ARE ISRAELI CITIZENS
PREPARED FOR WAR?
by Emanuel A. Winston
Middle East Analyst & Commentator
Are Israeli citizens prepared for war? The brief answer is a resounding "No!" Only civilians in the territories (YESHA: Judea, Samaria, and Gaza) are even partially prepared for an attack initiated in the promised next Arab war against Israel. These Israeli citizens have had to face continual attacks by the Arabs even before Arafat's Rosh Hashana War 2000 which the Arab Hasbara' mechanism has successfully coined by the name Al Aksa Intifada'.
The pioneering settlers took seriously the promises of Arafat's terrorist leaders and the frequent call of the religious clerics for the Muslims to attack the Jews, particularly those pejoratively called settlers'. These Israeli civilians have tried to build up their equipment stores such as rifle scopes, night vision equipment and ammunition with desperate appeals to Jews and Christians across the world for funds to buy such equipment denied them by Ehud Barak's regime. One is reminded of the vicious world wide embargo against selling arms to the newly born Jewish State in 1948. Now this boycott comes from the leaders of Israel's Left.
Today this syndrome is so pervasive that the American Jewish establishment's fund raisers refuse to give money to Jews "over the Green Line" or in parts of Jerusalem - even if these funds are for humanitarian needs such as schools, health and religious institutions.
But, still the inventory of exposed and vulnerable communities on the front lines with hostile Arabs is woefully short should the Arabs attack the various towns and villages (called Yeshuvim) as Arafat's Palestinians promised they would. Areas inside of Israel, particularly those near the new' Oslo borders, have virtually no protection from Arab incursions, sharp shooting snipers or bombings set off by remote control devices.
We know the PLO Palestinian Army, Police and militia of 50-60,000 plus at least 9 Secret Services have illegal weapons including machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades; anti-tank missiles; shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, cannon, bombs, mortars, rockets and sophisticated explosives. Regrettably, they have grown proficient with the assistance of CIA training, much the same as was done to train Muslims sent to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
In the event of an attack there are simply not enough soldiers or even police to protect these areas. They are on their own. Worse yet, the civilians are almost totally vulnerable and without training or sufficient weapons for any protracted battles.
How did all this happen?
In the early 1980s those who led the Labor Party concluded that Israel should withdraw, first to the 1967 cease-fire lines and later to the partition lines of 1947. They began an insidious program of re-directing the availability of weapons away from the Israeli public. The main targets were the settlers but, these suicidal policies also affected the general civilian body all over Israel. Those settlers on Israel's frontiers guaranteed the protection of all Israel, the kibbutzim, the cities, the coast, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. They are the first line of defense. The Labor Party's conceptzia' (conception) was that, if the Israeli population did not have the means to defend themselves, there would be fewer incidents of Israelis shooting hostile Arabs even when Jewish civilians or soldiers were attacked by mobs of armed Arabs. If Israelis are murdered or maimed, they were to become what Yitzhak Rabin called "Sacrifices for Peace".
Very slowly a program was initiated of stripping weapons from the hands of Israeli civilians. Where there were once small armories in the Kibbutzim and Moshavim, with weapons provided by military, these armories were emptied of their weapons and stand-by ammunition. Some of this has since been reversed (but only marginally) as the Oslo process failed and shootings of Israelis increased.
Some weapons were allowed to civilians but that became more of a political cover-over so the government could not be charged with totally disarming the civilian population. For an individual to get a gun license for self-defense became a deliberate bureaucratic nightmare. The Leftist Courts played a contributing role so that, even when a civilian was trapped by a mob and, fearing for his life or that of his family, if he shoots, he became a victim of government harassment. Then the Police might arrest him and/or confiscate his weapon - leaving him and his family vulnerable. He might be held in jail for a long time, and then the Courts would virtually bankrupt him with time-consuming trials, attorneys' fees and even jail. This well integrated system was driven by the Leftist Governments, Police and Courts.
Soldiers who shot in self defense faced court martial and possibly jail. The purpose of the Left/Labor party was to instill a greater fear of Israel's Justice system than the necessity to protect your life and those of the civilians who depended upon you. The system worked even to the point where Israeli soldiers were prepared, even taught, to run away rather than take the risk of firing against a life-threatening mob. Here again, politically correct officers who adhered to the Dovish line of the Left were in positions of control. Under some commanders soldiers were taught to run by a blizzard of regulations in thick, incomprehensible manuals.
Now, with Arafat's Green Light' of his contrived al Aksa intifada' (a.k.a.: the Rosh Hashana War of 2000), there may be a real war. Arafat's Palestinians are now close to Israeli population centers and surround many of the towns in YESHA (the territories). They have caused severe casualties to Israelis on the roads and shooting across Israel's borders. Even Israeli civilians in the heart of her main population centers have found that Israeli Arabs are a danger to Israeli Jews as they demonstrate their first loyalty to Arafat.
Regrettably, the plan of Labor worked so well that most of the civilian population is wholly unprepared to defend themselves today. In YESHA many civilian communities do not have the weapons and, except for those in or recently in the Army, they don't have the necessary training. There is insufficient ammunition to hold off a concerted assault until a hoped for rescue of soldiers. The soldiers may never come since they may have to defend the borders from outside Arab armies, such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon - even Egypt. The Police know that they cannot provide sufficient protection because they are too few and not trained for actual combat.
