A collection of the week's news from Israel
A service of the Bet El Twinning Committee of Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto
A collection of the week's news from Israel
12 Cheshvan 5761
November 10, 2000
Issue number 299
MK's and Activists Pray in Rachel's Tomb
A shielded bus carrying MKs and activists from the National Religious Party entered the Rachel's Tomb site Thursday. The bus was escorted by Border Policemen. Journalists who were on the bus were forced to leave it. The prayers proceeded without interference. Dozens of Jewish women with children this morning attempted to break through the IDF checkpoint in Bethlehem, not far from Rachel's Tomb, in an attempt to reach the site. Soldiers stationed at the checkpoint pursued the women, preventing them from reaching the tomb. The IDF on Wednesday canceled authorization for the mass prayer at the last-minute. Central Command General Yitzhak Eitan had said at the beginning of the week that he would allow the devotees to pray in a clearly demarcated area on this date. Central Command had already organized a complicated security operation including hundreds of soldiers and entrance to the demarcated area only via bullet-proof buses. By evening, IDF had reversed its decision as IDF troops and Palestinians exchanged gunfire near the site.
Army Radio said that Hanan Porat, one of the organizers of the prayer session at the tomb, yesterday expressed anger at the Chief of Staff's decision. Porat said, "This is a humiliating capitulation to the threat of Palestinian terror, won with the support of the Israeli extreme-left."
According to tradition, today marks the anniversary of the death of the matriach Rachel.
[IMRA note: It is noteworthy that the threat of a Palestinian attack increased dramatically after Deputy Defense Minister Sneh was quoted on Israel Radio saying that prayers would be canceled if the threats of a Palestinian attack warranted cancellation.
Prime Minister Ehud Barak and his public relations team appear to have neglected a first class public relations opportunity on the very day that Yasser Arafat is slated to meet with US President Clinton. When Yasser Arafat's Fatah militia threatens to attack Jewish worshipers visiting Rachel's Tomb and repeat the story of Joseph's Tomb it looks BAD. For example, had Ehud Barak turned to famous religious leaders (e.g.. the Pope) to ask that they call on Arafat to order his gunman not to kill worshipers it would have earned a few column inches and broadcast time.]
The Likud, too, is critical of the decision not to allow prayer at Rachel's Tomb today. MK Danny Naveh said, "After the shameful running away from Joseph's Tomb in Shechem, Barak has surrendered to Palestinian violence at Rachel's Tomb as well. This policy simply encourages the Palestinians to carry out further violence." The Fatah movement publicized an announcement boasting of its success in preventing Jewish prayer in Bethlehem. Voice of Israel commentator Chaim Zisovitch, in response to a proposal by Minister Ran Cohen (Labor) that the Rachel's Tomb prayers be re-located to the Western Wall - a proposal later echoed by leading rabbis - asked, "We made such great efforts to ensure Friday prayers for the Moslems on the Temple Mount... What would be the reaction if we told the Moslems to re-locate their prayers from the Temple Mount to some mosque in Bethlehem?" (Ha'aretz-IMRA-Arutz-7 Nov. 9)
Encouraging Children to Take Part in Palestinian Riots
A recent editorial in the PA's official newspaper Al Hayat al-Jadida condemns parents who refuse to send their children to participate in the riots against Israeli soldiers. Referring even to those who merely criticize those who participate in the riots, editor Hafez Bargouti writes, "These destructive, abominable [individuals] harm us more than the bullets of the occupation, because they constitute a fifth column. Our nation must learn a lesson and take them to reckoning later on." The editorial, in the Oct. 27th edition of the paper, was translated by Palestinian Media Watch.
