Published by the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
THE MACCABEAN ONLINE
POLITICAL ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY ON ISRAELI & JEWISH AFFAIRS
"For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest"
VOLUME 8 B"H FEBRUARY 2000 NUMBER 2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A MESSAGE OF HOPE IN THESE TROUBLED TIMES...Editorial.....Bernard J. Shapiro 2
SPECIAL REPORT: A MUST READ FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN ISRAEL'S FUTURE
ISRAEL'S MOMENT OF TRUTH....Daniel Pipes 4
STRUGGLE FOR THE GOLAN
THE WORD "PEACE"....Boris Shusteff
GOLAN CRUCIAL FOR ISRAELI SECURITY....Mark Langfan 11
BUT ASSAD IS AN HONORABLE MAN....Yoram Ettinger 13
WHY SHOULD ISRAEL REWARD SYRIA?....Ariel Sharon 14
TELL THE TRUTH, BARAK!....Ariel Sharon 16
GENERALS ARE NOTORIOUSLY POOR POLITICAL ANALYSTS....Emanuel A. Winston 17
BARAK LICKS THE BOOTS OF ASSAD by Emanuel A. Winston 20
ISRAELIS' MILITARY SELF-DESTRUCTION....Richard Shulman 21
TAX DOLLARS TO SYRIA?....Daniel Pipes 21
PAINTING A LION AS A LAMB....David Bar-Illan 22
MIDDLE EAST FORUM: SURVEY OF AMERICAN ATTITUDES TOWARDS SYRIA 23
TURNING THE US FROM AN ALLY INTO A JUDGE....Moshe Arens 24
"FROM GAMLA TO JERUSALEM".....Eva 26
WHAT YOUR NATIONAL MEDIA WON'T TELL YOU ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST
THUGGERY OR DEMOCRACY FOR ISRAEL?.....Guest Editorial....Dr. Aaron Lerner 26
THE PSYCHIATRIC WARD....Elyakim Haetzni 28
ABDICATING RESPONSIBILITY.... David Bar-Illan 30
FROM ALLY TO PROTECTORATE....David Bar-Illan 31
BEN-GURION'S DECLARATION ON THE EXCLUSIVE AND INALIENABLE JEWISH RIGHT TO THE WHOLE OF THE LAND OF ISRAEL....Translated by Howard Greif 32
A 'FAIR DEAL' THAT'S NO DEAL.... Yossi Ben-Aharon 34
ANYONE FOR GOD?....Prof. Paul Eidelberg 35
IGNORANT MORALISM....David Basch 37
GATE OF FAITH & OPPORTUNITY ....Eugene Narrett, PhD 38
DO ISRAELIS STILL HAVE ANYTHING TO FEAR FROM A PALESTINIAN STATE?....David Bedein 41
ARAB GOALS AND METHODS....Elyakim Ha'etzni 42
ANOTHER STOCKHOLM SYNDROME ....David Bar-Illan 44
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© 2000 Bernard J. Shapiro
A MESSAGE OF HOPE
IN THESE TROUBLED TIMES
By Bernard J. Shapiro
As I survey the fragile planet we call home, my mind makes note of the chaos, blood, and tears. The cries of a million lost souls shatter the night in a million corners of the earth. The sensitive, compassionate among us try to feed the hungry, heal the sick, clothe the naked. One by one our energies dissipate. We try to hold back the tide with a teaspoon and then see the impossibility of the task. The Jewish people are but a cosmic speck in this universe. To many Jews who feel deeply about their own people, that speck becomes the whole world. Other Jews are irrevocably tied to non-Jewish pursuits.
May we as a people open our eyes and begin to see the world as it really is. Without becoming depressed and morose, we must realize that there are powerful forces in the world that wish us ill. May we mobilize our strength to fight our enemies until they are defeated. Pretend you have been dropped into the ocean and become fatigued with the swim to shore. Do you have the option to stop swimming? May we not succumb to false prophets of peace. We all want peace. We pray for peace in our Sabbath services every Friday night. After thousands of years, being victims of persecution, expulsion, extermination, and discrimination, it is natural that we yearn for peace with every ounce of our bodies and souls. It is because our hunger for peace is so strong that we must be doubly cautious not to fall for a pseudo-peace. Today none of us believe Chamberlain really negotiated "peace in our time" with Hitler. Why do some Jews believe that Peres and Rabin really negotiated "peace" with Arafat, one of today's Hitlers? Or that Assad really wants peace with Israel and not just the Golan. The Jewish people must learn the value of unity in the face of so many enemies who wish them ill.
I pray that Israelis who have fought in countless wars will understand that there is no magic cure, though they crave to be free of constant conflict. As Jews we are all involved in this historic struggle to survive. It is not our fate or that of the Israelis that we should retire from this struggle.
There is another battlefield here in America where the Jewish people is being tested and I pray that they win. That is the battle with assimilation, the struggle for continuity of Jewish life. History very clearly tells us that Jews can survive any persecution, but show a great tendency to assimilate and disappear where conditions are favorable. This seductive kiss of death is very hard to fight and I don't have all the answers. One thing is clear: where there is a strong intensity of religious upbringing, complete with Jewish day schools, the process of assimilation can be slowed. My prayer for the Jewish people would be a rapid growth in attendance in Jewish day schools. Also the Jewish population will have to shift to a more traditional form of Judaism. In two or three generations more than 80% of Reform Jews will have disappeared. The main survivors will be Orthodox Jewry and the Lubavitch Movement.
In 1967, during a visit to Israel immediately following the Six Day War, I prayed at the Wall for the first time. I had expected the stones to be rough and weathered after all this time, but they were smooth from 2000 years of touching and kissing. The gentle caresses of Jews over the ages had worn soft finger grooves in the hard rock. As I placed my hands on this magnificent relic of our forefathers, I felt a surge of light and energy the likes of which I had never known. In what had to have been but the flash of a second, I felt at one with Jews from all periods of history.
In an instant I saw the continuity of Jewish history and its unbreakable connection with Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel). I understood how modern Israel is the beginning of the Third Temple Period and the spiritual heir to Joshua, Saul, David, Solomon, the Maccabees and Bar Kokhba. I frequently write about the security reasons for incorporating Judea, Samaria, and Gaza into the body of Israel. There is another side to this issue and that is the spiritual-religious side. The truth, which many find inconvenient, is that the Land of Israel was promised by G-d to Abraham and his seed in perpetuity. The Land of Israel is not speculative real estate to be bartered away for seductive promises of peace. The hills and valleys of Judea and Samaria contain the collective memory of the Jewish people. It was here that the Israelites first entered the Holy Land. And it was here they fought the battles, built the towns, elected their kings and were preached to by their prophets and judges. And it was on this soil that they wrote the Holy Scriptures we call our Bible.
In my blinding flash of insight at the Wall, I also understood that Israel on its own soil was more powerful than the sum of its weapons and men. Jews who had wandered the earth powerless for two millenniums attained great power when re-united with the soil of Israel.
One thing is clear to me: the Lord has blessed Israel by re-uniting Jerusalem and and bringing Judea, Samaria, and Gaza back under its control. It would be a horrendous sin against G-d and common sense for Israel to renounce this inheritance to which it is entitled. Israel holds these lands as a sacred trust for the Jewish people in perpetuity. It would not only be sinful, but also criminal, to abuse that trust by denying future generations of Jews their Holy Land -- the Land of their Fathers -- the one tiny spot on planet earth given to them by G-d.
I see Am Yisrael in great pain. I say to the suffering people of Israel. We are an ancient people with a glorious history. Though we suffer from weak leadership, we are greater than our rulers. Our souls are greater than the terrorists and their allies in the Palestinian Authority. We will never be defeated by their bullets and bombs. We have never submitted. We have never renounced our claim to Eretz Yisrael. We are a Holy People, despite our pain. We have vision where our leaders are blind. Our courage is greater than the mean and cruel world which has oppressed us.
BEWARE THE RISEN PEOPLE
I have a vision and a dream that I must reveal as we approach these End of Days: In the name of G-d, the Unforgetting and the Almighty, I say to my people's enemies: Beware of the thing that is coming that will take what you would not give. That will free the people of Israel from your atrocities. I say to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak: Beware of the Risen People who will sweep the Arab scourge into the dustbin of history. Know that the Jewish soul will be set free. The spectacular victories of the Israeli army and the return to Zion demonstrated that power. But it wasn't a miracle. It was just the soul of the Jew coming to its own. It was just the Jewish soul freed at last to be itself.
And I see it coming, the Jewish soul released to be itself. I see a new proud Jewish government coming to power in Israel. A government that reclaims the Jewish Holy Places and restores Jewish sovereignty in all of Eretz Yisrael. I see Moslem control and Islamic sites removed from the Temple Mount to make it ready for Moshiach. I see the enemies of Israel, who raise up their hands to murder or injure Jews, driven from our Holy Land. I see the secular Jews of Israel and the world becoming more observant and returning to the Torah. I see religious Jews becoming more tolerant of diversity in Jewish practice.
I see a new Israeli foreign policy that grovels before no nation, no matter how powerful. I see Israel's Foreign Minister informing every nation that their embassies must be in Jerusalem. If they don't respect Israel's capital, then maybe they can have a consulate in Tel Aviv. I see the government demanding that the Vatican return all the property it has stolen from the Jewish people during the last 2000 years. Maybe they will refuse and we could always hold their property in Israel as a down payment. The Vatican has been used to dealing with obsequious groveling Jews, but now they would see proud fearless Jews. I see an Israeli government that would change its relationship with America from one of subservience to one of equal alliance.
Yes, I have a dream that Jews will no longer debate the obvious: like whether to hold onto what is theirs or trade it away; whether to struggle for survival or to give up from fatigue. I have a dream that the Jews of the kibbutz and the Jews of YESHA will be reborn as brothers and patriots. From the Galilee to Eilat, all the people of Israel will share the same dream of a powerful independent Zionist nation. I have a dream that this strong, proud independent Israel will win the respect of all the nations of the world, including the Arabs. Instead of the contempt it has earned in recent years, Israel will again be a light unto the nations. And finally, I have a dream that this new Israel will find the peace it so dearly deserves. A peace with strength and self-respect. As I look back at 4000 years of Jewish history, I have but one urgent hope and prayer: We must make this dream a reality. There is no alternative.
May the Lord, bless the leaders of Israel with the courage to pursue peace, and the wisdom to know when it is not attainable. May the Lord bless the Jews of the former Soviet Union and give them jobs and new friends to ease their transition into Israeli life. May the Lord bless the war-weary Israeli people with the stamina to bear up under the strain, if peace not just around the corner. May they understand that their fate may be that of endless struggle to survive in a hostile world and may they have the strength to understand that there is still no alternative (ein brera). May the people of Israel prosper and go from success to success never forgetting that their destiny lies in their might, their righteousness and their faith in HaShem.
[ Revised from the original written for Rosh Hashana 5758.....Bernard J. Shapiro, Editor]
Reprinted from Commentary Magazine of February 2000
ISRAEL'S MOMENT OF TRUTH
By Daniel Pipes
It might appear that things have never been going better for Israel, or worse for those who wish it ill.
Consider: the Jewish state has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and five agreements with the Palestinian Authority (PA), its "partner for peace." With Syria, high-level negotiations now under way appear so promising that both sides have publicly predicted they could be wrapped up within a few months. Other diplomatic ties are stronger than ever: Israel has a powerful regional ally in Turkey, enjoys growing links to such giants as India and China, and is generally shedding the near-pariah status that hobbled it in the recent past. The connection to the United States is warm, deep, personal, and reciprocal.
Should diplomacy fail for any reason, moreover, Israel can fall back on its military strength. As the only country in the Middle East participating in the much-bruited "revolution in military affairs"--essentially, the application of high-tech to armaments--it has built so great a lead in conventional arms, including planes and tanks, that several Arab states have basically conceded they cannot compete with it on that level. Instead, they have directed their attention higher (to weapons of mass destruction) and lower (to terrorism). But even in those arenas, Israel is far from helpless: it has a missile-defense system, the Arrow, in the works and, for retaliatory purposes, weapons of mass destruction of its own, as well as formidable anti-terrorist capabilities.
Security matters hardly exhaust the list of Israel's advantages. Economically, it enjoys today a per-capita income of $18,000, placing it a bit ahead of Spain and a bit behind Canada--in other words, in the big leagues. Better yet, it has shown a very impressive annual growth rate since 1990. Thanks to its "Silicon Wadi," Israel is a high-tech giant, with a computer and Internet sector larger in absolute terms than that of any other country in the world outside the United States. Demographically, the birth rate of 2.6 children per woman among Israeli Jews is one of the highest in the West, and the country also remains a magnet for immigration; with 5 million Jews, it is quickly gaining on the United States as the place with the largest Jewish population in the world.
Finally, there is the political scene. Unlike its neighbors and rivals, Israel benefits from a lively and robust civic culture in which everyone has his say, party lines are (notoriously) fluid, and no one defers to politicians. And yet, however colorful and argumentative the public forum, when it comes to key security issues the major parties find much common ground. In last year's elections, for example, the two candidates for the post of prime minister differed on the tone and pace but hardly at all on the substance of the peace process: yes, they concurred, the Palestinians should do more to live up to their promises, but no, their failings in this area were not reason enough to cut off negotiations.
By contrast, If Israelis appear to be faring well, Arabs--and Iran, too--seem to be faring less well. Arab countries are, in the words of a UN official, "particularly exceptional in being the highest spenders in the world on military purposes": they devote 8.8 percent of their GDP to the military, versus 2.4 percent for the world as a whole. Nevertheless, despite all this spending, Arab conventional forces are in decline. To be sure, a few states (like Egypt) have access to advanced American arms, but their lack of technical proficiency means that they are nearly always consumers of military hardware, paying for completed goods that others have to teach them how to operate.
Allies? The Soviet Union is gone, and no one has come close to replacing it. The Arab states darkly suspect the United States of engaging in conspiracies against them, and these suspicions--as, most recently, in the case of the EgyptAir crash off New York--impede closer relations with the world's only superpower. Arabs also lack an effective counterpunch to the pro-Israel lobby in Washington, and have failed to respond to the growing cooperation between Turkey and Israel in a way that would advance their own interests.
Outside Israel, the Middle East boasts--if that is the right word--the world's highest quotient of autocratic regimes, not to mention an inordinate number of rogue states, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and Libya. A culture of deference and intimidation remains dominant everywhere; movements for democracy and human rights are feeble. Arab states are particularly vulnerable to Islamism, a totalitarian ideology in the tradition of fascism and Marxism-Leninism. While Islamists have suffered reverses in recent years, they are still the major opposition force in countries like Algeria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, threatening the stability of government after government.
Nor are Arab economies doing well. The recent jump in oil prices, however welcome to producers, cannot obscure some dismal realities, principally a per-capita annual income among Arabic-speaking peoples that does not rise to one-tenth of Israel's. Yes, Kuwait weighs in (just like Israel) at $18,000; but in Yemen the annual per-capita income is $270; more to the point, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria all hover in the neighborhood of $1,000. A paltry one percent of world equity flowing to emerging markets these days ends up in Arabic-speaking countries. When it comes to high technology, the Middle East is a black hole, with few sales and even less innovation. As the historian R. Stephen Humphreys has noted, "with the partial exception of Turkey and of course Israel ... there is not one Middle Eastern manufactured item that can be sold competitively on world markets."
Demographically, the Arabs and Iran have too much of a good thing: a birth rate so high that schools cannot maintain standards, and economies cannot manufacture enough jobs. The demographer Onn Winckler has named population growth as the Middle East's "most critical socioeconomic problem."
Taken together, all these factors seem to suggest that Israel has at long last achieved a definitive edge over its historic enemies. Such, indeed, appears to be the view of Israeli leaders themselves. Thanks to Israel's position of strength, Prime Minister Ehud Barak now speaks confidently of an "end to wars" and of his country's being finally accepted as a permanent presence by its neighbors. These sentiments are widely echoed both in Israel and in Washington.
And yet--two trends suggest otherwise. The first has to do with Arab strengths, the second with Israeli weaknesses. In both cases, the phenomena I will be discussing are only partly material in nature, lying more in the realm of such elusive and intangible qualities as internal spirit and morale. But these are precisely the qualities that in the end can decide the fates of nations and peoples.
Some improvements in the Arab position, whether actual or imminent, have long been recognized: greater control over a huge portion of the world's oil and gas reserves, steady acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, movement toward economic modernization (notably in Egypt). Progress in any or all of these areas can seriously threaten Israel's qualitative edge and its security in the medium term--unless Arab enmity toward the Jewish state has dissipated in the interim. But just here is where the greatest reason for concern resides.
Historically, Arab "rejectionism"--that is, the refusal to accept the permanent existence of a sovereign Jewish state in its historic homeland --has been based on one or another local variant (pan-Arab, pan-Syrian, Palestinian, or the like) of nationalism, a European import into the Middle East. It has suffered from two disabilities: limited reach and factionalism. But as, recent years, the rejection of Israel has taken on a less secular and more Islamic complexion, it has gained a deeper resonance among ordinary Arabs, with Israel's existence now cast as an affront to God's will, and has also benefited operationally from a somewhat greater degree of unity (Islamists are surprisingly good at working together). The net effect has been not to moderate but, on the contrary, to solidify and to sharpen Arab antagonism to Israel--vocal rejectionist elements now include pious Muslims and Islamists, Arab nationalists, despots, and intellectuals--and to give fresh impetus to the age-old dream of destroying it.
