Israel Resource Review 9th April, 2002


Survivors of the SS St Louis Finally "Dock in Jerusalem"
Sara Bedein

This year, just before Holocaust Remembrance day, I had the honor to meet a group of survivors from the ill-fated S.S. St. Louis ship which embarked from Hamburg on May 23rd, 1939 carrying close to one thousand Jewish refugees seeking a safe haven from the hellish nightmare erupting in Europe. This year, yes davka this year, the SS St Louis survivors decided to hold their "reunion" in Jerusalem, at the Mount Zion Hotel at a time when groups like the US Holocaust Council Board and the March of the Living delegation hesitated to come anywhere near Israel's shores.

Each of the SS St Louis passengers carried a visa to Cuba, yet they were nevertheless denied entry there. The United States and Canada also turned away the human cargo which included families with small children. The ship sailed the seas for three weeks desperately seeking a country that would give them asylum. For five days, the SS St Louis sailed along the sea shore of Florida. Yet nobody wanted the Jews. Instead, the ship turned around and headed back towards Europe where they were granted temporary entrance into Belgium. Nearly half of the passengers of the St. Louis perished in the holocaust.

The survivors whom in Jerusalem were men and women in their seventies. At the time of their voyage aboard the St. Louis they were small children. Some of them toddlers.

Harry Fuld, now retired and living in Winsdor, New Jersey, whose father had been murdered a year earlier on Kristallnach, was ten years old when he boarded the ship with his mother and 13 year old brother

Fuld said during the SS St Louis Jerusalem reunion that he was getting calls from his nervous daughters in New Jersey to come home. His answer was simple and to the point: "My ship has finally docked in Israel. I see a country which is determined to defend its people. I again reminded my daughters that if Israel had existed in 1939, every passenger on the SS St Louis would have been saved".

Fuld knew that five days after the SS St Louis sailed, the British government issued their infamous White Paper of 1939, which sealed the gates of Palestine to Jews for the duration of the Nazi horror.

The climate in the world of 2002 is reminiscent of the 1930's in Germany. Once again the Jews are being demonized as satans, devils, aggressors and racists. The daily diet of hatred and incitement pouring through the Palestinian schools and media and to the world at large has greatly escalated since the Oslo Accords in 1993.

Yet the emergence of the Palestinian Arab human bombs coincided with the era of Israeli conciliation and peace making, recognition of the PLO, repeated concessions of territory, establishment of a nascent Palestine Authority, acceptance of armed Palestinian policemen - culminating in the unprecedented offer of an independent Palestinian state with as capital in a shared Jerusalem. In direct contrast to this most accommodating, conciliatory, most dovish Israeli policy in history, the Palestinian Arab people have responded with more than 12,000 recorded terrorist attacks over the past 18 months against Israeli citizens and soldiers, 435 murders of civilians including babies, nursing mothers and pregnant women and thousands of wounded. There is hardly a person in Israel who has not been directly or indirectly effected by the Palestinian terror.

Meanwhile, the suicide bombers dispatched by the Palestinian Authority were hailed by Arafat as holy martyrs and the Palestinian Authority controlled media, sang hymns of praise for the human bombs while their families were interviewed on PA TV and stated how proud they were of their suicide bomber offspring.

Now Israel has finally concluded that Arafat has no interest in stopping the terror that emanates from the Palestine Authority. Instead, Arafat calls for a million martyrs to pave the way with blood to Jerusalem.

In the early days of the Oslo process, as in the early days of Nazi Germany, Jewish leaders said that these were "only words".

Yet the massive suicide bombing which killed 27 Israelis and wounded over one hundred at a communal Passover seder in Netanya this year was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, who survived a concentration camp as a child, spent the better part of the Passover holiday in search of one Moslem cleric who would denounce the Passover Pogrom. Rabbi Lau took to the airwaves on the night after Passover to announce to the people of Israel that no Moslem would come forward to denounce the murder of Jewish families who sat down to a ritual ceremony.

As Rabbi Lau was speaking, an Arab infiltrated the Jewish community of Alon Moreh and murdered four members of the Gavish family -yhe parents, Rachel and David Gavish, their 25 year old married son Abraham, and Rachel's father, Isaac.