Journalist David Bedein, of Israel Resource News Agency, adds that Associated Press reported yesterday that "Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo wrote to an Israeli human rights group that [Palestinian]children are being told 'to stay away from flash points." However, Bedein notes, Palestinian radio and television mention no such call, but rather continue to feature songs and poems praising Palestinian children who "die as martyrs." "The message that Abed Rabbo communicated to the foreign and Israeli media was simply not communicated to his own people," concludes Bedein. (Arutz-7 Nov. 9)
Atarot Closed Off
Jerusalem's Atarot airport, straddling El Bireh at northern Jerusalem, has been closed for the past five weeks. All roads leading to the airport have been closed to Jewish traffic during this period, in light of the Palestinian violence. Traffic to the nearby Atarot industrial area requires advance coordination with the army. The paving of Road 45, between Givat Ze'ev and Pisgat Ze'ev, has been rushed up; it will enable Jewish traffic to travel freely north of Jerusalem without entering the Arab villages of El Jib and A-Ram. (Arutz-7 Nov. 9)
Helicopter Kills Key Palestinian Tanzim Leader
An air force Apache helicopter fired a laser-guided Hellfire rocket at a vehicle traveling near the biblical town of Bethlehem today killing a key Palestinian Tanzim leader and wounding his deputy. The army said that the attack killed Hussein Abayad, 33. His deputy Khaled Salahat was reportedly severely wounded. The IDF said Abayad was behind the deaths of three soldiers and the severe wounding of a Border Policeman during the past six weeks. He was also seen as the one directing the fire on Gilo and Rachel's Tomb and against IDF forces. IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ron Kitri stressed that the IDF and other Israeli security forces would continue to act "decisively and with precision" against terrorist targets in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip. (Jerusalem Post Nov 9)
The True Rabin Legacy
As the national commemorations of the fifth anniversary of the late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin's assassination continue, so does the national debate about the "Rabin legacy" and how it is taught in the country's schools. Teacher Yisrael Shiran, who has been suspended by the Education Ministry because of a sharp public letter he wrote against Rabin and the "legacy," expressed cautious optimism that the matter would be dealt with satisfactorily. "We now see that Rabin is the one who was responsible for the catastrophic situation in which our State now finds itself." The Association for Civil Rights in Israel asked Ministry Director-General Shlomit Amichai to rescind her suspension of Shiran, saying that it was a "grave blow to freedom of speech and to the values that the Ministry must advance."
Regarding the Rabin legacy itself, MK Tzvi Hendel wrote in Ma'ariv yesterday that it is not actually what it seems to be.
"We note this week the 5th anniversary of the painful assassination of Yitzchak Rabin, of blessed memory. Especially now, when we see the Oslo agreements rising up against us, and Arafat's soldiers murdering our sons, it's important to see the true Rabin legacy, and not the distorted 'legacy' disseminated by the extreme left. In my dozens of talks with Rabin before and after the first Oslo agreement, which was known as 'Gaza and Jericho first,' I learned quite well his conception of this specific process. I didn't agree with him even then, but it was certainly a far cry from what two of his biggest enemies at the time - Peres and Beilin - are now trying to portray. Rabin saw 'Gaza and Jericho' as a small experiment, and Oslo in general as a big experiment, and he promised that if these experiments failed, they would be shelved and the results would be dealt with. "Rabin was dragged against his will into Oslo, and shook Arafat's hand only with deep aversion. It was clear to all that... blatant violations of the agreement would bring the process to an end. Now, five years after Rabin's murder, I demand that no one take false ownership over his legacy. Specifically, the last ones who should do this are Peres and Beilin, who embittered his life up until his last day. His political weakness within his party gave them the ability to press him even on difficult diplomatic issues. Unlike them, he was not stricken with their false Messianic vision of peace. If he was alive now, he would say, 'Enough of this madness! We must turn the wheel backwards.' This is Rabin's true legacy regarding Oslo." (Arutz 7, Nov 6)
This powerful 30-second clip depicts the Palestinian's contemptible manipulation of children's minds and the endangerment of their lives in order to achieve political gain. CBS, ABC, and NBC - all refused to air it. Watch it and spread it around. Circulate the One Jerusalem international petition against the redivision of Jerusalem - http://www.onejerusalem.org. To receive the video attachment, send blank email to: "hatredfromthecradle@IsraelNationalNews.com"
