Published by the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
VOLUME 12             B"H   MAY 2004             NUMBER 5

"For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest"

MAY 2004



TAKE (ONLY) A MOMENT'S REST....Guest Editorial....Emanuel A. Winston
THANK YOU ARIEL SHARON, ET AL....Guest Editorial....Ariel Natan Pasko

BEHIND SHARON'S FOLLY....Prof. Paul Eidelberg

A DISPASSIONATE VIEW OF THE SHARON PLAN: From a Disengagement Plan to a Retreat Plan....David Bedein
ROAD MAP U-TURN....Shmuel Katz

THE REAL MIDEAST 'POISON'....Charles Krauthammer



THE MACCABEAN ONLINE [ISSN 1087-9404] Edited by Bernard J. Shapiro
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The Jews
"Some people like the Jews, and some do not.
But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world."

Winston Churchill (1)
"The Jew is that sacred being who has brought down from heaven the everlasting fire, and has illumined with it the entire world. He is the religious source, spring, and fountain out of which all the rest of the peoples have drawn their beliefs and their religions."
Leo Tolstoy (2)
"It was in vain that we locked them up for several hundred years behind the walls of the Ghetto. No sooner were their prison gates unbarred than they easily caught up with us, even on those paths which we opened up without their aid."
A. A. Leroy Beaulieu (3)
"The Jew gave us the Outside and the Inside - our outlook and our inner life. We can hardly get up in the morning or cross the street without being Jewish. We dream Jewish dreams and hope Jewish hopes. Most of our best words, in fact - new, adventure surprise, unique, individual, person, vocation, time, history, future, freedom, progress, spirit, faith hope, justice - are the gifts of the Jews."
Thomas Cahill (4)
"One of the gifts of the Jewish culture to Christianity is that it has taught Christians to think like Jews, and any modern man who has not learned man to think as though he were a Jew can hardly be said to have learned to think at all."
William Rees-Mogg (5)
"It is certain that in certain parts of the world we can see a peculiar people, separated from the other peoples of the world and this is called the Jewish people.... This people is not only of remarkable antiquity but has also lasted for a singular! long time... For where as the people of Greece and Italy, of Sparta, Athens and Rome and others who came so much later have perished so long ago, these still exist, despite the efforts of so many powerful kings who have tried a hundred times to wipe them out, as their historians testify, and as can easily be judged by the natural order of things over such a long spell of years. They have always been preserved, however, and their preservation was foretold... My encounter with this people amazes me..."
Blaise Pascal (6)
"The Jewish vision became the prototype for many similar grand designs for humanity, both divine and man! made. The Jews, therefore, stand at the center of the perennial attempt to give human life the dignity of a purpose."
Paul Johnson (7)
"As long as the world lasts, all who want to make progress in righteousness will come to Israel for inspiration as to the people who had the sense for righteousness most glowing and strongest."
Matthew Arnold (8)
Indeed it is difficult for all other nations of the world to live in the presence of the Jews. It is irritating and most uncomfortable.

The Jews embarrass the world as they have done things which are beyond the imaginable. They have become moral strangers since the day their forefather Abraham introduced the world to high ethical standards and to the fear of Heaven. They brought the world the Ten Commandments which many nations prefer to defy. They violated the rules of history by staying alive, totally at odds with common sense and historical evidence.

They outlived all their former enemies, including vast empires such as the Romans and the Greeks. They angered the world with their return to their homeland after 2000 years of exile and after the murder of six million of their brothers and sisters. They aggravated mankind by building, in the wink of an eye, a democratic State which others were not able to create in even hundreds of years. They built living monuments such as the duty to be holy and the privilege to serve one's fellow men. They had their hands in every human progressive endeavor, whether in science, medicine, psychology or any other discipline, while totally out of proportion to their actual numbers. They gave the world the Bible and even their "savior".
Jews taught the world not to accept the world as it is but to transform it, yet only a few nations wanted to listen. Moreover, the Jews introduced the world to one God, yet only a minority wanted to draw the moral consequences.

So the nations of the world realize that they would have been lost without the Jews. And while their subconscious tries to remind them of how much of Western civilization is framed in terms of concepts first articulated by the Jews, they do anything to suppress it. They deny that Jews remind them of a higher purpose of life and the need to be honorable, and do anything to escape its consequences. It is simply too much to handle for them , too embarrassing to admit, and above all too difficult to live by.

So the nations of the world decided once again to go out of its way in order to find a stick to hit the Jews. The goal: to prove that Jews are as immoral and guilty of massacre and genocide as some of themselves are. All this in order to hide and justify their own failure to even protest when six million Jews were brought to the slaughterhouses of Auschwitz and Dachau; so as to wipe out the moral conscience of which the Jews remind them. And they found a stick. Nothing could be more gratifying for them than to find the Jews into a struggle with another people (who are completely terrorized by their own leaders) against whom the Jews, against their best wishes, have to defend themselves in order to survive. With great satisfaction, the world allows and initiates the rewriting of history so as to fuel the rage of yet another people against the Jews. This in spite of the fact that the nations understand very well that peace between the parties could have come a long time ago, if only the Jews would have had a fair chance. Instead, they happily jumped on the wagon of hate so as to justify their jealousy of the Jews and their incompetence to deal with their own moral issues.

When Jews look at the bizarre play, taking place in The Hague, they can only smile as this artificial game once more proves how the world paradoxically admits the Jews uniqueness. It is in their need to undermine the Jews that they actually raise them.

"The study of history of Europe during the past centuries teaches us one uniform lesson: That the nations which received and in any way dealt fairly and mercifully with the Jew have prospered; and that the nations that have tortured and oppressed him have written out their own curse."
Olive Schreiner (9)
"If there is any honour in all the world that I should like, it would be to be an honorary Jewish citizen."
NTA.L. Rowse (10)


By Mark Twain

If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.

His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be excused for it. The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendour; then faded to dream-stuff and passed away: the Greeks and the Romans followed and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.

The Jew saw them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?

The above was written by Mark Twain and first published in HARPER'S magazine, September 1887.


(1) Quoted by Geoffry Wheatcroft in "The Contrversy of Zion", Sinclair-Stevensohn, London, 1996, X1.

(2) Leo Tolstoy, Quoted by Chief Rabbi J.H.Hertz in "A book of Jewish Thought" Oxford University Press, 1966, p.135.

(3) Anatole Leroy Beaulieu, french historian. "Israel among the nations", p.162. 1893, Ibid, p.174.

(4) Thomas Cahill, "The Gifts of the Jews", Doubleday, New York, 1998, p. 240-41.

(5) William Rees Mogg, "The Times", quoted by Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, "Radical then, radical now", Harpercollins, London, 2000, p 4.

(6) Pascal, "Pensees", translation by A.J. Krailsheimer, Penquin, Harmondsworth, 1968, p. 171, 176-77.

(7) Paul Johnson, "A history of the Jews", Weindenfeld & Nicolsohn, London, 1987, p 2.

(8) Matthew Arnold, "Literature and Dogma", Smith, Elder, <Sstyle="BACKGROUND: white; COLOR: black; FONT-FAMILY: Arial" PANLondon, 1876, p 58

(9) Olive Schreiner, South African novelist, quoted by Chief Rabbi J.H. Hertz, p,177,180, Ibid, p. 180.

(10) A.L. Rowse, "Historians I have known", Duckworth, London, 1995, p.

(All of the above authors are gentiles)




By Bernard J. Shapiro

There are many reasons Likud voters should reject PM Ariel Sharon's plan to surrender Gaza to terrorist Arabs and expel its peaceful productive Jewish residents. I have broken these reasons into three categories: moral, strategic and security. Also I will discuss the fact that U.S. President George Bush's commitments to Sharon have no practical value and are of little more than "smoke and mirrors" to cover up a flawed plan. Then I will review the guarantees Israel has given Bush to achieve these delusions. When you look at the whole picture, I believe you will agree that all Likud members should vote a resounding NO against this surrender to terrorism plan.


1. The expulsion of Jews from Gaza is no different from the expulsion of Jews from any country. This includes the expulsions from Israel by the Romans, Assyrians and Babylonians. In Europe Spain, England, Germany, France, Poland and Russia drove Jews from their homes of many centuries. That Jews should be expelled from Eretz Yisrael by a Jewish government makes it all the more morally reprehensible.

2. Gaza is clearly a part of the Holy Land given by G-d to Abraham for the Jewish People in perpetuity. Sharon has no right to take it upon himself to divest all of us of our inheritance.

3. Sharon claims that the removal of Jews from Gaza would strengthen Israel's ability to protect other Jews. This goes against all Torah principles which state that it is wrong to sacrifice one Jew to save another.

4. One of the greatest moral flaws is the attempt to stifle debate on this crucial decision for the future of Israel. Sharon has refused to debate the issue. The media presents only one side, that of retreat. Israeli politicians are blackmailed into thinking that to go against Sharon's surrender the United States would be upset (which it would not).

5. Surrender to terrorism will embolden it and increase the killing worldwide and not just in Israel.


Gaza has always been strategically important. Throughout history it has been the route of invasion from North Africa into Israel and beyond. Egypt has used Gaza to attack Israel during warfare and with terrorism since before the State of Israel was declared. Jutting like a finger into the heart of Israel it sits only 40 miles from Tel Aviv. Rockets and missiles from Gaza, after retreat, will certainly hit Israeli population centers. Already the strategic port of Ashdod has been struck and most areas in the Negev will become front line communities.

Worse still from a strategic standpoint will be the absence of good intelligence on the ground in Gaza. This will make impossible the targeted assassinations terrorist leaders. It will also create a safe haven for the terrorists to do research and development on advanced weapon systems like missiles capable of carrying biological or chemical warheads.


Israelis are being promised security by leaving Gaza. Unfortunately this will not be the case for a number of reasons:

1. Arabs will still enter Israel to work and a certain number will be homicide bombers.

2. The Gaza fence will not be a perfect barrier to infiltration of terrorists into Israel. With the increased motivation resulting from Israeli retreat, they will seek new innovative ways to cross the barrier. For example, their success in building tunnels into Gaza will be re-directed to tunneling into the Negev from Sinai or directly under the fence.

3. Israelis should expect the terrorists to place greater emphasis on involving Israeli Arabs in acts and support of terrorism. There will be no let up in the terrorist pressure despite assurance that leaving Gaza will have beneficial effects.



Yoram Ettinger recently published a list of American commitments from history that have proven how worthless those promises were "when push came to shove." We should certainly not rely on American promises in our decision to vacate strategic territory and compromise or moral values and security interests. Here is his list of infamy:

FACT: According to the US Constitution, no presidential declaration/promise is binding without a Congressional legislation or ratification.

FACT: President Bush's statements (Apr. 7, 2004) on the "1967 Lines" and the "Claim of Return" are not binding. He did not oppose the "claim of return", did not recognize Israel's sovereignty over major settlement blocks in Judea & Samaria, and did not support Israel's sovereignty beyond the "1967 Lines." Presidents Johnson and Reagan stated (September 10, 1968 and September 1, 1982) that Israel should not be expected to withdraw to the "1967 Lines", but it has not prevented their successors – and did not prevent them – to expect such a withdrawal.

FACT: President Clinton committed (in 2000) $800MN to Israel, to induce a withdrawal from So. Lebanon. Israel withdrew, Palestinian terrorism escalated, but the committed assistance has not been extended.

FACT: Saudi F-15s are stationed at Tabuq, south of Eilat, threatening Israel, in defiance of President Reagan's 1981 commitment to Congress and to Israel.

FACT: President Bush promised (in 1991) to direct 30% of US bombing to Western Iraq, in order to destroy the Scud missile launchers, dissuading Israel from a preemptive offensive against Iraq. However, only 3% of the bombing were directed at W. Iraq, the launchers were not destroyed, but Israel was hit in its Soft Belly.

FACT: President Nixon committed (in 1970) the US to oppose the deployment of missiles, by Egypt, toward Sinai. Missiles were deployed, Israeli complaints were ignored by the US, and the 1973 War erupted taxing Israel with 2,800 fatalities (more than 100,000 in US terms).

FACT: President Eisenhower issued (in 1957) Executive commitments to Israel, in return for a full withdrawal from Sinai. In 1967, Egypt violated the agreement with the US and Israel, the Egypt-Syria-Jordan axis tightened around Israel, President Johnson did not implement the 1957 commitments, which paved the road to the Six Days War.

FACT: Presidential candidate Bush made a commitment (in 2000) to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem. In 2004, the embassy is still located in Tel Aviv.


Presidential Commitments – The Limits

FACT: According to the US Constitution, international treaties and commitments assumed by the president must be ratified by 2/3 of the Senate, in order to be constitutionally binding.

FACT: According to the US Constitution, the Power of the Purse is on Capitol Hill. No presidential financial commitment stands, unless legislated by Congress (which is constrained by rigid budget caps).

FACT: According to the US Constitution, the president and/or Congress can rescind any international commitment by issuing an Executive Order and/or by a congressional vote.

FACT: A President may bypass Congress by Executive Agreements and Executive Orders, which could be rescinded by the president, by his successors and by Congress.

FACT: US international commitments (including NATO) are characterized by ambiguity, lack of specificity and by the absence of automaticity of implementation, in order to preserve the interests of the US (rather than the interest of other countries).


The contention that presidential declarations/promises are carved in stone reflects misunderstanding of the US democracy, a dangerous delusion and ignorance of precedents, which have taxed Israel severely.

In return for an ambiguous, non-specific presidential declaration – devoid of an automatic trigger – Israel is expected to carry out a specific, certain and tangible retreat, which would constitute – according to Israel's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Dec. 3, 2003) – a tail wind to Palestinian terrorism.



Israel made many commitments to Bush which greatly limit Israel's sovereignty and its ability to act in its national interests. Some of them are listed below:

1. No settlement growth beyond the limits placed on Israel by the Americans. US Ambassador Kurtzer, who has a pro-Arab bias, will determine those limits.

2. Removal of unauthorized outposts. The list of such outposts will be presented to Ambassador Kurtzer within 30 days.

3. Palestinian revenues should be dispersed. This matter is pending in various courts of law in Israel, awaiting judicial decisions.

4. The Israeli government remains committed to the two-state solution – Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security – as the key to peace in the Middle East.

5. The Israeli government remains committed to the road map as the only route to achieving the two-state solution.

6. The Government of Israel supports the United States' efforts to reform the Palestinian security services to meet their road map obligations to fight terror. Israel also supports the American efforts, working with the international community, to promote the reform process, build institutions, and improve the economy of the Palestinian Authority and to enhance the welfare of its people, in the hope that a new Palestinian leadership will prove able to fulfill its obligations under the road map. The Israeli Government will take all reasonable actions requested by these parties to facilitate these efforts. [This is the most ridiculous of commitments. Can you train terrorists to fight terrorism?]


I hope the Likud voters will review carefully the material presented here. I believe there is an overwhelming case for voting no on the surrender referendum for moral, strategic and security reasons. And also, the commitments of Bush and Sharon do nothing to change the realities on the ground and we should be wary of falling for "nice words" that mask the real issues. The future of Israel is in your hands now, please do the responsible thing.


