Israel Report

February 2002         

With or Without Arafat?

by Rabbi Rafael G. Grossman - February 15, 2002
The President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel favor the establishment of a Palestinian state and Ariel Sharon says someone other than Arafat must lead this new state. There is something terribly wrong with this idea. Does Sharon expect the Palestinians to choose another leader because Israel wants them to? Do Bush and Sharon envision an Arab state governed by any leader that would not import weapons of war. Will their state no longer incite hate and suicide against Jews and cease promoting envy of Israel's mass modern development and end lust for its cities, industries, technologies and possession of land they consider as their own? Yet Sharon, I am told, really doesn't mean what he said. He is trying to show moderation and a desire for peace. The Talmud teaches, “after once said, he cannot say it again [differently].” (Ketubot 18b) And if you repeat something long enough, it becomes fact whether you like it or not.

The Arabs are sending missiles from Gaza and Nablus into Israel proper. Bound now to the Oslo Accords which permits only handguns to be carried by internal police, they manage to acquire launchers and missiles in defiance of the accords. Should we not expect a sovereign Palestinian state to openly acquire additional launchers, tanks, war planes and weapons of mass destruction? The counter argument contends that their state would be demilitarized. So please tell me, how would you demilitarize them? Would you stop them from building new tunnels between Egypt and Gaza in addition to those not yet discovered by Israel? Will we control the ships docking at Gaza ports or the planes landing at their airport? If, under the present circumstances, we have not been able to do so, imagine Israel trying to control a sovereign state?

Statehood for the Palestinians may come some day, but we are years away from permitting it. A prerequisite for any sovereignty given to the Arabs is a major revision of Palestinian school texts, reprogramming of media and a resolution to what they call the “Arab refugee” problem. The first logical step would be the elimination of the so-called “refugee camps” through the absorption of their residents into the Arab countries hosting them. Bleeding heart Jews and others should long ago have realized that these camps are Arab propaganda tools and their inhabitants kept there for more than fifty years to support the false claim that they were expelled by the founding Zionist fathers of Israel. Israel absorbed more Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries than Arabs who fled Israel on their own in 1948 and in 1967.

Last, but not least, it's time for the Palestinians and their few Jewish sympathizers to stop telling lies and engaging in revising history. The Arabs rejected the original United Nations partition plan, a plan that would have given them more land and the heart of Jerusalem. There are many other such myths. Among them is the libelous account accusing Menachem Begin and his Revisionist Zionist followers for having exterminated Arab civilians at Deir Yasin. A Commission of the United Nations long ago debunked the story and placed the blame for the events on the Arab side.

Almost all Jews, both to the right and the left, want to live in peace and would indeed make great sacrifices for it, but peace must never be defined as surrender. Israel must face and accept certain realities. As an example, the Europeans will always support the Arabs in any contention with Israel. The Arab world pays lip service when they say they will recognize Israel once the Palestinian conflict is resolved. Nonsense. They have yet to be reconciled to the presence of Christians in their midst and, in Lebanon, went to war against them. In Egypt, Christian Copts are persecuted and, in Saudi Arabia, churches are forbidden. Does anyone in their right mind expect these countries to undergo an instant metamorphosis? Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and all other non-Moslems are considered infidels and persona non-grata in their monolithic theocracies.

So, are there any solutions? Indeed there are. The solutions are courage and faith, and, if we must, we will stand alone. As the Mordechai of old did not bow to Haman, Jews of today must not bow to any other country's demands. “Hashem will give strength to His people, Hashem will bless His people with peace.” (Tehillim [Psalms] 29:11) A strong Israel will eventually be blessed with peace.

Rabbi Grossman is the Chairman of the Board of Religious Zionists of America and a former President of the Rabbinical Council of America.
Source: Arutz Sheva
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