This was the same Alon Moreh that God had promised the Patriarch Abraham that the Jewish people will inherit the Land of Israel.

Na'ama Gavish, whose husband Abraham died later of wounds from this attack, teaches about the holocaust at the local high school.

Naama described what it was like hiding under the kitchen table while forcibly closing the mouth of her three year old daughter so that she wouldn't make a sound. "I thought of the holocaust", she said. From under the table I was able to see the dead body of our grandfather."

While Gavish family and the Alon Moreh community counted their dead, the Palestinian Authority organized celebrations in the nearby village of Ascar, the town of the killer who had afflicted Alon Moreh.

Pressure mounts around the world to stop Israel. Violent demonstrations against Israel are being held all over the Islamic world, but not only in the Islamic world.

Yet there is a difference between the 1930's and today. The Jews today have a Jewish state which was created after the holocaust that gives protection to every Jew in the world. Israel is committed to the safety of its citizens. The SS St Louis finally docked in Jerusalem this week. Something that it could not do a generation ago.

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From Anti-globalism to a New Anti-Semitism
Sever Plotzker
Correspondent, Yediot Ahronot

The new anti-Semitism in Europe has finally found its new ideological ally: the anti-global Left.

The margins, and not only the margins, of the European Left are awash lately with radical anti-Israeli-ism. It is not bordering on anti-Semitism, it is real anti-Semitism.

Even the post-Zionism of the European Left has gone a stage further: it is already permissible to speak of a Euro-Arab world after the dismantling of the State of Israel, it is legitimate to predict the expected conciliation between the workers of Europe and the Moslem minorities who live among them immediately after the State of Israel stops existing as a separate Jewish entity, and concentrating the Jewish population of "Palestine" into the coastal strip between Hadera and Gedera can now be talked about.

The link between the movements against globalization and the movement against Israel is becoming tighter. It is not against Israel's policies, but against Israel's existence. This alliance was exposed at the UN conference in Durban in South Africa (last September). At this conference, hundreds of NGOs took part. Their resolutions, in practice, called for the destruction of the Jewish state for it being the only racist country in the world and the source of all of humanity's troubles.

Although the NGOs of eastern Europe and the US left, the western European NGOs continue their campaign of delegitimizing Israel and are working to revoke the UN partition plan of November 29, 1947.

A member of the British Global Opposition Group: "For many people in our movement, the heart of the matter is that Israel has no right to exist." His colleagues from France, Italy and Spain tell of a rejuvenated spirit among the activists ever since their attention was diverted from multi-national corporations to "Israel's crimes:" emotions are re-igniting and members are again enthusiastic and enlisting into action. This time against Israel.

The deliberations they had after the terror attacks on the Twin Towers have passed and are gone. Bin Laden is dwarfed by Sharon. The Taliban is a peace-seeker compared to the IDF. The Internet sites of the movement regularly describe Israelis as "Zion-Nazis." We are no longer simple Jewish fascists, but Jewish Nazis.

The American newspaper The Wall Street Journal, which devoted an in-depth investigation to the anti-Semitism of the European Left, notes in wonder that "the main issue of the European movement against globalization today is a comparison between the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were annihilated, and the Palestinian uprising, which has so far cost the lives of about 1,3000 Palestinians."

Only in Germany; the paper wrote, are "such comparisons not easily made." Nor in the United States. The anti-Semitism of the European anti-global groups has caused a complete break between them and their counterparts in America, most of whom are of Jewish extraction. The American professional unions have also disavowed them.

It is possible to relate to this phenomenon with derision. When compared to millions of demonstrators in Khartoum and in Casablanca, what importance is there to 2,000 demonstrators in The Hague, 5,000 in Rome, 20,000 in Paris? However, the danger is more complex.

In a collection of articles "Five Moral Meditations," the author and philosopher Umberto Eco raised an important argument about anti-Semitism (and intolerance in general). He said that the pseudo-scientific anti-Semitic ideology of the 20th century influenced so many Europeans because it fit in well with the latent hatred of Jews that was in their hearts since time immemorial. Primitive, emotional, rooted hatred, hundreds of years old. This anti-Semitism is uncontrollable, is motivated by dark passions and cannot be countered with rational arguments.