The point cannot be made often or strongly enough that, in their great majority, Arabic speakers do continue to repudiate the idea of peace with Israel. Despite having lost six rounds of war, they seem nothing loath to try again. In one of the most recent in-depth surveys of Arab opinion, conducted by the political scientist Hilal Khashan of the American University of Beirut, sixteen hundred respondents, divided equally among Jordanians, Lebanese, Palestinians, and Syrians, stated by a ratio of 69 to 28 percent that they personally did not want peace with Israel. By 79 to 18 percent, they rejected the idea of doing business with Israelis even after a total peace. By 80 to 19 percent, they rejected learning about Israel. By 87 to 13 percent, they supported attacks by Islamic groups against Israel.
This is the view of Israel that dominates political debate in the Arab world and that is conveyed to the public in every arena from scholarly discourse to the popular media to nursery-school jingles. True, some Arabs think otherwise. The late King Hussein of Jordan spoke eloquently of the need to put aside the conflict with Israel and to get on with things; his son and successor appears to be of like mind. Some Arab army officers would undoubtedly prefer not to confront Israel's military forces any time soon. Kuwaitis and Lebanese Christians, sobered by occupation, now mostly wish to leave Israel alone. And there are business leaders who believe, as one Arab banker succinctly put it, that "the whole purpose of peace is business." But these elements, overall, represent but a minority of the Arab population, and have not shifted the underlying hostility.
An incident from the sports pages makes the point. Only a few months ago, Israeli athletes ventured on a first-ever official match to an Arab capital--the capital not of a front-line "confrontation state" but of the tiny and moderate Persian Gulf sheikhdom of Qatar. The experience turned out to be, as Agence France-Presse aptly characterized it, "a bruising ordeal." Forced to live in nearly complete isolation from other athletes, the Israeli champions had to enter and leave their hotel via a side door. Among the flags of the competing nations, Israel's alone was not raised in public. Huge crowds turned up to jeer at the Jewish athletes, and the media touted their presence as "an occasion to express the Arabs' rejection of all that is Israeli."
Twenty years of relations between Egypt and Israel since the treaty of 1979 testify bitterly to the same state of affairs. Formally there is peace, but Cairo permits, even sponsors, a vicious propaganda campaign against Israel that includes the crudest forms of anti-Semitism, and it is rapidly building up offensive military forces that could be deployed against the Jewish state. In effect, Egyptian authorities are telling their people, for all sorts of reasons we have to be in contact with Israelis and sign certain pieces of paper, but we still hate them, and you should, too. In Jordan, where the government does not play this double game, things are in some ways worse: the best efforts of two kings have failed to induce in the Jordanian populace a more peaceable and friendly outlook toward Israel.
Fueling the dream of Arab rejectionists is the immensely important fact that within Israel itself (that is, within the 1967 borders), the Jewish proportion of the population has fallen from a one-time high of 87 percent to 79 percent today, and is inexorably trailing downward. In 1998, of Israel's total population growth of 133,000, only 80,000 were Jews, with Arabs making up the bulk of the remainder. From such statistics, some demographers predict a non-Jewish majority by the middle of the 21st century.
But the Jewish nature of the "Jewish state" will shift in the Arabs' favor long before they reach majority status there. At present, were Israeli Arabs to be represented in the Knesset in proportion to their numbers, they would already hold 24 out of its 120 seats. Even with the seven seats they now occupy, as the analyst Eric Rozenman has noted, the Arab electorate and Arab Knesset members ... have helped override Jewish majorities on such vital matters as the creation of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's coalition in 1992 and approval of the Oslo and Oslo II accords in 1993 and 1995 respectively. All seven Israeli Arab members voted for both agreements; the former passed 61 to 50, with nine abstentions, the latter passed 61 to 59.
These trends will undoubtedly persist, Rozenman writes, especially as Israeli Arabs become "energized by a new Palestinian state next door (and perhaps also by an increasingly Palestinian Jordan)." By the time the numbers of Arabs approach or even exceed parity with the Jews, "the state might still be democratic, but the civic atmosphere, the public culture, would not likely be Jewish in the tacit, general sense it is today."
The growing power and enfranchisement of Muslims in the United States provide further grounds for Arab optimism. Not only is the American Muslim community approaching the Jewish community in absolute size, it is also making strides in education, economic well-being, and political savvy. If the old pro-Arab lobby was hampered by its dependence on oil money, retired American diplomats, and left-wing Christian Arabs, dynamic new organizations like the American Muslim Council and the Council on American-Islamic Relations are another matter altogether. Although foreign policy is hardly their only cause, "Palestine" remains the single most mobilizing issue for American Muslims, and the position articulated by Muslim organizations on this issue is almost uniformly extremist--against negotiations with Israel or almost any form of accommodation with it.
Not only are these extremist Muslim organizations intent on making themselves heard, but the Clinton administration, at least, has openly welcomed them at the highest levels. At a dinner she hosted to break the fast of Ramadan this past December, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright told her guests: "I want to be sure that the legitimate concerns of Muslim Americans are taken into account when shaping the programs, activities, and reports of this Department." Seated before her was a Who's Who of American Muslim radicals.
Is it any wonder that many Arabs, knowing such facts, or hearing such heady words from the lips of the American Secretary of State, should become newly imbued with a sense of confidence about the future? And that sense can only be bolstered by what they see happening on the other side, within Israel itself.
Once renowned for its self-confidence, bravery, and purpose, Israel today is a changed society. Whatever the undoubted strength of its military machine, few in a position to know the heart and soul of the country try to hide the fact of a widespread demoralization, even within that military machine itself. As a retired colonel summed it up neatly, "the Israeli public is really tired of war."
Fatigue takes many forms in contemporary Israel. The pervasive feeling that they have fought long enough, and that the time has come to settle, leads many to express openly their annoyance with the need for military preparedness and the huge expense of maintaining a modern armed force. They weary of the constant loss of life, they want escape from the fear that terrorism imparts, they yearn to close down an atavistic tribal war--and peace treaties promise a quick way out. (As one Israeli put it to me, "My grandfather, father, myself, and my son have all fought the Arabs; I want to make sure my grandson does not also have to.") Among young people, draft evasion, hitherto all but unknown, has become a serious problem, and within the army itself, morale is hardly what it once was, as the IDF's decidedly unheroic record in Lebanon has revealed to all, including the Hizbullah enemy.
At the same time, Israel's soaring economy has given many citizens a taste for the good life that cannot be easily reconciled with the need for patience and fortitude--and, especially, sacrifice--in confronting a seemingly unchanging enemy. Middle-aged Israeli men are increasingly unwilling to go off and "play soldier" on reserve duty for several weeks a year when they could be at the office increasing their net worth or enjoying what that net worth makes possible. For those with an active social conscience, a number of long-deferred domestic problems--persistent poverty, a faulty educational system, worsening relations between secular and religious--seem much worthier of attention, and of state expenditure, than does grappling endlessly with Israel's opponents.
Finally, Israelis are tired of the moral opprobrium their country has long suffered--at the United Nations, in Western academic circles, and in editorial boardrooms. Indeed, in an extreme reaction to this ongoing moral ostracism, some of the country's foremost intellectuals have, as it were, defected: they have accommodated sizable chunks of the Arab side's version of the Arab-Israeli conflict, promulgating them as important new truths. Thus, to cite an especially influential expression of this line of thinking, the school of "new historians" in Israel argues that the Jewish state is guilty of an "original sin"--the alleged dispossession of Palestine's native inhabitants--and can therefore be considered to some extent illegitimate. Others, known as "post-Zionists," have characterized Jewish nationalism--Zionism--as, if not racist, then at best an outdated and parochial ideology, and one which should no longer form the basis of Israel's public life.
Such ideas, first incubated on the far Left and in the prestige universities, then spread to students, artists, and journalists, and are now the stuff of television documentaries and educational textbooks. As of the current Israeli school year, ninth graders no longer learn that Israel's war of independence in 1948-49 was a battle of the few against the many but, to the contrary, that the Jews enjoyed military superiority over the Arabs. They also learn that many Palestinians fled the country in those war years not to clear the way for invading Arab armies thought to be on their march to victory, but out of well-founded fears of Jewish brutality and terror.
In a front-page report on the introduction of these books into the schools, the New York Times rightly characterized them as marking a "quiet revolution." That revolution has by now reached the cosnsciousness of politicians, business leaders, and even military officers; its impact can hardly be exaggerated. Thanks to the inroads of post-Zionism, as Meyrav Wurmser has observed in the Middle East Quarterly, Israeli society "is now facing a crisis of identity and values that strikes at the basic components and elements of [its] identity: Judaism and nationalism." Without those two components, clearly, little remains of the Zionist project.
What are the implications, for politics and diplomacy, of Israeli fatigue, and of the intense self-absorption that is its corollary? What strikes one above all is how little attention Israelis are paying these days to their Arab neighbors. Sick of fighting, bent on building an Internet economy, they seem to have decided that Arabs feel the same way, and want the same things, they do. (In psychology, the term for this is projection.) According to a survey conducted by the Jaffee Center at Tel Aviv University, fully two-thirds of Israelis now agree with the following dubious assertions: that most Palestinians want peace; that signing agreements will end the Arab-Israeli conflict; and that if forced to choose between negotiations and increased military strength, Israel should opt for the former. Prime Minister Ehud Barak perfectly sums up this outlook in his repeated invocation of a peace that will "work for everyone," the unspoken assumption being that Arabs no less than Israelis seek to resolve their century-old conflict on harmonious terms.
Of course, at some level Israelis know full well about continued Arab rejectionism: the signs are too conspicuous for even the most ostrich-like to be truly ignorant. But they have clearly chosen to de-emphasize or even ignore the phenomenon. How else explain the absence of a single full-time Israeli journalist reporting from an Arab capital, or the fact that Hilal Khashan's meticulous survey of Arab opinion, with its thoroughly dismaying news, received no attention whatsoever in the Israeli press when it appeared last summer??? "These are only words. Let them talk," is how Shimon Peres, speaking for many of his countrymen, has airily dismissed the undeniable evidence of Arab feelings and attitudes.
Peres's disdainful remark encapsulates a delusional but widespread Israeli assumption: that peace in the Middle East is Israel's for the making, and that if Israelis want to end the long-drawn-out struggle, they can do so on their own. They can "solve" the Palestinian problem by acceding to the creation of a state in the West Bank and Gaza; they can eliminate anti-Zionism by helping to funnel money to the Arabs, who will use their new-found affluence to become good neighbors (and never to amass more powerful arsenals); or--in the post-Zionist scenario--they can win Arab hearts by dismantling the Jewish attributes of the Jewish state.
Whatever the preferred tactic, the underlying premise is the same: that the key decisions of war and peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict are made in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv rather than--what is in fact the case--in Cairo, Gaza, Amman, and Damascus. Under the spell of this fantasy, Israelis now seem prepared to execute what will amount to a unilateral transfer of hard-won territory--to Syria in the north, to the Palestinian Authority in the center of the country--in the hope that their troubles will thereby disappear. Indeed, they sometimes appear prepared to go to extreme lengths to induce their Arab interlocutors to accept the gifts they mean to confer on them.
Listening to the Israeli prime minister and the foreign minister of Syria as they inaugurated a new round of talks in December 1999, for example, one might have thought that Israel was the party that had instigated--and then lost--the Six-Day War of 1967, and was now desperately suing Damascus for terms. Barak spoke pleadingly of the need "to put behind us the horrors of war and to step forward toward peace," and of creating, "together with our Syrian partners, ... a different Middle East where nations are living side by side in peaceful relationship and in mutual respect and good-neighborliness." By contrast, the Syrian foreign minister blustered like a conqueror, insisting that Israel had "provoked" the 1967 clash and demanding the unconditional return of "all its occupied land. " The very fact that a prime minister had agreed to meet with a mere foreign minister, breaching a cardinal protocol of diplomacy, was signal enough; that the foreign minister of Syria lacks any decision-making power whatsoever further confirmed who in this encounter was the wooer, who the wooed.
When it comes to Lebanon, Israelis appear to have convinced themselves that the unilateral withdrawal of trops from their "security zone" in the south will cause their main Lebanese opponent, Hizbullah, to leave them alone, despite repeated and overt statements by Hizbullah leadership that it intends to continue fighting until it reaches Jerusalem and that it "will never recognize the existence of a state called Israel even if all the Arabs do so." More, Israelis seem persuaded that prospect of their withdrawal from Lebanon is one of the things that have the Syrians worried, quite as if the best way to scare your enemy were to threaten a retreat.
On the Palestinian track, the ostensibly more muscular party--Israel--has pointedly refrained from requiring that the ostensibly more vulnerable party fulfill the many obligations it has undertaken since 1993, with the result that the PA has neither turned over criminals and terrorists, nor ceased its unrelenting incitements to violence, nor restricted the size of its armed forces. The PA's logo brazenly shows a map of a future Palestine stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea--a Palestine, that is, not alongside Israel but instead of it. To all this, the Israeli body politic appears to pay no heed.
The newspaper Ha'aretz reports that Israeli negotiators have already conceded in principle to the Palestinian Authority day-to-day control of parts of Jerusalem. At the very end of 1999, when Prime Minister Barak took the unprecedented step of releasing two Palestinian prisoners who had killed Israelis, his action was met, predictably, not with gratitude but with noisy demonstrations chanting aggressive slogans--"Barak, you coward. Our prisoners will not be humiliated"--and by the demand that Israel now let go all of the estimated 1,650 jailed Palestinians. No doubt, the demonstrators will eventually get their way. Israelis are on their own road to peace, and no "partners," however hostile, will deflect them from it.
Today's Israel, in sum, is hugely different from the Israel of old. For four decades and more, the country made steady progress vis-à-vis its enemies through the application of patience and will, backed when necessary by military courage and might. From a fledgling state in 1948 invaded by five Arab armies, it established itself as a powerful force, overcoming oil boycotts, terrorism, and the enmity of a superpower. But by the time of the Oslo accord of August 1993, the signs of exhaustion were becoming increasingly manifest; by now they are unmistakable.
As recently as the 1996 national elections, a lively debate took place in Israel over Palestinian non-compliance and over the wisdom of handing the Golan Heights back to Syria. By the time of the 1999 elections, with very little having changed on the ground, those issues had disappeared. Perhaps 10 to 15 percent of the population still adheres to the old Likud view that Israel should keep control of the territories until the Arabs have shown a true change of heart. Today, the debate is over timing and tone, not over substance. Symbolic of the new consensus is the fact that the Third Way, a party that was exclusively focused on retaining the Golan Heights under Israeli control and that took four Knesset seats in 1996, vaporized in 1999, winning not a single seat. Even former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the reputed arch-hardliner, signed two empty agreements with Arafat and, on the Syrian track, was ready to concede virtually everything Asad demanded. As Ehud Barak has correctly noted, "there are only microscopic differences between the things Netanyahu was willing to discuss and those discussed by [Shimon] Peres and [Yitzhak] Rabin."
Many who bemoan the weakness of current Israeli policy are tempted to place the onus on Washington. But (to put it symbolically) how can one become exercised over Hillary Clinton's advocacy of a Palestinian state when, only weeks earlier, Simon Peres had already specified a date for such a state's inception? Israelis are perfectly capable of choosing leaders prepared to resist American pressure, and they have done so in the past. The collapse of a meaningful opposition party in 1999--the son and political heir of Menachem Begin, who won two elections as prime minister in 1997 and 1981, had to withdraw from the race because his support was so trivial--rebuts the notion that weak politicians are doing the bidding of Washington; rather, they are doing the bidding of their electorate. No, it is inward to the Israeli spirit that one must look for the roots of the present disposition to ignore repeated Palestinian flouting of solemnly signed agreements, to turn the Golan Heights over to a still-fanged Syria, to withdraw unilaterally from Lebanon, and to acquiesce in huge American sales of military equipment to an unfriendly and potentially quite ominously threatening Egypt.
Israel today has money and weapons, the Arabs have will. Israelis want a resolution to conflict, Arabs want victory. Israel has high capabilities and low morale, the Arabs have low capabilities and high morale. Again and again, the record of world history shows, victory goes not to the side with greater firepower, but to the side with greater determination.
Among democracies, few precedents exist for the malaise now on display in Israel. Imperfect analogies include the atmosphere of pacifism and appeasement that pervaded significant sectors of opinion in England and France in the 1930's, the United States during the Vietnam period, and Western Europe in the early 1980's. But none of these situations quite matches Israel's in the extent of the debilitation. Even more critically, none of those countries lived with so narrow a margin of safety. The United States lost a long, bloody war in Vietnam, but the nation as a whole was hardly at risk. In Israel the stakes are far higher, the room for error correspondingly minute.
This is not to say that the Jewish state is in immediate danger; it continues to have a strong military and a relatively healthy body politic, and democracies have demonstrated the capacity to right their mistakes at five minutes to midnight. But one shudders to think of what calamity Israel must experience before its people wake up and assume, once again, the grim but inescapable task of facing the implacable enemies around them.
Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and author of Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes, and Where It Comes From (Free Press).
by Boris Shusteff
There is a saying in the East that no matter how many times you repeat the word "halva" you will not feel sweetness in your mouth. Similarly, it does not matter how many times the Arabs repeat the word "peace" in English, since they translate it into Arabic as "war." As a matter of fact, sometimes they even say in English what meaning the word "peace" has to them. A good example is Arafat's "translation," stating that "peace for us means the destruction of Israel, and nothing else"(1). And now the Syrian Arabs have also given their interpretation of the word "peace."
Speaking on December 15, 1999 in the White House Rose Garden Syrian Foreign Minister Sharaa said, "Peace for Syria means the return of all its occupied land." He did not say that it means the end of war with the Jewish state. He did not say that it means recognition of the Jewish state. He did not apologize for the aggressive wars led by the Syrian Arabs against Israel. He simply declared that he wants the Golan Heights.