Bernard J. Shapiro is the executive director of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies <> and the editor its monthly Internet magazine, THE MACCABEAN ONLINE.




By Bernard J. Shapiro

We are now witness to the second greatest hoax perpetuated on the Israeli people in the last 11 years. The first, of course, was the great Oslo peace hoax of Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin and Yossi Beilin in 1993. Israelis should have learned from that bitter and bloody experience. While some had the foresight to recognize the fatal flaws in the Oslo process, others were quite blind. The blind were not necessarily evil, but craved "peace" so much that they were willing to take dangerous gambles with the lives of their neighbors. Unfortunately, leading the blind were truly evil men who cared not about Eretz Yisrael and the Almighty's promise to Abraham.

As the Oslo process fell apart, the stack of Jewish dead and maimed bodies began to grow at an alarming rate. Diplomats with little understanding of the dynamics of the Middle East, began to come up with plans to "save" Oslo. Their names - Mitchell, Tenet, Wye, Camp David, Taba, The Roadmap - have sunk into the dustbin of history. All of them failed because they never properly analyzed the true situation in the Middle East. They never understood the simple fact that NO plan could ever work. They didn't fully grasp and internalize the fact that the Arab goal of destroying Israel and the Israeli goal to live and not be destroyed were unreconcilable.

There is a certain psychopathology in Middle East diplomacy. I see a sort of obsessive/compulsive behavior on the part of all the so-called peacemakers. They keep banging their heads against the hard rock of reality and get a headache. And then they do it again, thinking they will get a different result. This ailment which use to be predominant only in Israeli leftist circles has now afflicted Israeli PM Ariel Sharon. Despite his vast service to the Israeli nation, he too has become subject to this psychiatric disorder.

Sharon believes that his retreat from Gaza will somehow change the harsh realities he has faced all his life. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sharon went to Washington to seek approval from US President George Bush for his plan to retreat from Gaza and surrender to terrorism. His motivation, of course, was to enhance his chances of winning the Likud referendum on the plan to be held on May 2nd.


Bush: I welcome your disengagement (retreat) plan. I hope it will lead to two states living sided by side in peace and security.

Sharon: Thank you for your support.

Shapiro: There is no evidence of an Arab desire to live in peace with Israel. Your vision, Mr. President, is not based on the harsh realities of the Middle East.

Bush: The right to self defense and need to fight terrorism are equally matters of international agreement. The two-state vision and the roadmap are designed to implement it and command nearly universal support.

Sharon: Thank you for your vision of peace.

Shapiro: Mr. President, you have said nothing that will be of benefit to Israel in its fight against terrorism. While you acknowledge the right of self defense, every organ of the international community denies it to Israel. Even Your State Department has never accepted Israel's right to defend itself, other than empty phrases short on specifics and long on restrictions. There is no roadmap to peace, since their can be NO peace between the victim and his murderer.

Bush: There will be no security for Israelis or Palestinians until they and all states in the region and beyond join together to fight terrorism and dismantle terrorist organizations. I want to reiterate the US commitment to Israel's security within secure defensible borders. We will aid the PA security forces (terrorists) to enable them to fight terrorism and dismantle terrorists organizations (themselves).

Sharon: Thanks you Mr. President. Without your agreement I believe Israel would have no right of self defense and certainly no right to fight terrorism.

Shapiro: Mr. President, thanks for nothing. Israel's right to self defense is inherent in all sovereign states and it will continue to fight terrorism, with or without your permission. May I remind you that it is the Arabs, including the PA, that are responsible for terrorism in this region. To continue the failed path of many before you and expect them to fight terrorism is foolish and dangerous. Would you ask the fox to guard the hen house or the wolf to shepherd the lambs?

Bush: We will ask Egypt to help with security in Gaza after Israel withdraws.

Sharon: Thank you Mr. President.

Shapiro: Mr. President, Egypt has done nothing to further peace in the region and has facilitated the building of tunnels from the Sinai into Gaza to smuggle weapons to the terrorists. How are we to believe that will help with security?

Bush: The Arab refugees will be permitted to settle in the Palestinian state and should not be settled in Israel.

Sharon: Thank you Mr. President. If it weren't for your strong stand on this issue we would be forced to accept millions of refugees (most of them fake) into Israel, which would cease to be a Jewish State. You have really saved us.

Shapiro: Thanks a lot Mr. President, for nothing. Israel never planned to allow millions of hostile Arabs to enter its borders. So what have you done for us? Anyway, by my calculation, there are NO Arab refugees. It is not a status you can inherit for generations. Look up in your Webster's dictionary and you will find that the definition of a refugee is someone who has been displaced due to war or other catastrophe. Very few of the so-called Arab refugees fit that category, and they are equal (though less in number) to the Jews displaced from Arab countries.

Bush: Israel will not have to return to the 1949 Armistice lines.

Sharon: Thanks Mr. President.

Shapiro: Those lines were never borders due to Arab insistence, thinking they would be able to destroy Israel in the future. They didn't. They kept losing. There are now no official borders and while there is some territory disputed, it is Israel's right to annex, settle or retreat from it. Sorry Arabs, you should not really have a say in this decision.

Bush: The Palestinians must fight terror and dismantle terrorist organizations.

Sharon: Of course, that is what I have been saying.

Shapiro: By my calculation this is the 122nd time the PA has been asked to or promised to fight terrorism. Will anyone ever "get it.' The Arabs ARE the terrorists. Asking them to fight terrorism is like asking them to stop being Arabs. It won't happen. Forget this losing proposition. Continuing is that psychopathology of obsessive/compulsive disorder I spoke about earlier.

So in reality, Sharon got nothing substantive from Bush during his trip to Washington. The media spin and the Arab protest are all apart of the delusion Sharon wishes to perpetuate on Likud voters. JUST SAY NO!



Israel will NOT be destroyed by the acts of deception, delusion, and ignorance demonstrated at the White House today. There is a Higher Authority than either Sharon or Bush. His promise to Abraham WILL NOT be broken. The pagans of Arabia will NOT be victorious. But each and everyone of us must actively fight for Eretz Yisrael. Those members of the Likud must vote against retreat and defeat. Those abroad, with relatives in Israel, must let them know that Israel was promised in perpetuity to the Jewish People, including those abroad, and CAN NOT be divested by any temporal government. Those that seek to abandon Israel must not succeed. Our efforts must be tireless and our faith mighty if we are to win this battle.

Bernard J. Shapiro is the Executive Director of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies <> and the editor its monthly Internet magazine, The Maccabean Online and its daily email broadcast, Freemanlist.




By Emanuel A. Winston

Middle East analyst & commentator

Stop for a moment, say a prayer of thanks and take a rest - but, not too long. Don't be mislead by Sharon's statement that he accepts the judgement of his Likud Party or those who worked to defeat his planned Gaza retreat.

You have already heard from his mouthpiece, Ehud Olmert, that the plan to evict 8,000 men, women and children will proceed. You have also heard from the head of the Shinui Party, Joseph (Tomy) Lapid. He said something to the effect that, those who voted against 'withdrawal' are 'only' a small part of the people.

Perhaps Lapid forgot that Oslo was pushed through by only one vote, with only a handful of Labor Leftists led by Rabin, Peres and Beilin. At least, this referendum was out in the open unlike the conspiratorial Oslo which was planned in secret with the assistance of the Norwegians. Take a rest - but remember - when Sharon acts humble he may be planning his meanest acts. Like the Oslo gang, the Sharon gang of Olmert, Dov Weissglass and his son Omri also engaged in secret plans with the Colin Powell, the U.S. Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice, National Security Advisor - all with the approval of President George W. Bush - to give the President a pre-election boost with the Jews in the South and East of Israel paying the ultimate price.

Sharon's next moves will be to attack those of his party and even his Cabinet for not obeying his "commandments". He will likely replace them with either conventional party hacks or select those who are known to be Left leaning. In this, he will likely collaborate with Shimon Peres so the Labor Party can undercut the landslide referendum decision by Likud, Sharon's own Party.

Frankly, Sharon is very much like several party switchers of the past whose loyalty was only to themselves, namely Ezer Weizman, Moshe Dayan and Sharon, himself. All would and did switch ideologies if it temporarily benefitted their status in government. However, when weighed in the balance, all three were Left to radical Left in their characters.

Sharon is obdurately set on pulling in Israel's borders, both in the South and the East. His retreat from Gaza was only one indicator. His dividing wall is another indicator of where everything east of that Wall/Border/Fence will eventually be relinquished to the mix of Arab Muslims Palestinians.

Part of Sharon's plan was taken from the early Rabin/Peres plans of the early 1980s. I frequently wrote about their intentions extensively but few believed that such men would betray their fellow Jews and place them in jeopardy or in harm's way.

The game plan then was to put extensive pressure on all the Jewish citizens east of the so-called green line to force them out. Besides cutting back on their municipal services (water, electricity, sewage treatment, roads, security, funding for individual and community buildings) the plan called for actually allowing only minimal armament for the settlers in YESHA (Yehuda, Shomron and Gaza).

The regular army of the IDF was to be withdrawn. There would be no patrols, no checkpoints so that the Jews driving the roads would be left to the vicious actions of Arafat's shock troops. Presumably under that Plan, the Palestinians would drive the last of the settlers out.

Now, we wait to see if Sharon, through his Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, starts to withdraw troops from Gaza, Judea and Samaria. It will be done slowly, allowing the pressure to increase incrementally. There would be fewer responses to road-side shootings (as just happened to Talia Hatuel, who was 8 months pregnant and her four daughters, aged 11 to 2.) Sharon's retaliation hit a radio station and some empty buildings - only. There would be less reaction to mortar, missile or RPG (Rapid-Propelled Grenade) bombings and terror attacks within the settlements.

Even today, the most stalwart of defenders in the YESHA communities believe that the bare 15 minutes worth of ammunition they have on hand is insufficient because within 15 minutes, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will be there to defend them. Not if the Arab Muslims within the newly created Palestinians 'entity' collectively attack. If Egypt, Syria and/or Jordan are making aggressive moves, the IDF will have to defend Israel's external borders. Then the settlers, men and women, will be on their own and too many of them are NOT prepared, mentally, emotionally or physically with sufficient equipment.

On the political level, Sharon, joined at the hip with Peres, will repeat the Rabin/Peres psychological policy of building resentment among the Jews who live along the coast in Tel Aviv, Haifa, etc. In coordination with the Leftist Media (Ma'ariv, Ha'aretz, Yediot Aharonot and the TV news channels, they will cast each terror attack in Israeli cities as the result and, therefore, the fault of the settlers NOT giving up their homes, farms, factories, land, etc.

There will be every effort by the party hacks of Labor, Likud and Shinui to encourage hatred against the Jews of YESHA. The theme will go something like this: "If only the Jews of Gaza and the rest of YESHA would evacuate so a Palestinian State could be formed, we have 'assurances' from the Arabs and from America that the Arab Muslims will cease terror."

Also, if the Arabs have another Arab Muslim Palestinian State, they will promise not demand the entry of 3-5 million descendants of the 450,000 Arabs who left Israel in 1948. Sharon, Peres, Olmert will also offer assurances that the Wall will guarantee safety and the Arab Muslim Palestinian "refugees" will not pile up against the Wall/Fence in a long and massive teeming refugee camp. Those assurances of peace and no terror will also come from Arafat, Saeb Erekat and perhaps even Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Tanzim, Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades.

In the meantime, Sharon and his gang will work the Knesset with threats, bribes and whatever it takes to override their defeat in the referendum.

First, recognize that those close to the Terror and who know it intimately voted NOT to bring the Terror even closer. The Terrorists, across their entire spectrum, have plainly stated that, as long as the Jewish State exists, they will attack the State and individuals, including as they did on Sunday, pregnant women and little children. Why, other than the personal interests of these two men, Sharon and Bush, believe that appeasing dedicated Islamic "Jihadists" will bring any kind of peace?

Bush is learning in Iraq that appeasing the Iraqi people has brought nothing but excessive death to American troops. Why then does he believe he can get even one day of peace from Arafat, all the Arab Muslim Palestinians linked to Hamas, Hezb'Allah, Al Qaeda, etc. who are further linked to Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc. (remember the nineteen 9/11 hijacker/suicide bombers were 15 Saudis and 4 Egyptians)?

The simple fact to remember is that, the Arab Muslims will NOT give the West even one day of peace. Sharon and Bush know this beyond question. Why are they ready to sacrifice the Jewish people for their petty, political needs is something the historians will argue about long after these two men have gone.

So...What to do??

1. Anticipate all of the above and more.

2. Don't rely on Sharon's assurances but re-double your efforts to bring your case directly to the people.

3. Pull together politically and, if necessary, start the process of framing out a new party from the disenchanted Likud members. (Become a political power to be reckoned with.)

4. Anticipate the collusion of Sharon and Peres. Anticipate the most dirty and scurrilous tricks and, even then, you may likely fall short of the tricks they may invent.

5. Work the Knesset and let them know their seats will disappear in the next election IF they betray any of the Jews outside of Sharon's Wall/Border/Fence.

6. Don't trust or believe promises made by other nations. As Bismark said: "Nations do not have friends, only interests!"

7. Watch for collusion between the State Department, Sharon, Peres and the Beilin Geneva cabal. Think about how they would set in motion their collective dirty tricks department.

We have already observed Dennis Ross, formerly of the U.S. State Department and Ambassador to Israel - now on TV - offering suggestions on how to overcome the impact of Sharon's failed referendum. Some may recall that Ross, along with Daniel Kurtzer (current U.S. Ambassador to Israel) and Aaron Miller were often referred to as James Baker's Jew Boys. Listening to Ross on FOX NEWS with Brit Hume (1), I clearly heard the State Department setting in motion a campaign to insure that Sharon tramples the Jews in Gaza and all those who defy Sharon and Bush on their march to "ethnically cleanse" Gaza, Judea and Samaria of Jews. When you see Baker's Boys acting as point men, be assured that the State Department is close by and manipulating their former employees.

I would guess that the U.S. State Department with the approval of President Bush, will come up with some sort of seemingly unrelated penalty, which will be used as a bargaining lever to force the Gaza Retreat/Road Map back into motion.

There will probably be other tricks but, if you know they are coming, you (all) will be on the alert for the smell.

So, take a brief rest and then re-double your efforts for Sharon's next push. Don't believe the excuses by Sharon's strategists that "the settlers had millions of dollars to spend and that's why we lost". It seems that the most effective campaign strategy was when the actual residents of Gush Katif volunteered their time to visit with the potential voters and tell them the facts. When the issue had a 'face' and the real story, the propaganda lost and the people won.


1. "SPECIAL REPORT with Brit Hume" on FOX NEWS May 3, 2004 5 PM EST

Emanuel A. Winston is a member of the Board of Directors and a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.




By Ariel Natan Pasko

Thank you Ariel Sharon for your Gaza Disengagement Plan. Do to your willingness to call for "transferring" - i.e. expelling Jews from a part of their historic homeland - the Gazan Jewish community; an estimated 70-100,000 people came to Gush Katif in Gaza on Israeli Independence Day (120-150,000 including those stuck in traffic or turned away by the police), to show their support for the Gazan Jews and to register their opposition to your plan. It brought the largest Jewish presence to Gaza in modern times. More Israelis are interested in seeing Gaza today, and connecting to the communities there, than ever before.

