal outposts." From a moral, legal and historical aspect they are more legal than Ramat Aviv and Givat Ram.

FOR the Palestinians, everything is "illegal." Everything is "stolen land."

Ministers Yossi Sarid and Haim Ramon, apparently out of a desire to find favor in Palestinian eyes, are enjoying their attempt to uproot the outposts and are incapable of understanding that by doing so they are undermining the foundations of their own homes. Sarid lives in Ramat Aviv.

If Sarid and his friends were to achieve an official Palestinian commitment to waive their claims to Sheikh Munis, Sheikh Bader and the other "Sheikhs" in return for the uprooting of the outposts, this would at least be something.

But, for no reason, with an inquisitional fervor, to simply destroy Jewish settlements?

However, there is method in this madness, in this leftist, anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish insanity. The Palestinians can smell this Israeli weakness. Therefore, even if Ramon and Sarid uproot all the settlements, the Palestinians will not waive any of their rights, neither to the borders of 1967 or to those of the 1947 Partition Plan. They are acting like a normal people, as opposed to those with pretentions of being ministers.

I was therefore encouraged when I visited the settlement of Shvut Rachel a few days ago and met young settlers, some of whom had been born in Judea and Samaria during the last quarter-century, some of whom were immigrants. They believe in Eretz Yisrael and not just in the stock exchange, which is the Golden Calf of the yuppies from Ramat Aviv Gimmel.

These settlers in Judea and Samaria are the real thing. Ramat Aviv Gimmel is only a TV show. (Jerusalem Post Oct 14)

 

 

My Heart Is On This Hill By:Shiri Gur-Aryeh

I was just a little girl of four when my family moved here, to Kochav Hashachar. I grew up in this place, among its vineyards and breathtaking views overlooking the Jordan Valley on Israel's eastern border. I have spent my entire life here watching this community grow into a sprawling suburb north of Jerusalem.

Now it was supposed to be my turn. My chance to build not just a home but a special community, adjacent to Kochav Hashachar, together with my peers who grew up here with me. Not miles away, not just some hilltop, but the very mountain that overlooks my parents' home.

We dreamt about Mitzpe Kramim for quite a while. Like many young couples we wanted to live near our parents - but not too close. We wanted the same opportunity that our parents had: to create a new community in the Heartland, exemplifying the mosaic that is Jewish life while contributing to the security of Israel in this most strategic of locations, right off the Alon Road. So we went through all the legalities and obtained all the necessary permits from the IDF, the Ministry of Defense, the Jewish Agency and the Civil Administration. Yet, here we find ourselves today facing the bulldozer of peace that insists we are somehow standing in its way.

I sit and wonder how destroying my home is of benefit to the peace process. I look out my window and see nothing in this area but the breathtaking landscape of the Jordan Valley - and, of course, my parents' house. Yet, somehow, my home, my community, my hard work has been declared illegal; an obstacle to peace.

As I watch my daughter play with our dog on our front lawn I wonder if there is a way to save this place. Perhaps if the Prime Minister would visit us here for just a few minutes and see this remarkable town that we've built, maybe he would understand that we are not just a camp of makeshift buildings. We are a living, breathing community whose members have invested their blood, sweat and tears into making it flourish. We are doing nothing more than fulfilling the Zionist dream of building a Jewish community in the Land of Israel.

No matter what happens in the future, we will remain committed, law abiding citizens of the State of Israel. My husband will continue to serve faithfully as an officer in the Armed Forces and we will continue to show only the utmost respect for our Prime Minister, no matter how wrong we feel he may be. But for myself and in the name of my peers I dare declare that my heart will always reside in Mitzpe Kramim.

Thus, we came to this beautiful mountaintop and planted the roots of our young families. We see in this place our future, the place where we will raise our children , where we feel an emotional attachment. We grew up here in Kochav Hashachar.

