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Sharon's proposal for unilateral withdrawal from Gaza challenges the widespread conventional wisdom favoring a negotiated two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Despite the fact that a large majority of Israelis favor partition, they are also quite aware that the Palestinians are incapable of establishing a political entity living peacefully next to the Jewish state.
Moreover, it has become increasingly clear that a two-state settlement is elusive because of the Palestinian national movement's inability to establish a state and maintain it.
Next to Israel lies a sick society led by a pathological national movement. It is a society that produces suicide bombers that have become a role model in kindergartens and schools. Recent pronouncements by Yasser Arafat on the occasion of Fatah Day, as well as statements from many other nationalist figures in the Fatah camp, laud those "shaheeds" while clinging ferociously to the ethos of "the right of return" for the refugees.
Palestinian Islamists, drawing the support of about a third of the Palestinian people, do not, of course, foresee any coexistence with a Jewish state. Official Palestinian incitement against the Jews, who are blamed for all Palestinian misfortunes, will inevitably turn a Palestinian state into an irredentist one, that is, a state dissatisfied with its borders and intent on using force to achieve territorial aggrandizement.
The liberal belief that replacing poverty with affluence would moderate the Palestinian political agenda is unlikely to be tested. It is doubtful that the corrupt economic system established by Arafat could produce widespread economic benefits.
Massive foreign aid rendered in the previous decade generally failed to filter down to the masses. Moreover, the high rates of economic growth needed to match the high fertility rate of the Palestinians (among the highest in the world) are very improbable, and will actually doom the Palestinians to even greater poverty in the near future.
Thus the impoverishment of Palestinian society, coupled with a very high level of hatred toward the Jewish state, would guarantee the continuous existence of a very hostile community.
The proposition that statehood inevitably produces responsible behavior – a doubtful belief, considering the number of leaders who have led their states into the abyss – will also remain untested because the Palestinians have already proven their inability to build a state.
Given the opportunity of self-rule in 1993, the Palestinians have established a corrupt, inefficient, lawless and authoritarian political system. Its main failure has been in the area most critical to state-building – monopoly over the use of force.
The existence of many armed militias defies central authority and preserves a fractured Palestinian community. What we see in the territories is another example of a failed state.
Even with the best intentions and much territorial largesse there is nothing Israel could do to bring about a Palestinian state any time soon.
Unfortunately, then, Israel is left with only one option: unilateral measures to minimize the repercussions of living next to a rather young and poor population indoctrinated to hate their Jewish neighbors and with relatively easy access to weapons. Nothing Israel can do will spare it the need to deal with extremely hostile neighbors ready to pay a high price for acting on their hatred.
Israelis have to get used to the idea that there is no peaceful solution in sight – only interim measures to manage the conflict. If they want to have a state, there is no choice but to continue to fight Palestinian terrorism for decades.
Unilateral withdrawal involves inevitable risks. It will obviously not remedy the basic situation – perennial terror. It may even encourage it since Israeli withdrawals are seen by the Palestinians as capitulation.
On the other hand, the removal of several settlements may minimize friction between Israelis and Palestinians. It may bring greater Egyptian involvement in Gaza because of the daunting prospects of a Hamas-ruled territory. Moreover, it may buy Israel some good will in the international community (whatever that is worth), as unilateral withdrawal will demonstrate that Israel is serious about partition.
Such a demonstration may also be necessary to maintain social cohesion at home, an important precondition to withstanding the tests of protracted conflict.
The Herculean attempt to remove several settlements in Gaza will clearly show Israelis the political costs and tragic circumstances of implementing such a decision, thereby strengthening popular determination to avoid or minimize such steps in other parts of the land of Israel.
The writer is professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University and director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies.
Last month, a photograph of a weeping Palestinian woman appeared in the international press. Standing in front of Israel's new separation wall, part of the barrier now being built around the West Bank, the photograph showed her with her hands covering her eyes. The wall behind her was adorned with graffiti in both Arabic and English. A truly heart-rending photograph, I thought. Until I saw a second photograph, taken from a different angle and further away. This photograph showed the same woman, surrounded by photographers, who were covering her tears from every position. Not surprisingly, no newspaper carried this photograph.