The anti-Israel propaganda of the European anti-globalization groups grows in the same soil. It has a familiar ring, and that is why it is dangerous.

This article ran in Yediot Ahronot on April 9th, 2002

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The Silence of the Lambs: How US Jews React During the Current Crisis in Israel
Shlomo Shamir
Correspondent, HaAretz

The lack of reaction among American Jews to the Passover seder massacre in Netanya has been called the `absenteeism of the Jewish leadership'.

New York - Three days after the deadly Seder night attack at a Netanya hotel, a senior Israeli representative in the United States received an urgent telegram. His counterpart in Jerusalem asked him to report on what the Jewish community was doing. He sent a two-word response: "Not much." In a conversation at the end of last week, the Israeli officials said: "Today I would respond `almost nothing.'" As evidence, he picked up a document from his table - a faxed invitation to an "emergency meeting" called by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. "They set a date for a meeting one week later and call it an `emergency meeting,'" he complained.

The silence of the Jewish community was conspicuous against the background of reports of suicide bombings in Israel, accompanied with horrible pictures that were broadcast almost nonstop in the American media. The few demonstrators participating in demonstrations organized by marginal organizations or activists that were aimed at expressing solidarity with the people of Israel only underlined the lack of massive identification and exposed what the senior Israeli official called the "absenteeism of the Jewish leadership." Sunday ostensibly marked a turning point: about 10,000 people demonstrated in support of Israel at the United Nations building in New York, a demonstration whose numbers were not impressive for this city or, especially, for New York Jews.

But it was this very demonstration that exposed how disconnected the Jewish community is from its leadership and the ineffectualness of the Jewish leaders. The demonstration was organized by an ad hoc group of right-wing activists - Betar, Rabbi Avi Weiss from the Bronx, Americans for a Secure Israel. Shai Rubinstein, Betar's central emissary in North America, who was among the organizers, said on Sunday that the demonstration was also an indirect protest against the impotence of the Jewish leadership. The Jewish public waited in vain, so we set out to organize the demonstration, he said.

Bridge holiday

Due to the time difference, when the Jews of New York sat down at their seder tables, they already had heard about the massacre in Netanya. But their behavior, which bordered on indifference, could be summed up in the following words: "The Jews of American are on their holiday vacation; please don't interrupt." During his sermon on the concluding festival day before the Yizkor prayer, an Orthodox rabbi in Brooklyn cried out that "the Jews of New York will be called to judgment for their silence during this hour of distress for Israel."

Israel's consul general in New York, Alon Pinkas suggests a toned down version: "The situation in Israel weighed down on the holiday vacation of American Jews and their leaders, but not enough to cause them to interrupt it."

Indeed, while the Jews stretched the holiday vacation to bridge another weekend, thousands of Palestinians and immigrants from Middle East countries took to the streets of New York last Friday and held a series of mass demonstrations. Thousands gathered opposite the Israeli consulate building and at Times Square, carrying placards denouncing Israel, which "is conducting genocide against the Palestinian people," and shouting derogatory chants about Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

The silence of the community in Israel also applies to the outbreak of violence against Jews in Europe and the burning of synagogues in France and Belgium. Besides a statement of condemnation issued by the Anti-Defamation League, there was no organized Jewish activity to protest the attacks against Jews in Europe. A Jewish activist who asked the head of a central organization why he didn't convene a press conference and protest the torching of synagogues in France, received the response: "And what will I say to a reporter who asks for my reaction to the IDF's actions in Ramallah and Bethlehem?"

Alon Pinkas prefers to maintain his working relations with the leaders of Jewish organizations. Unlike his predecessor, Colette Avital, who served in New York during the first Oslo agreement and debated with and even scolded Jewish leaders who were hesitant tover the passive behavior of the Jewish leadership in the confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians. But lately, in internal discussions, he has spoken harshly against the representatives of the organized Jewish establishment, arguing, "All they know to do is convene meetings and listen to briefings on the situation in Israel." Pinkas is especially angry that "even in the information campaign directed at the American media, Jewish involvement is not being felt."

