Israel News

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

August 17, 2001
Issue number 340


Gov't Closes Orient House, Other PLO Offices in Capital
Israel closed the Headquarters of the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem known as the Orient House. Last Thursday night, in response to the fatal suicide bombing in central Jerusalem. Police and IDF forces entered the building, unfurled an Israeli flag over the structure in place of the PLO one, and removed all the pictures of Faisal Husseini which decorated the exterior courtyard and walls of the building. All computers, documents, and files in the building were confiscated. A loaded Uzi sub-machine gun which was found on premises led to the arrest of seven Arab guards. Also that night, PA operations in eight other Jerusalem buildings were terminated. Israel's takeover of the Orient House caught the PLO by complete surprise. Reporters in Jerusalem and PA areas say that while the PLO expected extensive Israeli retaliation raids against installations throughout Judea and Samaria, they were sure that Israel would never touch the Orient House. Prime Minister Sharon clarified in a closed meeting that Israel's presence in the Orient House is not a temporary one, but "forever. We are exercising our sovereignty over Jerusalem," said the Prime Minister. David Bedein of Israel Resource News Agency says that while every Israeli government in the past 8 years has declared that Jerusalem will remain unified under Israeli sovereignty, the same governments condoned the operation of PA institutions in Jerusalem. "The most blatant was the Orient House where PA officials would receive foreign dignitaries and diplomats for meetings. Moreover, terrorist offensives and strategies were actually planned at meetings held at the Orient House. Its massive computer network, now in the hands of Minister of Public Security Uzi Landau, contains details of terrorist activity and precise data on pre-1948 houses and real estate which the PA planned to claim in Israeli courts." During a visit to the Orient House this morning, Minister Uzi Landau said, "Once Israeli begins enforcing the law in Jerusalem and preventing the waving of the PLO flag, we will be able to gradually halt terrorism."

In other retaliatory moves following the Jerusalem bombing attack, the PA headquarters in the Jerusalem suburb Abu Dis were taken over by Israeli forces. The grandiose structure was built to serve as a future PA parliament as part of the Beilin-Peres-Abu Mazen plan to divide Jerusalem and establish the capital of a Palestinian state in its eastern, Arab populated suburbs. The IDF spokesman says that the building directly served the military arms of the PA including: Force 17, General Intelligence, Preventive Security, Military Intelligence, and the Palestinian police. Part of the building sits on Israeli land, a reality that has been overlooked by previous Israeli governments. The IDF also closed off the area of the PA Communications and Media Center, took over the building, ordered all employees outside, and began a search. The Coordinator of Gov't Activities says, "It is not the intention of the defense establishment to disrupt the commercial business activities of the company. It wishes to permit the normal management of economic-commercial related issues."

Spokesperson for the Arab League Hanan Ashrawi was informed last night by Israel police that she will not be allowed to enter Jerusalem following her incitement of Arab demonstrators to violent acts against police on Saturday near the Orient House. In fact, when she reached a police checkpoint on her way to Jerusalem Sunday morning, she was forced to make a U-turn and go home. Ashrawi condemned the limitation on her movements. Minister of Public Security Uzi Landau says that the documents and databases recovered from the Orient house are being meticulously examined. Some of the information has already been transferred to the General Security Service (GSS). Investigators uncovered weapons and a vast array of documents and computer files of important intelligence information, including maps and photographs of Israeli police and other Israeli security forces in operation, and documentation pertaining to the vast ongoing illegal construction in the Arab sector of the capital. Also confiscated were files on every Jewish community in Judea, Samaria and Gaza which were to one day serve vital for PA forces in a military offensive against Yesha communities. Police sources say that the material will keep many people busy for a long time. Minister Landau says that he has been working to close down the center of PLO activity in Jerusalem since taking office 5 months ago, and he sees it as a "historic privilege" to be the government minister to carry out the order, thereby "restoring Israeli sovereignty" to all parts of Jerusalem.

