Newsletter #181     Friday, April 16, 2004

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by Steven Plaut - April 16, 2004

Ariel Sharon has presented his "disengagement plan" to the White House, and it has been endorsed by George Bush. The Sharon political machine, backed by the Labor Party's machine and the Israeli Left, is flooding the Israeli media with ads and promotions for the "disengagement plan". Many in Israel are presuming that because the Arab terrorist groups and the fascist Arab states are screaming in outrage against the plan, then it must in fact be a positive constructive plan that can reduce violence and produce peace. Polls are showing that even the majority of Likud members endorse the "plan". The Arab critics of course are outraged because the plan does not provide for the immediate liquidation of Israel and its p! opulation and they oppose all plans that are missing those essential genocidal clauses. While the Sharon-Bush "plan" has a few positive features and aspects, it augurs badly and embodies existential dangers for Israel.

So what is so wrong with the plan?

1. It rewards terrorism. Ever since signing the first Oslo "Accords", the Palestinians showed their devotion to its clauses as well as their unwillingness to comply with any of their written commitments by engaging in endless daily terrorist atrocities and by mass murdering 1300 Israelis, equivalent to 22 September 11ths when measured proportional to population. The "plan" rewards the terror by delivering to the terrorists and Islamofascists a Gaza Strip ethnically cleansed of Jews. Guess how the Iraqi terrorists shooting Allied troops will understand and interpret this "deal"!

2. The "plan" is a recipe ! for escalated terrorism and atrocities. If Israel has trouble suppressing the terror even today, when the Gaza Strip is full of Jews and Israeli soldiers, what will happen once they are evicted? What will stand in the way of the PLO escalating the violence, firing hundreds more rockets into Negev civilian communities, and sending out dozens of new suicide bombers? What does Ariel Sharon think the PLO will do in Gaza once the "settlers" are evicted, take up knitting?

3. It is an evil precedent. It signals that Israel is willing to conduct "talks and dialogues" even while it is under daily attack by the PLO's terrorists and its civilians are being daily murdered. It signals that Israel is willing ultimately to abandon the West Bank and Gaza to the PLO without the PLO ever having to comply with a single thing.

4. There is no "conditionality" at all in the "deal". Israel's concessions and capitulations are to be carried out without the smallest gesture from the PLO, and without the requirement that the PLO comply first with a single clause in any of the accords that it has ALREADY signed in the past!

5. While Sharon and his people have hailed the "deal" with President Bush as effectively recognizing Israel's rights to maintain "groups of settlements" where they are concentrated, such as around Ariel, Colin Powell is already backing off from this publicly and declaring there is no such US acknowledgement of Israel's rights.

6. While the "deal" and joint announcement are being touted by Sharon's people as declaring there is and will be no such thing as a "Palestinian Right of Return" to Israel, Arafat and his minions have already denounced this and re-pledged that there will be no ceasefire until this "right", which is nothing more than the Sudeten-! like "right" of Palestinians to dismantle and destroy Israel, is accepted in full. Nothing in the plan is conditioned on Arafat and the PLO publicly renouncing this "Right". And the US cannot be relied upon in this regard. There was a time when the US was "firmly and permanently committed" to refusing to consider anything more than limited autonomy for the "Palestinians" and certainly no "state". Look where we are now.

7. The "plan" relinquishes Israel's moral claim to the rights of Jews to live anywhere they wish within the Land of Israel. The plan ethnically cleanses Jews from the Gaza Strip and parts of Samaria. There is nothing in the plan that limits the rights of Arabs to live anywhere THEY wish in the Land of Israel, including in Israel's own capital city, Jerusalem. Incredibly and mindlessly, Israel has allowed a huge wave of Arab migration to Jerusalem in recent decades. The plan PERMANENTLY relinquishes the rights of Jews EVER to live in the Gaza Strip, REGARDLESS of any Palestinian misbehavior or violations of any past or future "deals". The plan has Israel renouncing all "permanent" military installations in the Gaza Strip, including its radar facilities, needed to locate Palestinian smuggling boats, and this "permanence" is not conditional on such delicate niceties as the PLO halting rocket firings from Gaza into Jewish civilian areas or its sending out suicide bombers.

8. Israel largely renounces its right to operate checkpoints and inspections to deter and fight terror. This makes the mass murders of Israeli civilians all that much easier and it damages Israel's abilities to do anything to block the movement of terrorists.

