When the late Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres signed the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn (September 1993), they initiated a process whereby Israel would lose control of its Sacred Places and its Holy Land. Even before Oslo, Moshe Dayan had surrendered the most sacred of Jewish Holy Places, the Temple Mount, to the Arabs. There is much more involved here than politics as ususal. I believe that there is something terribly dangerous about the removal of the Jews from their Sacred Places.
All over the world, from Stonehenge in England to the great temples of India, one finds Holy Places with great mystical power for the people who inhabit those lands. Some shrines of the East draw believers from across the globe. The power of these places can not be explained scientifically. One only needs to step onto Mount Abu in India to feel the presence of great mystical forces. And then there is Banares, the Hindu’s Holy City of Light casting a warm glow over the sacred Ganges river.
Islam arose in the 7th century on the foundation of a pagan (Meccan) religion that worshiped a large black stone, known as the Kaaba. Muhammad learned the rudiments of Judaism from the many Jews living in Arabia. He created the Islamic religion by re-writing the Jewish Holy Scriptures (calling it the Koran) and fusing it with the local pagan customs. One pagan concept became horribly significant as Islam spread both east and west across the world. The reverence for the Kaaba and the belief that Arab power derived from it became a brutal principle in the conquest of other peoples. As Islam was spread by the sword, the Sacred Places of conquered peoples were destroyed and occupied.
It became a standard practice to destroy an Indian, Persian, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Jewish or Christian temple and build a mosque on its ruins. This was always interpreted by historians as a kind of one-upmanship; a way to demonstrate the superiority of Islam and humiliate the defeated. Koenraad Elst in his recent book, Negationism in India, writes: "In all the lands it conquered, Islam has replaced indigenous places of worship with mosques. In Iran, there are no ancient Zoroastrians or Manichean shrines left. In Central Asia, there are no Buddhist temples left. Similarly, in India (except the far South where Islam penetrated rather late) there are practically no Hindu temples that have survived the Muslim period (over 10,000 destroyed). But there are thousands of mosques built on the foundations of Hindu temples (for example, the Ayodhya temple)." In my opinion, this Islamic behavior was more than an exhibition of cruel superiority. It was based on the pagan belief that they would acquire the power of the defeated peoples by absorbing their Holy Places and making them theirs.
Let’s see how these forces play out in the Arab war of extermination against the Jewish people (incorrectly called the Arab-Israeli Conflict). After Israel was conquered by the Arabs armies, the Temple Mount was used to build the Mosque of Omar (Dome of the Rock) and the al-Aska Mosque. While Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran, modern Arabs make great pretense by claiming it as one of their holy sites. This, of course, is nonsense.
The Arab claim that each and every Jewish Holy Place is rightfully theirs has become quite common and accepted by the Western media. First Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, then Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs, and on to the Tomb of Joseph (Nablus), the Tomb of Rachel (Bethlehem) and more.
The Western Wall, the last remaining remnant of Solomon's Temple and sacred to Jews for over 2,000 years, had been in Jordanian-controlled Jerusalem since 1949. The Jordanians, acting with malice aforethought, had denied Jews access to their sacred Holy Place. I visited the Wall for the first time in 1967. When I placed my hands on this magnificent relic of our forefathers, I felt a surge of light and energy the likes of which I had never known. In what had to have been but the flash of a second, I felt at one with Jews from all periods of history. At the Passover Seder, we are told to thank G-d for delivering us from Egypt as though we ourselves had been brought out of bondage. At that moment in Jerusalem, this Seder message was very real for me.
In an instant, I saw the continuity of Jewish history and its unbreakable connection with Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel). I understood how modern Israel is the beginning of the Third Temple Period and the spiritual heir to Joshua, Saul, David, Solomon, the Maccabees and Bar Kokhba. I frequently write about the security reasons for incorporating Judea, Samaria and Gaza into the body of Israel. There is another side to this issue and that is the spiritual-religious side.
The truth, which many find inconvenient, is that the Land of Israel was promised by G-d to Abraham and his seed in perpetuity. The Land of Israel is not speculative real estate to be bartered away for some high-sounding (false) promises of peace. The hills and valleys of Judea and Samaria contain the collective memory of the Jewish people. It was here that the Israelites first entered the Holy Land. And it was here they fought the battles, built the towns, elected their kings and were preached to by their prophets and judges. And it was on this soil that they wrote the Holy Scriptures we call our Bible.
