Monday, February 23, 2004

Israel on Trial

February 23, 2004

Yesterday was a normal Sunday – the beginning of the week. In Israel we live a five and a half to six day work week which begins on Sunday and ends Friday afternoon. We have a one-day weekend.
Sunday morning – the kids go to school, the parents to work. Nothing out of the ordinary. Sitting at the computer, drinking coffee, running a tour, the same old stuff. Listening to the radio, half-watching the beeper, everyday events. Sirens screeching, ambulance-lights flashing, news bulletins, blood on the street, twisted metal, crushed cars, a bus exploded. Nu, so what’s new? Identifying murdered family members at Abu Kabir, bodies wrapped in a tallis, funerals, cemeteries, weeping and wailing, mourning. Nothing out of the ordinary. Soft, quiet music broadcast on Kol Yisrael radio, a blood-stained text book -“How to be an Israeli citizen,” strewn on the ground amongst body parts. The fate of every good school book, right?
Gruesome? Nauseating? No, no!! This is the mundane existence of every Israeli, the way it’s been now for years. Within two hours after the 14A bus exploded near the Inbal Hotel, across the street from Liberty Bell Park, life had returned to normal. The bus had been towed away and the street cleaned of the wretched remains of a bus-bombing. Israel radio announcers dutifully broadcast the chronology of the day. Reports from the hospitals, how many injured, their condition, identification of the dead, their names, time of the funerals, which cemetery. Pictures in the newspapers, stories of their lives – and a new, added attraction: others from the same family wounded or killed in previous terror attacks. For example, among yesterday’s victims was Lior Azulai, an 18 year-old 12th grader, whose aunt Iris Azulai was killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem 12 years ago. Thirty one year old Yuval Ozana’s uncle was killed four years ago during a Yesha terror attack. Two of his nephews were seriously wounded in the Ben Yehuda bombing two years ago.
Hours later, news headlines: no major reaction expected to morning terror attack; Parts of security fence dismantled. This morning: Sharon in the Knesset: ‘I will take my ‘disengagement plan’ to Washington and present it to President Bush in March.’ And only days ago, “the "Disengagement Plan" is a security measure and not a political one.” “We must be realistic, and prepare for the option that the current situation, in which the Palestinians do not implement their part of the President's vision, will continue. This will create a security and political vacuum. In that case, Israel will take the unilateral security step of disengagement from the Palestinians...This will include the redeployment of IDF forces along new security lines and a relocation of some settlements. Security will be provided by IDF deployment, the security fence and other physical obstacles. These steps will increase the security of the citizens of Israel and make it easier for the IDF and security forces to do their difficult work…Obviously, the "Disengagement Plan" will leave the Palestinians with much less than they would have if they had followed the requirements of the Roadmap.”
In other words, Israel’s present surrender to Arab-Arafat terror is being forced on us. If only the terrorists would cooperate, Israel is prepared to give them more!
This is one side of the coin: Israel vs. Israel. Our own stupid blunders. At the same time there is the other side: Israel vs. the world.
A few days a foreign journalist, interviewing me, scoffed when I remarked that Arabs desiring to leave Israel (including Yesha) have somewhere to go – there are 22 Arab states surrounding us. Yet there is only one Jewish state – we have no where else to go. This is it. She claimed that we all have somewhere to go. “After all,” she said, “you came from New Jersey.” I asked her about my wife, who was born here, or my children and she shrugged it off, saying, “you all came from somewhere.” My response: “you know, sixty years ago, when six million Jews were slaughtered during the holocaust, the world sat and watched. The Europeans and the Americans knew exactly what was happening, yet they did nothing to stop it. They could have bombed the railways or the crematoriums, but preferred not to. As far as I’m concerned, that says only one thing. Jews were being told, “We, the rest of the world, don’t want you living with us. Leave.” So we tried to leave, to come back to Israel. Yet we were told then, and still today, “Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel really doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to someone else, the Arabs, the ‘palestinians.’” So I ask: the world tells us not to assimilate into their cultures, but we have no right to live in our own land. So where would the world like us to go? To disappear into the sea?
Months ago (in truth, years ago) the Israeli government has decided that the best offense is a good defense. This is, of course, an illogical philosophy, in direct contradiction to rational strategic policy which says that the best defense is a good offence. So much for Ariel Sharon’s legendary military genius.
One of the results of this policy was the decision to build a ‘fence,’ ‘separating’ us from the ‘palestinians.’ The Arabs, fearing that the fence will be the border of a ‘palestinian state’ are fighting its construction and have taken their cause to the nations of the world.
The present ‘Hague Hearings’ are allegedly ‘the case against the fence.’ In reality, the fence question is a smokescreen for a much broader topic: is Israel a legitimate, autonomous state with the right to protect its citizens and ensure its survival, or not? This is the real issue.
Israel decided, rightfully so, not to officially participate in the Hague hearings, claiming that the international court has no jurisdiction over internal security measures implemented by a sovereign state. However, the number 19 Egged bus, bombed a month ago in the heart of Jerusalem, is adorning the street adjacent to the court proceedings. This, a living (or better termed, dead) example of the terrorist war declared against Israel by Arafat three and a half years ago. The terrorist representing Arafat, Nasser al-Kidwa, said this morning that he hoped a decision by the court would result in international sanctions against Israel.
Let there be no mistake – in my opinion the fence is a dreadful mistake. It is not the way to stop terrorism and will be an appalling failure. However, that is a mistake we should be free to make on our own, without international intervention. Our security must be in our hands, not controlled by others. An Arab victory in the Hague is only the first step towards establishment of an ‘international observer force’ stationed in Yesha, resulting in a serious abridgement of Israel’s ability to defend itself against continuing terror. And of course, this is only the beginning.
The Hague Hearings are not about the fence, rather, the State of Israel is on trial.
With blessings from Hebron.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The Ha’aretz Hooligans

