Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of November 26, 1998
When the South African partner of this column was five years old and camping with his family near a Transvaal river, it was the Zulu nanny who warned her charge: "Passop! [Beware] the cruel crocodiles. They will seize you in their jaws and let you die slowly. When you are near death their horrible eyes will blaze like the fierce sun before they gobble you up!"
Those warning words came to mind as Palestinians danced with joy when the IDF pulled out of Kabatiya in northern Samaria last Friday. They raised their Kalashnikovs triumphantly into the air - perhaps the same rifles that Yasser Arafat threatens to wave over Jerusalem, which he plans to make the capital of his future Palestinian state. The "crocodile" warning, for Israel, is more applicable today than ever before. The Palestinians will unleash their full fury and hatred when they feel the Jews are weakening and are ready for the coup de grace.
The warning went unheeded five years ago, when Yitzhak Rabin shook the hand of PLO terrorist leader Arafat at the While House to signify the "new dawn" of peace that the Oslo Accords were designed to create. Peace was on the lips of Israeli politicians who said "let's give them a chance." Yet there was no sudden flowering of goodwill on the part of the Palestinians, because they sensed that the Jews were losing the heroic resolve that had filled the spirits of the early pioneers who built this land. Victory whetted the appetites of the Palestinian leadership, just as the crocodile anticipates with relish his midday meal held tightly in his jaws.
The result was a series of suicide bombings - the worst orgy of terrorism this country has ever experienced. HISTORY has not repeated itself - as yet, anyway - on that horrific scale since the signing of the Wye Memorandum. But that was sheer luck, as bombers in fact attempted to attack a school bus in the Gaza Strip and shoppers in Jerusalem's Mahaneh Yehuda market. The low body count, however, hasn't stopped Palestinian leaders and their followers from feeling triumphant, believing that now the Jews are really on the run. They are seen as flabby and weak, as they abandon further chunks of their ancestral homeland.
If Arafat is comparatively quiescent at present, it is clear that he is patiently waiting for the day when he gets his hands on another 13.1% of the West Bank, - giving him some 40% of the area. His ceaseless provocations of today surely portend the unleashing of full-scale terror once the land is under his control. His comments and exhortations to his people are totally contrary to the commitments made by him at Wye to prevent incitement.
The burning rage of the crocodile is reflected in the words and cartoons of the Palestinian and other Arab media. A mere 15 days after the Wye accords, the official Palestinian newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (November 7) explains why the Israelis are giving up part of their homeland:
"In their history....the Jews were subject to losses and expulsion as a result of their wickedness and their despicable acts.... Corruption is part of the Jews' nature...It's apparent that the Jews were subjected to losses and expulsions as a result of their wickedness and their despicable acts. All this occurred after their true nature and their responsibility for destroying the world has been revealed."
During a religious TV program four days earlier, viewers were told "that the Jews are the seed of Satan and the devils. The Jews do not believe in God... They lied about their Torah and forged it. They have distorted the faith and exchanged the gift of God for heresy, rebellion and prostitution and distorted the Torah."
PERHAPS we should not be surprised. After all, in Egypt, our first peace partner, the incitement in the state-controlled media is as pernicious as any knife or bomb: "The Jews invented the myth of mass extermination and the fabrication of 6 million Jews that were put to death in Nazi ovens," declared Al-Akhbar on September 25. Added the October weekly (October 4): "Satan worship is part of Judaism."
The cartoons in the Egyptian press are increasingly virulent. One particularly vicious caricature in the Egyptian Al Gomhouriya (September 18) shows both Netanyahu and Israeli soldiers giving the Nazi "Heil Hitler" salute. Another in the same publication (October 26) depicts a Der Sturmer Jew with a long nose whispering to the Netanyahu: "You should have insisted on Monica's return to the White House as a condition for signing the Wye deal."
Clearly the Egyptians - who have experience with crocodiles in the Nile - are now convinced that they have the Jews on the ropes - and are ratcheting up their incitement as they prepare for what they see as the kill.
(c) Jerusalem Post 1998
Uri Dan & Dennis Eisenberg are authors of
The Mossad: Secrets of the Israel Secret Service and
other books on the Middle East.