A look at the Oslo agreements shows that opening PLO offices in Jerusalem is a blatant violation of them. The Israeli-Palestinian agreements specifically provide that Jerusalem is excluded from Palestinian jurisdiction (Interim Agreement, Article XVII.1). Moreover, the Interim Agreement states that all PA offices can only be located in areas under Palestinian territorial jurisdiction in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza (Interim Agreement Article I.7). The left-wing Gush Shalom group says that the closing of the PLO Orient House was a blow to its activities. A statement released by the group reads in part: "What was hardly mentioned in the media was the special role this place has for the Israeli peace camp. In no other Palestinian venue were peace-seeking Israelis such frequent visitors, always made to feel at home and engage in fruitful discussion and dialogue."( Aug 10,12)

Bomb Rocks "Wall Street"
A Haifa cab driver picked up a young Arab Sunday afternoon and set out for the suburb of Kiryat Motzkin. The cabbie says that the Arab was clearly agitated and confused during the ride. He dropped him off at the Wall Street Cafe, drove away and heard the explosion a few seconds later. Twenty-one innocent people who were out for a drink or a bite to eat were injured in the blast; fifteen of them were hospitalized. No one was killed, except for the suicide terrorist. A waitress in the cafe says that the Arab man walked in, lifted his shirt, exposed a belt of explosives and asked, "Do you know what this is?" He then shouted "Allah Akbar" [G-d is great], and set off the bomb. The waitress shouted, "Terrorist, terrorist!" seconds before the explosion, enabling some of the customers to flee for cover. Police say that there were fewer casualties yesterday because the weight of the charge was considerably less than the bombs used in the recent Jerusalem and Tel Aviv attacks. Coordinator of Gov't Activities in Yesha Brig.-Gen. Amos Gilad told a foreign ministry meeting yesterday that Arafat's PLO is responsible for and supportive of the terrorist attacks being perpetrated by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations. Five victims of the Wall Street Cafe suicide bombing remain hospitalized in Haifa; all are listed in light condition. The parents and family of the Wall Street Cafe suicide bomber, Mohammed Machmud Bakr Nasr, 28, from Kabatia, south of Jenin, could not be prouder of their son/relative who they explain "died a holy martyr." The father told the Reuters News Agency that his son left his place of employment to become more active in the Islamic Jihad and continue the struggle against "the Jews, our enemy". He added, "This is the only language they understand." Hundreds of supporters gathered at the family home in Kabatia on Sunday night to congratulate them on their son's committing suicide. ( Aug 13,14)

IDF Performs Raid into Jenin, Approaches Bet Jala
In the early morning hours Tuesday, some twenty IDF tanks rolled into the PLO-controlled city of Jenin - which the Israeli media is calling "Suicide Central" - and destroyed a building used by the PA police. IDF bulldozers carried out the work in the heart of the city, while ground forces and combat helicopters provided cover. Heavy fire was directed at the IDF, but no injuries were reported. The IDF spokesman said that due to the area being heavily populated by civilians, soldiers did not return fire. The strike came in response to the suicide bombing in Haifa, which was directed by terrorist cells in Jenin. The IDF forces withdrew from the city after a successful operation. However, there were victory celebrations in Jenin, after the Arab media reported that the IDF troops were forced out by the "heroic resistance" put up by PLO fighters. Following the IDF's retaliation in Jenin, Oslo architect and former Justice Minister MK Yossi Beilin (Labor) accused Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of returning to his familiar tactics of fifty years ago, "destroying what Peres and the peace camp built over the past decade." Beilin called upon Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to leave the national unity coalition government. Following half a day of shooting at the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, Tuesday night, tanks, armored personnel carriers and ground forces mobilized near Bet Jala, and a closure was imposed on Arab villages in the vicinity. But the mission never began; IDF forces withdrew. Initial reports attributed the IDF retreat to US pressure. But, Defense Minister Binyamin Ben- Eliezer said otherwise Wednesday: "No one pressured me. I received no requests from the US. I read the amusing reports in this morning's papers. And the Foreign Minister did not pressure me. I decided [to halt the mission into Bet Jala] after I received certain intelligence information, to give a chance to the [Arab] promise that they would maintain quiet." Yoram Levy of Itim News Agency reports that it was during last minute contacts between the Prime Minister's office and the Foreign and Defense Ministries that Shimon Peres demanded that his talks with the Arabs be given a chance to get them to stop shooting, and thereby obviate the need for an IDF raid to suppress the fire. Sharon replied affirmatively to Peres' request but added that the Israeli government will not tolerate any future shooting into the capital. Sharon reportedly vowed, "Additional fire at Gilo will be met with an incursion into Beit Jala." ( Aug 14,15)

