A Voice from Hebron -- May 21, 1998

Nine Percent or Thirteen Percent?

Haggling over the terms of our Surrender

By Gary M. Cooperberg

We Jews have lived under oppression for two thousand years. We have been scattered to the four corners of the world. We have been beaten, humiliated, persecuted, murdered, and nearly annihilated. The only thing which held us together over all of these years is our common identity as Jews, and our common persecution because of it. While we have always tried to find rational ways to prove to our host nations that we are really not so terrible, and in many ways we are even beneficial, the end result has always been suspicion and expulsion, and even murder.

If Jewish history has taught us anything, it should have taught us that our common identity and our common destiny cannot be shaken nor denied. It remains with us no matter how we try to be like all the other nations of the world. The fact that Jews have always maintained a presence in the Land of our Fathers', albeit under Arab persecution, failed to impress many people. But the incredible reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty here in 1948 created an ideological explosion heard around the world. It destroyed the Christian myth that the Jews were no longer the chosen people of G-d. It proved that the Torah is Truth and that, indeed, after the Jewish people had been scattered all over the world and decimated, they would be re-gathered to their ancient homeland. This was now a fact all could see with their eyes.

Yet, despite undeniable miracles, two thousand years of persecution cannot help but leave scars. We Jews have evolved into experts at surviving our enemies by blending into the woodwork and trying hard not to incite our would-be murderers. And our enemies are not so eager to give up their desire to believe that we are no longer G-d's chosen. It is from these scars that we find ourselves enmeshed in the incredible fraud called a "peace" process. All that this process really seeks to do is to prove, once and for all, that Israel is a freak, and not the authentic recipient of Biblical Promises.

If it can be proven that there is another, more deserving, people with rights to the Land of Israel, then the embarrassment of recognizing Jews as the authentic people of Israel can be denied. While I can certainly understand why the Pope has a vested interest in recognizing Arafat and the PLO, I continue to be baffled as to how my prime minister and entire government insist upon doing so. If the PLO has rights to any part of my homeland, by our own admission, then how do we presume to limit those rights either in scope or in volume? There is a flaw in the presumption that we can grant limited rights to those whom we proclaim to be a legitimate people.

The problem is that we are cowards and liars. We are afraid that our enemies will win the sympathy of our imagined patrons. As such we have decided to self inflict the first blow in order to be on the receiving end of the sympathy. Of course it didn't work. On the contrary. All we accomplished was to prove to friend and foe alike that we are wrong, and that those who seek our destruction are really innocent victims of our oppression who have every right to try and destroy us. Even now, when it has become quite obvious that peace will never be the result of this process, our leaders still insist that we continue upon the path to self-destruction. We are so afraid of conflict that we see no choice but to continue to surrender in the hope that our enemies and friends will eventually take pity upon us. This will, of course, never happen until such time as we are destroyed (which will never happen).

Living, as I do, on the front line of the "peace process", here in Hebron, I am acutely aware of the insanity of the path our leaders have taken. While they claim to be embarking upon the road to peace, I have to suffer for their arrogance. They have built new roads, just for people like me, for peace. Yet I cannot imagine why new roads need to be built in order to protect me from our new peace partners. One would expect that peace would result in an end of rocks, fire-bombs and bullets. Yet, since we have made peace, our government has found the need to purchase bullet proof buses to protect us from our peace partners, even as we ride on the new roads they built for our protection.

My wife is a brave woman. She has been effectively terrorized. As a nurse in Kiryat Arba she has personally witnessed the results of our new peace. She has learned how to treat bullet holes (which they didn't teach her in nursing school) and she has seen her friends and neighbors after they had been wounded or slain by our peace partners. Were she less courageous we would have left Kiryat Arba long ago for a place from which we would not have to run the gauntlet every time we wanted to visit another town or city. Courageous does not mean fearless. Courageous means that, in spite of very real fears, we continue to live our lives as normally as possible and refuse to back down to terror. Every time we go to Jerusalem we fear attack from our enemies. This is not a phobia. It is a very real and rational fear of being stoned or murdered. For over four years now we do not drive the roads at night in capitulation to terror. And, when we drive during daylight hours, ,we try desperately not to think about the danger which lurks around us. All too often we fail.

