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From the Jerusalem Post of April 14, 2000

PUDDLE-DUCKS OF A FEATHER -
ANOTHER TACK

By Sara Honig

Most people selectively filter out what belies their beliefs. They would rather not see what unsettles them, like the ostrich with its head in the sand. Ostrich-like, we downplay the ample warnings that Palestinians - on both sides of the Green Line - systematically serve up. Yasser Arafat, for instance, pulls no punches and disguises no intentions. He couldn't have outlined his strategy more candidly than in his address to 40 Arab diplomats at Stockholm's Grand Hotel on January 30, 1996 (several years after Oslo).

So spake Arafat: "We Palestinians will take over everything including all of Jerusalem The compensated rich Jews will all journey to America. We of the PLO will now concentrate on splitting Israel psychologically. We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. I have no use for Jews: they are and remain Jews."

Official Israel preferred not to take Arafat at his word because his words embarrassed it. So while we bury our collective head, Arafat busily goes about keeping his word. His impressive track record cannot be underestimated it. Its signs are over the place. Palestinian flags fly at full mast at Arab school graduation ceremonies within Green-Line Israel. Most gatherings in Israeli Arab towns open with the Palestinian anthem.

PA auspices are conferred upon a whole host of mundane events inside Israel - educational, athletic, religious, etc. The bottom line is inescapable. Even those Arabs encumbered with Israeli rule owe their allegiance to Palestine.

They openly identify with the state's enemies. They praise the Hizbullah, but refuse refuge to South Lebanese Army soldiers. Knesset member Hashem Mahameed exhorted Land Day protesters to "learn from Hizbullah. As it kicked Israel out, so we will protect our land."

In Umm el-Fahm they stand at attention in memory of suicide bombers.

They vote as the PA instructs. They consider themselves Arafat's subjects, and do his bidding. This is what allowed Arafat to boast recently that without his help, Barak wouldn't have been elected. The more Israel appeases its Arabs, the more Arafat succeeds in pulling them away.

A recent opinion poll showed that 67% of Israel's Arab citizens define themselves as Palestinians rather than Israelis, as compared to only 27% a mere five years ago. Knesset member Abdul-Malik Dahamshe speaks of " this country, currently called Israel "

Presumably he envisions a time when the name would be different.

This coincides with the now overt demand in the Arab sector for autonomy in the Galilee, Negev and Triangle. The only debate is whether to start with mere cultural separation or go for full territorial self-rule right off. Eventually these areas are to be annexed to the burgeoning Palestinian state.

Increasingly, Israel's Arabs imply they sense the beginning of the end of the Jewish state. Judea and Samaria are already beginning of the end of the Jewish state, Judea and Samaria are already being wrested from it, and sizable chunks of Israel proper will be next.

ISRAELI OSTRICHES would rather not see such unpleasantness. But without this background they cannot put into context recent Land Day marches and the corollary Haifa and Hebrew University riots. Instead, they heaved a sign of relief that things weren't worse, and that another Land Day elapsed without bloodshed.

But feeble responses invite escalation. Propagandists don't crave quiet. They gleefully harped on the death of 72-year old Sheiha Abu-Sallah of Sakhnin, and attributed it to Israeli tear gas. The fact that their claim held as much water as Suha Arafat's well-poisoning speech mattered little. The lady's name was ceremoniously inscribed on a monument for Land Day martyrs, and her kin proclaimed pride in her sacrifice for the cause.

It was to decry her "murder" that Arab students rioted at Haifa U. a few days later. They boisterously sang the Palestinian anthem, hoisted the Palestinian flag, yelled "death to the Jews" and wielded brass knuckles and knives.

Those Israelis who dared counter with defiant renditions of "Hatikva" (a near-illegitimate provocation in the Jewish state) were brutally beaten. It was patently clear who was in control of the campus and who was on the defensive.

The next day, when four cops attempted to detain the ringleader, the Arab students rioted again, roughed up the officers and then trapped them in their squad car. The police were plainly humiliated and the lawmen were eventually whisked out by Hadash Knesset member Issam Mahoul, a past student rioter himself.

His agitation and violence obviously paid off. Virulent anti-Israel rowdyism is considered heroic in his milieu, while the risks of Israeli retribution are laughable.

Unintimidated rioters entertained no doubt about what righteous wrath would be rained upon Jewish students had they dared rampage like their Arab counterparts, with the same whooping war-cries and incitement to homicide. All the outspoken spokesmen for politically correct causes would clamor for their immediate expulsion. They would be driven off campus as vile miscreants.

No one would for a minute condone mollycoddling them.

Only vis--vis Arabs do Jews turn into ostriches. But zoology students would probably protest the comparison; it's unfair to ostriches. Persistent myth notwithstanding, they don't bury their heads when cornered, but put up a fierce fight.

A more valid analogy would be to another bird-brain - Jemima Puddle-duck. With her eyes wide open she took up with no less than a fox. She should have known that the intentions of the wily unreformed predator towards her were far from friendly.

But Jemima wouldn't let facts interfere with her grand conception. So she gullibly accepted his dinner invitation and even brought the herbs and onions for his roast.

She recklessly ignored all danger signs, like the feathers strewn all over the floor of his ramshackle shed.

The difference between Jemima and the Jews is that Beatrix Potter took care of her and sent a pack of dogs to rescue the fool at the very last minute. But our peril, alas, isn't the figment of a benign author's charming whimsy. She cannot devise the happy ending to save us from our stupidity.



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