Tuesday, September 4, 2001. A Hamas terrorist walks down the Street of the Prophets in Jerusalem. He has disguised himself to look like a religious Jew with a skullcap and a false beard. It is his heavy backpack and his behavior that cause a passerby to be suspicious and report him. Two border policemen confront him, and he reaches into his backpack and blows himself up. His body is instantly blown apart, his head is severed and rolls into the courtyard of the nearby school, the Lycee Francais, a school attended by the children of many foreign diplomats. This is what greets the youngsters when they enter the courtyard - and it terrifies them. That terrorist detonated the bomb prematurely. He was on his way, his bomb packed with nails, screws and ball bearings, to inflict as much pain and damage as possible at a location where many would be killed and seriously hurt. Do you think those children whose lives were spared will ever forget his severed head? I think they will remember for the rest of their lives. And I know I will not forget this or the four bombs yesterday, or the people killed and wounded in the Sbarro bombing, or the Dolphinarium bombing, or Kobi and Yossi smashed to death not far from their homes, or baby Shalhevet deliberately shot through her head by a sniper who took careful aim, or the gruesome lynching of two Israelis who took a wrong turn into Ramallah, or the man who ate breakfast at his Palestinian friend's restaurant and was murdered in front of his friend's horrified eyes, or those killed by drive-by shooters, and those killed by stones and knives and firebombs and mortars, and those whose injuries will plague them for the rest of their lives. No, I will not forget.
On the same day as this most recent bomb in Jerusalem, I am thinking of all this while other kinds of evil are taking place in Durban - while the whole world is watching. Terrorists are praised as victims, peace loving people are declared war criminals, truth is denied, and vicious racist lies are written into documents. It is the name of my people that is being slandered. It is my nation that is being demonized. It is our unalienable human rights that are asked to be sacrificed on the alters of greed, hatred, and the blood lust of jihad in all its forms. It is our national liberation movement, Zionism, that is being defamed. It is my honor that is being questioned. Israel and the Jewish people are under attack by those who would have the world accept their program of demonization and de-humanization against us. We have been there before and we lost millions to the Nazis while the world stood by and did little or nothing to help. We prevailed. We will prevail again.
Apparently the commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness," has no meaning for Yasser Arafat or for the many Arab and Moslem representatives and their supporters who have hijacked the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. Unlike many people with whom I have had conversations about this, I was not surprised. For several years I have been following the growth of anti-Semitism - glossed as anti-Zionism - in the Arab world. This racist program has been led by the Palestinian Authority but has been supported by every Arab country and Moslem nation to some degree or other. But they are not alone in bearing false witness. Mary Robinson does, and so does Kofi Annan. It was sickening to hear Annan give lip service to the suffering of the Jewish people during the Holocaust and then, with not even a pause, say, "We cannot expect Palestinians to accept this as a reason why the wrongs done to them, displacement, occupation, blockade and now extra-judicial killings, should be ignored, whatever label one uses to describe them." So Annan accepts lies and misrepresentations and not only accuses Israel but condemns any and all actions of self defense. I was offended by Mary Robinson saying that she rejects the language that is used in the document of the Non-governmental Organizations meeting in Durban. It is the content, the lies and hatred and racism that should offend her, not the language. The delegates to that gathering should be told that toning down the language will not be acceptable – there is no compromise with the truth, there can be no watered down version of the attempt to legislate the destruction of Israel that will be acceptable.
Nowhere in this conference has there been a public airing of the violations of human rights, discrimination, racism, ethnic cleansing and attempts at genocide by Arab nations. To name just a few instances: The Iraqi use of chemical weapons against the Kurds in their own country; the Taliban discrimination against women and against people of all religions other than those who accept their interpretation of Islam; the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Kuwait as a result of Palestinian support of Iraq during the Gulf War; the prohibitions in Saudi Arabia that prevented the western armed forces - forces that had come to protect the Saudis - from participating in public celebrations of Christmas; the law that prevents Jews from owning property in Jordan; the discrimination against the Coptic Christians in Egypt; the honor killings of females in Jordan, Egypt and every Arab country; the fierce racism against Jews and Israel by the Palestinians in textbooks funded by the European Union, in weekly sermons from mosques, in newspapers, television and all public forums; the violations of the rights of children by those who train Palestinian children to become warriors in summer camps and even recruit them to become human bombs and encourage them to become martyrs; the sexual mutilation of girls, which is widespread across the Arab world; the modern day slavery in Sudan – and more.
