Jerusalem Newswire - June 26, 2003
If one would want to explain in a nutshell what all the strife at present is about in and around Israel, spiritually speaking, then the answer would have to be this: There is an enormous battle over possession of Israel's heartland in Judea and Samaria and over the heart of the city of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount.
At this very moment, Palestinian Muslims under the influence and authority of the Islamic religious Waqf are taunting the Jews by building a fourth mosque on their holiest place in the world, where once the holy Temple stood in all its beauty and glory. The former Mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert said the following about this work of destruction:
"The surfacing work is part of an overall plan to turn the Temple Mount into one huge mosque and to erase the immense Jewish heritage at the site and to convert it to a Muslim site." (The Jerusalem Post - 29/6/2000)
Orthodox Jews all over the world, as well as in Israel, pray three times a day for the rebuilding of the Temple upon this, their hill. It is certainly not the Western (or Wailing) Wall that is the holiest or most significant place in Jerusalem for Judaism. It is the Temple Mount that represents for all of Judaism the holy hill of the Lord, where He Himself made His dwelling place in the good times of Israel's history, and will do so again in the near future as many believe.
As the psalmist exclaims: "For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation: This is my resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. & There I will make the horn of David grow; I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed." (Psalm 132:13,14,17)
No place in Israel therefore could be more important in relation to its glorious past, or its even more wonderful future, than the Temple Mount. It is not for nothing that religious believing Jews have prayed right through the long centuries of dispersion that the day would come that God Himself would help them to restore His house upon this holy hill so that He could again dwell in the midst of His people.
To see this hill slowly and cruelly being taken away from Jewish possession, though they have sovereignty since the Six Day War over all of Jerusalem, is an entirely unacceptable affront to all that the Jewish people have striven and prayed for during their long and often painful centuries of exile.
Without the Temple Mount, Jerusalem will have lost its heart and spiritual significance. The Tenach teaches that the Messiah is not coming to a Mosque, but rather to a rebuilt Temple on this place - the Temple Mount.
The battle for this part of Jerusalem is the battle for the ultimate destiny of this city and the people of Israel. As for the heartland of Israel, Judea and Samaria, which Arafat and the Islamic forces, backed nearly by the whole world, wants to turn into another Muslim controlled Palestinian Arab state - it is virtually the same story. An enormously crucial battle rages over who is going to possess the cradle of Jewish civilization.
It was there where God started with His people - Jericho, Bethel, Hebron, Bethlehem, Shilo, Mount Gerizim and Ebal - it is there where the patriarchs of Israel dwelt and lived, and it is this truly biblical land that the Palestinian leadership wants for its future Muslim Palestinian State.
What a battle is going on, with all the nations siding not with Israel, but with Israel's enemies, as the prophets foresaw long ago. Both Zechariah as well as Joel prophesy doom and destruction over all nations who would come against Jerusalem or dare to divide God's land. (see Zech. 12:8,9 and Joel 3:1,2)
And even as some Israelis today have little desire or courage to stop the current vandalizing and misuse of Israel's holiest piece of real estate - instead being willing to reward the Palestinian violence by allowing their Muslim flag to fly over Israel's holiest mountain - then surely the enemies of Israel have little to worry about in attaining their exclusive Muslim goals.
Two thousand years of longing and praying for nothing?
For two thousand years, Jews have prayed and longed to return to Jerusalem. Each Passover night, during their long years in the Diaspora, they lifted the cup and pledged to celebrate, if possible, "Next year in Jerusalem!"
Three times a day, century in, century out, Orthodox Jews have prayed that God would restore His house and dwell in the midst of His people again. And all this time, even as they were praying, Muslims invaded the land that is holy to God and His people, and erected their mosques especially on places holy to the Jews, not so much out of love for their Creator, but out of spite and to prevent the Jews from ever rebuilding their shrines again.
