By Elyakim Ha'etzni

One cannot escape a grim sense of foreboding in view of N.A.T.O.'s bombing of Serbia. The similarity is all too clear between the diktat of Wye and the diktat of Rambouillet, between N.A.T.O.'s demand to amputate the province of Kosovo from Yugoslavia and transform it into an Albanian Muslim state, and Europe's demand with American backing to sever Jerusalem and Yesha from Israel to transform them into a Muslim Palestinian state.

Only the blind fail to perceive that Kosovo is but a general rehearsal for what we can expect if we refuse to concede Jerusalem to Arafat: if we won't be smitten with "Tomahawk" missiles then at the very least we will be subjected to brutal economic pressure.

Both Israel and Yugoslavia suffer from a hostile world press. Therefore we will not be able to judge what is transpiring in Serbia without presenting to the reader a number of facts that the world and Israeli press has chosen to conceal and distort. In 1974 Kosovo was awarded autonomy. A process of "ethnic cleansing" ensued forthwith against the Serb minority and nearly half a million Serbs were forced out. On the other hand Albanians crossed over from Albania in the hundreds of thousands and as a result of these two processes the remaining Serb population in Kosovo numbered only ten percent. Of course one cannot justify atrocities committed by any side and the Serbs' hands are definitely unclean. However the Croats and Bosnians also committed acts of murder and expulsion against the Serbs and the final accord of the Bosnian War was the "ethnic cleansing" of 200,000 Serbs from the Krajina district.

The war in Kosovo was not initiated by the Serbs but by a Muslim underground army enjoying international Islamic support in the form of weaponry and volunteers. Apparently it is precisely the N.A.T.O. assault which is currently goading the Serbs into acts of repression and expulsion--unpardonable in themselves--against the Albanians. The latter however would not have brought matters to such extremes had they not counted on a blank check endorsed by the Americans and Europeans. This syndrome is quite familiar in our locale as well.

During the Second World War the Croats created a Nazi state which extended over Bosnia as well, a state which massacred Serbs and Jews. The Bosnian Muslims were incited by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Hussayni. A Muslim S.S. division ("Hanjar"the dagger) murdered Jews. The Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia initiated a rebellion against the Germans in which 1.7 million, 11% of the total population lost their lives. The Partisans captured vast areas of territory, pinned down thirty Nazi divisions which were severely disabled, disarmed six Italian divisions and became an army a quarter million strong. Yugoslavia was the only European country which liberated itself. Had the Americans studied this history, it is doubtful that they could have assumed that by aerial bombardments a la "Desert Fox" which did not faze Saddam Hussein, they could subdue the Serbs. This is especially true given Milosevic's agreement to restore Albanian autonomy, he was only adamant against allowing the introduction of 30,000 N.A.T.O. troops into his country. Who would have acted otherwise?

The Serbs stood in the path of the Turkish conquest of Europe. They were vanquished in their capital of Kosovo in 1389. From then on their dream of a restored national freedom was situated and centered upon Kosovo, which constituted a national and religious unifying symbol. The Muslims constitute the majority in Kosovo, but Kosovo was never an independent Muslim state.In contradistinction a plan for a "Greater Albania" exists encompassing Albania, Kosovo, and the sizable Albanian minority in Macedonia.

The Serbs who call Kosovo "Our Jerusalem" wish to see us as an example. Will we, who viewed Zion and Jerusalem as a national symbol long before the Serbian saga, prove able to learn from the Serbs the meaning of national unity and resolve? True, opposition exists to Milosevic, the Communist, but on the issue of Kosovo the people are united.

Clinton justifies the bombing as necessary for saving the people of Kosovo from Serb repression. He owes an explanation why he has not bombed China on behalf of the persecuted Tibetans. Why haven't cruise missiles appeared over Khartoum to save the Christians in Southern Sudan 2.5 million of whom were butchered by the Moslems? Why didn't the U.S. establish a Shiite state in Southern Iraq or a Kurdish state in the North following the Gulf War? Instead, on the basis of cold political calculations, it elected to preserve the territorial integrity of Iraq even under the regime of Saddam Hussein. Why is territorial integrity good for Iraq and not for Yugoslavia? Why doesn't Clinton arrange autonomy for the Kurds in Turkey, a N.A.T.O. member?

Clinton lords over us in the name of "international law". The U.N. charter prohibits the use of force against a sovereign state which has not committed aggression against another state and the issue of Kosovo is an internal dispute! The Rambouillet "Agreement" which Milosevic was ordered to sign under the threat of bombing constitutes a violation of the 1969 Vienna Convention, the Treaty on Treaties, which prohibits the use of force to coerce a state into signing.

The bombing of Serbia is also an obtuse action. American experts have already seriously criticized the adhesion of Eastern European States to N.A.T.O. (Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and shortly Estonia) as a superfluous provocation, as it brings the western military alliance closer to the borders of Russia. Additionally the U.S. and Europe have backed the Croatians and the Bosnian Moslems against the Serbs, the historic proteges of the Russians. In response, Russia which in the Gulf War still backed the U.S. against Iraq, has begun returning to a policy of confrontation in the Middle East, to arm Syria and Iran and back Saddam Hussein. The bombing of Serbia presently, without U.N. legitimation is the last straw in a process which threatens the reimposition of an iron curtain. For what purpose pray tell.

Is it to introduce Islam to Europe? Hasn't the U.S. absorbed the bitter lesson of Afghanistan where it supported the Islamic fundamentalists and Taliban. From there the deadly stinger anti-aircraft missiles which the U.S. gave out so generously disseminated becoming a menace to global aviation. Afghanistan also begot the Bin-Laden terrorists who blew up America's embassies.

The U.S.A., which erred grievously in Vietnam, in Beirut, in Somalia, in Iran, in Iraq and in Afghanistan, now errs in Kosovo. Everywhere the U.S. has left devastation in her wake, but it continues to pontificate on what is good for us as if we were errant school children.It would appear that spiritually as well, we have become a bananna republic, if despite the menacing shadow which the Kosovo Affair casts over us, Israel's academia and political world applaud and follow the U.S.A. blindly.

At the time, we sent aid to Moslem Bosnia and absorbed Bosnian refugees, because Yossi Sarid so willed it. It is time that a Public Committee for Serbia arose to aid Serbian victims. Such a committee would represent a token of gratitude from our people to a people who fought the Nazis more than any other people.


Elyakim Ha'etzni is an attorney and Jewish activist who lives in Kiryat Araba.


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