That is not to say that there isn't a great deal to cry about in a land that has been torn apart by a conflict that seems to have no end. But this was clearly a photo op, photojournalists creating news instead of reporting it. It was deceptive and inflammatory, and illustrated the worst of what too much of today's cynical journalism has to offer.
Israel's controversial barrier, the backdrop of this staged drama, is an excellent example of how words and images can be used to shape opinion in the guise of reporting the news. One of the latest verbal controversies is whether the structure that snakes around the West Bank, separating Israel from the West Bank, is an "Apartheid Wall" (as the Palestinians call it), or a "Security Fence" (as the Israelis refer to it).
Language, like photographs, can have great power, and the emotional content of loaded symbols can lead opinion and shape history. "Apartheid Wall" conjures up ugly images of the old South Africa, where blacks were kept separate from the mainstream culture by a system of brutal laws and customs that kept them at the bottom of society. The "Berlin Wall," as Palestinians also call the Israeli project, is no less evocative, the highly emotional image of a city torn in half by a wall running through its heart. The labels are intended to inflame and evoke an emotional response that casts Israel deep into the role of tyrant and aggressor.
What is the truth about the barrier? The truth is that it is both fence and wall. More than 97 percent of this $200 million, 480 mile security barrier will consist of a chain-link fence system that supports an intrusion detection system designed to warn against infiltrations. These sections are rarely photographed and hardly ever mentioned in press reports. What is frequently shown, however, is the less than 3 percent of the fence which is constructed of massive concrete slabs. These walls are built only in places where Israeli towns are close to Palestinian towns and where Israeli vehicles traveling on main highways are targets for shooters from the adjacent towns. These short concrete sections are intended to stop terrorists from infiltrating and to block them from shooting at their Israeli neighbors.
When finished, the barrier will effectively seal the border between Israel and the Palestinians. But it is neither an Apartheid Wall nor a Berlin Wall. Apartheid separated people of color from Caucasians in a cruelly segregated South Africa. The Berlin Wall divided a single, formerly unified city, separating families and severing the ties of commerce between East and West Berlin.
But Israel's barrier does neither. In the present climate, it is safe to say that Israel and the Palestinians are at war. The wall does not divide a country as much as it separates enemies. Even as the Palestinians demand a nation in which no Jews may live, they condemn the Israelis for creating a barrier to the co-mingling of the populations. They infiltrate well-guarded borders to commit mass murders against the civilian population. But they are outraged when Israel seals its borders and prevents Palestinian laborers from working in Israel's factories.
The reason for the barrier is simple. At its inception, it was not a popular idea and many Israelis argued vehemently against it. But as the death toll from the 40-month old Intifada continued to climb to nearly a thousand Israeli victims, the ravages of suicide bombers and drive-by shootings made it increasingly clear that a separating barrier would provide significant relief.
Had there been no terrorism, there would be no fence. On the other hand, had there been a fence separating the West Bank from Jerusalem, 11 people who were murdered on Bus #19 in Jerusalem last month would still be alive, because the terrorist, a Palestinian policeman from Bethlehem, would not have been able to enter the city.
For two years, we Americans have been fighting our own war against terrorism. Israel has been fighting the same enemy for many years more. Now Israel is being brought to the World Court in the Hague, and must defend her right to protect her own citizens, even as the world of nations clamors for her to have her right to self defense taken away.
How long, I wonder, would we Americans permit terrorists to blow up our buses and murder our children on the streets of our own cities? Would we not do whatever was necessary to stop the terror and protect our citizens?
America is mighty, a country of enormous size with a population of 280 million people. Israel, on the other hand, is tiny, the size of New Hampshire, with a population of only 6.5 million people. It is wrong to ask Israel to do less than we would do ourselves when the lives of her citizens are at risk. All too soon, if we do not firmly support Israel in her war against terror, we will be facing the same enemy on our own streets. Then, we may wonder why we quibbled about words, why we created a different standard for Israel than for ourselves, and why we didn't stand up for what we knew was right.