The Ha’aretz Hooligans
February 17, 2004

HaAretz is at it again, playing its favorite game, “Hebron Bashing.” Only a few days ago it was announced that David Landau, editor of the English edition of the newspaper, was appointed editor-in-chief of the Hebrew morning daily.

Landau, a religiously observant Jew, actually visited Hebron a few years ago and toured with Noam Arnon and myself. Upon his appointment, Landau stressed that the paper’s traditional views, (extremely left-wing) would not change during his tenure. It seems that Landau set out to immediately prove his point. And what better a way than by viciously attacking Hebron’s Jewish community.

Yesterday HaAretz newspaper printed a piece of journalist junk, an interview with the outgoing head of TIPH – the Temporary International Presence in Hebron. And today the paper’s lead editorial is headlined “Hooligan’s in Hebron.”

Let’s start with TIPH. In order to understand this organization, let’s start with a quote from a former TIPH observer from Norway, interviewed in an Oslo suburb newspaper, ‘Nordstrands Blad’, on April 5, 2000.  The article begins, “Hebron has always been a Palestinian city with a small Jewish population.”  When asked about Palestinian violence, the observer, Yngvil Mortensen said, “Would you have liked to be checked three times a day by foreign soldiers? Or that your city is occupied by a foreign power? … If we compare with the German occupation of Norway during the 2nd World War, we called the sabotage and attacks on Germans resistance fighting.”

There you have it: A TIPH observer comparing the Jews to Nazis and the Palestinians to resistance fighters.

TIPH is comprised of observers from six nations: Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Turkey and Italy. Most of the Scandinavian observers are human rights activists, while most of the others, from Turkey and Italy, held security-related positions. They are stationed in Hebron as a result of the Hebron Accords, signed and implemented seven years ago. According to their mandate, they are in Hebron to… “assist in monitoring and reporting the efforts to maintain normal life in the City of Hebron, thus creating a feeling of security among Palestinians in the City of Hebron.” A short glance at the TIPH homepage [] as well as the rest of the site, quickly confirms that their presence in Hebron is strictly for ‘the palestinians.’ They care not what happens to the Jews.

This fact is enhanced during the interview with the outgoing TIPH director Jan Kristensen, who condemns curfews imposed on Hebron’s Arabs and destruction of terrorist homes, but says NOT ONE WORD about the vicious attacks and murder of Jews in the Hebron region. Why does Kristensen ignore the killing of 10 month old Shalhevet Pass while sitting in her stroller, of Gadi and Dina Levi, while walking down the street in Hebron on a Saturday afternoon, of  Rabbi Eli and Dina Horowitz, while enjoying their Friday night Shabbat meal in Kiryat Arba? Why does he conveniently forget the terror attack which cut down 12 men, soldiers and civilians between Hebron and Kiryat Arba on a Friday night just over a year ago? Why does Kristensen neglect to mention that fact that Hebron’s Jews were shot at, every day and every night, for over two years. That, in the opinion of the ‘head of mission,’ is irrelevant. What is relevant is that, ‘the activity of the settlers and the army in the H-2 area of Hebron is creating an irreversible situation. In a sense, cleansing is being carried out.”

On January 17, 1997, when Israel abandoned 80% of Hebron to Arafat and the PA terrorists, Jibril Rajoub, then head of PA security in Hebron said, “We have liberated 80% of the city. The other 20% is like a heavy weight around our necks, which we must cast off.”