It is time to stop coddling the Arabs and to speak out loudly, clearly, and truthfully. It is time to stop sheltering a terrorist leader like Yasser Arafat and his terrorist gangs because they are supposed to be partners in peace. It is time to hold them and their supporters responsible for killings, the brutality, the barbarism that they have enacted against innocent children, women and men in their continuous war to destroy Israel and to erase thousands of years of Jewish heritage and connection with the Land of Israel. It is time to make public what has been buried under the debris in the wake of Arafat's war against Israel and the Jews. It is time to stop using terms like "the cycle of violence," as if self-defense were equal with barbaric terrorism; It is time to bring the spotlight on their destruction of every Jewish holy site they capture, most recently Joseph's Tomb and the ancient synagogue in Jericho; It is time to remind the world that Jordan destroyed all the synagogues in the old city of Jerusalem and used Jewish tombstones to pave latrines; It is time for the Jewish world to stop asking What can we do? and to start acting.In Durban, during an interview with CNN correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Farouq al-Shara, Foreign Minister of Syria, calmly pronounced that it was Israel and the United States that had hijacked the conference, not the Palestinians and the Arabs! He accused the United States of not walking out because of Israel, but because of the United States' own racist policies and their history regarding slavery. Charlayne Hunter-Gault, a fine reporter, who is herself of African-American heritage, did not challenge him, nor did she remind him or question him about the long history of the Arab slave trade. Nor has there been anything said by all those who want apologies for slavery or reparations, that the Arab slave traders should be paying reparations and should apologize not only for slavery in the past but for slavery that continues in the Arab world to this day. It should be noted that after al-Shara, every Arab Gault interviewed put the same spin on the conference – it is Israel and the United States that should be held responsible for the undue attention paid to the Palestinian-Israeli situation, and they must be held responsible for the lack of attention to all the other matters of concern, especially slavery. Thus once again the victims become the guilty parties, according to Arab reasoning and propaganda.
The Arab jihad against the Jews and Israel did not begin with Israel's successful defense in 1967, not even with the war the Arabs waged against the new born state of Israel in 1948, or the rejections of the two state partition plan accepted by Israel in 1947 but rejected by the Arabs. It began before the rejection by our Arab cousins of the Balfour declaration of a Jewish homeland in Palestine - a plan that was endorsed by the nations of the world. In fact, it began in 622 C. E., when Mohammed traveled to Medina and tried to force the conversion of the Jews to Islam. As a result of the refusal of the Jewish community to convert, ethnic cleansing was employed and two of the Jewish tribes were expelled. Later, in 627 C.E., followers of Mohammed slaughtered between 600 and 900 men and captured the women and children, dividing them between themselves. Following that came centuries of discrimination, pogroms and the enforced status of dhimmis, apartheid in the form of lower caste status given to Jews and Christians in Arab controlled lands - a status some equate with that of untouchables in India.
There has been gross misrepresentation of the rights of the Jews to the Land of Israel. It is the Jewish people who are the only indigenous people left in this world who can claim this homeland. Despite their recent outrageous lies that no ties exist between the Jews and Jerusalem or the Land of Israel, or that Palestinian Arabs are the descendants of the Canaanites, the Arabs are not the indigenous population. The Arabs in the Land of Israel today are either descended from Arab conquerors, or were recent immigrants, especially during the British Mandate. Let there be no mistake about this – the U. N. enacted a special decree stating that Arabs in what had been Palestine, who had lived there for only two years, would be considered refugees. They were transients, their places of birth were Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and other Arab countries.