New City in Judea
Twenty minutes south of Jerusalem, "the City of Torah in the Hills of Judea," Betar Illit, has now grown so large it is officially a city, thanks to the signature of the commander of the central region, Maj.-Gen. Yitzhak Eitan. Betar is now the third city in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha), following Ma'aleh Adumim, and Ariel. A municipality is generally reclassified as a city once it has more than 15,000 residents. The designation is more than a great honor for the city, says acting mayor Rabbi Akiva Horowitz. "Now," he explains, "the city can attract more investors, Torah institutions and residents. In addition, government ministries are more sympathetic to the needs of cities, as opposed to municipal councils." Founded in 1990, Beitar has become a center of Israel's hareidi religious Jews, along with Bnei Brak, Jerusalem and Kiryat Sefer. Thirty percent of the men in the community study full-time in kollelim (religious seminaries for married men). Betar Illit currently has more than 18,000 residents and will be absorbing another 8,000 in the coming months. Rabbi Horowitz sees the tremendous success of the city, over the course of only ten years, as a testimony to the positive Hareidi commitment to strengthening the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria. ( Aug 15)

Sharon Gives Peres Green Light For Talks With PA
In a one-on-one session between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres following Sunday's cabinet meeting, Sharon authorized Peres to begin a dialogue with senior PA officials. Sharon refused Peres' request for a direct meeting with Arafat. Peres had been pressing the Prime Minister for a long time to negotiate under fire, but until now, Sharon refused to budge on the issue. According to the agreement, Peres will meet with PA officials in a clandestine fashion, far away from the media and will be accompanied by Major- General Giora Eiland who will provide expert counsel on security matters. Talks with PA officials will only deal with "efforts to achieve a cease-fire" and will not include political issues that would constitute diplomatic negotiations. ( Aug 13)

"Revolving Door" Policy
In the past few days, Yasser Arafat has released from detention three Hamas terrorists who were involved in the June 1, 2001 attack at the Tel Aviv Dolphinarium, which claimed the lives of 21 Israelis, as well as additional attacks. The three - Kasem Nazal Suwei, Ibrahim Dahmas and A'a RahmanHamad, prominent Hamas killers from the Kalkilya area - had been detained by PA police on various dates in the wake of Israeli and international pressure. Kassem Suwei is the brother of Tzalah, the terrorist who perpetrated the July 1994 suicide bombing on a #5 bus in Tel Aviv which killed 21 people. Suwei was active in the gang that also included Said Hotri, the terrorist who perpetrated the Dolphinarium attack. A'a Rahman Hamad was involved in the suicide attack on the #5 bus and served six years in an Israeli prison for this. Immediately upon his release in October 2000, he became involved with the Hamas military command in the Kalkilya region. Ibrahim Dahmas is also a member of Hamas' violence unit. He was active in the gang that included Said Hotri (see above) and Fadi A'amar, the terrorist who perpetrated the March 28, 2001 bombing at Neveh Yamin. Dahmas had also been planning to perpetrate a suicide attack himself. During their detention, the PA police refrained from questioning the three and sufficed with holding them under lax supervision in comfortable quarters. Hamas exerted considerable pressure on the PA to release them. Last week, "the door again revolved," and they were set free. ( Aug 13)

