Three Americans -- John Branchizio, Mark Parson, and John Martin Linde -- were murdered last Wednesday when terrorists in Gaza bombed the diplomatic convoy they were riding in. News accounts immediately described the attack as a first -- ''an unprecedented deadly attack on a US target in the Palestinian territories,'' to quote the Associated Press. But Branchizio, Parson, and Linde were not the first Americans to be murdered by Palestinian terrorists. They were the 49th, 50th, and 51st in the past 10 years alone.
A few hours after their deaths, the White House condemned ''the vicious act of terrorism'' that killed them, extended ''heartfelt condolences to the families,'' and promised ''to bring the terrorists to justice.'' The families of the many previous US victims of Palestinian terror might reasonably wonder why there was no such presidential concern when their loved ones were massacred.
The president did not vow to see justice done, for example, when Dr. David Applebaum and his daughter Nava died, on the eve of what was to be Nava's wedding day, in the bombing of Jerusalem's Cafe Hillel last month. Or when Cleveland native Alan Beer was killed in a Palestinian bus bombing in June. Or when four Americans -- Marla Bennett of California, David Gritz of Massachusetts, Benjamin Blutstein of Pennsylvania, and Janis Coulter of New York -- lost their lives in the bombing of the Hebrew University cafeteria last year. Or when Shoshana Greenbaum, a New Jersey tourist, was slaughtered in the horrific Sbarro pizzeria attack of August 2001. Or when, three months earlier, 14-year-old Kobe Mandell of Silver Spring, Md., was one of two boys stoned to death in the cave where Palestinian terrorists found them hiking. Or in April 1995, when Brandeis University student Alisa Flatow was murdered in a Gaza terror attack.
Americans have been dying at the hands of Palestinian terrorists for decades, yet the US government and media rarely if ever portray Yasser Arafat and his lieutenants as avowed enemies of the United States. The State Department does not demand the extradition of Palestinian killers of Americans, not even when the killers' identities and whereabouts are known. President Bush has never given the Palestinian Authority the same ultimatum he gave the Taliban in Afghanistan: Hand over the terrorists or be destroyed.
Instead he issues incoherent declarations like the one he made on Wednesday -- blasting the Palestinian Authority for refusing ''to fight terror in all its forms,'' while assuring Americans that the United States is ''working closely with the appropriate officials'' -- i.e., the selfsame Palestinian Authority -- to find and prosecute those responsible. As if it isn't those very officials who have been aiding and abetting such butchery all along.
To hear Bush tell it, the deeper tragedy of terrorist acts like Wednesday's is that they are ''an obstacle to achieving the Palestinian people's dream of statehood.'' What kind of state does Bush imagine would be created by the people who danced for joy on Sept. 11? How long is he going to keep up the pretense that terrorism represents a failure, rather than an core element, of Palestinian governance?
Arafat and the Palestinian Authority were quick to distance themselves from the murder of the three Americans. But violence against Americans is routinely celebrated by the PA. ''During the war in Iraq,'' notes Itamar Marcus, the director of Palestinian Media Watch, ''the PA actively endorsed the killing of Americans, and even produced a music video celebrating the deaths of US soldiers that was broadcast repeatedly on official PA TV.'' (An extensive compendium of anti-American hatred in the Palestinian media is posted at www.pmw.org.il.)
For years, sermons preached in Palestinian mosques and aired on Palestinian radio and television have rhapsodized about inflicting pain on the United States. ''Oh, Allah, destroy America, for she is ruled by Zionist Jews,'' proclaimed Sheik Ikrima Sabri, the Arafat-appointed mufti of Jerusalem, in one such sermon. ''O God, destroy the Jews and their supporters . . . destroy the United States and its allies,'' implored Sheik Ibrahim al-Mudayris in another. And from a third, Sheik Ahmed Abu Halabiya: ''Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. . . . Wherever you are, kill those Jews and those Americans who are like them.''
A few months ago, Palestinian officials renamed the central square in Jenin after Ali Jafar al-Na'amani, the Iraqi suicide bomber who killed four US Marines at a checkpoint in Najaf on March 29. That is what Arafat and the Palestinian Authority think of spilled American blood.
There is only one rational response to the murder of Branchizio, Parson, and Linde last week: the destruction of the Palestinian Authority, a network of killers posing as a government. If that doesn't happen, this much is sure: the 49th, 50th, and 51st Americans to lose their lives to Palestinian terror will not be the last.
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Is Malaysian autocrat Mahathir Mohamad insane?
Many critics of his latest anti-Semitic rant at the annual Islamic Summit Conference last week think so. It was there that he now infamously said, "The Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them."