In my blinding flash of insight at the Wall, I also understood that Israel on its own soil was more powerful than the sum of its weapons and men. Jews who had wandered the earth powerless for two millenniums attained great power when re-united with the soil of Israel.
What about the Arabs? They are destroying the Jewish people by taking over their Sacred Land. There is something very real and awe inspiring about the Jewish connection to Eretz Yisrael and the Arabs know it and seek to destroy that mystical connection. With profound stupidity and avarice, the political Left in Israel is cooperating with this evil project. And worse, some religious Jews and members of the Right are also going along with the dismemberment of Israel. Some say it will save lives to appease the Arabs. Foolishness. The predatory Arabs already smell victory and each new concession makes their lust for Jewish blood grow.
Wouldn't the Arabs object to the removal of the Mosque of Omar (Dome of the rock) and the al-Aqsa mosque from the Temple Mount? Of course they would, but they have no legitimate rights in the area. There is no reason the sovereign State of Israel needs to allow this desecration of Jewish Holy Places to continue. Today, on the Mount, the Arabs are supreme. They are destroying all archaeological remnants of Jewish sites. They are storing weapons in their mosques to kill Jews.
One thing is clear to me: the L-rd has blessed Israel by re-uniting Jerusalem and bringing Judea, Samaria and Gaza back under its control. It would be a horrendous sin against G-d and common sense for Israel to renounce this inheritance to which it is entitled. Israel holds these lands as a sacred trust for the Jewish people in perpetuity.
It would not only be sinful, but also criminal, to abuse that trust by denying future generations of Jews their Holy Land – Land of their Fathers; the one tiny spot on planet earth given to them by G-d.
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Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia are expected to meet to restart the so-called "peace process."
Here we go again.
I hear a lot about the cycle of violence in the Mideast. Call this the cycle of madness.
I've heard one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.
That's exactly what Israel and the United States are doing by endlessly pursuing peace with people who have no interest in peace. None. Whether it's Qureia or Abu Abbas or the master of them all, Yasser Arafat, the leadership of the Palestinian Authority has always been interested in only one thing – the ultimate destruction of the Jewish state.
I don't believe there will ever be peace between Israel and the so-called "Palestinians" because of any negotiations.
Time after time, Arafat, Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorists have demonstrated an inclination to increase violence whenever the peace stakes get too high. Neither Arafat nor Hamas want an independent Palestinian state living in peace and harmony with a Jewish state. They want only the elimination of a Jewish state. Period. End of story.
Just think about it. When does the Arab terrorism increase? Every single time Israel makes a concession. When does the terrorism decrease? When Israel demonstrates its might.
Why would Israel have any reason to talk peace when this cycle of madness has been witnessed time and time again?
There is such a thing in life as an irreconcilable difference. That is what stands in the way of peace talks between these two parties. Israel is all-too willing to give up territory in exchange for peace. Arafat and Hamas are not willing to accept such terms – and never will be.
So, what's the solution? How do we bring about peace and justice in the Middle East?
I'm afraid the only answer, ultimately, is war.
Sooner or later, the attacks by Hamas, Arafat's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Islamic Jihad and other terrorists are going to push Israel too far. It's inevitable. Israel cannot endure an endless series of terrorist attacks on its civilians forever – no nation could.
At some point, Israel is going to have to move beyond the impotent, tit-for-tat retaliatory strikes that only serve to enflame passions in the Arab world and create this impression of a "cycle of violence."
It's true. It is time to stop the cycle of violence. Sometimes, the only way to stop it is with more violence. Sometimes, the only way to stop it is with victory – as the United States showed in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are rapidly nearing one of those times.
Israel is outnumbered by its enemies in the Middle East. It is out-resourced by its enemies in the Middle East. It is out-financed by its enemies in the Middle East. It is out-maneuvered in the public-relations war by its enemies in the Middle East. There are only two advantages Israel has over its enemies: It is right, and it has military might.
If Israel doesn't utilize those two strengths – and soon – the world will soon witness another Jewish holocaust. It will be too late. If Israel tries to buy its way out of its current turmoil by yielding to demands for more strategic land concessions, it will be making a fatal mistake.
The "road map" is only a blueprint for murder and mayhem. It is a prescription for more terrorism. It is a plan for disaster in the Middle East.