In these last few days when we received the information about the imminent evacuation, we did not hear about it from any officials, nor were we offered the opportunity to plead our case. We heard about it on the news. No one negotiated with us. No one even asked us for our case, for our side of the story. We were shocked by this decree especially considering Mitzpe Kramim's location to the east of the Alon Road, on land with no private claims, overlooking the Jordan Valley in a location long within the national consensus. (Community of Mitzpe Kramim Oct 18)

The writer is a young mother residing in Mitzpe Kramim, which is scheduled to be dismantled in the coming days.

 

 

Fighting the Last War By David Bar-Illan

The scene last week could have been straight out of Herzl's Altneuland.

The occasion was the dedication of a Jewish school in Vienna founded by Ronald Lauder, head of the Jewish National Fund and chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and the speaker was Austria's Chancellor Viktor Klima.

Trying to assuage his audience's concern about Joerg Haider's election success, Klima told them he had called Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak to assure him that history would not repeat itself in Austria. Haider may be a nasty demagogue, but the large vote he received indicated anti-establishment and xenophobic sentiment, not the return of Nazism, he averred.

The speech was, at least to some in the audience, an historic affirmation of Herzl's dream in the very city which a century ago so derisively mocked the idea of a Jewish State. For, clearly, had there not been a strong Jewish state whose friendship and goodwill Austria wants, such an appearance by the Austrian prime minister would have been unthinkable.

But the official Israeli reaction to the Austrian vote, which Klima was so eager to address, would have been more credible had it been more consistent; if in the past Israeli foreign ministers had threatened severing diplomatic relations every time an election victory was won by one of Europe's Communist parties, which posed a far greater post-World War II danger to Israel and the Jewish people than the marginal neo-Nazis. In today's world, David Levy's threats betray a proclivity for fighting the last war, rather than deterring the next.

Not that antisemitism has disappeared in Europe. It has not, and there is little chance that it will in the foreseeable future. Nor is fierce vigilance ever superfluous. But it is one thing for a quarter of the population to believe, as they do in Austria, that "the Jews have too much influence," and quite another for governments to foment antisemitism. Only the state can mobilize the passions of bigotry and turn them into a genocidal threat. And today the only regimes that officially and openly promote and propagate antisemitism are not in Europe, but in the Middle East.

In Syria, Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass prides himself on a book he wrote about how Jews use the blood of Christian children in matza. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Hitler's Mein Kampf are best sellers there, and in the rest of the Arab world.

In Egypt's official press Jews are caricatured the way they were in Hitler's Der Sturmer: as slimy, hook-nosed, greedy, malevolent monsters whose blood-drenched tentacles control the world's power centers. And all the sickening antisemitic canards - from Holocaust denial to equating Jews with Nazis and charging Israeli scientists with spreading AIDS among Arabs - are featured regularly in the mainstream press.

It is not a case of a free press gone wild. Egypt's media are controlled, their directors and editors appointed by the president. The government prohibits private radio and television channels, has shut down a weekly publication for being too outspoken, and banned more than 80 titles the American University in Cairo intended to import, including Khalil Gibran's The Prophet.

Antisemitic themes also dominate the controlled Palestinian media. Yasser Arafat's official mouthpiece Al-Hayat Al-Jadida has called chief American negotiator Dennis Ross "a Shylock, part of the oppressive racist Zionist apparatus"; branded the Holocaust "a deceitful myth"; called the US Congress "the Council of the Elders of Zion" and charged Israel with trying to poison Palestinian babies. The Palestinian media also consistently deny the historic connection between the Jews and Jerusalem and the right of the Jews to nationhood.

Even more troubling is the incitement in Palestinian schoolbooks. A recent study of 140 Palestinian textbooks by the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace - a private foundation - shows that antisemitism is pervasive in Palestinian texts. Jews are invariably depicted as robbers, aggressors, wild animals, locusts and treacherous cheats who have faked their history and stole Palestinian land. Nowhere in these texts is there a single mention of the State of Israel or the peace agreements.

The list of the world's countries in the standard Palestinian geography book omits Israel, but includes a state named Palestine whose capital is Jerusalem. Nor do Palestinian maps ever mention Israel. All the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean is "occupied Palestine," to be liberated in holy war.