Last week, Israeli forces arrested three boys – ages 13, 14 and 15 – at a West Bank checkpoint after they were discovered carrying homemade guns. The boys told Israeli investigators they had been recruited by Islamic Jihad to carry out a shooting attack against Israeli civilians in the city of Afula. The target was Afula's main bus station.
Later, a letter was discovered by one of the boy's parents, in his own handwriting, that said he had also been recruited by the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
Many Palestinians expressed outrage at the terrorist groups for recruiting children, but there was no comment from the United Nations. It is an express violation of the United Nation's own protective declarations to use children as combatants. The United Nations has said nothing about it.
Evidently, from the U.N.'s perspective, recruiting children as suicide weapons is a lesser obstacle to peace than a fence designed to keep them out of Israel (and alive). Such thinking is typical of the UN where Israel is concerned. It's baffling, really, when you think about it.
The diplomats at the United Nations are educated persons of some distinction in their home countries. As such, you would think that some of them have presumably read books.
U.N. diplomats are also generally mature individuals who have lived long, productive lives. Many of them have been alive throughout the history of the modern state of Israel. Some since before Israel was reborn in 1948.
So, even if they aren't that well-educated, or that well-read, maybe some of them might be able to remember the world as it existed before the creation of the Palestinian "people."
Throughout history, until the mid 1960s, "Palestine" has never been the name of a people or a state. It was a geographic term used to designate the region during those times in history when there was no nation or state there.
The word "Palestine" is derived from the word "Peleshet" which is translated into English in the Bible as "Phillistine." The Phillistines were seafarers who migrated to the southern coasts of the Land of Caanan from the area of the Greek islands of the Aegean Sea.
They set up five city-states along what is today the Gaza region. The Phillistines were neither Arabs nor Semites. The name chosen by Yasser Arafat for his people is not an Arabic name. It is the Arabic pronunciation of the area the Greeks and Romans called "Palastina."
The people who claim to be Palestinians are not descended from the ancient Phillistines. (Yasser Arafat is an Egyptian, for example). They simply appropriated the name and called themselves a "people."
You'd think the learned diplomats at the United Nations would know that. It isn't like it is a secret.
When the Arabs attacked the fledgling state of Israel after the British Mandate ended in 1948, they won control of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. In 1950, Jordan annexed the West Bank. Egypt annexed the Gaza Strip.
Nobody offered the "Palestinians" a state, and no "Palestinians" requested one.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded in 1964 with Ahmed Shukairy as its first chairman. This same Ahmed Shukairy – 8 years earlier – testified before the United States Security Council: "It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria."
The United Nations keeps records. Doesn't anybody look at them?
History only traces the "Palestinian people" to 1964. Then they vanish from the historical record. One would think that fact would make some impression on the learned diplomats of the United Nations. Even if the United Nations is composed of diplomats who are uneducated, unread, too young to have lived through the 20th century and know nothing of history, it still doesn't explain it.
Even an idiot can figure out that the best way to keep somebody bent on killing you from doing it is to keep away from that person. Or keep that person away from you. But given the choice between the rights of Israelis to live in their own country or the rights of Palestinian terrorists to come into that country and kill them, the United Nations sides with the rights of the terrorists – every time.
If the diplomats at the United Nations still can't see what they are supporting, then the fact that little boys are being recruited by the Palestinians for use as suicide weapons ought to have some of them scratching their chins and at least wondering if they just might be backing the wrong horse.
You'd think so, anyway. Like I said, it's baffling.
Hal Lindsey is the best-selling author of 20 books, including "Late Great Planet Earth." He writes this weekly column exclusively for WorldNetDaily.Be sure to visit his website where he provides up-to-the-minute analysis of today's world events in the light of ancient prophecies.
4. WALLSBy Joseph Fried - One Israel Fund Newsletter - March 2004
As I start to pen these words on Rosh Hodesh Adar, on the eve of a hearing by the International Court of Justice in respect of Israel’s separation wall, we awake to the all too unbearably familiar news of yet another Jerusalem bus bombing. The welcoming of Adar with traditional joy is marred once again, as it has been so often since the inception of the Oslo accords.