Mekorot to Stop Pumping from Sea of Galilee
Israel's water company, Mekorot, announced that it will terminate routine pumping of water from the Sea of Galilee in order to stop the decline in its water level, MA'ARIV reported. The water level is currently 213.73 meters below sea level, 28.74 inches below the Red Lineùthe mark from below which water should not be pumped. Mekorot will draw water only on weekends and will provide water only to the Haifa district.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance, Avraham Shohat has decided to begin buying water from Turkey. Negotiations on this matter will include an Israeli request for an annual amount of 15-25 million cubic meters of water with the possibility of doubling the amount for a period of 5-10 years. Israel Line Nov 7
Police Harass Demonstrators at Ra'anana Junction
About ten adults from Raanana were standing at Raanana Junction for their weekly Saturday evening protest against Oslo tonight when Prime Minister Ehud Barak's entourage passed by at 20:10. The weekly protest has taken place at Raanana Junction for several years. The demonstrators waved their placards at the passing vehicles. At 20:20 a police car came up to the protestors on the eastern (Kfar Sava) side of the junction and the police began demanding the identity cards of all the protestors. Two teenagers from the Civil Guard approached the protestors on the western side of the junction and asked for the identity cards of those on that side. When one of the protestors tried to photograph the teenage Civil Guards, one of them ordered that no photographs be taken. Since then another police car with three more policemen came to the junction. (IMRA 4 November, 2000)
Intifada or Just Irate Consumers?
Israeli Arabs in the Western Galilee village of Araba threw rocks at a Bezek telephone crew. The crew was not hurt, but the rioters warned that the crew would face even harsher violence if it stayed. At the same time, a repair crew from Israel Electric repairing lines damaged during the rioting in the Israeli Arab town of Um al Fahm was attacked. The car of the repair crew was lightly damaged and the crew rushed to evacuate. (Yediot Ahronot-IMRA-8 November)
".President Yasser Arafat will demand an end to Israeli aggression, Israeli sieges, Israeli closures as well as (installing) an international protection force along with the formation of an international tribunal..The international force we are demanding will be not fixed to locations but mobile units along fixed locations and these are the June 4 1967 borders including Holy Jerusalem."Saeb Erikat Voice of Palestine-November 8, 2000.
"There can be no peace with the Jews because they use and suck the blood of Arabs on the holidays of Passover and Purim."-- Palestinian Liberation Army Mufti, Sheikh Colonel Nader Al-Tamimi (MEMRI November 6, 2000)
The French say, ê la guerre comme ê la guerre, and they are right. You cannot make love to your enemy and fight him at the same time. You can't defeat your enemy on the battlefield if at the at the same time you are trying to make peace with him. Ask the French, who have fought several battles with the Germans over the past 130 years. They did not achieve peace with them until they had regained sovereignty over Alsace-Lorraine. However, French President Jacques Chirac believes we should behave differently towards Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat than the French acted towards the Germans, and that Israel should surrender to its enemy's demands, even regarding Jerusalem. Ask Chirac how Georges Clemenceau and Charles de Gaulle would have behaved, how he himself would have acted were Paris, the capital of love, under attack. Arafat certainly does not wish to make love, nor peace with Israel. He has gone to war against Israel, as was expected by everyone who has followed this column over recent years. The Israeli public has lost its direction, and has even shown signs of despair in recent weeks, because its leaders are not prepared to admit the truth - that this intifada is liable to deteriorate into all-out war. The cabinet ministers are at most prepared to call the situation "a state of emergency." Regional Cooperation Minister Shimon Peres's Chamberlain-like visit with Arafat in Gaza, the poor man's Munich, created an illusion of "peace now" - an immediate cease fire. Within a few hours, it became clear that Arafat was not even prepared to make a joint call with Barak for a cessation of violence. Indeed, the government continued to deceive the Jews in order to remain in power. In order to understand how scores of Jews were deceived into believing that the situation "isn't that bad" during the darkest periods of Jewish history, and then killed, pay attention to what is happening in this country now. The government reassures us: "there is a cease fire," or "we are going to America for talks," or "Arafat is a partner." This is at a time when it is obvious Arafat will never be a partner in peace. He demonstrated this once again when he gave orders to his Tanzim, his police, and his children to open fire on Israel.