For his fellow Islamic heads of state and leaders, Mahathir is not a madman but a sage. Speaking of Mahathir's speech, Egypt's foreign minister Ahmed Maher said, "I think it was a shrewd and very deep assessment of the situation." Maher added, "I hope the Islamic countries will be able to follow this very important road map."
Given the standing ovation that Mahathir received at the conference, as well as the daily diet of anti-Semitism broadcast and published throughout the Islamic world, it seems safe to say that the views he enunciated are more or less mainstream in the Islamic world today. Because of this, it is important to understand the "road map" set out by Mahathir in his address and assess its ramifications for Israel's future.
In his 4,200 word homily, Mahathir restated his long-held belief that the Islamic world needs to modernize. For this he has long been touted in the West as a moderate and a reformist. Yet unlike states such as South Korea or Singapore, which view modernization as a goal in and of itself, Mahathir views it as a means to a larger pan-Islamic end. That end is the defeat of the West by the Islamic world.
And the shortest path to eventual victory is the destruction of Israel. Victory goes through Israel, in Mahathir's view, because although the US and Europe are the true targets, they will only accept Islam as their master after their current master, the Jews, are destroyed.
The notion that the West is enslaved by the Jews is so outrageous that it is difficult to take Mahathir seriously. But Mahathir is no kook. Indeed, the blueprint for victory that he laid out is already being implemented by many of his coreligionists.
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan for instance, seem to be doing their best to fulfill Mahathir's call for the Muslims to pool their resources to destroy the Jewish "enemy." The two Islamic states have reportedly reached a deal whereby Pakistan will provide the Saudis with nuclear bombs.
Other examples of Arab and Islamic states cooperating to fight Israel abound. Last week Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told foreign ambassadors that Pakistan and North Korea are aiding Libya in its program to achieve nuclear capabilities. Sharon warned that with this assistance, Libya may become the first Arab state to have a nuclear arsenal.
As far back as last September, the Prime Minister warned that Saddam Hussein was transferring parts of his non-conventional arsenal to Syria and Lebanon. In the months since Saddam's downfall, the US and Israel have been trying to find out just which elements of Saddam's arsenal were in fact transferred.
The Saudis, Iranians, Syrians, and Egyptians are actively supporting and abetting the Palestinian terror war against Israel. And lest we tell ourselves that terrorism is not a strategic threat, we need only look to the Philippines to realize what its true destructive potential can be.
There, Islamic terrorists seem to have already attained non-conventional capabilities. On Monday, AFP reported that Philippine security forces recovered traces of possible biological weapons in a raid on a Jemaah Islamiya hideout in the southern Philippine city of Cotabato. The findings included residues of a tetanus virus-carrying chemical. The security forces also found a bio-terror manual at the site.
Aside from intra-Islamic cooperation, Mahathir pointed out that not everyone in the hated West hates the Muslims back. Mahathir counseled the Islamic leaders to use those Westerners who support them and who "see our enemies as their enemies" to advance their goal of world domination. And again, this week, we saw two instances of this occurring.
In the first instance, the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany converged on Teheran on Tuesday and succeeded in postponing the need to deal with the Iranian nuclear weapons program. This they did by accepting the powerless Iranian president Mohammed Khatami's vaguely worded promise to temporarily stop enriching uranium.
Now Iran has at least another month to enrich uranium without needing to worry about the International Atomic Energy Agency turning the matter over to the UN Security Council. Israel estimates that the Iranian nuclear program will have reached the point of no return by the summer.
Understanding that the Europeans have no interest in actually preventing the Iranians from developing nuclear weapons, Teheran didn't even wait until the end of the news cycle to expose the agreement as a fraud. Iran's Supreme National Security Council chief Hassan Rohani told reporters Tuesday evening that the freeze on uranium enrichment would only last for "as long as Iran thinks this suspension is beneficial .Whenever we don't want it we will end it," he said.
The UN General Assembly's decision to condemn Israel for building a security fence is another example of Muslims using non-Islamic allies to advance Mahathir's agenda. The resolution was introduced by the Arab League. 144 member states voted in favor, four opposed and 12 abstained. (CAFI Note: Canada voted FOR - disgusting, but no surprise)
Finally, Mahathir argued that the Islamic world must work with Jews who "who do not approve of what the Israelis are doing." Mahathir invoked the precedent of the Prophet Muhammad's treaty of Hudaibayah with the Koresh tribe in Mecca several times during his speech. In his words, "at Hudaibayah [Muhammad] was prepared to accept an unfair treaty, against the wishes of his companions and followers. During the peace that followed he consolidated his strength and eventually he was able to enter Mecca and claim it for Islam."
Here, of course, we have the fine example of Yossi Beilin's Geneva Initiative, which outsources Israeli decision-making to the Swiss government and Beilin's EU-financed think tank. Indeed, Mahathir seemed to have Beilin directly in mind when he explained, "because of [the Jews'] power and their apparent success they have become arrogant. And arrogant people, like angry people will make mistakes, will forget to think. They are already beginning to make mistakes. And they will make more mistakes."