Thank you ministers Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livne, Silvan Shalom and others from the Likud; and thank you Shinui Party ministers, Yosef Lapid, Avraham Poraz, and Avraham Paritzky for helping also.

And so as not to "discriminate" against the opposition politicians in Israel; thank you members of Knesset, Shimon Peres, Dalia Itzik, Avraham Burg, Matan Vilnai, etc. from the Labor Party, and lets not forget MKs Zahava Gal-On, Yossi Sarid and those from Yahad (formerly Meretz), who just as graciously helped the Gazan Jewish community, by threatening their very existence.

I'd also like to thank all those in the Israeli electronic and print media who have jumped on the "disengagement bandwagon" to promote an ethnic cleansing campaign in Israel. In particular, I'd like to thank the trinity of Larry Derfner from the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz's Akiva Eldar and Amira Hass, for their constant prattle against "settlers," and their support for Prime Minister Sharon's expulsion plan.

Finally, I'd like to thank Chief Justice Aharon Barak and the Israeli Supreme Court, who if they would uphold the Sharon government's Gaza plan to expropriate the property - with or without compensation - of Israeli citizens and expel them from their homes, would be setting an important legal precedent for the future.

All these supporters of Sharon's Disengagement Plan believe it is for the best interests of the State of Israel and it's national security. Why, might you ask, do I thank all these people?

Plain and simple, because it's dawned on me, that as good democratically minded citizens of the State of Israel; if they support "ethnic cleansing" of Jews from Gaza today, tomorrow their support can be counted on, if a future Israeli government comes to power that wants to remove Israeli Arabs and the so-called Palestinians, from the historic Land of Israel, for the best interests of the State of Israel and it's national security.

Since I assume that none of these fair-minded people mentioned above, would contemplate treating Jews in a different and inferior way, to the way they would treat Arabs; I assume that none of these fine Israeli citizens planning to "ethnically cleanse" their fellow citizens from Gaza, would discriminate against people just because they are Jews.

Thoughts of calling them racist, Nazi, Judeo-path, or anti-Semite, might cross one's mind, if that were true - that they only would support the expulsion of "settlers" i.e. Jews - from parts of Israel, but since I'm convinced that's not the case, one needn't worry.

No, these fine citizens, from Sharon, Netanyahu, and Olmert, to Peres and his Labor colleagues on down, have opened the Pandora's Box of "ethnic cleansing," never to be shut again.

In the future - I believe not so distant - a future Jewish leader can rest assured of the political support of these people, to carry out a "transfer" policy against "enemies" that threaten the lives and welfare of Israel's Jewish population. Based on legal precedent, such policy will demand the support of those who earlier worked to expel Jews from Gaza. If they won't want to be accused of being racists, Nazis, Judeo-paths, or anti-Semites, they will have to support such a policy.

Then again, they can admit the truth...and be prosecuted, by that future Israeli government.

Thank you Ariel Sharon.

Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst & consultant. He has a Master's Degree in International Relations & Policy Analysis. Mr. Pasko is a member of the Board of Directors and a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites, in newspapers, and can be read at:

(c) 2004/5764 Pasko




By Aaron Lerner

(May 2, 2004)

The key difference between the Likudniks who voted massively against the retreat plan and the rest of Likud voters - and for that matter the "average" Israeli - is not a matter of ideology but knowledge. By the same token that a huge number of secular and traditional Likudniks who originally told pollsters that they supported the retreat plan changed their positions after being presented with the facts, the general body of Likud voters - and "average" Israelis - can also be brought over to opposing retreat when provided the opportunity to learn the facts.

A key theme driving support for retreat among Israelis is a view that there is a need to "do something" about the "situation". But the key element of "the situation" is not specifically the Arab-Israeli conflict but instead the economic situation. The greater the proportion of the population that is drawn into the ongoing economic recovery the lower the pressure to "do something". Thus, the longer the window available for both the education of the public on the one hand, and an improvement in the economy, on the other, the greater the possibility of bringing over the majority of the Israeli public to also oppose retreat.

By the same token that the massive propaganda campaign by the Israeli media supporting Sharon's retreat plan failed to convince Likudniks, the general Israeli public, jaded by over a decade of media Oslo propaganda, will not be suckered into accepting the massive media campaign that was launched at 10:00 PM this evening with the announcement of the exit poll results to paint the Likud as a radical right wing party out of touch with the rest of the nation.

While Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was willing to warn of the catastrophic consequences on both the diplomatic and economic front if his retreat plan is rejected, he has no interest in such a catastrophe now that he has been trounced. Nothing will be done to interfere with the economic recovery well under way and the last thing that President Bush wants to do, only months before his own election day, is punish the Jewish State for the outcome of its democratic processes.

Prime Minister Sharon's harsh words against his opponents during the campaign in no way prevents cooperation in the future. Sharon's terming his opponents "extreme right" is nothing as compared to the words that the Labor Party used against him in the heated election campaign of 2001 which he gracefully ignored the moment the polls closed and he invited them to join the ruling coalition.

Shinui leader Minister Lapid doesn't threaten to even consider leaving the
ruling coalition if the retreat plan is rejected - he only asks that he be
given the opportunity to vote on it in the cabinet - where it will be
defeated. He does this in full knowledge that the overwhelming majority of
his own party (77% in a poll last week) wants to stay in the coalition even
if the retreat plan is rejected.

Binyamin Netanyahu and the other "shfanim" ("bunnies") - Limor Livnat and Sylvan Shalom unintentionally made a greater contribution to defeating the retreat plan by half heartedly endorsing it than they would have made if they took key roles in the campaign against the plan. Their absence prevented Sharon from turning the vote into a personality contest between
him and the prime ministers in waiting. No one could possibly claim that Minister Uzi Landau, who led the campaign against retreat, is a contender for the prime minister's slot. Likudniks did not have to worry that a vote against retreat in any way could be interpreted as a vote in favor of a candidate they do not want to support.

It is doubtful that Netanyahu's political future was seriously hurt by his move since no major Likud personality who is considered a possible candidate for prime minister had the intestinal fortitude to openly oppose Sharon's retreat plan. Netanyahu only reminded the rank and file of his perennial orthopedic problem. The puzzle for Likudniks is not, therefore, which candidate to support in the future, but rather what mechanisms or devices might be employed to deal with their seemingly inevitable spinelessness.

While the media welcomes Deputy Minister Ehud Olmert's calls to immediately reward savage Palestinian terror with retreat, it is far from clear if Mr. Olmert, who returned from the defunct Central Party to the 32nd place in the Likud, will be able to make the cut in the next Likud primaries.

Finally, the last thing Ariel Sharon wants to do today is risk forfeiting the special standards that are applied by the attorney general when considering the criminal indictment of a prime minister. A serving prime minister is only indicted if there is a close to absolute certainty he will be convicted. A former prime minister can be sent to court if the odds for a conviction are just better than even. Hence his announcement already tonight that he has no intention to resign.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730




By Prof. Paul Eidelberg

Animated by hubris, Prime Minister Sharon tried to transform the Likud referendum into a personal issue. The issue, he wanted Likud voters to believe, was not the merits or defects of his plan to evacuate Gaza and uproot its 8,000 Jewish residents, but Ariel Sharon: his triumphant leadership of the Likud Party.

1. Ironically, Sharon was indeed the issue. For he personifies the greatest weakness of Israeli prime ministers, their inability to see things in "black and white." Sharon's crushing defeat was not the result of some miscalculation of his mind, but rather a failure of his heart.

We are enjoined in the Shema: "Do not go astray after your hearts..." (Numbers 15:39). Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, one of the great leaders of European Jewry in the generation leading up to the Holocaust, asked -- and here I abbreviate: "Why does the Torah speak of the heart and not the mind?" He answers: "False beliefs result not so much from a defective intelligence as from a perverted heart. The heart is the seat of our desires and will, and those desires are the source of all distorted thinking." Hence the folly of Sharon stems from a perverted heart, a heart which, according to the Talmud (Berachot 12b), has strayed from God.

Let me remind the reader of what Prime Minister Sharon said in an interview with Ha'aretz Magazine on April 13, 2001. While Jews were being reduced to body parts, Mr. Sharon publicly declared that his son Omri had taught him "not to see things in black and white"! Therein was the real issue of the Likud referendum.

What made the referendum a stunning defeat for Sharon was that so many of those who voted against his plan did indeed see things in "black and white"! Unlike Israel's Prime Minister they saw without equivocation that the uprooting of Jews from Gaza was simply Evil. Their hearts had not gone astray. And this is not all.

Sharon, like supporters of unilateral disengagement such as Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu , poses as a "pragmatist." Apparently, political circumstances have changed since last year, when Sharon opposed Labor leader Amram Mitzna's plan to withdraw unilaterally from Gaza. Politicians who cannot think in terms of black and white must of course accommodate themselves to ever-changing circumstances. This is "realism." It is also called "opportunism."

What puts the lie to Sharon's "realism" or "pragmatism" is that it is rooted in a heart that cannot face the enormity of Evil, the Arab-Islamic Culture of Hatred, which is based on a satanic conception of God. One may see Sharon's psychological flaw in the media, even in "centrist" writers of The Jerusalem Post: its many-sided editor-in-chief, Bret Stephens, its middle-of-the-road executive editor Amotz Asa-El, its very retired lecturer in political science, Yosef Goell -- to name but three who supported the Sharon plan on "pragmatic grounds." (Like so many other "Middle Israelis," Goell deplores "ideological purity" -- hence those who think in black and white terns)

I mention these pundits because their "centrism" or apparent "realism" -- like Sharon's -- is more dangerous than the extremism of the Left. Only the incorrigible are deceived by the likes of Messrs. Peres, Beilin, and Burg. It is precisely the "centrists" that lead people astray, for they obscure the genocidal objectives of Israel's enemies even while admitting them. Even when they acknowledge the blood-thirsty objectives of the Arabs, they proceed, in all haste, to anaesthetize the public with placebos -- self-effacing concessions or self-defeating compromises. Unfortunately, accommodationism will also be found among the so-called Right.

Returning to Sharon -- we really haven't left him -- is it not remarkable that this "pragmatist" so utterly miscalculated the sentiments of the Likud rank-and-file? Does this not make nonsense of his "pragmatism"? If he can so misjudge the members of his own party, must we not also suspect that he is even more susceptible to misjudging the Americans, and what is worse, the Arabs who have long cultivated the art of ingratiation, that is, of dissembling?

It has been said that the most difficult person to mislead is an honest man. Perhaps we should amend this to say an honorable man. It has also been said that those who lack a sense of honor eventually succumb to stupidity. This is consistent with the words of Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman mentioned above. The sense of honor resides more in the heart than in the mind. Beware of "pragmatists," be they politicians or pundits.



Hebron/Arutz7-INN Commentary April 28, 2004

The Jewish Community of Hebron


By David Wilder

Yesterday morning we left Hebron at about 10:30. The car was full – my wife, daughter and her two small children. The others were on one of the two Hebron buses. The destination: Gush Katif.

THE referendum is scheduled for next week – Sunday, May 2. Ariel Sharon is worried. The Hebrew daily Maariv quoted the prime minister as saying, "Whoever votes against the 'disengagement' is voting against me." In other words, Sharon is transforming the referendum into a 'no-confidence vote.' Arutz 7 posted an article saying that Sharon is considering resigning should the referendum be defeated.

In yet another article, Associated Press correspondent Ramit Plushnick-Masti writes: Sharon Plan would remove up to 100 west bank settlements. "Senior Israeli officials and government advisers acknowledge privately that many - if not all - of these isolated enclaves may eventually be taken down, even without a peace deal, if they become increasingly indefensible."

Arutz 7 reports: "In the meantime, Sharon and his staffers are hiding the truth from the public regarding the depth of his planned pullback from Judea and Samaria. "If the Likud members would know what Sharon is really planning," Likud leaders told Yossi Elituv of Mishpachah [Family] magazine, "they would be storming his office and demanding his immediate resignation." The Likud seniors told Elituv that Sharon has given the order to "hide the evacuation from Judea/Samaria, and concentrate only on the pullback from Gaza. His purpose is to lull the Likud members, obtain their consent for the disengagement from Gaza, and then to use that to move on to the next stage - a massive evacuation of Judea and Samaria.""

Yet it is vital to note that Sharon does not represent all of the Likud leadership.

Speaking at Mt. Hertzl on the eve of Israel's 56th independence day, Speaker of the Knesset Rubi Rivlin, basing his speech on the famous words of Theodore Hertzl, "If you will it, it is no legend," said, "These words beat in its heart and drove its wheels, as Zionism succeeded, achieved the impossible, time after time.

When we willed it - the legend became reality.
When we willed it - the scattered exiles of Israel were gathered in.
When we willed it - from a small, fearful community, we became a proud nation.
And when we willed it; when we really willed it - the Land was conquered, and nobody stood in our way.

But the story has not yet ended.

Even today; on the one hundredth anniversary of Herzl's death; in the
fifty-sixth year of the Independence of Israel; nothing is self-evident.
Even today, every day, we must continue to will it, we must continue to

Speaking before lighting the traditional, honorary torch of honor:

I, Reuven Rivlin, son of my father and teacher, Professor Yosef-Yoel Rivlin, may he rest in peace, researcher of Semitic languages, and translator of the Koran into Hebrew, and - may she live long - my mother and teacher, Rachel, who today, 6th Iyar, is exactly one hundred years old; seventh generation in Jerusalem; descendent of the Aliyah to Jerusalem, one hundred years before the vision of Herzl, by the disciples of the Gaon, Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna; Speaker of the Sixteenth Knesset; am honored to light this torch, of the fifty-sixth Independence Day of the State of Israel.

In honor of - The Knesset, the legislature of Israel, and the temple of democracy!
In honor of - the pioneers, the vanguard of those who came to settle the Land of our Fathers, who redeemed the land - from Hanita - to Kfar Darom; from Negba - to Kiryat Arba, that is Hebron!
In honor of - The heroes of all branches of the security forces.
In honor of - Jerusalem, our holy city, our eternal capital and the heart of the nation.

And for the glory of the State of Israel!

Rivlin's initial speech most certainly alluded to the challenges of Zionism and the will to overcome – not only 100 years ago, not only fifty-six years ago, but also at the present. Rivlin's words, coming from the Speaker of the Knesset, articulating 'the pioneers, the vanguard of those who came to settle the Land of our Fathers, who redeemed the land - from Hanita - to Kfar Darom; from Negba - to Kiryat Arba, that is Hebron!' reflect the true Likud ideology, the true Zionist ideology, which Ariel Sharon has so grossly warped. And Rivlin is not alone.

Yesterday, some 150,000 Israelis voiced their opinion, not in words, but in actions, expressing themselves with their feet and with their tires.

According to police reports, 70,000 people arrived yesterday in Gush Katif. Our experience has taught us that the 'official estimate' is about a half of the 'real thing.' According to Gush Katif spokesman Eran Sternberg, over 100,000 people managed to get into Gush Katif. Tens of thousands of others, including yours truly, were crowded out. Traffic authorities said this morning on Israel radio that they have never before witnessed a traffic jam as large as yesterday's, tens of kilometers long.

