by Reva Sharon - October 4, 2001
The twin towers of the World Trade Center no longer define the New York skyline, the Pentagon has been breached and burned, an airplane is shattered in a field in Pennsylvania, and the death toll of innocent victims nears 7,000. America has been attacked by Islamic terrorism and the population of the world is trying to shake itself out of the shock. The reverberations have devastated large segments of the world economy. The earth, however, continues to rotate on its orbit and autumn grows closer. For Jews, the season of the Days of Awe arrived this year in awesome times.
As I walked through the peaceful streets of Jerusalem on Yom Kippur, streets so quiet I could hear soft birdsong where usually traffic drowns out this gentle music, I reflected on the very nature of silence. Soon my thoughts drifted from silent to sacrifice to contemplation of the irrational element. I assigned these thoughts to an in progress file in my memory as I walked up the steps of the synagogue and into the sanctuary to participate in the Yom Kippur morning services.
A few days later, on October 1, 2001, an Islamic Jihad car bomb exploded not far from my home. It was a huge bomb filled with automatic machine gun bullets and nails and screws, included to increase damage, but miraculously no one was killed. Once again, children were targeted; the car bomb was next to a school for children with special needs. But what the terrorists forgot was that school was closed for the Succot holiday, and so the parking lot was mostly empty. I had decided to wait until Wednesday to take care of some matters in the center of the city; otherwise I would have been traveling on that street at the time the bomb went off on Monday. In Indian Kashmir the same day, a car bomb claimed by Moslem terrorists also exploded, but there at least 31 people are reported killed. The Indians have asked the United States to include these Kashmir Moslem Separatists in its list of terrorist organizations against whom immediate action is to be taken, but so far they remain excluded like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah.
This morning during Succot, it is time to open my in progress file. Succot is a holiday of remembrance of the journey to freedom that took 40 years through the desert where the Children of Israel dwelled in temporary booths, a holiday that celebrates the harvest of the land we returned to after our years of slavery in Egypt. I do not linger over the personal mental notes I have made, but turn my thoughts to those others that are connected to the nature of the world we are living in since the horrific terrorist actions of September 11, 2001 in the United States; I focus on the year of constant terrorism Israel has endured, and the diplomatic terrorism at the United Nations Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa. This has been a year when Islamic terrorists have been at their grisly work in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, spreading tentacles through Germany, England, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Iran, the United States and other locations throughout the world. It has been a year when most of the world sat like the three famous monkeys with ears, eyes, and mouths covered: hear not the evil, see not the evil, speak not of the evil. Just as these three are entwined, so silence, sacrifice, and the irrational element have become entwined and keep us bound up in darkness. Only by unbraiding these twisted cords can we examine these components of evil.
I will begin with silence. The silence of the United States Government and the media concerning homefront defense before September 11. The silence Colin Powell is trying to impose by freezing proposed Congressional legislation that deals with Palestinian accountability for acts of terrorism. The silence about Moslem countries that have been supporting terrorism.
The January 31st report of the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, chartered by the Defense Department and co-chaired by former Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, was put aside by the Bush administration. Seven Democrats and seven Republicans on the committee unanimously approved 50 recommendations. Many of them addressed the point that, in the words of the commission's executive summary, "the combination of unconventional weapons proliferation with the persistence of international terrorism will end the relative invulnerability of the U.S. homeland to catastrophic attack." Further, the report warned, "A direct attack against American citizens on American soil is likely over the next quarter century…"
The recommendations of this report could not have been implemented in time to prevent the terrorist attacks of September 11. What is extremely troubling is that such an important report was sidelined and that the leaders of the nation did not recognize the dangers when reliably warned. Equally troubling is that the media also disregarded this report. The New York Times silence was only broken on Wednesday, September 12. The report of the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century can be found at: http://www.mipt.org/srchnatlstrat03272001c.html
It is disregard of reputable data by the government and the media that is so dangerous. And apparently the lesson has not been learned. Wise voices are urging caution that nations notorious for terrorism should not be welcomed into the coalition at the high prices they demand. But these voices are being silenced today as surely as the Hart/Rudman report was until September 12. Few reports pierce the wall of silence the media has wrapped around the reluctance of Arab and Moslem nations to join the forthcoming battles against international terrorism.