The information effort required from representatives of official Israel in New York is enormous, especially after the attack in Netanya and the beginning of Operation Defensive Wall. During the Gulf War, CNN was the only network to broadcast news 24 hours a day. Today, there are five networks broadcasting non-stop news and commentary. These networks operate independently of their parent networks, producing their own news programs, with special correspondents in Israel.

On a single day, March 29, Pinkas appeared in 14 interviews broadcast on national and international networks. "As long as I am confronting Palestinian representatives, I have no problem," he explained. "When I'm invited to appear opposite an American Arab like James Zogby, the head of the Arab American Institute in Washington, I ask myself why there is no American Jewish leader to appear opposite him." On the other hand, when the television broadcasts show lines of tanks in the streets of Ramallah and IDF soldiers with their guns cocked in the streets of Bethlehem, the leaders of Jewish organizations call to complain about the deficient Israeli information campaign.

With notice of only half a day, the Satmar Hasidim in Brooklyn can mobilize 5,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews to demonstrate against Israel opposite the consulate building in Manhattan. It took great efforts by three Jewish umbrella organizations to convene about 500 Jewish leaders for a special meeting during the week before Passover. The address by the head of the Conference of Presidents, Mortimer Zuckerman, was broadcast remotely from Las Vegas, where he was vacationing.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who addressed the participants at the meeting via a videotaped speech, outlined a vision of a million immigrants coming to Israel. When Sharon said that he wants Jews from France, Argentina and South Africa to immigrate to Israel now, the leaders of the Jewish organizations responded with applause. When he mentioned that he would also like to see U.S. Jews make "aliyah," the sound of chuckles could be heard in the audience. "The prime minister spoke about a million immigrants at a time when the Jews of America avoid setting foot in Israel, even as tourists," said an Israeli observer.

When the meeting ended, a conversation developed between Pinkas and one of the heads of a large Jewish organization. "Why doesn't your solidarity take expression in three jumbo jets taking off for Israel full of Jews?" Pinkas asked. One of the Jews responded, "It's a logistical nightmare." Pinkas did not let this go unanswered. "The establishment of the State of Israel was also a logistical nightmare, and it's good that you weren't among those advising Ben-Gurion what to do."

Sharon's lack of tact

Since September 2000, the community has acted passively, with the organized leadership preferring to lay low. It's not an exaggeration to state, as several Jewish spokesmen here have already said, that the period since the eruption of the Al-Aqsa Intifada will be remembered as one of the ugliest hours of the local Jewish community; in a metropolis which is home to about a million Jews, it could have been expected to see 100,000 take to the streets and demonstrate their support for Israel.

The passive behavior of the Jews and their leaders in the face of Israel's distress is generally attributed to the lack of an authoritative leadership. But recently, another argument has been added: "The contradictions in the policies of Prime Minister Sharon makes it difficult to formulate an accepted public response by the organizations," contends Seymour Reich in a conversation with him. According to Reich, a former head of the Conference of Presidents, "The Jews in America are in a tough position. They support Israel's war against terror but are taken aback by Sharon's lack of tact in his public declarations, such as his statements about spilling Palestinian blood." Nonetheless, Reich believes that the main factor blocking the full mobilization of the community in expressing support and solidarity with Israel is "the feeling common among Jews that Sharon is not aiming for a political-diplomatic solution."

The director of the ARZA organization of the Reform movement, Rabbi Ami Hirsh, speaks about "mixed feelings in the community." He argues that the moral perspective in the current struggle is not clear enough. Jews oppose terror and support a war against terror, but at the same time, there is an increasing awareness among them of the injustice of occupation and the acts of humiliation against the Palestinians.

Abraham Foxman, the director of the Anti-Defamation League, admits: "In regard to the question of what to do and how exactly to respond, the Jewish leadership has become paralyzed." But, he adds, "This doesn't mean that the American Jew doesn't care." Foxman notes that after September 11, there has also been a concern about large gatherings, and this is another reason for not holding a mass demonstration in support of Israel. "The police and other groups advise not to bring together a large number of people in one place," he says. But it seems that on Sunday, this argument was not longer valid, especially after the sight of thousands of Palestinians streaming toward Times Square.

