A collection of the week's news from Israel
10 Kislev 5760 News...
November 19, 1999
Issue number 246
Suha Arafat Speaks Hate in Hilary’s Presence, Echoing Palestinian Press
U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton visited Israel last week in preparation for her race for a seat in the US. Senate from New York State. During Ms. Clinton's visit with Mrs. Yasser Arafat, Suha, the latter launched an unprecedented verbal attack on the State of Israel. Suha told her guest, "The Israeli occupying forces have poisoned our air with poisonous gases, and have destroyed 80% of our water resources, which have now become putrefied. Our lands are soaked with chemicals, inherited from the period of occupation, and this is increasing the rate of cancer and other horrible diseases, especially among women and children." Mrs. Clinton did not react. The Prime Minister's Bureau issued a sharply condemnation of "the inappropriate remarks made by Suha Arafat and other senior Palestinian officials today... Poisoning the public atmosphere does not help the success of the negotiations," saying that the remarks were "most grave," and demanded a condemnation by the Palestinian Authority. U.S. President Clinton demanded an apology from Yasser Arafat several hours later. Clinton claimed that the remarks caused embarrassment to his wife. The PA explained that Mrs. Arafat used the term "poisonous gas" when she in fact meant "tear gas." Israel's Foreign Ministry has instructed its embassies and consulates to react sharply to Suha's words.
Suha Arafat's verbal assault on Israel bears a striking resemblance to charges leveled by the Palestinian Press last week. One example supplied by Palestinian Media Watch comes from last Tuesday's edition of the official Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: "Israeli companies are carrying out a covert war against the Palestinian land and the Palestinian people, by flooding the markets with chemical pesticides forbidden by international law... Israeli chemical companies are using the Palestinian land and population as their own testing ground." A report distributed Wednesday by the Washington-based Middle East Media and Research Institute quotes the Monday edition of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida dismissing the American condemnation of her remarks. The paper wrote that "the main motive for the White House's eagerness to condemn sister Suha's statement... lies in its wish to make New York Jews happy in order to get a few votes supporting Hillary Clinton's candidacy..." The weekly Al-Manar wrote Tuesday, "Israel has conducted a pre-meditated campaign against the Palestinians and their land... Water poisoning incidents are known and proven; the burial of nuclear waste is not a secret* and spoiled foodstuffs are collected in settlements with the knowledge of Israeli leaders, and thrown to Palestinian markets. Suha Arafat's statements represent what the people suffer from the hated Israeli colonialism, which continues [even now]..." PA officials made similar public statements as early as the summer of 1998. PA Health Minister Riyadh Al-Za'anoon told Al-Ayam on July 25, 1998 that Israeli doctors "use Palestinian patients* for experimental medicines and training new doctors." PA Minister of Ecology Yousef Abu-Safiyyeh appears in the April 3, 1999 edition of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida with charges that Israel damages the Palestinian environment by dumping liquid waste in PA-ruled areas. This week the Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. was quoted as expressing "understanding" for Suha Arafat's accusations against Israel. He also said that Egypt is developing its army "in order to be ready for every threat." (arutzsheva.org Nov 11-17)
Rabbi Druckman Recommends Teaching "Altalena"
Following the decision by Education Minister Yossi Sarid to add the Kfar Kassem killings of 1956 to the yearly school program, MK Rabbi Chaim Druckman (NRP) now proposes that the attack on the Altalena should also be taught yearly. On Oct 29, 1956, the first day of the Sinai Campaign war, Border Guard policemen killed 43 citizens of the Arab village of Kfar Kassem who were in violation of a curfew. Two years later, eight officers and soldiers were convicted of "giving and carrying out illegal orders," and were sentenced to between 7 and 17 years in prison. In a letter to Sarid, Rabbi Druckman writes that the order given Israeli forces by Ben Gurion to fire on a ship carrying arms for the Irgun [a rival organization of that which later became the Israel Defense Forces] is a "classic example of an illegal order." Thirteen Jews were killed as a result of the attack on the Altalena, and 48 were wounded. Rabbi Druckman, paraphrasing the famous ruling handed down in the Kfar Kassem case, said, "Waving high over Ben Gurion's order to bomb the Altalena was the black flag of a blatantly immoral order." (A7.org Nov 17)
IDF Prepares Northern Leaders For Unilateral Pull-out