The worshippers of the word "peace," after hearing this magic word emanating from Sharaa's mouth immediately stopped comprehending reality. They completely missed the next sentence in Sharaa's speech. They simply disregarded that he said:
"Those who reject to return
(sic) the occupied territories to their original owners, send a
message to the Arabs that the conflict between Israel and the
Arabs is a conflict of existence in which bloodshed can never
stop and not a conflict about borders."
Sharaa accidentally exposed the truth. He admitted that the conflict between Israel and the Arabs is "a conflict of existence." All he did not say was that the Arabs have absorbed this truth with their mother's milk. This is why Hizbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah told a rally held to honor a suicide bomber, who blew himself up near an Israeli patrol in the south Lebanon zone, "There is no solution to the conflict in this region except with the disappearance of Israel"(2)
This is exactly the reason why Jamil Abu Bakr, a spokesman for the Jordanian fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood Movement, said "peace with Israel is inconceivable. How can there be peace? We are Muslims and our holy book says the Jews are our enemies" (3).
Apparently the Jews are not familiar with the Muslims' holy book. Otherwise they would have realized that their desires to become friends with the Arabs and live with them in peace are problematic, since the "Koran" states,
"Believers, do not make friends with any but your own people. They will spare no pains to corrupt you. They desire nothing but your ruin. Their hatred is evident from what they utter with their mouths, but greater is the hatred which their breast conceals" (4).
It is obvious that those Arabs who sacredly believe in everything that is written in the "Koran" will not listen to the Jews who "utter" the word "peace," especially since the Arabs have their own understanding of what the Jews's "breast conceals." Perhaps, this is an explanation as to why the anti-Jewish hatred in the Syrian press is not subsiding even while Barak "talks" to Sharaa about "peace." The following excerpt from a Syrian weekly speaks for itself,
"Zionism hates the Arabs indiscriminately. ?¦The Zionist hell burns both those who resist it and those who surrender, establish normalized [relations], and sell [themselves]. The Zionists will attempt more and more to realize the biblical dream of establishing a Zionist Entity from the Euphrates to the Nile, as the size of the Accords' paper grows and as the pictures of the normalization kisses multiply on TV..."(5).
The logic of the Syrians is impeccable. They prefer to establish a "Greater Syria" instead of allowing the Jews to create a "Zionist Entity from the Euphrates to the Nile." Since Syria's "western province," Lebanon, is already under Syria's control, Assad wants to retrieve Golan as a first step in attaching "southern Syria" - Israel - to Syria proper.
One should not be surprised that in this situation Assad agreed to the "peace talks" with Israel. Prof. Shai Feldman, head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University explained that "the decision-makers in Syria have concluded that there is no better way to get the Golan Heights back than through diplomacy" (6). The Syrians themselves are not hiding this either. Syrian Parliament Speaker Abdel-Kader Kaddourah said at a news conference marking the 29th anniversary of Hafez Assad's ascension to power, "We in Syria, even in the whole Arab world, are unable at present to liberate by force our occupied lands" (7).
So the Syrians found the way to "liberate" the Golan through Israel's worshipping of the word "peace." The scheme is ridiculously easy. It was enough for them to say that they, the Syrians, want peace and the Jews does not, and the mechanism of Israel's surrender was switched on. How quickly we have forgotten a similar episode in our history. Not long ago, another dictator was telling the world that the Jews want the war while he was preaching peace. On January 30, 1939, in his speech to the Reichstag Adolf Hitler said,
"If the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevization of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!" (8).
While feverishly preparing for war, Hitler constantly used the word "peace," knowing very well that it is the shortest route to the hearts of enlightened democracies. In September 1939, after he and Stalin divided Poland, he declared: "Germany and Russia will eliminate the threat to peace in the most dangerous areas of Europe, and each of them will promote in their respective territories the well-being of the local population, and, owing to this, peace in Europe" (9).
English diplomat Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen gave an account of his first meeting with the future Nazi dictator in Berlin on October 17, 1934,
"Eternal peace was his aim and whilst he was Chancellor he would never think of war except as a protective measure if Germany were invaded. He said that his whole policy was based on peace. Hitler was most emphatic that there never had and never would be any aggressive military conception within or behind the Nazi movement. Hitler particularly desires peace with France and has made great efforts to this end without success. France always stands in his way when he wants peace" (10).
For the Arab leaders it is Israel today which always stands in their way when they want "peace." The Arab press keeps repeating time and again that any and all actions of Israel are acts of war. The existence of Israel is in itself a form of Jewish aggression. Even when Israel signs peace agreements with the Arabs, she conducts war against the Arab countries. On January 1, 2000 a Syrian newspaper put it in this way:
"The events following the notorious Camp David Accords proved that the peace of the Zionists is merely one form of the war they conduct against Arabs and Muslims. It pursues the goals of the Zionist scheme in a new way, different from the traditional warfare of armies and weapons. This kind [of war] wears white gloves [hiding] Satan's claws" (5).
All attempts by the Jews to change the mentality of the Arabs are absolutely futile. Barak only demonstrates that he does not understand the Arabs at all when he says that, "a total withdrawal from the Golan would have a shock-wave effect on Assad, the Syrians, and the Arabs as a whole, transforming the Middle East from a conflict-ridden arena to an area of peace" (11). He would do better listening to Dr. Ali 'Aqleh 'Ursan, chairman of the Syrian Arab Writers Association, who wrote,
"I will be very happy when we regain the Golan by whatever means. Then, at the height of my happiness, I will start crying and adamantly working for the removal of the Zionist occupier from Palestine, for the liberation of the land, and for the liberation from the weakness that delays our revival, our freedom, and our liberation" (12).
For Dr. 'Ursan and for a hundred million other Arabs the return of the Golan will serve only as a catalyst in their struggle against the Israeli Jews, since to them the conflict between Israel and the Arabs is a conflict of existence and not a conflict about borders. As for the word "peace" - why not to use it if it expedites Israel's demise?
1. Oriana Falaci: Interview with History. Hougthon Mifflin Company, Boston, 1976.
2. Reuters news agency, 1/5/00.
3. Associated Press news, 1/3/00.
4. "The Koran: Al-Imran 3:118". Penguin Books, 1997, p.52.
5. Zbeir Sultan: "The Peace of Zion," in the Syrian Arab Writers' Association weekly, Al-'Usbu' Al-Adabi, January 1, 2000. Middle East Media and Research Institute MEMRI, # 67, 1/6/2000.
6. "The Jerusalem Post," 12/22/99.
7. "The Jerusalem Post," 11/19/99.
8. "Witness to the Holocaust"; editor Michael Berenbaum; harper Collins Publisher, 1997.
9. Vitalij Raevskij : "Yasser Arafat: The Biografy of the Terrorist". Article in Russian monthly "Shalom," # 208, November, 1999.
10. Colonel R.Meinertzhagen: "Middle East Diary". London, The Cresset Press, 1959.
11. Radio Arutz 7 news, 12/17/99.
12. MEMRI, # 64, 12/14/99.
Boris Shusteff is an engineer in upstate New York. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.
An Important Reissue: Originally published by the Freeman Center in 1994
GOLAN CRUCIAL FOR ISRAELI SECURITY
Upon completion of the latest round of Israel-Syrian bilateral peace talks, the Syrian foreign minister emphasized that no "grain of sand of our land" will be "lost." For the Israelis, Prime Minister Rabin reiterated his election pledge of "never coming down from the Golan Heights." While the two sides continue to talk, there still appears to be a wide gap between them on substantive issues. From the Israeli point of view, resolution of the Golan Heights issue depends on a calculus of the Golan's security value as a buffer against Arab attack and the precarious position Israel will find itself in if it does not have this crucial buffer zone.
Topographically, the Golan Heights is a mountain ridge which runs a length of approximately 50 kilometers on a north-south axis and is approximately15 kilometers wide with plateaus on either side of the crest . Since the 1967 Six Day war, Israel has controlled the crest running north-south and the western side of the Golan plateau which overlooks Israel's densely populated Hula Valley and the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Large areas of the Golan, currently controlled by Israel, hold the critical head-waters of the Jordan River which supply at least one third of Israel's fresh water needs . These waters flow into the Sea of Galilee which, in turn, supplies most of Israel via the National Water Carrier. In 1964, Syria attempted to divert these headwaters and cripple Israel's fresh water system. Israel's then Labor government ordered a military operation to destroy the Syrian damming project. This operation was successfully carried out by then IDF Chief of Staff Yizhak Rabin. Before the 1967 war, Syria continuously fired artillery shells and sniper bullets at Israeli civilians and planted mines on Israeli territory from advantageous perches high in the Golan hills.
Militarily, Israel's authority extends just over the crest-line of the range allowing observation of Syrian military movements and build-ups in peacetime. During war-time, the Golan crest acts as a defensive wall channeling a Syrian attack through two relatively small approaches. This is exactly what occurred in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Syrians attacked through the "Valley of Tears" gap in the north and over the apex of the shoulder of the volcanic hills in the south . Using every centimeter of the Golan terrain. 160 Israeli tanks barely managed to contain the more than 1,400 attacking Syrian tanks for 48 hours until the reserves began to arrive. Of the 119 Israeli soldiers that the Syrians captured in the first two days of fighting, 42 were later found murdered, their bodies mutilated.
Today, as in 1973, the IDF maintains a relatively small standing force on the Golan to balance the much larger Syrian force. The topography of the Israeli-held Golan limits Syrian armored forces, in an attack on Israel, to a total of 10-15 kilometers of front at those two gaps. Without the Golan, Israel would be forced to field a much larger standing force as it would then be forced to defend a 60 kilometer front against an enemy that would now be attacking downhill. This situation would require more funding for a larger army, a lengthening of civilian reserve duty, or reliance on a "hair-trigger" mobilization threshold. All these options would be severely injurious to Israel both economically and strategically.
The Golan's terrain does not make for a perfect defense but it gives a small breathing space for Israel to mobilize civilian reserves to meet an attack before Syrian forces could reach the Hula Valley. But, in order for Israel's forces to have the maximum defensive effect, they must be able to engage enemy forces at the two small approaches at the very onset of the attack with tanks. If the Syrian forces break through either gap, thus breaching the crestline, and make it to the road networks to the west - which supply Israeli defenders in the northern Golan - Israel's Golan defense would unravel. If this were to occur, Israeli civilian population centers in the Hula Valley would be a few kilometers from Syrian occupation.
Under the current ceasefire line, Israeli control extends just east of the north-south crestline, terminating in the north at the "valley of Tears" gap and at the apex of the shoulder of the volcanic hills in the south. Any "interim" disengagement, demilitarization or pullback over the crestline will render impotent the defensive effect of the Golan terrain. Correspondingly, an Israeli pullback would make a Syrian first-strike far more attractive because the severely outnumbered Israeli forces will not have the defensive advantages afforded by the natural terrain.
The Syrian missile threat greatly magnifies the importance of the mobilization breathing space afforded by the Golan's natural defensive terrain. The real threat posed by the Syrian surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs) is that they will impair Israel's crucial mobilization process. The 2,500 lb. war heads on Syria's Scud-B SSMs are approximately six times as powerful as Iraq's modified Scuds which fell on Israel in the Gulf War and are capable of destroying whole city blocks. The threat of an attack with chemical warheads will trap Israeli reserve soldiers in their sealed rooms: their reluctance to leave their families behind would be greatly intensified now that Israel's enemies can much more easily strike major Israeli cities.
In addition Syria's highly accurate Chinese M-9 and Soviet SS-21 SSMs can be used to strike Israel's northern defense installations crucial to its deterrence and defense against Syria. These include Ramat David Air Force Base, Northern Command headquarters and logistics centers, the Ministry of Defense headquarters in Tel Aviv, various mobilization depots and early warning radar and electronic intelligence-gathering stations.
There is no room on the Golan or in southern Syria for a Sinai-style demilitarization. The entire width of the Golan is only 15 kilometers and Damascus, the Syrian capital, is only 45 kilometers away. Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad garrisons a praetorian guard of elite military forees in the immediate Damascus environs to protect his rule from insurgency. As long as Syria is led by undemocratic regimes the Syrian military will be required to remain in the Damascus-Golan area. Also, Syria will most likely maintain its missile forces in any peace agreement with Israel.
Without the "breathing space" afforded by the Golan terrain, an Israeli Prime Minister will be on a constant "hair-trigger" to fully mobilize Israeli forces, as was the case before 1967. The need for Israeli control over the Golan Heights is furthered by the advent of a capable Arab missile threat. Arab SSMs would be most effective in wartime if they are used early in the Israeli mobilization process, especially in an Arab first-strike. Therefore, any level of Israeli mobilization or increased military activity in the north in response to military concentrations in southern Syria or Lebanon, could be viewed as a provocative escalation which may force an Arab missile first-strike. Consequently, a "peace" which demilitarizes or concedes to Syria even a few kilometers of Israeli-held Golan terrain enhances the probability of war breaking out.
Mark Langfan is a New York-based attorney who writes frequently on Middle Eastern affairs and security issues confronting Israel. He has created a three-dimensional topographical model of Israel to explain the implications of strategic height and depth for Israel's security. Langfan is also one of the Freeman Center's military analysts.
EDITOR'S NOTE TO THE READER
The time has come for you to ask yourself the following:
Do you support the surrender of the Golan to Syria?
And do you understand that any agreement with Syria as with Arafat and Egypt will:
1. Not be kept
2. The Americans will not recognize that it is not being kept
3. The Israelis will not insist on its being kept
And do you understand that any agreement will impact negatively on Israeli security. Sort of like taking an Olympic runner and amputating one leg and then trying with dollars and technology to recreate that perfect runner.
And do you realize that the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Golan will set a moral precedent for ethnic cleansing world wide. Or maybe OK only for Jews, as no one else would be a politically correct candidate for ethnic cleansing. Jews not being fully human, with inalienable rights could be ethnically cleansed from the Golan and YESHA now. Maybe Europe and America later.
And do you realize that the money expected from America to grease this surrender will make anti-Semites of Americans resentful of all the money going to "the Jews." And that it would make Israel totally dependant on the whims of the State Department, a virtual "banana republic." Not exactly what Herzl had in mind.
So my dear reader, please don't tell me that you are waiting to see what kind of deal is made. No deal can be good for Israel. It is time to stop standing on the fence. Take a bold step and come down on the side of Zionism and security for Israel.....Bernard J. Shapiro
BUT ASSAD IS AN HONORABLE MAN
By Yoram Ettinger
(December 28) - Prime Minister Barak has claimed that Assad is an honorable man. Barak has given the public a false sense of security so as to make a total withdrawal from the Golan easier.
Defying a series of water agreements signed with Jordan starting in1953, Syria has diverted 50 percent of the Jordanian share supplied by the Yarmuk River. Damascus has used its control of the "Yarmuk faucet" to undermine Jordan's stability and to force change in Jordanian policy toward Iran, Iraq, the Moslem Brotherhood, and Israel.
Formal peace did not prevent a Syrian invasion of Jordan in 1970 and threats of invasion in 1980 and 1989. In fact, Assad has attempted to topple the Hashemite regime - via subversive activities - since 1970.
But Assad is an honorable man...
Syria concluded three major security protocols with Turkey in 1987,1992, and 1993, in addition to several less comprehensive agreements. Assad violated all of them. In the agreements, Syria promised to expel the PKK Kurdish terrorists from its territory and Syrian-controlled Lebanon in return for additional water from the Euphrates.
Syrian support of the PKK has persisted, and more than 20,000 Turks have been killed since the mid-1980s.
But, Assad is an honorable man...
In 1978, Syria and Iraq concluded a series of agreements, both military and nonmilitary. But in 1979 they were on the verge of a war ignited by Assad's alleged involvement in an attempted coup in Baghdad.
Syrian and Iraqi militias have been engaged in a war by proxy on Lebanese soil since the 1975 Syrian invasion of Lebanon. That year Assad cut drastically the water quota of the Euphrates committed to Iraq. But Assad is an honorable man...
Assad considers peace agreements a temporary tactical means, advancing permanent strategic goals: Greater Syria and regional domination. He has cooperated with Iran, Sudan, Libya, North Korea, and other terror entities to achieve these goals.
While he has identified, rhetorically, with inter-Arab covenants of unity, Assad has supported the Popular Fronts for the Liberation of Bahrain, Oman, and the Arabian Peninsula.
But, Assad is an honorable man...
The subjugation of Lebanon, the "Western Province," has been exacerbated despite Syria's signing the three Arab Summit Resolutions (1978, 1982, and 1989) calling for the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon. In October 1990 Assad reinforced his military units in Lebanon, conducting a massive massacre of Christian strongholds there.
International agreements, inter-Arab commitments, and basic codes of human rights were brutally violated.
But Assad is an honorable man...
In 1973 Assad launched a surprise attack on Israel, violating the cease-fire agreement of 1967. In 1975 he violated the 1974 Disengagement Agreement with Israel, igniting a wave of anti-Israel terrorism, operating from northern Jordan. In 1977 he abrogated the1976 Red Line Agreement with Israel (in Lebanon). violates the 1974 Disengagement Agreement and the 1993 (Operation Accountability) understanding. But, Assad is an honorable man...
Would it be logical to assume that Assad - a leader of international terrorism, a ruthless abuser of human rights, the ferocious occupier of Lebanon, a chief heroin trafficker and a systematic violator of agreements - is credible? Would it be logical to assume that Assad would accord to the Jewish state that reliability which he has denied his Arab and Moslem neighbors?
Assad sticks by agreements only when they serve his interests or when he feels threatened. In October 1998 he expelled Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the anti-Turkish PKK terrorists, from Syria, in response toTurkish military deployment on his border. In 1970, Syria withdrew from Jordan in the face of a full Israeli military mobilization.
Israeli tanks and artillery on the Golan Heights, less than 60 kilometers from Damascus, have kept Assad constrained on that front. A determined Israeli military response stopped Syrian-supported terror in 1975 and the 1977 violation of the Red Line Agreement in Lebanon.