The government, which has castrated the IDF, is presenting every miserable piece of paper that Barak signs in Washington as a "peace agreement." There are some who are not prepared to let Arafat's deception come to light, because they are accomplices: Shimon Peres and Justice Minister Yossi Beilin are the leaders of this scam. They established the start up company entitled "Arafat's peace" in Oslo in September 1993, sold shares to public, and inflated their value. Only recently did their ruse become clear to the citizenry, and residents of Gilo in particular. Jews, even from the sane Left, have begun to throw away these junk bonds, and have realized that Arafat is not only a swindler and a cheat but also a murderer. Even quintessential peaceniks like Barak and Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami have been obliged to announce that Arafat is giving the orders to open fire to his Tanzim.
The company founders, Peres, Beilin, and partners, are making a supreme effort to save their careers. For this reason they are ready to sit with Arafat and continue to circulate his lies, as long as they don't have to sit with Likud leader Ariel Sharon, the sole leader capable of rescuing Israel from Oslo's death trap. Peres and Beilin, this is a lost battle. The Jews have always won, and they will win again - but for a higher price than was necessary. It could have been different. Most Jews now identify the enemy - Arafat. The Jews will again act normally. They will remember the lesson, "know thine enemy," which was deliberately ignored in recent years. Arafat helped to reveal the naked truth about himself. He was the one who aroused the Jews from the sleep brought upon them by those like Peres and Beilin. The day is not far off when Beilin and Peres will be ashamed to leave their homes while Jews take action against Arafat. (Jerusalem Post - November 9 2000).
Canada's recent vote in the United Nations Security Council -- for an inflammatory resolution totally one-sided in its condemnation of Israel -- should come as no surprise to anyone. Throughout the Liberal government's term of office, Canada has consistently failed to press for objective treatment of Israel by the UN.
Every year, the General Assembly passes more resolutions against Israel than against any other state, despite the gross human rights violations that regularly occur in other countries. This was the case before the Oslo accords, after the Oslo accords, and during every kind of Israeli government. Canada has voted for virtually all such resolutions for years.
Take this past year. In the 1999 General Assembly, 19 resolutions were passed criticizing only Israel. According to the General Assembly, Israel is solely responsible for the area's "suffering," "daily human rights violations," "hostility" and "dismal lives." The language of these resolutions prejudges all the political claims: Palestinians own Jerusalem. Syria owns the water. Millions of Palestinian refugees have the right to return to "their homes and former places of residence." Not a word is said about the responsibility of others. No mention of Arab governments that have rejected the existence of the state of Israel from its inception. No mention of decades of anti-Semitism in textbooks, religious centres or state-controlled media. Not a word about parents who deliberately put their children on the front lines.
These inflammatory resolutions make a negotiated solution less likely. Where has Canada stood on them? We voted "for" in 14 cases and abstained in five. Not once did we have the courage to vote "against." Last month, two weeks after the Security Council vote, Canada chose to abstain on another General Assembly resolution, which once again specifically identifies only one user of force, one obstacle to peace, and one perpetrator of illegal acts of violence. Nowhere does one find General Assembly resolutions criticizing human rights abuses by Israel's enemies.
The same attitude is on display in all UN fora. At the 2000 UN Commission on Human Rights, for example, five resolutions condemning Israel were adopted. Canada's voting record: two in favour and three abstentions.
But what about the human rights of Palestinians under the Palestinian Authority? The 1999-2000 Report of the Swiss-based Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers says: "The executive authority, in particular President Arafat, wields most power and continues to act with relative impunity ... and the executive authority routinely refuses to enforce judicial decisions ... President Arafat's continued refusal to sign the Basic Law effectively stops the development of clear government structure based on democratic principles, the separation of powers and the Rule of Law."
There are currently six human rights "mandates" established by the UN to critique Israel (there are 17 others for the entire rest of the world). Canada abstained in the September, 2000, decision to create another forum -- which consisted of a special session of the UN Human Rights Commission. The result was to give yet another platform for venting hatred and anti-Semitism, with the Sudanese lecturing the Israelis on "genocide," the Libyans preaching about "repression," and the Iranians on "ethnic cleansing."