While the main umbrella groups showed the full extent of their confusion, quiet activities were afoot among groups outside the recognized establishment. A new movement is expressing solidarity with reserve soldiers refusing to serve in the territories. A full-page advertisement was published in the New York Times last week, the first of its kind, which listed the names of rabbis and Jewish activists who support these "refuseniks." The advertisement was the initiative of Rabbi Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun magazine.

At the last moment, a group of Jewish activists decided not to send a personal letter to Sharon. The letter was signed by 11 men and women who charged that "the refusal of 313 officers and combat soldiers is an act of conscience and moral courage that should be respected." The letter ended by declaring: "Prime minister, we stand behind these officers and soldiers who are demanding moral integrity."

The heads of Jewish organizations do not attribute much importance to such expressions of support for these "refusenik" soldiers. In their view, the refusal issue provided the extreme liberal branch of the community with an easy excuse for criticizing Sharon. But some Jewish officials believe that these quiet protest efforts are liable to proliferate.

The assessment is that the rightward swing identified among wide parts of the community in recent months, including among those known as moderates, has been halted. According to this assessment, the continuation of the conflict with the Palestinians will strengthen the liberal segment of the community.

This article ran in Ha'aretz on April 9th, 2002

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Official PA News Agency Threatens the US with "Rage" of the World
Warns That US Cannot Prevent a Repeat of September 11th"

With thanks to IMRA for locating this release.

[Having been in NYC on September 11th, I listened to the WINS newsreels in which the PFLP took "credit" for the attacks on the US throughout that day.]

Gaza, April 7, 2002, Wafa, the Political Editor:

We are at the doorstep of another massacre orchestrated by the war criminal Gen. Mofaz and his highly ranked staff, a massacre against the steadfast Refugee Camp of Jenin, the Camp that is hard to crack by the Israeli invading occupation forces, a failure that led to releasing the Israeli commanding General from his duties.

Mofaz, personally directed by Sharon himself, is committing the ugliest crimes of all, in an era of preserving human rights and era of the modern world; his tanks are using the Palestinian children's flesh as tank shields, when invading the Refugee Camp, in order to paralyze the Palestinian resistance, a resistance that is legendry determent to confront the invaders.

Does Israel race against time exposing itself to the entire world practicing terror? a programmed racist murder? And commits crimes that consist of one or two targets: termination or deportation and transfer.

Two days ago, countries and organizations that were considered as supportive to Israel, are revising their supportive attitude, unable to accept the Israeli crimes, such as the Royal institute of "Nobel Prize" that expressed its apology for granting Peres a "Nobel Peace" prize, and a distinguish member of the institute suggested to withdraw the prize from him for his part in the Israeli scheme. If this is the position of the institute, then its opinion about Sharon's role in committing these murders, massacres, and the criminal terror, should be very interesting.

Despite everything, there is an essential question: who is going to pay? And from which account? For rectifying the upside-down situation returning history into its right track. The answer is very clear, but yet there are other questions: when? And can the Palestinians alone shovel the odds and reorganize them? And without Arab clear support and help?

We have said that the Arabs have means that can be used to make a remarkable impact, if used properly, but, the Arabs first, then the Moslems, should free themselves from the mental terror practiced against them by the USA Administration, since the 11th of September 2001, and no Arab or Moslem country should jump to support the USA Administration in fighting the terror as long as it is still unidentified, while considering the legitimate resistance against the occupation as terror, where simultaneously the organized state terror is not considered terror yet but "self defense"!!.

The Islamic and the Arab countries should abandon an issue, they are not responsible for, we mean the attack against the World Trade Center in New York and in the Pentagon in Washington, two monuments considered symbols of the USA power.

Nor the current Administration neither the coming ones can impose their will and desires on the rest of the earth nations, it was tried before, not only proving its failure but bringing disasters back like a boomerang.

We recognize the capability of the modern technology and its precision of enabling unlimited control, but simultaneously we notice that the individuals and the small groups are developing amazing parallel capability of confronting such attempts of control, registering remarkable achievements, aren't the 11th of September considered as a blow to the technological advance?