Stephen Emerson, a noted authority on terrorism who has testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East and South Asian Affairs, had this to say in an introduction to his testimony before the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims on January 25, 2000:" Because of the investigative work I have carried out as a journalist and investigator in exposing the presence of militant Islamic fundamentalists and Middle Eastern terrorists in the United States … I have been the subject of a sustained campaign of vilification, defamation and even a threat to my life during the past five years by militant Islamic organizations…In the end, the aim of this campaign is to prevent me, as well as others, from speaking and writing about the threat of militant Islamic fundamentalism on American soil, and thus prevent the public from being properly informed. The very success of these organizations and their supporters, fronting under the false veneer of being "moderate" and "mainstream," in creating a chilling climate where free speech on this issue has been suppressed, has become a factor in allowing foreign terrorists to operate in the United States below the radar screen and thus avoid the scrutiny from either the media, public officials or law enforcement."
(The full text of Emerson's testimony can be found at: http://www.house.gov/judiciary/emer0125.htm.)
Silence is what these Islamic organizations were seeking, and are seeking today, but with the collaboration of many Moslem nations. Thus the demands made by Arab and other Moslem countries for their inclusion in the coalition: Jordan requested that the United States take no action against any Arab countries in the anti-terrorism campaign. Saudi Arabia will not allow its soil to be used as a base. Pakistan will join if Israel and India are excluded. And the payoffs: Sanctions against Pakistan are lifted and debts forgiven; special trade status is granted to Jordan. And Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah and other Arab based terrorists groups are not included in the list of terrorist organizations against whom immediate action is to be taken. Syria and Iran are being considered as partners. The French Ambassador to Israel and the British Minister, Jack Straw redefine terrorism to exclude terrorist acts committed against Israel. A blanket of silence falls.
Where are the protests that Pakistan not only helped create the Taliban, but, for years, has been training terrorists in their Madrassas religious schools? Will silence prevail in light of the report that $100,000 was funneled from Pakistan to Mohammed Atta, one of the leaders of the hijacking terrorists who is believed to have flown one of the planes into the World Trade Center?
Why has there been no public acknowledgement of Israel's offer of unrestricted aid to the coalition, of Israel's offer to send rescue crews that are internationally respected as among the best in the world? Why the silence?
In September, 2000 Yasser Arafat unleashed his terrorist forces, Fatah Tanzim, Force 17, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and they have committed thousands of acts of terrorism in this past year. Why is it that the United States, England and all the nations who now proclaim they will fight a war against terrorism, have not insisted that the incitement in the mosques and the media, the racism, lies, and hatred in the text books, and the training of Palestinian children to become suicide bombers, cease immediately? Why is there not the same outrage when innocent Israeli lives are sacrificed by Islamic terrorists? Why the silence?
On September 23 the leaders of the Jewish communities and organizations in America were supposed to hold a major rally near the U.N. in New York in support of Israel. It had taken months and months to prepare. And, simultaneously, there were to be rallies elsewhere in the United States and other countries, including Israel. But when the terrorists struck America, the rally was called off and – instead of solidarity – there was silence. What better time could there have been to hold those rallies in support not only of Israel but to emphasize Israel's solidarity with America? On that very day, a major gathering, marked by prayer and remembrance, was held at Yankee Stadium in New York. It could have been coordinated with the rally previously scheduled in support of Israel. Instead – Israel is left with silence as the Arabs and Arabists repeatedly lay the blame for terrorism on American support for Israel. The Iranians and Hamas have even gone so far as to suggest that Israel masterminded the attacks on America. Where are the protests from America's Jews and Christians and from the righteous among us in America and the world? Why is the silence like a wall isolating us here in Israel?