O.C. Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi met with the heads of the northern towns Monday, explaining to them that the IDF is prepared for a unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon should such an order be given. The Mayor of Shlomi, Gabi Ne'eman, told Arutz-7 after the meeting that northern local leaders are now more concerned than before. "It's not that we believe that the army will be totally ineffective at deterring or fighting terrorism, but we are simply not prepared to return to the situation [of vulnerability to Hizbullah attacks] we were in in 1982. We have therefore decided not to cooperate with the army's preparations for such a move, until top government representatives explain to us exactly how they plan to deal with all of the ramifications of this decision." Ne'eman said that Ashkenazi did not deny that "some adventurous Hizbullah terrorists could cross the border and fire at a home in Shlomi. This is more serious in a certain sense than the katyusha rockets we have absorbed over the years, which have no specific address, and often end up in open fields and the like. Here, terrorists could take direct aim at homes from just hundreds of meters away." News Editor Haggai Segal asked Ne'eman whether it is security or economic woes that most worry local officials. "They are crucial elements of one larger picture and cannot be separated," Ne'eman explained. "For instance, we are just completing the construction of 600 new housing units here. What is the likelihood that city-dwellers in Tel Aviv or Haifa will be attracted to our community if, in a few months' time, they would be living in a town that will be a mere 500 meters away from the border with Lebanon?" (arutzsheva.org Nov 16)
Bedouins Evacuated at Maon
Civil Administration officials and IDF soldiers evacuated Bedouins Tuesday from the "range of fire" areas near the location of the recently-destroyed Maon farm. The officials sealed up Bedouin caves, and destroyed the group's other structures. The actions follow efforts by the Civil Administration to locate illegal Jewish penetrations into the area. Yesha leaders were promised that not just the settlers, but also the local Arabs, would be evacuated from the area. (arutzsheva.org Nov 16)
Palestinian Policemen Beat Gush Katif Resident
An Israeli citizen on his way home to the Gush Katif community of Netzarim was stopped and beaten Tuesday by Palestinian soldiers. He was travelling last in a convoy of Israeli cars, when Palestinian para-military police stopped him, broke his windshield, took him out of his car, and beat him. The man was taken to a nearby hospital after being examined by a medical team in Netzarim. (arutzsheva.org Nov 16)
Barak Rebuffs Latest Arafat Demand
"Dividing up the Land of Israel is painful and injurious, but no one will be permitted to challenge the authority of the government." So asserted Prime Minister Ehud Barak this week. The next stage of the Sharm A-Sheikh agreement was to have been carried out by Israel Monday, but Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat had not agreed to accept the areas stipulated by Israel. Specifically, Arafat objected to the nature reserve in the Judean Desert, and demanded area in the Shomron instead. A Prime Ministerial press release announced that the IDF is deployed to withdraw as planned, but that only further contacts will clarify whether the withdrawal will be today or at a later date. Though couched in "diplomatic language," the release reflects the tensions that permeated Sunday’s Barak-Arafat encounter. Arafat agreed that the lands in the Judean Desert would not be replaced by stretches of land in the northern Shomron and in the Ramallah area, but the story is not yet over. "Arafat's position yesterday was, 'OK, we won't change the maps, but I want Israel to agree in advance that we, the Palestinians, will determine the location of the next withdrawal in January.' But here again, Barak refused," Government sources observed that Arafat's stubbornness may indicate his mis-reading of the current political map. "He was trying to bring about a crisis," said Huberman, "hoping that he could drag the Americans into the fray, who would in turn pressure Israel to capitulate. My sources told me, though, that Clinton relayed to Arafat the U.S. position that Israel has the sole authority to determine the location of the withdrawal. (arutzsheva.org Nov 15)
Bank of Israel Governor Yaakov Frenkel announced on Sunday his decision to retire after nine years on the job, apparently for "personal reasons," Many commentators, however, speculate that the retirement is a response to sharp differences between Frenkel and Finance Minister Avraham Shochat on national fiscal policy. The yearly inflation rate stood at 20% when Frenkel took office in August 1991, compared to 4-5% today. Frenkel stressed the need for Israel's economy to attain internationally-acceptable standards, and bring Israel into a period of economic globalization, with a concomitant opening of the Israeli market to foreign investors. Frenkel went through five Prime Ministers: Shamir, Rabin, Peres, Netanyahu and Barak - and five Finance Ministers: Moda'i, Shochat (twice), Meridor, and Ne'eman. The Prime Minister's Office, in a press release, noted that, "In a letter sent to the Prime