During the period of Moslem rule in the Land of Israel, the land was abused so badly that the once fertile hills were stripped barren, the thorns of desolation were everywhere. Mark Twain and other 19th century travelers noted this. This was a sparsely populated and neglected land. But even then the majority of the population in Jerusalem was not Arab but Jewish. And let us not forget that there has been a continuous Jewish presence in the Land of Israel from Biblical times until the present. The Arabs never made a capital of Jerusalem, the Moslems did not make pilgrimages, and it was a neglected backwater even during the years of the Jordanian occupation from 1948 through 1967. During the Ottoman rule, there were absentee landlords who exploited the Arab laborers. And the fedayeen did not prosper until the beginnings of the return of the Jews from the late 19th century through the early 20th century. The Jewish farms and settlements flourished and migrant Arabs moved close to the new Jewish settlements, where their standard of living improved.
The first betrayal came shortly after the British began their rule during the Mandate that had been granted to them by the League of Nations - the same League of Nations that had approved a Jewish homeland in what was then called Palestine. The majority of the land of Palestine, on the east bank of the Jordan river, was severed and handed over to the Hashemites to rule as their kingdom. The Hashemites had no history whatever in this land, but they had lost Arabia to the Sauds and so the British gave them a kingdom. The population of Jordan consists of a majority of Arabs from what had been Palestine and a minority of Bedouin. There are no other indigenous Jordanians. No Jews were allowed to live there. Even today, after the peace treaty, Jews are not allowed to own land in Jordan. It has become politically incorrect in recent years to remind the world that Jordan indeed is Palestine. It is time, especially in light of the events in Durban, to turn the wheel-of-the-knowledge-of-good-and-evil toward the truth and to proclaim this fact loudly and clearly now. Jordan was created on the majority of the land of Palestine – but what it is not is the state that Arafat and his terrorists from the P.L.O., and the corrupt officials of the Palestinian Authority, can control. There is no need for another Palestinian state to satisfy the lust for power that Arafat, Shaath, Ashrawi, Erekat, Barghouti and all the other Palestinian leaders have demonstrated so unmistakably. Such a state would have nothing to do with Palestinians having the right to self-determination. The Palestinian Authority is already a corrupt dictatorship. And bear in mind that in no Arab country on the face of the earth do the citizens have the right to self-determination. They are ruled by kings or dictators, and there is not a single democracy.
It should be noted that 95% of the people who now call themselves Palestinians and formerly lived in territory administered by Israel, now live in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. They do not live under any sort of occupation. And the poverty, unemployment, and despair they live with is the direct responsibility of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. During the years that Israel was in control, all efforts to build better housing for those living in refugee camps was forbidden by both the Arabs and the U. N. Nothing was done to alter the status quo, despite all Israeli efforts to provide a better housing situation. What did improve was health care, education, and other civil services. Contrary to Arab claims that Israel destroyed the infrastructure in the Palestinian areas, it must be noted that not only is this not true, but infrastructure was built where there had been none and universities were established where there had been none. Only after Jerusalem was liberated from Jordanian occupation in 1967 was there an influx of Arabs into the city, a flow of immigration that greatly increased their population in Jerusalem.
The truth has been sacrificed in Durban. And the implications and dangers of what has happened there will only be known as time unfolds. Yasser Arafat delivered a racist, hate-filled, speech full of lies. He called Israel a 'colonialist entity.' What are the implications of such a statement? The modern world does not allow colonialism; thus the modern world must not allow this so-called colonial state called Israel. It is nothing less than a call for the destruction of Israel. But Israel is not a colonialist state; it is the homeland of the Jews, a home returned to and rebuilt after thousands of years of occupation by a sequence of foreign powers, including the Arabs. A homeland rebuilt as a result of Zionism, the movement to rebuild the Jewish national homeland, not a racist, apartheid movement. Zionism was born long before Herzl and the founders of the modern movement. Zionism began with refugees who wept by the rivers of Babylon after the first ethnic cleansing of the Jews from their homeland.
There are two parts to the resolutions of the NGOs. The plan of action, barely mentioned in the news or by Kofi Annan or Mary Robinson, would totally destroy the State of Israel. Here are the relevant articles as published in The Jerusalem Post on September 2, 2001:
* Article 160 calls for the enforcement of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which includes measures to be employed against apartheid, a "protection force," and the dismantling of "Jewish Israeli colonies."If these articles were to be enforced, it would mean the destruction of the State of Israel, nothing less.
* Article 161 calls for the right of return of all Palestinians.
