How Should It Affect the "Peace Process"? -

The Canadian Jewish News, September 18, 1997

Two Arab suicide bombers exploded their deadly devices in a busy market in Jerusalem. Fourteen people died and hundreds were injured. What does it mean and how should it affect the so-called "peace process"?

What are the facts? A history of terror. Since that famous handshake on the White House lawn almost four years ago, there have been many suicide bombings and other murderous attacks on Jews in Israel. The recent outrage in Jerusalem was preceded a couple of months before by a similar attack in a crowded Tel Aviv restaurant, in which, by sheer good luck, "only" three people were killed.

Since the signing of the Oslo Accord, 259 Israeli Jews have been killed and close to 1,000 wounded. Israel is a small country with only a fiftieth of the population of the United States. To put it in perspective, these 259 killed are equivalent to about 13,000 people being killed in the United States in such criminal attacks. Would the American people stand still for that?

And that is not all. These are the same people who since the "handshake", have blown up the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, the Jewish Community Center in the same city, and the Israeli Embassy in London. Hundreds of people were killed. There can be no question that they were also behind the Pan Am flight 103 plane explosion which killed 270 people, mostly Americans; that they were responsible for the blowing up of the Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia, in which 19 Air Force personnel died; and in literally hundreds of other acts of terror. All of these terror acts are specifically authorized by Yasser Arafat. That is a man who until not too long ago was classified as an international terrorist by the U.S. State Department, but who has now emerged as a "statesman".

Any pretext suffices. The basic understanding with Arafat and his Palestinian Arabs was that terror and mayhem would stop... But that has not happened. On the contrary: More Jews have been killed by terror attacks since the "handshake" than in any comparable period before it. Arafat and the "Palestinian Authority" do nothing to stop this slaughter; on the contrary, they actively encourage their followers to use violence to accomplish their ends. The PLO has not even complied with the promise to amend their infamous Charter, which explicitly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. In blood-curdling speeches, Arafat and his henchman goad their followers into violence, urging them to "liberate Palestine and Jerusalem" by jihad (holy war), "with blood and with fire".

Any pretext to violence suffices. Not too long ago, it was the opening of an entrance to an archaeological tunnel that offended the sensitivities of the Palestinian Arabs. Next it was the Israeli Jews constructing residences in the eastern part of Jerusalem on land they own. The murderous attack on the Jerusalem market, of course, had no pretext at all. It was just done out of sheer hatred for the Jews and the desire to kill as many of them as possible.

And that is the nub of the problem. Only the most naive can believe that the Palestinian Arabs (or the rest of the Arab/Muslim world) can be placated by the Israelis bringing "sacrifices for peace". The Arabs will not be satisfied with any piece of land. Even if the Israeli Jews were prepared to hand over the entire land of Israel to the Arabs and only retain, perhaps, the enclave of Tel Aviv, it would not suffice. The elimination of any Jewish vestige is the unalterable goal.

The presence of Jews in the Middle East is an unacceptable thorn in the side of the Arabs - an insult that must be avenged and eliminated. But, of course, no peace can come about until that attitude and that mind set change. And that might take a long time.

What does this mean for the "peace process"? So far, the Israelis have complied with all obligations. They have turned over Gaza and all major population centers in Judea/Samaria (the "West Bank") to the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) Further transfers are planned. But all of this should stop immediately and for at least six months. Then, the minimum conditions that Israel should impose for any continuation should be:

(1) The rescission of the PLO Charter advocating the destruction of Israel;
(2) a full-bore effort on the part of the P.A. to totally stop all terror attacks and to apprehend and turn over to Israeli justice all terrorists now operating under the protection of the P.A.
And, nobody - not the United States, any other countries, or the United nations - should be arbiters of this. Only Israel should determine whether its national rights and its security requirements are being honored and fulfilled. Only the, and not before, should it be prepared to continue its negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs.
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