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This news report is fictional. But if Arafat continues to behave like Arafat, and if Sharon continues to behave like Rabin, there is little reason to doubt the above scenario could transpire.
Since the Rabin-Peres government implemented the withdrawal of IDF troops from Gaza and Jericho in May 1994, Arafat has advanced a policy aimed at bringing about precisely the scenario I outlined. After Israel ceded the first pieces of territory, Arafat worked on several fronts to ensure that the withdrawals would continue as Palestinian terror escalated.
In November 1994, Arafat reached an agreement with Hamas in Cairo that attacks on Israel would be staged in areas not under PA security control. In so doing, Arafat bought himself implausible, but accepted deniability regarding his support and indeed sponsorship of the attacks that led to the murder of some 183 Israelis before he launched his all-out terror war in September 2000.
In the meantime, Arafat and his deputies used the areas under their control to raise and train his militias to fight Israel. Gaza and Jericho were also used as safe havens for terror chiefs. So it was that during the Oslo years Hamas masterminds Yahya Ayash and Muhammed Deif operated openly in Gaza while other terrorists wanted for murder were enlisted into Jibril Rajoub's Preventive Security Service in Jericho.
In the economic arena, by diverting billions of dollars in international aid into secret bank accounts and by intimidating and blackmailing Palestinian businessmen and farmers, the PA impoverished its people. In so doing, Arafat secured for himself an angry, frustrated population that could be easily manipulated into turning its hatreds toward Israel.
For his part, Rabin found himself in a bind. He had run for office in 1992 pledging not to negotiate with the PLO. When he reneged on that promise and embraced Arafat as a partner, he staked his reputation on the continuation of Oslo.
Before he oversaw the retreats from Gaza and Jericho, Rabin repeatedly declared that if the Palestinians reverted to terrorism, the IDF would reenter the areas and throw out the PA. Yet when in the aftermath of the withdrawals Israel was victimized by the worst terror it had seen since the 1950s, Rabin did not change course. Indeed, Rabin claimed that stopping negotiations would be a victory for the terrorists whom he referred to as "enemies of peace." In reacting to the terror, Rabin repeatedly said "Israel will fight terror as if there is no peace process and fight for peace as if there is no terror." While the statement made for good propaganda, it made no practical sense and was impossible to follow. Arafat responded to each Israeli concession by strengthening the forces of terror and hatred within Palestinian society. Waging peace with Arafat was tantamount to surrendering to terrorism.
Sharon today is behaving in a similar fashion.
Over the past week, he has excoriated as
Also like Rabin, Sharon argues "Israel's responses [to Palestinian violence] would be much harsher" after his retreat plan is implemented than they are today. Yet if Kofi Annan makes good on his promise this week to give the UN a role in post-withdrawal Gaza, just as it does in post-withdrawal Lebanon make clear, it won't be easy to turn back the clock.
Indeed, what the last 42 months of Palestinian terror have shown is that regardless of the provocation, Israel will never garner international support for offensives against Palestinian terrorism.
Sharon has promised that after the withdrawal, Israel will be able to sit in its truncated form for years. Yet this cannot be true. Arafat will continue causing chaos to prevent that from happening. As Arafat's foreign minister Farouk Kaddumi said this week "Let the Gaza Strip be South Vietnam. We will use all available methods to liberate North Vietnam."
Arafat will not declare Palestinian statehood for Gaza. Doing so would bring diplomatic closure and enable a consensus in Israel to form. And the continuation of the war will bring pressure for further withdrawals emanating both from the Left (including Shinui and Olmert), as well as from abroad, as Israel will continue to be perceived as provoking the Palestinians by protecting itself.
Thursday's polls confirmed earlier ones that indicated a steep downward trend in support of Sharon's plan among Likud members. In reacting to this turn of the tide, Sharon declared repeatedly that a rejection of his plan will be a gift to Arafat and Hamas. Why? Arafat and his minions in Hamas and the PA have stated countless times that their aim in the war is to cause a repeat in Judea, Samaria and Gaza of the unilateral withdrawal of IDF forces from Lebanon. And they have made clear that they view withdraw from Gaza and parts of Samaria as a victory for their side. Why doesn't Sharon listen to them?