As the days since the Islamic terrorist attacks on America unfold, the signs become ominous. Israel, a true and loyal ally of the United States, a country that has been fighting Islamic terrorism for years and has much to offer from experience to the coalition against world terrorism, is the only nation committed to fighting terrorism that is being pressured to endanger its future as a sacrifice to coalition partners of very questionable loyalty.
We Israelis have been carrying the weight of vivid memories on our backs. We are carrying with us all those victims who sailed from harbor to harbor fleeing from Nazi executioners, only to be refused refuge at every port. They were sacrificed by exclusion. We carry the slaughtered whom the British refused to allow into their Jewish homeland in Britain's efforts to appease the Arabs. They were sacrificed because of exclusion. We remember them as the United States and Britain abandon and betray the Children of Israel once again by allowing the Arabs to dictate the terms of their participation in a coalition against terrorism – Israel is to be their pound of flesh.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher stated in a press conference on September 27, 2001 that while the terrorists who attacked America are trying to destroy America, those attacking Israel are "trying to resolve political issues." He elaborated:
"Essentially, there are, on some planes, two different things. One is that there are violent people trying to destroy societies, ours, many others in the world. The world recognizes that and we are going to stop those people. On the other hand, there are issues and violence and political issues that need to be resolved in the Middle East, Israelis and Palestinians."
This ignores what is preached in mosques throughout the Arab world, including those in the Palestinian Authority, and what is published in the official media of the P.A. and Arab countries. It suggests that Israel is not included in those societies targeted for destruction which contradicts the facts. On September 21, 2001, Palestinian Authority Television broadcast the Friday sermon at the Sheikh 'Ijlin mosque in Gaza. The preacher was Sheikh Ibrahim Madhi, who also lectures on water and ecology at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza. The following statement is an excerpt from his sermon: "Our belief is that this war, between us and the Jews, will continue to escalate until we vanquish the Jews and enter Jerusalem as conquerors, [and] enter Jaffa as conquerors. We are not merely expecting a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital; we are heralding [the creation of] an Islamic caliphate with Jerusalem as its capital…" (This sermon and other pertinent data can be found at: http://memri.org.)
Boucher's remarks echo what Arab nations, some whom the Americans are courting, some on the State Department list of countries sponsoring terrorism, are proclaiming at the United Nations.
- Mikhail Wehbe, Syrian Ambassador condemned terrorism against innocent civilians but stated that "resistance" against Israel is "legitimate."
- Libya's ambassador, Abuzed Omar Dorda, asked the UN to define Israel's policies as terrorism, and not to condemn Palestinian violence against Israel.
- Ambassador Fawzi Shobokshi of Saudi Arabia stated, "The general condemnation of terrorism extends to state terrorism as practiced by Israel continuously…"
- Palestinian representative Nasser Kidwa urged the international community to "look into the negative positions and feelings of millions of Arabs and Muslims towards the United States and some other Western States…" He told the U.N. that "… actions such as that which took place on the 11th of September…were the result of … policies regarding the issue of Palestine over the course of almost 100 years."
Once again diplomatic terrorism at the United Nations. Once again a call for exclusion. Once again Israel becomes the scapegoat. And once again Arab racism and intolerance is to be appeased.
We remember the hatred and venom that permeated the United Nations Conference in Durban, an exercise in diplomatic terrorism led by Arab and Moslem nations that sought to isolate Israel and the United States as pariahs in the world. This conference was an orgy of hate that sought the exclusion of two democratic nations that would not make themselves sacrifices to hatred.
