FIRST PRIORITY

by Boris Shusteff

There is no possibility of building Palestine without waging a war for every inch of its soil. (Yitzhak Tabenkin, August, 1938).

The Jewish state is slowly and constantly bleeding. Time and again the remains of its sons and daughters, murdered by the Arabs day after day, are lowered into the soil of Eretz Yisrael. Time and again Israeli leaders promise that they will punish the perpetrators of the massacres. But after a day or two another Jew pays the price of appeasing the Arabs. There is no other country in the world where Jews are murdered only because they are Jews, and the Jewish community accepts it as a necessary evil.

Dr. Artur Ruppin, a Labor Zionist leader, wrote in 1936, "It is our destiny to be in a state of continual warfare with the Arabs, and there is no other alternative but that lives should be lost." It is obvious that Ariel Sharon shares Ruppin's opinion. He has explained many times that the Jews, who have been dealing with Arab terror for more than 120 years, are used to it. As he said in his interview with The Guardian, "My grandfather, my parents, myself, my sons all faced this terror; for five or six generations now" (1). Terror has become habitual for him. Sharon has seen all of its possible and impossible bestial faces. He admitted, "I've had so many tragedies. I've managed to withstand things that you may think you cannot tolerate"(1).

Perhaps this is the answer to the question of why Sharon is using a "kill the mosquito" method instead of a "destroy the swamps" approach in his strategy of combating the Intifada. Perhaps he compares the over 900 Jews murdered at the peak of Arab terror (within four months of November 29, 1947, the day when the United Nations proposed dividing the remaining 22% of British mandated Palestine into two states), with the 200 Jews murdered by Arafat's gangs since the beginning of this current Intifada.

Make no mistake. Sharon's heart bleeds every time a Jew is murdered. But because of all the tragedies he has seen, his threshold of sensitivity is lowered so much that reality cannot be properly understood. It is possible that his mind subconsciously performs some quick arithmetic, comparing the current numbers of casualties with the casualties that Israel suffered in the first years of Fedayeen activity between 1951 and 1955, when every year an average of 190 Jews were murdered.

Since the numbers are very comparable, Sharon sees no need to deviate from the methods he used to fight terror at that time and later during the time he was destroying the terrorist network in Gaza in the 1970s. Therefore from his point of view he is doing everything that is needed. The problem is that this approach does not work any more. First, because since 1951, the number of murderers has grown geometrically. Second, because one cannot fight a new battle with old weapons.

There is a third reason - and it is the most important one - Israel is in a state of war with the Arabs, and in a war one must use all available strength. However, the Jews do not want to admit to themselves that the Arabs see them as their enemies. Only a very small number among the Jewish leaders are able to raise the red flag of danger. One such leader, Eliyahu Golomb did not worry about political correctness when he said in 1937, "We are in a country where there is a war on between two peoples."

Ever since it started a long time ago, this war has never ended since. Unfortunately, while the Arabs keep fighting the Jews, and see them only as enemies, the Jews live in a dreamland of a paternalistic friendship with the Arabs. When people like Peres, Beilin, Ben Ami, Barak, etc. suddenly "discovered" Arab nationalism - or, using Golomb's words, found that in addition to terrorists "there are also those among them who are sacrificing their lives for their national aspirations," - they immediately offered to forfeit Jewish national aspirations for the sake of Arab ones.

It is not that they were completely ready to disregard the Jewish claim to Eretz Yisrael, but they were ready to share it with others. By doing so they rejected Zionism. The original concept of Zionism entailed a return to Zion. Not to a half or to a quarter of Zion but to all of Zion - to Eretz Yisrael. Many Jewish leaders, however, raised on socialist ideas were unable to understand the essence of ownership of the Land and their socialism superceded their Zionism.

While the Arabs declare of the land "It is mine!", the Jews say, "It is ours!", meaning that under certain circumstances the word "ours" can encompass Arabs as well. The absurdity of this approach has brought us today to a situation in which a "hawk" like Ariel Sharon speaks of the establishment of an Arab state in the heart of the primordial Jewish lands - in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, if the Arabs will only curtail their murderous activity. And Shimon Peres, the "dove," declares on November 28 at a Labor political session that "terror is not a military conclusion, it's the way a people expresses its aspirations through weapons."

While observing what is happening today in Israel, it is simply impossible not to recall the prophetic words of Zeev Zhabotinsky from his "Ethics of an Iron Wall," who wrote that, "The political naivete of a Jew is legendary and incredible: he does not understand the simple rule that he should never make concessions to anybody, who does not want to make concessions to him." The Israeli leaders have not only conceded Land to the Arabs, but what is much more important, they have conceded their ideology. By constantly appeasing the Arabs, and by creating the land-sharing cooperative named "Oslo," the Israeli leaders betrayed Zionism. They abandoned the fundamentals of the Jewish presence in Palestine and emasculated the idea of the return to Zion. Since if there is any place in Zion where the Jews do not have the right to live, then it is very simple to deduce that they do not have the right to live anywhere in Palestine.

The attack on Zionism from all sides is brutal. The constant use by the world community of the word "occupation" and its derivatives in regard to Judea, Samaria and Gaza is a huge slap in the face of world Jewry. One can simply open Webster's dictionary and read the definition, "'Judean' - a Jew, of or pertaining to Judea," in order to understand how intimately connected and inseparable the Jews and Judea really are.

Why do we spend so much time trying to prove the obvious? It is an absurdity in the extreme that dozens of pro-Israel journalists and pundits cover thousands of pages with their writings proving that the creation of another Palestinian state is harmful for Israel. Their logic is faultless, their arguments are brilliant and convincing. There is only one problem with this - there is not a single other state in the world thatneeds to prove to anybody else that it has the right to exist. After all, it's not necessary to prove that the heart is needed for the normal functioning of the body.

Prior to the establishment of Israel, Jewish leaders understood the role of Zionism very well. Moshe Sneh, one of the military leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine, noted in 1943, "Our forces must be arrayed in such a way that their first priority is the task of defending Zionism, while defending the country is of secondary importance." By "defending Zionism" Sneh meant creating conditions that would ensure emigration and settlement. And while Sharon speaks of bringing another million Jews to Israel he is selling out the main Zionist principle, hinting at a readiness to curtail Jewish settlement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

After the despicable triple-terror attack in Jerusalem with 15 Israelis killed and more than 180 maimed, Sharon's words that he "will never make any concessions on the security of the Israeli citizens and the very existence of the state of Israel" (1) can cause nothing but unbearable pain in anybody who reads them. Today there is no security for Israeli citizens, and the existence of the state of Israel is in mortal danger. The Arabs are murdering Jews because they want to defeat Zionism. They know that if they can get rid of Zionism they will get rid of the Jews in Palestine as well. The place of the latest terrorist attack speaks for itself - it happened in Zion square.

Therefore the only response to the Arab atrocities must become immediate Zionist action - the continuation of Jewish settlement activity in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. It is a must if Israel wants not only to survive but to flourish. 12/01/01

1. The Buldozer. "The Guardian." November 7, 2001. http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,589127,00.html

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Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies



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