But, Assad is an honorable man...
Continued overlooking of Assad's violation of commitments would add to a false sense of short-term security. It may facilitate quick conclusion of an agreement with Syria. But it would jeopardize the long-term survival of Israel and the pursuit of a durable peace.
Yoram Ettinger was editor of Contemporary Mideast Back-grounder and was minister at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.
Reprinted from The New York Times December 28, 1999
WHY SHOULD ISRAEL REWARD SYRIA?
By Ariel Sharon
JERUSALEM -- As the Israeli and the Syrian teams hurry back to Washington to resume negotiations, we are told this is the last and only chance for peace and that Israel must take it or face war. I believe this hasty approach is wrong, misleading and, above all, dangerous.
Israel must adopt an approach that will allow it to assess Syrian intentions over time before making any commitment to give up the commanding high grounds of the Golan Heights.
And since in Israel, the only real democracy in the Middle East, we like to do things the American way, I suggest we should also adopt the American model when negotiating the vital issue of control of the heights. The United States ended the cold war and brought stability to Western Europe because it understood that peace must be based on dealing effectively with the military capabilities of former adversaries and not on changes in intentions alone.
It kept the defensive shield of NATO intact, and any alterations in Western strength were based on reciprocity by the Soviet Union. If this kind of concern for security was essential in Europe, it is of critical importance in the shifting sands of the Middle East, and particularly when dealing with Syria.
What would United States negotiators have demanded if the Golan Heights were an American asset? I believe they would have stressed several points.
First, there must be no rewards for the aggressor. In most conflicts negotiated in this century, the aggressor paid by losing territory, as Japan and Germany did after World War II. Syria attacked Israel three times: in 1948, 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973. From 1948 to 1967, it carried on a war of attrition against Israeli civilians by attempting to divert vital water resources from Israel.
Now Israel is asked to reward the aggressor by allowing return of the heights that rise over its territory in the valley below.
Knowledgeable statesmen and strategic experts have warned that, given the nondemocratic, authoritarian character of the Syrian regime and the unpredictability of what might take place in Syria after Hafez al-Assad is no longer in power, an Israeli agreement to return to the 1967 borders could cause it to end up with neither peace nor the Golan Heights.
Second, national defense requires territory. Most foreign defense experts and senior United States Army officers who have visited the Golan Heights or studied it repeat the categorical opinion that even in the missile age it is impossible to defend Israel effectively against a ground attack without military control of the Golan Heights. Syria has more than 4,000 tanks and 1,000 missiles, and the last and only line where an assault by them could be stopped runs through the center of the heights.
The missile threat and the vulnerability of Israel's home front do not allow Israeli military planners to rely any longer on a 24-hour rapid reserve mobilization system. The depth and space of the Golan can buy the time for regular forces to contain a surprise attack.
Furthermore, no country, including the United States, has ever given up territory and strategic depth just because it had advanced weapons systems or sophisticated early warning technology.
Third, Syrian armed forces must be reduced. Though Israel so far has not done so, it must insist that if it is to give up the defensive asset of the Golan Heights, a there must be not only a demilitarized zone on the Golan, but also a reduction of Syria's armed forces and the number of its missiles, and a dismantling of its arsenal of chemical warfare. Israel must also demand, though it has not yet done so, the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon, where a continued Syrian military presence would reduce Israel's ability to defend its northern borders.
Israel has not made explicit demands, either, that the United States will not rearm Syria with advanced Western weapons after an agreement is reached. Such rearming would erode the Israeli ability to deter attack and cancel the Israeli qualitative edge in weaponry that the United States has pledged to maintain.
Fourth, Israel must have control of its water resources, which are of great long-term importance in an arid region where there are already shortages. A third of Israel's water flows from the Golan Heights and could be diverted there, and it must continue to have a presence near these water sources.
Finally, comprehensive peace must also include measures to contain threats from Iraq and Iran, which have weapons of mass destruction and could also be sources of terrorist activity. This is another important issue about which Israel has made no specific demands in the current negotiations.
Since 1975, successive United States administrations have been committed to the principles in President Gerald Ford's 1975 letter to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin backing Israel's stance that any peace agreement be predicated on Israel remaining on the Golan Heights.
"Even in times of peace, we must hold the Golan Heights, Ehud Barak, then the Israeli military chief of staff, said in 1994. And he was not alone. Mr. Rabin took the same position clearly in 1992, when he was prime minister.
Today Israel is asked to make so-called painful compromises: giving up the Golan and transferring to foreign troops a major building block of its overall capability to defend itself, deter attacks and assure itself of early warning if an attack should occur. It is also being asked to bear the painful cost of transferring 18,000 of its own citizens and uprooting 33 communities, deepening already dangerous divisions in Israeli society. All this for what is at best an uncertain nonbelligerency agreement? Thanks, but no thanks.
I believe Israel must keep the Golan Heights. Peace is important for Israel, and we all seek it. But not less is it important for the Syrians. Isn't it about time that they were asked to make some painful compromises as well?
Ariel Sharon is chairman of Israel's Likud Party and the victorious general who saved Israel during the Yom Kippur War (1973)
TELL THE TRUTH, BARAK!
By Ariel Sharon
Genuine leaders must tell the people the truth, especially in complex and difficult situations. Barak does the opposite. At best, he tells half-truths.
Once, when we were few and weak in military and economic terms, we acted like an independent country. Now that we are many and Israel is strong, we have almost become a client state. Our leaders receive call-up papers, telling them to report to an army base in the US where they will have two months to reach an agreement.
Time is short for Clinton and Assad. One needs an international achievement by the summer; the other needs money to buy modern arms as soon as possible. So our leaders pack their little suitcases and set off as instructed. But Israel has no reason to hurry. We need lots of time to examine Syria's true intentions.
The Barak government wants a diplomatic solution, knowing it has no solution to the country's economic and social problems. Perhaps it hoped that by selling off the Golan it would get the money to solve its economic problems. But even if Congress approves a security aid package it won't grant funds for evacuating settlements from the Golan and for redeployments. These expenses will fall on us.
For the cost of the civilian evacuation alone it would be possible to lay the foundations for railways and perfect public transport all over the country. It would be possible to create more than 120,000 jobs and solve the unemployment problem, or set up a free education system, including a long school day and free universities for all. It would be possible to set up thousands of startups and again have over 5 percent annual growth, to create a genuine economic and social revolution and move Israel fully into the information age.
The prime minister hasn't told the nation any of this. He says he will insist on our vital interests and that the agreement strengthens us. But that is not true.
BY giving up all the Golan and supporting the arming of Syria, Barak is increasing the danger of war. Yet when he was chief of General Staff he opposed withdrawal from the Golan even in time of peace. American generals who came to assess the military importance of the Golan agreed. The late Yitzhak Rabin said the same, and so, of course, did I. It's wrong to claim that a peace treaty is the answer to a security problem, because the Syrians' intentions may change and a withdrawal from the Golan and the arming of the Syrians are irreversible acts. I was the OC Northern Command and I remember how difficult it was to stand up to the Syrians when they were on the Heights and we were down below.
Barak hasn't demanded the removal of the Syrians from Lebanon. Nor has he insisted on renewed and efficient supervision of Iraq, which is apparently once more producing weapons of mass destruction. Instead, his aides marvel about the "smart weapons" we may receive. They're important, but not sufficient to decide battles. In Iraq the Americans and their allies didn't succeed in destroying even one mobile Scud launcher. In Kosovo the Serbs used simple diversionary tactics, and the Americans managed to destroy only 4 percent of the Serbian tanks.
Barak says he won't destroy the achievements of Shamir, Peres, Rabin, and Netanyahu. But there is a decisive difference between them and him. They all shrank from withdrawing from the Golan. And they were more experienced than he is. Only Barak wants desperately to do it, and he's not telling his government. It's clear he has made commitments to Clinton without discussing them here. This undemocratic behavior is intolerable. Mubarak knows it; Arafat has reported it. But the cabinet doesn't discuss it, the government hasn't decided it, and the opposition hasn't been informed.
Also, Barak is going to expel 18,000 Jews from their homes. This will be a mortal blow to Zionism and the settlement movement. Barak claims he spots "certain chinks in Syria's inflexibility." But the truth is that Syria has noticed gaping holes, to the point of collapse, in Israel's defenses [Editor's Note: Sharon is referring to Israeli national will, morale & Zionism and not to military might]. This, I'm sorry to say, is Barak's true achievement.
Ariel Sharon is head of the Likud and the former IDF general who saved Israel during the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
GENERALS ARE NOTORIOUSLY
POOR POLITICAL ANALYSTS
by Emanuel A. Winston
Generals who are successful in combat are not necessarily as successful at political threat assessment. In fact, throughout Israel's history, Generals have been proven to be extremely poor at political analysis when dealing with Intelligence aimed at threat assessment. Israeli Generals turned politician have become too easy prey for foreign interests simply because they believe what they are promised.
In 1948 the nascent Israeli military told David Ben Gurion that Israel had only a 50/50 chance of surviving a war with the hostile neighboring Arab countries. They were extremely apprehensive of the threatened Arab attack if Ben Gurion would decide to declare a state. Half of his Cabinet were opposed to such a declaration. The vote was 6-4 in favor, only because Ben Gurion leaned heavily on Moshe Sharett to agree.
In 1967 the Israeli military conducted simulated war games which produced very pessimistic results of an Israeli/Arab military confrontation. Then Chief-of-Staff Yitzhak Rabin lost his composure and, as a result of the anxiety this assessment provoked, was said to have suffered a nervous breakdown. Rabin spent the initial days of the 1967 war in seclusion under a doctor's care. In any case the military's threat assessment made it necessary for the Hevrat Kadisha (Jewish Burial Societies) to prepare Israel 's parks as major burial sites in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem in expectation of mass casualties. Only when the Israeli Air Force convinced Prime Minister Levi Eshkol and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to overrule the assessment of Military Intelligence, did Eshkol order the brilliant pre-emptive strike against the mobilized Egyptian and Syrian forces which led to the miraculous 6 Day victory.
In 1973 Military Intelligence suffered complete failure to decipher the data (which in retrospect is very clear) of the Egyptian and Syrian military preparations for attack, leading to the disastrous Yom Kippur surprise assault which cost Israel almost 3,000 dead. It took 3 weeks of vicious fighting to overcome the enemies' gains in the first week. If Israel had been at the bottom of the Golan then (where she will be again if the Golan is given away to Syria now) Israel would have been cut in two and the Syrian Army could have reached outskirts of Haifa.
In 1980 Iraq invaded Iran. The Israeli Military said it would only be days or weeks before Iraq would score a decisive victory. That war lasted almost 10 years. It took the American bombing of Iranian oil installations to deny Iran victory.
In 1981 P.M. Menachem Begin ordered the bombing of Iraq's nuclear facility at Osirak (before it was operational) in defiance of Mossad and Military Intelligence who warned such an attack was doomed to certain failure and could cause serious danger to Israel. If Israel had not bombed Osirak in 1981, in the1991 Gulf War American and Allied soldiers would have faced Saddam's nuclear weapons.
In 1990, a few months before Iraq invaded Kuwait starting the Gulf War, then Deputy Chief-of-Staff Ehud Barak and Chief of Military Intelligence Amnon Lipkin-Shahak briefed members of Congress that there was no conclusive evidence of Saddam's intentions to attack Israel or Kuwait.
In 1993, then Chief-of-Staff, Lt. General Ehud Barak conducted Operation Accountability, one of Israel's biggest military failures, for the first time bestowing legitimacy on Hezb'Allah (Party of G-d) terrorist operations in South Lebanon, handcuffing the Israeli soldiers' ability to defend themselves - making them sitting duck targets, and exacerbating the position of the northern Galilee towns as hostages to Hezb'Allah terror.
In 1993 (later) Chief-of-Staff Ehud Barak invented the concept of temporary expulsion' of 400 Hamas leaders into South Lebanon, where they benefitted from a 2 month course at Hezb'Allah terrorist facilities, returning to Gaza as the engine which escalated Terror attacks against Israel. They are still operational and have since grown exponentially.
Not to be forgotten, is the serious failures in military threat assessment through the frequent release of trained convicted terrorists into the general Arab community. There they became the hero role models and trainers for a whole generation of future terrorists who can be called upon to explode upon command. Short-sighted political Generals thought they could buy good will and peace only to find out they fathered a whole new generation of terrorists-in-training.
In April 1996 then Chief-of-Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak (now a negotiator with Syria for the surrender of the Golan) was the engineer and commander of the Operation Grapes of Wrath - as disastrous as Operation Accountability - which was planned with the inspiration of Barak, who was then a member of Peres' Cabinet as Foreign Minister negotiating the surrender of the Golan to Syria. This failure continues to play havoc on Israel's northern borders.
Now, the same people advise the Israeli negotiators, the Israeli people, the American Administration, Congress, and the American people that Syria's President Hafez al-Assad has no hostile intentions or capability to attack Israel and win.
Today they err the same as they have in 1948, 1967, 1973, 1980, 1981, 1993, 1996, etc. These are life and death errors of judgement on a monumental scale. Courage on the battlefield makes Generals and soldiers effective on the battlefield but usually that does NOT transpose into expertise for political analysis of threat assessment.
The broad comprehension of religious, economic, social, historical, cultural background of the Middle East and personal characteristics of Arab leaders enable one to be a capable assessor of hostile threats in Middle East politics. Very few Generals are endowed with such background and training. Being actively involved in the narrow Military culture all their lives usually precludes time, energy or inclination for such broad-based training and experience that would produce this kind of wisdom. I know of only a few such men. It doesn't matter if a military man is Right or Left, Hawk or Dove, even very brave Generals usually cannot assess the enemies' capability or their own country's ability to overcome what usually seems to be insurmountable odds.
Good or even great Israeli military strategists do not become good or even adequate political strategists.
BARAK LINES UP GENERALS TO PREDICT MILITARY DEFEAT ON THE GOLAN
Generals have notoriously poor track records of forecasting coming political and/or military events. Presently, Prime Minister/Defense Minister Ehud Barak has launched a fear campaign, telling the Israeli population that Israel will suffer fearsome casualties on the Golan from superior Syrian forces. But, if we retreat as he and Clinton wish, there will be no Jews there and, therefore, none to be killed. Presumably, it follows that conventional wisdom could make that same argument for all of Israel. If there were no Jews, the Arabs would not have attacked Israel in six wars.
The subject to discuss is the credibility and track record to forecast coming military events of Generals or especially Generals turned politician. The above historical data lists only some of the important predictions of such expected events and the disasters that occurred or would have if their advice was followed.
There is a frantic struggle taking place to convince the people of Israel that withdrawal from the Golan is the only answer. The messages are mixed and confused. Barak is offering a "fear" message that Syria's 6 Divisions on the Golan can easily roll over Israel's forces causing massive casualties and that, therefore, Israel must abandon the Golan. At the same time some of his Generals are saying Israel can defeat Syria, even with a coalition of Arab armies.
DEFENSE NEWS of January 17, 2000 quotes the Left-leaning Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University that "The Israeli Military maintains a firm and unchallenged hold on the balance of power in the Middle East and is thus capable of defending against practically any combination of conventional threats from the region." They go on to speak of Syria's weaknesses across a broad array of equipment categories. Shai Feldman, Director of the Jaffee Center, concludes that "This is an opportune time to give up territory." The argument seesaws back and forth between the military analysts who have been so notoriously wrong in the past.
If James Carville were to explain it, he would likely say, It's not the hardware, stupid; it's the dictator behind the hardware.'
Barak is selling fear; some Generals are selling strength, but, both tell us that, by financially accommodating Syria and Arafat, we can count on the dictators to keep their commitment to peace.
Regrettably, the same story was sold to the American people prior to the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam. The Bush-Baker regime tried to sell Congress on the Concept since the mid to late 1980s that providing Saddam with generous foreign aid would moderate the aggressive behavior of the Iraqi dictator.
This is the same story that was sold to the Israeli people in their deal with Yassir Arafat. His would-be replacements are already making the case that, whatever Arafat agrees to, he did not have that right and, therefore, upon his demise, all prior agreements will be null and void. This, too, illustrates the inability of General Rabin and now General Barak to see over the horizon and predict the future.
In 1993 P.M. Yitzhak Rabin capitulated to Clinton and began the surrender process to Arafat, at once reinvigorating the PLO which was beginning to self-destruct and also weakening the center of the county. Rabin's surrender process totally violated the four promises by which he won his 1992 election, namely, that he would NOT: 1. Negotiate with the PLO; 2. Withdraw from the Golan; 3. Divide Jerusalem; or 4. Return to the 1967 borders. Even though these were all in his Declaration of Principles signed on the White House lawn, no one believed that he had put Jerusalem, the Golan and 1967 borders on the table for Israel's dismemberment.
Conclusion: Therefore, giving up the Golan with its barrier mountains and 30% of Israel's water resource is ill advised, despite General Barak's insistence. The same is true for General Barak's further withdrawal from Israel's soft underbelly in the center of the country counting on a peaceful future Palestinian State. It is clear that the judgement of the Generals have proven to be consistently flawed on geo-strategic realities. Barak is regrettably incapable of planning Israel's future.
1. "Tel Aviv Flexes Military & Commercial Muscle; Ranks 5th among Arms Exporters & Force Strength Still Unchallenged" both by Barbara Opall-Rome U.S. DEFENSE NEWS 1/17/2000
Emanuel A. Winston is a Middle East Analyst & Commentator and research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.
