The international applause greeting the so-called Geneva Accord -- the unofficial Israeli-Palestinian "peace" agreement formally presented in Switzerland this week -- is a vivid illustration of the world's contempt for the Jewish state. It is also historically alarming. For the fervent acclaim the accord has drawn resembles nothing so much as the jubilation that greeted the Munich Accord of 1938, when Neville Chamberlain agreed to the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in order to placate Adolf Hitler.
It is hard to say which is more atrocious, the content of the Geneva document or the process that produced it. Its principal authors are Yasser Abed Rabbo, a longtime lackey of PLO chieftain Yasser Arafat, and Yossi Beilin, the reviled leader of Israel's appeasement lobby. Beilin -- whose far-left Meretz party was trounced so badly in the last election that he lost his seat in parliament -- has no more standing to negotiate with the PLO than Pat Buchanan has to negotiate with North Korea. Buchanan would be scorned if he ever pulled such a stunt. Beilin should be, too.
Instead, he and Rabbo have been treated as heroes. Jimmy Carter and Lech Walesa joined their Geneva ceremony, Nelson Mandela contributed video greetings, and endorsements came in from Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Jacques Chirac. Secretary of State Colin Powell not only sent his own letter of encouragement, he is inviting Beilin and Rabbo to meet with him -- a calculated slap at Israel's government, which has strongly condemned the accord.
As well it should. The premise of the Geneva agreement is that Israeli surrender will bring Mideast peace. It would require Israel to relinquish land, weaken its security, and yield tangible assets to the Palestinians. In exchange, the Palestinians would pledge to stop killing Israelis. Sound familiar? It's the 1993 Oslo formula all over again: Israel trades concessions on the ground for unenforceable Arab promises of peace.
It is worth remembering that Oslo, too, was showered with acclaim. The world cheered when Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin shook hands on the White House lawn. It welcomed the PLO's unequivocal promise to forgo its guns and bombs. "The PLO commits itself . . . to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides," Arafat had vowed in writing, "and declares that all outstanding issues . . . will be resolved through negotiations. . . The PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence."
For the sake of peace, Israel paid the steep price Oslo demanded. It recognized the PLO, allowed Arafat to take over Gaza and the West Bank, agreed to the creation of a Palestinian militia, and even supplied that militia with weapons. It was appeasement on a scale far beyond Chamberlain's, but Israelis convinced themselves that it was worth it if it would mean an end to Palestinian violence and bloodlust.
But the violence and bloodlust didn't end. Far from ushering in a new era of peace, Oslo launched the worst decade of terrorism in Israel's history. Successive Israeli governments desperately tried to stanch the slaughter with new and deeper concessions. But that only convinced the Palestinians that the Jews were in retreat, and that hitting them harder would yield even greater rewards.
The cycle reached its pinnacle in September 2000, after former Prime Minister Ehud Barak made his unprecedented offer at Camp David: a full-fledged Palestinian state, shared control of Jerusalem, the evacuation of nearly every Jewish settlement -- even Arab sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Arafat's reply was the horrific wave of suicide bombings that have sent nearly 1,000 Israelis to early graves.
So what does Beilin's new "peace plan" propose? A full-fledged Palestinian state, shared control of Jerusalem, the evacuation of nearly every Jewish settlement -- even Arab sovereignty over the Temple Mount. It is so breathtakingly delusional that Barak himself has denounced it. "It is rewarding terror," he said this week. "It will not save lives. It will lead to more deaths."
All the cheering in Geneva notwithstanding, the Beilin-Rabbo plan is a blueprint not for peace but for a cataclysmic war. It would force Israel back to what the late Abba Eban called the "Auschwitz" borders of 1949. It would compel the ethnic cleansing of tens of thousands of Jews. It would create a 23d Arab state by jeopardizing the existence of the world's only Jewish state. It would put Arafat and the Palestinian dictatorship in position to accomplish at last the goal they have never abandoned: the liquidation of Israel.
In Geneva on Monday, Jimmy Carter lavished praise on the agreement and suggested that if he had been re-elected in 1980, he could have pushed something like it. "Had I been elected to a second term, with the prestige and authority and influence and reputation I had in the region," he said, "we could have moved to a final solution."
Final solution. If that is Carter's term for what Beilin and Rabbo have put forth, he speaks more truly than he knows.
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The so-called Geneva Initiative, or Geneva Accords, is not a negotiated agreement at all. It is a public relations campaign. It is a sales pitch to the world, and to the Jews themselves, for the Arab position on the Jewish state; i.e., that the Jews have no right to independence in the Land of Israel.