* Article 162 calls for the reinstitution of UN Resolution 3379, which equates Zionism with racism; the repeal of Israel's Law of Return, which grants citizenship to all Jewish immigrants; and the establishment of a war crimes tribunal to "try Israeli racists."
* Article 163 calls for the UN to prepare educational packets for schools and universities on the "Israeli racist apartheid system."
* Article 164 calls for the establishment of a UN special committee on Israeli apartheid.
* Article 165 calls for UN programs and institutions to "combat the racist media distortion, stereotyping, and propaganda that demonizes and dehumanizes Palestinians as being violent terrorists."
* Article 166 calls for the launch of an international "anti-Israeli-apartheid" movement.
* Article 167 calls on the international community to impose a policy of "complete and total isolation of Israel as an apartheid state, as was done in the case of South Africa . . . sanctions, embargoes, the full cessation of all links (diplomatic, economic, social, and military cooperation and training) between all states and Israel."
* Article 168 calls for "the condemnation of those states supporting , aiding, and abetting the Israeli apartheid state, and its preparation of racist crimes against humanity, including ethnic cleansing, and acts of genocide."
Faruq al-Shara claims it was only one article that the U.S. and Israel really objected to, that the whole conference is suffering because of U.S. and Israeli intransigence on this one point. Will he get away with this lie, this spin on the truth in the face of the actual articles above?
We have learned a bitter lesson in Durban. The United States has been using the "evenhandedness" ploy to refrain from clearly condemning the brutal Palestinian terrorism as an unjustified war against the innocent people of Israel. Its reporters, TV commentators, and politicians have repeatedly used the term "cycle of violence," as if acts of self-defense can be equated with aggression. The U.S. has mildly told the Palestinians to stop incitement. More was required. What was required was unequivocal condemnation of the racism, hatred, and incitement in Palestinian text books, in sermons in the mosques, and in Palestinian controlled media. What was required was an unambiguous demand that the encouragement of Palestinian youngsters to become shaheeds, or martyrs, for their Jihad, would cease. What was required was an emphatic and consistent call for the Palestinians to end their 'holy war' against the Jews and Israel. What was required were unyielding demands that all camps training children to use automatic weapons, to kidnap Jews, and to become future suicide bombers be eliminated immediately. What was required was that the U.S. insist that the Palestinians collect all illegal weapons and have them destroyed; imprison known terrorists, and comply with all the agreements they have signed. The United States did not speak out with a strong voice on any of these issues; sadly, it was far more important not to anger their supposed friends in the Arab world. Well, the United States got its thank-you in Durban.
The Jewish people, be they citizens of Israel or of any other country, cannot afford the luxury of seeing if time will tell. We must begin a vigorous campaign to tell the truth about Yasser Arafat, the continued Arab war to destroy Israel by terrorism and by duping and coercing the nations of the world to join their destructive campaigns. We must bring to light the real history of the conflict. We must ardently oppose the media that slants the news to favor the Arab positions. We must speak out and stand our ground.
There is much at stake here. Once again the Jews are being de-humanized and demonized, accused of all manner of atrocities. It is not only the future of Israel but of the entire Jewish people that is at stake. What has happened at Durban is the alarm ringing shrilly that we must not be complacent.
Here in Israel we continue to live our lives, despite the terrorist war being waged against us. We travel the roads with caution and do not linger long in the city centers. In Gilo, a neighborhood of Jerusalem, bullet-proof windows are being installed. We know that all of our lives are on the line. But we are not running. The Arabs underestimate our strength and determination. It is we, the lovers of Zion, who sing our anthem, Hatikvah, The Hope, we who have rescued the land from desolation and fly our banner with the Star of David proudly, we who have survived thousands of years of persecution that climaxed in the Shoah; it is we, the Children of Israel, here in our homeland and all over the world who will not only survive, but who will prevail. It is time to set the record straight and put the lie to Arab propaganda. It is time to hold the Europeans accountable for their support of the terrorist regime of the Palestinian Authority. It is time to let the nations of the world know Israel and the Jewish people will not be silent victims. It is time to let the Arab world know that, after two thousand years of yearning to rebuild our homeland, nothing they can do can uproot us. © Reva Sharon