The UN Charter proclaims the equality of nations large and small. In no case is this principle flouted more than in Israel's. It is a little-known fact that Israel is the only UN member that is refused full membership in any one of the UN's five regional groups. Without a group affiliation, a nation cannot put forward its own nationals for election to most UN bodies. As things stand, Israel can't be elected to the Commission on Human Rights or the Security Council. The "Western European and Others Group" has a regional sub-group of which Canada is a part. Canada has done nothing to open even these doors.
Canada's recent Security Council vote was not an aberration. It was part of a pattern this government has followed for years. But for Stockwell Day's raising the issue, no one would have noticed it.
But now that people have noticed, it has touched a raw nerve, a nerve already chafed by this federal government's callous disregard of the equality rights of Jewish citizens in Ontario. In contrast to their Catholic neighbours, Jewish and all non-Catholic taxpayers in Ontario receive no public funding to send their children to religious schools. Today marks the one-year anniversary of an independent expert committee's finding that Canada's preferential system stands in violation of international human rights law, and a fundamental UN treaty -- the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The federal government says the provinces would complain if it implemented international law in areas such as education. The problem with this theory is that all the provinces told the federal government to ratify the treaty on their behalf. Holding provincial premiers to their word is not trenching on provincial turf. The same is true for the Social Union agreement, in which federal and provincial governments specifically agreed on the first principle of "equality, respect for diversity [and] fairness." The federal government has a responsibility to ensure that Canada's international partners can trust Canada's signature on international agreements.
So there are no excuses. Just a one-of-the-gang attitude when it comes to the UN's political bodies, and a we'll-do-it-our-way attitude when it comes to UN international human rights law. The Prime Minister claims this election is about values. The only value many in the Jewish community will think he's talking about is hypocrisy.
(Anne Bayefsky is professor of international law in the Political Science Department at York University. She was counsel to Arieh Waldman in the religious schools funding case before the UN Human Rights Committee.National Post November 3,2000).
Frequently I'm asked, "it looks to be so dangerous in Hebron - why don't you move somewhere else?"
A few days ago I answered that we had considered just that, perhaps moving to Gilo in Jerusalem. The journalist looked at me, and hearing my tone of voice said, "OK, I understand."
There are those who perhaps don't yet understand.
Yesterday is a classic example. Twenty-eight year old Ayelet HaShachar Levy, mother of a 3-year old, was moving from a small (150 families) Binyamin community, northeast of Jerusalem, between Jerusalem and Beit-El. Her destination: downtown Jerusalem. Shacher, as she was known, was getting out of her car to show the moving men where to take her furniture when the car bomb exploded. She was killed instantly.
Shachar's father, Rabbi Yitzhak Levy, chairman of the National Religious Party and former minister of Education, Transportation, and Building, was touring in Gush Katif at the time of the explosion. Upon hearing reports of the terror attack he became immediately concerned. The attack occurred on the exact road where his daughter was supposed to be moving to, that very day. When he learned that a big truck had been blocking the way of the car-bomb, his fears heightened. On his way back to Jerusalem the Jerusalem District Police Commander called Rabbi Levy on his cell phone, requesting an urgent meeting with him. Rabbi Levy's response: "You don't have to tell me why. I already know."
And then there is the Or family. The Ors live in another Jerusalem neighborhood, called Gilo, on the southern border of the city. Gilo has been under terrorist gunfire attack for the last month. The Ors decided to get away from the action for a little while and made their way to the center of the city to have lunch with the grandparents, who live in the Machane Yehuda part of the city. Five of the family were injured when the car blew up.
So the next time a journalist asks why we don't move, I'll have a couple of more examples - trying to express a very simple point: There is no where to run to. Wherever we go, we are marked. It makes no difference if its Hebron, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa or anywhere else. Arafat's henchmen don't care where it is; what's important is - who it is - Jews, living in Eretz Yisrael, in the State of Israel. Running away just convinces them that they are on the right track - "a little more blood, a little more killing, and for sure, they will abandon the Land of Israel for somewhere else, leaving Palestine to us."