OU Mission Visits Bet El
One hundred and fifty American Jews have touched down in Israel as part of the Orthodox Union's solidarity mission. During a visit to the studios of Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio, OU President Harvey Blitz said, "This is the largest Israel mission that we've ever had. We put it together very quickly--in about six weeks. We felt that in light of the situation in Israel, it was very important that Americans show their support and their solidarity with the people of Israel. The way to do that was by action, by bringing a large group to Israel at this time." The OU group is visiting areas throughout Yesha and made a midday stop at Bet El. The township boasts close to 1,000 families with thousands of residents. The OU group saw the many institutions of the Bet El Yeshiva Center, including the Gluck Girl's High School complex, the Bnei Tzvi High School, and the college level yeshiva. Chicago Jewish philanthropist Seymour Abrams met with the Executive Director of Bet El institutions Yaakov "Ketzaleh" Katz and told him how impressed he is with what has been done in Israel in general, and Bet El in particular. ( Aug 15)

Tax Breaks on Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to Attract Companies
Finance Minister Silvan Shalom issued a new directive, effective immediately, which provides Israeli companies registered on foreign stock exchanges an incentive to register on the Tel Aviv exchange. So reports the Investment Promotion Center of Israel's Ministry of Industry & Trade. The amendment exempts private Israeli investors from paying tax on capital gains made on dealings in the securities of dual-listed companies. This joins the existing general capital gains tax exemption on Israeli companies traded in Israel, which are also traded in New York. The order applies not only to Israeli connected companies, but also to any foreign company which would like to dual-list in Israel. Last year's easing of registration procedures on the TASE has already encouraged 13 firms to do so. If larger technology companies choose to take advantage of the order, as the TASE is hoping, the make-up of the TA-25, which is now dominated by banks, holding companies and traditional industries, could change significantly. (A7 Aug 15)

Israeli Company to Develop Satellite
Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) has been awarded a contract worth approximately $110m from ImageSat International, to develop and produce the first in a series of new EROS B (Earth Resources Observation Satellite) commercial satellites. The contract also covers adaptation of the existing ground control and tracking stations. The new satellite, scheduled to be launched by the end of 2003, will be one of the world's most advanced commercial observation satellites, providing high resolution and color images to a large number of ImageSat customers. IAI is also developing a new generation of microsatellites. Today the company's MBT division provides a wide spectrum of products and services, encompassing space and satellite systems, missiles and related weapons systems, "smart" laser, radar and electro-optical guided munitions, large scale system design, and integration and commissioning for both military and civilian applications. (A7 Aug 13)

From the PA Media...

Serious Thinking in PA about Obtaining Biological Weapons
The Palestinian weekly, Al-Manar, published an article signed by "The Palestinian Center for Information Sources-Gaza", which stated that "serious thinking has began a while ago about obtaining biological weapons." Following are excerpts from the article, titled "Will We Reach the Option of Biological Deterrence?":(Al-Manar (PA), August 13) "Due to the seriously uneven balance of power in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and in light of the escalation of the racist aggression, which elevates to the level of a war declaration, by the Sharon government... the Palestinian side is required to use weapons of deterrence that will even the balance of power, at least on the field....While the human-bombs [meaning, suicide bombers] may be followed [and maybe stopped by] preventive measures...serious thinking has begun for a while about developing a Palestinian weapon of deterrence. This weapon terrifies the Israeli security apparatuses, from time to time, mainly because obtaining its primary components, whether biological or chemical, is possible without too much effort, let alone the fact that there are hundreds of experts who are capable of handling them and use them as weapons of deterrence, thus creating a balance of horror in the equation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.""A few bombs or death-carrying devices will be enough, once they are deployed in secluded areas and directed at the Israeli water resources or the Israeli beaches, let alone the markets and the residential centers. [This will be carried out] without explosions, noise, blood, or pictures that are used to serve the Israeli propaganda. Anyone who is capable, with complete self-control, of turning his body into shrapnel and scattered organs, is also capable of carrying a small device that cannot be traced and throw it in the targeted location." "What we want to say is that the Israeli security apparatuses take into account such dramatic development in the conflict, although they believe the issue is limited to the possibility of smuggling such weapons from abroad..." "General Mofaz seeks a political future painted with Palestinian blood...without considering the level of casualties and economic damage that will be caused to the Israeli society, if the Palestinian people and its leadership are cornered." (MEMRI: Aug 13)


Mideast Myths Exploded By Michael Kelly
The events of the past 11 months in Israel have been remarkably clarifying. When the Palestinians, on the pretext of a visit by Ariel Sharon to Jerusalem's Temple Mount, began the second intifada last fall, it was still possible for the aggressively delusional to pretend that the Israelis and the Palestinians equally desired a workable peace. That belief shattered under repeated, murderous attacks on Israelis that clearly occurred with at least the tacit blessing of the Palestinian leadership.