The U.S. must stop coercing Israel. And Israel must not accept the arm-twisting.
IsraPundit - November 16, 2003
It is very clear to students of the Middle East, that the Quartet has decided that the Saudi Peace Plan is the object of all processes put forward. This plan provides for ’48 borders with negotiated trades of some land and a shared Jerusalem. The Plan itself doesn’t require the Right of Return but the endorsement of it by the Arab League does. The West wasn’t ready to kill the Right of Return, so Bush resisted Israel’s demand (request) that it be removed.
Rather than to focus everyone’s attention on this end result, we are given (forced to accept) a Roadmap, which focuses on process, i.e. the steps toward “peace”. These include namely that the Palestinians dismantle their terror infrastructure and Israel cease settlement activity. When the US says they are committed to the Roadmap, they mean the Saudi Peace Plan.
Since the Palestinians do not want to implement the most basic demand on them, the Roadmap is being altered to get around the problem. Now, the only requirement is a Hudna. Even Israel seems to be going along with the changes. Anyone heard of Israel’s fourteen redlines lately? The fact remains, that the process or Roadmap is of no concern to anyone. What matters is that Israel be forced, by hook or by crook, by obfuscation or relentless pressure, to return to the ’48 borders. The rest is smoke and mirrors.
By the way, the end result includes the notion that Israel is responsible for making the Palestinian State “viable”. Don’t underestimate the importance or effect of this requirement. In normal negotiations the Palestinians would have to make concessions to get Israel to agree to allow the Palestinians to work in Israel or to share water or to integrate the two economies, let alone the creation of a Palestinian state. The Roadmap gives these things to the Palestinians with nothing being exacted in return.
Both Bush and Sharon keep repeating that they will not sacrifice Israel’s security. I am not impressed. Israel’s security is threatened by returning to ’48 borders and by the need to make the future state viable. To pretend otherwise is to be in denial. I am also disturbed that this balm is offered as a way to deflect Israel from its rights. The issue has become our security or our existence rather than our rights to the land or to Jerusalem. The contest has become their rights versus our security rather than their rights versus our rights.
The process (Roadmap) has all but been abandoned but the end result hasn’t. Therefore we see the Quartet’s support for the Geneva Understandings, which differ not at all from the Saudi Peace Plan. Do not be naive. The Geneva Understandings were worked out with not only a few Palestinians but also with the Quartet and many other Israelis who felt the need to reverse the results of the election in which they lost power. Also, the pilots who went public with their refusal or the Professors who publicly supported them, and the four former heads of Shin Bet who went public with their arguments for withdrawal or for confrontation with the settlers, or Ya'alon who criticized of Israel’s policies are all part of a co-ordinated policy or conspiracy to bring about the end result that has already been agreed upon. The Israelis are being conditioned to accept the end result so that they don’t choke on it.
Israel must make the centre piece of their policy their fourteen redlines which include retaining an undivided Jerusalem and no right of return. It should also state that no major settlement will be abandoned. These positions should be tenaciously held. There should be no compromise or hint of compromise.
The fence offers the only glimmer of hope. If Israel caves on the location of the fence, all is lost
Until Israel unequivocally abandons the Roadmap and therefore the end result mandated by the world, I have no confidence whatsoever that it hasn’t already conceded on all the major issues and is only going through the motions of resisting. It should not allow the process to be joined with or to obscure the end result. They are two separate matters. The Left argues, to Israel’s detriment, that the Palestinians must be given hope i.e. a good end result before the Palestinians can be expected to end the violence. This is nonsense. The offer of a State by Bush and the Roadmap did nothing to end the violence.
Only violence will end the violence.
All honor to Zionist organizations for a “strong” as well as for a “safe” Israel. They have exposed the duplicitous and deadly nature of the Oslo peace process. But do they adequately understand what will make Israel safe and strong? Indeed, perhaps their emphasis on a “safe” or “strong” Israel is counterproductive; perhaps such emphasis obscures the one thing needed to make Israel safe and strong?
The mere fact that these Zionist organizations have had no discernible impact on Israeli governments suggests that their preoccupation with Oslo, along with Israel’s preoccupation with peace, obscures a more fundamental issue. Perhaps these Zionist organizations need to think more deeply what Israel is all about.