Footage from inside the discussions around the document were aired on Israeli television like a promo for the big Geneva product launch. Those images confirmed the impression that the Israeli side, meant to represent the Jewish point of view, inherently identified with the Arab perspective on Zionism. Exemplary of this is a dramatic scene wherein Knesset member Avram Burg threatened to "reopen" the issue of sovereignty on the Temple Mount after PLO negotiator Yasser Abd Rabbo stated that he wanted another Israeli concession on the issue of the "return" of Arab refugees. When referring to Judaism's most holy site, MK Burg used the Arabic term Haram, in deference to Abd Rabbo. Burg, it seemed, had completely bought in to the Arab view of his own country: The Arabs are the original inhabitants - hence, their "return" is a negotiating point - and the Temple Mount is actually Haram A-Sharif.
But leaving Burg's self-abasement aside, evidence that the Initiative is merely a PR stunt for Arab claims against Israel is to be found in the text itself - and in what is absent from the text.
Absent from the text is any indication that the Land of Israel - all of the Land of Israel - is the patrimony of the Jewish people. On the other hand, the Arab claim to all of the land in question forms the underlying assumption of the entire agreement.
For example: As part of the requirements for a peaceable relationship between Israel and the projected Arab state, the proposed agreement calls for the transfer of a limited number of Jews from Judea, Samaria and Gaza into certain agreed-upon borders of Israel. The reason for this clause is that the Arab interlocutors, in drawing up the Initiative, demanded the removal of Jews from Arab jurisdiction.
If so, one wonders, why did the Jewish negotiators not challenge this racist demand when it was made? Could it be that the Israeli negotiators recognized that such forcible separation between Arab and Jew is in the interest of peace? If so, then why didn't they demand a similar population transfer of Arabs from areas of pre-1967 Israel (such as from the cities of Fureidis or Umm el-Fahm), also in the interest of a peaceable separation?
The Israeli side of the Geneva Accords made no such demand because there was no true negotiation. There was, however, a vibrant discussion about where the Jews may continue to live, subject to Arab consent. They discussed the shape of the new Pale of Settlement - in the Land of Israel.
And again: The agreement includes Israeli recognition of the perceived right of an undefined number of Arab refugees (and their descendants) from the Jewish-Arab wars to return to their abandoned former villages inside the state of Israel. This clause is a very central point for the Arab side, and with good reason. It formally recognizes that the very creation and subsequent defense of the State of Israel was a crime against the Arabs, who must, therefore, be compensated.
Yet there is no reciprocal clause recognizing the right of Jewish refugees (and their descendants) to return to places in Arab-assigned territory from which they were violently driven during the many clashes over the Land of Israel. This would include, of course, such places as Hebron, the current "Moslem Quarter" of Jerusalem, Gaza, Shechem (Nablus), etc.
There is no such reciprocal clause because the Israeli side of the Geneva Accords accepted, again, the underlying assumption that Arabs have the right to live anywhere and everywhere in the Land of Israel, but that Jews have no such right. Based on that assumption, it makes perfect sense, of course, that Arab loss of property in Israel - even as the result of the 1948 Arab war to kill the newborn Jewish State - is a grave injustice that must be righted. It is also clear, based on this, why the expulsion of Jews from their property in the Land of Israel is not deemed an injustice in the Geneva document, but rather a desirable future course of action.
The Jews, according to the Geneva Initiative, have no rights in the Land of Israel.
Aside from their total identification with the Arab side, the Israeli "negotiators" failed to even safeguard whatever it is that they felt that they had constructed. There is no clause that voids the terms of the agreement in the event of a material breach, such as continued smuggling of military materiel from Egypt into Gaza. Furthermore, as a sovereign nation, the proposed Arab state of Palestine is not prohibited from forming mutual defense pacts, including with states that are avowed enemies of Israel, such as Syria or Iran. And there is nothing contractually-bound Israel can do about it.
There was no negotiation; there is no agreement. There is, however, a very expensive, very high-profile, European financed PR campaign - with guest stars such as Richard Dreyfuss and former US President Jimmy Carter - to convince the Jews that they have no rights in the Land of Israel beyond what the Arabs, as the natural sovereign, are willing to grant them.
TIn the wake of September 11th, people of good will were naturally concerned that innocent Muslims might be scapegoated
But in Europe, something else happened: anti-Semitism surged.
For example, in recent days a Jewish school near Paris was firebombed and two synagogues in Istanbul were attacked by terrorist truck bombers. A member of the German Parliament suggested that the Jews bear collective responsibility for atrocities committed by communists during the Russian Revolution of 1917. Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis said of Israel: “This small nation is the root of evil.”
To its credit, the European Union commissioned a study of anti-Jewish hatred, incitement and violence, its causes and possible cures.
To its shame, the watchdog group that undertook the study – the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) -- decided not to publish it.