Now the other great founding myth of the peace process is also dead. This is the great falsehood of relative morality. For decades, the European left has maintained that the Palestinians held a morally superior position to the Israelis: They were an illegally subjugated people who were striking back in what may have been violent but were also appropriate ways. The claim of Palestinian moral superiority ended when the world saw Palestinians cheer in the street a young man holding up hands red with the blood of an Israeli soldier beaten to death, or perhaps it was when Palestinians stomped two boys, one a U.S. citizen, to death in a cave, or perhaps it was some other moment of gross and gleeful murder. What remained -- the left's final feeble resort -- was a claim of moral equivalency: The Palestinians might be engaged in terrible acts but so too were the Israelis. Both sides were killing; indeed, the Israelis, with their better arms and soldiers, had killed far more than had the Palestinians. Now this too has gasped its last breath. It is not possible to pretend any more that there is anything like a moral equivalency at work in this conflict. The facts are indisputable.

One: The Palestinians are the aggressor; they started the conflict, and they purposely drive it forward with fresh killing on almost a daily basis. Two: The Palestinians regard this second intifada not as a sporadically violent protest movement but as a war, with the clear strategic aim of forcing a scared and emotionally exhausted Israel to surrender on terms that would threaten Israel's viability. Three: As a tactic in this strategy, the Palestinians will not fight Israeli forces directly but instead have concentrated their efforts on murdering Israeli civilians. The greater the number, the more pathetically vulnerable the victims ­ disco-goers, women and children in a pizza restaurant -- the better. Four: Israel has acted defensively in this conflict; and while Israeli forces accidentally killed Palestinian civilians, their planned lethal attacks have all been aimed only at Palestinian military and terror-group leaders.

Since the Oslo accords were signed in 1993, Palestinian terrorists have killed more than 400 Israelis. In June a bomber killed 21 teenagers at a Tel Aviv disco; last week, a bomber killed 15 and maimed as many as a hundred in a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem; three days later, another suicide-bomber wounded 20 persons at another restaurant.

After the Sbarro bombing, Secretary of State Colin Powell, astonishingly, lectured the Israelis in the language of the literally exploded idea of moral equivalency. "I hope that both sides will act with restraint," Powell said. "They both have to do everything they can to restrain the violence, restrain the provocation and the counter-response to the provocation."

This official U.S. policy statement is beyond stupid. It is immoral, hypocritical, obscene. It is indefensible. Israel is at war with an enemy that declines, in its shrewdness and its cowardice, to fight Israel's soldiers but is instead murdering its civilians, its women and children.

This enemy promises, credibly, more murders. In the face of this, in the aftermath of an attack expressly and successfully designed to blow children to bits, how dare a smug, safe-in-his-bed American secretary of state urge "restraint" by "both sides?" How does the secretary imagine his own country would respond to such a "provocation" as the Sbarro mass murder? (His own country bombed Serbia to its knees for killing ethnic Albanians in distant Kosovo, let alone Americans on American soil.)

And when you get down to it, why, exactly, should Israel continue to exercise restraint? Why shouldn't it go right ahead and escalate the violence? The only point to waging war is to win. Israel is at war, and losing. It can win only by fighting the war on its terms, unleashing an overwhelming force (gosh, just what is called for in the Powell Doctrine) to destroy, kill, capture and expel the armed Palestinian forces that have declared war on Israel.
So far, Israel has indeed chosen to practice restraint. But, at this point, it has every moral right to abandon that policy and to engage in the war on terms more advantageous to military victory. This is a matter for Israel, at war, to decide one way or the other. Whether Secretary Powell purses his lips or not. ( Washington Post, Aug15)

The writer is the editor in chief of National Journal.

