By Elyakim Ha'etzni

[December 16, 2000] In the shooting incident involving a bus in Jerusalem's French Hill the shooter dropped his automatic rifle. It emerged that it was one of the weapons which Israel supplied Arafat. But this is not the entire story. The armor piercing bullets that Arab snipers fire from their Kalashnikov rifles are also made in Israel. The suppliers of these bullets with minds programmed by Oslo, apparently thought that they were supplying Peace bullets for Peace rifles. Now that these bullets are fired at their own people, one should expect that they apologize, contend having made an innocent, fatal error. But no! Even now, realizing what the original intent of these weapons had been, they continue to walk hand in hand with the shooters towards their goal: The establishment of a Palestinian State in a land cleansed of Jews.

The I.D.F. is depleting its energy by an absurd, expensive, corrosive and morale destroying armoring effort, coupled with a futile pursuit after every terrorist, while those who dispatch them enjoy immunity.

A hallucinating government, blind to reality, is incapable of divining the destructive impact of the nearly daily funerals of peaceful citizens whom "the most powerful army in the middle east" is incapable of protecting on the very doorstep of their homes. Similarly our Prime Minister fails to realize that the dragging on of these events draws the countries of the region with ever increasing momentum into the maelstrom of a general war.

The turnabout, which brought upon us this "darkness at noon", occurred in the cabinet meeting following the blowing up of the bus in Hadera. In its wake the new pattern of this "ridiculous war" (drole de guerre" was the name, which the French bestowed on the waiting period in 1940, when its army sat passively behind the Maginot Line and allowed Hitler to conquer half of Europe) emerged. Arafat became purposeful: No more mass assaults with children in the forefront and no more massive firing from cities under his control. He had already reaped the maximum propaganda value from the dead children, and the Israeli return fire was causing too much damage in the Palestinian areas. As for casualties, hence forward he preferred to count Jewish dead, and not merely Jews, but settlers and the soldiers guarding them. A cost effective method: The price of Arab bullets is negligible, the cost of Jewish protection gear defies imagination. For example, it costs 40 million Shekels to bullet-proof 100 buses alone. With a few hundred bullets one can ruin the lives of 200,000 people, drive the I.D.F. berserk, inflict damage in the billions to the Israeli economy, gradually destroy the entire settlement project, and widen to the very abyss the rift within Israeli society. The Arab pattern of action has become sagacious, efficient, logical and deadly.

In contradistinction, the post-Hadera pattern of action of the Barak Government is the very opposite: No more reprisal actions and no initiative. At best a generally ineffective return of fire and a snail like self enclosure within a variety of fortifications. By night commandos apprehend some ringleaders in the Arab villages, swatting one mosquito and another mosquito, instead of draining the swamp. By day we have good-will measures: Opening the Dahania airport and the passage to Egypt, unblocking funds, restoring V.I.P. certificates. Soon "in honor of Ramadan" more terrorists will be freed to fill the depleted ranks of the shooters.

There is method to this madness. Because of its messianic devotion, the Peace Camp is incapable of operating against those who dispatch the gunmen, from the command level of the Tanzim militia and up to Arafat and his establishment, because the fall of the Palestine Authority would shatter once and for all the whole Oslo peace dream. Even now that the dream has turned into a nightmare, the dreamer refuses to awaken, for he has nothing worth awakening for.

We are being murdered on the roads not because the slogan "let the I.D.F. win" is "imbecility and wickedness" in the words of retired Southern Command head General Yom-Tov Sammiah, but because an I.D.F. victory means the collapse of Arafat's rule and the dismemberment of the rotten and corrupt Palestine Authority with its dictatorial and murderous apparatuses. But precisely this sort of victory the peace camp will not tolerate because it would prevent the establishment of a Palestinian State and the liquidation of the hated settlement project, the only way of barring the rise of the right and the religious which cannot be halted due to their increasing demographic advantage.

True, the removal of Arafat and his regime will stave off a general conflict, will thwart the influx of millions of Arab refugees, and will put a damper on the incitement of Israeli Arabs, but all this is no compensation for the end of a dream. The Peace Camp will never allow the War of Oslo to end with the death of Oslo, whatever the cost to Jewish life and to a Jewish future in the Land of Israel.


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

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