Why not? According to Britian's Financial Times the reason was simple: The 112-page study, “Manifestations of anti-Semitism in the European Union,” found that anti-Semitism isn't just for Nazis anymore. In particular, EUMC brass feared that one of the report's key conclusion -- that Muslim and pro-Palestinian groups have generated a new wave of hatred -- could be “inflammatory.”
The EUMC study has now been leaked and is available on a number of websites. It makes for disturbing reading – even though it neglects what may be a major source of Judeo-phobia in an increasingly interconnected world: the propaganda now tolerated and sometimes encouraged even in moderate Arab and Muslim countries.
For instance, both Egyptian and Syrian television have broadcast series based on the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a forged document that originated in Czarist Russia and which maintains that a Jewish cabal is taking over the world. Hizbollah TV has been broadcasting a dramatization showing orthodox Jews slitting the throat of a gentile child, and then draining his blood to use in the making of Passover bread which they greedily devour. The belief that Jews were responsible for 9/11 is common, even as Osama bin Laden dolls – complete with replicas of the burning World Trade Towers – are sold on the streets of such cities as Ramallah.
In Europe, expressions of anti-Semitism tend to be not quite that blatant. But some people may be surprised by the EUMC report's conclusion that “anti-Semitic activities” are now being perpetrated as much by those on the far left of the political spectrum as by those on the far right.
In such nations as France, Italy and Sweden, the study notes, “sections of the political left and Arab-Muslim groups unified” to organize demonstrations at which “anti-Semitic slogans could be heard and placards seen.”
“In the extreme left-wing scene,” the study adds, “anti-Semitic remarks were to be found mainly in the context of pro-Palestinian and anti-globalization rallies and in newspaper articles using anti-Semitic stereotypes in their criticism of Israel.”
In Greece, by contrast, it's still mostly militants on the far right who desecrate Jewish cemeteries. Similarly, in Spain “the traditionally strong presence of neo-Nazi groups was evident,” and such groups have collaborated with “people with a radical Islamist background” to commit a “series of attacks.”
While those on the far left interpose the Star of David with swastikas to suggest that Jews and Nazis are identical, those on the far right use swastika graffiti in the more traditional manner of an implied threat to Jews. The report adds: “The German language itself is used in non-German speaking countries -- expressions such as ‘Juden raus!'[Jews out!] --so as to refer affirmatively to the [Nazi] persecution of Jews.”
The study finds that anti-Semitism has become increasingly common also among members of Europe's “peace movement,” and, for good measure is sometimes “very closely tied” to anti-Americanism.”
The report talks, too, about “elite or salon anti-Semitism,” increasingly found in the more politically mainstream European media, on European campuses and, of course, at social gatherings of “the chattering classes” where, the study observes, it is “en vogue to take an anti-Israeli stance.”
Even those without political convictions participate in what might be called recreational Jew-bashing. “Young people without any specific anti-Semitic prejudices” may engage in “anti-Semitism on the streets,” the study notes, “just for fun.” Other cases where “young people were the perpetrators could be classified as ‘thrill hate crimes,' a well-known type of xenophobic attack.”
In sum, European Jew-hatred has become widespread, and sympathy for such bigotry appears to be growing. “Opinion polls prove that in some European countries a large percentage of the population harbors anti-Semitic attitudes and views,” the report points out.
Conventional wisdom used to hold that the experience of the Holocaust had created antibodies to anti-Semitism in Europe. The EUMC study demonstrates that that view was naïve. What treatment is there now for this ancient virus? The authors urge that, as a start, European authorities “acknowledge at the highest level the extraordinary dangers posed by anti-Semitic violence.”
But, again, that recommendation comes from a report that European authorities commissioned – but which they then determined should never see the light of day.
Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is the president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism and a Townhall.com member group. This column first ran on the Scripps Howard News Service.
Israel's presence in the West Bank, its security fence, human rights record, even its establishment 56 years ago came under harsh criticism this week at the UN General Assembly's annual debate on "The Question of Palestine" and its commemoration the "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People."
The debate was held this week to coincide with the passage, on November 29, 1947, of the Partition Plan, which called for the establishment of a Jewish state, Arab state, and international zone around Jerusalem in mandatory Palestine.
Noting that the Arab world rejected partition, launched a war against Israel before it was established, and, more recently, rejected a two-state solution offered to the Palestinian leadership at Camp David in 2000, Israel's ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman called the proceedings "an annual ritual of supreme ironies." "We are debating not the 'question of Palestine' but the question of Israel," he told members of the assembly on Tuesday.
Terrorism, described by some envoys as a natural outgrowth of Israeli oppression or ignored altogether, "is not the tool of peacemakers and nation-builders. It is the tool of rejectionists and cowards," said Gillerman. "It is antithetical to the dreams of a two-state solution."