A Lack of Purpose in the Choice of Targets By: Ze'ev Schiff
In the middle of the night on May 27, 1965, the Israel Defense Forces was sent to blow up targets in Jenin because on the previous night Fatah had carried out an operation in the Afula region. The top brass had been furious and had managed to persuade the government to authorize an immediate retaliatory operation.

The IDF chief of staff at the time was Yitzhak Rabin, who would later become prime minister. Then, as now, it was decided that everything would be done to avoid civilian casualties. The Jordanians were at that time in control of the West Bank and Israel blamed them for failing to prevent Fatah from carrying out its operations.

The IDF unit chosen for the mission was the Paratroop Brigade, then under the command of Rafael Eitan, who would later become IDF chief of staff. In the May 27, 1965 operation, the IDF blew up a flour mill and an ice manufacturing plant. Two similar operations were carried out at the same time: In Qalqilyah the IDF blew up a service station, and in Shuna, a Jordanian town located east of the Jordan river, Israeli soldiers blew up the home of a Jordanian military intelligence officer. This was the first time that Israel had launched retaliatory action since the major operation the IDF carried out in Qalqilyah in October 1956. That had been an operation conducted by Ariel Sharon, who is today prime minister, and it produced many casualties among Israeli military personnel. The saber-rattling rhetoric directed against both the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and King Hussein - who would, a few years down the line, become a true friend of Rabin, after the latter became prime minister - was then at its height.

Here history is repeating itself and, at the same time, proof is being offered that most of Israel's politicians and generals have learned precious little from history - even from the history of their own nation. This week's operation in Jenin closes a circle that began 36 years ago. Israel did not capture the city. Israeli forces entered Jenin and left immediately after carrying out their symbolic mission. As in 1965, the IDF spokesperson is today saying that the targets were carefully chosen to avoid the possibility of civilian casualties, while citing an entire series of operations that have been carried out against Israel by individuals from the Jenin-Qalqilyah region. The IDF spokesperson could have saved a lot of time by simply reissuing the official press release that appeared after the May 1965 operation. One could be tempted to conclude from the recent Jenin operation that the "pool of potential targets" in the Palestinian Authority and in organizations defined by Israel as terrorist groups is apparently rather meager. However, the list of targets appearing in the IDF's special booklet that deals with this issue is actually very long. The meagerness of the IDF's "pool of potential targets" is not a matter of quantity, but of a lack of creativity, and of not being adequately adjusted to reflect strategic changes. The core of the problem of the suicide-bombers has nothing to do with empty government buildings belonging to the PA or with those who have decided to become suicide-bombers. That said, however, would-be suicidebombers would think twice before embarking on their fatal mission if they knew that Israel would demolish their home and the home of the members of their family who ostentatiously trumpet the deeds of their very own suicidebomber and the fact that Israelis are being killed in such attacks. Furthermore, would-be suicide-bombers would think twice before embarking on their mission if they knew that Israelis would target those who come to eat candies in the tent set up by the boastful mourners.

But the core of the problem of suicide-bombers is first and foremost those individuals who send them out on their missions. The dispatchers take every precaution to ensure that they themselves and the members of their family do not risk their lives. The dispatchers would never dream of becoming suicide-bombers or sending any of their relatives on a suicide-bombing mission. It is the dispatchers who should be on Israel's hit list. Their inclusion in such a list would be in keeping with the biblical injunction that, when faced with a would-be murderer, you should strike first. The dispatchers should be targeted, not some empty building.
Thus, Israel is turning the clock back to the era of retaliatory operations against terrorists. Initially, Israel is turning the clock back to the mid-1960s;but it most certainly will turn it all the way back to the era of retaliatory operations in the 1950s. However, Israel must draw an important conclusion from those past military responses. If Israel reverts to the retaliatory tactics of yesteryear and especially if the number of casualties continues to mount, the situation will only continue to deteriorate until it finally reaches all-out war. A similar chain of events led to the outbreak of the Sinai Campaign of 1956 and then to the outbreak of the Six Day War in 1967. This time as well, there is a strong impression that the government is slowly moving toward a game-plan of extensive military operations.