Palestinian officials claim that they have inherited these textbooks from Jordan and Egypt and have not managed to change them. The opposite is true. During Israel's rule in the territories, the antisemitic passages were expunged. The Palestinians restored them.

This kind of brainwashing in the media and the classroom cannot be viewed merely as a gross violation of all Arab-Israel agreements. It is a calculated, all- encompassing indoctrination campaign, a transparent preparation for war. (Jerusalem Post Oct 20)

[And to close, a comment from the left on the compromise agreement... -ed.]

Smoke Screen Encampments By David Newman

It was somehow ironic that the pro-settlement demonstration on Sunday night outside the prime minister's house took place the same week we mark the fourth anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination. It was, after all, the fiery speeches and vitriolic slogans of the anti-Rabin demonstrations which created the atmosphere from which murderer Yigal Amir apparently drew his belief that it was legitimate to kill a prime minister who dared undertake any form of territorial withdrawal.

True, the numbers at this week's demonstration were much smaller. And, despite one inflammatory speech, most of the speakers were careful in the language and the metaphors they used. There was no prime minister dressed up in Nazi uniform, and no use of the word traitor, although there was a rather gory banner evoking the Holocaust and Auschwitz, which no one made any move to take down.

In reality, the demonstration was no more than a public gathering, which was seen by the second-generation settlers who organized it as being the least they could do under the circumstances.

The decision to dismantle 10 outposts was reached together with the leaders of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, who normally would have been at the forefront of any anti-government demonstrations.

But we should not be naive enough to believe that the settler movement and its leaders have finally accepted that their dream of a Greater Israel is over. For one thing, the presence of over 170,000 settlers throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip has created a geographical situation which makes it impossible to return to the 1967 boundaries. The settlements are facts on the ground, and will be decisive in determining where the future Israeli-Palestinian border is located. Moreover, the settlers have cleverly manipulated the present government in such a way that Prime Minister Ehud Barak really has very little to show for the agreement to remove these outposts. None of these outposts existed a year ago; most consist of little more than a few huts and have less than 10 residents, if that.

In short, the outposts are no more than a smoke screen aimed at diverting the public debate away from the real issue: those tens of thousands of Jewish residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip who now seem more firmly rooted in their settlements than ever before.

WHEN the Oslo II Agreements were being negotiated back in 1995, the public debate concerned whether all of the settlements would eventually have to be evacuated, or just some of them, leaving those concentrated near the Green Line and around Jerusalem. The Netanyahu government promised that if any settlements were to be removed, it would only be those which would find themselves completely encircled by Palestinian territory.

Right now, there is no discussion whatsoever of possible settlement evacuation anywhere - just the removal of a few mobile homes which were hurriedly erected in the period leading up to the recent elections. Even if all the encampments were to be removed overnight - and over 30 still will not be - the settlement problem would remain.

It is not unreasonable to suspect this was a long-term policy by the settler leaders, so they could have something to concede while diverting attention from the real issue.

With all their dynamism, Hanan Porat, Moshe Levinger, Daniella Weiss and their compatriots are no longer young activists full of endless adrenalin. They are probably only too happy to see a new generation of settler activists take over the struggle against the present government, one which anyway appears to be much more sympathetic to the settlers than was the Rabin administration.

The lowest point for the settlers was the signing of the Oslo II Agreement in September 1995, an act which eventually led to Rabin's assassination four years ago this week. Since then, they have consolidated their position, despite all the further agreements - Wye, Sharm - which have been signed by both the Netanyahu and Barak governments. No longer is there any talk of mass settlement evacuation - not even of 30% or 40% of the communities. Instead, they have created a smoke screen of outposts which, in a public show of unwillingness, they will be prepared to sacrifice for a peace agreement they do not believe in. The writer chairs the department of Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. (Jerusalem Post Oct 20)


Back to Israel News {} Return to CAFI News {} Return to CAFI Home
Recommended Links
 
 
Powered By:NuvioTemplates.com