Jenin Refugee Camp is facing a criminal massacre, also the most ancient of Nablus's Quarters. The President "The Symbol" "The Nations Legend" and maybe a legend in the entire world, is being confined and brutally besieged by the Israeli terror, that is blessed by the USA, who deals with this issue as if it does not exist.

The Palestinians have informed the entire world especially the USA and its Administration, that President Arafat IS the Palestinian Address which through Him and only through Him the Palestinians might be approached, and no one has the permission to trespass this Palestinian consensus, because this is a Palestinian decision which all Palestinian individuals, groups, factions, inside Palestine and out have approved and ready to fight for.

Maybe the "New World Order" does not recognize political, cultural and moral references anymore, Israel and the UA have violated the Palestinian reference, represented by the democratically elected President Arafat, who is still receiving full support from the entire Palestinian communities. By this stupid action, Israel has implicated the USA placing it in the midst of not only the Palestinian rage, but also the entire Arab nations' rage, and the rest of the world's rage.

The demonstrations throughout the whole world are a living proof to this rage and frustration hitting the citizens of the globe.

That is why we refuse to meet with the USA Secretary of State Mr. Colin Powell, if he does not meet honestly and without maneuvering, with our Address first, and the Arab Leaders should get the Address's blessing before meeting Powell, because the USA officials meetings with President Arafat show the seriousness of this Administration, furthermore we call on the entire Arab leaders and the rest of the world's to act immediately to protect Jenin Refugee Camp from the criminal Israeli occupation forces who are committing massacres, in this camp in particular.

This release ran on the "Wafa" wire on Sunday, April 7, 2002

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An Open Letter
Natan Sharansky
Israel Minister of Housing

April 8, 2002

Dear Friends,

As we continue to face critical days and mounting pressures, I feel, it important to share firsthand some thoughts on the events of the last few days. President Bush's statement Wednesday concerning events in the Middle East was of historical importance. He stated with a simple but profound clarity that, "the Palestinian people deserve a government which respects human rights."

For a decade, the entire civilized world, with Israel and the US leading, betrayed its principles by promoting, supporting, and condoning a corrupt leader who suppressed any Palestinian impulse and aspiration for a free and just society. Israel's leaders cynically and fallaciously reasoned that this would be good for us because such a dictator would suppress terrorism in exchange for his international rehabilitation and a license to plunder his people. It would be easier, our leaders told themselves, because he would not be hindered by human rights organizations or by a Supreme Court. This bargain with the devil, as all others, was bound to boomerang. Not only did Arafat fail to curb terrorism, he recruited, supported, and directed the terrorists themselves in the most cruel and inhumane acts of wanton and indiscriminate terror yet witnessed.

In the face of President Bush's clear statement that Arafat betrayed his obligations and refused to fight the terrorists, how can Israel trust him in yet another promise to stop terrorism? Terrorism will be eliminated when we eliminate it, and the terrorists will be incarcerated when we take them into captivity. The Tenet agreement which is being promoted by the US administration as an appropriate exchange for a premature cessation of our efforts at effective self help, is based on an obligation by Arafat to arrest and punish the same terrorists with whom he is closeted in Ramallah. Arafat has not merely failed to thwart terrorism, he has promoted, enlisted and paid the terrorists per suicide bomb assembled. He has perpetuated and exploited the misery of the Palestinian Arabs.

How can anyone seriously treat Arafat and his corrupt gang of terrorists as partners for peace? Arafat has finally been exposed and his naked duplicity, wickedness, and corruption can no longer be clothed by us in self deception.

By ignoring Arafat's despotism, corruption, and flagrant disregard of agreements, we not only betrayed our own principles, we thereby enabled the growth and spread of terrorism until it reached the inconceivable and monstrous proportions of today.

In the last month, over 150 of us have been murdered either by sitting in a cafe, or by going to the supermarket or by celebrating the Feast of Freedom with our families on Seder night. Statistically, for our small society, this is a loss even greater than that of September 11th. But this story is not one of statistics. For with each family suffering a loss, there is unbearable grief and pain, and a terrible, never ending void. And for each family suffering a death, tens of other families have had members permanently disabled, injured, and scarred. At the funeral of my Housing Ministry colleague, Aviel Ron, and his two murdered children, his widow, the mother of their two children cried out in utter disbelief, "ze lo yachol leeheeyot"--this cannot be happening. This is what all of us are all saying, and all of us we must do everything in our power to make absolutely sure that this does not continue to happen!