Following Wednesday's debate, the assembly overwhelmingly adopted a series of non-binding resolutions sponsored by Arab and Muslim states that condemned Israeli actions and renewed the mandates of several pro-Palestinian bodies at the UN, including the Division of Palestinian Rights and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. On Monday, the assembly is slated to hold an emergency session to condemn the security fence.
The session is aimed at garnering international support for demanding an advisory opinion on the issue from the International Court of Justice. Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, in Naples, asked the EU not to support the move.
Among the resolutions adopted Wednesday was a text "stressing the illegality of the Israeli settlement construction in the occupied Syrian Golan" and actions taken by Israel to "alter the character and status of the holy city of Jerusalem." The Jerusalem resolution demanded the withdrawal of all diplomatic missions with ties to Israel from the city.
According to former congressman Ben Gilman, who is serving as a public delegate at the US mission to the UN, the resolutions are inconsistent with the road map, which calls for a performance-based process with action by both sides. "The draft resolution on the Syrian Golan attempts to impose a settlement that should be decided through the resumption of Syrian-Israeli negotiations," he told the assembly. Furthermore, Gilman announced the US will continue to withhold funds from the Division of Palestinian Rights and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and seek their abolition.
The groups, plus a third committee mandated to examine allegations of torture by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, cost the UN $3 million annually, he said, and they "perpetuate the notion that one party to the Middle East conflict has rights but does not have any of the accompanying responsibilities."
Most nations addressing the debate placed full blame on Israel for the conflict. "Israeli policies are a main reason for the problems of the Middle East," Palestinian observer Nasser al-Kidwa told the assembly. "The Arabs perceive Israel as a foreign presence, representing foreign interests hostile to Arabs and their countries and determined to forestall development." He said that Palestinians have been "subjected to more than 55 years of oppression" from Israel.
PLO political head Farouk Kaddoumi, who serves as the PA's de facto foreign minister, compared Israelis to the Nazis and expressed his deep disappointment with US support for Israel.
"The Palestinians have waited for the United States to help deter Israel from its terrorist actions," said Kaddoumi. Instead, "the United States has encouraged terrorism and Israel's aggression in the Middle East."
Israel was also accused of continuing to occupy Lebanon, despite the UN's own assessment that Israel had complied with Resolution 425 when it withdrew from its security zone in the southern part of the country in 2000.
Calling Israel the "greatest threat to the region," Mansour al-Otaibi of Kuwait, whose nation expelled some 250,000 Palestinians from its soil after Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat supported the 1990 Iraqi occupation, condemned "the barbaric practices of the Israeli government on the Palestinian citizens."
In a new development, Gillerman used the podium to demand justice for the 900,000 Jews who were expelled from Arab countries following Israel's establishment.
"The fact that there were actually more Jews uprooted from Arab countries than there were Palestinian Arabs who became refugees as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict has been conveniently forgotten," he said.
Of the 681 UN resolutions on the Middle East conflict, 101 refer directly to Palestinian refugees and none refer to Jewish refugees, he said. "No comprehensive Middle East peace settlement can be reached without recognition of, and redress for, the legitimate right of Jewish displaced from Arab countries."
Arab envoys, however, were not impressed by the new tactic. According to Lebanese representative Sami Kronfol, Israel is to blame for the Jews' plight in the Arab world.
"The tolerance of those living in Palestine allowed the Jews to arm themselves in preparation for carrying out massacres of Palestinians," he said. "After that, the Jews no longer encountered hospitality in Arab states."
1st Sgt Gad Ezra (z''l) Israel Defense Forces soldier, 1st Sgt Gad Ezra, 23, was killed in Jenin on April 4, 2002.
Ezra served as a combat soldier in the Golani Brigade and knew that his life was in danger. One month before he died, he wrote a letter to his girlfriend Galit, to whom he was about to propose. The letter was to be delivered to her only if he was killed in combat. Galit published excerpts of the letter in Yediot Aharonot OnLine on April 4, after receiving it. Gadi also wrote letters to his parents and four siblings.My Dearest Galit,
If you receive this letter, something has happened to me. My love, on the one hand, there is nothing I would like more in this world than to be with you, to love you forever and to build a home and a family with you together. On the other hand, there is nothing right now that I feel more obligated to do than to go out on this operation, to strike out against the terrorists, so that they do not think that they can continue to carry out their horrendous attacks without a price. If need be, I am willing to pay my own price. I will always think about you, no matter where I am, and from that new location, I will make sure that you will meet a man who will make you even happier than I did.
Promise me, Galit, that you will move on. That is the way it has to be.
Yours always, Gadi
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