Red Light, Green Light
October 3, 2000
Purim, March, 1997 - three and a half years ago, just 2 months after implementation of the abysmal Hebron accords, then Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "opened" the tunnel in Jerusalem. So began the first open warfare between Arafat's Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel.
Arafat's henchmen, dressed up as soldiers, and recognized by the world as "policemen" attacked Israelis throughout Judea, Samaria and Gazza. Needless to say, they did not neglect Hebron. Hebron's Jewish community came under attack, day after day, for an entire month. Rocks and firebombs flew by the dozens, hour after hour, day after day. The Beit Hadassah was literally under attack. For an entire month.
And then, suddenly, the fighting stopped.
For a month. And then it began again. For another month. This time Israeli security forces pushed the attackers back, not allowing them to get close to Beit Hadassah. But the booms of the rubber bullets and the stun grenades did not abate for a month. This time the violence also ended suddenly, after an Israeli soldier was hit by a Molotov cocktail and went up in flames. Israel sent an urgent message to Arafat: If you don't stop the fighting immediately, we are sending the troops in. And the fighting stopped, as if it had never started.
It was later learned that the much of the daily aggression was the work of 'mercenaries.' Arafat paid Arab youth the equivilant of fifty shekels a day to do his dirty work. And they did, for a month.
It was clear then, as it is today, that Arafat was responsible for the attacks. When he gave the OK the rocks and firebombs started flying. When he said stop, it stopped. An example of red light - green light.
Stop - start; stop - start.
Of course, such is the warfare of the past few days. Much has been written about the reasons for the outbreak of hostilities, but one thing is clear: Arafat has been looking, for a long time, for a good excuse to flash the green light. Israeli intelligence, as has been reported in the press for a few months, warned that Arafat would not sign an agreement until conclusion of an additional round of fighting. Arik Sharon's visit to Temple Mount was just the excuse he was looking for: Green light. Had it not been Sharon there would have been another excuse. It was inevitable.
The inevitability does not stop with a couple of days of fighting. The next round is also unavoidable. It is just a question of time. However, now, those who didn't know before, are beginning to realize exactly who we are up against. Israel's Arab population has started to show its true face. They not as loyal and docile as perhaps previously thought.
It is imperative that Arafat's game of red light - green light not remain a one-way street. Others can play the same game too.
This is not to suggest that Israeli citizens take up arms. To the contrary. We must ensure that the IDF receives full cooperation, thereby allowing them to do anything and everything necessary to put down the Arab insurgency and protect Israeli civilians. But there are measures which can be executed. For example: today's edition of The New York Times includes a front page article by correspondent Deborah Sontag headlined "Suddenly at Arms Again." This is the third paragraph:
"There are bound to be bitter debates about what motivated Ariel Sharon, the opposition leader and veteran hawk, to enter the Islamic holy compound Haram al Sharif under a huge guard last Thursday, given the near-certainty that the Palestinians would see it as a provocation, just as there will be endless debates on whether the Palestinian reaction was spontaneous or orchestrated."
How can the New York Times have the audacity to write about 'the Islamic holy compound Haram al Sharif' without even mentioning (even in parenthesis) that this is also called 'Temple Mount' and according to Jewish tradition, this is the holiest site in the world?
Again, in the twelth paragraph, "Some senior Israeli officials quietly acknowledge that Mr. Sharon's trip to Haram al Sharif, accompanied by television cameras and hundreds of police officers, set things off."
Then, finally in the next paragraph, "What was Mr. Sharon's motive? Mr. Sharon maintained that it was just an ordinary visit by an Israeli to what Jews call Temple Mount, above the remains of the First and Second Temples — among the holiest sites of Islam, the holiest of Judaism."
Finally, there is some recognition of Jewish