We remember all our Jewish children who have been targeted for more than 100 years as sacrificial lambs to Arab intolerance of any other people as their equals with rights to the land of Israel. We remember Shalhevet Pass, an innocent baby girl whom a terrorist targeted through the crosshairs of his weapon and coldly shot to death on March 26, 2001. We remember Kobi Mandell and Yossi Ish-Ran two young boys who, on May 9, 2001, were bludgeoned to death so badly they had to be identified by their dental records – and these were boys hiking innocently in the hills near their homes. We remember Yosef Avrahami and Vadim Novesche who were not only lynched on October 12, 2000 but were also trampled, stabbed, mutilated and dragged through the streets of Ramallah by joyous throngs, while the murderers dipped their hands in the blood of their victims and raised them high for all to see. We remember. We remember the calls for restraint when innocent people, including youngsters, were bombed to death at the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv, and at the Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem, where even babies were targets. And we remember that this "restraint" was called for by the very people who now are seen on television daily letting the terrorists know there will be no restraint in pursuing a war against them.
Yesterday, October 2, in the early evening, as people were celebrating Succot, Palestinian terrorists infiltrated the peaceful community of Alei Sinai in the northwestern Gaza Strip, shooting and throwing hand grenades into homes in an effort to kill as many people as possible. Two young people, Liron Harpaz, 18, of Alei Sinai, and her boyfriend Assaf Yitzhaki, 20, of Lod lost their lives. And so two more innocent people have been savagely murdered by terrorists as Yasser Arafat and his cohorts continue the pretense of a cease-fire, and try to make the world believe that Israel is a terrorist nation.
(For a full list of all those whose lives were sacrificed to terrorism in Israel from September 27, 2000 to the present, and how and where they died, go to: http://www.israel.org/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0ia50 . We remember them all. )
And we remember how the Palestinians have been trampling and burning not only the Israeli flag but the American flag for years. And we remember the dancing with joy in the streets and the throwing of sweets and the rifles fired in the air to celebrate the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, while Israel lowered flags to half mast in mourning. And we will remember this week when effigies of President Bush were burned, and models of attack airplanes were carried through Palestinian streets in celebrations of one year of Palestinian terrorism against Israel.
We remember as we are pressured to sit and negotiate with terrorists who have openly declared they will settle for nothing less than conditions that mean the destruction of Israel. We remember, and proclaim to the world we will not carry the firewood to the alter of sacrifice; we will not be silent, we do remember.
THE IRRATIONAL ELEMENT
Representatives of Arab countries, and Arabists like Terry Waite are interviewed repeatedly by the media and tell the world to understand that American support of Israel and sanctions against Iraq inflame those who become terrorists. Their propaganda would have the world believe that if Israel is sacrificed and Saddam Hussein's Iraq is allowed entry into the family of nations, terrorism will cease, or at least be brought under control. And apparently Colin Powell and the U. S. State Department, and Jack Straw and the British Foreign Office are joining their ranks. A senior official in the Foreign Office was quoted as saying that " Sharon is the cancer at the center of the crisis." The self-interest of Arab rulers who are either dictators or monarchs, and the anti-Semitism of many Arabists, spurs the continual cover-up of the real causes of violent, barbaric terrorism.
Let us look at some examples of irrational Islamic incitement in England. On October 13, 2000, outside London's main mosque several hundred demonstrating Muslims shouted "Kill the Jews," as leaders standing on a platform burned American and Israeli flags. This demonstration was led by Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, who issued a written statement that designated the American "army, embassies, bases and planes" legitimate targets for Muslims worldwide. It is one step from that written incitement to the chants of the mob of his followers: "Down, down USA, USA, you will pay, Osama is on his way." The mob was warning the world of its support for Osama Bin Laden. "Bomb, bomb Tel Aviv, bomb, bomb the White House, bomb, bomb Downing Street."
That incident took place eleven months before the attacks on America on September 11, 2001. Who paid attention? British policemen on the scene took no action, except to try to prevent the blockading of a road in front of the mosque, ignoring the frenzied incitement. The following Monday morning, October 16, three days after the riot outside the mosque, an orthodox Jewish student, 20-year old David Meyers, was stabbed more than 20 times with a six-inch blade while traveling in a bus in London. He was wearing a kippah and reading from a book of Psalms when he was stabbed; an Arab man was arrested and charged with attempted murder.
