A Voice from Hebron

A Jewish Fly in the Arab Soup

By Gary M. Cooperberg

It always amazed me to observe how the press in Israel seems to take the so-called "peace process" so seriously. How often I would watch my television screen and wonder how Jewish reporters could so casually wander about in Egypt and Jordan, seemingly oblivious to the danger they faced. It didn't take a genius to see that, despite the self-deluding politics, none of our "peace partners", Jordan and Egypt included, have any love for Jews or their state.

The reality of my observations came home to roost yesterday, June 23, 1996 as the infamous Cairo summit came to a close. All of Israel's most implacable enemies were gathered together to face the "threat" of the new Netanyahu government. They understand well what can and should be done by a self-respecting Jewish State, and, until proven otherwise, they suspect Mr. Netanyahu as having the potential to do what they expect. It was genuine fear of a strong and self-respecting Jewish State which brought them together.

How incredible it was to see Aaron Barnea, the dauntless Israeli television newscaster, saunter into the press conference and publicly confront the terrorist Libyan president Muamar Kaddaffi. Speaking in fluent Arabic, Barnea, identifying himself as an Israeli reporter, asked the Libyan dictator when he would recognize the State of Israel.

The Moslem Jew-hater looked like a patron at a fancy restaurant who just discovered a fly in his soup and was looking for the waiter to complain to him. Within a minute Barnea and his cameraman were whisked out of the conference room and the uncomfortable moment came to an abrupt end.

This brief encounter with reality was seen on the Israeli second television channel, yet did not air in subsequent news broadcasts. It was a rare glimpse at the real world in which the Jew and his State are hated and wished out of existence. As much as we would like to be loved by the nations, and as much as we want to believe that we are living in a new age of peace and love, we are only deceiving ourselves. Our enemies have, at long last, learned that the way to defeat the Jew is to let him think that you love him.

I only hope that Mr. Netanyahu saw that brief interlude. The pressure is on now for him to meet with Arafat and accept the reality of the PLO as a legitimate peace partner. He still, in spite of many mistakes, has not passed the point of no return. The potential is still there for him to go either way. As much as we would love to find a way to make real peace with all of our neighbors, including the foreigners in our midst, we dare not forget the persistent Arab perception of the Jew as the fly in his soup.

The only honest way to proceed is for us to recognize this perception and to make it abundantly clear to our neighbors that we have no intention to bargain away any of our homeland. Before any negotiations can take place the Arab must know that not one inch of sacred Jewish soil is negotiable. There are many other areas to negotiate such as trade agreements and mutual cooperation in science and agriculture. The very concept of "Land for Peace" is merely another way to wage war. It is really a blackmail proposition: "Either you give me your land, or I will fight a war to take it from you." Such a concept, in and of itself, is a clear denial of the term "peace". Let the Kadaffis of the world know, with absolute certainty, that we are not the fly in their soup. It is our soup and they had better keep their spoons out of it../..../..../..