• Responsibility – Generosity - Freedom
• Gaza - A realistic idea ?
• Compassion Yes - Pity No
Young leaders in Israel
• Yuval Steinitz
• The Wannsee Villa
• The Wannsee Conference, 20 January 1942
• Determination and investigation
• The Berlin Jewish Museum
• Berlin Beit Hamidrash
• Conflict of legislations ?
Ethic and Judaism
• What Price Redemption?
By Roland S. Süssmann, Editor-in-chief
From Istanbul to Moscow, from Madrid to Ashdod by way of Jerusalem, civilians continue to be killed and maimed to the sound of the bombs of Arab terrorists intent on advancing Islamic fascism. A year ago, millions of Europeans marched against American involvement in Iraq. Many of the demonstrators, wearing the Arab kaffiyeh, then the chic symbol of resistance, chanted anti-American, anti-Zionist and, in particular, antisemitic slogans.
Today the kaffiyeh has become the symbol of terrorism and has disappeared from the streets. The antisemitic slogans have been temporarily replaced by tears of sorrow, impotence and anger. Selective indignation is on the march: the killing of civilians in Europe is considered “terrorism”, whereas the murder of Jews in Israel by Arabs is part of the “cycle of violence”, and so does not merit any international soul-searching. The attacks in Madrid and Jerusalem show that the Arab terrorist organizations and the Islamic movements have nothing to offer. They are fighting a fight to the death using homicide bombers as though this was a legitimate weapon; their aim is not to negotiate with the West, but to replace democracies with totalitarian regimes under the sway of Sharia Islamic law.
Islamo-fascism is based on a religious ideology and an urge for power, while the war conducted by the PLO and Arab countries against Israel is a characteristic act of antisemitism, expressed in refusing the Jews an independent political entity: the declared aim is to replace the Jewish State with an Arab state.
We are today in the era of “peace initiatives” – whether ridiculous or criminal. In this context, it is not “Islamically correct” to ask the only fundamental question, “What do the Arabs offer in return for the concessions demanded from Israel?”... Before replying, it is worth reviewing the Arab demands: abandonment of the Temple Mount and of sovereignty over half of Jerusalem; virtually total retreat from the Jewish lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which are strategically vital for the country’s security, including surrender of their water resources; under the pretext of the right of return, which came out of nowhere and is based on nothing, to bring to Israel four million Arabs, who have been stagnating for three generations as a political weapon in camps in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan; and finally, to set up a PLO state in the heart of Israel! In return, the Arabs offer nothing! Has the PLO offered to stop terrorism? The bloody experience of Oslo has proven that the answer is no! Has it offered to relinquish the right to murder Jewish civilians in Israel? No! The Arabs did not start this criminal activity in 1948 or 1967, but at the time of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hadj Amin al Husseini, the instigator of the massacres in the 1920s and 1930s of the Jewish inhabitants of Hebron, Jerusalem and Safed. Husseini was one of Hitler’s advisers. After welcoming Eichmann to Palestine and having visited the death camps, he suggested in 1943 to Hitler, “to extend the Final Solution to the Jewish refugees in Palestine, and to despatch them to Poland in order to protect the local population from the threat they represent”.
Israel is faced by a terrorist organization with the honorific title of “Palestinian Authority”, whose actions have been directly inspired by Husseini, and continued by Arafat. He still believes that the combination of terrorism-negotiations-terrorism will once and for all break Israel’s will, and allow him to set up, under his rule, “Greater Palestine”, a territory that will extend from the Mediterranean to Iraq.
In parallel, Israel is facing another threat, Syria, which is actively supporting two terrorist fronts. One, against Israel, using the Islamic Jihad, whose headquarters are in Damascus, and which, with Iran’s help, provides financial, logistical, military, political and moral support to its members who have set up an infrastructure in the West Bank. The other, in Iraq, to where Syria facilitates the traffic in arms and terrorists, collaborating with impunity in the war against the coalition.
Faced with both Syria and the PLO, Israel is not entirely free to act. It is a society built on democracy and pluralism, where every military action must be justified. Since the Arabs hide their “fighters” among women and children, Israel cannot use all the force it has available, since collateral damage is unacceptable to both the IDF and the country.
And what at the political level? Ariel Sharon is proposing a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, which would mean entirely cutting off the inhabitants from all contact with Israel and confining them in a sealed Ghetto with just a single opening to Egypt. Now Mr. Mubarak has not the slightest intention of providing work for his brethren in Gaza, whose agricultural produce today transits Israel and which may rot in the greenhouses rather than being on sale in the supermarkets of Geneva and Zurich. One can imagine that after the Arabs have raised the flags of the PLO and Hamas over the houses of the Jews who have been chased out, they will bring in, with the assistance of Egypt (which cooperates militarily with Saudi Arabia and Iran) tanks and ground-to-ground missiles to threaten Ashkelon and Ashdod. Then, starving, they will come begging for work in Israel. Giving in to international pressure, the Jewish state will let them supply labor – for humanitarian reasons.
This catastrophic scenario is well-known to Ariel Sharon. Israel is lead by a man who has often told me, “First and foremost I am a Jew, and nothing is closer to my heart than the rights of the Jews”. Even if Mr. Sharon gives the impression of having fundamentally changed his view on the resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict, which is not proven, he has not given in on a single point: he is leading a merciless war against terrorism, and, thanks to his determination, the creation of a Palestinian state within Israel remains even more utopian than ever. Ariel Sharon has certainly not become suicidal, but rather he wants to prove through the absurd that Israel has no choice but to act as it is doing today: refuse to “negotiate by night and bury its dead by day” and win the war imposed upon the Jewish state too long ago, in order to be able to dictate the terms of a future coexistence.
It is not to be excluded that the Prime Minister is partially writing off Gaza in order to reinforce the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria. At a time when Jews are being killed on the buses and in restaurants in Israel, when synagogues and Jewish schools are being attacked the world over, it is difficult to imagine that a plan that if signed would be construed by the Arabs as a sign of weakness could be implemented in Israel. However, if that is what the current leaders want – the people will throw them out.
Since the restart of systematic aggression by the Arabs, Israelis have proven themselves brave, stoic, dignified and determined. The army is carrying out prevention and defense in an exemplary manner, and, despite all the difficulties, the country keeps on developing. By its very existence and its dynamism, Israel is a source of optimism and hope. It lets us fight growing antisemitism with strength and confidence, just as the Almighty saved us from Egypt “with a strong hand and an outstretched arm”.
The entire SHALOM team wishes you a happy Pessach.