EXPECT NO RESPITE
by Boris Shusteff
Judaism does not encourage the celebration of the deaths of enemies. As it is written in Proverbs: "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth" (24, 17). But this does not prohibit us from telling the truth. Pirkei Avot -- The Sayings of the Fathers -- teaches us "By three things is the world preserved: by truth, by judgment, and by peace; as it is said, Judge ye the truth and the judgment of peace in your gates." And it is truth that is the most grievously suffering victim of the decades long Arab-Israeli war. It is because so many efforts are directed towards its obfuscation that all hopes to achieve peace between the Arabs and the Jews are destined to failure.
The most recent example of this is Yasser Arafat's death. World leaders mourn the arch-terrorist as if he were a wellspring of virtues. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan named him a "defender of justice", and "a man who strove towards peace." French President Jacques Chirac called him "a man of courage and conviction." Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he was "a great political leader of international significance." And all this praise for a villain whose activity in the last 11 years has led to the murder of nearly 1,300 Jews. Extrapolated proportionally to the American population, this number is equivalent to 65,000 dead Americans.
The virus of mad lies has not spared the Jewish state either. How is it possible that official representatives of the Jewish state declare with straight faces that they will do their best to dignify the arch-murderer of their people? But these are exactly the words of the official Israeli statement: "The Israeli Defense Forces are deploying to allow a dignified funeral ceremony of Chairman Arafat." Can we imagine that the Jews would provide for a dignified funeral ceremony for Adolf Hitler?
Make no mistake, for the Jews Arafat has been the Hitler of the last 40 years. The similarity is undeniable. Hitler declared that his goal was eliminating the Jews and Arafat declared that his goal was eliminating Israel, the collective Jew. He even marred the word "peace" with his hatred of Israel, saying that for him "peace means Israel's destruction, nothing else." As General Munteanu, Romania's chief Middle East expert, who spent countless hours in conversations with Arafat, said "His hatred of Israel is literally in his blood."
Arafat's inability to fully clothe himself in Hitler's mantle was not limited by any lack of desire to destroy the Jews but only by insufficient weaponry and ammunition. Undoubtedly, if Arafat had had in his possession the might of Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht, the Jewish state would have drowned in a sea of Jewish blood.
But is it really reason to distinguish between Hitler's and Arafat's actions based on the number of murdered Jews? Judaism teaches that every person is a complete world. Does it really matter for the mother of a Jewish child torn into pieces by a suicide bomber that the number of Jews murdered in Arafat's war against the Jews is calculated in thousands and not in millions, as in Hitler's war? For her the whole world is ruined and destroyed forever. She has perished with her child, though she still walks the earth and is counted among the living.
A study conducted in September 2004 by Haifa University Professor Gavriel Ben Dor and Dr. Daphna Kanti-Nissim found that as a result of the latest terror onslaught on Israel organized and unleashed by Arafat one out of five Israeli Jews has lost at least one close friend or relative. And this is with use of the meager resources that Arafat had at his disposal. Just imagine what would have happened if he had access to the equivalent of Hitler's military machine.
Moreover, while Hitler's demise brought a stop to the annihilation of European Jewry, with Arafat's departure from the scene the death toll among Israeli Jews continues to grow. Even as Arafat lay on his deathbed in Paris, three more Jews were murdered by a suicide bomber brainwashed by the ideology of hate flourishing within the Palestinian Authority. On November 5, when Arafat was already brain-dead, a poll conducted among the Palestinian Arabs by An Najah National University revealed that if Israel withdraws from the Gaza strip 56.3% of them will "support launching attacks against Israel from inside the Strip," i.e. from the area that Sharon plans to clear of Jews, making it judenrein.
Some have hope that with Arafat's death, the enmity of the Arabs toward the Jews will subside, but such hopes are sure to be frustrated. The seeds of hatred so zealously sown by Arafat will grow into the fruits of new murderers, and much more Jewish blood will be spilled long after he is gone. The vicious anti-Jewish and anti-Israel indoctrination disseminated by his Palestinian Authority will not disappear with Arafat's departure. Already on the day after Arafat's death, Reuters quoted a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- the military wing of Arafat's Fatah -- saying, "We will kill anyone who would try to bargain over issues president Arafat rejected. No for concessions, no for settling refugees. We will not rest until we drive the Zionists out of our land."