Muslim leaders like Syrian born Bakri Mohammed, the leader of al-Muhajiroun which has been reported to have ties to Bin Laden, and seeks to create a "world Islamic state," inflame the darkest recesses of the irrational element of people who have been nurtured on hatred and racism from a very early age. It is only another step or two for some who fervently believe they will be honored shaheeds (martyrs) when they commit suicidal acts against infidels, and that they will be rewarded with the bounty of paradise including 70 virgins upon their arrival. Irrational? Exactly! And this is the primary reason that no amount of appeasement on the basis of rational principles will prevail against terrorism.
On the same day that David Meyers was stabbed, leaders of Britain's Jewish community called for the arrest of militant Muslims in the UK who have been calling for the murder of Jews. The UK Board of Jewish Deputies reported that leaflets had been distributed in major British cities that included slogans such as: "The final hour will not come until the Muslims kill the Jews." In his article for CNSNews.com on October 18, 2000, that covered these events, Patrick Goodenough reported that Bakri was a free man as was "the imam (religious leader) of a north London mosque, Abu Hamza al_Masri, whose activities have been the subject of concerned questions in the British parliament." Goodenough further reported that despite the new anti-terrorism legislation, "the recent introduction of a wide ranging Human Rights Act is going to make it even more difficult than ever to enforce the law, deport troublemakers, or clamp down on militant organizations." He concluded, "As Sheikh Bakri told me several months ago, 'We will use your democracy to destroy your democracy.' It's time the West woke up."
But the West did not wake up, and seems still to be half asleep, despite the horrific attacks on America. The exclusion of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah from the list of terrorist organizations to be targeted and Colin Powell's pressuring of Congress to freeze impending legislation that would require reports on Palestinian compliance with agreements they have signed to arrest terrorists and the stopping of incitement that promotes terrorist activities, are transparent attempts to buy favor with the Arabs. And actions like these are also irrational, because they ignore the actual underlying causes of terrorism by trying to make what is believed to be pragmatic deals. Thus far the response from the Arab countries has been to give lip service to joining the coalition – there is not one Arab or Moslem country that has not put conditions on its participation.
"This is not a time for further study or vague directives," said Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in his address to the United Nations. "The evidence of terrorism's brutality and inhumanity, of its contempt for life and the concept of peace, is lying beneath the rubble of the World Trade Center less than two miles from where we meet today."
Brutality, inhumanity, contempt for life and the concept of peace – These are precisely the elements of Palestinian terrorism against Israel… and it is no different from terrorism anywhere else. Palestinian terrorism is caused by systematic indoctrination of racist hatred against Israel and the Jews; Islamist terrorism against western civilized countries is caused by systematic indoctrination against western civilization. Terrorism against Israel has been encouraged by sales in bookstores all over Egypt of the infamous forgery, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion; prohibitions by professional organizations against Egyptian and Jordanian doctors, lawyers, academics, writers, performers, to have contact with colleagues from Israel; by hideous cartoons and articles reminiscent of Nazi propaganda targeting Jews, Israel and the United States, and which appear daily in the P.A. media, and in government sponsored media in Arab countries. Incitement is endemic throughout the Arab world. If the war on international terrorism is to be won, then this incitement and indoctrination against America, Israel and the entire western world must be eliminated throughout the Arab world.
Israel and the Jewish people must not become the collateral damage in the coming battles against terrorism. This does not mean a war on Islam, but it does mean that Islamic nations must take responsibility, and must no longer breed hostility, or support terrorist organizations. To demand less than this is to put a bandage on a festering wound – the bandage will cover it and the wound will eat away at the body. What needs to be destroyed is the cultivation of fury, hatred and racism that fuel irrational Islamic terrorism. That is what must be demanded of every nation on earth. That is the only rational way to win the battle against irrational terrorism. The world must see the evil, hear the evil, and most importantly, speak out about the evil. To do less is to allow chaos and evil to reign.
© Reva Sharon
Also by Reva Sharon;