What can Israel do to defend against this onslaught? Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz have made clear that Israel cannot accept a nuclear armed Iran. Israel's anti-ballistic missile defenses are the most sophisticated in the world. And as Israel showed when its F-15s flew over Auschwitz en route to Tel Aviv some weeks ago, Israel has the capacity to conduct long-range bombing missions.
Given the fact that terrorists have and will continue to amass non-conventional capabilities, it is vital that Israel not allow them the space to operate with impunity. This means that the Palestinians must not receive sovereignty over territory unless all terrorist elements in Palestinian society and their support networks have been obliterated.
To ensure Israel's survival against non-conventional terrorist threats, it is not enough to build a wall. A wall will do nothing against chemical, biological or even tactical nuclear weapons launched on rockets, mortars or artillery shells.
Finally, it is important that Israel be honest with itself and its ally, the US, about the intentions of its enemies. We may not have ever believed we would need to take a delusional bigot like Mahathir seriously. But he seems to be an able spokesman for hundreds of millions of like-minded people.
We must respect these Islamic bigots enough to take their threats at face value. We must look at their intentions and soberly assess their actions and their capabilities.
When Mahathir defined us as the enemy, he did us a favor. He told us where he and the Islamic world stand, and where they intend to go. Forewarned, as they say, is forearmed.
Earlier this week Arutz Sheva was finally felled. It was defeated via a lawsuit submitted by Labor's Eitan Cabel to the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, which upheld his assertion that it was broadcasting illegally.
So it's no less than dismaying that the very Left which so enthusiastically lobbied for Nathan now so fervently fights Arutz Sheva's right to voice the opinions of its many adherents.
It's difficult to escape the impression that what's really wrong with Arutz Sheva isn't that its ship didn't distance itself sufficiently from Israel's territorial waters or that studios in Beit El were used. What differentiated it from Nathan's venture was politics.
Thus after 15 years on the air, during which the station proved itself financially viable, professionally capable, and exceptionally popular, it was silenced. Its loyal audience wasn't limited to the settlements. It was avidly listened to within the Green Line, as most taxi passengers can verify.
Particularly disconcerting was Justice Minister Yosef Lapid's outburst against ministers who pleaded Arutz Sheva's case, warning that they'll have "blood on their hands" if a plane crashes due to radio interference. With all due respect, such scare-mongering is demagogic. Arutz Sheva never endangered aviation. Those who do are numerous small-time pirates with home-based transmitters, often operated by reckless teens. There are plenty of laws against such delinquents. They need only be enforced.
Equating Arutz Sheva with them is a cynical red herring. Arutz Sheva has become a staple of popular culture and we consider it is grossly imprudent to close it precisely because it satisfied proven demand for its journalistic product. Denying the public what it wants and had grown used to will inevitably give rise to charges of politically motivated muzzling.
No amount of legalistic sanctimony will erase this perception.
This country urgently needs legislation to democratize the airwaves. This is the case elsewhere in the free world. It's time we live up to our liberal pretensions. A phenomenon like FOX Television would be impossible here. Nothing, however, prevented a television network with a different ideological bent from giving itself an electronic media platform in America.
It's time our regulations tolerated radio offerings that appeal to a range of political and ideological preferences, as they do to musical tastes. There's no reason an outfit like Arutz Sheva should not be able legally to obtain a broadcasting license. At present this is nearly a mission impossible. Red tape and demands for competition in a tender load the dice.
Entries for local radio tenders repeatedly feature varying combinations of the same groupings and individuals with identical political slants. Arutz Sheva is unlikely to prevail against them. With its record, it shouldn't now be forced into a contest.
The uniqueness of Arutz Sheva's audience must be recognized. Likewise, there'd be no harm if the haredi community, the kibbutz movement, or any reincarnation of the Voice of Peace were also awarded radio licenses.
Ideological pluralism must be promoted in a polarized society such as ours. A silenced plurality isn't in democracy's best interest. Those who do not wish to see extremism flourish ought to be the first to make sure that sizable segments of opinion, on the Right and Left, are allowed free expression.
Citizens who feel stifled, marginalized, and delegitimized aren't likely to espouse moderation.
What can I say but ashamnu? Yes, I have sinned. I am a writer, and that in itself is a crime. I write for Arutz Sheva, a double crime worthy of fines and imprisonment. So arrest me.
For I have transgressed by standing up for Israel while the rest of the world beats it down. I have acted perfidiously by demanding that Israel vacate entire towns that shelter suicide bombers.
I have acted perversely by asking if Yossi Beilin is really a Jew. I have acted wickedly by suggesting that anti-Semitism runs as deeply within some Jews as it does among many gentiles.