9. While the joint statement states that the Gaza Strip will be "demilitarized", one d! oes not know whether to laugh or cry at this. Previous "accords" with the PLO said the same thing and there were never any Israeli nor American attempts to force compliance. Since the PLO is not even a party to this Sharon-Bush "deal", this clause is little more than an insult to the intelligence. And note that the demilitarization is not a CONDITION for anything. Israeli concessions are not conditioned on demilitarization and Israel may not abandon its "permanent" concessions when it turns out Gaza is NOT demilitarized.

10. Israel once again agrees to the PLO operating an army. Guess against whom this army will be used. If you think it will be used against the Hamas and Islamic Jihad, then I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell you.

11. Israel agrees to demolish all "illegal Jewish settlements", but there is nothing that wou! ld allow Israel to expel Arab squatters living illegally on lands they do not own or in structures illegally built.

12, Israel foregoes the possibility of responding to mass murders and other forms of violence committed by Palestinians by shutting off the power and phone lines for the villages or neighborhoods involved.

13. Israel pledges to continue to allow large numbers of Palestinians to enter Israel daily as "day workers" and this is a guaranteed program for many new suicide bombers blowing up Israeli buses.

14. Israel pledges to continue to bankroll the terrorists, and this financing is conditioned on nothing. No conditionality on compliance by the PLO with anything. No conditionality on ending the atrocities. Nothing.

15. The destruction and abandonment of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, with no PLO quid pro q! uo, provides enormous encouragement to those Arabs who believe that violence and atrocities are the only way to make gains for themselves. It is an open declaration that no act of violence by Arabs will ever go unrewarded. It sets the most dangerous precedent imaginable. Clearly every future "deal" will now be based on this precedent and will involve unilateral Israeli depopulation of its Jewish civilians with no Arab quid pro quo whatsoever. Eviction of Jews from large swaths of their homeland while never evicting a single Arab from anywhere has become the guiding principle for all future diplomacy.

16. While the Sharon team has been blustering that the deal means that Washington agrees that the 1967 "Green Line" will not again become Israel's future border, there is no actual such acknowledgement in the deal and Washington has never agreed to any such thing. In fact President Bush has repeatedly referred to the "1949 Armistice Lines", meaning Israel's pre-1967 Auschwitz Borders (which is what they were called by Abba Eban).

17. While President Bush acknowledges Israel's "rights of self-defense", these are not spelled out and in most cases where Israel has exercised its legitimate rights in recent years, such as by assassinating terrorist leaders, the Bush Administration has denounced these Israeli actions. So it appears that the only form of Israeli self-defense that is considered legitimate will remain self-defense by means of capitulation to terrorism.

18. While criticizing the PLO's "lack of action" against terror, which is a bit like condemning Hitler for his lack of action to stop the Holocaust, the joint announcement does not explicitly denounce Arafat for LEADING and ordering and initiating most of the terrorism. There are no American sanctions agai! nst the PLO for its non-compliance with any of its previous commitments, nor any sanctions against it for the endless mass murders it has committed.

19. The plan envisages Palestinian "refugees" being resettled in Arab states, including the future "state" of "Palestine". The word "only" is conspicuously absent.

20. Nothing in the agreement is conditioned upon the PLO ending its campaign to destroy Israel, nor upon any PLO acknowledgement of Israel's right to exist.

21. The "plan" utterly abandons the "Land for Peace" formula imposed on Israel by its leftist governments of the past, and replaces it with "Land for Good Press Soundbites," which is to say ­ "Land for Nothing".

22. The plan is anti-democratic. Sharon ran for office OPPOSING just such a plan being touted by the Labor Party under Amram Mitzna. Voters elected Sharon on that platform ! and because they opposed Mitzna's plan, yet here is Sharon implementing it by fiat.

23. Maariv April 16 reports that the plan has secret unpublished clauses involving Israeli agreement to additional concessions not stated in the public "deal". The White House knows the contents of this document. Israeli voters do not. What does that suggest to you?

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Jerusalem Post Editorial - April 15, 2004

According to people who study such things, there are eight stages of genocide: Classification, Symbolization, Dehumanization, Organization, Polarization, Preparation, Extermination and Denial. After a decade of Arafatian rule, a critical mass of Palestinians hover somewhere between stages six and seven.

This development, obvious to most Israelis, is rarely noticed by outside observers. For one thing, a country of Israel's military capacities hardly seems vulnerable to extermination. For another, Israel is viewed as being at least as much an aggressor - both historically and currently - as it is a current and potential victim. For a third, neither Palestinian intentions nor actions, even of the most extreme sort, are considered genocidal. Instead, Palestinians are seen to be fighting for a state of their own, not the elimination of Israel or the Jews within it. As for suicide bombings, they are viewed as a foul offshoot of a legitimate national struggle, not an expression of that struggle's fundamental purpose.

