THE BOMB IS TICKING

By Ruth and Nadia Matar

There is no getting away from it. Ehud Barak is acting in an unacceptable and irresponsible manner with regard to the safety and security of Jews in Israel. The risks that Barak is taking are totally incomprehensible and dangerous; the prospects for peace with Arafat as a peace partner are nil; Arafat's record as a murderer and one who has never fulfilled a commitment agreed to in writing should be clear to everyone, even Barak. The latest Arab shootings of a child and four other visitors to Hebron, and the usual Arab escape into Arafat's Hebron haven, is but another bitter example of the impotence and intolerable weakness of the Barak Government. The ritual dance of demanding that Arafat produce the attackers who fled into his area will result in the usual zero results. There is little doubt that if Arafat was serious about the peace process, with the large number of his police force in the area, these terrorists could be easily found and turned over. That he does not do so, is an obvious indication to everyone, but Clinton and Barak,that peace is not one of Arafat's objectives.

Barak, no doubt, will trot out the same tired phrases of the need to take "risks for peace" after this recent attack. Peres, during the wave of Arab murders and bombings that occurred during his regime, specialized in such an approach. The public turned him out of office as a result. Barak resorts to the same empty and meaningless phrases. He tells us that such terrorist acts as the recent shooting are meant to derail the "peace process" and he will not allow that to happen. What a hacknayed old tune that is! Barak, as usual, is not being honest with us. He knows the attackers can be readily apprehended, but chooses not to come down hard on Arafat.

What can we expect of a Prime Minister who bows to Arafat and releases murderers with blood on their hands from our prisons? Barak simply will not take the decisive steps necessary to fight terror; instead he gives terrorists a "safe passage". Less than a week has passed since the "safe passage" road opened, and already 17 potential terrorists from Gaza who used this road have chosen to disappear within Israel. Yet Barak is not upset by this startling turn of events. Rather, unabashed, he has announced that he will allow Hawatmeh, the Arab murderer of the Maalot children, to enter Israel, because that is what Arafat demands.

Hawatmeh has not changed his murderous views as a condition for getting permission to enter Israel. In fact, Hawatmeh has stated in an interview in Jordan that "armed struggle" is an acceptable tool to "liberate land occupied by the Zionist enemy". Doesn't Barak realize that Hawatmeh would receive a hero's welcome for the violent approach he is advocating, and that he would incite Arabs to violence and to be against Barak's "peace process"?

Barak talks firmly and authoritatively, but his actions are inconsistent with what he says. By his failure to act with regard to the recent shootings near Kiryat Arba; by continuing to allow the "safe passage" despite Arab misuse; by opening the King David (Shuhada) street in Hebron, thus exposing its Jews to mortal danger; and by allowing the murderer Hatwatmeh to enter Israel, he is leading us to a predictable explosion. The bomb is ticking. Unfortunately, Barak has placed plugs in his ears, so as not to hear the dire warnings of what is about to happen.

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Ruth and Nadia Matar are co-presidents of WOMEN FOR ISRAEL'S TOMORROW (WOMEN IN GREEN)



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