We are not at all impressed with the prospect that our government is prepared to give away more of our homeland to murderers. We are not pleased to hear our defense minister declare that he is not certain if Arafat is sneaking in weapons, but if he finds out that it is true, he will then think about how to lessen the amount! Where in the world would you find another people who would tolerate such leadership? Our government, in its entirety, is presiding over the terms of our self-destruction as if we have no choice but to fold our hands and surrender.

How could this be the same people who, back in 1948 defied the entire world when we had no army and no allies, and won? How could this be the same people who faced certain destruction in 1967, as all of our Arab enemies joined in battle against us, and we defeated them all within six days, liberating even more of our holy inheritance?

The fact is that we do not believe in miracles, even as they are being performed for us right before our eyes. We did not win wars because of our military prowess. We won the wars because we refused to surrender. We understood that not to fight meant certain destruction, and, despite impossible odds, we simply did what we had to do without thinking about the probable outcome. After the fact, no one was more amazed at the results then were our military leaders. There was no rational explanation as to how we could have won. Yet we did, because the G-d of Israel was fighting for us. He was fighting for us and will continue to fight for us because that is His Will. If we conduct our lives in order to fulfill His Will to the best of our ability, then He will always stand with us and protect us. But should we deny His miracles and even try to work against them, His Will will still prevail. Only we will suffer tragic consequences, G-d forbid. Today we suffer under leadership which refuses to act with Jewish pride. Zionism has been junked in order that we succumb to blackmail. We have begun to deal with the Devil as we plunge deeper and deeper into a process of surrender which we have convinced ourselves is the only way to achieve peace. Yet the further we go with it the more hopeless our position becomes.

Peres arrogantly declared his brilliant strategy as irreversible.What is amazing is that Netanyahu actually believed him. Peres declared that Netanyahu would also shake hands with Arafat. What is amazing is that, indeed, he chose to do so. Netanyahu accused Peres of dividing Jerusalem. What is amazing is that it is Netanyahu who denied Jews the right to build and live on the Mount of Olives, and who has been holding up building on Har Homa.

Our Prime Minister has been meticulously listing all of the flagrant violations by the PLO of the Oslo agreements. Yet he has done nothing about them. Rather than enforce his pronounced policy of reciprocity, he continues in spite of the violations. Rather than reversing the policy of giving away of pieces of our homeland, his only argument is to try and limit how much more he will give away.

Of course Clinton is pressuring us. Why shouldn't he? Israel isn't even demanding that our enemies be removed, never mind taking steps to remove them. Should Clinton be more concerned about our future than is our own government? What wonderful policies we have: "Peace with Security". What does that mean? Apparently our official policy is like Al Capone's concept of "protection". For payoffs the hoodlums will refrain from attacking. If we give Arafat our country, he will promise not to murder us.

Are we all fools? Is this reality so complex as to make it impossible for us to see what is happening to us? Even if we are not strong in faith in G-d, does that oblige us to have faith in Clinton and Arafat? No one cares about our safety or security. If we are not willing to fight for what is ours, certainly no one else will. Why can we not see that peace will not be the result of our cowardice. Dogs smell fear and it drives them to attack. All we are doing is broadcasting our fear and inviting the dogs to attack us.

Whether or not we have faith in G-d, the only path for us to take is one of Jewish pride. Fearing war and pretending to prevent it by surrendering to our enemies will not succeed unless we are prepared to completely and totally surrender. Only by being strong and courageous will we have a chance to survive by logic. . . and a guarantee to prevail by faith. There is no choice but to stop the madness and stand up for what is ours. This will eventually happen no matter what we try to do. The only difference is, the longer it takes us to reach that conclusion, the more we will suffer.

Reprinted from The Boston Globe of May 12, 1998

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