Sharon's plan differs from Oslo in that it overtly calls for the destruction of Israeli communities. In so doing, it poses a danger to the vitality of Israeli society as a whole. Far from making Israel stronger, transferring Jews from their homes will traumatize the country. How will we be able to trust in our future in the face of the destruction of communities that millions of Israelis consider to be part of Israel?
In pushing his plan forward regardless of the Sunday's result, Sharon has weakened Likud. The governing party is liable to split apart in its aftermath irrespective of the decision of the voters. Yet this does not mitigate the importance of the poll. If a majority of Likud voters reject Sharon's plan, they will be working to save Israel from disaster. In spite of Sharon's statements to the contrary, those who oppose the plan on its merits are not extremists. They are merely people who have learned from the past.
In 1942, Haj Amin el-Husseini, then "prime minister" of a pan-Arab government formed in Nazi Berlin, broadcast from Germany to his numerous disciples in the Arab world: "Slaughter the Jews wherever you find them. Their spilled blood pleases Allah."
This virulent message has clearly been revived in Arab, particularly Palestinian, society, as it was when still-revered Husseini was its all-powerful warlord.
Sajid Abu Alous, the 18-year-old ringleader of a gang that recently roamed the streets of Jerusalem in order to gun down Jewish passersby, echoed the Nazi-collaborator's sentiments to the full, when he remorselessly declared a few days ago that he decided to spill Jewish blood "in order to please Allah and in his name. I knew God would be satisfied with me and that's all that matters."
He was apprehended Friday with his gang cruising the streets of Jerusalem, gun in hand, stalking his next victim. He told interrogators and the arraigning judge over the weekend that his one regret was that his three-member group's first "hit" was a young jogger who turned out not to have been a Jew at all.
At first, Arafat's own Fatah eagerly took credit for the close-range shooting last month of the jogger, who turned out to be Hebrew University student George Khoury. But it quickly dropped its triumphant boasts when it emerged that Abu Alous's victim was a Christian Arab and, even more embarrassingly, the son of noted east Jerusalem attorney Elias Khoury, who often represents the PA before Israeli courts.
When the mistaken identity became known, the PA became contrite and offered the father its condolences over the fact that his son was erroneously suspected of being a Jew and that he therefore paid for it with his life. There was nothing morally reprehensible in causing a young man's death, only in assuming he was a Jew.
Discomfited, Arafat personally declared the slain George a shahid – a martyr for the Palestinian cause. Arafat was described by spokesman Ziad Abu Ziad as being "shocked and outraged." Arafat even sent his representatives to the funeral to comfort the bereaved family. Like Abu Alous, he, without compunction, differentiated between the blood of Jews and non-Jews, by inference sanctioning the spilling of the former.
It is obvious that if Arafat had exhibited a fraction of the sincere regret that he has shown in the Khoury case when Jews were slaughtered, the Palestinian offensive would never have achieved its current proportions and would have ended long ago.
We do not mean to jeopardize Elias Khoury's status as a Palestinian patriot and nationalist, but we cannot help but note the humanity and courage with which he has responded to his son's death, and the example he has set for the Palestinian leadership. From the beginning, he rejected the designation of his son as a "shahid," as if he could be posthumously drafted into the orgy of murder that cost him his life.
Now that George Khoury's murderer has apparently been caught, Elias Khoury has gone a step further, openly calling on the Palestinian Authority to end the anarchy within its bounds, stop incitement, begin educating children for peace, and start reversing the Palestinian death cult – or what he called "a complete loss of human values."
These are brave words indeed from someone who lives under the PA's thumb and can well find himself exposed to its wrath. Dissent of even the mildest sort isn't easily tolerated in Arafat's fiefdom, where harsh punitive measures generally secure apparent cohesion and conformity.
Most courageous of all was Khoury's call on Arab clerics to cease influencing young people to "distort religion in the ugliest manner... Religious leaders, the Palestinian leadership... and all who still value human life in Palestinian society must rise, gather courage, and say that enough is enough."
We join Khoury in urging Islamic leaders to "rise and say this loudly and clearly. Their silence harms Islam and Palestinian society."