One can only pray the outside observers are right: that Israelis really are paranoid when it comes to understanding Palestinian designs; that the dehumanizing caricatures of Jews in the Palestinian press and in their textbooks, and the frequent calls to murder by their religious and secular leadership, are nothing but rhetoric and hyperbole typical of a people at war.

Then again, most students of genocide would agree that when prominent or popular leaders of one nation call repeatedly and openly for the extinction of another nation, it's best to take them at their word. The stages of genocide are not only logical but sequential: If classification, symbolization, dehumanization, organization, polarization, and preparation can be clearly discerned, it's best to get ready for extermination and denial.

Skeptics of this analysis make the argument that even if a large number of Palestinians do harbor genocidal aims, their intent is irrelevant; what matters is capacity. Larry Derfner, a columnist for this paper, puts the case nicely. "The Egyptians would love to be rid of Israel. So would the Jordanians, Syrians, and Lebanese. But they don't dare because they're afraid of Israel's superior power... If we leave the Palestinians alone... there's no inherent reason why they shouldn't eventually come around and join the rest of our neighbors to hate us and reject us, but leave us in peace."

This is a powerful argument, but it rests on two heroic assumptions: first, that Israel will retain "superior power" forever; and second, that politics in our neighboring countries won't take a sharp turn for the worse. Also, it is not particularly comforting to know that unless Israel funds its military to the highest state of preparedness, the country risks extinction. Does Norway operate this way? Does Canada?

Put simply, intentions count because they merely seek opportunity. When two Israeli reservists took a wrong turn into Ramallah in October 2000, certain Palestinians found their opportunity. Should a Palestinian bomber find his way into an Israeli fuel depot or chemical plant, opportunity will be found again.

We make these observations just as President Bush, in his press conference with Ariel Sharon, has repeated his call for a new Palestinian regime, devoted not only to fighting terrorism but to focusing its efforts on the socio-economic welfare of the Palestinian people. When Bush first made this case, in June 2002, it was widely dismissed as unrealistic and probably counterproductive. To our mind, it remains essential. No "peace" is worth the paper it's written on if it collapses at the first hint of weakness.

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By Joseph Farah - - April 16, 2004

President Bush did the right thing this week when he told Palestinian refugees they can forget the so-called "right of return" and any future plans to move to Israel.

Their future lies only in "the establishment of a Palestinian state and the settling of Palestinian refugees there rather than in Israel," he said.

The president twice referred to Israel as a Jewish state. Any plan that would entertain the notion of millions of Arabs settling in Israel would, of course, alter the fundamental character of the country.

Bush did not explicitly say that the United States supports Israel keeping some of its large Jewish communities on the West Bank – home to about a quarter million Israelis – but he endorsed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw the few thousand settlers from the Gaza Strip.

Why is it important to dispense with the idea of "the right of return"? And why is it important for Israel to maintain Jewish communities on the West Bank?

Any other alternative would amount to a green light for anti-Semitic ethnic cleansing in the Middle East – something the region has witnessed far too much over the past 50 years.

Yasser Arafat has promoted the "right of return" as one more tactic in his ultimate goal for the destruction of the state of Israel. He knows it is impossible for millions claiming Arab refugee status to prove claims their property was ever taken from them. He knows the tiny Jewish state could easily be overwhelmed by Arabs laying claim to real estate or citizenship in Israel. He knows that the so-called "right of return" amounts to his "final solution" – a one-state solution that would permit the vastly out-numbered Jews in the Middle East to be voted out of their own country.

Likewise, it is imperative for Israel to protect its well-established Jewish communities in the West Bank, traditional Jewish lands, because the Palestinian Authority is on record as insisting no Jews be allowed to live in its future Palestinian Arab state.

This is one of the great untold stories of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Arafat and his allies demand that all Jews get out of the country they are attempting to create.

In any other part of the world, this kind of racist, anti-Semitic effort at ethnically cleansing a region would be roundly condemned by all civilized people. Yet, because most people simply don't understand the clear, official plan by the Arab leaders to force out all Jews from the new Palestinian state, Arafat retains a degree of sympathy, even political support, from much of the world.

Think about what I am saying: It is the official policy of the Palestinian Authority that all Jews must get off the land! Why is the United States supporting the creation of a new, racist, anti-Semitic hate state? Why is the civilized world viewing this as a prescription for peace in the region? Why is this considered an acceptable idea?

Is there any other place in the world where that kind of official policy of racism and ethnic cleansing is tolerated – even condoned?

Why are the rules different in the Middle East? Why are the rules different for Arabs? Why are the rules different for Muslims?

Would America consider it acceptable if the new Iraqi government said the few Jews remaining in Iraq would have to leave?
Would America consider it acceptable if the new Iraqi governing council said Christians would have to go?