Although the government does not want an all-out war and is not interested in seeing the current dispute with the Palestinians spread to other frontiers, its present approach will inevitably lead to more and more Israeli penetrations into Area A. There will, of course, be situations in which Israel will have no choice - that is, when Palestinians are threatening the lives of large concentrations of Israelis in adjacent areas (for example, in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo and parts of Hebron). Nonetheless, it would be pointless to return to the era of retaliatory operations or to adopt the methods or even principles that prevailed during that era. Similarly, it would be pointless to turn retaliatory operations into a routine - and useless - response. Victory this time around will not be a carboncopy of the victories of the past. (Ha'aretz Aug 15)

A Father's Pride and Glory By Daniel Pipes
Hours after the killing of 15 Israelis in a Jerusalem restaurant last week, the brother of the 23-year-old suicide bomber delightedly announced that "this is a unique operation for its quality and success... Palestinians everywhere can now hold up their heads." Likewise, after a 22-year-old suicide bomber two months earlier killed 21 Israelis at a Tel Aviv discotheque, his father announced: "I am very happy and proud of what my son did and, frankly, am a bit jealous... I wish I had done it myself." And so it has been with nearly all suicide operations - family members rejoicing at the "martyrdom" of their brothers and children. Some fathers even publicly announce a hope that their children will kill Israelis in suicide operations.

Puzzled by this apparent denial of the primal human urge to protect one's young, President George W. Bush has commented, "I just can't understand this." He is hardly alone.

Two main factors account for this bizarre behavior. The first concerns the Palestinian Authority drumming into impressionable youth the glory of suicidal death while killing Israelis. PA television harps constantly on this message. On the Children's Club (a Sesame Street-like children's program), a young boy sings: "When I wander into Jerusalem, I will become a suicide bomber." A repeatedly shown television clip calls on children to "Drop your toys. Pick up rocks." In another, the words to a children's song go: "How pleasant is the smell of martyrs, how pleasant the smell of land, the land enriched by the blood, the blood pouring out of a fresh body."

Ikrima Sabri, the PA's ranking religious leader, says, "The younger the martyr, the greater and the more I respect him," while praising mothers who "willingly sacrifice their offspring for the sake of freedom." PA schools indoctrinate pupils on the virtues and joys of martyrdom, then honor and celebrate suicide killers. Four summer camps are currently training eight- to 12-year-olds for suicide bombings. Organizations like Hamas promise to look after the killers' families' financial needs. In all, notes Meyrav Wurmser, a Hudson Institute specialist on the indoctrination of pupils, the PA has developed "a state-run ideology that pushes [children] to their death." Why does this indoctrination work and why do Palestinian families enthusiastically send their children to die? What pressure could overcome the human instinct to protect one's beloved?

That pressure is not hard to locate, for it pervades Middle Eastern life. It is an unrelenting, compulsive preoccupation with family honor. The power of this obligation goes far beyond anything Westerners encounter.

The fixation on family honor takes two main forms. The negative one, called ird in Arabic, concerns the sexual purity of women and it accounts for the Middle Eastern custom of murdering female relatives for perceived offenses to the family. Such honor killings are intended to purify the family from its shame; thus do brothers kill sisters, cousins kill cousins, fathers kill daughters, and even sons kill mothers.

These men do so not because they want to - almost nothing could be more horrifying in the context of the tight-knit Middle Eastern family - but because they feel obliged to. Allowing a dishonored woman to remain alive brings ridicule and disdain on the entire family. In such circumstances, mere love for a daughter or sister dwindles into insignificance; she must be killed. Thus, after an Egyptian father strangled his unmarried but pregnant daughter, cut her corpse into eight parts, and threw those down the toilet, he explained his reasons: "Shame kept following me [before the murder] wherever I went. The village's people had no mercy on me. They were making jokes and mocking me. I couldn't bear it and decided to put an end to this."