BARAK LICKS THE BOOTS OF ASSAD
By Emanuel A. Winston
I am looking at a photo of Prime Minister Barak in the NEW YORK TIMES today January 26th, looking smug as he sits with Martin Indyk, America's Ambassador to Israel and an outspoken Arabist ever since his appointment to the region. The title of the article was "As Peace Talks Flounder, Barak Praises Assad's Commitment" in the NEW YORK TIMES and "Barak Lauds Syrian President, Sees Continued Hope For Pact" in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, both by Deborah Sontag.
Today Ehud Barak has not only shamed himself and his country but has insulted the memory of the thousands of young Israelis who have died at the direct orders of Hafez al Assad, the Dictator of Syria.
All six wars initiated by Syria were intended to eliminate the Jewish State of Israel to her very last man, woman and child. Ehud Barak has called this insidious killer of Jews and his own people as an "honorable and trustworthy man". That Ehud Barak can praise such a man indicates that this Prime Minister is no longer worthy to occupy the office of Prime Minister nor can he claim to represent the people of Israel. He has brought the art of Ghetto Thinking and Self-Humiliation to a new low level. Even as Syria's Government Press (the "Tishreen" newspaper) insults Barak and Israel, Barak demeans himself and the country by praising a man who is literally spitting on him.
He has compromised the security of the nation playing the role of a once competent General now wallowing amateurishly as an inept politician in the world of geo-politics. It is time P.M. Barak steps down, accepts his military pension and starts to write his memoirs as Citizen Barak. Please, Mr. Barak, take your smug smile, Clinton's advisors like Martin Indyk, James Carville and Dennis Ross, and leave office so Israel may live and not have to fight another day.
Murphy's Law speaks of people who are promoted beyond their level of competency. This has happened to Ehud Barak and the people of Israel may pay a fearsome price for his poor decisions.
Emanuel A. Winston is a Middle East Analyst & Commentator and research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.
ISRAELIS' MILITARY SELF-DESTRUCTION
By Richard Shulman
Columnist Cal Thomas wrote, "It is particularly unpleasant when Jews are co-conspirators in their own destruction." He is skeptical about Arab leaders intentions, but Jews in Israel and the US express "cheap sentimentality" about the Arabs.
All Arafat has to do, to please the Jews, is "momentarily switch from preaching jihad in Arabic to mouthing a few words of peace in English." Mr. Thomas sees through that piece of theater.
He considers Israel's claims to the Golan as more legitimate than Syria's. He objects to Pres. Clinton rushing Israel to the precipice, at the edge of the Golan. When the Arabs invade from the ceded areas, Israeli leftists will rationalize that "Israel didn't compromise fast enough and so made her enemies angry." (Jewish Press, 1/14, p.9.)
Sure sounds silly but it is one with other appeasement-minded rationalizations.
TAX DOLLARS TO SYRIA?
By Daniel Pipes
January 26, 2000 Washington Times
The Syrian-Israeli negotiations have faltered, with the talks indefinitely suspended. Still, should the Syrians relent and agree to return to the table, one great question hangs over the talks: What commitments of money and troops will the Clinton administration take on?
The amount of money under discussion seems to grow with the telling. In the mid-1990s and as recently as last November, the bill to be presented to the American taxpayer was routinely said to be $10 billion. By December, the amount commonly bruited about had reached $17-18 billion. In January, the numbers leaped up to $65-70 billion, and some even talked about $100 billion. Although this sum of money would be paid out over many years, it still represents a staggeringly large sum of money. And while most of these funds would go to Israel mostly to help it relocate bases and improve its arsenal to compensate for handing over the Golan Heights a not insignificant portion will go to Syria, to help that country out of its economic doldrums and remedy its military weakness.
What do Americans think about the prospect of sending money to Syria? It is, after all, a charter member of the list of states that support terrorism and also a longtime member of the exclusive club of states winking at drug-trafficking. Americans don't like the prospect one bit, and they are very consistent in their opinion. By a nearly exact 3-to-1 margin, a national sample of 1,000 American voters replied to a poll commissioned by the Middle East Forum (and conducted on Jan. 13 by the firm of John McLaughlin and Associates) that it does not want to help strengthen the Syrian economy. To be precise, with a margin of error of ±3.1 percent, the percentage was 63.8 against, 21.2 in favor, with the remainder not knowing or not replying. By an almost 4-to-1 margin (66.5 percent versus 16.9 percent), the sample rejects the idea of funding the Syrian military.
The prospect of sending American soldiers to the Golan Heights to serve as a peacekeeping force between Syria and Israel pleases voters no better. Asked what they think of this idea, again by a nearly precise 3-to-1 margin (64 percent against, 21.2 percent in favor), the respondents nix this idea.
Although this does represent an emphatic rejection, it does bear noting that there has been slight movement in favor of using American troops abroad since the last time the Forum asked this same question, with exactly the same wording, on Election Day in November 1994. Then, the sentiment against sending American troops ran 64.3 percent against and 17.9 percent in favor.
This slight increase in approval might be due to the success of the American mission last year against Serbia, when high-tech meant winning a war without taking casualties.
Further questioning reveals a widespread reluctance to send money to Syria so long as its government behaves in unacceptable ways. By the same large margins, our sample group said the regime must take specific steps before the U.S. Congress authorizes any financial aid. Do troops occupying the neighboring country of Lebanon have to pull out first? Yes, it replies by nearly 4-to-1 (the percentage is 65.5 to 16.6). Does it have to expel terrorist groups first? Yes, comes the reply by over 4-to-1 (68.2 percent to 16.9). How about ending its anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic incitement in the state-controlled media and textbooks? Again, the reply is resoundingly positive, by over 3-to-1 (64.8 percent to 19.5).
The consistency of these figures the skeptical position ranges in a tight range between 63.8 and 68.2 percent is further confirmed by looking at the details; whether one looks at geography, age, ideology, income, gender, and race, the sentiments are surprisingly uniform and across-the-board.
This wide consensus suggests two main points. First, the Clinton administration is treading on thin ice if it assumes a congressional willingness to subsidize the totalitarian rulers in Damascus. Second, Israel's leadership should tread warily about pushing for the funding of Syria when this runs against the wishes of two-thirds of Americans. Such a move could well have counterproductive consequences in the long term for the Jewish state.
Daniel Pipes is director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum.
Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of January 12, 2000
PAINTING A LION AS A LAMB
By David Bar-Illan
To make its acceptance of
Syria's demands palatable to the public
our government is cleansing and purifying the Assad regime.
An American politician once remarked that no one ever lost an election by underestimating the intelligence of the public. If Israeli rationalizations for the deal with Syria are any indication, the government has adopted this credo with unbounded enthusiasm. To make its acceptance of virtually all Syrian demands palatable to the Israeli public, the government has launched a campaign to cleanse and purify the Assad regime. This is no minor challenge.
Syria's dictator, Hafez Assad, like Saddam Hussein, invaded and occupied a small neighboring Arab country. He has forced it to employ a million Syrian workers and to serve as a terrorist base and narcotic trade center. It took Assad one week in February 1982 to massacre 20,000 civilians in Hama while suppressing a Moslem Brotherhood rebellion. His troops and proxies have been responsible for the death of tens of thousands in Lebanon. He ordered the killing of 250 American marines in Beirut and the assassination of Lebanon's elected president Bashir Gemayel.
Assad is the sponsor of some of the world's most murderous terrorist organizations. He is the second largest exporter of hard drugs. He has violated virtually every agreement he has made. Assad also boasts some special distinctions. His is the only regime in the modern era to have awarded medals to army officers for beheading prisoners of war and whose defense minister has authored a book about Jews using the blood of gentiles in matzot. He has given refuge to Adolf Eichmann's deputy, Alois Brunner, a war criminal responsible for killing at least 150,000 Jews.
Had such a regime existed in Europe, Israel would have been outraged if anyone dealt with it, let alone praised it. Yet Prime Minister Barak has repeatedly called Assad a great leader, the founder of modern Syria, and a man of his word. Had this fulsome praise not been so obviously intended to flatter the Syrian dictator and draw him to the negotiating table, it would have been mistaken for sarcastic mockery.
BARAK has also undertaken to sell the agreement by forecasting paradise on earth if it is consummated, and catastrophe if it is not. An agreement with Syria, he says, means open Arab markets and shorter army service. Failure to reach an agreement bodes permanent war and destruction. No economist believes Israel can benefit greatly from Arab markets. At most, more Israeli factories will open in Arab lands, providing employment to the local population. And Israel will become dependent on Arab oil and gas supplies and water resources, hardly a reassuring prospect. Nor does a cut in army service, contemplated for years and now ostentatiously publicized, depend on an agreement with Syria. It will be implemented if the number of recruits warrants it. To suppose that a modernized Syrian army in possession of the Golan is less of a threat than a weak Syria without the Golan is to defy all logic.
But perhaps the most intelligence-insulting ploy is the denigration of the Golan as a strategic asset. Generals who only yesterday asserted that without the Golan the country is dangerously vulnerable now declare that it is a strategic burden. And to compound the absurdity, the government estimates that just to compensate for the loss of this valueless burden and equip the military with adequate substitutes Israel would need $20 billion to $30b.
It is in this sphere that the contempt for public intelligence is most pronounced. The government actually expects Israelis to believe that a world consortium will be found to put up the $65b. that the deal with Syria would require, and the additional $30b. to $50b. that would be needed to resettle the descendants of Palestinian refugees. Not to mention the annual expense of stationing American combat troops on the Golan.
But such funds are simply not available. And if the administration has led Assad to believe that billions would be allotted to rescue his economy and revamp his army and has assured Israel that the funds to compensate for the loss of the Golan can be found, it is perpetrating an unforgivable hoax.
President Clinton may be telling Barak that even his Republican nemeses in Congress will not want to appear to oppose peace and will vote for such staggering amounts. But it is difficult to imagine that a majority will fail to see the absurdity of spending billions under the banner of peace to build up the forces of one of the most expansionist, belligerent, anti-American and anti-democratic regimes on earth.
David Bar-Illan was former editor of The Jerusalem Post and acted as Communication and Public Planning director under PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
MIDDLE EAST FORUM
SURVEY OF AMERICAN ATTITUDES TOWARDS SYRIA
AND US ROLE IN ISRAEL-SYRIA AGREEMENT
[Telephone survey of a representative national sample of 1000 adult Americans, carried out on 13 January 2000 by JOHN McLAUGHLIN & ASSOCIATES.]
Q8: AS PART OF A PEACE AGREEMENT BETWEEN SYRIA AND ISRAEL ... THERE IS A PLAN TO PLACE AMERICAN TROOPS BETWEEN ISRAEL AND SYRIA ON THE GOLAN HEIGHTS. DO YOU FAVOR OR OPPOSE THIS PLAN TO PUT AMERICAN SOLDIERS ON THE GOLAN HEIGHTS?
A. FAVOR 21.2% OPPOSE 64.0% REFUSED 14.8%
Q9: IN RETURN FOR SYRIA SIGNING A PEACE TREATY WITH ISRAEL, SHOULD THE U.S.
CONGRESS AUTHORIZE A MULTI-BILLION-DOLLAR PACKAGE TO STRENGTHEN SYRIA'S
A. YES 21.2% NO 63.8% REFUSED 15.0%
Q10: AT PRESENT, THERE ARE ABOUT 35,000 SYRIAN TROOPS OCCUPYING LEBANON. SHOULD SYRIA BE REQUIRED TO EVACUATE ALL THOSE FORCES FROM LEBANON BEFORE THE U.S. CONGRESS AUTHORIZES ANY FINANCIAL AID FOR SYRIA?
A. YES 65.5% NO 16.6% REFUSED 17.9%
Q11: ACCORDING TO THE U.S. STATE DEPT., "SYRIA CONTINUES TO PROVIDE SANCTUARY AND SUPPORT FOR A NUMBER OF TERRORIST GROUPS." SHOULD SYRIA BE REQUIRED TO EXPEL ALL TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS FROM SYRIA AND SYRIAN-CONTROLLED LEBANON BEFORE ...
A. YES 68.2% NO 16.9% REFUSED 14.9%
Q12: SHOULD SYRIA BE REQUIRED TO END ITS ANTI-AMERICAN, ANTI-ISRAEL, AND ANTI-SEMITIC INCITEMENT IN THE STATE-CONTROLLED MEDIA AND SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS BEFORE THE U.S. CONGRESS AUTHORIZES ANY FINANCIAL AID TO SYRIA?
A. YES 64.8% NO 19.5% REFUSED 15.7%
Q13: IT HAS BEEN REPORTED THAT SYRIA HAS BEEN WORKING ON WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION ... IN RETURN FOR SYRIAN [COOPERATION], SHOULD THE U.S. CONGRESS AUTHORIZE A MULTI-BILLION-DOLLAR PACKAGE TO STRENGTHEN SYRIA'S MILITARY?
A. YES 16.9% NO 66.5% REFUSED 16.6%
Reprinted from Ha'aretz 25.1.2000
TURNING THE US FROM AN ALLY
INTO A JUDGE
By Moshe Arens
For many years now, Israel and the United States have enjoyed a unique relationship - a friendship that has turned into an alliance. The foundation of this relationship are the ideals, principles and values shared by the two countries, so distant geographically and so different in size. Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, quite naturally adopted the norms of democratic governance as exemplified by the United States - civil liberties, freedom of expression, and the rule of law.
Throughout the years of the Cold War, it became clear that common ideals and values also made for common strategic interests, and thus was forged a strategic alliance between the two countries. Unlike some of the democracies of Western Europe, which in their Middle East policy generally were inclined to place commercial interests before principles, the United States, a country with a strong ideological orientation, has stood by Israel's side whenever it had to face the hostility of surrounding autocratic Arab regimes.
In moving toward an accommodation with its Arab neighbors, Israeli governments have traditionally insisted on direct negotiations. The common-sense policy reflected an unwillingness to have an agreement imposed on Israel by third parties, and was based on the assumption that an Arab leader's readiness for direct contact with Israeli negotiators was an essential first step in arriving at a peace agreement.
When direct negotiations between Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat ran into difficulties in the United States, President Jimmy Carter was prepared to assume the role of "honest broker." No such U.S. mediation was required to arrive at the Oslo agreements, nor for the peace negotiations with Jordan's King Hussein.
Things changed last year at Wye Plantation. And not for the better, as far as Israel was concerned. With Benjamin Netanyahu's approval, the United States moved from being an "honest broker" to playing the role of "facilitator" and eventually to arbitering between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
This role change was inevitably accompanied by a movement of the United States from its natural and traditional position at Israel's side, and generally on Israel's side, to a position somewhere in the middle between Israel and the Palestinians and, on occasion, even right into the arms of Yasser Arafat.
The Wye negotiations that turned the U.S. into an arbiter between conflicting Israeli and Palestinian positions and interpretations resulted in the establishment of close and even intimate relations between the Clinton administration, Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. It culminated in Clinton's appearance before the Palestinian National Congress in Gaza and his unprecedented declaration there that the aspirations of the Palestinians had the support of the American people.
It significantly weakened Israel's position in its negotiations with the Palestinians. Now, whenever Israel does not meet Arafat's demands, Arafat is on the plane to Washington to complain to Clinton in the Oval Office.
Are we about to see a replay of this role change for the U.S. in the negotiations with Syria? Is it possible that the president of the U.S. assumes a neutral posture when it comes to negotiations between its ally, Israel, and Syria, a totalitarian state that has turned Lebanon into a puppet state and which is on the U.S. list of countries practicing terrorism? Will reality be distorted to the point of creating a symmetry between Ehud Barak, Israel's democratically elected leader, and Hafez Assad, the cruel dictator in Damascus?
Unfortunately, we have seen this happening in the months since Barak's election. is insistence on involving President Clinton in the negotiations with Syria, and his subsequent agreement to hold the negotiations in the U.S., are turning the U.S. into a mediator between the parties and, inevitably, into an arbiter between Israeli and Syrian positions.
Such a development, although initiated at Barak's insistence and seemingly pleasing to the president of the United States, will not contribute to strengthening the ties between Israel and the U.S.
It is likely to lead to U.S. economic and military assistance to Syria, a country that is the very antithesis of everything that America stands for. This is not the way to assure Israel's interests in the negotiations with Syria
''FROM GAMLA TO JERUSALEM"
Poetry by Eva
From Gamla to Jerusalem,
Peaceful settlers will take leave
To march against all tyranny,
Standing boldly for what they believe.
These are the few but faithful
Who've helped build and establish the land,
Keeping their G-d-given borders free
From the clutches of their enemies' hands.
With one voice they'll all join together.
Heart to heart they'll all take a stand.
Hand to hand they'll all walk together.
United, they'll march through the land.
Whole communities will be coming together;
Friends and families will join in too,
Moving forward with one common endeavor:
"Land for Peace"_ we must never pursue.
Who are these brave men and women,
Who'll leave all comforts behind?
They're the voice of past generations
Who've stood against tyranny in their own time.
May what they do spark a lasting flame
That the whole world might see
The love of Eretz Yisrael
Through these sons of Maccabee.
"Never again Gamla!"
Their motto is fearless and due,
A burning message to enlighten the nations:
"This land belongs to the Jews!"
Freeman Center suggested bumper sticker. Can someone do it in Hebrew for distribution in Israel?
SO MANY IDIOTS,
SO LITTLE LAND TO GIVE AWAY
THUGGERY OR DEMOCRACY FOR ISRAEL?
IMRA'S WEEKLY COMMENTARY ON ARUTZ 7 - 27 January 2000
By Dr. Aaron Lerner
#1 The Bibi Test
The Comptroller's report on election funding is just that: a report on funding. It only hints about the hundreds of thugs hired by the Barak campaign to assault Netanyahu supporters and destroy Netanyahu posters. The unprecedented violence - programmed violence designed to capture the streets - which accompanied the Barak campaign has yet to be investigated by the police.
Barak's goons also accompanied him on the campaign trail, assaulting people who tried to hold a Netanyahu poster or to say anything against Barak.