Many individual communities have recently assumed the responsibility for upgrading their defensive weapons and training. In coordination with the Army, they have evaluated their inventories, listed what is needed and proceeded to raise funds from outside the country to supply the night vision, rifle scopes, generators, lights, binoculars, communications and medical emergency needs.
Various Leftist governments made stripping Israelis civilians of their weapons one of their top priorities. Conversely, they have allowed Arafat to smuggle in top quality weapons, including long range telescopic sights for sniping from distances. Israelis are not allowed to bring in really long range scopes or night vision scopes because the Left has passed laws prohibiting importation of such equipment except for military use. The military has been trying to provide arms to some of the settlements but it is mostly old equipment with insufficient ammunition. They cannot go against Labor's orders.
Except for individual communities' initiatives, there has been little or no effort to equip or train civilians - even to walk guard patrols like the Shomrim of past pioneering days. At this time, in the February 6th elections Arik Sharon was elected by 25% margin due to the specific failure of Ehud Barak to protect the Israeli people. Saddam Hussein is threatening to send missiles with atomic, biological or chemical warheads and increasing the possibility of war on Israel's borders. The Barak government never even called on Israelis to clean out their bomb shelters or safe rooms. (This was due to his personal political considerations so as to not further alarm the voters during the election campaign.)
If there are successful attacks on the civilian population then, clearly, Barak, Peres, Beilin and all those who collaborated on the plan to disarm the civilian population must be brought before an impartial, non-political Blue Ribbon Commission of Inquiry for trial with penalties for the guilty. They would be directly responsible for whatever murders or maiming due to the planned vulnerabilities of the people at large and for whom they are responsible. Could anyone even dream that Jewish Leftists would deliberately hold back defensive arms, allowing fellow Jews to be killed in order to advance their fraudulent peace process'?
They have encouraged and accelerated Arafat's war timetable. Now they do not want to carry the legacy of having incited the Arab nations into a full scale war, with catastrophic weapons of mass destruction. So they do what Labor has always done, namely, blame it on someone else. In this case, the fall guy is Arik Sharon, the newly elected Prime Minister.
Now that the Labor Left has put Israel into her worst military position since 1948, perhaps it is just as well that a real General was elected to save Israel once again. If there has to be a war, then clearly it is better in the hands of Arik Sharon than anyone like the Doves of Labor. And it is better that it begin with Israel holding as much land as she has now, rather than later when she has been forced to give away more land, strategic depth, water and Holy Sites.
If and when the next war starts, it would be a good idea to round up the Oslo gang and place them where they cannot communicate with Arafat until the battle is won. Having communicated Israel's negotiating plans to Arafat in the past, they are simply not to be trusted with defense secrets! Barak as Prime and Defense Minister has told Arafat to clear out of targeted positions because he was going to send in helicopter gun ships to hit them.
The Left led by Barak, Peres, Beilin, Sarid, Ben Ami have now entered their denial phase or "Don't blame me!" for the war that's coming. Labor as early as 1982, cut a deal with the Arafat to use his Arabs as shock troops' as the final persuaders to push the settlers out of the territories. The Left Labor/Meretz parties are ultimately responsible for the 546 Israeli deaths by Palestinian terrorists (as of February 12th) because of the Left's concessionary appeasement policies since the Oslo Declaration of Principles. And the Left Labor/Meretz parties will be responsible for the coming war which they nurtured.
Having fed Arafat's vultures, the vultures now want more. The guilt lies with the leaders and sub-leaders of the Labor and Meretz parties so don't let them shift the blame for the war they encouraged. Having deliberately supplied the Palestinians with many of the weapons which have been used against Israeli soldiers and civilians, they cannot now claim innocence.
In closing, while it may be politically advantageous to offer Barak the portfolio of Defense Minister, clearly Barak is not competent for the job. A Dove cannot conduct defense let alone offense. As for inviting Shimon Peres to be Arik Sharon's Foreign Minister, that is a critical mistake. As the fomenter of the secret Oslo negotiations, he has a well known reputation as a liar in addition to his conniving behavior against every government and Prime Minister he worked for. Peres is a poor choice to represent Sharon's policy to the world's leaders and influentials. Worse yet, sending Peres to America and/or Europe to speak for the Sharon government, one can be certain that he will twist Sharon's message and likely call for concentrated pressure on Sharon and Israel. Recall that numerous times, he and Yitzhak Rabin went to France, England and the U.S. asking for those nations to pressure Israel to accommodate Arab demands. Shimon Peres is, was and always will be a twisty man whom no one trusts.
Hopefully, the new Israeli Prime Minister, Arik Sharon, will immediately undo the treachery by the Left Labor/Meretz parties and prepare the Israeli public for what may be their greatest test. They need a training program for civilians (both women and men) in weapons, guarding and medical emergencies. The negative lessons of fearing the government and the Leftist Court system for defending your life and your family's safety must be reversed.
As for world opinion as expounded by CNN, NPR, the NEW YORK TIMES, WASHINGTON POST and other journals, the more they howl, the more certain we can be that the Israelis are doing it right.
There is much to accomplish to prepare Israel's Army and civilian population for the war that Barak and crew have made inevitable by conceding so much strategic land that Israel has been tactically weakened. There is much to accomplish to undo the Arab world's perception that Israel is weak. There is little time to do both. Arik. . .start NOW!