|By Roland S. Süssmann, Editor in chief|
In the 1970’s, during a secret visit to Vietnam, Arafat was received by General Vo Nguyen Giap, the man who defeated the French and the Americans. Arafat expressed his amazement that the Vietnamese cause enjoyed enormous sympathy, while his own struggle was considered to be terrorism. The master of 20th century insurgency replied, “You must work in stages, conceal your real intentions, give the impression of being moderate, and above all else manipulate the western media. You should use three means: military, political and international support. I had no chance of defeating the 7th Fleet with its hundreds of aircraft, but I did spread pictures into American homes that lead to America’s capitulation”.
Based on this advice, Arafat immediately launched a propaganda machine whose object was to deprive Israel both of its international support and its legitimacy. He had found the ideal way to get the “justice of the Palestinian cause” accepted by the free world, which would lead to the achievement of the objectives laid down in the PLO Charter and summarized in an article that appeared in 1968 in the Palestinian magazine Filastin al Thawara: “Our target is not the government of Israel, but each member of Israeli society. Our objective is not to subjugate our enemy, but to destroy it and to take its place”. In addition to propaganda, the PLO made use of two weapons: selective mass terrorism and economic warfare. The purpose of terror was to break the psychological and physical resistance and the morale of Israeli society, while reinforcing the fighting spirit of the Arabs. Economic warfare had terrible consequences, one of the most serious being the abandonment of financing for joint ventures with other countries. These developments were guided by a mastermind, who blew hot and cold, alternating between negotiation and terror. This is how Arafat signed the Oslo Accords, which were merely a tactical gesture to let the PLO get a step closer to its objectives. There remained to activate one last phase in the struggle, the creation of dissension within both Israel itself and the Jewish Diaspora. This tactic partially succeeded, since today many young Jews no longer consider Israel as an integral part of their Jewish identity. Today it must be recognized that Oslo was nothing more than a disappointed hope, which had been to the detriment of good sense, the national interest and Israel’s will to resist.
What lessons should be drawn from the fundamental errors of the Oslo process? Two major mistakes were committed, one political and the other military. Politically, Oslo accorded legitimacy to Arab terrorism, as well as respectability and international recognition to the PLO. Strategically, Oslo provided the PLO with a territorial base, which allowed it to intensify the guerrilla war against Israel and its population. Incidentally, one of the aims of the negotiations by the PLO was to obtain territorial advantages without fighting. On the ground, the Jewish State rose to the challenge remarkably; the offensive and defensive measures it took to ensure its people’s security have been successful, notwithstanding the attacks. We should recall that since 29 September 2000, 18,000 abortive attacks have been thwarted, and that for three years, faced with Arab terror, Israeli politicians, the army and the people have demonstrated exemplary dignity, discipline and reserve, which does honor to the Jewish people!
Israel has always considered security as being essentially a military issue, whereas for the PLO it has been political combat, of which violence is just one component. Politically, Israel has recently changed its strategy, its leaders and people having realized that there is no peace process or accord to be concluded – only a war to be won! Israel’s generous and unilateral concessions were in no way reciprocated, while the PLO’s scheming, supported by Europe, has led to the creation of a poverty-stricken, radicalized Palestinian society subject to a corrupt dictatorship, whose moments of joy and hope are when young Arabs blew themselves apart in Israel, sewing death and grief among Jewish families.
There is another aggravating factor: the PLO and the Islamic terrorist organizations with whom it is cooperating more and more, enjoy significant support amongst the Arab population of Judea and Samaria, among Israeli Arabs and the Bedouin of the Negev. The terrorists have become freedom fighters. They find refuge and cover in Arab villages, where most still live from agriculture. The only way for Israel to combat this scourge, aside from military action, is the Israeli and Zionist response of constructing new villages and progressively nationalizing the land of Arab peasants who give succor to the terrorists.
In the war for Israel’s survival, the moment of truth is approaching!
Israelis and Arabs will not enjoy “fraternal reconciliation”, and there are only two options. The first – victory for Israel – will put an end to the Palestinian Authority and the hegemony of its leadership, to the systematic assassination of Jews, and to the very concept of the creation of a Palestinian state within Israel. The second – the capitulation of the Jewish State – means the loss of its security zones, Judea, Samaria, Gaza and the Golan, and the creation of a PLO or Islamic state on the ruins of Israel, with part of Jerusalem for its capital, all of which would be suicidal. Israel owes to itself to win this war in such a way that it alone dictates the terms of coexistence and that once and for all its enemies recognize the Jewish State. In this context it would be possible to envisage, as provided for in the 1978 Camp David Accords, awarding the Arab population of Judea, Samaria and Gaza administrative autonomy, run by local notables.
At this difficult time, when everything makes us think that terrorism is on the brink of victory, that Islamization is on the march, and that antisemitism and anti-Zionism have reached the point that in Switzerland there are 117,000 people who want to outlaw the import of kosher meat, we still have reason to be optimistic. In its struggle against terror Israel has an ally of major proportions, America, who is engaged in a struggle to the death against the new totalitarianism of Islamic fascism, which has taken over the place left by Nazism and communism.
And what can we, the Jews of the Diaspora, do? Certainly we can bolster our support through Jewish education and through investments in the country. But there is one fundamental point that we must always remember. Recently, I was at a Bar Mitzvah in Zurich. In his speech, after the usual advice, the father said to his son, “Never forget always to be close to Israel – just as Israel is close to you and lets you, as a Jew of the Diaspora, march with head high”. It is in this sprit that the entire team at SHALOM wishes you an excellent New Year.