Minister several months ago, Professor Frenkel noted that the policy objectives he defined upon entering his job have been achieved in full: Inflation has been reduced to its lowest level in three decades and today approaches the rate prevailing in developed countries; the liberalization of the foreign currency market has been highly successful and the exchange-rate regime has become flexible; Israel's money and capital markets have become an integral part of international markets; the Israeli banking system is modern and robust and the Israeli economy has become a preferred market for foreign investors. In particular, while absorbing large-scale immigration, the Israeli economy has managed to integrate into the global economy with the utmost, as is appropriate in the era of globalization. Now, the Israeli economy is ready to resume sustained growth, as recently published economic data indicates." (arutzsheva.org Nov 15)
Terrorism Wins Culture Prize in PA
The Palestinian Prize for Culture will be granted to the man who planned the 1972 massacre of the Israeli athletes in Munich, Abu Daoud. The prize will be granted him in recognition of a book he wrote in which he described the planning of the murder of the 11 Israeli Olympic athletes. Knesset Members Rabbi Chaim Druckman (NRP) and Avi Yechezkel (Labor) demand that sanctions be taken against Abu Daoud. Germany issued a request several months ago for the terrorist's extradition. (arutzsheva.org Nov 14)
Arafat Appoints Convicted Torturer as General Prosecutor
The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group reports on what it calls Yasser Arafat's "unbelievable appointment." Last Sunday, Arafat decided to appoint Latif Abdel-Fattah as a General Prosecutor in the Palestinian Attorney General Office. PHRMG notes that Abdel-Fattah, while working for the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, was convicted last year by a Palestinian Military Court of mistreatment and carelessness leading to the death of a prisoner. He was sentenced to seven years in prison. PHRMG stated that the appointment of Abdel-Fattah to a high-ranking position seriously undermines "the credibility of the [PA] judiciary and the general prosecution system," and that "the torture leading to Waleed al-Kawasmi's death in prison last year was a gross human rights violation conducted by Palestinian security forces." (arutzsheva.org Nov 12)
Budget Problems for Yesha
The budget for the year 2000 is shaping up as a painful one for Judea and Samaria. As it stands now, 7 million shekels will be cut from emergency military centers, 4.5 million from Magen David Adom centers in Yesha, and 88 million shekels from the Settlement Division. In general, Yesha communities will be demoted from their "national priority" status, except for those near the Green Line and those bordering the Palestinian Authority. The Yesha Council is considering turning to the Supreme Court to prevent the blanket decision. (arutzsheva.org Nov 11)
Maon Farm Evacuated and Destroyed
The Maon farm was evacuated and destroyed last Wednesday morning. Almost all of the 47 Maon settlers who were arrested during the evacuation were released in the course of the day, after being questioned. The evacuation of the farm at Maon by the IDF began at around 4 AM, and lasted some 7 hours. IDF soldiers were deployed nearby to prevent the return of the settlers to the outpost. Police Commander Yitzchak Aharonovitch, who supervised the evacuation on behalf of the police, said that no one was injured during the operation, and that the smooth and respectable fashion in which it was carried out was "a badge of honor to the evacuators and the evacuatees." The IDF Hevron Division Commander said that the synagogue would not be razed, but would rather be dismantled in accordance with Jewish Law. Arutz-7's Effie Meir reported from Maon that some of the settlers were dragged away, while others left on their own volition, "with tears and/or shouts and/or kissing the ground." Prime Minister Barak rejected a last minute plea by Ministers Yesha (Shas), Sharansky (Yisrael B'Aliyah), and Y. Levy (NRP) to postpone the evacuation for another ten days in order to find a compromise. Barak told them that a solution had been sought for the last number of weeks, and that the time for evacuation had now come. Itai Harel, one of the leaders of the Dor Hemshekh organization, described the scene of the farm's uprooting: "When the soldiers arrived at around 3:30 in the morning, we all gathered around some of the buildings, and some were reciting Psalms... A soldier asked me if I was willing to leave, I said no, and they took me out, and brought me to Kiryat Arba. I then walked back [part of the way]... As far as we're concerned, this is a temporary evacuation, and this site will yet be a thriving community, with G-d's help..." When asked if the soldiers had acted unnecessarily forcefully, Harel responded, "The soldiers were OK, but in two cases, policemen acted totally brutally. Aside from that, the police - who are not to blame for their presence there; it's the fault of the government - acted responsibly." Harel said that the settlers never had any plans to use violence - "just the opposite. We wanted to hold on to the land, because it belongs to the Jewish People. We knew that if they take us away, we'll simply return another time. I can't tell you exactly how it will work, but I know that just like in Artis in Bet El and Givat HaDagan in Efrat there were evacuations, and yet neighborhoods are now being built there. Here too the story will be the same." (arutzsheva.org Nov 10)