What our Defense Forces are doing now is long overdue. Our vast intelligence networks are working together intensively to identify the leaders and carriers of this explosive and venomous terrorism. We are determined to reach the villains and not innocent Palestinians. Because we are so careful to avoid unnecessary losses-on both sides- we must proceed carefully, deliberately, and surgically. Those we seek out hide behind innocent civilians, and especially, children and adolescents. They hide in churches and mosques and take monks and nuns hostage. Those we are chasing, booby trap houses and even churches. Advancing cautiously means moving methodically and slowly. We cannot treat every house as booby trapped and bomb it-lest we risk injuring innocent people; but we must treat every house as if it might be booby trapped-lest we risk the lives of our young soldiers.

Because of these circumstances, we need several weeks to eliminate most of the sources of terrorism. This is a job which can be done effectively. We have already arrested over 400 terrorists, about 100 of whom actually committed the murders. We have arrested those who directed the massacres at the Dolphinarium, at Seafood, and at Sbarro Pizza. The terrorist responsible for the massacre at the Seder in Netanya was killed in a highly sophisticated operation conducted by the IDF and the Security Forces. We can do the job responsibly, effectively, and honorably, but we must be given the proper time. If we are forced to recede before the completion of our mission, we will, at some point, have to return. And the cost to us and the price in innocent lives will be far greater.

History teaches us that Jews have often been killed in cruel and unusual ways. From the harugei hamalchut in Roman times to the inquisition, pogroms, and more recently, the gas chambers. Now, we experience yet another cruel innovation--human suicide bombs.

But this time, things are different. For we have a sovereign Jewish State to defend and protect its citizens. Israel's first responsibility is to protect us from this recent wave of carnage. And by protecting us from this new weapon of terror, Israel defends freedom and civilized values everywhere. To prematurely end our campaign against this new threat, is to place our innocent civilians in harm's way to the detriment of all. Israel must be no less resolute in fighting terrorism directed against us than the US in fighting terrorism against its citizens. The wishful thinking of Oslo has long since self destructed and we can no longer pretend that Arafat is a partner for peace.

You are no doubt facing conflicting pressures and will face even more in the next few days. The media is reporting what it understands based on many fragmented sources. I can promise you that the true story is really quite clear. We are a democratic state fighting to eliminate the worst wave of terrorism unleashed against a civilian population in human history. This campaign which will require several weeks, has only one purpose: to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure which was built by the Palestinian Authority and its leader Arafat with Israeli, US, and European resources. To force us to stop before its completion would be a tragic error.

These are not easy times but more than ever they call for us to be united in this campaign to eliminate terror. This is the humane course; this is the only course consistent with President Bush's forthright stand against terror.

We need your understanding. We need your support. And we need them now as never before. I know the power and glory of Jewish unity and I know that together we can prevail.

Natan Sharansky

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Bethlehem: Recounting an "Incursion"
David Bedein

The IDF entered Bethlehem on March 29th following massive missile, mortar and machine gun attacks upon the Jerusalem Gilo neighborhood that emanated from Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and the UNRWA refugee camps in and around Bethlehem.

Instead of firing at the IDF from Palestinian military positions throughout Bethlehem, the PLO dispatched 150 trained sharpshooters to take cover and fire from the safe haven of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem while holding more than 100 Christian clerics hostage over the weekend, using the world's major Christian shrine as an armed refuge and firing sporadically at Israeli troops, while the IDF issued straight orders not to respond with fire on holy places.

IDF officials said that these men are armed with automatic weapons and that a number of them are highly wanted terrorists. Meanwhile, the PLO armed forces holed up in the church rejected the IDF's offer to evacuate the wounded and to allow the armed men to turn themselves in, if their safety was assured.

