To the Rabbis of the Jewish people in every place
18 Elul, 5758 -- September 9, 1998
This letter follows our message of last month, regarding Arab war preparations in Judea and Samaria. Since writing the first letter, I have become somewhat involved in this issue, and have found out more facts regarding the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Israel:
1) The Arabs in Judea and Samaria have for months been performing training exercises aimed at attacking the Jewish communities. I and others in the area have been trying desperately to bring this state of affairs to the government's attention. Two weeks ago, I went with the secretary of my community to the Knesset to inform certain members of Knesset of these ominous circumstances. We were shocked when the head of the Knesset Foreign Relations and Security Committee MK Uzi Landau told us that according to the Shabak (General Security Service) heads, there is no Arab shooting going on in Judea and Samaria. I was utterly taken aback, and exclaimed that even my three-year-old daughter knows that there are explosions and shooting going on every night - how is it possible that the heads of the GSS aren't aware of it? Only a few days later did I receive reports from reservists finishing their month in the army radio room (which acts as a liaison between civilians and army) that they received hundreds of reports every night from the Jewish communities of the constant Arab shooting and of the drastic increase in Arab attacks on the roads. The exasperating answer we get from the authorities is that the situation is under control - and we understand the message: "Please don't ask us to do anything more."
2) In Ramallah alone, a half-hour from here (20 minutes from Jerusalem), there are tens of thousands of Palestinian "police," though it is simply impossible to get an accurate number. Reports issued from the Prime Minister's office in late September 1996 suggest that the PA security forces exceeded 50,000 men. I have found opinions which state that there are currently 63,000. Most of the professional PLO terror organizations from Lebanon, Tunis, Algeria, and Kuwait have moved here. Compounding this problem, the Arab civilians in every single Arab settlement have weapons and have trained extensively with them, making them the de facto counterparts of Israeli army reservists. This makes any attempt to ascertain the correct number and deployment of Palestinian "police" absolutely meaningless. As far as we are concerned, an armed, trained Arab, attacking our community - whether on the PA payroll or not - is a soldier who is prepared to kill Jews. Each Jewish community will face an onslaught of at least 2-3,000 armed Arabs. Why are we not opening our eyes?
3) The Israeli army will not "arrive" to protect our communities as everyone assumes. I did my yearly army service here a few months ago, and upon hearing the briefing of my commanding Brig. General, I couldn't believe my ears. While military and intelligence services predict war next year, the Israeli army is going to leave vast areas of Yesha to the local reservists. The Israeli Chief-of-staff just announced this past Sunday that Command's chief mission now is to prepare for the "armed conflict" that is coming. Everyone has been under the impression that Israel has the capability to defend its communities in the event of war. But since that briefing, I have heard on three other occasions from high-up army sources that when the war comes, we reservists in the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria will be on our own to defend ourselves. There isn't a road in Judea and Samaria which will not be closed off by Arab snipers. How will the reservists get to their base? Many of them will probably opt to stay home to protect their families, rather than to commit suicide trying to reach their units. And let us not fool ourselves into thinking that Israel's "leaders" will have the wisdom to pre-empt the situation with a callup of IDF's reserves.
4) Last week I received official word from Colonel H.Z. of Civilian Defense Corps that the Jewish communities will not receive any more weapons than the meagre, almost useless stockpile that already exists and has been in place since before the intifada ("zero chance" was the expression used by this particular Colonel). From my talks with the army and members of Knesset, it is plain to see that no one in the government or army has thought out, not to mention planned to compensate for, the consequences of the new situation created by Oslo. The Jewish communities were not planned or built to withstand such an assault. The security provisions which are now in place address the needs of pre-Oslo reality. The villages are surrounded by simple fences which provide the illusion of security, and a security vehicle makes regular, predictable, and highly visible rounds. The murder at Yitzhar several weeks ago demonstrates how susceptible our communities are to attack.
5) We have enough rifle ammunition in our community to last for a maximum of two hours of shooting. We have much less ammunition than that for our heavy machine guns, which are supposed to be our main defense.
6) We are not trained to face a war situation. The army is using tactical models for preparing the communities which were relevant eight years ago - before there was even a thought that all the communities would face a simultaneous onslaught. The routine training and war games used until today simulate a scenario in which a small group of terrorists break into a Jewish village and capture a house or public building, take hostages, and start making demands. We will not be facing such a situation anymore; rather, thousands of armed terrorists will assault all the Jewish communities at once, and their aim will not be to take hostages. I mentioned this to one of my commanders who was involved in this exercise, asking why the army doesn't develop a more updated paradigm. He waved his hand and said, "Aw, what you're talking about is a war. "
7) The Jewish communities are not equipped medically for the emergency situation which will result from every Jewish community being attacked simultaneously by the entire surrounding Arab population. I was told by a combat medic here that in the situation we are facing, there will not even be time to treat the injured.
Does Israel's relentless selection of inferior weapons, training, and preparation represent sheer incompetence. or deliberate policy? As usual, the real issues are being clouded with irrelevancies - namely, rather than protecting and preparing the Jewish communities for the war which is soon coming (according to all opinions), the government has created a disinformation smokescreen of "right-wing Jewish violence" to prevent decisive support for more than 170,000 Jews who are under imminent threat.
The army has absolutely no way of dealing with a mass simultaneous eruption of armed violence. Rather than distributing adequate weapons, providing training, erecting barricades which can withstand artillery and mortar fire, setting up field hospitals, organizing emergency food and water, or even preparing the nation psychologically for war - the Israeli government continues to ignore the situation (and history), hoping it will go away. The message which is constantly being given in the media and in private meetings with us is that the army has the situation totally under control, and that the IDF is prepared for every eventuality. Well, that just isn't so.
During the Arab riots of Sukkot three years ago, the army was unable to provide security in Yesha when most of the actual sniper shooting was concentrated in just a few points, and the local Arab settler population harassed all of the Jewish communities with rocks and Molotov cocktails. Back then, the IDF took an average of an hour to reach a distress call, because they were so sparsely deployed. Then, the Arabs were not trained and organized for an all-out war against us. Now they are. Then, the Arabs did not yet posses light anti-tank missiles, rocket propelled grenades, or Stinger antiaircraft missiles. Now they do. Within a matter of months we will be facing an all-out effort to physically exterminate the Jewish communities. Faisal Husseini has already declared that there will be a war on or around May 9, 1999. The clock is ticking. Doesn't anyone understand what is happening? People absolutely must wake up.
Those who are interested in helping to publicize this issue are urgently requested to please contact me. The Land of Israel belongs to every single Jew, and it is all of our responsibility to know the truth. And G-d Who keeps alive the remnant of Israel will show His mercy for which we pray. We wait for G-d's help.
Yishuv Nachliel, Eretz HaKodesh