The positive form of honor (sharaf in Arabic) involves efforts to enhance the family's status by taking steps to win it praise and renown; and nothing can win a family as much glory as its willing sacrifice of a family member for a noble cause. Thanks to PA propaganda, suicide bombing has become a highly honored act. Thus, the Tel Aviv bomber's father crowed about his son, "He has become a hero! Tell me, what more could a father ask?" Combined, the monstrous social environment created by the PA and the families' preoccupation with social status goes far to explain why Palestinians glory in the destruction of their youth. (Jerusalem Post Aug 15)

Let the People Win By Uri Dan
The cruel war imposed by Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority on the Jews in Israel is not only the war of the IDF, the General Security Service, the Border Police, or the police. It is mainly a war of the entire people. Therefore, the slogan "Let the IDF win" is out of date. It should be replaced by "Let the people win."

In the 11th month of the war, it is obvious to most Jews that Arafat's envoys of death do not stop short of murdering women and children in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Netanya, Hadera, Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip. All Jews in Israel have become targets of this terror, the aim of which is to force Israel to yield to the demands of Arafat and his gang.

Very few peoples in democratic countries would be capable of taking such a unified, steadfast stand in the face of such a bestial war as the people in the Jewish state. It is unlike Basque terrorism - the Basques never threatened to destroy Spain. It is also unlike Irish terrorism, which never threatened to destroy England. (Take note, new historian Shimon Peres.) Peres yesterday hurried to Israel Radio to boast of how he singlehandedly prevented Beit Jala's occupation by the IDF - an operation planned to defend Gilo.

The Palestinian terrorism that feeds and is fed in turn by Nazi-like incitement against Israel is aimed at breaking down and destroying the people and the state. It has made a mockery of self-appointed experts who contended that this terrorism "does not present a strategic threat." It is now aimed at just that - threatening Israel's very existence - as Arafat attempts to drag the Arab countries into a disastrous war with Israel.

Consequently, the unified stand of the majority of the nation against the suicide bombers and all the other forms of murder resembles a human wall, like the one Jews build at times of crisis - before the state was established, during the 1948 War of Independence, and during the 1967 Six Day War. This human wall of the majority of the nation against Arafat and his gangs, reflected not only in opinion polls but also in day-to-day behavior, forms the basis for the Jews' great chance of defeating their enemies once again. If logical compromise were possible with the Palestinians, who are adhering to the law of the jungle of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, it would not be necessary to talk about the need to defeat the enemy. However, Arafat has made the historical and personal mistake of his life.

War criminal Arafat and his armed bands have simply forced the Jews into taking up arms and winning once again. They leave the Jews with no alternative. The suicide bombers dispatched by Arafat are bringing home to every Jew a clear ultimatum: Us or them.

Obviously it's going to be us. With great pain and suffering, with superhuman effort, let the people win.

So, you out there, stop pretending that Arafat is ready to agree to a cease-fire and to come to a political agreement. Ask former prime minister Ehud Barak - he learned this lesson the hard way. You out there, stop saying that whatever steps the Jews take to defend themselves are no good: Don't send IDF forces into the Gaza Strip, or bomb Nablus with F-16s, or wipe out the suicide bombers and their operators. Why have Arafat's representatives been expelled from Orient House and Abu Dis? Don't even mention the Temple Mount during a visit to Ankara. It's really a scandal. Why did the IDF attack Jenin? Stop the IDF before it reaches Beit Jala, in order to promote the Peres-Ben-Eliezer alliance in the Labor Party primary.

You out there, you third-rate apparatchiks, journalists, radio and TV announcers, and commentators, you miserable chatterboxes who can't see past the end of your noses, stop frightening the Jews with talk about "international pressure" and "hostile world opinion." These same announcers cry, "There was a lot of sympathy for Israel after the slaughter in Jerusalem, but it vanished when the government decided to take over Orient House." Did you want us to garner unlimited "sympathy" as we dig more and more graves, and at the expense of Gilo's 50,000 Jewish residents? You out there, you prophets of surrender, stop undermining the morale of the nation at a time of war, and stop playing (intentionally or unintentionally) into the enemy's hands.

But even if you don't stop, if you blindly continue your dangerous games, the outcome of the decisive campaign is already evident. It would be a pity to be remembered as hindering Jewish efforts at self-defense. Let the people win. They'll win even without your help. (Jerusalem Post Aug 16)

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