One should not be shocked by such vitriolic speech. These pronouncements do not deviate at all from the Palestinian National Charter, which is alive and well, and proclaims an Arab homeland in all of Palestine within the "boundaries it had during the British mandate" (Article 2), i.e. including all of Israel. And the recipe it prescribes for achieving this is "armed struggle." It is "the only way to liberate Palestine" (Article 9).
This "armed struggle," called "the peace process" by the na´ve, reached a pinnacle in the post-Oslo years, with various Palestinian groups indiscriminately murdering Jewish elderly, women and children in their houses, buses, restaurants and shopping malls, adding ten thousand to Arafat's list of killed and maimed Jews. This terrorist madness took its toll not only on the lives of the Jews but on the polices of the Israeli government as well. It is terrorist violence that has caused so many shameful defeatist pages to be inscribed into the annals of Jewish history.
The most disastrous shift in Israel's policy is its acquiescence to giving up Jewish land in order to create a new Arab state. Whether or not the Palestinian Arabs are actually a distinct people is a question we won't delve into here. What is undoubtedly true, however, is that the strongest passion unifying them is the hatred for Israel that Arafat has taught them for nearly two generations. And yet, Israel has not only accepted the idea that this "Palestinian people" deserves a new independent state, but it is now ready to part with Jewish lands in order to allow this state to be built. The Israeli position strongly articulated by Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Yosef Tekoah 30 years ago has been totally abandoned. His declarations from the UN General Assembly rostrum that "the Palestinian Arab state of Jordan" already exists and that "without the Palestinians, Jordan is a state without a people" are completely forgotten.
Therefore, nobody even bothers to ask the question of why the Palestinian Arabs should have two states while all other peoples should be satisfied with one. Of course, if the Israeli Prime Minister himself speaks about the necessity of having such a state, who are other world leaders to contradict him? But it is Israel's readiness to abandon land that was an absolutely taboo subject not long ago, is exactly what makes Arafat dangerous to the Jews even after his death. He remains the ticking time bomb that threatens to explode by sending more martyrs on their way to "liberate Jerusalem" in order to bury him there. Saeb Erakat, the former chief Palestinian negotiator, vowed that "the president will be buried in Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount, when it is the capital of a Palestinian state." Israeli Arab Member of Knesset and form! er Arafat advisor Ahmed Tibi concurred, saying in remarks broadcast on November 10 by Israeli radio: "In the end... a day will come when there is a sovereign Palestinian government, a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, and Yasser Arafat will be buried in the mosque of Al-Aqsa." And though Jerusalem for the Israelis was once an uncrossable red line, the city's future is now also on the negotiating table, waiting to join the long list of initial Israeli "no"s and "never"s that have, without exception, became shameful "yes"s.
It would be wishful thinking to believe that with Arafat's passing the Arab war against the Jews will end. It did not start with Arafat and it was not only Arafat's war. Tiny Israel is a foreign body within the immense multitude of Arab lands. The Arabs cannot tolerate a situation in which a dhimmi people lives in sovereignty on land the Arabs consider their own.
In truth, there is nothing to suggest that the attitude in the Muslim world toward the Jews has changed from October 28, 1937, when Abdel-Aziz ibn Sa'ud, king of Saudi Arabia told the British political agent Colonel H.R.P. Dickson:
"Our hatred for the Jews dates from God's condemnation of them for their persecution and rejection of Isa [Jesus], and their subsequent rejection later of His chosen Prophet. ...Verily the word of God teaches us, and we implicitly believe this, that for a Muslim to kill a Jew, or for him to be killed by a Jew ensures him an immediate entry into Heaven and into the august presence of God Almighty."
We must be weary of succumbing to the already-widely-repeated myth that Arafat's death will bring a turning point to the conflict. As before, this war is being waged by the whole Arab world against the Jews. And not only by the Arab world, but by all those who mourn the death of Arafat -- the death of a murderer, of whom Ariel Sharon said in 1995: "I don't know anyone other than Arafat who has as much civilian Jewish blood on his hands since the time of the Nazis." In contrast with the fall of Nazi Germany, which halted that war against the Jews, Arafat's death will not lead to the reprieve that Israeli Jews so desperately seek.
Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.