Barak "Clarifies" 242 Statement
Prime Minister Barak's statement last week to the effect that U.N. Resolution 242 has no bearing on the Palestinian problem was one of the main issues facing him during his visit in Paris. Barak's office issued a clarification, to the effect that Israel regards Resolution 242 as binding, but that there are "different interpretations" as to how to apply it to the Palestinian question. (arutzsheva.org Nov 9)
Arafat Accuses Israelis of the Netanya Bombing
PA Chairman Arafat accused the "Israeli mafia" of responsibility for the terrorist attack in Netanya last week. Minister for Regional Development Shimon Peres said that Arafat's words are ridiculous, and that "from time to time, Arafat spouts nonsense." (arutzsheva.org Nov 9)
Mofaz: Terrorism Will Continue
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Sha'ul Mofaz foresees continued Palestinian Arab terrorism in Israel. He told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee last week that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are actively planning terrorist attacks, and that the Palestinian Authority is not taking concrete steps against them. (arutzsheva.org Nov 9)
Four Druze Injured While Tampering with Mines
Four young Druze residents of the Golan, aged 17-20, were injured last week while dabbling with explosives. One of them is in serious condition. It is unclear if they were simply tinkering with mines found in the area, or if their intention was to prepare a bomb - although Galilee Region Police Commander Avi Tiller estimated that the background was of a violent-nationalist nature. Mines are often stolen from Golan minefields by Druze residents, and the army has warned them of the dangers involved. Itim correspondent Yoram Hadad reports that IDF officers in the Golan claim that the "collection of ammunition by Druze residents is no longer simply a hobby, and must be investigated..." (arutzsheva.org Nov 9)
Quotes for the week...
"There are very clear red lines here: We don't give up pieces of the Land of Israel, and we don't raise a hand against Israeli soldiers.''
- Maon spokeswoman Malki Zonenfeld. (Reuters Nov 7)
Yesha Chairman Writes to PM Barak
The following letter was sent by Benny Kashriel, Chairman of the Yesha Council to Prime Minister Barak on November 17:
Dear Prime Minister Ehud Barak
Re: Demands by Arafat to change the map of withdrawal
Based upon information which has reached the Yesha Council and thereafter confirmed by American sources, it appears that Yasser Arafat demands changes in the withdrawal map which would create a Palestinian choke-hold around Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel. Arafat demands to receive as part of the next withdrawal as Area A (full Palestinian military and municipal control) the areas of: A-Ram, located north of Jerusalem; Abu Dis, located east of the capital; and Wallaja, located south of Jerusalem. Meeting these latest demands by Arafat would turn Jerusalem into a city surrounded by areas under full Palestinian Authority control. This would mean that Jerusalem would become a isolated border city cut off from all the other communities around it. Even the "Greater Jerusalem Plan", which was initiated by the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, would be damaged beyond repair by these demands since the areas which would be delivered to Arafat would crush Greater Jerusalem under them, and separate Jerusalem from Ma'aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion and those communities located north of the capital.
For the time being Israel has rejected these demands made by Arafat. I wish to express my support in your decision not to capitulate to the insolent demands of Arafat. I call upon you to seriously consider the promises made by Yasser Arafat to the Palestinian Arab population, whereupon he declares that he will fly the Palestinian flag from the walls of Jerusalem. These are not merely empty threats. These declarations signify that Arafat will not sign any agreement which does not include the division of Jerusalem and the transformation of Jerusalem to the capital of Palestine. These demands by Arafat, and the continuous incitement by him , his wife and by other leading figures in the Palestinian Authority, make it questionable if it is plausible to continue the negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs. Moreover, no more areas should be transferred to Arafat's control until it is clarified beyond any doubt that Arafat has left terror behind him along with his demands for the partition of Jerusalem. If this is not done, we will find ourselves, heaven forbid, both evicted from our united capital and faced with continued terror.