The problem we are facing today is very simple: A war is being fought against us, but we are not treating it like a war. When you are attacked, you must fight back, not run away. Israel's leaders are doing just that, the equivalent of fleeing. Rather that deal with those attacking us as an enemy, we are dealing with them as "partners" for peace. Clearly, if you don't treat your enemy as an enemy, you cannot defeat him. Clearly, when war is declared against you and, when you are attacked, day after day, night after night, you must act accordingly. That means, not only reacting, but also initiating.
Not only aren't Israel's 'leaders' initiating, they are barely reacting. When three soldiers were killed, two during a fierce battle outside Jerusalem and another by sniper gunfire, Israel's reaction was to send Shimon Peres to beg Arafat for a few days of quiet. According to the rumor mill, Peres requested a cease-fire until Sunday, thereby allowing the Saturday night Rabin memorial in Tel-Aviv to take place as planned. Israel radio reported this morning that Peres literally pleaded with Arafat for 'a week of quiet.'
Is this how you fight a war? Israeli military commanders are forced to meet with their "parallels" from the other side, to try and reach agreements on 'how to restore the peace.' These Arab terrorist commanders, known a 'policemen,' are the same people initiating and participating in attacks against Jews, both civilians and soldiers. Yet, our officers are forced to sit with them, shake their hands, and act as though nothing happened.
Is this the way to fight a war? In Hebron, following five weeks of nightly shooting, all is heading back to normal. The curfew is lifted, the shuk is opened, and so what if there is a gunshot here and there - it takes time for Arafat's orders to be implemented, it takes time to calm everyone down.
Is this the way to fight a war? There is a story told in Jewish sources about two Rabbis walking in a valley when they viewed "Ayelet HaShacher," rays of light breaking through the darkness, moments before dawn. One Rabbi said to the other, "this is the way of Israel's redemption. In the beginning, slowly, slowly. As it proceeds, it gets lighter and lighter." For what reason? "When I sit in the dark, G-d lights my way."
It may have been decreed that before the light, we must first experience darkness. At present we are still somewhere in between dark and light. They reverberate, back and forth. The light radiated by Rabbi Yitzhak Levy's daughter, Ayelet HaShacher, was extinguished by a terrorist bomb, yet a small ray of light, her three year old daughter, still shines on, albeit much weakened. The light is starting to break through, but we are still sitting in the dark. Let us hope that soon we will all wake ourselves up, and let the light break through in all its glory. (Hebron-Past, Present and Forever The Jewish Community of Hebron November 3, 2000).
On 7 October 2000, while patrolling the northern border, our son Benny Avraham and his comrades Adi Avitan and Omar Souad were taken captive by the Hizbullah. In the many days since then, we have had no sign of life from them-- not even any word of their condition or their whereabouts-- and the Red Cross has not been permitted to check on them.
As more days pass, concern for the fate of our boy-- and of his comrades-- gnaws at our thoughts. We can't rest for wondering what they are undergoing, what kind of care they are receiving (if any), whether everything possible is being done to bring them back.
Responsibility - The welfare, the fate, the return of these boys is up to the government of Israel, the IDF, and the UN. But their lives are veiled from us and fear for them only grows.
Appeal for help - a. We wish to ask the global humanitarian agencies to work for the return of our boys and to press the Red Cross, the UN, and other relevant agencies to do so.
b. We appeal to anyone who can join in the attempt to bring helpful influence.
c. Any aid will be received with appreciation.
The e-mail address is " email@example.com " . Please distribute this letter to everyone you know.
The Avraham Family (Haim, Edna, Efrat, and Daphna) for the families of all the captives.