From the minarets on the place most holy to the Jews, God's Temple Mount, Haj Amin al-Husseini was encouraged to complete what Hitler had left undone. Instead of prayer, these minarets bellowed "Itbach el Yahud" (slaughter the Jews), incitement to murder the Jews!
And the Jews allowed it all to happen - the takeover of their most holy place, even when it became desecrated as a place of violence and hatred and thousands of stones and bottles were thrown repeatedly on Jewish worshippers standing near their Western Wall.
History was rewritten. The Mountain of the Lord, where the Jews' Temple twice stood, has been denied any historicity. According to these Islamic revisionists, the Western (Wailing) Wall's holiness is purely attributable to the legend that Mohammed fastened his El-Buraq to its stones before, according to the same legend, ascending for a heavenly visit.
No, nothing that the Jews treasure as holy is holy or significant to Israel's enemies. And unbelievably, Jews had to plead before Clinton that if they surrender this, the holiest asset of their faith, to these murderers, that it will at least be documented that once upon a time the Temple Mount had a connection to the Jewish people.
What utter degradation! There was even the cute notion that to get out of this tug of war, God would be given final sovereignty over the Mount, as if He who claimed it to be "His holy hill" (Psalm 2) needed to bend towards men to receive "His right"!
How did this all come to pass? Would the Muslims, for the sake of peace, surrender Mecca and the Ka'aba stone to the Jews? Would Catholics, for the sake of peace, surrender the Vatican and St. Peters Cathedral?
Would any nation in the world, after praying for 2000 years to return to its holiest place on earth, forfeit it for a peace that will not even be a real peace, but rather a stage for further concessions until Israel, according to the deep-seated wish of many of her Muslim enemies, is dissolved and is no more?
And this prize is given to those who, through their leaders in the days of Haj Amin al-Hussieni, encouraged Hitler to speed up his extermination of the Jews, and who have fought what was left of the Jews year after year as the survivors immigrated to a land partitioned for them by the United Nations?!
Think of this! The prize of the Jews' most holy place is being offered to those who murdered Jews; terrorized them for years; brought the whole Muslim and Arab world against them; terrorized them in the air by exploding their planes; terrorized them in their synagogues from Paris to Istanbul; killed or wounded their peaceful diplomats and athletes in places all over the world; burned their carefully planted forests; torched or stole their cars by the tens of thousands; broke nearly every promise they made through treaties with Israel.
Is this the prize Israel is willing to give to those who have as yet never kept their word, and who still in their heart of hearts dream of the day when all Palestine shall be theirs?
Is Israel willing to cut out her very heart, the heart of Jerusalem, holy to the Jews from time immemorial, and offer it to a people who have just murdered and lynched them and are not even willing to teach the lessons of peace in any of their schoolbooks nor on their Palestinian television and radio broadcasts? They should now receive Israel's heart?
It is beyond comprehension. A denial of all that true Judaism stood for!
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If American Middle East policy could be represented as an archeological dig, it would look something like this: the Zinni Mission would be resting atop the ruins of the Tenet Work Plan, which would be crushing the remains of the Mitchell Commission Report, which would be settled on remnants of the pillaged Sharm al Sheikh agreement, all of which would be weighing down the collapsed foundations of the shattered Oslo Accords. If recent history is a reliable gauge, peacemaking produces more embarrassment than it does results and only fosters the impression that the United States is helpless to have any meaningful impact on the Arab Israeli conflict.
Only three weeks into the life of the latest initiative, the Bush Administration's Road Map seems poised to join this historical ash heap . You didn't need to be Nostradamus to predict it : The contemptuousness of Hamas, the weakness of Abu Mazen, the brazen interference of Yasser Arafat, the raw hostility of the Palestinian street were all clear indicators of the impetuousness of any initiative that avoided dealing with the central issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict : the pan-Arab disinclination to recognize Israel's right to exist. Unable to grasp this fundamental obstacle to peace, the Bush Administration's Middle East policy has now become hostage to the kind of unrealistic expectations that churned Clinton's Middle East policies into mud and blinkered millions into believing that peace was just around the corner.