Over the weekend the IDF evacuated five priests and three nuns from the Church of the Nativity. Security sources said that Franciscan and Catholic patriarchates claim that the armed Palestinians had treated them violently and had caused damage to the church. The impasse continues, with the Catch-22 situation which prevents the IDF initiating any action to free the hostages and capture the terrorists because they are located within a Christian holy site. Vatican officials presented a plan for solving the crisis: The Palestinians would lay down their arms and leave the church premises, while Israel would lift its siege on the site.

However, the Palestinians rejected the offer.

Meanwhile, the Vatican Ambassador to Israel, Msgr. Pietro Sambi, vehemently denied the rumor spread by the PA and reported on in Palestinian PA media, which claimed that the IDF had murdered a priest in Bethlehem.

The military successes of the operation have been largely ignored by Western media.

Kaes Adwan, the most senior of the wanted Hamas operatives was killed on Friday.

In the course of the fighting, the forces noticed a suspicious car parked at the entrance to the house where the wanted men were hiding. The force fired at the car and it exploded. It was discovered that this was a car bomb which had already been prepared for detonation. The IDF believes that Adwan planned to sneak the car into Israel in order to perpetrate a massive terror attack.

"The killing of Adwan is a tough blow to Hamas, said a senior figure in the IDF. Dr. Abed al-Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas leader who sits in Arafat's cabinet, expressed his sorrow at the killing of Adwan.

He promised that the response would be "tough and extremely painful". However, Rantisi said that the assassination would not harm Hamas activity. "Kaes Adwan is no more then one percent of the people at his level who operate in the Izzadin Kassam troops", he said. He said that Hamas's revenge would be "a serious operation against Israel that would undermine the stability of the Zionist state".

Kaes Adwan was responsible for the murder of 77 Israeli. Palestinian sources agreed that his killing is a harsh blow to the military branch of Hamas. Adwan, 25, was a senior figure in Izzadin Kassam, Hamas's military branch. with Hamas. Adwan was wanted in Israel over the past few years for his involvement in many terror attacks. He was responsible for:

  • The terror attack at Mei-Ami, in which the terrorist Zayid Kilani detonated a bomb he was carrying, killing an Israeli civilian.

  • The terror attack at Sbarro's in Jerusalem in August, 2001. Adwan recruited and dispatched the terrorist who blew himself up, killing 15 Israelis and injuring dozens more.

  • The terror attack at the Nahariya train station in September, 2001.

    Adwan recruited and dispatched the suicide bomber, Shaker Hibeishi, an Israeli Arab from Abu Snan, who murdered three Israelis and injured dozens.

  • The terror attack on the bus in Haifa in December 2001, in which 16 Israelis were killed and dozens injured.

  • Dispatching a suicide bomber to perpetrate a terror attack in Jerusalem, which did not succeed because the GSS captured the terrorist. The terrorist, Rassan Abu Smada, said during his interrogation that he had been recruited and sent by Adwan.
  • The terror attack at the Park Hotel in Netanya in which 26 Israelis were killed and more than 100 injured.

  • The terror attack at the Matza restaurant in Haifa. Adwan located and sent the suicide bomber who killed 16 Israelis.

    On a Tangential Note:

    Two companies of reservists serving in Bethlehem were forced to sleep in an apartment adjacent to the Church of the Nativity. The soldiers entered the home, sent the entire family into one of the rooms, and when they received instructions to leave the place early in the morning, they collected a kitty of NIS 1,500 and gave it to the family.

    "We went into their home, used their rooms, and therefore they deserve to be paid, explained one soldier. When the soldiers gave the money to the family, they expressed their regret to the family and added, "This is a time of war".

    Other reservists in the Nablus sector sent hot meals to families, giving up their own lunches. Avi, a reservist, said, "We encountered an entire Palestinian family, elderly people with their children and grandchildren. They were frightened and thought we were going to kill them. When we received a hot meal, we gave it to them. They were shocked". The next night, those same soldiers returned to the home and discovered that a member of this family suffers from an ingrown toe-nail and must undergo surgery. They called in the doctor, Dr. Eyal Dekel, who carried out the procedure, ending the pain.

    In Kalkilya, IDF troops entered a home, searched it and before they left, the soldiers made a point to clean the house: they swept up and put the furniture back where it was.

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