We left Hebron at 10:30 in the morning for a two hour ride to Gush Katif. I managed to drive the last 20 kilometers in about an hour and a half and we were still about 10 kilometers from our destination. After not moving for over an hour and having spent a grand total of five hours in the car we decided to pull into a nearby kibbutz, found a nice place for a picnic barbeque (not too far from some Bedouin tents), and camped out for a few hours.

But you know something. No one complained. And I'm not talking about us. I'm talking about thousands and thousands of people stuck, just like us. Many of them were more daring than I was – they parked their cars on the side of the road and walked, 10 or more kilometers, in order to reach Gush Katif and participate in the main event at 3:30 in the afternoon.

No one really cared how long it took to arrive, because the message was clear. Gush Katif is part of Eretz Yisrael and we have no intentions of leaving, not now, not ever. Over 100,000 Israelis shouted out to Ariel Sharon – "Go ahead, just try and evacuate Gush Katif, go ahead, just try to evict over 7,000 Jews from their homes. Because if you so dare, you will not be evicting 7,000 Israelis – you will have to evict hundreds of thousands of people!!!"

Have not doubt: the almost 200,000 Likud members who will be voting on Sunday saw and heard yesterday's events. Many of them participated. I expect that early Monday morning the results will be self-evident.

History will definitely remember Ariel Sharon from many diverse angles. But perhaps one of the most unique will be just this: Ariel Sharon initiated the greatest traffic jam in Israel's history, a traffic jam which may turn out to have saved Eretz Yisrael.

With blessings from Hebron.



The Jerusalem Post, May. 3, 2004


by Anshel Pfeffer

The Likud has never spurned its leader. From its early Revisionist origins in the 1920s, the party faithful always rallied around Jabotinsky, Begin, Shamir, and Netanyahu, no matter what. Dissenters were ostracized and eventually found themselves on the outside.

Ariel Sharon is different. After building a military and then a political career out of antagonizing his superiors, he is now doing the same thing to his supporters from the top of the pyramid.

Last night's results were the most striking example yet, but not the first. He has been defying the Likud's central committee in the same way almost since his elevation to party chairman in 1999. So far, it seems to have worked well for him.

Two years ago he defied the central committee that rejected his resolution in favor of a Palestinian state and went on to soundly beat Netanyahu's leadership challenge and lead the Likud to an overwhelming elections victory.

After yesterday's defeat it seems that Sharon is sticking to the same strategy. There's no question, he didn't spend 73 years clawing his way to the top just to resign after a small fraction of the 1.7 million people who voted personally for him three years ago, rejected a plan endorsed by the US president.

Sharon's aides were talking last night about the real referendum from their point of view, the clear majority in not only the Israeli public as a whole, but among the Likud's voters also, in favor of disengagement. They are predicting now a public backlash against the Likud of such a magnitude, that the same party members who yesterday were almost showing him the door, out of fear of losing power, will re-endorse him, disengagement plan and all.

Sharon's game plan now is to sit out the storm and wait for his party members to realize the hard electoral facts. Neither Uzi Landau, nor Nomi Blumenthal or Michael Ratzon, or any other Knesset member who opposed the plan, will bring in the votes that Sharon has. The leaders of the opposition camp in the Likud last night rushed to swear allegiance to the vanquished leader.

MK Gilad Erdan told The Jerusalem Post, "we haven't humiliated Sharon. Tomorrow, he will still be the prime minister, and with a more stable coalition. We appreciate what he did in asking the party."

The victors have no option but Sharon. Despite losing, the prime minister emerges with one tangible political gain.

He has effectively neutralized any high-profile challengers in the party. None of the prospective contenders is in a position to capitalize on Sharon's debacle, since they were all made to toe the line and support the program. Any hopes that Netanyahu might have entertained will have to be put on hold.

All that said, the referendum can on no account be considered a victory for Sharon. For the third time, his team ran a campaign in which Sharon's leadership was virtually the only selling point. In the 2001 and 2003 elections, it worked beyond their wildest dreams. Despite the negative polls, until last weekend they still believed that the leadership principle would kick in, and that the Likud rank and file would step back from the brink and not humiliate Arik.

Lior Horev, one of Sharon's main campaign advisors, admitted that the prime minister's image, in a referendum that he initiated, on the plan he devised, was the pivotal element – and this time, "it failed."

Horev blamed the Likud members who "couldn't bear the burden of responsibility; they didn't want to be the ones to vote on removing Jews from their homes."

Sharon would have preferred having a general referendum, he said, but it would have taken too long to legislate. After last night, it seems that Sharon will try and give the public its choice all the same.



Monday, May 3, 2004

Vol. 3, No. 23


By Ron Dermer

The main reason that Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan was overwhelmingly defeated in the Likud is that party members were not convinced that the plan would improve Israel's security situation. In fact, the majority of voters thought the plan was a reward for terrorism.

Voters did not consider the referendum a vote of confidence in Ariel Sharon. Sharon remains extremely popular within the Likud. Voters did not think they were "slapping President Bush in the face" byvoting against the disengagement plan, nor did the vast majority believe that a vote against the plan would harm Israel's relations with the United States.

Voters did not believe that a vote against the plan would weaken the Likud. On the contrary, it is far more likely that Likud voters feared that a vote in favor of the plan would split the party and alienate it from its base. In sharp contrast to what happened in Madrid last year, the terror attacks that occurred the day of the vote had little impact on the outcome. If anything the attacks only strengthened the resolve of those determined to vote against the plan.

Why the Referendum Failed

On May 2, 2004, members of the Likud party (193,000 people in total) voted overwhelmingly - 60% to 40% - against Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan. Turnout for the vote was over 50%, a higher participation rate than in the last Likud primary, in November 2002.

Many outside of Israel may be wondering how a plan initiated by a hugely popular prime minister, backed by President Bush and supported by all senior Likud ministers, including former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, could have been defeated at all, let alone by such a wide margin.

An analysis of a comprehensive poll of Likud likely voters conducted by Midgam Research on April 22-23, 2004, shows that the main reason Likud voters did not back the plan was that they did not believe it would improve security. This was clear in the answers given to the following question:

Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "The disengagement plan will improve Israel's security situation."

Strongly Agree: 23%
Somewhat Agree: 21%
Somewhat Disagree: 13%
Strongly Disagree: 40%
Don't Know/Refused: 3%

Despite assurances by Prime Minister Sharon and Defense Minister Mofaz that the disengagement plan would improve Israeli security, a majority (53%) of Likud voters disagreed with that assessment. There is also a clear difference in intensity between those who "strongly disagreed" (40%) and those who "strongly agreed" (23%) that the plan would improve Israel's security, suggesting that this argument was even more lopsided in the direction of the opponents of the plan.

In fact, rather than seeing the plan as strengthening Israeli security, the majority of Likud voters saw it as a reward for terrorism.

Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "The disengagement plan is a reward for terrorism."

Strongly Agree: 42%
Somewhat Agree: 12%
Somewhat Disagree: 16%
Strongly Disagree: 28%
Don't Know/Refused: 3%

Fully 54% of Likud voters saw the disengagement plan as a reward for terrorism, including 42% who "strongly agreed" with that statement. A closer inspection of the data reveals that the decision by Likud voters to support or oppose the Gaza disengagement plan highly correlated with their answers to these two security-related questions. Over 93% of those who opposed the plan disagreed that it would improve security, and 89% agreed that it was a reward for terrorism. In contrast, 89% of those who supported the plan agreed it would improve security and 83% disagreed that it was a reward for terrorism. No other parameter tested served as a better predictor of voter behavior.

Not a Vote of No Confidence

In the waning days of the campaign, those in favor of the disengagement plan attempted to turn the referendum into a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Sharon. The logic for doing so was clear. Despite his spearheading the disengagement plan, Sharon remains hugely popular within the party, with 84% of Likud members viewing him favorably, including 44% who view him "very favorably." These numbers are remarkably consistent with opinions of Sharon within the Likud since he became prime minister three years ago.

Sharon's advisors were attempting to cash in on the prime minister's popularity by turning the referendum into a vote of confidence in Sharon. In the waning days of the campaign, Sharon repeatedly stated that "a vote against the plan was a vote against me." But as seen below, the majority of Likud voters (53%), including many who supported his plan, did not see the
referendum as a vote of confidence in Sharon.

Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "A vote against the disengagement plan is a vote of no confidence in Sharon."

Strongly Agree: 32%
Somewhat Agree: 12%
Somewhat Disagree: 16%
Strongly Disagree: 37%
Don't Know/Refused: 3%

Wary of the popularity of the prime minister, those leading the opposition to his plan wisely decided against mounting a personal campaign against him. On the contrary, the most visible slogan during the campaign was: "We love you Sharon, but we are voting 'No.'"

Not a Vote Against America

Though some may try to interpret the election results as a slap in the face to President Bush and the United States, analysis of the poll results does not bear this out. By over 3 to 1, Likud voters did not believe that voting against the plan would harm relations with the United States.

Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "A vote against the disengagement plan will harm Israel's relations with the United States."

Strongly Agree: 12%
Somewhat Agree: 11%
Somewhat Disagree: 30%
Strongly Disagree: 40%
Don't Know/Refused: 6%

Fully 70% of Likud voters did not think that voting against the plan would harm relations with America. Among those who intended to vote against the plan, 78% did not think their vote would harm U.S.-Israel relations. Moreover, the data suggests that the effort to paint a vote against the plan as a rejection of everything the prime minister received from President Bush
failed because voters were not convinced that President Bush had actually given something important to Israel in the first place.

Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "President Bush gave Israel something important in return for the disengagement plan."

Strongly Agree: 16%
Somewhat Agree: 18%
Somewhat Disagree: 15%
Strongly Disagree" 32%
Don't Know/Refused: 18%

Nearly one-half (47%) of Likud voters disagreed that President Bush gave Israel something important in return for implementing the disengagement plan, including almost one-third (32%) who "strongly disagreed." In contrast, only one-third (34%) thought the president have given Israel something important in return.

While these results may shock those in the White House who felt the brunt of Arab and European ire over President Bush's historic statements that in effect opposed the return of Palestinian refugees to the Jewish State and the return of Israel to the 1967 borders, they will not come as a shock to Israelis.

Despite the repeated attempts by Prime Minister Sharon to present the president's statements in the best possible light, the Israeli press immediately downplayed their significance, suggesting that they left room for interpretation. This view was reinforced by statements from the American State Department that seemed to contradict the line coming out of the WhiteHouse, as well as by the persistent rumors that the ostensibly unequivocal commitments made by the president would be "watered down" soon after the Likud vote in a letter to Jordanian King Abdullah.

A Vote for the Likud

In addition to attempting to turn this into a referendum on the prime minister and Israel's relations with the United States, supporters of the plan tried to suggest that a vote against the disengagement plan would weaken the party. As can be seen below, Likud voters did not buy this argument either.

Please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: "A vote against the disengagement plan will weaken the Likud."

Strongly Agree: 15%
Somewhat Agree: 14%
Somewhat Disagree: 14%
Strongly Disagree: 50%
Don't Know/Refused: 6%

The overwhelming majority (64%) of Likud voters did not believe that a vote against the disengagement plan would weaken the Likud, including 50% who "strongly disagreed" with this statement. In all likelihood, most Likud voters believed that voting in favor of the plan would endanger the party by permanently alienating its ideological base. The fact that it was widely assumed that should the plan pass, a secular national unity government with Labor and Shinui would follow, only
reinforced the sense among Likud voters that approval of the Gaza disengagement plan would threaten the party's base. Only 24% of Likud voters favored a secular national unity government. Nearly 70% preferred the current coalition or a coalition with the right-wing and haredi religious parties, the Likud's traditional political partners.

From Madrid to Jerusalem

While it became clear in the days preceding the vote that the plan would be defeated, the margin of defeat surprised most pundits. A particularly savage attack on the day of the vote, in which a pregnant mother and her four children were gunned down at point blank range near the entrance to Gaza, led many to conclude that the outcome of the vote was affected by terrorism. This view seems to be reinforced by the large gap between what the polls predicted on the day of the vote and the final results.

On the day of the election, Israel's two major newspapers, Yediot Ahronot and Maariv, published polls. Yediot, the country's largest daily, had the "no" vote leading by 3.5% (47.5%-44%), a gap which suggested that support for the plan was gaining ground in the closing days. Maariv, on the other hand, had the "no" vote leading by 8% (49%-41%), which according to their polls meant that the gap was actually widening. The final gap (20%) was well beyond the statistical margin of error of either poll.

Many attributed this discrepancy to the terror attack in Gaza that occurred the day of the vote, but this is only partly true. At the time of the last vote within the Likud, terror attacks that occurred on that day had no effect on the outcome. On the day of the previous Likud primary in November 2002 between Sharon and Netanyahu, there were also terrorist attacks. In Mombasa, Kenya, a suicide bomber drove a car into a hotel lobby, and almost simultaneously, a missile was fired at an Israeli civilian airliner. Later that day in Bet Shean, Likud members were gunned down at a polling station. Yet those attacks had no effect on the outcome of the vote, and Sharon defeated Netanyahu by 15% (55%-40%), which is what polls conducted just before the election predicted.

Furthermore, the polls published in the newspapers on the Gaza disengagement plan failed to separate likely voters from all Likud members.

In a poll conducted among likely voters eight days before the balloting, the "no" side was leading by 8%. Yet polls conducted at the same time by the leading newspapers of all Likud members showed the "yes" side leading by 8%. This suggests that at the time there was a significant gap between the opinion of all Likud members and those who were actually going to vote. Thus, the 3.5% to 8% gap among all Likud members predicted by the newspapers on the day of the vote was probably significantly higher among likely voters. If there was any impact from the terror attack in Gaza on the vote, it was to reinforce the opinion of those opposed to the plan that it was a reward for terrorism. For those Likudniks who did see the vote as a referendum on Israel's resolve in the war against Palestinian terrorism, it seems clear that the message they sent was very different from the one sent by Spanish voters in March. If matters are left up to Likud voters, terrorism against Israel will never pay


Ron Dermer is a political consultant who lives in Jerusalem, and is a partner in Midgam Research.

Dore Gold, Publisher; Mark Ami-El, Managing Editor.
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (Registered Amuta)
13 Tel-Hai St., Jerusalem, Israel; Tel. 972-2-5619281, Fax. 972-2-5619112, Email:
In U.S.A.: Center for Jewish Community Studies, 5800 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215 USA, Tel. (410) 664-5222; Fax. (410) 664-1228.
Copyright. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The Institute for Contemporary Affairs (ICA) is dedicated to providing a forum for Israeli policy discussion and debate.



Jerusalem Cloakroom #159

Rejecting the No. Samaria and Gaza Giveaway Does Not Undermine US-Israel Ties

by Yoram Ettinger

April 27, 2004 - Yom Ha'Atzmaut 5764

The Giveaway is Not a Top US Objective

FACT: President Bush did not initiate the Giveaway, does not consider it a top priority, and therefore refuses to finance it. President Bush has limited his support to very friendly declarations, which are ambiguous, non-binding, and do not repudiate the "claim of return", nor do they support Israel's sovereignty beyond the Green Line.

