March 31, 2003
Tomorrow afternoon we will gather for a memorial service, standing at the entrance to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, at the foot of the Abu Sneneh hills. This Friday will mark the second anniversary of the killing, in cold blood, of ten month old Shalhevet Pass. Shalhevet was murdered after one of Arafat’s terrorist cronies ordered that ‘a Jew has to be killed in Hebron.’ Shalhevet’s murderer, stationed on the Abu Sneneh hills, lined up Shalhevet’s head in his scope and pulled the trigger. The bullet that killed the baby also penetrated her father’s legs, injuring him. That same bullet also put a hole in the sweater of another child, playing in a sandbox, a few meters away from Shalhevet and her parents. Another little-known fact is that a terrorist bullet skinned the finger of a 2 and a half year old girl ten minutes earlier.
In the past two years, since Shalhevet was shot and killed, has anything changed? Yesterday there was another suicide bombing in Netanya. In the Hebron region, 25 people have been murdered in the past four months. In other words, nothing has changed. The terrorists are still terrorists, Israelis are still dying at their hands, and the “Oslo War” is continuing in full force.
Actually, that last statement is not entirely true. There have been changes. Ariel Sharon is Prime Minister, backed by an overwhelming majority of the Israeli populace. The Knesset is, by far and away, the most right-wing legislative body ever elected in Israel. And ironically, this government is giving full backing to creation of a Palestinian terror state.
Today Israel media, both radio and newspapers, are reporting renewed American pressure on Israel to begin implementation of the ‘road map.’ According to the Ma’ariv newspaper, the Bush administration is demanding: 1) Israel must double the monthly financial allotment to the Palestinian authority; 2) Israel must return VIP travel passes to Palestinian leaders; 3) Israel must ease roadblocks within the Palestinian Authority and between the PA and Israel; 4) Israel must enforce a ‘true evacuation’ of ‘illegal outposts’ (otherwise known as ‘hilltop communities’) in Yesha; 5) Israel must freeze all building in Yesha.
Note that the American government is demanding that Israel transfer between fifty to sixty million shekels – that’s over ten million dollars, a month to the PA. And quoting Ma’ariv, “The Americans are especially critical about construction in Har Homa (in south Jerusalem), in Hebron, in Ras el Amud, in the vicinity of Rachel’s tomb, and in the areas connecting Jerusalem to Ma’ale Adumim.”
These demands were enumerated to Israel’s Foreign Minister, Sylvan Shalom, who is presently in the United States. It should also be noted that Israeli compliance with these demands is being tied to American financial assistance, billions of dollars, to Israel.
Israel is expected to comply with these demands as Abu Mazen begins his term as Prime Minister of the PA. In addition, Israel radio reported that Israel must fulfill these demands in order to ‘improve America’s image with the Arabs states.’
But now I have to tell you a secret – what is really bothering me. The fact that the US is pressuring Israel is nothing new. They’ve been doing it for years. The fact that they are holding money over our heads, or perhaps better put, are strangling us with dollars, is nothing new. They’ve been doing it for years. The fact that they back a Palestinian state, well, what can I say – Sharon is also backing a Palestinian state, and the cream of the crop of the Israeli right is sitting together with him in his government, giving tacit legitimacy Sharon’s policies. The fact that implementation of the ‘road map’ is seemingly a ‘given’ despite the fact that the plan has not been discussed or approved by the Israeli cabinet is nothing new. Prime Ministers tend to do whatever they want, with or without government authorization.
So, what’s bothering me? Let’s take a look at some headlines. Today, on CNN: “Secretary of State cautions Syria, Iran. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that the United States would demand that nations that have supported terrorism take responsibility. Powell singled out Syria and Iran, calling on the former to take a stronger stance against terrorism and the latter to stop its quest for weapons of mass destruction.” The New York Times, today, “Iraqi general says 4,000 volunteered for suicide attacks… from 23 countries, against American forces.” Ha’aretz newspaper today, “Islamic Jihad: Netanya café bomb a ‘gift’ to the Iraqis.” Ha’aretz newspaper yesterday, “The Palestinian street is proud of Saddam Hussein’s staying power and points to the similarity between events in Iraq and the Palestinian Struggle.” The adjoining picture shows an Arab in Gaza with wearing a headband with a picture of a smiling Saddam. The caption: A demonstrator at a rally in the Gaza Strip… Hamas and Islamic Jihad call on the Iraqis to adopt the methods of sacrifice of the intifada, meaning suicide bombing.” Danny Rubinstein writes, “The longer the fighting in Iraq goes on, and the more the Iraqi resistance shows itself to be tenacious, the greater the feeling of pride among the Palestinian public and the spite it feels for the Americans.”
The Jerusalem Post reported that Palestinians in Jenin have named the city’s central plaza Na'mani Square, after the Iraqi officer who carried out the first suicide bombing against American troops in Iraq.
Now, can anyone please explain to me how, how, how – how is it possible that the Bush administration is giving full backing to a so-called ‘people’ who are supporting America’s sworn enemy? And let’s not forget that the U.S. has documented proof connecting Saddam to Usama bin Laden. In other words, whoever supports Saddam, supports the murderer of thousands of Americans on 9/11. How is it possible that the Americans, in the middle of a war, are granting a gift to the backers of a regime, loaded with mass-extermination weapons, which is torturing and killing allied POWs?
And what about Israel? Israelis are walking around carrying gas masks. The threat of biological or chemical scud attacks is still very real. Yet Israeli support of American policy in Iraq is absolute.
It looks like George Bush, allied with Tony Blair, has contracted an old English disease: The appeasement – or perhaps, in this case, better called the ‘appeacement virus.” Americans beware: Appeacement is contagious and leads to fatal illnesses, such as world wars.
With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder