Another outrage in Jerusalem: As far as is known at this writing, there are eight dead and hundreds injured in this new triple suicide bombing in Jerusalem. And that is on the heels of the suicide bombing just a few weeks ago, also in Jerusalem, in which fourteen people were killed and hundreds injured. Will it ever end? And what does it mean and how should it affect the so-called "peace process"?
A history of terror: Since that famous handshake on the White House lawn almost four years ago, there have been many suicide bombings and other murderous attacks on Jews in Israel. The recent outrages in Jerusalem were preceded a couple of months before by a similar attack in a crowded Tel Aviv restaurant, in which, by sheer good luck, "only" three people were killed.
It isn't clear at all what the Arabs wish to accomplish in these attacks. Even though the nations of the world, constantly concerned about "Palestinian national rights", are prepared to accept almost anything from these people, these acts of violence would not seem to be good policy for the Arabs. It makes the people of the world, even their die-hard friends, uncomfortable. And, since all of the demands of the Palestinian Arabs are being accommodated by the pliable Israelis -- sometimes perhaps not quite as fast as the Arabs would wish -- the only purpose of these terror acts would therefore seem to be an expression of a hatred against the Jews so profound that even international disapproval, suicide, and self-immolation appear as a small price to pay, as long as a sufficient number of the accursed Jews die in the process.
Since the signing of the Oslo Accord, close to 300 Israeli Jews have been killed by terrorists and close to 1,000 wounded, many of them grievously. Israel is a small country, with only about five million inhabitants -- a fiftieth of the population of the United States. To put it in perspective, this number is equivalent to about 15,000 people being killed in the United States in such criminal attacks. Would the American people stand still for that?
And that is not all. These are the same people who, since the "handshake", have blown up the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, the Jewish Community Center in the same city, and the Israeli Embassy in London. Hundreds of people were killed. There can be no question that these same people were behind the Pan Am flight 103 plane explosion over Lockerbie Scotland, in which over 270 people, mostly Americans, were killed; that they engineered the explosion of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, in which hundreds of U.S. service personnel perished; that they were responsible for the blowing up of the Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia (in which, fortunately, "only" 19 Air Force personnel died); and in literally hundreds of other acts of terror.
The United States: A principal target. Only a few weeks ago, we learned about the cabal of Palestinian Arabs in Brooklyn, who were preparing a terror attack on a Brooklyn bus and a subway station. This was thwarted by an almost unbelievable stroke of good luck. Hundreds would undoubtedly have died in these explosions and New York City would have been totally disrupted. The Palestinians who set off the explosion in the World Trade Center had also planned to blow up the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, connecting New York with New Jersey and, for good measure, the United Nations building. Those attacks were also thwarted. Can we always expect to be that lucky?
To mention just a few more PLO terror attacks directed against the United States: America, the "big Satan", though far away, is a favorite target of these criminals. American citizen Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound invalid, was brutally killed in the PLO ship-jacking of the ACHILLE LAURO, an Italian cruise ship. Some of the most vicious PLO attacks against Americans have been against U.S. diplomats. In the Sudan, in 1973, two American diplomats -- Ambassador Cloe Noel and Chargé d'Affaires George C. Moore -- were mercilessly murdered when PLO demands were not met. The Washington Post reported on undeniable evidence that
Yassir Arafat personally ordered these executions. An assassin as "partner in peace". This man, the "Chairman of the Palestinian Authority", was, until the handshake", classified as an international terrorist by the U.S. State Department. He was not allowed entry into the United States. But suddenly -- as the result of the Israeli initiative and the Oslo agreement -- this mass murderer was elevated to the status of "statesman". The world expects Israel to deal with this criminal and to bring "sacrifices for peace" in order to accommodate his every scheme and every design. And he is making it understood that he will unleash further terror attacks if his wishes are not complied with or not complied with as promptly as he would like.
In a speech on August 5, broadcast on Palestinian television and published in the P.A.-controlled newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, Arafat said the following:No one can harm the Palestinian revolution, for it will persist and struggle, struggle, struggle . . .. It is important that we organize our homes and our movements in order to endure the coming battle, which we shall begin. We must say these things because great battles lie before us, and it will now be more difficult than it was in the past . . . let us each commit one to another and let us commit ourselves before Allah and the Palestinian people that we shall lead the coming battle as we have led previous battles. An oath is an oath and a promise is a promise. The whole world stands by us, while they are alone. They are afraid, but we are not. We cling to the oath and the promise. The Palestinian people is faithful to its oath, the one which we swore upon the first day when the initial shot was fired and the first of our martyrs fell. I must say these things so that you will know where, how and in what direction our movement is heading. We are marching together with the blessing of Allah, my brothers, we are marching together to Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem."
How is that for a "partner in peace"?
Any pretext suffices. The basic understanding with Arafat and his Palestinian Arabs, the only reason that Israel (however ill-advisedly) undertook to grant wide-ranging concessions to the Palestinian Arabs, was that terror and mayhem would stop. But that has not happened. Arafat and the "Palestinian Authority" have done nothing and are doing nothing to stop this slaughter; on the contrary, they actively encourage their followers to use violence to accomplish their ends. The PLO has not even complied with the promise to amend their infamous Charter, which explicitly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. In blood-curdling speeches, Arafat and his henchmen continually goad their followers into violence, urging them to "liberate Palestine and Jerusalem" by jihad (holy war), "with blood and with fire".
And when they talk about "Palestine", they make it quite clear that they don't just mean the "West Bank" and Gaza. They quite openly talk about all of Israel -- the whole thing. Have a look at their stationery, their coat of arms, their shoulder patches, and their official maps. According to those, Israel has already been vanquished and eliminated.
Any pretext to violence suffices. Not too long ago, it was the opening of an entrance to an archaeological tunnel which offended the sensitivities of the Palestinian Arabs because it supposedly threatened the Al Aksa Mosque. That is total nonsense, of course. The entrance to the tunnel is as far as the length of two football fields removed from the Mosque. Next, it was the Israeli Jews constructing residences in the eastern part of Jerusalem on land they owned. The murderous attack on the Jerusalem market, of course, and this new attack, had no pretext at all. They were just done out of sheer hatred for the Jews and the desire to kill as many of them as possible.
And that is the nub of the problem. Only the most naive or ill-informed can believe that the Palestinian Arabs (or the rest of the Arab/Muslim world, for that matter) could be placated by the Israelis bringing "sacrifices for peace" or yielding "land for peace". The Arabs would not be satisfied with any piece of land, no matter how large. Even if the Israeli Jews were prepared to hand over the entire land of Israel to the Arabs and only to retain, perhaps, the enclave of Tel Aviv, it would not satisfy the Arabs.
The reason for that is that the mere presence of Jews in the Middle East is an unacceptable thorn in the side of the Arabs -- an insult to Islam that must be avenged and eliminated. And it should therefore be clear that no peace can come about until that attitude and that mindset change. The way it looks right now, that might take a very long time.How should all this affect the peace process? What does all this mean for the so-called "peace process"? So far in this process, in total contrast to the PLO, the Israeli Jews have complied with all of their self-assumed obligations -- but, obviously, in view of the continuing violence, without success. They have turned over the Gaza Strip and all major population centers and large less-populated areas in Judea/Samaria (the "West Bank") to the Palestinian Authority. Further steps of transfer are planned. The Israeli government is and has always been prepared to grant the Palestinian Arabs the most wide-ranging autonomy -- an autonomy that any of the many other minorities in so many other countries would be most gratified to achieve. The Arab way of negotiating is obviously by terror. The world has seen what the Arabs are prepared to visit on the Jews any time there is even a perceived slowdown in the Israelis granting concessions, any time a demand is not granted, any time the Israelis commit an act of which the Arabs don't approve, or, as in the case of the recent suicide attacks in Jerusalem, for no discernible reason at all -- simply to give expression to their deadly hatred of the Jews and to kill as many of them as possible.
So far, the "heavy" topics in the negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs have not been raised. All hell is likely to break loose when it comes to that and terror can be expected to be widespread and rampant. In order to avoid that, Israel's position should be made clear right now. There are certain things that the Palestinian Arabs expect and hope to achieve, but that Israel will simply not grant. Here they are:
Jerusalem will never again be divided. It will remain the capital of Israel and no part of it will be the capital of any Palestinian entity. There will be no "return" of the so-called "refugees". Israel will retain control of who enters the territories ultimately allotted to the Palestinian Arabs, and, of course, who enters Israel proper. The only political entity that the Palestinian Arabs will ultimately be allowed to form will be totally demilitarized, with Israel having full and unimpeded control over military matters and of the air space. Israel will have control of the water resources.
This should be made clear to the Palestinian Arabs beforehand, so that there will be no misunderstanding and so that the likelihood of terror, borne of disappointment and frustration, can be avoided. The Arabs should understand, and so should the world, that every "concession" that the Israelis make to the Palestinians is a gift, an act of generosity that is unprecedented in the history of the world. To riot, to unleash terror because the Arabs find the pace or the magnitude of these concessions to be insufficient, is really the height of ingratitude and gall. How can the world possibly support that and urge Israel to bring ever greater "sacrifices for peace" and to do so at an accelerated pace?
In view of the terror unleashed and the (so far) inability of the Palestinian Authority to correct such terror, all action in this "peace process" should come to an immediate halt and no further activity in this process should be taken for at least six months. Then, the minimum conditions that Israel should impose on Arafat for any continuation of the process should be:
The rescission of the PLO Charter advocating the destruction of Israel;A full-bore and successful effort on the part of the PLO to apprehend and turn over to Israeli justice all terrorists now operating under cover of protection of the Palestinian Authority.
And, nothing -- not the United States, the other countries of the world, or the United Nations -- should be the arbiter of this. No emissaries, no "friends of peace", no intermediaries, are needed. Only Israel should determine whether its national rights and its security requirements are being honored and fulfilled. Only then, not before, should it be prepared to continue its negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs.
Only Israel should determine whether its national rights and its security requirements are being honored and fulfilled. Only then, not before, should it be prepared to continue its negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs.
Gerardo Joffe is founder/president of FLAME (Facts and Logic About the Middle East).