'There is no alternative," says the Barak government, explaining why it plans a return to the bargaining table with Yasser Arafat. "In the end, the diplomatic way is what will win out," says Shlomo Ben-Ami, the acting foreign minister. Similarly, an editorial in Ha'aretz says a military power cannot deal with Palestinian violence; the "realistic solution is to move toward co-existence, based on compromises and negotiated agreements." Survey research finds a healthy majority of Israelis agrees there is no alternative to diplomacy. But there is an alternative -- not an exciting one, to be sure, but one that addresses the country's strategic problem. That alternative is not the "unilateral separation" the Barak government has floated, which can be summed up as "us here and them there." Unilateral separation means imposing borders of Israel's choosing between its population and the Palestinians; in Ehud Barak's colourful formulation, it sees Israel as "a villa located in a jungle." Mr. Barak's own analogy points to the reason separation cannot work; a villa in the jungle cannot survive for long. Similarly, Israel cannot find true security in walls. Even if walls did work against the Palestinian Authority (unlikely -- think of southern Lebanon), they do not address the threats posed by Israel's many other enemies -- the Arab population within the country, the governments of Syria and Iraq, and Arabs and Muslims around the world. Separation suffers from another flaw: Like the Oslo negotiations, it falsely assumes Israel can take the initiative to make the key decisions of war and peace. Israelis cannot deal with the threat confronting them until they realize such decisions are made not in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv but in Cairo, Gaza, Amman and Damascus. The conflict will end only when Arabs accept the permanent existence of a sovereign Jewish state in their midst; not when Israelis decide it should be over. This fact frustrates Israelis, who are eager to put their century-long conflict with Arabs behind them. But they cannot on their own do this. They can only try to encourage Arabs to put it behind. They cannot force Arabs to reach this conclusion, only indirectly induce them to do so on their own. Once Israelis reconcile themselves to these unalterable truths, their alternative to diplomacy becomes self-evident, and it is neither new nor exotic. It consists basically of a return to the approach of the pre-Oslo era, when Israelis understood two facts:
(1) the great majority of Arabs want Israel to be militarily destroyed and
(2) the only way to change their minds is by showing that this goal has no chance of succeeding
-- in fact, pursuing it leaves the Arabs impoverished and weakened, without severely damaging Israel. This, called the policy of deterrence, dominated Israeli thinking during the country's first 45 years, 1948-93, and worked well. Recognizing Israel's immutability, for example, prompted Anwar Sadat to give up military confrontation and fly to Jerusalem in 1977. Trouble was, even as deterrence visibly wore down the Arab will to destroy Israel, it more subtly also wore down the Israeli will.
Deterrence being slow, erratic and passive, not to speak of expensive and indirect, it is hard to sustain for decades. Eventually, Israelis became impatient for a quicker and more active approach. That impatience brought on the Oslo accords in 1993, in which Israelis initiated more creative and active steps to end the conflict. So totally did deterrence disappear from the Israeli vocabulary, it is today not even considered when policy options are discussed, leading to the widespread perception that there is "no alternative" to diplomacy. Israelis will turn to deterrence only when they conclude that more exciting solutions have failed them. The sooner that happens, the less damage they will suffer. In retrospect, the 1990s will be seen as Israel's lost decade, the time when the fruits of earlier years were squandered, when the country's security regressed. The history books will portray Israel at this time, like Britain and France in the 1930s, as a place under the sway of illusion, where dreams of avoiding war in fact sowed the seeds of the next conflict. (Daniel Pipes is director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum National Post November 8, 2000).
The "four mothers" organization, which has begun a new campaign to continue to demoralize the army and the citizens of Israel and to assert pressure on the Israeli government, have proved yet again that they have no moral fiber. They also are determined to see Israel continuing to run away from terror and violence instead of solving the problem. When and where do they stop running for fear that their "sons" will die? At the Tel Aviv seashore?. In the Mediterranean?
The continuing violence and shooting throughout Yesha is proof that Barak intends to continue to allow the "Lebanization" of the situation instead of putting a stop to it.
The Yesha Council demands that the army prevent these murderous attacks on Jewish civilians and army personal and teach those who perpetrate terror that it will not serve the intended purpose.
The Yesha Council demands that the Prime Minister/Minister of Defense, and Chief of Staff give orders to re-open Kever Rachel and ensure that Jews be allowed to pray there daily. We do not accept the abandonment of Kever Yosef, and demand to return there permanently at the first opportunity. We demand protection of the rights of the Jewish people to continue to pray at our holiest sites: the Kotel, Ma'arat Hamachpela, Kever Yosef, and Kever Rachel.