Sincerely yours, Benny Kashriel, Chairman, Yesha Council
Interview with Barak Spokesman Gadi Baltiansky
IMRA interviewed Gadi Baltiansky, Spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Barak, on Tuesday evening, November 16, 1999:
IMRA: The decision by the Government of Israel to carry out the withdrawal was due to the PA's fulfilling their obligations or despite their failure to honor their obligations?
Baltiansky: The decision of the government was to carry out the withdrawal, it is not written in the decision why the decision was made.
IMRA: If it was written I would not have to ask.
Baltiansky: I have no answer to your question.
IMRA: Does the government believe that the Palestinians have fulfilled their obligations?
Baltiansky: I do not have the authority to give an answer on this question since there has been no government decision on this matter. There are ministers who think one way and ministers who think otherwise.
IMRA: As part of the process of making the decision...
Baltiansky: Let me make it easier for you. I can tell you what the Prime Minister thinks. The Prime Minister thinks that the Palestinians are honoring their principal obligations.
IMRA: So they have confiscated the weapons.
Baltiansky: I will not answer the question. They are honoring their principal obligations.
IMRA: Today the Foreign Minister said that Arafat could destroy the terrorist infrastructure and that we need cooperation from the Palestinian side. That is to say that they could but they don't. Does the Prime Minister think otherwise?
Baltiansky: I told you already. The Prime Minister thinks that the Palestinians are honoring their principal obligations.
IMRA: Does the Prime Minister consider the confiscation of weapons to be one of the principal obligations?
Baltiansky: The Prime Minister sees it as one of the obligations they are to honor but not the most important.
IMRA: Not one of the principal obligations?
Baltiansky: Not the most important. But one that should be honored.
IMRA: When I review the agreement - the timetable - of things that the Palestinians are supposed to carry out before Israel is to carry out the withdrawal are there one or two specific things that you can point to in the timetable as being particularly something that had to be fulfilled?
Baltiansky: The war against terror is the most important.
IMRA: That's not what's written. There are specific things for the Palestinians to carry out.
Baltiansky: The most important thing is the war against terror.
IMRA: Can you point to a specific action in the agreement that the Prime Minister believes that specific action had to be carried out before Israeli carried out a withdrawal? A specific thing - not a general thing?
Baltiansky: No. Not specific.
IMRA: One last question. Is the war against terror a war against specific points or is it a war to destroy the terrorist infrastructure?
IMRA: The Prime Minister does not agree with the IDF Chief of Staff that the Palestinians are not fighting against the terrorist infrastructure?
Baltiansky: He believes that Palestinians are honoring their principle obligations. They are fighting against terror and could do more.
IMRA: Does the Prime Minister think that what matters is the war against specific points rather than the destruction of the terrorist infrastructure?
Baltiansky: You are interrogating me as if in a courtroom. These are not a reporter's questions. If we were in a courtroom then I would answer such questions. (IMRA Nov 16)
Betraying Israel By Cal Thomas:
One is tempted to compare the kiss offered by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's wife to the kiss Judas gave Jesus when he betrayed him in the Garden of Gethsemane -- but the analogy breaks down because both Clinton and Suha Arafat are betraying Israel.
In a statement nearly as outrageous as those made by Holocaust deniers, Suha Arafat claimed: "Our people (the Palestinians) have been submitted to the daily and intensive use of poisonous gas by the Israeli forces which have led to an increase in cancer cases among women and children." She also asserted that Israel has contaminated water sources with "chemical materials." Those Israelis are so clever. They can poison air and water in ways that affect only Palestinians, while Jews escape harm. Following an outcry by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and some Jewish leaders in the United States, Clinton belatedly issued an objection to Arafat's remarks. Too little, too late.
At this point in the so-called "peace process," it wouldn't matter if Yasser Arafat were captured on videotape acknowledging he has no intention of living up to any agreement and that his ultimate objective is to use the negotiations to weaken Israel to the point where it won't be able to withstand a final assault from armed Palestinians and Israel's Arab neighbors. Arafat, in fact, has made numerous statements in which he has strongly hinted at or openly stated these objectives, but the Europeans, Americans and the United Nations merely blink, since they want the issue to go away. They don't care if Israel disappears in the process. There are peace prizes to be awarded and legacies to be ensured.