FACT: In 1974, President Nixon and Congress extended Israel a military grant of $983MN and a loan of $4.15BN , as an inducement to stop the siege over the Third Egyptian Brigade and to withdraw from certain parts of the Sinai Peninsula.

FACT: In 1979, President Carter and Congress provided Israel $3BN ($800MN in grant), as an _expression of the top priority accorded by the US to the full withdrawal from Sinai.

FACT: In 2000, President Clinton offered Israel an $800MN grant in order to facilitate the withdrawal from So. Lebanon, which he viewed as a top priority.

The Giveaway Undermines US War on Terrorism

FACT: VP Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld contend that Israel's withdrawal from So. Lebanon has propelled Hizballah from a local terror organization to a regional terror organization, facing the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel's disengagement from Gaza (which took place already in 1993!) bolstered Palestinian terrorism. Further withdrawal will add more fuel to the fire.

FACT: The Giveaway contradicts US' own war on terrorism: Offensive on the enemy's own ground (and not defensive); Swift and traumatic submission of the enemy (rather than a protracted war); Military solution and destruction of the terror political infrastructure (and not co-existence with terror).

FACT: The Giveaway strengthens Israel's critics, and weakens Israel's top supporters, in the US. It implements the goals of Foggy Bottom and the CIA (pushing Israel to the 1949/67 Lines), which are the ideological rivals of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Congressional leaders.

Rejecting the Giveaway – Consistent With US Democracy

FACT: Congress tends to reject about 35% of presidential initiatives.

FACT: According to US democracy - and contrary to dictatorships – a presidential commitment to a foreign country (even a military commitment), is non-binding unless legislated or ratified by 2/3 of the Senate.

FACT: In 1999 Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, along with major global powers. Senate non-ratification did not raise doubts about the viability of US democracy; it was a testimony to its strength (checks and balance; constrained Executive; separation of powers).

The Cost of the Giveaway – Economic Crisis

FACT: President Bush and Congress refuse to finance the Giveaway.

FACT: The cost of the withdrawal from the Rafiah Salient (5,000 residents; 5 year tenure) was 15BN shekels in 1990, which is equal to some 30BN in 2004, which is similar to the annual defense budget!

FACT: The cost of the Giveaway could exceed 40BN shekels, considering the 8,000 residents with 30 year tenure in the Gaza Strip. A minimalist assessment - different than the Rafiah precedent – could lower the cost to 26BN shekels, which includes housing (furniture and improvements), two year adjustment pay, compensation, employment infrastructure, roads, communications, electricity, water, sewage, classrooms, community structures and relocation and upgrading of military installations.

FACT: The cost of the Giveaway would devastate the economy: averting economic recovery, worsening unemployment, increasing taxes, imposing government bonds, cutting infrastructure development and human services, decreasing government subsidy of public transportation and gasoline, etc.

What Can Israel Expect in Return for the Giveaway?

No peace agreement.

Land for Nothing?

Land for Terrorism, which tends to doubly terrorize those who run away!

Land for very friendly, but non-binding, ambiguous presidential declarations (which were also proclaimed by LBJ, Reagan and Clinton).


Jerusalem Cloakroom #158

April 22, 2004


by Yoram Ettinger

1. ISRAEL DISENGAGED ITSELF FROM GAZA IN 1993 (and from 40% of Judea and Samaria), in accordance with the Oslo Accords. The outcome has been:
1,400 Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the last 10 years, compared with 215 murdered during the 15 years prior to Oslo. 8,000 Jews reside in Gaza, disengaged from the Arab population. Israel's military presence there is in response to Palestinian terrorism.

2. EARLE G. WHEELER, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT C-O-S: "The occupation of Gaza by Israel would reduce the hostile border by a factor of five, and eliminate a source for raids and training of [Palestinian terrorists]... By occupying the Gaza Strip, Israel would trade approximately 45 miles of hostile border for eight. Configured as it is, the strip serves as a salient for introduction of Arab subversion and terrorism, and its retention would be to Israel's military advantage... Gaza provides a salient into Israel... It has served as a training area for [Palestinian terrorists]" (Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense on Israel's minimum requirements for security, June 29, 1967). Wheeler's recommendation is doubly relevant in 2004, when the world is less predictable (than in 1967), the Mideast is more explosive, rogue regimes are more armed, terrorism is more widespread and horrific, and the PLO/PA has systematically and terroristically violated every commitment during the last 10 years.

3. ISRAEL'S CHIEF-OF-STAFF, YA'ALON: "Uprooting of settlements would be a tail wind to terrorism" (Herzeliya, March 12, 2003); "[evacuation of Gaza] would be perceived by Palestinians as a crack in our steadfastness, and would bolster terrorism" (Yediot Achronot, Dec. 26, 2003); "IDF evacuation of Gaza would accelerate smuggling of military supplies to Gaza" (Ma'ariv, Mar. 1, 2004). ISRAEL'S CHIEF OF SHIN BET (Secret Service), DICHTER: "An evacuation of Gaza would be perceived as a Palestinian victory, bolstering terrorism" (Ma'ariv Feb. 11, 2004). ISRAEL'S CHIEF OF MILITARY INTELLIGENCE, ZE'EVI-FARKASH: "Sharon's proposed withdrawal from Gaza is perceived as a victory of terrorism, bolstering Islamic terrorism" (Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Feb. 10, 2004).

4. PRIME MINISTER SHARON: "Israeli evacuation of Gaza...would transform Gaza's main square to a launching platform of missiles to Israel's Ashqelon... Terrorism can be destroyed, if we control its bases... In 1970, Gaza was controlled by terrorists, because Israel evacuated the populated areas and the refugee camps... The cost would be much higher, if Israel repeats that mistake... A flight from populated areas, and a failure to annihilate of the threat in its incept, would require a much longer and a more difficult effort..." (Ma'ariv, June 12, 1992). Sharon's OpEd is doubly accurate in 2004, as is Wheeler's memorandum.


Jerusalem Cloakroom #157

The Cost of the Gaza and North Samaria Giveaway

by Yoram Ettinger

April 23, 2004

The following report was published – as a full page Ad – in the April 23, 2004 issue of Israel's Ma'ariv.

Yoram Ettinger

The US Shall Not Finance the Giveaway

FACT: President Bush has turned down Prime Minister Sharon's request for special financial assistance.

FACT: Israel's best friends in Congress - who possess the Power of the Purse - have advised Israel to refrain from such a request. Congress operates within rigid budgetary caps, and under the constraints of a $500BN deficit and mounting cost in Iraq, Afghanistan and other sites of the war on global terrorism.

FACT: VP Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld counsel against such a request, that could raid the Pentagon's own budget, while financing an Israeli policy of retreat from terrorism, which would constitute a tail wind to regional and anti-US terrorism.

FACT: President Clinton promised Israel $800MN for the withdrawal from So. Lebanon. The funds have not been extended.

The Immediate Cost to Israelis - $7BN

(Similar to the Annual Defense Budget!)

FACT: The cost of the Rafiah Salient Giveaway (to Egypt) was 15BN shekels in June 1990 (3.30 shekels per dollar), which is equal to 30BN shekels in 2004 (4.50 per dollar and a one third decrease in the value of the dollar).

FACT: The cost of the Gaza and No. Samaria Giveaway could skyrocket to 44BN shekels, since it pertains to 8,000 residents with a 30 year tenure, compared with 5,000 residents with a 5 year tenure in Rafiah.

FACT: A minimalist estimate (ignoring the Rafiah precedent) could bring the cost down to 26BN shekels: 13.5BN for homes (including furniture and improvements), a two year adjustment payment and a 30 year compensation; 9.5BN shekels for jobs infrastructure; 3BN Shekels for roads, communications, electricity, water, sewage, classrooms, community structures and relocation of military installations.

FACT: The huge cost could halt the current economic recovery, worsen unemployment, increase taxes, impose mandatory government bonds, cut infrastructure expenditures, etc. The expected rise in terrorism would impose further cost.

FACT: The added cost would not be in return for a peace accord. Rather than Land for Peace, this one will be Land for Nothing, or – probably – Land for Terrorism, or Land for Recycled Non-Binding Friendly Presidential Declarations.

The Lethal Cost of the Giveaway

Prime Minister Sharon: "Israeli evacuation of Gaza...would transform Gaza's main square to a launching platform of missiles to Israel's Ashqelon...Terrorism can be destroyed, if we control its bases...In 1970, Gaza was controlled by terrorists, because Israel evacuated the populated areas and the refugee camps...A flight from populated areas, and a failure to annihilate of the threat in its incept, would require a much longer and a more difficult effort..." (Ma'ariv, June 12, 1992). Sharon's recommendation is doubly relevant in 2004, with a less predictable world (than in 1992), a more explosive Mideast, more armed rogue regimes, a more horrific terrorism, and a systematically and terroristically non-compliant PLO/PA.

FACT: Former Chmn of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, General Earl Wheeler: "Occupation of the Gaza Strip by Israel would reduce the hostile border by a factor of five, and eliminate a source for raids and training of [Palestinian terrorists]...The Strip serves as a salient for introduction of Arab subversion and terrorism, and its retention would be to Israel's military advantage...By occupying the Strip, Israel would trade 45 miles of hostile border for eight." (June 29, 1967 Memo on Israel minimal requirements for security).


Jerusalem Cloakroom #156

President Bush: Beware of the Gaza Trap

by Yoram Ettinger

April 16, 2004

The following was published – as a full page Ad – in the April 16, 2004 issue of Israel's Ma'ariv. It was published in response to the claim that Israel's retreat from Palestinian terrorism in Gaza would be reciprocated by US commitments, supposedly made by President Bush, to oppose the Palestinian "claim of return", to recognize Israel's sovereignty over major settlement blocks in Judea and Samaria, and to oppose the pressure on Israel to withdraw to the 1949/67 Lines.

Enjoy it,

Yoram Ettinger

Presidential Declarations – Are They Binding?

FACT: According to the US Constitution, no presidential declaration/promise is binding without a Congressional legislation or ratification.

FACT: President Bush's statements (Apr. 7, 2004) on the "1967 Lines" and the "Claim of Return" are not binding. He did not oppose the "claim of return", did not recognize Israel's sovereignty over major settlement blocks in Judea & Samaria, and did not support Israel's sovereignty beyond the "1967 Lines." Presidents Johnson and Reagan stated (September 10, 1968 and September 1, 1982) that Israel should not be expected to withdraw to the "1967 Lines", but it has not prevented their successors – and did not prevent them – to expect such a withdrawal.

FACT: President Clinton committed (in 2000) $800MN to Israel, to induce a withdrawal from So. Lebanon. Israel withdrew, Palestinian terrorism escalated, but the committed assistance has not been extended.

FACT: Saudi F-15s are stationed at Tabuq, south of Eilat, threatening Israel, in defiance of President Reagan's 1981 commitment to Congress and to Israel.

FACT: President Bush promised (in 1991) to direct 30% of US bombing to Western Iraq, in order to destroy the Scud missile launchers, dissuading Israel from a preemptive offensive against Iraq. However, only 3% of the bombing were directed at W. Iraq, the launchers were not destroyed, but Israel was hit in its Soft Belly.

FACT: President Nixon committed (in 1970) the US to oppose the deployment of missiles, by Egypt, toward Sinai. Missiles were deployed, Israeli complaints were ignored by the US, and the 1973 War erupted taxing Israel with 2,800 fatalities (more than 100,000 in US terms).

FACT: President Eisenhower issued (in 1957) Executive commitments to Israel, in return for a full withdrawal from Sinai. In 1967, Egypt violated the agreement with the US and Israel, the Egypt-Syria-Jordan axis tightened around Israel, President Johnson did not implement the 1957 commitments, which paved the road to the Six Days War.

FACT: Presidential candidate Bush made a commitment (in 2000) to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem. In 2004, the embassy is still located in Tel Aviv.

Presidential Commitments – The Limits

FACT: According to the US Constitution, international treaties and commitments assumed by the president must be ratified by 2/3 of the Senate, in order to be constitutionally binding.

FACT: According to the US Constitution, the Power of the Purse is on Capitol Hill. No presidential financial commitment stands, unless legislated by Congress (which is constrained by rigid budget caps).

FACT: According to the US Constitution, the president and/or Congress can rescind any international commitment by issuing an Executive Order and/or by a congressional vote.

FACT: A President may bypass Congress by Executive Agreements and Executive Orders, which could be rescinded by the president, by his successors and by Congress.

FACT: US international commitments (including NATO) are characterized by ambiguity, lack of specificity and by the absence of automaticity of implementation, in order to preserve the interests of the US (rather than the interest of other countries).

The Bottom Line:

The contention that presidential declarations/promises are carved in stone reflects misunderstanding of the US democracy, a dangerous delusion and ignorance of precedents, which have taxed Israel severely.

In return for an ambiguous, non-specific presidential declaration – devoid of an automatic trigger – Israel is expected to carry out a specific, certain and tangible retreat, which would constitute – according to Israel's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Dec. 3, 2003) – a tail wind to Palestinian terrorism.




by Boris Shusteff

Speaking in the Knesset on April 22nd, Ariel Sharon made another pitch in favor of the expulsion of Jews from Jewish land. While reminiscent of numerous other speeches, this one deserves special attention, because this time the Israeli Prime Minister used as his main argument, to put it mildly, obfuscation.

Exploiting Israel's slavish attitude towards America, Sharon presented the retreat from Gaza as the only way to keep the superpower on Israel's side. He told the members of the Knesset that "since the establishment of the State, we have not received such vast and staunch political support, as was expressed in the President's letter." To prove this Sharon reiterated several points mentioned in the letter. He said that,

"The letter includes: unequivocal American recognition of Israel's right to secure and protective borders, and as it appears: 'defensible borders'. American recognition of Israel's right to defend itself by itself anywhere and to preserve its strength of deterrence against any threat, and American recognition of Israel's right to defend itself against active terror and terrorist organizations anywhere, including in areas from which Israel will withdraw."

One might easily refute Sharon's "vast" and "staunch" superlatives by simply reminding him that over 20 years ago another American President already expressed support for Israel that was no less "vast". On September 1, 1982 in his Address to the Nation on United States Policy for Peace in the Middle East, Ronald Reagan said that,

"The time has come for a new realism on the part of all the peoples of the Middle East. The State of Israel is an accomplished fact; it deserves unchallenged legitimacy within the community of nations. …It has a right to exist in peace behind secure and defensible borders; and it has a right to demand of its neighbors that they recognize those facts."

What support can be stronger than a declaration of Israel's unchallenged legitimacy within the community of nations and the right to "defensible borders?" Moreover, Reagan also promised that "the United States will not support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza."

In the letter that excited Sharon so much, President Bush wrote about this very state that, "the United States supports the establishment of a Palestinian state that is viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent." Thus it is not Sharon, but the Palestinian Arabs, who should jump for joy because they have never before received such vast and staunch political support for the establishment of their state, as expressed in the President's letter.

However, there is an even more important point here. What is so significant about America's recognition of Israel's right to have defensible borders and to defend itself? Why does no other country talk about this? Can we imagine even for a second the leaders of Belgium, Monaco, Lesotho, Latvia or any of dozens of other small countries speaking in their parliaments and boasting that America recognizes their right to exist?

