|By Roland S. Süssmann - Editor in Chief|
On March 2nd in the center of Gaza City, where violence between Arab factions is a daily occurrence, Khalil al-Zaban had just got into his car when a young Arab fired 12 bullets into his body. Who was Al-Zaban? At first glance, a quiet person, the editor of a newsletter that defends human rights and a prolific traveler. However, behind this façade Al-Zaban had a completely different activity: he was the intermediary between Arafat and the Iranian regime of Ayatollahs, in other words the secure link between the PLO (known as the Palestinian Authority) and Hizbullah. It was he who brought about the agreements between the two terrorist organizations, who convinced Teheran to supply large quantities of arms to the PLO (the notorious Karin A freighter), and who managed the secret financing by Iran of the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, who organize human bombs to murder Israeli civilians at the behest of the Tanzim of Arafat’s Fatah. The disposal of Al-Zaban has shown yet again that the war Arafat is waging against Israel has nothing to do with some “struggle for a Palestinian people”. It is the antisemitic part of the Islamic-Fascist fight that seeks to make Israel and the democracies disappear, aided and abetted by Iran and Syria. It should be recalled that when Arafat rejected Ehud Barak’s offer at Camp David in 2000, he wanted to demonstrate that the Arab world was not interested in a viable accord with Israel, irrespective of the terms. Today, the PLO’s diplomatic efforts to isolate Israel and its incessant aggression are very revealing, for example the almost daily Kassam rocket attacks on the Jewish villages in Gaza and the Negev. At the same time, the Palestinian Authority maintains a labyrinth of tunnels between Sinai and Gaza, which come out in the most heavily populated neighborhoods of Gaza. These are not only used for trafficking illegal arms, but also for moving drugs, prostitutes, terrorists trained in Afghanistan, and various criminal enterprises designed to fill its coffers. The refusal to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist is not limited merely to the PLO and its acolytes, but is actively supported by the so-called moderate Arab countries, such as Egypt and Jordan.
While Egypt negotiates with Israel to find a way of changing some of the terms of the 1979 accords that allowed it to station up to 15,000 troops along the border with Israel and in Gaza itself, Mubarak’s emissaries discuss with the PLO, Fatah, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad the means these terrorist organizations need to totally run the Gaza Strip after the Israelis leave. Yet before giving its official support to the unilateral withdrawal plan, Egypt is requiring Israel to comply with the following points: transfer control of 10 km of the Gaza-Egyptian border (the Philadelphia Route) solely to Egyptian forces; exclusive control by the Palestinian Authority of the crossing point between Rafah, in Gaza, and Egypt and of Gaza’s port and airport; reopening the “free passage” routes linking the areas under PLO control (in the West Bank and Gaza), allowing almost any Arab inhabitant of these areas to freely enter Israel; and lastly, Israel’s irrevocable commitment not to enter, attack militarily or partially reoccupy Gaza in the event of attacks from that area! Egypt’s approach is clear: strengthen its position in the Arab world by promoting Jihad through both diplomacy and terrorism against Israel.
As for Jordan, during a recent speech the king curiously criticized Arafat – for having made too many concessions to Israel!
It is within this context that Ariel Sharon is working to obtain international support for his plan for withdrawal from Gaza. He knows perfectly well that it will never succeed. Apart from the double rejection by the Likud, the fact is that in the new state budget not one cent has officially been provided for relocating the Jews of Gush Katif or for compensating them. There is no possible security arrangement that can guarantee this area not becoming a “mini-Afghanistan”, from where Israel will be ceaselessly attacked. The US refuses to pay a cent and does not accept the idea that by abandoning Gaza Israel will be able to save some Jewish population centers in Judea and Samaria. Finally the plan is totally rejected by the Arab world and the Europeans.
So, much ado about nothing? Perhaps! Only if Ariel Sharon wants to show through the absurd, by depriving 8,000 Israelis of their free choice of where to live and giving Jewish land to the PLO, for whatever Israel does, nothing will allow it to live in peace, not even for a single day. Have the bloody lessons of the Oslo Accords been forgotten already, while the Arabs continue to kill Jews in the hart of Israel?
Today the struggle for Israel’s survival has taken a new turn. Its right to exist is increasingly questioned, in the USA as well as in Europe. Recently, the French philosopher André Glucksmann summarized this situation, “The new antisemitism questions the right of Israel to exist, whereas no other country including dictatorships is threatened with being wiped off the map.”
How did we reach this point? The Shoah and the sense of criminal guilt are progressively being forgotten and the Holocaust deniers are going about their nefarious work. As a result of Arab propaganda, Israel is no longer popular and has lost its standing as David faced by the Arab masses and their military power: they have spent $155 billion on arms over the last ten years, purchasing 35% of global production.
Good souls say, “ a solution acceptable to all must be found.” Yet it already exists and proves itself every day. It is an extremely powerful and feared Jewish State, democratic and modern, economically strong, at the forefront of technological research, and attractive for all Jews, for whom it represents the only life raft. The Arab world has to learn to live with this reality.
In the light of this situation, what can we do, what should we do? For four years, confronted with a war forced upon it, Israel’s people and army have faced it successfully, paying the heavy price in blood and energy. For reasons we cannot know, the Eternal has selected our generation for the privilege of living at a time when there is a Jewish State. We must live up to this responsibility. Every Jew, each community, every organization and association is in some way an “ambassador” of Israel. As such, each of us has to provide his or her unconditional support for the State, at the political as much as at the financial level. Not living up this obligation is to endanger our own well-being and safety in the countries where we live, for solidarity is an essential element in the fight against antisemitism.
At the Olympic Games, Gal Fridman filled us with pride. Thirty-two years after the Munich massacre, the blue and white flag emblazoned with the Star of David floated in the Greek sky to the sound of Hatikvah. Like Ilan Ramon of blessed memory, Gal Fridman has become a symbol of what Israel is: a young and dynamic country, where everything is possible for those who want to work and achieve something!
It is with this message of hope and success that we approach the New Year, and the entire SHALOM team extends its best wishes for good health and happiness.
Roland S. Süssmann
Editor in Chief