I have done violence by advocating the forced removal of today's Hitler, namely, Yasser Arafat. Send him to his 72 virgins, along with the thousands who were invited back from Tunis.
I have imputed falsely by believing that Israel is a free society – a nation that values freedom of expression, freedom of the press, as a G-d-given right.
I have given evil counsel by telling my readers that Israel is a nation under G-d, when in reality it is a nation under (Leftist) idols.
I have lied when I said in Israel all Jews are welcome... all views are welcome... when it fact, the views of Torah-loving Jews are deemed to be criminal. (Only Leftist and pro-Arab views are kosher and welcome and free of criminal charges.)
I have scoffed by verbally trouncing news media like Haaretz, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, NPR, the BBC, the news media in general, for a media pogrom.
I have rebelled by refusing to submit to the ideology that says Arab murderers are right, Israeli victims are wrong.
I rebelled even further when I noted, when those two Jewish soldiers who lost their way and asked for help, were instead tortured by Arab policemen and then tossed from that police station in Ramallah – that from that moment onward there should have been an Israeli uprising, not an Arab uprising. (When is it our turn to get mad?)
I have provoked by writing that only Jewish women can save the Jewish people; for Jewish men, Jewish leaders, have turned into frogs.
I have been disobedient by telling my readers that the first rock-thrower should have been deported on the spot, as a lesson to all other rock-throwers, who should likewise be deported on the spot. No Jew, I wrote disobediently, should be subject to such abuse in his or her own country. Enough of that back in Europe. Not in Eretz Ysrael. More disobediently, I wrote that Israel forgot the message – Never Again! Even more disobediently, I wrote that when they learned they could get away with rocks, they turned to rockets.
I have committed iniquity by suggesting that Islamism is the same as Nazism... they only wear different clothes.
I committed even more iniquity by suggesting that Israel can survive only by strength, not by appeasement, against a generation of Muslim/Arabs who have been brainwashed with the intoxicating wine of hatred.
I have oppressed by being virtually the lone voice to suggest that there is no Fatah, there is no al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, there is no Hezbollah, there is no Hamas – they are all the same killers.
I have been obstinate in my view that the entire "West Bank", Judea and Samaria, belongs to the Jewish people by virtue of Biblical inheritance and Jewish blood.
I have committed evil by the rage I felt when various Israeli prime ministers referred to Jerusalem as a "bargaining chip."
I have acted perniciously by the rage I felt when various Israeli prime ministers released thousands of Arab murderers to please America's anti-Semitic State Department.
I have acted abominably when, in anger, I cursed those newly-released Arab murderers who immediately murdered again. (Yes, I even cursed those spineless prime ministers.)
Yes, I have gone astray, and led others astray, into believing that by returning to the Land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, the Jewish people were home at last. I did not know that lovers of Zion, lovers of Torah, would be "settlers" and outcasts in the Land of their fathers and mothers; that, for love of Israel, these would be scorned, facing fines and imprisonment. I did not know that speaking up for a Jewish Israel by radio or by print or by web turns one into a stranger in a strange land.
So I have sinned and I am guilty. So, Your Honor, as you consider the sentences for Arutz Sheva, come and arrest me as well.
There's me, and more than a hundred million of us who are just as guilty as Arutz Sheva.
Jack Engelhard is the author of the novel Indecent Proposal and the award-winning memoir Escape From Mount Moriah. His novel The Days of the Bitter End is being prepared for movie production. His internationally syndicated columns can be read at Comteqcom.com.
FOR ARUTZ-7Prof. Paul Eidelberg, President of the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy, responded to the closure of Arutz-7:
"Israel has a public interest in Arutz-7 broadcasting, which reaches not only a significant Jewish audience not otherwise represented by the established media in this country, but also Jews and Gentiles abroad who are misled by their own anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist media... The closure of this radio station is not only a blow against freedom of speech, but against Israel's national interests. No other radio program is more conducive to an enlightened and well-informed public."The Arutz-7 management has begun efforts among Knesset Members to enact legislation enabling the station to resume broadcasting.
Supporters can sign petitions at www.israelnn.com/petition.php?id=1 and http://www.petitiononline.com/arutz7/petition.html.
Your support at these critical times for Arutz-7 is important and appreciated, as we contemplate our long battles ahead on the legal, legislative, and technological fronts. Supporters can participate in Arutz-7's Email-a-thon by sending their phone number to donations@IsraelNationalNews.com and we will contact you for your credit card donation.
Arutz-7 also launched a major fax-and-letter writing campaign this week, as an effective tool for the public to "wield its influence and quicken the resumption of Arutz-7 broadcasts." The list of government ministers whom supporters are advised to contact are:
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