Of course not. So why – even before a Palestinian state is created – why do we accept as a fait accompli that Jews should be forced off their land in the coming state of Palestine?

Why are U.S. tax dollars supporting the racist, anti-Semitic entity known as the Palestinian Authority?

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Jerusalem Post Editorial - October 2, 2002

Earlier this week, US President George W. Bush came within the stroke of a pen of partially righting a historic wrong and forcing the State Department to begin treating Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The opportunity arose after the US Senate and House of Representatives last week approved the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which authorizes the State Department's budget of $8.6 billion for next year and lays out Congress's policy priorities for the department as well.

Section 214 of the law, entitled "United States Policy with Respect to Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel," contains a host of provisions that would oblige the State Department to stop treating Jerusalem as if it were a city without a country. It prohibits the use of government funds for any official US document that lists countries and their capital cities but fails to identify Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and it also states that a US citizen born in the city can choose to have Israel listed on his passport as his country of birth. Until now, that section of the passport simply reads "Jerusalem," as if the city floats in thin air rather than belonging to, let alone being the capital of, any country.

The law would also require the US Consulate in Jerusalem to operate under the auspices of the US Ambassador to Israel, who is based in Tel Aviv. The importance of this provision lies in the fact that until now, the Jerusalem consulate has been operating as an autonomous entity, serving in effect as a US embassy to the Palestinians.

Finally, the law also calls on the president to immediately begin relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem. On Monday night, the President signed the bill into law, but he was quick to declare he would view Section 214 as "advisory" in nature only, and that he did not feel bound by it. While presidents have long bristled at, opposed, and even vetoed legislation on foreign policy grounds, once a bill is signed, it becomes law like any other. Bush's decision to sign and yet refuse to implement this provision is therefore an extreme and perhaps unprecedented step.

Not surprisingly, supporters of the bill were quick to criticize Bush for his actions. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), who was a major force behind the legislation, said, "The president is wrong on the substance and he is wrong on the law. It's going to set up an interesting legal conflict. Ultimately, the court is going to have to decide whether Congress had the right to pass this law and whether the president has the right to sign it but not implement it."

However the constitutional question works itself out, Bush's action was both surprising and disappointing. After two years in which Israel has found itself the target of unprecedented Palestinian terrorism, which has included the carrying out of ruthless attacks in the heart of Jerusalem itself, Bush could have sent a strong and unequivocal message to Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians that there is a price to be paid for terrorism and violence.

After all, at the Camp David Summit in July 2000, then prime minister Ehud Barak effectively agreed to divide Jerusalem and yield control over the eastern portion of the city. He even expressed a willingness to share sovereignty over the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site. Nevertheless, Arafat summarily rejected Barak's overly-generous proposals, and chose to launch a war that grips the region till today. By signing the bill and agreeing to enforce its provisions, Bush could have signaled the Palestinians that there is a price to be paid for extremism.

Instead, the US president has thrust the Middle East backwards, to the days when the West would habitually kowtow to Arab demands regardless of how radical they might be. And while he undoubtedly did this with an eye toward an upcoming operation in Iraq, and the Arab world's unenthusiastic response, Bush's action may have precisely the opposite of its intended effect.

Especially at this moment before the American campaign in Iraq, it is important to remember that action's larger purpose. As Bush has eloquently pointed out, this is not just a fight to oust one dictator or crush one terrorist group, but to dry the swamp of terror by promoting freedom and democracy. Bush seems to understand that to prevent another September 11, he must change an entire region that has become a spawning ground for a militant form of Islam. September 11 was one product of this militancy, but the utter rejection of Israel is another.

The attempt to deny Israel its own capital in the city that is synonomous with 3,000 years of Jewish hopes and dreams is a centerpiece of the Arab rejection of Israel's right to exist. No would dream of dividing Mecca, Cairo, Damascus, or Washington, yet it has become an article of faith that dividing Jerusalem will bring peace. It is scandalous that for over 50 years US policy has played into this cardinal plank of Arab radicalism. If Bush really wants to signal that the Middle East must change, undoing this shameful aspect of US policy would be a good start.

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"The terrorist who takes hostages or plants a roadside bomb near Baghdad is serving the same ideology of murder that kills innocent people on trains in Madrid, and murders children on buses in Jerusalem..."
- President George W. Bush addressing the White House press corps, April 13, 2004.


  • So, What Did We Get?  Finally, as has been the case since the "land for peace" equation was coined, the demands on Israel from the exchange of letters are all concrete while the demands from the Palestinians are not. They have to reform and fight terror but there is no "or else."

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