Indeed, history repeatedly shows that genocidal crimes inevitably turn on the purveyors of racism and chaos. In time, hate mongers reap the whirlwind they sow.
Consider what's required to wear the label: “Pro-Palestinian.”
To start, you have to appear non-judgmental about innocent Palestinian children being raised to become human bombs.
You must refer to those who send such children on suicide/mass murder missions as “political leaders” or, even better, as “spiritual leaders.” Call them militants if you must, but never terrorists.
To be thought of as pro-Palestinian, you must cite the plight of the Palestinian refugees as a key motivation for violence, ignoring the fact that there would have been no refugees had Israel's Arab neighbors not launched a war to destroy the tiny Jewish state immediately upon its birth.
Indeed, Arabs who chose to stay in Israel are today Israeli citizens, as are their children, enjoying more freedoms than do the citizens of neighboring Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia or even Jordan. Disregard all this if you want to be seen as someone who cares about Palestinians.
Supporters of Palestinians must point to the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank as another root cause of violence. Avoid mentioning that it was a second Arab war against Israel that led to the seizure of those territories which, at that time, were not called Palestinian territories. Gaza was administered by Egypt and the West Bank by Jordan and no one demanded that they be turned them over to Palestinian sovereignty.
The Israelis captured the Sinai as well. That territory, several times larger than all of Israel, was returned to Egypt in exchange for a piece of paper promising peace. Forget these awkward details.
To burnish your pro-Palestinian credentials, even as you rail against the Israeli occupation, say nothing positive about Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to end that occupation entirely in Gaza and to withdraw Israeli troops and settlements from 85 percent of the West Bank. In Orwellian fashion, insist that Mr. Sharon is giving up those lands as part of a “land grab.”
While it is true that at Camp David in 2000, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered about 95% of the West Bank and Gaza, Yassir Arafat turned that offer down and initiated several years of terrorist attacks. Even so, Mr. Sharon has said he's willing to consider further withdrawal, to discuss permanent borders, though he won't negotiate with those dispatching terrorists. Dismiss all that as irrelevant -- if you want to be described as someone who sympathizes with the Palestinians.
Also, continue to insist that Israelis eventually must agree to a “right to return” – that they must let millions of Palestinians settle not just in an independent Palestinian state next to Israel but in Israel itself.
Promote this idea even if you're savvy enough to know it can never happen – just as Hindus can never re-settle in what is today Muslim Pakistan, just as Greek Christians can never re-settle in what is today Muslim Turkey, just as the million Jews forced to flee from Arab countries after World War II can never return to what were, for centuries, their homes.
In fact, Israelis with roots in Arab countries today comprise about half of Israel's population. They may understand better than anyone else that a Palestinian “right to return” would mean the end of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people, that Jews would become a minority in what would no longer be the world's only predominately Jewish state. And that's a frightening thought because, sadly, few minorities living in the 22 Arab countries and the more than 50 predominately Muslim nations enjoy anything approaching freedom and equality. Such freedom and equality may be achieved in Iraq in the years ahead -- though not if the dictators of Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia can help it, and not if the Palestinian “political and spiritual leaders” who supported Saddam Hussein and who now oppose the American “occupation” have anything to do with it.
Nor should Friends of Palestine plan for the opportunities that the Israeli withdrawals will present. Don't even think about the Israeli homes that will be turned over to Palestinian families, the hotels that could be built along the Mediterranean. Forget about foreign investors, new hospitals and schools. And certainly don't talk about cooperation with Israel. On the contrary, shrug when Hamas terrorists bomb the checkpoints through which Gazans pass on their way to work in Israeli factories. But should the Israelis respond by closing those checkpoints, complain vehemently that the Israelis are cutting off the livelihood of Palestinian workers.
The United Nations is very pro-Palestinian. That's why UN experts are not hard at work drafting a plan to give Palestinians more say over who governs them. Arafat was elected Palestinian leader – he ran exactly one time in 35 years and in that election he was opposed by a woman whose name few can recall and who hadn't a ghost of a chance. Surely, that's as much democracy as any reasonable person could desire for Palestinians.