To be for a safe or a strong Israel is certainly meritorious, so long as it does not obscure the dire need of Jews to be, above all, for a Godly Israel, for only a Godly Israel can be truly safe and truly strong. As we learn from Zechariah: “Not by armed might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” (4:5) Let us try to understand this (for which purpose I rely on the illustrious Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch).
The most sacred symbol of the State of Israel is the Menorah. The light of the Menorah symbolizes knowledge, more precisely, spiritual enlightenment. The source of spiritual enlightenment is, of course, God. This enlightenment is manifested in the words of the Torah. As King David says: “The Word of God is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalms 119:105) Or as King Solomon has written: “For the Commandment is a lamp and the Teaching a light.” (Proverbs 6:23)
Israel will be safe and strong only if its leaders are men of Torah. Only if they imbue every heart and home with the light of the Torah will Israel enjoy peace. “For instruction shall go forth from Me, and I will create a quiet abode for My [people], so that it may shine upon the nations.” (Isaiah 51:4) “O House of Jacob, come let us walk in the light of God.” (Isaiah 2:5) When society perishes through murder and misery, it occurs because “they rebel against the light, do not recognize the ways of God and never seek serenity [or peace] in His paths.” (Job 24:13)
As Rabbi Hirsch points out, Scripture uses the words “lamp” and “light” as metaphors for the source of growth and life, of undisturbed progress and happiness. Hence, the spirit of God mentioned in Zechariah denotes not only the means for attaining perception, but also the motivation for action.
Now, it should be noted that the Menorah resembles a tree with a central shaft generating three branches from one side and three branches from the other side. The central shaft symbolizes the spirit of God. From Isaiah (11:2) we learn that while the three branches of one side of the menorah symbolize wisdom, counsel and knowledge, the three branches from the other side symbolize understanding, strength and fear of God. Imbued with the spirit of God, Israel will unite theory and practice, perception and accomplishment.
Unless they stem from the spirit of God, what is called “wisdom,” “counsel,” “knowledge,” “understanding” and “strength” will be futile. “I am the Lord… that turneth wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolish…” (Isaiah 44:24-25) As for the fear of God, this, says King David, “is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10) If Israel’s leaders feared God, they would not have made a covenant of death with PLO terrorists. (See Isaiah 28:15)
But merely to critically analyze the suicidal folly of Oslo or of Israel’s political elites will have no impact on their behavior, since such criticism or knowledge is not linked to the spirit of God. This is why Isaiah says that God “confirms the words of His servant, and fulfills the counsel of His messengers.” (44:26) Which means that it is not enough for Zionist organizations or conferences to reveal the truth about the peace process. Their words must be motivated by the desire to sanctify the Name of God. God’s Name must be in their hearts and on their lips.
“Thus said the Lord, your Redeemer and the One Who formed you [Israel] in the womb: I am the Lord, Who has made everything; Who spread out the heavens by Myself, and firmed the earth of My own accord; that frustrates the signs of imposters, and makes rulers mad…” (Isaiah 44:24-25) Are not Israel’s rulers mad?
Hence, I say, all honor to Jews who speak for a safe and strong Israel. More urgently needed, however, are Jews who speak for a Godly Israel.
Two weeks ago, recently resigned Palestinian cabinet minister Abdel Fattah Hamayel told the BBC that the Palestinian Authority shells out $50,000 a month to members of Fatah's Aksa Brigades terror cells. Hamayel said that Yasser Arafat is aware of these payments.
The BBC reporter then sat down with Ata Abu Rumaileh and Zakariah Zubaidi, the respective heads of Fatah's political and terrorist wings in Jenin. Together the men explained to the BBC reporter that "there is no difference between Fatah and the Aksa Martyrs' Brigades." The men also explained that Arafat commands both.
What we learn from this report is that, as is the case with Hamas and Hizbullah, there is absolutely no difference between the political and terrorist arms of Fatah. This is rife with implications regarding the Palestinian Authority because, as one Palestinian journalist explained to me this week, "There is one ruling party in Palestine – Fatah – headed by Arafat."
His statement is not hyperbolic. It is a simple fact. It was, after all, the Fatah Central Council, acting on Arafat's orders, that approved new PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei's cabinet. Almost every single member of that cabinet is a member of Fatah's political wing, which is inseparable from Fatah's terrorist wing. And we know that they are one and the same not because the IDF says so. We know this because Fatah leaders say so.