We wish to remind Ehud Barak that the legacy of Israel and our greatest source of pride is protecting the freedom of worship of all religions in their Holy Sites, and that this includes the Jewish people. (Yehudit Tayar is the Director General of the Foreign Desk, Yesha Council - Press Release.
The dead duck "peace process" is moving again to Washington where a lame duck president will meet with Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak -- separately, but unequally -- in another meaningless and certainly fruitless exercise in futility. Arafat has been a genius at playing the Israeli left and the West for suckers. He plays to the West's humanistic view of Man as basically good, while Arafat is the instigator and incarnation of much that is evil. The closest the West gets to a proper concept of evil is Halloween costumes depicting evil characters in which sophisticates do not believe. The Clinton Administration has offered a $30 billion bribe to Arafat if he will lay down his arms and beat his growing stockpile of swords into plowshares. Instead, he's busy buying more swords and lining his own pockets and those of his cronies with what we, and the rest of the world, have already given him. The land-for-peace formula was doomed from the start because, while Arafat was happy to take land, he had no intention of granting peace. Why should he when he knows he can get it all with a little patience and a lot of violence? Any math student knows that when a formula is wrong, the result will also be wrong, unless one is on the side of people who would exterminate Israel.
Arafat feels no need to keep his intentions secret. He shouts them from the housetops, knowing the State Department and the Israeli left are too stupid to believe what he says and too blind to believe what they see almost nightly on television. It makes them feel better to believe they will be respected in the morning, even after they have been repeatedly violated. So, let us again go through the drill. Arafat claims he wants peace, but speaking to a Palestinian Authority leadership conference in Tunis last month, Arafat promised there would be a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Never mind that the Oslo agreement leaves the status of Jerusalem to be negotiated between the parties. Whatever Yasser wants, Yasser gets. PLO Representative for Refugee Affairs, As'ad Abd Al-Rahman, said at the conference, "The negotiations that are being conducted between the Palestinian and Israeli sides are negotiations of blood." Despite the many casualties, the Palestinian people are inclined to continue the confrontation because it is beginning to bear fruit. The Arab press joins with Arafat, Hamas and other terrorist organizations in pledging the total destruction of Israel and, in some cases, they call for the annihilation of the Jewish people. How long should it take a rational person to believe a violent man coming down the street might have evil intent if he shoots at everyone and everything in sight? When he kills your neighbor and begins walking in your direction, a prudent person might conclude he'd better defend himself. But in the twisted reasoning of the Middle East, Israelis are illegal occupiers of land that rightfully belongs to them and so when people throw stones and others fire weapons, the soldiers fire back and are then saddled with blame. The Palestinian media is full of incendiary rhetoric, which displays the Palestinian Authority's true intentions. Israeli Arab Knesset Member Abd-Al Malek Dehamshe was recently interviewed on PA Television.
Dehamshe said, "We exaggerate when we say 'peace'...what we are (really) speaking about is 'Hudna.'" "Hudna" is an Islamic term meaning cease-fire. Dehamshe was responding to a caller to the program who asserted, "Our problem with Israel is not a border problem but one of existence." Dehamshe not only failed to disassociate himself from the caller's remark but he in effect agreed with the caller by referring to agreements with Israel not as "peace" but rather as "Hudna," that is, a cease-fire. It is a step toward the Palestinian Authority's ultimate goal, which is not co-existence but the annihilation of Israel.
That is precisely what Palestinian Authority Minister Abdul Aziz Shahian said in the May 30 Palestinian daily newspaper Al Ayaam: "The Palestinian people accepted the Oslo agreements as a first step and not as a permanent arrangement, based on the premise that the war and struggle on the ground is more efficient than a struggle from a distant land...for the Palestinian people will continue the revolution until they achieve the goals of the '65 revolution." For the unread, the '65 revolution refers to the founding of the PLO and the publication of the Palestinian covenant that calls for the destruction of Israel by armed struggle. One would have to be a complete idiot to ignore such behavior and rhetoric. (Los Angeles Times Syndicate November 6, 2000).