The Arabs have never been bashful about asserting what they view as their legitimate rights to Hebron and its holy sites. Ma’arat HaMachpela, the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, the second holiest site to the Jewish people in the world, was off-limits to Jews for 700 years, from 1267 until 1967, because, according to the Moslems, ‘it is a mosque and only Moslems can worship in a mosque.’ This, despite the fact that the structure above the original caves was build by Herod, King of Judea, 2,000 years ago, i.e., 600 years before Muhammad was born.

A few years ago the deputy Arab mayor of Hebron, Kamel Dweck, in an interview with Aaron Lerner of IMRA reiterated this opinion that only Moslems may pray in Ma’arat HaMachpela, and that should that Arabs ever control the site, Jews would be forbidden from entering and praying there.

Despite these facts, despite the murderous aggression against Hebron’s Jewish population, whose intended goal is the eviction of Jews from Hebron, despite the fact that the IDF actions in Hebron have been implemented strictly to offer protection to Hebron Jewish residents and visitors, while attempting to prevent the spread of Hebron-initiated Arab terror to other parts of Israel, HEBRON’S JEWS ARE PRACTICING ETHNIC CLEASING – NOT THE ARABS!
The Ha’aretz editorial gives full backing to Kristensen’s verbal abuse of Hebron’s residents, and his insinuated demand that Hebron’s Jews be expelled from their homes because, “personally I don’t believe that it is possible for normal life to exist in Hebron between the communities, even if there are agreements between the leaders.”

The Ha’Aretz TIPH-supportive, anti-Hebron editorial demands: “The government must reexamine its forgiving policies toward the extremist settlers in Hebron.” These ‘forgiving policies’ include over 100 criminal files opened by the police last year against Hebron residents and at least 50 cases presently before the court. (A few other interesting ‘forgiving’ statistics. In Netania, there is one policeman per 1,600 people. In Ma’ale Adumim, one policeman per 243 people. In Hebron, there is one policeman per every 138 people! In all of the State of Israel, only 20% of the police files opened are brought to court. In Hebron, 68% of the files are brought to court. Of all the cases brought to trial in Israel, there is an 86% conviction rate. According to attorneys handling Hebron cases, the conviction rate in Hebron is about 25%, and the conviction rate in all of the cases in Judea and Samaria is 54%.)

We fully agree with the editorial position that the Defense Minister must ‘order the properties returned to their lawful owners.’ The ‘properties’ mentioned in the editorial refer to the former ‘Arab market’ which presently houses young Jewish families. This market, which ‘belongs’ to the State Custodian for Abandoned Property, was built on Jewish-owned land, and rightfully belongs to the Jews in Hebron. It should be legally recognized as such by the State of Israel. (See: In addition, many other properties, legally Jewish-owned but presently occupied by Arabs or in possession of the above-mentioned custodian, should be returned to its rightful Jewish owners.

Concerning TIPH, the Hebron Jewish community demands that these anti-Israel, Arab-biased foreigners be removed from Hebron immediately. According to Kristensen, “I ask myself all the time what we are doing in Hebron.” He may not know, but we do. TIPH is a terrorist-serving organization, offering daily support to Jew killers. They have no place in Hebron or in Israel. They, not Hebron’s Jews, must be expelled from the city. (See:

As for Ha’aretz, the editorial’s bogus assertion that “it’s not the armed, warmongering settlers who need protection, but the thousands of helpless Palestinians” borders on incitement. We call on the Ha’aretz Hooligans to open their eyes, examine the facts as they really are, not as they imagine them, and stop aiding and abetting the enemies of the State of Israel, who are attacking and murdering its loyal, patriotic citizens.

With blessings from Hebron.

Tuesday, February 3, 2004

A Jewish Decisioמ

A Jewish Decision
February 3, 2004

"I have given an order to plan for the evacuation of 17 settlements in the
Gaza Strip."

"It is my intention to carry out an evacuation - sorry, a relocation - of
settlements that cause us problems and of places that we will not hold onto
anyway in a final settlement, like the Gaza settlements.  We are
talking of a population of 7,500 people. It's not a simple matter. We are
talking of thousands of square kilometers of hothouses, factories and
packing plants. People there who are third-generation. The first thing is to
ask their agreement, to reach an agreement with the residents. To move
thousands of dunams of hothouses, educational institutions, thousands and
thousands of vehicles, it's not a quick matter, especially if it's done
under fire."

"I am working on the assumption that in the future there will be no Jews in
Gaza," Sharon added.

So said Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, to journalist Yoel Marcus of HaAretz yesterday, February 2, 2004. This morning Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed his opinion that the ‘relocation’ will occur sometime this summer – June or July.