What does this mean? It means that when the US and the rest of the international community tell Israel to ease up on its counter-terror operations in order to shore up Ahmed Qurei's new cabinet, Israel is being told to strengthen a terrorist organization. Yet this report – the most stunning revelation in the mainstream Western media about the nature of the Palestinian terror war – made not one iota of difference to anyone. Why?
The simple answer is that in Israel, as in the rest of the Western world, we have been otherwise occupied. We have the Geneva Accord and the Ayalon-Nusseibeh understandings and the IAF pilots' refusal to bomb terror targets and the former heads of the Shin Bet and the Road Map to consider. Our heads are full, our attention span is limited.
How can we pay attention to reality when we are inundated with fiction?
How can US Secretary of State Colin Powell attend to the fact that the PA is a terrorist organization when he is being bombarded by reports from his department that Israel isn't dismantling mobile homes with Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria? How can he notice that there are serious implications to the fact that Fatah and Fatah are both Fatah when he hears that Yossi Beilin has signed away Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount to Yasser Abed Rabbo?
How can Prime Minister Ariel Sharon be expected to contend with the fact that the PA is a terrorist organization when Bush, pushed by Powell, who is pumped by Beilin, who is funded by the EU, tells him to get moving on the "settlements" and stop building fences and start being a good neighbor to Fatah's newly appointed "prime minister?"
How can the Israeli public take notice of the fact that the PA is a terrorist organization when, in her Pravda-inspired TV show Fact, "journalist" Ilana Dayan shows us a film in which Beilin and his friends breathlessly argue with their Palestinian counterparts over who gets to control the parking lot outside of the Old City's Dung Gate? How are we to absorb the fact that Beilin and company get their money from the Swiss government and the EU, who jointly concocted this deliberate attempt to undermine the power of the democratically elected government of Israel?
How can anyone be expected to notice that when Sharon speaks with Qurei he speaks with Arafat, when four failed former heads of the Shin Bet scream at us in Yediot Aharonot's Friday paper that our army is immoral and that we are losing our souls by fighting terrorists?
If history repeats itself first as a tragedy and then as a farce, what happens on the third, fourth and fifth iterations?
We have been down this road before. For the past decade, we have been cajoled, browbeaten and deceived into believing that our enemies are really our friends.
After the PLO distinguished itself by siding with Saddam Hussein during the 1991 Gulf War, our "peace camp" embraced Arafat and his deputies as the only legitimate voice for the Palestinian people. After meeting illegally with these terrorists in Tunis, they rammed their agenda down our throats with the Oslo accords. Since then, in spite of overwhelming and continuous proof that the PA is devoted to the destruction of Israel, this camp and their fellow travelers in the Israeli media have disgraced themselves repeatedly by castigating their political opponents in Israel as "opponents of peace."
As a result of these efforts, we are faced with a situation where, after three years of war, we are still stuck with their paradigm of policy making. This paradigm holds that, in order to live in peace, we must forsake everything we hold precious and sacred.
Sharon is partially responsible here. Militarily, his tactics are all but indistinguishable from those of Ehud Barak. His diplomatic and information campaigns abroad and statements to the Israeli public have been marked by superficiality and intellectual confusion. He has squandered every opportunity to strengthen Israel's strategic alliance with the US, sufficing instead with public expressions of friendship by President Bush.
So yes, Sharon must be criticized for his failure to meet the challenge. Yet the fact remains that Beilin and Mitzna and Burg and Ayalon and their media flacks have never ceased to undercut him. With money coming from overseas and their monopolistic control of the Israeli media, they have the wherewithal to campaign forever.
Even now, our military has the capacity, in spite of the naysayers, to defeat terrorism. What we lack is a political leadership with the moral courage to rally the people to victory. It will take courage to stand up to the entire world and say that Beilin's policy is not an option. It will take courage to tell the American administration that there is no point negotiating, much less making concessions or good will gestures, to anyone who represents the Palestinian Authority.
It will take courage to tell unpopular truths.
Sharon has been both lionized and demonized for his refusal to surrender to the Beilin logic. Now he must show that his reputation for courage is deserved.
"The Roadmap is not the Bible. I will report to Arafat."- Newly appointed PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei to Newsweek, November 24, 2003 edition
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