The General Assembly of the United Nations by an overwhelming vote, with only seven countries, other than Israel, voting against, has submitted to the court for its determination the “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”. The question prejudges issues other than the separation wall. This comes as no surprise as the issue was framed by the Palestinians and their allies. It is a given, in the question submitted to the court, that the liberated areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza are “Occupied”. Not only are the territories labeled as Occupied but they are designated as Palestinian Territory. The lands were liberated in 1967 during the Six-Day War, prior to which time they were under the jurisdiction of the Jordanians. The Jordanian jurisdiction was not recognized by the world and the last governing authority recognized by the international community pre 1948 was the British. The lands were never under the jurisdiction of any entity known as the Palestinians. It is a non-sequiter to occupy lands that were never under the jurisdiction of that entity. If they are occupied it would be of British jurisdiction which the latter relinquished.
One cannot expect impartiality from a court that is willing to entertain matters which require adjudication but which have been submitted as a given, namely, whether the lands are occupied. Nor should one expect much from a court whose composition is made up of members from Egypt, Jordan, Madagascar, France, Sierra Leone, Russia, U.K., Netherlands, Braz il, U.S.A., Japan, Germany and Slovakia. Only one of these countries, the U.S.A., voted against the submission of the legality of the separation wall to the court. There are other walls which are critical to an understanding of the issues facing the court. They are the wall of hatred, the memorial wall of terror, and the wall of shame.
Critical to any possibility of the ending of the state of war between the Jewish people and the Palestinians is a willingness on the part of the Palestinians to make peace; even when Prime Minister Barak offered the PA almost everything they demanded, they refused. This is because the PA, under the leadership of Yassir Arafat, has built a wall of hatred preventing them from acting even in their own best interests. Thus they rejected Barak’s offer and instigated Arafat’s war approximately three years ago. The PA from its inception spews out daily from its press, television and radio, mosques, school books and every other possible venue the vilest anti-Semitic canards. Indoctrination and radicalization of an entire generation devoted to the glorification of martyrs whose sole goal in life is the slaughter of Jews results in an unbridgeable wall of hatred.
One must not assume that the terror commenced with Arafat’s war. Israeli government spokesmen, unfortunately, continuously refer to the 900 plus terror victims which have been murdered since September 2000 forgetting what Arafat wrought since the establishment of the PA under his leadership in 1993 and prior thereto as leader of the PLO. Nor did the war of terror commence in 1993 with the onset of Oslo. The uninterrupted wave of Palestinian terror has a much longer history all recorded on the memorial wall for terror victims at the Har Herzel cemetery. Too few Jews are even aware of the memorial wall to the victims of terror and fewer yet have visited it. Each of us is duty bound to pay our respects to the terror victims by visiting the L-shaped memorial wall which records decade by decade the names of those slain at the hands of the Palestinian and Arab butchers.
The memorial wall does not commence in 1967 when the Israeli forces liberated the territories, or in 1964, when the PLO was founded, nor the early thirties when there were waves of terror throughout Israel, including Hebron, Jerusalem and many other locations. The wall of terror memorializes the victims of Palestinian terror for each decade commencing in 1860. For the court to have any understanding of the complexities of the issues at hand and the rejections by the Arabs of the Jews rightful presence in Eretz Yisroel for over a hundred years, it should visit the memorial wall of terror to attempt to understand why a separation wall is essential. While I was against a separation wall when it was first raised, I became a proponent of the concept of a separation wall, if not its current route, when I realized the opponents of the separation wall were members in good standing of the wall of shame.
Lastly, there is the wall of shame. Membership to this wall includes not only those who perpetrated crimes against the Jewish people for the last 2,000 years, but also the many bystanders who failed to raise a helping hand throughout that period. As Eli Wiesel has noted, the guilty are not only the murderers but also those who remained neutral. Today too the Palestinians would not be able to wage their relentless campaign without the aid and assistance of many of our former tormentors in the European community. Ninety countries voted in favor of submitting the legality of the separation wall to the court and 74 abstained, including the entire Western world other than the Australians and the Americans who both voted against. The voting of the Europeans and Canadians comes as no surprise as they have consistently sided with the Palestinians at the U.N. or abstained. They are no less guilty than the Palestinians for with out the stance of these countries the battle against terror could be properly waged.