What is it then that caused the Bush Administration to trundle down a road so ridden with pitfalls and cursed with the burned out chasses of so many past vehicles of peace? It is of course a noble American tradition to campaign for peace between belligerents - harking back to the bold interventionism of both Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson . Such idealism has always been based on the notion that the United States, free of Europe's historical baggage, could wield significant leverage in a world fraught with violence and conflict. Such slogans as 'making the world safe for democracy' and the 'new world order' gained currency and acceptance as distinctly American visions of a world in which violence and conflict would be contained.
But there are some violent conflicts in the world that simply do not lend themselves to resolution by either signatures or handshakes. The Arab-Israeli conflict is one of them. That is because there are no tangible, realistic exchanges that can be made between the two sides that would guarantee lasting peace. No exchange of territory ,no compensation to refugees, no guarantee of statehood will quell the insistent Palestinian demand for Israel's extinction. Such a wish is written in their Covenant, broadcast daily in their newspaper editorials and promoted to their children in textbooks. It is contained in the speeches of their leaders and advertised on posters extolling the deeds of their homicide bombers. The voice of reason that George Bush hears in the moderate tone of Abu Mazen and considers representative of Palestinian aspirations is therefore an illusion. The real voice of the Palestinians, the voice that speaks to their deepest sentiments and nationalistic dreams, is the voice of Hamas.
As years of peace making in Europe once proved, the sin qua non for lasting peace is not the building of walls or the construction of national institutions of defense but mutual acceptance. Israel seems to have gone a long way to accepting the Palestinian right to self-determination. Its prime-minister, for his own baffling reasons, has even accepted the eventuality of a Palestinian state. But the absolute failure of Palestinian leaders to mouth anything other than meaningless platitudes about Israel's right to live in peace and security while doing nothing to prevent Palestinian murder of Israeli citizens leaves the Bush Administration with little choice. The futile quest for reconciliation should be replaced with a pragmatic assessment that any significant change in outlook among Palestinians, no matter what the Israelis do,sayor agree to, is unlikely. Ultimately the focus of the Administration's Middle East policy must shift from conflict resolution to conflict management.
What does this mean? Unequivocal support for the Israeli army's campaign to crush the terrorist networks; compliance in the need to eliminate or exile their leaders; cooperation in smothering their sources of funding. But it also means that the United States must face up to the reality that only years of Palestinian re- education and re-orientation toward peaceful coexistence will bring about a lasting change in relations between Arabs and Jews. Such a reality check, given the conviction among most Americans that all problems have a solution, is a bitter pill to swallow. .
But better to swallow the pill than to spend many more fruitless years pretending that ruined policies, all piled on top of one another, create anything more than an impression of powerlessness and failure.
Avi Davis is the senior fellow of the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies and the senior editorial columnist for the on-line magazine Jewsweek.com
I have two small newsgroups with close friends, and I send out as much as I can about what is happening in Israel. Usually, I am full of information about the politics, the situation, the conflict. However, in the past week, I can't bring myself to look at the news. It isn't the terrorism, it is the betrayal.
What kind of sick mind would come up with a plan to make Jewish soldiers remove Jews from Jewish land? What kind of horrible self-denial of our rights as human beings could be more clearly shown?
There is a deep loathing and sense of hate that comes from inside my bones at this uprooting of Jewish lives, and I find myself unable to eat, sleep, read. I am disgusted and angry. "Why have my brothers and sisters not risen up to fight this horror?" I think.
But here I sit, incapacitated by pain, unable look at the news from Israel. I can't even write a decent column. Everything sounds stupid and ineffectual. Everyone, it seems, is saying the same things. What can I add? I am struggling to put words onto paper that will somehow meet my sadness, my anger, and my regret. I know that I am one of those who is guilty of doing nothing while my brothers and sisters suffer. Why? Why have I done nothing? All of my excuses ring hollow.