Facts no longer matter. Newsweek reported last week that the National Security Agency learned it was Yasser Arafat who supplied the weapons for the 1983 bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut in which 241 U.S. Marines died. No matter. President Clinton lobbies for $400 million in aid to the PLO on top of an initial $500 million that has never been properly accounted for, amid reports that it was misspent.
Clergy appointed by Arafat at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem regularly preach sermons calling for the "liberation" of all the land, pre-1967 Israel included, in a Jihad that is "the responsibility of all Muslims." Various media controlled by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) accuse Israel and the West of employing Nazi tactics against them, which is ironic given the Nazi-like rhetoric of many PLO leaders and Arab states against Jews and the West.
Terrorists responsible for the deaths of innocent Israelis and visiting Jewish civilians are praised on PLO TV as saints and heroes. This year's Palestine Prize for Culture will go to Abu Daoud, mastermind of the 1972 Olympic bombing in Munich that killed 11 Israeli athletes. This is not the behavior or language of people who want to make peace with their neighbors.
This is the behavior and language of war, the objective of which is the complete annihilation of the Jews and eradication of the state of Israel. The only way "peace" negotiators can continue with this sham is by ignoring the words and actions of those negotiating in bad faith. The PLO negotiators think they are carrying out Allah's will and that it is legitimate to lie about their intentions to the pagan and secular infidels on the Israeli and American side. Islamic extremists are taking advantage of secularists in the Israeli and American governments and pragmatists like Bill Clinton who wants a "legacy" in foreign affairs that he hopes will cover up his notorious domestic affairs. If the Jews have to die, who cares? They've died before. We'll just build them another museum.
We see Israeli soldiers yanking fellow Jews from "settlements" and hear Barak speaking of a ghetto-type fence to keep Israel's enemies out. But neither evictions of Jews from land nor fences will protect Israel. Fences, in fact, have been used in the past to contain Jews in order to kill them more efficiently. As for kissing the target for destruction, Judas wasn't the only one to employ the tactic. The Mafia has long done the same, kissing the one selected for death. With Hillary Clinton and Suha Arafat smooching each other, we have a new scenario. The one who is about to die is not present. Her name is Israel. The writer is a nationally syndicated columnist. (Nov 16)
Jew-Baiting JINSA Report
Who gets today's prize for most jaw-dropping remark?
It could be the "first lady" of the PA. Suha Arafat said, "Our people have been submitted to the daily and intensive use of poisonous gas by the Israeli forces which have led to an increase in cancer cases among women and children" and that Israel has contaminated water sources with "chemical materials."
It could be the First Lady of the United States. Mrs. Clinton sat politely in the face of an offense against Jews that would have driven any remotely sensitive person out of the room. She gets a second chance at the prize for later issuing a flip statement, complimenting her husband's wisdom in urging "the parties to refrain from making inflammatory charges or engaging in excessive rhetoric and to deal with any issues at the negotiating table." Her words raised Suha's blood libel to the status of an "issue" for Palestinian-Israeli "negotiation."
Or maybe The New York Times. Hard on the heels of firing pro-Israel sage A.M. Rosenthal, NYT headed its story on pg. 27, "Palestinians Criticize Israel*" and noted, "her hosts* excoriated Israel for its alleged toxic contamination of Palestinian air and water." Clever, those Jews, contaminating Palestinian air without contaminating Jewish air.
The rhetoric is ugly, but there is a bigger problem here. The Palestinians have burned American flags, threatened a Speaker of the US House of Representatives, called for Saddam to drop chemical weapons on Israel, and teach children the joy of martyrdom through the murder of Jews. Yet Mrs. Arafat and her cohorts have no fear of an adverse American reaction. And they are right.
The Clinton Administration - and Mrs. Clinton - still treat the PA as a "partner," not a patently anti-American organization on probation for a bloody history and intransigent political philosophy. We have made this case before:
"The Palestinians*(made) common cause with practically every enemy of the West from the 1960s through the 1990s. From the Soviets, the Bader Meinhof, the Red Brigades, the East German Stasi, the Japanese Red Army, and continuing with Saddam and the Iranian Mullahs, it is hard to find a friend of theirs that we should want to do business with - and that includes certain Western European governments.
"The Palestinians violate the Oslo Accords most egregiously by not changing their Charter; by having twice the allowed number of men under arms; by not extraditing wanted terrorists as required; by fomenting hatred and a love of violence among their people - including children; and by threatening others with violence* Since the PA governs 97% of all Palestinians formerly living under Israeli occupation, America as well as Israel should worry about the consequences.