The very fact that Yassir Arafat has not been tried for war crimes is not considered a war criminal and that Israel has not been able to deal with Arafat as the Americans have with Hussein as they surely will with Osama Bin Laden, is due to the stance of the supposedly neutral friendly countries such as Europe and Canada. They have justly earned themselves a place on the wall of shame as undoubtedly the justices of the court will soon likewise merit. For two thousand years we were unable to defend ourselves, now we can and it is Israel sovereign right and moral imperative to do what it feels is necessary to defend its citizens. It must erect the separation wall.
Even though Israel can defend itself, it has been unable to eradicate the scourge of anti-Semitism, thus additions to the long ignominious history of members of the wall of shame continue unabated.
As long as the world allows the wall of hatred under Arafat’s tutelage to flourish the numbers on the memorial wall of terror (G-d forbid) and wall of shame will unfortunately grow and Israel will continue in its lonesome battle to defend its citizenry howsoever it determines, including the erection of the separation wall.
In this month of Adar already filled with anguish and pain flowing with sobs and tears we will yet rejoice for we will not allow our enemies to rob us of the eternal Jewish vision of the belief of a time when there will be no war and peace will reign. Until that day we the Jewish people must retain our faith, as Eli Wiesel has so eloquently written,
“in ourselves and even in mankind, though mankind may not be worthy of such faith.”
A Freilichin Purim. The writer, a Toronto lawyer, is Chairman of One Israel Fund.
PA Minister Saeb Erekat's Duplicity: Glorify Suicide Terrorism in Arabic,Condemn it in Englishby Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook - Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin - March 4, 2004
The Palestinian Authority's (PA) chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, is the latest PA official to demonstrate that PA leaders send one message to their people in Arabic and an entirely different message to the world media in English.
This week's news includes a striking example of this duplicity. Upon hearing that three Palestinian children, aged 13, 14 and 16, were caught by Israel on the way to a suicide mission, Erekat was quick to create the impression for the English media that the PA opposes such actions.
"That´s absolutely unacceptable," Erekat told the Associated Press. "Our children should have hope and a future and should not be suicide bombers. We want them to be doctors and engineers."The great hypocrisy of Erekat's statement is that he and the PA leadership have been the driving force indoctrinating PA children to aspire to Shahada - Death for Allah. As PMW has reported, it was only a few months ago that Erekat and other top PA leaders, including Yasser Arafat, sponsored a soccer tournament honoring 24 Shahids ("Islamic Martyrs"), including such arch-terrorists as Yechya Ayash, the first Hamas suicide-bomb maker, who masterminded the Palestinian suicide bombings; Adin Al Kassam, the name of the suicide terrorist wing of the Hamas; Raid Carmi, a regional head of a suicide terrorist unit; Jamal Mansour of Hamas; and Salah Drowza of Hamas. As a sponsor, Saeb Erekat was present at the tournament honoring the terrorists, and personally distributed the trophies. [Al Ayyam, Sept. 21, 2003, Al Quds, Sept. 29, 2003]
The coverage by the PA media of the foiled suicide mission is also telling. Although all three PA dailies -- Al Hayat Al Jadida, Al Ayyam and Al Quds -- covered the capture of the teenagers, there were no reports in these papers or in other PA Arabic media of any comments by Erekat opposing the idea of teenagers as suicide bombers.
So while in English, Erekat's diversion for the media is, "We want them to be doctors and engineers," in their real world, Palestinian children see suicide terrorists as the role models created for them by Erekat and the PA leadership. We have yet to read that Erekat or the PA has sponsored a tournament named for doctors and engineers.
Finally, two additional PA reactions to the capture of the three teenagers are noteworthy:
1. "The Prisoner's Club called on all the legal institutions to act to stop [Israel's] policy of arresting children and minors... which is a violation of all conventions and international humanitarian agreements." [Al Ayyam March 3, 2004]Instead of focusing on why the teenagers were arrested, they present these would-be assassins as victims -- just as Palestinian society, at the same time that it promotes and glorifies terror, continues to present itself as the victim.
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