As far as I am concerned the damage to democracy caused by Barak's intensive use of hired thugs far exceeds the damage done by the illegal contributions.
#2 Did Barak Know? The 'Bibi Test'
Did Barak know? Let me suggest that we employ the 'Bibi Test'.
Here is how it works: Under the Left's 'Bibi Test', politicians can be held responsible for a legal sized handbill being displayed over 100 meters away from them. That is, after all, what anyone who attacks Netanyahu for failing to do anything when he spoke at Zion Square and a photomontage of Rabin in a Gestapo uniform on a legal size page was held up deep within the crowd for a photo opportunity coordinated by GSS agent Avishai Raviv .
Now if Netanyahu can be held responsible for failing to have the eyesight of an eagle, surely candidate Barak could have been expected to notice that the thugs who followed him around on the campaign trail kept assaulting people a few meters in front of his face.
Yes, I know. The thugs were not on the Labor Party payroll. They were paid by independent support groups. But even if through some incredible stretch of logic the Comptroller's attack on Barak's campaign is overturned in the courts, the fact remains that Barak saw the very same thugs with him day after day. Even if they were beating up people for free, Barak, under the Bibi Test, should be held responsible.
Will the authorities finally do something about the thugs? Late last week Attorney General Elyakim Rubenstein decided to reexamine the possibility of opening an investigation. Today again he surprised Barak by responding immediately to the Comptroller's report. I know I am an incurable optimist, but my guess is that Rubenstein has come to the conclusion that things have gotten so bad that if he continues to subvert justice so as not to interfere with the so-called 'peace process', he may find ultimately his own reputation damaged beyond repair.
#3 Barak May Rush
Some observers suggested today that Barak's trouble with the law may slow him down with the Arabs. I fear that the opposite may be the case as Barak rushes to shift attention away from his problems with the law.
And it isn't just a matter of public attention: the closer Barak appears to be to cutting a deal with Arafat or Assad, they greater the pressure on the justice system to bend the rules for the sake of peace.
#4 Red Lines Don't Go With Land For Peace
I would like to share some words of wisdom someone I interviewed last night shared with me: 'If the Israeli body politic is not prepared to compromise on Jerusalem then in fact this whole 'land for peace' isn't going to work. And if you know in advance that 'land for peace' isn't going to work then there is a certain amount of stupidity in going three-quarters of the way.'
'In fact, the danger with the Islamic world - including Iran - is that if the conflict becomes more sharply defined as a conflict over Jerusalem then the bells will resonate for Moslems all over the place. The Gaza Strip and chunks of the West Bank simply don't have any special emotional charge for them.
When day in and day out the story is going to be Al Quds then we are talking about a different ball game. A very dangerous one.'
No. These aren't the words of one of the so-called 'enemies of peace'. This is what Dr. Jerome Segal, president of [American] Jewish Peace Lobby , told me last night.
Of course, his conclusion is that we Israelis should not have any red lines. But if we do, and we do, then we should take his advise and stop continuing with what he himself considers, under these circumstances, the dangerous stupidity of land for peace.
#5 Minister-In-Waiting COS Mofaz
While Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz recently claimed that "My task will be to ensure that my opinion will be completely unblemished, unbiased, purely professional and confined to the security issue," in the same breath he employs the assertion the Syrians are aware "that in a military clash with Israel, they will not be able to secure the same achievements they can get through a peace treaty because of the strength and might of Israel and the IDF" to reach the political conclusion to support withdrawal from the Golan.
The military observation - that Syria can't push the IDF off the Golan with force and thus opts to push off the IDF with paper - in no way leads to a military conclusion that Syria wants peace with an Israel off the Golan.
The very same military observation could be made by someone whose political analysis finds that Syria wants to destroy Israel but finds that it is more efficient to move another step towards its goal via treaties than tanks.
This is not the only disturbing thing that future politician Mofaz said recently to curry favor from his boss. He also told the press that he was confident that if Barak makes a deal with Syria that the security arrangements would be acceptable. What business has the IDF Chief of Staff have making such a statement to the public? Since when is it the army's place to express confidence in the Prime Minister? And if Mofaz didn't have confidence in the Prime Minister would we expect him to seize power???
In truth, in a democracy an officer has one choice and one choice only when his civilian bosses make a decision the officer cannot accept. And that is to resign. And unfortunately for the country, over the course of Oslo this hasn't happened.
Mofaz's anti-democratic activities should not be ignored. For if they are ignored they will only intensify as he strives to help his boss sell the public inadequate security arrangements in the Golan and elsewhere. The damage to the country - and the integrity of the IDF - will only further menace our future.
Dr. Aaron Lerner is Director of IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis) (mail POB 982 Kfar Sava) Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-9-7411645 INTERNET ADDRESS: email@example.com Website: http://www.imra.org.il
Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio January 14, 2000
THE PSYCHIATRIC WARD
By Elyakim Haetzni
I THINK I'M NORMAL
I'm normal. Or at least I think I am. I take my cue from the fact that no psychiatrist has yet recommended that I be put away in the nearest institution. Even so, I sometimes think that I am indeed living in a mental ward. Permit me to explain.
Yasser Arafat was unwilling to receive another 5% of Judea and Samaria "free." He wanted in exchange, and received, a commitment from Israel that the next Oslo withdrawal will include neighborhoods bordering Jerusalem, namely, Abu Dis and El Azariya. You might want to read the above paragraph a second time. If it seems logical to you, you may be advised to undergo some psychiatric tests.
Assad, too, is not willing to receive the Golan "for nothing." In exchange for Assad's agreement to accept the Golan, he is demanding - and will probably receive - billions of dollars and modern military equipment for the hopelessly outdated Syrian army.
If all this seems logical to you - call your psychiatrist.
THE PEACE INVENTORY
Minister Chaim Ramon of Labor promises us the end of the "cycle of war" after Israel withdraws from the Golan. For the record, the IDF presented the Americans with the following "Peace Inventory": Tomahawk missiles, Apache Helicopters, Hercules jets, hundreds of Hellfire missiles and AWACS intelligence aircraft.
The list also includes: observation towers with high-power floodlights, 60-centimeter walls next to each home, the closing of the northern road for the entire stretch of the Galilee panhandle to civilian traffic, and the distribution of beepers and personal ammunition to each citizen.
People who live on the outside of the mental ward have always had a slightly different perspective: we think that "the end of war" means less, and not more, arms!
Israel has enjoyed almost 30 years of quiet in the Golan, as a result of our sitting 60 kilometers from Damascus. But we are now told that "quiet" is not enough, and that we also need "peace" - that which will bring the Syrians back to the Golan, will modernize their army, and will solidify their presence on our northern border. This has frightened the directors of the mental ward, and they have asked the Americans for even deadlier ammunition provided by the U.S. to the Syrians. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the new Middle East arms race!
CLOSING THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY
Fact: The Syrian army is old and tired. As a result, says the ward's directors, "the window of opportunity has been now opened, and through it we must toss the Golan, before that window of opportunity slams shut!"
Question: Along with the Golan, the Syrians are to receive American arms of the type and amount that will transform the Syrian army into a major power. According to the very logic of those running the psychiatric ward, this means that the window of opportunity will have closed. If so - why give up the Golan?
"Just think," yell the ward attendants, "a person can hop into his car in Tel Aviv, and reach Paris via Damascus!" It's worthwhile noting that residents of Paris have been able, for a long time now, to reach Tel Aviv via Damascus. If so, why has not one of them jumped at this fantastic travel opportunity?
The ward directorate says that we can take chances with the Golan, since Assad can be trusted, and Syria honors its signed agreements. And yet, the Golan deal would itself be a violation of one of Assad's commitments. It would solidify Syria's occupation of Lebanon, thus violating the Ta'if agreement, in which the Assad regime committed itself to leave Lebanon. Is the belief of the ward that although Syria violates agreements it made with the U.S. and the Arabs, it will honor treaties with the Jewish state?
A conversation overheard in the mental ward: "What good is Assad's signature - isn't he sick and about to die? What will become of our peace deal?" Their concerns were soon alleviated: "Don't worry," came the answer. "Whose signature could be worse and less reliable? Assad has violated every water agreement he ever signed with the Jordanians and the Turks, and his cease-fire with us; slaughtered tens of thousands of his own people; awarded a medal of honor to the soldier responsible for the axe-murders of Israeli captives; provided refuge for Adolph Eichmann's right-hand man, Alois Bruner; and murdered a major Druze leader as well as Lebanese President Amin Jemayal. And this is only a partial list." The listeners were comforted.
Experts hired by the psychiatric ward are looking for solutions for the expected lack of water after Israel recognizes "Syrian rights" to Golan water. One serious possibility being considered: Offer the Syrians water from Turkey!
It is told that in Chelm, somebody removed the protective railing from the local bridge. Carriages fell off and many people unfortunately died. But the Chelmites found a way to rectify the situation: "Let's build a hospital under the bridge!" In the mental ward, too, they are preparing similar solutions for: the Jewish population that is to be evacuated, the IDF which is to retreat, the new arms race, the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Syria, the water shortage, and the environmental and security problems. How comforting!
Atty. Elyakim Haetzni, a former Knesset Member of the Techiyah party, resides in Kiryat Arba. He authors a column in Yediot Acharonot, and speaks weekly on Arutz-7.Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of January 14, 2000
Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of January 19, 2000
By David Bar-Illan
'For the sake of peace,'
our government allows wholesale
theft to the PA of anything movable
The terrorist bombing in Hadera on Monday, the third of its kind in recent months, got little notice. That only 26 people were lightly wounded by the bomb made it not much more of an event than a major traffic accident. It was soon dropped from the news.
Other items hardly made the news at all. Israeli beekeepers, deprived of their livelihood because Palestinians have stolen their beehives (to the tune of NIS 4 million last year alone), are blocking roads from the PA areas. They are vowing to prevent Palestinian laborers from working in Israel. The media have found this barely newsworthy.
Half of the recently imported Chevrolet Suburban luxury cars, selling for NIS 350,000 each, have been stolen by Palestinians and hustled to Palestinian Authority areas, despite highly sophisticated electronic devices supposed to render them theft-proof. One such car, stolen last week, is known to be in the possession of a PA bigwig's relative.
No serious effort is made by the government to stop the theft of the 40,000 cars that disappear every year into the PA areas. Nor is there a real effort to retrieve them from the Palestinian officials, officers, and businessmen who buy the vehicles from the thieves, often specifying the make, year, color, and size of the car they want, as if they were ordering from an automobile showroom.
The common denominator in all these items is that they are about crimes abetted and encouraged by Israel's neighbors. The Hadera bombing was perpetrated by Islamic Jihad terrorists whose headquarters are in Damascus, where Syrian authorities allow this and other organizations to activate terrorist squads in the Palestinian areas. The PA does little to prevent this activity. Almost never initiating action against the terror groups, it restricts its cooperation with Israeli security services to acting on Israeli information.
A recent dragnet by Israeli forces succeeded in apprehending a large number of Islamic Jihad and Hamas operatives in areas administered by the PA. This undoubtedly saved lives, but such raids will be impossible once these areas come under Palestinian security control. NOR has the PA done anything to discourage the wholesale theft of cars, agricultural machinery, electric appliances, cattle, sheep, beehives, and anything else that can be moved from areas under Israeli jurisdiction.
The bald-faced openness with which these crimes are committed recalls anarchic practices in some Third World countries. And the Israeli government, invoking the sacredness of the peace process, shamelessly acquiesces in these criminal acts.
Whenever a car is stolen from a prominent Israeli, Arab Knesset members are asked to arrange the vehicle's return through the PA police. Such incidents are then reported in Israeli gossip columns as amusing anecdotes. Such callous tolerance of robbery will inevitably grow into general contempt for the law.
It's not as if Israel is unable to do anything about this. To demand that the Syrians close down all terrorist offices in Damascus before negotiations proceed is not only reasonable, but precisely what every other nation would do. Just as reasonable would be a demand to implement a cease-fire in South Lebanon during the talks. The chief of Army Intelligence said on Monday that the Syrians have given the Hizbullah a green light to continue operations in Lebanon. Obviously, they can change it to red if they wish.
Israel can also suspend all payments to the PA as long as it encourages robbery. The effect on the thefts will be stunning. The first duty of the government is to afford its citizens protection from crime. But Israeli governments seem to believe this obligation excludes Palestinian crimes. During the Netanyahu government, the beekeepers turned to the Agriculture Ministry, where they were told to go to the Internal Security Ministry, where they were told the police could not guard every beehive.
They then appealed directly to the PA, where they were laughed at and told, "We Palestinians never steal." Now, flat broke and unwilling to meekly join the ranks of the victims of peace, they are threatening to block roads and "paralyze the state."
One day, experts in mass psychology will shake their heads in wonderment over this precipitous loss of national resolve. They will probably conclude that only Israel's irrational defensiveness about its rights, and an obsessive fear of Arab retreat from the negotiations, can explain the abdication of responsibility by Israeli governments during the years of the peace process. (c) Jerusalem Post 2000
David Bar-Illan is the former editor of The Jerusalem Post and Communication and Public Policy Planning director in the Netanyahu government.
Reprinted from the New York Post Online of January 4, 2000
FROM ALLY TO PROTECTORATE
By David Bar-Illan
ISRAEL needed all the help it could get when it emerged from its War of Independence in 1948. Outnumbered 100 to one by peoples sworn to its destruction, the new state fought for its life, opened its gates to Jewish refugees from Arab countries and survivors of Nazi death camps, and turned them into a powerful, modern nation. No cause could more convincingly justify the massive assistance Israel received. But, ultimately, assistance is truly helpful only if it enables the recipient to become independent. And until recently, this was the direction Israel was taking. The highly motivated immigration from the former Soviet Union and Israeli expertise in the field of high tech have given the nation marked advantage in today's marketplace. Israel seemed to be on the threshold of complete economic and political independence.
Instead, Israel is becoming more dependent on the United States than ever. Partly, this is due to the slow pace of its emergence from a centralist and inefficient economy saddled with confiscatory taxation. It is easier to remain addicted to American assistance than to take the painful, drastic steps needed to transform the economy.
But far more threatening to Israel's independence is Washington's concept of Middle Eastern peace. The administration is forcing Israel to do what all Israeli governments have vowed they would never do -- relinquish the Golan and most of the West Bank and agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River.
Some believe this reflects President Clinton's ambition to leave the stage as a Nobel Peace Prize winner rather than as the second president in history to be impeached. But a more likely explanation is that the administration has concluded that the only way to bring peace to the region is to make all its nations economically and militarily dependent on Washington. This would enable America to call the shots and prevent its dependents from attacking each other.
That dictatorial Arab regimes with crumbling armies and stagnant economies should accept such an U.S. solution is hardly surprising. It enables them to retrieve territories lost in wars of aggression, improve their economies -- at least enough to avoid internal turmoil -- and modernize their armies to match Israel's. Signing peace treaties on the White House lawn is a small price to pay for a realistic chance to overpower Israel in the future.
Why Israel is willing to go along with this is less obvious. Barak's political indebtedness to Clinton may be part of the explanation. He owes his election to the White House political advisers, to munificent contributions by Democratic fat cats, and to the almost daily savaging of Benjamin Netanyahu by the administration during the campaign.
But it is inconceivable that Barak would relinquish the Golan, a move he has always considered unthinkable, only to pay a political debt. Nor is it possible that, after years of deriding Shimon Peres's vision of a New Middle East patterned after the European Union, Barak would suddenly believe that an agreement with the ruthless Syrian dictatorship would usher a new era.
It is more likely that he has despaired of Israel's ability to withstand world pressure and internal division. So instead of striving for greater independence from the United States, he has opted for making Israel a quasi-protectorate, counting on America to provide the tens of billions in aid and military equipment, and the "trip wire" military forces for the Golan that the fake peace with Syria will necessitate.
It is a solution that negates the very purpose of Zionism. And it is the surest way to turn Israel from a strong, invaluable ally into a pesky, costly dependent. It will sour U.S.-Israeli relations, especially if American soldiers are killed in the process of peacekeeping, and it will perpetuate Israel's image as a foreign body in the Middle East.
Ironically, no one could have articulated how unworkable and foolhardy such a solution is than Ehud Barak himself.
EDITOR'S NOTE TO THE READER
The Freeman Center has finally received an accurate translation of David Ben-Gurion's famous speech on the right of the Jewish People to Eretz Yisrael. Our thanks for this go to Howard Grief who has worked tirelessly to establish this legal principle. A careful reading would indicate that the actions Israeli Prime Ministers from Begin to Barak was not in keeping with Zionist principles, Jewish rights or international law.
The Arabs under Yasser Arafat, being a non-nation with no history of their own, chose in 1974 to adopt Ben-Gurion's principle as the "policy of stages." They are legally committed to achieve full sovereignty over the Land of Israel (Palestine) beginning with whatever territory comes under their control. Peres and Rabin were instrumental in starting them out on their planned successful "redemption of the phony state of Palestine." This would lead to the destruction of the legal state of Israel....Bernard J. Shapiro
Ben-Gurion's Declaration on
the exclusive and inalienable
Jewish Right to the whole of the Land Of Israel
at the Basle Session of the 20th Zionist Congress at Zurich (1937)
(English Translation Reprinted with commentary from "A Petition To Annul The Interim Agreement", by Howard Grief, published by ACPR, Number 77 page 95)
It is apparent from Ben-Gurion's above words that though he had already accepted the concept of partition as a pressing necessity, in order to establish the Jewish State, his real goal, as stated, was always the unification of all parts of the Land of Israel, under Jewish sovereignty. Partition served only as a transitory or interim step in the realization of the ultimate goal to win possession of the entire country for the Jewish Nation. Though he never realized this goal during his long service as Prime Minister, he nevertheless implanted this notion of eventual unification of the Land of Israel into the State's constitutional structure and made it the law of the land to be enforced whenever additional parts of that land would be liberated by the Israel Defence Forces. It may therefore be safely assumed that in the absence of any serious military threat to Israel's security, Ben-Gurion, had he been in power in 1967 and guiding the nation's destiny, would never have sacrificed this aspiration after its very accomplishment, no matter what the counter-considerations may have been, such as making possible peace treaties with Arab states or the more inhibiting Arab demographic question, which proved less serious than first anticipated. It is most likely then that Judea, Samaria and Gaza would have been annexed to the State by Ben-Gurion as Prime Minister as soon as effective possession of these lands had been obtained, under the very law he himself had created for that purpose, namely the Area of Jurisdiction and Powers Ordinance. One need only look at what Ben-Gurion did in 1948 while at the height of his power when he annexed all parts of the Land of Israel that the IDF had liberated, to confirm the truth of this statement, despite what others have tendentiously imputed to him after he retired from active public life.
Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of January 4, 2000
A 'FAIR DEAL' THAT'S NO DEAL
By Yossi Ben-Aharon
(January 4) - The root of much of the evil that has haunted Israel for the past three decades lies in the "territory for peace" equation. After our great victory in 1967, both the public and our leaders were overcome by gross naivete. We believed that some, or most, of the land we had taken in that defensive war could be traded for an end to the Arabs' hostility and rejection of Israel.
Since 1979 we have been transferring large slices of territory, first to Egypt, then to the PLO, and some to Jordan. Now our government is about to give back all the northern territories to Lebanon and Syria. Reducing Israel to the pre-June 1967 ("Auschwitz") lines is no longer a distant, impossible nightmare. It is a growing probability.
There are perfectly normal people among us who honestly believe this massive land transfer will bring us real peace. And our own government, right up to the prime minister himself, tells us that once the deal is concluded we'll be able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of peace.
The contours of the "peace map" will look something like this: In the south, the Sinai Peninsula is demilitarized. A small American team monitors compliance with the security provisions of the treaty with Egypt. More than 50 memoranda designed to normalize relations between Egypt and Israel become dead letters. The Egyptian media wage a continuous war of words, some even anti-Jewish, against Israel. And Egypt leads a sustained diplomatic campaign against Israel.
In the east, the Oslo agreements and their progeny have created a hostile Palestinian state-in-the-making. The agreements are monitored by international inspectors in Hebron, the CIA, and UN observers, but none of these prevent continuous violations and unabating hostility to Israel by the PA, its media, its educational system, and its clerics.
In the north, a totalitarian state that has a long record of violating international agreements and obligations will once again be stationed along the eastern shores of the Kinneret. The Golan Heights will be populated by Syrian soldiers posing as civilians or policemen. The UN and the US will maintain monitoring outposts on the Hermon and along the borders. And peace in that sector will, at best, be at least as cold as the one we have with Egypt.
In the northeast, Lebanon will finally lose what slim chance it has of regaining its sovereignty and independence. Syria's stranglehold will be legitimized by Israel and the US. The Syrian army will be deployed not far from Galilee, between Rosh Hanikra and Hamat Gader.
Under Syrian pressure, the Hizbullah might damp its operations, but soon enough the 300,000 Palestinians living in Lebanon will clamor for the right to fight for their "right of return" to Palestine, meaning Israel. Damascus will plead innocence and wink to Habash, Jibril, and the Islamic Jihad to keep up the "legitimate" struggle to regain their "rights." Of course, there will be an international force along the border, headed by a commission that will be convened whenever there's trouble and that will mete out censures to the violators.
Is there a state anywhere surrounded by so many measures - demilitarization, monitoring, observers, "peace" forces, and international guarantees - and whose leaders have the temerity to define its relationship with its neighbors as peace? And if this is peace, how is it different from the situation prior to 1967, when we had a UN force in Gaza and Sinai, a UN Truce Supervision Organization in the east, Mixed Armistice Commissions with all our neighbors, and UN and international guarantees of our borders?
The inevitable conclusion is simple: "Territory for peace" is the wrong equation for this part of the world. It took our neighbors a few years to realize that this ostensibly fair deal could be turned to their favor.
Territory is tangible, and once it is transferred to another sovereignty, it is irretrievable, except by war. Peace, on the other hand, is a piece of paper, and the signatories are free to choose when, how much, or if at all, to translate undertakings in that paper into tangible action toward normalization and people-to-people peace relations.
Egypt and the PA have chosen not to inject peace into their undertakings. Why should Syria and Lebanon choose otherwise?
Yossi Ben-Aharon is a former director-general of the Prime Minister's Office.
ANYONE FOR GOD?
By Prof. Paul Eidelberg
Countless Jews and even gentiles are appalled and dumbfounded by Israel's government. They cannot understand how any Israeli government, backed by an undefeated army, could surrender Judea and Samaria, the heartland of the Jewish people, to Yasser Arafat, a murderous villain.
The Prophets and Sages of Israel predicted that, in the end of days, the Jews would have such a government. They foresaw that Israel would be ruled by "scorners" of the Torah. These scorners, said the Prophet Hosea (12:1-3), will fill Israel with lies and deception. They will strive after wind ("peace") and make alliances with Israel's enemies.
The Prophet Isaiah (28:14-18) chastises these insolent and conceited Jews. He foretells that they will make a "covenant with death," but that this pact will not protect them, indeed, that they will be swept away like refuse. Remarkably, the TARGUM translates this pact with hell as a contract with "terrorists" (MECHABLIM)!
Similarly, the ZOHAR (Exodus 7b) predicts that in the end of days certain Jews in Israel will make an alliance with the enemies of the Jewish people. The collaboration of Israel's left-wing politicians with the Arab parties--proxies of the PLO--obviously fits these dire predictions.
Turn, now, to the Talmud, tractate SANHEDRIN 98a. There we learn that in the end of days Israel will have the "cheapest" government. Only the cheapest politicians would shake hands with Yasir Arafat. That this arch-terrorist is acclaimed and dignified in every democratic capital is unsurprising, for the first casualty of democracy is HONOR. That Israeli prime ministers should dignify a creature that presided over the murder of Jewish men, women, and children would make any man of taste want to vomit. This leads me to examine the portentous conclusions of Mishna Sotah (49b).
There we read: "With the footsteps of the Moshiach arrogance shall increase and honor dwindle. The government shall turn to heresy [secularism] and there shall be none to utter reproof. The council-chamber [the Knesset and the Supreme Court] shall be given to immorality [prostitution and homosexuality will be legalized]. Galilee will be barren, the Golan shall be desolate, and the dwellers on the frontier [in Judah, Samaria, and Gaza] shall go from place to place with none to take pity on them [suggesting that their demonstrations against the policy of territory for peace' will be futile]."
The Mishna continues: "The wisdom of their writers [journalists and academics] will become insipid and degenerate [will become morally neutral and even anti-Jewish]; they that shun sin shall be despised. The truth shall nowhere be found [thanks to the university-bred doctrine of relativism]. Youth shall shame their elders, and the elders shall stand up in the presence of youth [a commonplace in democracies] ... The face of this generation is as the face of a dog [impervious to shame]... So upon whom can we rely? Upon our Father in heaven."
Is it not obvious that the Jews in Israel cannot rely on the opposition parties to save them from disaster? Is it not obvious that Jews cannot rely on the Israel Defense Forces which no longer frighten Arab women and children?
Is it not obvious that Jews cannot rely on rabbis nor on political and strategic analysts to stop the suicidal course of Israel's government? Is it not obvious that Jews cannot rely on the United States or on information campaigns (HASBARA) to save them from the successors of the Nazis?
Should it not be obvious that it is precisely because Jews have relied on such vanities that they have been given vacuous politicians who would sacrifice Eretz Yisrael for mere wind?
Finally, consider Rashi's commentary to Genesis 1:1. "If the nations of the world should [question the validity of Israel's title to Eretz Yisrael] and say: "You are robbers in that you have seized by force the territories of the seven nations," Israel can retort: "The entire world belongs to the Holy One, Blessed be He. He created it and gave it to whomsoever it was right in His eyes. It was His will to give it to them and it was His will to take it from them and give it to us."
To whom are these words of centuries ago addressed? Obviously to Jews in Israel today. But no Israeli government has ever uttered these words. Nor has any religious party in any Israeli government ever made such words its clarion call!
You will say: "But the nations will mock these words and laugh at us." I reply: Have countless appeals to "security" won the supportive concern of the nations? Have ingratiating words about "Israeli democracy" earned the respect of the democratic world? Has willingness to yield "territory for peace" appeased the voracious appetites of Janus-faced Arab despots?
Is not Israel despised by the nations no matter how yielding it has been in the "peace process"? I DARE SAY THAT IT IS PRECISELY BECAUSE JEWS HAVE NOT BASED THEIR CLAIM TO ERETZ YISRAEL EXCLUSIVELY ON RASHI'S COMMENTARY TO GENESIS 1:1 THAT ISRAEL IS SO OFTEN DISDAINED AND CONDEMNED BY THE NATIONS!
I am not saying that by citing Rashi you will convince any nation that the Jews have a G-d given title to Eretz Yisrael. THE TASK OF THE JEWS IS NOT TO CONVINCE THE NATIONS OF ANYTHING! That happens to be the compulsion or futility of assimilated Jews. Too many Jews--religious included--want to win the approval of the nations rather than the approval of G-d.
Legions of religious Jews rely more on politicians and political rhetoric than on the Torah and on the G-d of Israel. This is why the above Mishna indicates that in the end of days, when we have exhausted the heresies of our time and are utterly helpless that we shall turn to our Father in heaven.
This is not a counsel of despair. It is a plea for rational analysis. Stop relying like addicts on failed ideas and flawed politicians. Start proclaiming that G-d alone has given us title to Eretz Yisrael--and never mind the scorners! Just do it and leave the consequences to G-d, Who alone is the Master of war and peace!
By David Basch
I have mentioned in numerous of my postings the "moralism" which is a peculiar characteristic of Jewish leftists. When I use the terms "moralism" or "moralistic," I do not mean moral, but only "moral-like," a characteristic of imitating superficially what is moral -- the difference of being a virgin and "like a virgin." To be truly moral one must have the kind of integrity that makes you strive to understand a total situation before rendering judgement, something that never deterred the ignorant moralism of the leftists when they react to the enemy's propaganda.
These distinctions are very important because it is the combination of the attributes of moralism and ignorance that are resulting in Israel's self-destruction.
I thought of this as I was engaged in a discussion with a local Israeli, a man who served in the Golan. To my astonishment he was impressed by Syrian Ambassador Al-Shara in his recent press conference where Shara blamed Israel for starting the 1967 war. My Israeli friend agreed with Al-Shara. Said my moralistic friend, "Well Israel fired the first shot," a remark that supposedly means that Israel was responsible for the actual fighting. If this fellow is typical of how Israelis think -- he regularly reads Ha'aretz -- it is no wonder that Israel is today on the brink of dismemberment.
I tried to remind him that in 1967 the Arabs had massed on two fronts, the Golan and the Sinai, tying Israel up in knots as she had to call up her military reserves, all under the most blood curdling threats of Nassar of Egypt. As we know, Israel struck first militarily in this encounter and took the enemies by surprise. But does this mean that Israel started the war? Or did the war actually start when the enemy massed in threatening ways on two fronts?
Syria, which joined in this assault, was already engaged in military hostilities when it massed its troops on the Golan. It was the wisdom of Israel's leaders to preempt the strike that disarmed the enemy. Not only that, the nation that used its militarily strategic lands to threaten in a two front assault on Israel had put those lands on the chopping block and lost them forever. After all, if that nation, Syria, massed for attack even while it had those lands, the reason for its assault was not to regain lands it already had on the Golan. What motivated Syria was the opportunity to set Israel back so that one day Syria could gain what it regards as southern Syria, the lands of all of Israel.
That my Israeli friend was so ignorant and so identifying of himself with the propaganda of Israel's enemy seems a typical thing today of the modern leftist Israeli. What seems to motivate such Israelis is their moralism -- there goes that word again. They wish to pose to the world their superior righteousness. So obsessive is this desire to pose as moral that they are willing to accept the enemy's propaganda since taking such a position would superficially indicate that they are so moral that they are willing to go against their own national interest.
Notice that an Arab, no matter how ignorant he may be and no matter what facts are placed before him to contradict his false historical views, will staunchly defend his own national goals, one of which is to destroy Israel. Such Arabs are not afflicted by a pathological attachment to seeming rationality. The Arabs take a position that Israel must be destroyed by any means and stick to it and will not be deterred by evidence of any immorality in their goals as long as it affirms their Islam. That is why they are impervious to historical reason, unlike Israelis like my friend. Such Israeli persons take as truth the enemy's phony history as long as this feeds their narcissistic moralistic obsessions. But all they succeed in doing, when they are not doing damage to their nation, is to show themselves as thoroughly stupid and morally warped.
I would note for my Israeli friend's benefit, though he did not stay around to hear it -- he does not approve of learning things to contradict his moralistically induced drug-high -- was that at the conclusion of the 1954 (or 56) Suez War it was written into the agreement with Egypt that blockading the Gulf of Elat was to be "a causus belli," that is, "an act of war." Egypt did indeed blockade that port and in so doing had committed an act of war in 1967 before Israel acted. Those who took part in that aggressive war should pay the price, though my Israeli friend thinks that they SHOULD NOT on the basis of some super fictitious morality that the enemies of Israel are allowed to define and which seems credible to my ignorant, moralistic friend -- a winning combination for self-destruction.
Those with this mentality are capable of believing many impossible things before breakfast, such as that jackals will become vegetarian at the signing of a piece of paper and do not need to be restrained and that a victim, attacked many times, need not be careful of its safety when the potential attacker smiles. They are also the people that accept the ugliness, chaos, inanity, when it is not out and out filth, of what is called Modern Art when this is championed by the New York Times, the greatest desecrator of artistic standards in the world today. After all, when the moralistic poseurs get started on their high horse, they will stop at nothing to get to their self-induced high when it tells them that they are the most moral, sensitive, and fairest in the land.
And in the above description you will find that I have encompassed much of the Jewish community in the US today -- a people wise in their own eyes and slated for disappearance as they climb aboard everybody else's bandwagon to reach their high. This is a situation which the enemies of the Jews know all about as they offer the pottage of moralistic status to such Jews when they don't give them career rewards -- all for joining in the destruction of the Jewish people, which to such obsessed persons of Jewish origin is the highest of morality since that is what the enemies of the Jews have told them and since they believe this is not a high a price to pay for a moralistic appearance, at least to themselves.
We see this today (1/20/00) in the New York Pravda-Times in the article about 300 U.S. "Rabbis" who agree to give a part of Jerusalem to the same Arabs that are working assiduously to take over all of Israel. I have no doubt that these are the CIA infiltrated Reformed and Conservative types, whose religion is an abstract ethical culture that cannot differentiate savages from saints and whose highest mitzvos are achieving US State Department objectives and getting their name in the papers as certified paragons of high virtue -- a MORALISM that is their drug and which true morality, justice, and history will not be allowed to prevent.
David Basch is an architect and city planner in New York. He is also a political philosopher associated with the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies and an expert on Shakespeare's Jewish roots.
GATE OF FAITH & OPPORTUNITY
Eugene Narrett, PhD
January 27, 2000; 20 Shevat 5760
The government of Israel seems to be keeping a gentile calendar. In its own odd manner it is celebrating the "new millennium" by withdrawing its armed forces from the Jewish heartland of Judah and Samaria. Troops already had been cut by 40% when on January 20, Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff, Shaul Mofaz told Home Front Command Officers that all IDF personnel would be withdrawn by the end of 2000. In grotesque and chilling symmetry, Magen David Adom announced it would begin cutting back its emergency services in Yesha. The government also says it is canceling eleven bypass roads in Judah and Samaria, some planned since the years of Yitzchak Shamir. The Administration explains that withdrawals since the Wye Accords make the roads pass through some Palestinian controlled areas. Thus, they are not really bypass roads anymore1. By this logic, Barak need only withdraw to Long Island to render the IDF and settlement enterprise entirely obsolete. Judged by its deeds and bizarre casuistry, the government is inviting the Arabs to attack Jews and assuring all involved that Jews will be left to bleed where they fall. Truly, this is a government "impervious to shame" and stupefied by its obsession of giving Israel to terrorists who want to kill and exile the Jews.2
The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria (acronym "Yesha," the lands belonging to Judah, Ephraim, Benjamin and half Manesseh) should seize this chance to renew the nation, rebuilding it from its roots of faith and geography. The policy to date, as articulated by Mayor Benjamin Kashriel is that the communities will not man guard posts abandoned by the army and will cease funding their own security once the IDF withdraws3. The idea seems to be to shame the government and Army into remaining where they belong. Beyond the absurdity of trying to shame the shameless or awaken those who are dead drunk, this kind of political maneuvering itself is shameful, reactive and incapacitating. It only makes it easier for a corrupt government to sub-contract to the Arabs the "peace process" of uprooting Jews. Worst of all, this policy misplaces a perfect opportunity to distinguish sharply between those who insist on Jewish sovereignty in the Land and those who betray the very purpose and authority of the re-born nation. Authority is being relinquished; someone must pick it up. It should not be the Arabs.
The Barak government is handing Jews living in the heartland the rationale as well as some of the equipment needed for them to do what they have the heart to do, renew the struggle for the promised Land as David did, from its core of hills. Just as with the early struggles of David (1 Samuel 18:7 - 2 Samuel 4), the government, far more corrupt than Saul at his most insane is providing the faithful with repeated justification another for setting up a new center of legitimate authority for redemption of the Land. The Knesset has failed its primary responsibility, to extend Jewish rule over Judea and Samaria and to reclaim the Land intended for "the Jewish National Home" by the League of Nations Mandate to Great Britain 80 years ago. The fact is that the settlements must be fortified to the maximum to protect Jewish lives and to serve as bases from which Jewish force can be projected throughout the heartland. The withdrawal of the IDF, shameful as it is provides a gate for the righteous to pass through toward recreating a sovereign Judah and Ephraim. The conjoining of these branches, so long awaited can serve through the coming storms as the rock on which an enduring Israel will be built. It is close enough to see as an event already present. The despised "settlers" can become the new and true Israel. "The stone the builders despised has become the cornerstone." This opportunity has "emanated from Hashem... Let us rejoice, and be glad on it" (Psalm 118:20-4).
The situation of the Jews of Hebron and Admot Yishai differs only in detail from that of communities along the Lebanese border and in Yesha. It is outrageous that they have been kept so few in number and confined in so small an area. It is depressing that the government should confirm its failure to protect them by proposing to build a fifteen-foot high concrete wall around their homes. They are right to protest being ghettoized by a state that claims to be Jewish but that does not even afford them the protection of its laws or legal rights. And yet, this failure gives the Jews up on the hill and those on King David Street occasion to assume their own defense and destiny. David himself lived behind stout walls on Hebron Hill when it was his home base and capital. It was there that "the house of David grew continually stronger" and that "sons were born to David" (2 Samuel 3:1-2). Indeed it was from his stronghold at Hebron Hill near Machpelah Cave that "David ruled over Judah for seven years and six months." Then "all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron saying, Hashem had said you shall shepherd My people Israel, and you shall be ruler of all Israel.' All the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David sealed a covenant with them in Hebron before Hashem. And they anointed David as king over Israel" (2 Samuel 5:1-4). The end is rooted in the beginning. Once again the LORD God has arranged for Hebron and Judah to be the wellspring of continually increasing vigor from which Israel is regenerated.
It was from his secure base in Hebron that David marched to Jerusalem and founded the City that awaits its full re-establishment. It is in this formative context that one must view the abandonment of Judah and Jerusalem by a corrupt and dog-faced government. The Muslims have compounded their crime of excavating the Temple Mount by ruining the ecology of the Kidron Valley where they dumped hundreds of tons of earth and broken artifacts from the first and second Temple periods. Archaeologist Gabriel Barkay stated, "nobody knows how much was destroyed. I found pottery in the dumped material going back to the 8th century BCE. The exact position of the pottery fragments vis-à-vis each other and the earthen layers is what tells us the history. If this is eliminated, we don't have the history"4. The crime of the Arabs is the iniquity of the Jerusalem police and Barak government that winked at this assault on Israeli history and sovereignty. "The Antiquities Department isn't doing its job. They have somebody above them telling them what to do and when to be quiet"5.
On January 25, Zo Artzeinu, Women in Green and all those declaring allegiance to the Holy City of God and the Jewish people rallied at the Temple Mount to protest the failure and bad faith of the government. An even larger demonstration is being discussed in the orthodox community prompted by Barak's plan to give sections of Jerusalem to the Arabs. But Rabbi Menachem Porush of Agudat Yisrael may fumble the responsibility of bringing new and true leadership to the Land. "I asked Mr. Barak to assure us that the plans to hand over Abu Dis and other suburbs to the Palestinians would not be carried out," he said. "But he has not yet responded to my letter6". This gives Barak enough wiggle room to proceed with any scheme. Would Rabbi Porush and his followers content themselves with a smooth response from a liar who is selling out his people and mocking God's covenant with Israel? This is vanity and wind. Here again are "legions of religious Jews relying more on politicians and political rhetoric than on the Torah and on the G-d of Israel"7.
"'The day is short, the work is great, the laborers are sluggish,' said Rabbi Tarphon"8. The lateness of the day and greatness of the work should animate faithful tillers of the vineyard to turn away from worthless shepherds who are abandoning their flock to death. As the government abdicates Jewish sovereignty in the Land it is practically being forced into the hands of the faithful who must realize that they have to work and fight to exercise and sustain it. For just as the work is great and the time short, "the reward is much and the Master of the house is urgent." And if "it is not their duty to complete the work, neither are they free to desist from it"9. To everything there is a season and a time, a time for studying and a time for planting, crying out and fighting to save the land and the crop. In perilous times like these when the reins have been dropped, it is especially true that "he whose wisdom exceeds his works is like a tree whose branches are many but whose roots are few. The wind comes and plucks it away." And those who tread this path shall dwell in a salt land. "But he whose works exceed his wisdom... has so many roots that even if all the winds in the world assail it, it shall stand in its place like a tree deeply planted by streams of water"10.
It is 1947-8 again and the shofar is sounding in the city. Israelis of faith must realize that only their own hands and deeds with God's help can redeem the Land. Sovereignty and dominion are theirs to take. It is they or Edom and the nations. If they act to "raise the cup of salvations and invoke the Name of Hashem" (Psalm 116:13) their leaf will never wither, Israel will "yield its fruit in due season, and everything they do will succeed. Not so the wicked; rather, they are like the chaff that the wind drives away... For Hashem attends the way of the righteous, while the way of the wicked will perish" (Psalm 1:3-6).
Professor Narrett teaches literature at Boston University and writes often about Israel.
1. Arutz 7, January 25, 2000
2. Anyone for God? Prof. Paul Eidelberg, 01/23/00. Eidelberg quotes Talmudic sources on the dishonor of the government that will reign in Israel during the birth pangs of Messiah.
3. Arutz-7, Jan. 25, 2000
4. Interview by Dr. Aaron Lerner, IMRA of Dr. Gabriel Barkay, 01/24/00.
6. Arutz-7, 01/25/00.
7. Eidelberg, op cit.
8. Pirkei Avot, 2:20.
9. Ibid. 2:20-1.
10. Ibid. 3:22. Rabbi Eleazar, "the fountain forever overflowing more vigorously" cites Jeremiah 17:6-8 in reference to these remarks, and paraphrases Psalm 1
DO ISRAELIS HAVE ANYTHING TO FEAR FROM A PALESTINIAN STATE?
By David Bedein
In only one week's time, the Israeli government has been asked by the US state department and by the White House to dispatch representatives to talks that will take place somewhere near Washington , to meet with representatives of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's administrative prodigy, known as the Palestinian Authority (The PA).
On the agenda: Establishing the rudiments of a Palestinian state, no later than February 13, 2000.
On the face of it, what could Israelis possible have to fear from a neighboring mini-state, whose size would be half of Rhode Island?
Yet some of the practical and topographical considerations of having a Palestinian state next door are not lost on people in Israel who already feel the consequences of this nascent entity.
The establishment of a Palestinian Authority in 1994 was meant to test the implications of having an autonomous entity nearby. The consequences have been tested in many ways:
Israelis who have had their cars stolen and driven into the PA-controlled areas have been helpless to get their vehicles back or to sue anyone to get their cars back.
The PA has consistently refused to hand over or indict criminals who have taken refuge inside the PA.
The PA has provided a sanctuary for 31 Arabs accused of murdering Jews who have taken refuge inside the PA.
Contrary to all agreements, armed PA officers have been patrolling Jerusalem. Instead of cracking down on the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations, the PA has incorporated both groups inside the PA.
Instead of adopting a peace curriculum for the PA schools that would parallel the peace curriculum that has been running in Israeli schools for the past six years, the PA ministry of education has adopted a curriculum that prepares a new generation for a war to liberate all of Palestine.
Arafat's official PA radio and PA TV continue their daily tirade against Zionism that calls for the Palestinian Arab population to continue a holy war of Jihad, while the Friday sermons in PA-controlled mosques blare out calls for obliteration of the Jewish state.
3.5 million Arab refugees, disenfranchised by the PA and confined by the UN to the squalor of transit camps inside the PA and in neighboring Arab countries for more than fifty years under the internationally supported premise and promise of the "right of return" to the cities and villages that they left in 1948, now prepare themselves to go back to those cities and villages, even if they are now occupied by Israeli cities and collective farms.
Palestinian Arab refugees evoke the recent precedent of Kosovo refugees who took back their homes and villages from Serbians who had lived there for more than forty years.
Israeli and western intelligence agencies report that The PA police force that was supposed to comprise a lightly armed police force of 9.000 has evolved into fourteen units of a Palestinian Liberation Army of 50,000, trained by American military advisors. Small bands of PLA troops could at any time conduct guerilla attacks into any part of Israel and simply melt into the Palestinian population.
All these factors of a "Palestinian state next door" are known to the population of Israel, yet not often discussed or reported in the media. Israelis simply do not take Arab plans and ambitions very seriously, and most Israelis would prefer to get on with their lives after more than sixty three years of continuous war in the land of Israel.
The consensus of all major political parties in the Knesset is that if the economy of the Palestinian entity is strong, then the Palestinian people will have little reason to engage in hostilities against Israel.
Yet study after study show that humanitarian aid and economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority has been squandered and embezzled by an elite circle of people around Yassir Arafat, with little "trickle down" effect to the Palestinian Arab population who blame Israel for imposing Arafat's regime on their people.
IT WOULD SEEM THAT ISRAEL'S NEIGHBORING STATE-IN-THE-MAKING IS MORE LIKE HAVING BEIRUT AND TEHERAN NEXT DOOR THAN THE PROVIDENCE OF A RHODE ISLAND.
David Bedein is a MEDIA RESEARCH ANALYST, BUREAU CHIEF, ISRAEL RESOURCE NEWS AGENCY, BEIT AGRON INTERNATIONAL PRESS CENTER, JERUSALEM, ISRAEL
ARAB GOALS AND METHODS
By Elyakim Ha'etzni
In anticipation of the new "summit" in Washington - Clinton, Barak, Arafat here is a reminder from Barak's chapter in the ongoing tragedy called Oslo.
Immediately after the Sharm-a-Sheikh meeting, Foreign Minister David Levy was heard to mutter in astonishment that "the ink is hardly dry on the Sharm Agreement and already the Palestinians are taking positions that are contrary to the spirit of peace."
We can add that the cognac was still in the glasses and the hors d'oeuvres that Barak served to Arafat at their intimate meeting were still fresh and already the PLO controlled newspaper "Alchiat El Jadida" printed a caricature of a scorpion strangling a Palestinian with one claw named "Likud-Netanyahu" and the other named "Labor-Barak".
The reason for all this can be found in Arafat's United Nations speech that so angered Levy. Arafat spoke of UN Resolution 194 calling for the right of return of four million refugees to "their homeland after the holocaust that happened to us fifty-one years ago."
Arafat specifically referred to the refugees of 1948, those that left the area now within the Green Line. He threatened that if they are not allowed to return there "will be neither peace nor stability in the Middle East." In other words, after Yesha becomes a Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital, Arafat is still promising us war and terror.
He also referred to UN Resolution 188 that calls for a Palestinian State within the 1947 borders. This includes Acre, Nazareth, Ramle, Lod, Jaffa, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beer Sheba, Kiryat Gat and the Jerusalem Corridor. It is now obvious why Arafat is demanding an extraterritorial "safe passage" through these 1947 borders.
Arafat is not fooling us- we are fooling ourselves. Since the Oslo Agreement Arafat has continuously made reference to UN Resolutions 188 and 194, either specifically or under the heading of "all UN resolutions."
The so-called Peace Camp in Israel refuses to believe that Arafat is talking about 1948 and not 1967. "Cancelling the results of 1967" is only a step towards nullifying the results of 1948. This is the original sin of the Oslo Agreement - it has brought into our home the man who most represents the Arab "Nakba-tragedy" of 1948. Arafat is like the captain of a ship who was allowed to leave for the "promised land" on a lifeboat called Oslo, together with his cronies, while abandoning the rest of the travelers. It is as though Nelson Mandela had been offered the office of President of South Africa on the condition that he continues the policy of apartheid.
Speaking to forty Arab diplomats at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm in 1996, Arafat said "we will make life insufferable for the Jews by psychological warfare and population growth...within five years we will be 6-7 million Arabs in the West Bank and Jerusalem. If the Jews can import Ethiopians, Russians, Ukrainians and Uzbekians as Jews, we can import all kinds of Arabs...our program is to destroy the Jewish state and replace it with a pure Arab state. At least a million rich Jews will run away to America and take reparations..."
Even Ran Edelist from Israel's far left, warns of the "awakening of Palestinian nationalism in Jordan in parallel with the institution of Palestinian sovereignty on the West Bank...Palestine will become the state of the Jordanian Palestinians. This could result in a Palestinian state stretching from the border of Iraq to Tulkarem." And west of Tulkarem? A million Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship! To understand what this means, we need only recall the recent murder of two innocent Jews in Megiddo forest - and the recent terror-bombings by Israeli Arabs.
The PLO internet site and the PLO media continuously refer to the "418 villages destroyed by Israel in 1948". President Clinton publicly advocated the return of the refugees to Israel proper. That is probably the reason that the Peace Camp no longer talks of "peace" but instead speaks only of a "long-term intermediate agreement".
A Palestinian state in Yesha will be, by its very nature, the basis of demands to implement UN Resolutions 188 and 194. But Palestinian "demands" are invariably backed by threats of violence, international pressure, terror and war. Barak must reconsider whether his proposal of "land for a long-term intermediate agreement" is worth the harm of a possible civil war, hate and an irreversible rift among the Jews. This is what we can expect when all the retreats are completed, our strategic position is weakened and we once again face the same threats and international pressure that were our circumstances before the Oslo agreement was signed.
And worse: The pressures of UN Resolutions 184 and 198 will be placed upon us after we will have surrendered Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and Yesha. The ease with which the "Peace Camp" is willing to abandon this wall - Jerusalem, Golan and Yesha - is simply beyond understanding. [29/9/1999]
Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of January 26, 2000
ANOTHER STOCKHOLM SYNDROME
By David Bar-Illan
The Middle East is not the only region where governments - not gangs or demagogues - propagate antisemitism
Today's grandiose international gathering in Stockholm commemorating the Holocaust and dedicated to fighting antisemitism is the latest European act of retrospective atonement.
Largely due to efforts of the World Jewish Congress, there seems to be a sudden recognition of the European role in the Holocaust. Almost every government on the continent has been involved in one kind of reparation agreement or another. The massive robbery of Jewish real estate, bank accounts, gold, and works of art have become a subject of negotiations.
Industrial firms have agreed to compensate slave laborers. Insurance companies are admitting they never paid Jewish beneficiaries. Even those who doubt the genuineness of this latter- day mea culpa must think "better late than never." And the effort is certainly commendable. The few Holocaust survivors still living will benefit, and the many good men and women who have devoted time and energy to this effort will feel justly proud of their achievement.
But it is impossible to escape the impression that this belated awakening is more an effort to finally settle accounts with the Jewish people than an investment in new understanding. Particularly worrisome is that it coincides with increasing, unrelenting pressure on Israel to risk its future. It is as if an old slate is cleared even as a new one is readied.
For the target of the star-studded Stockholm conference is Western antisemitism, which does not now threaten the existence of the Jewish people. Neither the European political parties that pander to xenophobia and camouflaged antisemitism, nor the organizations of Hitler- worshipping skin heads, nor the sporadic assaults on Jews and the desecration of synagogues and cemeteries; not even the growing industry of Holocaust denial can today threaten the Jewish people.
THE reason is that since the fall of the Soviet empire, no European government abets anti-Jewish incitement. Some governments have even imposed limits on freedom of speech to prevent Holocaust denial and antisemitic propaganda.
But fighting European antisemitism is like building the Maginot Line after trench war had become obsolete. Today's war against the Jews is being waged not in Europe but in the Middle East, the only region in the world where governments - not gangs, demagogues, fake scholars and demented fanatics, but the regimes themselves - propagate antisemitism and advocate the destruction of the Jewish nation.
It is in Arab schools - Syrian, Palestinian, Egyptian, Saudi, Jordanian and others - that children learn that Jews have no right to exist. It is in Syria, whose leaders are now warmly embraced by the whole civilized world for making "a strategic decision for peace," that first-graders read in their first primer "The Jews are criminal villains."
It is in every following grade and almost every subject in Arab schools that Jews are depicted as enemies of humanity. Even an arithmetic drill contains a question such as: "Nine soldiers fled from a Jewish company. How many Jewish soldiers did we kill if the number of soldiers in the company was 17?" The inspiration for such a curriculum is unmistakable to anyone who has perused Third Reich textbooks and seen the Nazi film The Eternal Jew.
Fostered by Arab governments, antisemitism has become a ubiquitous phenomenon in the Arab world: in the media, literature, films, plays, religious sermons, and intellectual discourse. Contrary to all expectations, it has grown enormously since the signing of the first peace treaty with Egypt two decades ago. This is why Mossad head Ephraim Halevy asserted this week that there can be no normalization between the Arab regimes and Israel in the foreseeable future.
The Syrians make no secret of it. They have demanded that in the American "peace treaty draft" submitted to both sides at Shepherdstown no reference be made to "normalization," a code for friendly relations, economic cooperation, tourism, and trade. They got it changed to "normal relations," a euphemism for nonbelligerency. As Halevy put it, the Arab regimes consider peace accords with Israel nothing more than armistice agreements.
It can be taken for granted that this real, current threat against Jews will not intrude on the Stockholm proceedings. The good leaders of the West will condemn the Nazis and their collaborators, discuss educational programs and museums, and perhaps even talk about compensation for survivors.
But no one, least of all the Swedish host, will dare mention that even as they speak, a Nuremberg-type law that makes the sale of land to Jews punishable by death is being enforced by the Palestinian Authority.
(c) Jerusalem Post 2000.
ISLAMIC ANTI-SEMITISM AS A POLITICAL INSTRUMENT BY Yossef Bodansky
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