"Under no circumstances should the United States view Israel and the PA as having equal claim to America's partnership and forbearance. Israel is a democratic, pro-Western partner in a variety of economic, social, military and political ventures. We share values including the rule of law, a free press, and the right to dissent."
We ought to share disgust for Jew-baiting. Mr. President, we're waiting. (JINSA Nov 12)
Flattery Won't Work By David Bar-Illan
Prime Minister Ehud Barak is disarmingly frank about the reason he incessantly praises Syria's president Hafez Assad. "There should be no doubt about Israel's desire to achieve peace," he says.
He may also believe, as numerous democratic leaders have done, that dictatorial megalomania can be placated by excessive flattery. With Assad's ego properly massaged, Barak seems to think, he will deign to grace the negotiation table with his presence.
But by calling the Syrian dictator a great leader, a man of his word and the shaper of modern Syria (a dubious compliment), Barak not only insults the intelligence of his listeners - and the truth - but he gives coveted respectability and invaluable ammunition to a tyrant on the State Department's list of terror sponsors. Worst of all, he repeats the mistakes of all his predecessors by playing the peace process game according to Syrian rules.
These rules are nothing if not simple: Israel relinquishes all the territories it won in the war of 1967, and Syria signs a peace agreement with Israel in return. Isn't that the meaning of the "territory for peace" principle, accepted by the whole world, including Israel?
This formula has become so politically correct that few in government seem to question the wisdom of exchanging a vital strategic asset for a treaty with a dictator who has never kept an agreement. The relinquishment of the Golan is now taken for granted, and those who warn that it may invite war are dubbed enemies of peace. It seems incredible that only seven years ago Yitzhak Rabin declared that abandoning the Golan would be tantamount to forsaking Israel's security.
Nothing has changed since then, except that now the notion that a peace agreement is in itself the ultimate strategic asset, a notion which should never be applied to aggressive dictatorships, has become the conventional wisdom. And the measure of security has become the "warmth" of the relationship with former enemies. As Rabin put it, the depth of withdrawal will be determined by the depth of the peace.
Yet no one seriously expects Syria to abide by contracts of "normalization" any more than Egypt adheres to the numerous and painstakingly detailed normalization agreements it signed 20 years ago.
Realizing that normalization is a pipe dream, Barak has adopted the formula suggested two years ago by then-Defense minister Yitzhak Mordechai: the depth of withdrawal depends on the depth of security. Full withdrawal can only materialize if security arrangements are airtight. Such arrangements would include American-manned early warning stations on the Hermon, and American troops to serve as "trip wire" on the Golan.
It is a proposition which ignores the wholly understandable penchant of American troops to retreat, as they did in Lebanon and Somalia, in response to terrorist attacks. But what makes the arrangement even less realistic is that it would entail tremendous expenditures - estimated at $20 billion-$30b. - to compensate Israel for the loss of an invaluable strategic asset which gives a potential aggressor enormous advantage. And since Syria will have to be enticed into the "peace circle" with American economic and military aid, American expenditures would be so prohibitive that Congress would never approve them.
The only minister in Barak's government who seems to understand the folly of seeking peace by coddling dictators is Interior Minister Natan Sharansky. Having spent nine years in the Soviet Gulag, he knows the nature of the beast from bitter personal experience. In a recent lecture in Washington he suggested that instead of making Israeli withdrawals contingent on unobtainable normalization goals or reversible security arrangements, Israel should link its concessions to democratization. The more democratic, open, and accountable the "peace partner" becomes, the more Israel can deem territorial concessions a risk worth taking.
Advocates of instant peace, including the administration, strenuously object to this approach. They point to the treaties with Egypt and Jordan as precedents that should apply to Syria. It may not be an ideal peace, they say, yet it is better than war. But the nature of the current Syrian dictatorship, and the Israeli military vulnerability that relinquishing the Golan would cause, render this analogy irrelevant.
Others claim that since no Arab state is a democracy, waiting for democratization is at best an exercise in futility. But a mere decade ago, no one expected Eastern Europe, with its long anti-democratic tradition, to overthrow repressive dictatorships and stride toward democracy. What overcame this tradition was the natural human craving for freedom, bolstered by Western support for democratic dissident movements.
In the Middle East, too, what will bring peace is the nourishing of democratic values and institutions, not the lionization of ruthless dictators.
(Jerusalem Post Nov 17)