|Editorial - September 2008|
|By Roland S. Süssmann - Editor in Chief|
In Jerusalem, at the Prime Minister’s Office, the atmosphere is miserable. Ever since Ehud Olmert announced that he would not run to be head of Kadima and thereby would leave the prime minister’s office, the atmosphere has been dismal and no one’s heart has been in the work. All the gestures of virtual politics in front of the cameras, one day with Condoleeza Rice, the next with Mahmoud Abbas, do not achieve anything. With the end of the Olmert government another political period is ending, during which the rights of Jews throughout the Land of Israel have not been strongly asserted.
Even though we are looking more towards the future than the past, at this point taking stock is in order. When Ehud Olmert came to power his mission was to manage as well as possible the dramatic errors of previous governments, the Oslo Accords (which entailed the abandonment of Hebron, the second most holy city in the Jewish world), the precipitous flight from Lebanon and above all the expulsion of the Jews of Gaza. These Israeli unilateral withdrawals did not elicit a single gesture of moderation from the Arab world. Quite the contrary, they led to the strengthening of Hizbullah and Hamas, and the radicalization of Israeli Arabs.
However, before analyzing the onerous legacy his successor will have to handle, I want to mention two positive points. Whether he had wanted to or not, Ehud Olmert did not cede an inch of territory to the Arabs. This did not make him desist from a policy of iron fist against the Jewish inhabitants of Judea and Samaria, prohibiting any form of construction in the various towns and villages, where despite everything the population has increased 14.6% since he took office. The second – and considerable – positive act was the bombing of the nuclear installations in Syria, a defensive act by Israel that did not generate any wave of denunciations in the international community.
As to the rest, a rapid glance from north to south reveals a fairly negative situation. Firstly, the disastrous way in which the Second Lebanon War was conducted. What is even more serious is that at the end of the conflict, Hizbullah, thanks to Iran and Syria, was more heavily armed than ever and is preparing a new series of acts of terror, kidnappings and attacks using missiles against Israel. Also to the north, Syria is involved in negotiations to get back the Golan but is continuing to arm to the teeth. We would stress that the Damascus-Teheran axis is today the central engine of the war being waged against Israel, even though it is a rather strange strategic alliance. Ideologically the two states take totally opposite positions, the one nationalist, the other Islamist. This pact is explained by the fact that Syria makes a clear distinction between its internal politics, aligned with nationalist Arab regimes, and its external policy, propaganda and the army, to which it applies the most radical Islamo-fascist approach.
Going further south and west we meet the PLO, better known by the euphemism “Palestinian Authority”. As far as it is concerned, the actions of Olmert’s government can be summarized in just two words, “save Abbas”. We should have no illusions, this anti-semitic terrorist has only managed to stay in power thanks to the presence of the IDF throughout Judea and Samaria. He needs Israel to hunt down the agents of Hamas on the West Bank, because he has absolutely no intention of committing his militias to an armed struggle against Hamas. The takeover of this area by Hamas is just a matter of time, unless Israel maintains its presence there. But what is Israel’s interest in this matter? Now, it is a matter of isolating Hamas and preventing it from taking power too quickly in the West Bank, because the Jewish state, which is already faced in the north and in the south by the henchmen of Iran, must manage its forces.
Lastly, a quick glance at what is happening in “Judenrein” (clear of Jews) Gaza shows us that every terrorist organization, apart from Fatah that wants to take over power, enjoy there under Hamas rule total freedom of action. Groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda, such as Jaish Al Islam, the Army of Islam and Islamic Jihad that are directly linked to Iran, represent in all sixteen Islamic terrorist organizations that are often helped by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and are arming, training and doing everything to fight Israel and overthrow the Abbas regime, in order to set up in the first instance another home for terrorism in Judea and Samaria.
This is basically the situation on the ground that Ehud Olmert is leaving at the end of his time as prime minister… And now? As ever, the answers are neither simple nor fast, and cannot be summarized in a single editorial. However, there are certain directions that must be taken. At the political level, the fundamentals must again take priority, by remembering that the Middle East conflict is not territorial but ideological, that it is the fight of Islamic radicalism against Jewish moral values and western liberties; and that Israel’s right to exist is not considered an obvious fact, including in western chancelleries. The political debate must be radically changed by banishing fallacious terminology such as Palestinian people, occupied territories, Palestinian state, division of Jerusalem, land for peace, peace process and more. It must be stressed that Islamo-fascism cannot be defeated by concessions as were given the Arabs ever since the Oslo Accords and up until the commitments made at Annapolis, from which the only result has been the implacable rejection of Israel, which has become the leitmotiv of the so-called moderate Arabs. Lastly, and this is key, an end must be put to the idea that has become axiomatic in Washington, Moscow, London, Paris and Brussels, which is that if the “Palestinian” problem is resolved (read expulsion of the Jews from Judea-Samaria, settling four million so called Arab refugees in Israel, the establishment of a PLO or Hamas state on the West Bank with Jerusalem as its capital), stability will be achieved in the Middle East. Nothing is farther from the truth because this entirely ignores the fact that the destabilization of the Middle East stems from Iran (which today controls Afghanistan, part of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza) and its policy of jihad, which is gaining more and more ground in the Arab world, whose declared common objective is the destruction of Israel. In the face of this deteriorating situation, there is only one antidote: the massive increase of the Jewish population on all Jewish land, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, and a military and civil return to Gaza. That is one of the key elements that will let Israel continue to fight for its survival.
This autumn marks three sad anniversaries: 70 years since Kristallnacht, 35 years since the Yom Kippur War and 15 years since the shameful handshake between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat. What is the common denominator between these three events that are not comparable? Each one marked the start of a long period of death and suffering for the Jewish people.
Let us hope that the New Year that is opening in a climate of political uncertainty in Israel, America and the Caucasus, will be the start of a new era of joy and happiness for Israel and the entire Jewish people and that it will see the freeing of Gilad Shalit.
In this spirit the team of SHALOM, which has just completed its twentieth year of publication, wishes you a very happy New Year.
Roland S. Süssmann
Editor in Chief