Perhaps the Israeli Prime Minister is unaware of this, but Israel's right to exist (as well as that right for any other state) is enshrined in the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, which came into force on December 26, 1934. It declares in Article 3,

"The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states. Even before recognition the state has the right to defend its integrity and independence, to provide for its conservation and prosperity, and consequently to organize itself as it sees fit. …The exercise of these rights has no other limitations than the exercise of the rights of other states according to international law."

This means that Sharon's claim that, "whoever wishes wide American support for Israel's right to defend itself… must support the Disengagement plan," is merely blackmail of Israeli citizens. America cannot withhold its support for Israel's right to defend itself, because by doing so it will be violating international law. Article 6 of the Montevideo Convention states that, "The recognition of a state merely signifies that the state which recognizes it accepts the personality of the other with all rights and duties determined by international law. Recognition is unconditional and irrevocable."

The Montevideo Convention says that "The fundamental rights of states are not susceptible of being affected in any manner" and that "No state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another." Based on this, Sharon's words about America's "clear and historic stand …according to which there will be no return of refugees to Israel" are a pure soap bubble. It is Israel and only Israel that can decide about the return of refugees to the Jewish state. No other country, including America, has the right to intervene in this matter.

Actually, Sharon obscures the truth the most when he talks about America's "clear" stand on the issue. While the word "clear" was used in Bush's letter, it only added fog to the President's statement. Bush said "It seems clear … that an agreed … framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel." Reuven Koret perceptively wrote on April 18 that, " 'It seems clear' was deliberately chosen so that it has no binding force, as Colin Powell today clarified."

A senior White House administration official supported Powell's clarification during a briefing on April 14. Answering the question, "Does this statement close the door to right of return?" he replied,

"All the issues associated with right of return … are going to be -- have to be discussed in final status negotiations, and will be discussed there and have to be agreed there. That's the whole point. There is nothing that's been taken off the table in terms of final status negotiations."

So much for Sharon's assertions about America's "clear stand" that there will be no return of refugees to Israel.

A similar problem exists with Sharon's statement pertaining to the contentious issue of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. Sharon said in his Knesset speech,

"The United States believes that the large settlement blocks will remain under Israeli control in every arrangement. Negotiations regarding the final status agreement will take place between Israel and Palestinians. However, if during negotiations disagreement on these subjects should arise, the United States will support Israel's stance and this will allow Israel to be in better stand."

Here the Prime Minister again "misspoke" presenting the American position. Neither in his speech during Sharon's visit, nor in the letter that he gave to Sharon, did President Bush mention that in a disagreement America would support Israel's position. Moreover, White House spokesman Richard Boucher explained during a press briefing on April 15,

"The United States has not specified which population centers or settlements need to be taken into account, what the land swaps ought to be, how they might be done. … We know the Israeli Government position on this. …We know that the Palestinians have a different position. And many of those details and specifics need to be dealt with as they discuss final status. This is not the end of any negotiation. We are not setting down the outcome of any negotiation."

On April 14, the senior White House administrative official vehemently denied that it is possible to derive from American President's letter that "settlements are a fact and they're going to stay there." He said, "[the President] … didn't say the settlements are going to stay there. He did not say that. What he said is, the issue is a final status issue to be negotiated."

It would be unfair to say that Sharon's speech contained only misrepresentations. For example Sharon said that "The U.S. President has expressed his sweeping support of the plan. He views it as a historic step." While the word "sweeping" is again geared toward the main theme of Sharon's speech – obfuscation – he is absolutely correct that his decision to part with Jewish lands and expel from them Jews is a historic step. As Boucher said,

"No, there is no change in U.S. policy on settlements. And, in fact, what was significant …for the first time, in fact, Israel will evacuate settlements. And that is a prospect that has been sought for many years by Palestinians and Arab negotiators… So for the first time, Israel will, in fact, withdraw from some settlements… We have a very real prospect that something that Palestinians have always looked for, and that's the departure of Israeli settlers from territory that they believe and many others -- what UN resolutions have said should be Palestinian, that that could actually occur."

Alas, Boucher is absolutely correct. There is no change in U.S. policy on settlements, but there is a huge and drastic change in Israel's official policy on them, and Sharon's obfuscations cannot hide it. Israel is on the record that it is ready to relinquish Jewish land, and that it is eager to curtail the settlement enterprise. If one thinks that this is not a big deal, it is well worth recalling that settlements are at the core of the Jewish State. Israel itself is a major settlement and all Israelis are settlers.


Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.



Arutz Sheva, May 2, 2004


By Professor Schochetman

In a lecture on Friday, Professor Schochetman said that any Israeli government decision to expel people from their homes, even in the context of a diplomatic move, would represent a wanton violation of basic human rights and civil liberties protected under Israeli and international human rights law.

The lecture, reported on by journalist David Bedein, focused on the legality of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to expel Israelis from their homes in Gush Katif.

Prof. Schochetman noted that the 1921 San Remo legislation of the League of Nations, reaffirmed by the United Nations in 1945, affirmed the right of Jews to purchase land anywhere west of the Jordan River including the Gaza coast region. The professor further added that the legal briefs of Dr. Eugene Rostow, the author of UN Resolution #242, confirm that no peace arrangement based on law curtails the right of Jews to settle anywhere in the borders controlled by the state of Israel.

Therefore, regardless of what happens in the Likud referendum, Prof. Shochetman stated that no expulsion of landowners in Gush Katif or Samaria could take place without a decision of Israel's Knesset. Such a decision, furthermore, would have to conform with international human rights law and Israel civil liberties statutes. However, a unilateral decision to expel Jews - and only Jews - from Gaza, the professor said, would violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that it is illegal for sovereign governments to expel their own citizens from their homes, their private properties or from their farms.


Prof. Shochetman delivered the lecture at the Beit Agron International Press Center in Jerusalem; it was sponsored by the Center for Near East Policy in Wellesley, Massachusetts.




From a Disengagement Plan to a Retreat Plan"

by David Bedein

Emanuel A. Winston, a Middle East analyst & commentator, says: Emphasis added with some comments in brackets.]

I strongly urge you to read the enclosed Bedein analysis of Prime Minister Sharon's withdrawal plans. As you read, you will see the fingerprints of the Arabist U.S. State Department and the Bush advisors.

Note particularly the concept of leaving homes, factories, farms, businesses intact for the Arab Palestinians - all are to remain as if Gaza is a protectorate of Israel and without cost to the incoming recipients or just compensation for the evicted Jews who invested their own money, blood, sweat and tears for 3 generations.

Note also the pledge to provide employment, electricity, water, sewage treatment, telecommunications, gasoline - and training of the Arab "Security Forces".

What you will likely conclude is that President Bush and the U.S. State Department do NOT wish to take responsibility for what they have provoked. They refuse to finance the Arab Palestinians but rather have Israel surrender the land and all its hard-earned infrastructure. Then they expect Israel to continue supporting the international Terrorist Organizations who will take over after Sharon's shameful retreat.

Because this Gaza retreat plan is a direct extension of the failed Oslo plan and the newly re-packaged Geneva plan (all promoted by the E.U., the U.N. and the U.S. State Department) it would wise and prudent to vote against its adoption. PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO YOUR LISTS, THE MEDIA, CONGRESS & OTHER INFLUENTIALS!


By David Bedein
Bureau Chief
Israel Resource News Agency
Beit Agron International Press Center

The Sharon Plan will be voted on in an unprecedented referendum which will take place among the 200,00 members of the Likud Party in Israel this coming Sunday [May 2].

This is no internal election.

The Sharon Plan has become a hotly debated news item in Israel and throughout the world.

Essentially, the vote on the Sharon Plan will provide the first referendum on the eleven year Oslo process.

Whatever the result, the situation in Israel will radically change.

If the Sharon Retreat Plan is ratified, the precedent will be established for the Israeli government to uproot Jewish communities.

A new government will be formed. The architect of the 1993 Oslo process, Shimon Peres, once again the leader of Israel's Labor Party, will again assume the post of foreign minister. The Oslo process will continue.

If the Sharon Plan is rejected, the Oslo process will be dead in the water.

Yet what is even more newsworthy, given the charged emotions that this debate has created, is the fact that very few people across the political spectrum in Israel, and even in the media and diplomatic corps represented in Israel, have bothered to read the Sharon Plan. Even though it is posted on the official web site of the Israeli Prime Minister, at , I repeat, few people have taken the time to read the Sharon Plan.

On one of Israel's most popular call-in shows last Friday morning, where everyone calling in had a passionate comment on the issue, the talk show host revealed that not one of the callers had read the Sharon Plan.

Likud Party Chairman and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had promised to mail out a copy of his plan to all of the Likud voters.

Well, if you take a dispassionate view of the plan, you will understand why he did not send it out.

The Sharon Plan is officially called the "Disengagement Plan", because, according to the preamble to clause 1, section 1, "Israel has come to the conclusion that there is currently no reliable Palestinian partner with which it can make progress in a bilateral peace process." The preamble goes on to say that "In order to break out of this stalemate, Israel is required to initiate moves not dependent on Palestinian cooperation…Accordingly, it has developed a plan of unilateral disengagement."

In other words, after 12 years of negotiations with the PLO, the Israeli government has reached the solemn conclusion that the negotiations have failed completely, and that the PLO is indeed at war with the state of Israel. After more than 22,000 terror attacks and almost one thousand people murdered in cold blood by Palestinian Arab terrorists in less than four years, that would be a seeming understatement. [1500 Jews have been murdered since Oslo in 1993, with tens of thousands injured - many maimed for life.]

Yet the paragraph that follows the preamble of the Sharon Plan is a seeming non-sequiter:

The Sharon Plan's answer to the PLO terror campaign is that "there will be no Israeli towns and villages in the Gaza Strip" and that "upon completion of this process, there shall no longer be any permanent presence of Israeli security forces or Israeli civilians in the areas of Gaza Strip territory which have been evacuated." Why retreat in the face of PLO adversity? No reason is given.

The plan offers an analysis, however, which states that "The relocation from the Gaza Strip and from Northern Samaria will reduce friction with the Palestinian population, and carries with it the potential for improvement in the Palestinian economy and living conditions."

Why would the Israeli government suddenly state that Jewish communities in Gaza and Northern Samaria are a "source of friction"? No reason is given. Why would it improve the economy and living conditions to abandon Jewish homes and farms? Again, no reason is given. After all, the Jewish communities in Gaza and Northern Samaria did not replace a single Arab family nor do they encroach on any Arab owned land. They were, in fact, built on vacant land not owned by any individuals, be they Palestinian, Jordanian or Egyptian after 1967 Six Day War.

The Sharon Plan does state that now "there will be no basis for claiming that the Gaza Strip is occupied territory," a specious claim that no government of Israel has ever accepted, since Israel does not define itself as a foreign "occupier" of any area of the historical land of Israel.

The Sharon Plan continues with a statement that seems to belie the preamble that the PLO is not a "reliable Palestinian partner" by stating that "the hope is that the Palestinians will take advantage of the opportunity created by the disengagement in order to break out of the cycle of violence and to reengage in a process of dialogue."

Why would an Israeli abandonment of Jewish communities cause the Palestinians to "break out of a cycle of violence"? It got them all of Gaza and will result in the deportation of Jews.

Since the majority of the Palestinians in Gaza, who live in the squalor of UN Arab refugee camps, are nurtured by the ideas of the "right of return" to liberate lands where their Arab villages existed in 1948, why would Israel's dismemberment of Jewish communities established on lands where no Arab villages were lost in 1967 satisfy their political goals?

Meanwhile, another premise of the Sharon Plan is that "the process of disengagement will serve to dispel claims regarding Israel's responsibility for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip." So why does the plan continue to obligate Israel to provide water pipes, electricity, industrial zones, markets and employment to sustain the Palestinian Arab economy of Gaza? In the words, the Sharon Plan promises that the "Infrastructure relating to water, electricity, sewage and telecommunications serving the Palestinians will remain in place" and that " In general, Israel will enable the continued supply of electricity, water, gas and petrol to the Palestinians, in accordance with current arrangements. Other existing arrangements, such as those relating to water and the electro-magnetic sphere and economic arrangements shall remain in force". These arrangements include, inter alia:

i. The entry of workers into Israel in accordance with the existing criteria.

ii. The entry and exit of goods between the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Israel and abroad.

iii. The monetary regime.

iv. Tax and customs envelope arrangements.

v. Postal and telecommunications arrangements.

Meanwhile, Israel will continue to operate The Erez industrial zone, situated in the Gaza Strip, which employs some 4,000 Palestinian workers."

So what the Israeli Prime Minister's office describes as a "disengagement plan" does anything but disengage Israel from the Palestinian Arab population.

For whatever reason, the Sharon plan assumes that the PLO will abandon its terror campaign.

The plan says, "When", and not "if" "…there is evidence from the Palestinian side of its willingness, capability and implementation in practice of the fight against terrorism and the institution of reform as required by the Road Map, it will be possible to return to the track of negotiation and dialogue."

While the premise of the Sharon plan is that the PLO will not fight terrorism, and with evidence that the PLO continues to run a system based of corruption, what basis does the Sharon plan have for any assumption that the PLO will "fight against terrorism" or institute any "reform"? There is no answer.

And when it comes to security issues in other areas, the Sharon plan promises to "evacuate an Area in the Northern Samaria Area (the West Bank) including 4 villages and all military installations, and re-deploy outside the vacated area. The move will enable territorial contiguity for Palestinians in the Northern Samaria Area "while Israel will improve the transportation infrastructure in the West Bank in order to facilitate the contiguity of Palestinian transportation." Israel will provide them buses as they blow ours up?

Does this also mean that abandoned villages and military installations will be handed over to a PLO that is "not a reliable peace partner"? Once more, since the Sharon Plan defines the PLO as maintaining a state of war with Israel, why does the same Sharon Plan provide the PLO with the strategic assistance of "territorial contiguity"? No answer is given as merrily we roll along.

Meanwhile, the Sharon Plan mandates that the Gaza Strip "be demilitarized and shall be devoid of weaponry, the presence of which does not accord with the Israeli-Palestinian agreements."

However, the Sharon Plan does not even allude to the fact that the PLO violated all previous agreements in this regard and refused to implement the agreement with Israel to have their personnel vetted by Israel. Did Sharon forget that the PLO increased against the Oslo agreement the size of the agreed upon security force from 9,000 in 1993 to more than 50,000 by 1995, ignoring protestations of the government of Israel?

The Sharon Plan that demilitarizes Gaza provides no process to disarm the PLO armed forces now in Gaza.

And what does the Sharon Plan mandate in terms of Israeli security? The Sharon Plan asserts that " Israel reserves its inherent right of self-defense, both preventive and reactive, including where necessary the use of force, in respect of threats emanating from the Gaza Strip." Incredibly, Israel's right to pursue terrorists into Gaza is not mentioned anywhere. They can shoot at us but we may not go after the terrorists.

As far as the security situation in the West Bank is concerned, the Sharon Plan states that "upon completion of the evacuation of the Northern Samaria Area, no permanent Israeli military presence will remain in this area," while another section states that " Military Installations and Infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria will be dismantled and removed, with the exception of those which Israel decides to leave and transfer to another party ..."