It could be that I am in a tiny town separated from a community where I could find like-minded and supportive Jews to stage a demonstration – but I have demonstrated for less by myself in the past. I have stood by the street alone with a sign held high. So, this is not the reason.
It could be that I feel that even if I tried to write or call my representatives, my phone call, my letter, my fax would be just one more phone call, one more letter, and one more fax on their table to be ignored as they plow on with this hateful plan of the destruction of my people in our own land. But I have sent letters and faxes and made phone calls for lesser things and against greater odds, with more knowledge of how they would be ignored. So, this is not the reason.
It could be that I feel very small right now. I feel that I am alone in the world, part of a tiny demographic group, made even smaller by Jews who are busy denying their own special existence on a daily basis. It could be that I feel dwarfed even by my own people, who are supposed to be there to support Israel, but who are supporting our enemies instead, in order to call themselves "liberal" and "multi-cultural." But I have fought against this group, too. I have, at my own academic conferences, fought my own mentors and professors to say that Jews are a demographic deserving of respect and that we have not been so assimilated as to be called "white" in a world divided by "white" and "non-white." So, this is not the reason.
So, in mourning, feeling petrified by my own fears, I read Psalms, and try to deal with the reality of the television and the newspapers, who parrot the speeches of supposedly “pro-Israel” US politicians. I listen to the leaders of Israel coddle and mollify terrorists. After an hour or so, in Psalm 44, I come across David's words to
"You sell Your nation for no fortune, and You did not inflate their price; You make us a disgrace to our neighbors, the mockery and scorn of those around us; You make us a byword among the peoples, a cause for the nations to shake their heads."These words ring in my ears. Especially the line, "You did not inflate their price."
I wish I knew Hebrew well enough to look into the meaning of every word in this line, but I don't. I search for footnotes, commentary, but nothing in my small library has anything to say about this line. I am left to figure it out on my own. I am pained by the words, and they sting me like a slap in my face.
We sell our inheritance for no price. For nothing. Our leaders just give away the greatest gift of G-d to his people for nothing. If that wasn't bad enough, the line goes on, "You did not inflate their price." The question is, who is "their"? Who is this line referring to? The easiest interpretation is that "their" can mean our enemies, right? G-d did not give us the wherewithal to inflate the price of the land we are giving for nothing, because we do not value the land enough. Then, if you add a second interpretation, to read that "their" is the Jewish people, then the line reads that we do not value ourselves either. We will simply sell ourselves and our land away for nothing.
Either way, the line is telling. When you ask nothing in return, it doesn't matter how much you inflate the price, it is still nothing. We got the land as a gift, so we don't value it? We have lost the land over and over again, it has cost us valuable Jewish lives, but we still don't value the land? We give it for nothing. We do not inflate the price, because we do not value the price we have paid for that land. Jewish lives don't even mean anything to Jews. Horrible. Everyone around us tells us the land is not ours, yet the Torah tells us that this land is ours, and that there is an even greater land that is ours. Yet, we believe the words of our enemies over the word of G-d. So, this is the reason for my lack of action.
I am doing nothing because I am feeling that there is nothing I can do. I am feeling like there is nothing I can do, because I can't reach the heart of those without faith, without G-d, to whom the land is nothing but dust and brush and buildings. I can try to appeal to them, and I have tried, but I am nothing. I feel defeated.
But that isn't good enough for David. He doesn't end the Psalm that way. He pushes me and everyone else on: "All this came upon us yet we have not forgotten You, and we have not been false to Your covenant." So, this Psalm is a challenge, and I feel ashamed of myself for my self-pity. I put myself before the computer today even though I feel broken-hearted. I feel there is nothing I can add to what has been said, but this one small thing, from one small person, in one small place, very far away: I will keep my eyes to G-d.
With a heavy heart, still weak from the scenes of the destruction of Jewish homes by Jewish soldiers directed by Jewish leaders, I write these words with a prayer that we will be strengthened today by David's words. I will not let the faithlessness of others make me lose my own faith. I will not let the senseless disregard of the land of Israel become my disregard. I will say, as David does by the end of Psalm 44, "Arise – assist us! And redeem us for the sake of Your kindness!"