Perhaps someday people will look back in astonishment on all this. Perhaps someday the term pro-Palestinian will be redefined to include those who would urge Palestinians to seek compromise and peaceful co-existence with their neighbors, build a real economy, and discourage their children from suicide, murder and mutilation.
Right now, however, these are wildly radical notions.
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.
4. ISRAEL AT 56Jerusalem Post Editorial - April 25, 2004
Tonight, in that sharp transition that should earn Israel a patent, we switch from mourning our fallen soldiers to celebrating the nation they defended. There is plenty to celebrate.
Israel is a success story. Against all odds, the Jewish people has a country in its own land, after 2,000 years of exile. Initially, Arab leaders in the region welcomed the Jewish national movement, which arose just as Arab countries were themselves being founded and achieving independence. Indeed, some Arabs saw the Jews as allies in their own nationalist cause.
In June 1913, the president of the First Arab Congress, Abd-ul-Hamid Yahrawi, summed up the attitude of the delegates: "All of us, both Muslims and Christians, have the best of feelings toward the Jews. they are our brothers in race and we regard them as Syrians who were forced to leave the country at one time but whose hearts always beat together with ours. We are certain that our Jewish brothers the world over will know how to help us so that our common interests may succeed and our common country will develop both materially and morally."
In March 1919, the Emir Faisal wrote to then Harvard law professor Felix Frankfurter: "The Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. ...We will wish the Jews a hearty welcome home. ...We are working together for a reformed and revised Near East and our two movements complete one another. The Jewish movement is nationalist and not imperialist. Indeed, I think that neither can be a real success without the other."
Jewish-Arab relations have soured somewhat since then, but Yahrawi and Faisal have been proven right. The Jewish national project has flourished, while the Arab choice of enmity with Israel has been the primary cover for neighboring states not to confront their own political and economic failings.
Israel is not only a success relative to its neighborhood, but by a global standard. Despite hobbling economic policies, our standard of living ranks 35th among the nations, and 19th in life expectancy (above the US and UK). We have by far the largest number of hi-tech start-ups per capita in the world and have attracted venture capital at rates exceeding most European countries. Israel has, proportionately, the highest number of university graduates in the world, and the fourth largest air force, after the US, Russia, and China.
Our greatest success – however ironically, given the way we have been vilified – is not material but moral. Our enemies are consumed by hatred of us, and have attacked us with such barbarity that to call it war is to dignify an offensive composed almost entirely of war crimes. Yet we have not thrown our democratic values out the window in the name of security, as illustrated both by the elaborate judicial review imposed on security policies and by the freedom given Arab MKs to vilify their country and side with its enemies. Most dramatically, we have sacrificed our own soldiers' lives to minimize civilian Palestinian casualties in ways that few, if any, democracies would under similar circumstances.
Unlike our material success, our moral success is not an unequivocal contribution to our survival. Some argue or fear that democracies may not have what it takes to crush the jihadis, either on the global level or in our region – the jihadis themselves in fact rely on democratic sensitivities and weaknesses as a main form of protection. They think nothing of hiding among their own civilians and sending children to their deaths, knowing that the other side values life, particularly innocent life, differently.
Yet we continue to see our love of life as a strength rather than a weakness. Those who dismiss Israel as a temporary "Crusader state" and assume that their brand of hatred and radicalism will outlast us do not understand a free society's strengths.
The days immediately ahead may not be easy, in many respects. But as our 56th Independence Day begins tonight, let's remember both how far we have come and how far we have to go in improving what remains a dynamic work-in-progress. Based on our track record, we should have every confidence that we will succeed.
"The Palestinians will, in fact, get their de facto state, though one that may be now cut off entirely from Israeli commerce and cultural intercourse. This is an apparently terrifying thought: Palestinian men can no longer blow up Jews on Monday, seek dialysis from them on Tuesday, get an Israeli paycheck on Wednesday, demonstrate to CNN cameras about the injustice of it all on Thursday — and then go back to tunneling under Gaza and three-hour, all-male, conspiracy-mongering sessions in coffee-houses on Friday. Beware of getting what you bomb for."- Victor Davis Hanson
"I will not leave one Jew in Palestine"- Abdel-Aziz al Rantisi
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