Does that mean that the PLO security forces, described in clause 1 of the Sharon Plan as "not a reliable peace partner," will now inherit Israel's abandoned IDF miltary bases?

Why would Israel cede military installations to an entity with who it is in a state of war?

The Sharon Plan also states that "In other areas of the West Bank, current security activity will continue" and that " circumstances permit, Israel will consider reducing such activity in Palestinian cities…" and that "Israel will work to reduce the number of internal checkpoints throughout the West Bank."

So here we have a situation where Israel moves its forces out of cities and reduces checkpoints and is expected to maintain mobility to respond to the PLO terror war.

Perhaps the most amazing issue of all is that the Sharon Plan agrees to provide "advice, assistance and training" to "the Palestinian security forces for the implementation of their obligations to combat terrorism and maintain public order, by American, British, Egyptian, Jordanian or other experts, as agreed with Israel."

The Sharon Plan ignores Israel's decade-long failed experience with security assistance that Israel facilitated for the PLO.

The Sharon Plan ignores how military training facilitated by Israel and western countries for the PLO was abused to conduct a terror campaign against Israel in every part of the country for the past four years. The U.S. State Department trained Palestinian policemen for "security" who then used that training to kill Israelis.

The Sharon Plan goes on to say that "Israel will be willing to consider the possibility of the establishment of a seaport and airport in the Gaza Strip, in accordance with arrangements to be agreed with Israel." Did Israel not try that already? And weren't guns and rockets smuggled in?

In terms of Israel's border area between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, (called the Philadelphi Route), the Sharon Plan only states that "Initially, Israel will continue to maintain a military presence along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt" and that "...subsequently, the evacuation of this area will be considered…. dependent, inter alia, on the security situation and the extent of cooperation with Egypt in establishing a reliable alternative arrangement."

Why "initially" and "subsequently"?

Does Israel expect that situation on the Egyptian border to change?

Will weapons continue to be smuggled through tunnels on Egypt's frontier?

And how does the Sharon Plan deal with the fate of the 25 Israeli communities that it has slated for abandonment? Three generations of families who worked hard and built productive lives on vacant sand dunes to make a thriving agricultural community?

The Sharon Plan makes no mention of the property rights, human rights or civil liberties of the residents and landowners in these communities.

Instead, the Sharon Plan relates only to the property values of Jewish owned property in terms of how they might help their new occupants, stating that "Israel will strive to leave the immovable property relating to Israeli towns and villages intact," while "Israel reserves the right to request that the economic value of the assets left in the evacuated areas be taken into consideration" and that "The transfer of Israeli economic activity to Palestinians carries with it the potential for a significant improvement in the Palestinian economy."

In other words, terrorism pays.

But worse still, the Sharon Plan does not take into account that only the leadership of the PLO would likely take this property for themselves, irrespective of the economic needs of the Palestinian society. The record of corruption of the highest levels of the PLO is a matter of public record throughout the world.

Instead, the Sharon Plan states that "Israel proposes that an international body be established (along the lines of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee), with the agreement of the United States and Israel, which shall take possession from Israel of property which remains, and which will estimate the value of all such assets." In other words, the Israeli government has decided to implement a process designed to confiscate the private property belonging to thousands of people, without any mention of the human rights, civil liberties or the property rights of people who have the rightful deed to their homes, businesses and farms.

Instead of recognizing the rights of landowners of the Israeli communities scheduled for abandonment, the Sharon Plan offers hundreds of Israeli homes to the PLO, stating that "Israel will strive to leave in place the infrastructure relating to water, electricity and sewage currently serving the Israeli towns and villages."

Finally, The Sharon Plan envisions continued international support for the PLO , " in order to bring the Palestinians to implement in practice their obligations to combat terrorism and effect reforms, thus enabling the parties to return to the path of negotiation."

And if the support for the PLO continues and the terror does not cease? What then? The Sharon Plan provides no answer.

So there you have it. The text of the Sharon Plan speaks for itself: Ethnic Cleansing of Jews, strengthening of the PLO, and no disengagement whatsoever. This is not a disengagement plan. This is a plan of hasty retreat that doesn't even include a request of the Palestine Authority to stop endorsing the murder of Jews from their government's Public Broadcasting Corporation shows.

What sanctions are listed if the PLO does not comply? Is this not worse than the Oslo Accords?



The Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2004


By Caroline Glick

November 30, 2005

JERUSALEM – In an attack on Israeli naval forces, Palestinian militants disguised as fishermen blew up an Israeli patrol boat off the coast of Gaza yesterday. The militants and five Israeli sailors were killed in the blast. Hamas and Fatah claimed joint responsibility for the attack which the groups claimed came as revenge for the navy's sinking of a Palestinian weapons ship off the coast of Gaza last week.

UN Secretary General Kofi Anan and EU Foreign Policy chief Chris Patten issued separate statements yesterday condemning the attack. Yet both men maintained that the Israeli navy's control of the waters off the Gaza Coast represents an illegal occupation of Palestinian territorial waters and urged Israeli compliance with the recent UN General Assembly resolution calling for an Israeli naval withdrawal from the Gaza coast and the so-called Philadelphia corridor that separates southern Gaza from Egypt.

The Bush administration issued a statement condemning the attack but urged Israel to exercise restraint. A State Department spokesman said Israel "should consider the consequences of its actions."
In Israel, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres referred to the attack a "murderous provocation by the enemies of peace" and called for Israeli adherence to the UN resolution regarding Gaza.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reacted to the violence by stating that "Israel would choose the time and place to respond to the attacks." The Sharon government is currently debating a proposal by the Labor and Shinui parties calling for the evacuation of some 100 Israeli settlements in the West Bank located on the Palestinian side of the security barrier. The spokesman seemed to rule out a large Israeli military incursion into Gaza claiming that such an operation "would be a victory for Arafat."

Palestinian Authority minister Saeb Erekat reacted to the attack by condemning what he referred to as "Israel's suffocation of the Palestinian people by land and sea."

Israel's ultra-nationalist factions led by renegade Likud Knesset members who bolted Sharon's governing coalition after Israel's withdrawal from Gaza six months ago reacted to the naval attack by arguing the attack could have been foreseen and that Israel must dismantle Arafat's government and reoccupy Gaza.

"The latest attack, like the artillery attacks on our Southern towns, show that we must win the war before we can sue for peace," hawkish MK Uzi Landau said.

This news report is fictional. But if Arafat continues to behave like Arafat, and if Sharon continues to behave like Rabin, there is little reason to doubt the above scenario could transpire.

Since the Rabin-Peres government implemented the withdrawal of IDF troops from Gaza and Jericho in May 1994, Arafat has advanced a policy aimed at bringing about precisely the scenario I outlined. After Israel ceded the first pieces of territory, Arafat worked on several fronts to ensure that the withdrawals would continue as Palestinian terror escalated.

In November 1994, Arafat reached an agreement with Hamas in Cairo that attacks on Israel would be staged in areas not under PA security control. In so doing, Arafat bought himself implausible, but accepted deniability regarding his support and indeed sponsorship of the attacks that led to the murder of some 183 Israelis before he launched his all-out terror war in September 2000.

In the meantime, Arafat and his deputies used the areas under their control to raise and train his militias to fight Israel. Gaza and Jericho were also used as safe havens for terror chiefs. So it was that during the Oslo years Hamas masterminds Yahya Ayash and Muhammed Deif operated openly in Gaza while other terrorists wanted for murder were enlisted into Jibril Rajoub's Preventive Security Service in Jericho.

In the economic arena, by diverting billions of dollars in international aid into secret bank accounts and by intimidating and blackmailing Palestinian businessmen and farmers, the PA impoverished its people. In so doing, Arafat secured for himself an angry, frustrated population that could be easily manipulated into turning its hatreds toward Israel.

For his part, Rabin found himself in a bind. He had run for office in 1992 pledging not to negotiate with the PLO. When he reneged on that promise and embraced Arafat as a partner, he staked his reputation on the continuation of Oslo.

Before he oversaw the retreats from Gaza and Jericho, Rabin repeatedly declared that if the Palestinians reverted to terrorism, the IDF would reenter the areas and throw out the PA. Yet when in the aftermath of the withdrawals Israel was victimized by the worst terror it had seen since the 1950s, Rabin did not change course. Indeed, Rabin claimed that stopping negotiations would be a victory for the terrorists whom he referred to as "enemies of peace." In reacting to the terror, Rabin repeatedly said "Israel will fight terror as if there is no peace process and fight for peace as if there is no terror." While the statement made for good propaganda, it made no practical sense and was impossible to follow. Arafat responded to each Israeli concession by strengthening the forces of terror and hatred within Palestinian society. Waging peace with Arafat was tantamount to surrendering to terrorism.

Sharon today is behaving in a similar fashion.

Over the past week, he has excoriated as "extremists" opponents of his plan. Just as Rabin said that ending Oslo would be a victory for Hamas, Sharon said Thursday that not moving ahead with his plan of retreat would be a victory for Arafat and Hamas.

Also like Rabin, Sharon argues "Israel's responses [to Palestinian violence] would be much harsher" after his retreat plan is implemented than they are today. Yet if Kofi Annan makes good on his promise this week to give the UN a role in post-withdrawal Gaza, just as it does in post-withdrawal Lebanon make clear, it won't be easy to turn back the clock.

Indeed, what the last 42 months of Palestinian terror have shown is that regardless of the provocation, Israel will never garner international support for offensives against Palestinian terrorism.

Sharon has promised that after the withdrawal, Israel will be able to sit in its truncated form for years. Yet this cannot be true. Arafat will continue causing chaos to prevent that from happening. As Arafat's foreign minister Farouk Kaddumi said this week "Let the Gaza Strip be South Vietnam. We will use all available methods to liberate North Vietnam."

Arafat will not declare Palestinian statehood for Gaza. Doing so would bring diplomatic closure and enable a consensus in Israel to form. And the continuation of the war will bring pressure for further withdrawals emanating both from the Left (including Shinui and Olmert), as well as from abroad, as Israel will continue to be perceived as provoking the Palestinians by protecting itself.

Thursday's polls confirmed earlier ones that indicated a steep downward trend in support of Sharon's plan among Likud members. In reacting to this turn of the tide, Sharon declared repeatedly that a rejection of his plan will be a gift to Arafat and Hamas. Why? Arafat and his minions in Hamas and the PA have stated countless times that their aim in the war is to cause a repeat in Judea, Samaria and Gaza of the unilateral withdrawal of IDF forces from Lebanon. And they have made clear that they view withdraw from Gaza and parts of Samaria as a victory for their side. Why doesn't Sharon listen to them?

Sharon's plan differs from Oslo in that it overtly calls for the destruction of Israeli communities. In so doing, it poses a danger to the vitality of Israeli society as a whole. Far from making Israel stronger, transferring Jews from their homes will traumatize the country. How will we be able to trust in our future in the face of the destruction of communities that millions of Israelis consider to be part of Israel?

In pushing his plan forward regardless of the Sunday's result, Sharon has weakened Likud. The governing party is liable to split apart in its aftermath irrespective of the decision of the voters. Yet this does not mitigate the importance of the poll. If a majority of Likud voters reject Sharon's plan, they will be working to save Israel from disaster. In spite of Sharon's statements to the contrary, those who oppose the plan on its merits are not extremists. They are merely people who have learned from the past.



The Jerusalem Post, Apr. 14, 2004


By Shmuel Katz

The road map is back in the news. On Monday President George W. Bush said a withdrawal from Gaza would be a positive development, but it would not "replace the road map."

The Americans reportedly do not want Sharon's disengagement plan to be seen as a surrender to the Arab terror. But how otherwise could the Arabs regard it? As a sign of strength and determination?

For the Arabs, the calculation is a simple one: A willingness by Israel to disentangle – that is, to run away – from one part of the Jewish homeland presages an ultimate readiness to abandon other parts, until the last frontier is reached.

Ever since the unveiling of the road map, there has been a wave of optimism, even triumphalism, in the thinking of leading Arab personalities.

The success or failure of the road map is of less immediate importance to them than the circumstances of its conception. Imagine, the president of the United States and the prime minister of Britain getting into a huddle with France, with the European Union, with Russia, with the United Nations, and in amity formulating a plan that is essentially hostile to Israel.

The immediate and unanimous Arab welcome to the road map was, of course, purely formal. Clearly, the Arabs understood that its august authors could not possibly compile and publish such a document for heralding a Palestinian state without laying down in it the essential first task of ending the terror. None of the Arabs have the slightest intention of doing anything of the sort.

There has been no sign of any serious initiative by the road map authors to press the Palestinians to act against the terrorist groups. Indeed, that they were aware that their formal demand for cessation of the terror had no teeth is demonstrated by the ridiculous term they set for its implementation. The so-called "First Phase" of the road map (that was to end the terror) was to last one whole month.

UNFORTUNATELY, IT is the Israeli government's diplomatic policy that has kept the road map alive. When Israel first received the document and saw what it contained, minimal self-respect dictated that it send it back with the brief notation "Unacceptable" and "Return to sender."

Eerily enough, there is no more apt description of the road map's presentation to Israel than the precedent set by the Munich Pact in 1938. There, while the four architects of the Pact – from Britain, France, Italy, and Germany – plotted the break-up of Czechoslovakia, the Czech diplomatic representative, Hubert Masarik, sat waiting in an anteroom until a British official, Frank Ashton-Gwatkin, came out and informed him that an agreement had been reached.

To his query, he received the bald reply that no comment was required from him. All that Czechoslovakia had to do was implement the agreement. Never has the narrative of a dramatic diplomatic incident been so nearly accurately repeated as in the treatment of Israel about the making of the road map in 2003.

Sharon did not return the document as "Unacceptable." He brought it to the cabinet, and their reaction was in effect "Nothing doing." Whereupon it was agreed that amendments should be submitted. This was done. Fourteen amendments to various clauses were prepared and submitted to the US.

Particularly detailed attention was paid to that First Phase – ending the terror. Thus were included the obviously essential steps of dismantling the "existing security organizations," the means of prevention, the enforcement of legal groundwork for investigation, for prosecution and punishment – in short, the complete agenda for any serious attempt to put an end to the terror.

Secretary of State Colin Powell's lofty reply to the 14 amendments was that the US understood Israel's "concerns" but would deal with them only during the implementation. That is, Israel was expected to start "implementing" (whatever that meant) without the whole crucial subject of the terror being tackled at all. In principle, then, the Palestinian state could arise complete with existing armed units like Hamas. Apparently, the authors of the road map have abandoned the "promise" (in any case quite worthless) of that state's "demilitarization."

As that first essential phase was never started, let alone finished, the road map in all honesty should be announced clinically dead – not revived by Bush when he meets Sharon today.

But then, as though on cue, this bright idea for "reviving" and getting the road map moving came formally, from the European Community. Already in January it was put to the Israeli government by Brian Cowen, the president of the EU. In its proposed new format it meant (as Herb Keinon put it in The Jerusalem Post), "letting the Palestinians off the hook."