This is it. I am strengthened again. I will watch and fight and push and write and continue to have faith that G-d will see that we will not stray from the Path to follow a “roadmap”. Even if I do this with tears, with a broken heart, and with the constant need for prayer.
Michelle Nevada lives in a small town in rural Nevada. She can be contacted at Michelle_Nevada@yahoo.com.
JINSA Report #338 - June 24, 2003
Missing the point entirely, Secretary of State Powell in Jerusalem called Hamas an “enemy of peace.” Hamas is not at war with “peace” and it isn’t “peace” that Hamas attacks; it is Jews. Radical Islamic organizations, of which Hamas is only one, and their followers are at war with Jews, Israel, America, the West, Christians, democracy, republican government and civil liberties, to name a few. The President has no trouble naming the enemies of the United States as enemies of the United States. Why should enemies of Israel and Jews be euphemized as “enemies of peace”?
It isn’t a matter of semantics. Our ability to prevail over our enemy - the terrorist and terrorist-supporting countries that attack the West including Israel - depends in some measure on understanding who is fighting for and against what.
Dr. Michael Ledeen, author, historian and member of JINSA’s Board of Advisors, in his book Machiavelli on Modern Leadership, defines peace as the condition imposed by the victor of the last war on the loser. Therefore, you can have a bad peace - such as the victors’ terms of WWI that contained within them the seeds of WWII, or a good peace - such as that constructed by the U.S. after WWII that led to the German and Japanese economic miracles and the institution of democracy. You can have a cold peace, a warm peace, the peace of the brave or the peace of the dead.
It all depends on who wins the war.
If Hamas wins, the peace will be an Islamic state without Jews. If the broader Islamic radical network wins, the peace will be Sharia from sea to sea.
Dr. Ledeen also said that never in his studies had he found warring parties that just decide to “forget it” in the name of peace. A victor and a vanquished are required to end the war. And that indeed is our current experience in Iraq. American soldiers are attacked daily by soldiers loyal to the missing Saddam who carry on a war they cannot hope to win, but do not have to acknowledge that they lost.
Yet Abu Mazen told Mr. Powell that he still wants to negotiate a cease fire with Hamas in hopes of persuading them to disarm later. Hamas, nothing if not clear in its war aims, told Abu Mazen it would refuse any such “request” to disarm.
If the United States has to win its war abroad, how much more does Israel have to win its war at home? Israeli citizens are attacked daily by terrorists who will not win, but who are intent upon causing as much death and destruction as possible until they are defeated.
If Secretary Powell wants to contribute to peace in the region, he should stop talking about peace and acknowledge the war that is directed at Israel. Not at “peace” not at the “process.” At Israel. And at Noam Liebowitz. He owes that much to a seven-year-old girl, shot and killed Wednesday in her parents’ car because she was a Jew and an Israeli.
"Murderers who take three-month vacations are still murderers."- US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on efforts to reach a "truce" with Hamas terrorists.
Q. How do you say, "Hold on a minute, stop shooting while I reload my automatic rifle!" in Arabic?- A popular current joke reflecting the typical Israeli approach to the hudna.
Hudna With HamasThe media translate "hudna" as "truce," misrepresenting the term's religious, historical and modern meaning.
Would a hudna with Hamas really mark "the success of peacemaking," a "major breakthrough" toward a nonviolent future?
The answer lies in the historical meaning of the Muslim expression, Hamas' track record, and the terms of the road map itself.
Hudna has a distinct meaning to Islamic fundamentalists, well-versed in their history: The prophet Mohammad struck a legendary, ten-year hudna with the Quraysh tribe that controlled Mecca in the seventh century. Over the following two years, Mohammad rearmed and took advantage of a minor Quraysh infraction to break the hudna and launch the full conquest of Mecca, the holiest city in Islam.More at HonestReporting.com
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