Why? There are any number of possibilities. Perhaps it’s Sharon’s possible upcoming indictment. As was said yesterday, ‘the deeper the legal problems, the deeper the eviction.’ Sharon may believe that he’s ‘saving’ himself, i.e., as long as he faithfully follows the ‘left track’ he will not be indicted.

However, it could also be the opposite. Sharon knows that he’s going, that the axe will fall in the very near future. He may believe that a positive Knesset vote to abandon Gush Katif will obligate any future government, just as Oslo, initiated by a Labor government was accepted as ‘legitimate’ by the following Likud-Netanyahu-Sharon regimes.

American-European pressure, or maybe he really believes this is good for the State of Israel. I wouldn’t discount Alzheimer’s also. The truth is that it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Sharon has to go. If anyone had any doubts about Sharon’s intentions, they are now crystal clear. Sharon intends to meet George W. next month, map in hand. And not to have any false impressions…Gush Katif is only the beginning. According to secret information leaked from the Eiland Committee, set up by Sharon to plan massive transfer evictions throughout Yesha, Kiryat Arba and Hebron are potential victims, on the list of communities to be ‘relocated’ along with other South Hebron Hills settlements.

We cannot live under illusions. Sharon intends to dump out tens of thousands of people in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, effectively destroying a Jewish presence in Yesha. He has said it and he has the capabilities to do it. We have a long record of experience with Arik – he is a builder and he is an evictor. Let’s not forget Yamit.

Besides actual transfer itself, the dangers inherent in Sharon’s statements are multiple. It goes without saying that each and every word creates additional motivation to kill Jews. Why not? The rewards Israel is granting the terrorists are tangible. The more the blood, the more the land. At the same time the left is licking its chops. The warmonger of the right is about to implement the plans they’ve talked about for decades. They will be victorious without even having to dirty their hands.

But the real threat has yet to be mentioned. It’s not the Arabs I’m worried about. They are predictable. The menace is the Jews.

Let’s put the cards on the table. And, there should be no mistake – I am not, in any way, shape or form, supporting or justifying the ideas about to be presented. However, it would be grossly negligent to blatantly ignore them. Sharon has a deeply embedded love of agriculture. So much so that he has not yet stopped planting, for at the moment he could easily be sowing the seeds of an all-out civil war. Let’s face it: there are hundreds of thousands of Israelis who are fervently opposed to abandoning Yesha and evicting tens or hundreds of thousands of people. Probably, a great number of them would, given little choice, swallow the bitter pill. Not voluntarily – I expect that an overwhelming majority would never leave their homes of their own accord. But they would not go overboard, in other words, they would not use weapons against police, soldiers or any other security force expelling them from their homes. But, make no mistake, there probably are those who would. It’s scary, and it would be a big big mistake on their part. However, it is practically impossible to prevent. There is not, in all of Israel today, any leader who is accepted by everyone. There is no one who could ‘give orders’ thereby preventing anyone from pulling the trigger. Israelis are, as a rule, extremely independent.

The culpable parties would not necessarily originate in Yesha. Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin came from Hertzelia. And part of the problem is that such acts tend to snowball. It’s difficult to know where it would end. Unfortunately we already witnessed the murder of one prime minister. It would be an immensely criminal wrong-doing, but it wouldn’t be overly surprising if high-level politicians were targeted – not by Arab terrorists, but by unbalanced Israelis. We should all have learned by now that violence is not the solution, that differences, as deep as they are, cannot and should not be dealt with via guns and explosives. That only exacerbates already flammable situations. But it is almost impossible to prevent or disregard. The possibility does exist.

Again – all these forecasts are not based on any ‘inside information’ and would be, in my opinion Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!!  Murder and political assassination cannot be condoned. But one would have to be blind to ignore the potential.  

And it is all Ariel Sharon’s fault. He is chopping up Eretz Yisrael into little pieces, and boiling them, together with a multitude of Israeli Jews - Am Yisrael, in a cauldron placed atop on a mammoth scorching bonfire. It should be obvious that the contents will boil over.

This is all easily preventable. A few days ago, at the ceremony marking the return of the bodies of our three soldiers from Lebanon, Sharon spoke, defending his decision to release hundreds of terrorists. He said, “We have taken all aspects into consideration, we have seriously considered and weighed all the information, and finally we placed on the scales a decisive weight: it is called, "Jewish Sentiment.  I have no other word to describe the decision to bring the boys home, to the soil of our homeland, carrying a heavy price other than a "Jewish Decision".

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: Jewish Sentiment is not exclusive to murdered prisoners of war. It certainly should play a role when dealing with Eretz Yisrael. Make a real “Jewish Decision” – either stop your follies or resign!