This leads us back to Sharon's Gaza disengagement plan. It was pounced upon at once – by Condoleeza Rice – as being a fitting part of the road map.

Like the amended road map, it does not call for an end to the terror; and Sharon, after all, sets no preconditions to the Arabs for the handing over of Gaza. They can take it as a gift. Meantime, a message that terror is on the verge of a great victory is going out to its perpetrators wherever they are.

The cabinet has still not discussed the Gaza plan.

Sharon first wants to get Bush to accept it and only then to take it to his government, carrying with it the weighty support of an American president. The members of the cabinet – together with the Likud rank and file – should join in an effort to halt the dangerous slide to Sharon's betrayal of the policy for which he was elected and to denounce the manipulative way in which he is trying to foist this far-reaching defeatist policy on the Israeli people.

However Sharon worked out the plan in his mind, he has manifestly failed to understand its certain uplifting effect on Arab morale and the drastic historic consequences for the Jewish people. He acts as though he knew no history, as though he is even unaware of the major strategic importance of Gaza. He is prepared even to break down the peace treaty with Egypt by bringing the Egyptian army back to the borders of Israel.

As for the president, he can surely see from the crumbling of the road map that the advisers who steered him into that grandiose Five Power plot have failed.

No American interest can be served by experimenting with such a dubious project.

The Gaza withdrawal does not replace the road map? Good riddance to both.

The writer, a co-founder with Menachem Begin of the Herut Party, was a member of the first Knesset.



The Washington Post, April 30, 2004


By Charles Krauthammer

Anti-Semitism, once just a European disease, has gone global. The outgoing prime minister of Malaysia gets a standing ovation from leaders of 57 Islamic countries when he calls upon them to rise up against the Jewish conspiracy to control the world. The French ambassador to London tells dinner party guests that Israel is a "[expletive] little country . . . why should the world be in danger of World War III because of those people?"

Ah, those people. Kofi Annan's personal representative in Iraq now singles out the policies of the world's one Jewish state -- and only democratic state in the Middle East -- as "the great poison in the region." The Egyptian government daily Al-Gumhuriya is less diplomatic, explaining in an article by its deputy editor that, "It is the Jews, with their hidden, filthy hands, who . . . are behind all troubles, disasters and catastrophes in the world," including, of course, the attacks of Sept. 11 and the Madrid bombings.

It is in this kind of atmosphere that Israel offers unilateral withdrawal from Gaza -- uprooting 7,000 Jews, turning over to the Palestinians 21 settlements with their extensive infrastructure intact and creating the first independent Palestinian territory in history -- and is almost universally attacked.

Moreover, and much overlooked, Israel will also evacuate four small West Bank settlements, which creates extensive Palestinian territorial contiguity throughout the northern half of the West Bank.

The Arabs have variously denounced this as Israeli unilateralism, a departure from the "road map" and a ruse and a plot. The craven Europeans have duly followed suit. And when Tony Blair defied the mob by expressing support for the plan, he was rewarded with a letter from 52 Arabist ex-diplomats denouncing him.

This Nuremberg atmosphere has reached the point where, if Israel were to announce today that it intends to live for at least another year, the U.N. Security Council would convene to discuss a resolution denouncing Israeli arrogance and unilateralism, and the United States would have to veto it. Only Britain would have the decency to abstain.

It gets worse. The Bush administration has been attacked not just for supporting the Gaza plan but for bolstering Israel in this risky endeavor with two assurances: first, that the Palestinian refugees are to be repatriated not to Israel but to Palestine; and second, Israel should not be required to return to its 1967 borders. Enlightened editorial opinion has denounced this as Bush's upsetting 30 years of American diplomacy.

Utter rubbish. Rejecting the so-called right of return is nothing more than opposing any final settlement that results in flooding Israel with hostile Palestinians and thus eradicating the only Jewish state on the planet. This is radical? This is something that Washington should refuse to say?

What is new here? Four years ago, at Camp David, this was a central element of the Clinton plan. As was the notion of Israel's retaining a small percentage of West Bank land on which tens of thousands of Jews live.

Moreover, the notion that Israel will not be forced to return to the 1967 armistice lines goes back 37 years -- to 1967 itself. The Johnson administration was instrumental in making sure that the governing document for a Middle East settlement -- Security Council Resolution 242 -- called for Israeli withdrawal to "secure and recognized boundaries," not "previous boundaries." And it called for Israel to withdraw "from territories occupied" in the 1967 war -- not "from the territories occupied," as had been demanded by the Arab states, and not from "all territories occupied" as had been demanded by the Soviet Union.

Arthur Goldberg (U.S. ambassador to the United Nations), Lord Caradon (British ambassador to the U.N.) and Eugene Rostow (U.S. undersecretary of state) had negotiated this language with extreme care. They spent the subsequent decades explaining over and over again that the central U.N. resolution on the conflict did not require Israel to withdraw to the 1967 lines.

Confronted with these facts, the critics say: Well, maybe this is right, but Bush should not have said this in the absence of negotiations. Good grief. This was offered to the Palestinians in negotiations -- in July 2000 at Camp David -- with even more generous Israeli concessions. Yasser Arafat said no and then launched a bloody terrorist war that has killed almost a thousand Jews and maimed thousands of others.

The fact is that there are no negotiations because under the road map -- adopted even by the United Nations -- there can be no negotiations until the Palestinians end the terror and dismantle the terror apparatus.

To argue that neither Israel nor the United States can act in the absence of negotiations is to give the Palestinians, by continuing the terror, a veto over any constructive actions by the United States or Israel -- whether disengaging from Gaza, uprooting settlements or establishing conditions for a final peace settlement that would ensure the survival of a Jewish state. This is an argument of singular absurdity. And a prescription for perpetual violence and perpetual stalemate.



Jewish World Review - April 20, 2004 / 30 Nissan, 5764


By Dennis Prager

If you love goodness and hate evil, this is a tough time to stay sane.

Israel has killed Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the Hamas terror leader, and almost every nation in the world and the nations' theoretical embodiment, the United Nations, have condemned Israel for doing so.

World leaders and the world organization have said almost nothing about Communist China's ongoing destruction of one of the world's oldest civilizations, Tibet. World leaders have said almost nothing about the Arab enslavement and genocide of non-Arab blacks in Sudan. But they convene world conferences to label Israel, one of the most humane and decent democracies on earth, a pariah.

In order to retain my sanity, I ask the reader's indulgence as I use this column to express personal thoughts.

I have contempt for "the world." I cherish and admire countless individuals, but I have contempt for "the world" and "world opinion." "The world" has never cared about evils inflicted on human beings. The Communist genocides meant nothing to humanity. The Holocaust meant nothing. With almost no exception, the mass atrocities since World War II have likewise absorbed humanity less than the Olympics or the Miss World Contest. I have contempt for the United Nations. It is one of the great obstacles to goodness and decency on this planet. Its moral record -- outside of a few specialized agencies such as the World Health Organization -- is almost entirely supportive of evil and condemnatory of good. It is dominated by the most morally backward governments in the world -- those from the Arab and Muslim worlds, the Communists during their heyday and African despots. It appointed Libya, a despotic, primitive state, to head its Human Rights Commission, whose members include China, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. Neither the United States nor Israel sits on the Commission. I regard the European Union with similar revulsion.

With little opposition, Europe murdered nearly every Jewish man, woman and child in its midst, and a half-century later provides cover for those in the Middle East who seek to do to the Middle East's Jews exactly what the Nazis did to the European Jews. For the European Union to condemn Israel's killing of a Hamas leader, when Hamas's avowed aim is another Jewish genocide, is so loathsome as to board the incredible. For Germany and France (who, unlike America, have almost never shed blood for the liberty of others) to do everything they can to undermine America's attempt to liberate Iraq is similarly repugnant.

As for the international news media and journalists, I regard most of them as aides to evil.

This is not new. The 1932 Pulitzer Prize, American journalism's highest award, was given to Walter Duranty of the New York Times for reporting from the Soviet Union. In his reports, Duranty repeatedly denied Stalin's forced starvation of Ukrainians that led to the murder of more than 6 million of them. The same "newspaper of record" deliberately toned down reporting on the Nazi annihilation of Jews 10 years later so as not to appear "too Jewish."

The Soviet decimation of Afghanistan was so little reported in the international media -- especially radio and television -- that when I talked about its scope and horror on my radio show in the 1980s, listeners kept wondering if I was telling the truth -- they had never heard anything about it.

In the last years of the Saddam Hussein regime, according to John Burns of the New York Times, major news reporters refused to write stories about Iraqi mass murder and atrocities lest the Saddam regime remove their press credentials. For most journalists, and their newspapers and television stations, it was better to lie for Saddam and have a bureau in Baghdad than to tell the truth but have no Baghdad bureau.

And not one international news organization calls Hamas or any of the other Palestinian terror organizations "terrorists."

I love learning and revere the title of "professor," but with few exceptions, universities, too, merit contempt. The vast majority of professors who take positions on social issues are moral fools. They teach millions of students that America and Israel are villains and that the enemies of those decent societies are merely misunderstood victims who are often justified in their hatred. And they loathe the American Judeo-Christian value system that has made the United States the world's land of opportunity and beacon of liberty.

In sum, I feel that I am living in a world that is morally sick. Good is called bad, and bad is called "militant," "victimized," "misunderstood" and "the product of hopelessness," but rarely bad. Only those who fight the bad are called bad.

I am kept sane by the knowledge that there are hundreds of millions of individuals who can still tell the difference between good and evil; by the knowledge that there was never a time that humanity was particularly decent; and by a strong belief that a good G-d governs the universe even though He allows evil many triumphs. And I believe this G-d will judge Osama bin Laden and Jacques Chirac appropriately.




by Steven Plaut

Israeli Independence Day is just behind us. We spend so much time on the mindless self-destructive insane side of Israel that we may tend to forget the positive aspects of life in Israel. And there are ever so many of those.

Here is a small list of some of my favorite things about life in Israel:

1. Israel is the only country in the world where people can read the Bible and understand it.

2. Israel is the only country in the world where, if someone calls you a "dirty Jew", it means you need a bath (old Efraim Kishon quip, but still good).

3. Israel is the only country in the world where formal dress means a new clean Tee Shirt, sandals and jeans.

4. Israel is the only country in the world where one need not check the ingredients on the products in the supermarket to avoid ending up with things containing pork.

5. Israel is a country where the same drivers who cuss you and flip you the bird will immediately pull over and offer you all forms of help if you look like you need it.

6. Israel is the only country in the world with Avihu Medina, Zohar Argov, and Daklon (godfathers of "Oriental Music").

7. Israel is the only country in the world with bus drivers and taxi drivers who read Spinoza and Maimonides.

8. Israel is the only country in the world where you dare not gossip about other people on the bus in Mandarin, Russian, Hindi, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Polish, or Romanian lest others on the bus understand what you are saying.

9. Israel is the only country in the world with northern European standards of living and southern European weather. It is the only place on earth with an Israeli spring, the most glorious time of year on the planet.

10. Israel is the only country in the world where no one cares what rules say when an important goal can be achieved by bending them.

11. Israel is the only country in the world where a pisher like me can once in a while get invited to give a talk at the parliament, or can get in to speak to a cabinet minister.

12. Israel is the only country in the world where reservists are bossed around and commanded by officers, male and female, younger than their own children.

13. Israel is the only country in the world with Eli Yatzpen (comedian).

14. Israel is the only country in the world where "small talk" consists of loud angry debate over politics and religion.

15. Israel is the only country in the world with Jerusalem, even if Israeli leftists would like to turn it over to the barbarians.

16. Israel is the only country in the world where the coffee is already so good that Starbucks went bankrupt trying to break into the local market.

17. Israel is the only country in the world where the mothers learn their mother tongue from their children (old Efraim Kishon quip but still good).

18. Israel is the only country in the world where the people understand Israeli humor.

19. Israel is the only country in the world where the news is broadcast over the loudspeakers on buses, where people listen to news updates every half hour, or whose people are capable of locating Bosnia on a map of the world.

20. Israel is one of the few places in the world where the sun sets into the Mediterranean Sea.

21. Israel is the only country in the world where, when people say the "modern later era", they are referring to the time of Jesus.

22. Israel is the only country in the world whose soldiers eat three salads a day, none of which contain any lettuce, and where olives are a food and even a main course in a meal, rather than something one tosses into a martini.

23. Israel is the only country in the world where one is unlikely to be able to dig a cellar without hitting ancient archeological artifacts.

24. Israel is the only country in the world where the leading writers in the country take buses.

25. Israel is the only country in the world where the graffiti is in Hebrew.

26. Israel is the only country in the world where the black folks walking around all wear yarmulkes.

27. Israel is the only country in the world that has a national book week, where almost everyone attends and buys books.

28. Israel is the only country in the world where the ultra-Orthodox Jews beat up the police and not the other way around.

29. Israel is the only country in the world where inviting someone "out for a drink" means drinking cola or coffee.

30. Israel is the only country in the world where people who want to go up in an elevator push the down button because they think this makes the elevator come down to get them

31. Israel is the only country in the world with white almond blossoms in January, purple "Judas Tree" blossoms in March, and crocus flowers in October.

32. Israel is the only country in the world where bank robbers kiss the mezuzah as they leave with their loot.

33. Israel is the only country in the world with "Eretz Yisrael Music".

34. Israel is one of the few countries in the world that truly likes and admires the United States.

35. Israel is the only country in the world that introduces applications of high tech gadgets and devices, such as printers in banks that print out your statement on demand, years ahead of the United States and decades ahead of Europe.

36. Israel is the only country in the world that has the weather of California but without the earthquakes.

37. Israel is the only country in the world where everyone on a flight gets to know one another before the plane lands. In many cases they also get to know the pilot and all about his health or marital problems.

38. Israel is the only country in the world where no one has a foreign accent because everyone has a foreign accent.

39. Israel is the only country in the world where people cuss using dirty words in Russian or Arabic because Hebrew has never developed them.

40. Israel is the only country in the world where patients visiting physicians end up giving the doctor advice.

41. Israel is the only country in the world where everyone strikes up conversations while waiting in lines.

42. Israel is the only country in the world where people choose which books to read and which plays to see based on what they plan to discuss with their friends in Friday evening "salon" get-togethers.

43. Israel is the only country in the world where hot water is an event and not a condition ("in" joke; you have to live in Israel to figure it out).

44. Krembos.

45. Israel is the only country in the world where people call an attach? case a "James Bond", and the @ sign is called a "strudel".

46. Kumquats.

47. The obsession with sunflower seeds.

48. The kumsitz on the beach.

49. The people who eat watermelon with salt or with salty cheese. The wagons with horses that still sell watermelons on the streets, screaming "watermelon on the knife", whatever that means.

50. Israel is the only country in the world where kids read Harry Potter in Hebrew.

51. Hyssop (zaatar). 52. Where Memorial Day is actually a day for remembering and not buying pool furniture at the mall.

53. Really good bread!

54. Israel is the only country in the world where there is the most mysterious and mystical calm ambience in the streets on Yom Kippur, which cannot be explained unless you have experienced it.

55. Where kids can really sleep in a Succah because it will not rain on them.

56. Israel is the only country in the world where making a call to God is a local call (old quip, still good).