|Israel Resource Review
||16th August, 2001
Liberating Jerusalem Again . . . And Doing it Right
Senior Correspondent, HaAretz
A number of years ago during the early months of the first Intifada, David Krause, who was then police commissioner, briefed the commanders of police units deployed throughout Jerusalem. He ended the briefing with a sentence that has remained engraved in the memories of all who were there - "We are now going to liberate Jerusalem once again."
In the decade since that assertion was issued, Israel did not liberate Jerusalem "once again." In fact the Palestinians succeeded in creating in the city's Arab districts their own special reality - a reality seen by many as trappings of sovereignty. Orient House, which was shut down over the weekend, was only the flagship of this reality. Alongside Orient House, there were security agencies and various civilian institutions covering a wide range of fields - education, housing, culture, transport, mortgage banking, propaganda, and media. All of these agencies and institutions were directly or indirectly linked to the Palestinian Authority, which openly declined to acknowledge the commitments it had made, under the terms of the Oslo accords, to avoid any activities in Jerusalem.
All Israeli governments from 1967 onward have allowed the continued existence of this "black market" of sovereignty - a form that Ehud Barak's government was prepared to "launder." This conveyed a clear message to the residents of East Jerusalem - "Israeli sovereignty and rule in East Jerusalem are temporary. Israel's presence in the eastern part of the city is nearing its end and will soon be replaced by a new regime."
The measures that the Israeli government adopted last Thursday are intended, for the first time in 12 years, to send an entirely different message. The measures were meant to teach PA Chairman Yasser Arafat a lesson and to demonstrate graphically to the Palestinians that they might end up losing a great deal.
Furthermore, the actions of the government caught the Palestinians completely off guard and they were implemented without any clashes or injuries. The measures were widely supported by the Israeli public and drew only token protests from the international community.
However, the chief significance of these actions is that they have the potential to initiate a major change in Jerusalem and establish the groundwork that will ensure, to the satisfaction of both the State of Israel and the Jewish people, that Jerusalem will remain a united city under Israeli sovereignty. For the first time in years, instead of asking whether Jerusalem will be divided, and if so by whom, one can now turn that question inside out and ask something that sounds far more sensible: "Will Jerusalem be reunited, and if so when and by whom?" However, the golden opportunity now on Israel's doorstep could be missed if Prime Minister Ariel Sharon satisfies himself with merely closing down Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem. If he probes the Jerusalem issue deeply, Sharon will discover that for years, many government ministries have treated the eastern section of the city as if it were truly foreign territory.
One can cite, for example, the routine monitoring activities of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (in its efforts to protect consumers) or of the Israel Police's traffic department. These two agencies operate these activities throughout Israel, but not in East Jerusalem. One could also cite the horrendous shortages in East Jerusalem in the fields of health care, education, transport and other services, and especially infrastructure. Granted, the independent Palestinian institutions established in East Jerusalem were created against the backdrop of Palestinian aspirations for sovereignty in Jerusalem too.
Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that the emergence of these institutions must also be attributed to the vacuum produced in the wake of the withdrawal of parallel Israeli services - services that should be restored to East Jerusalem now. There are a number of individuals who will very quickly discover that the independent Palestinian institutions will return to East Jerusalem through the back door. There are those, for example, who think it sufficient to distance the personnel of Jibril Rajoub, the PA's head of preventive security on the West Bank, from Jerusalem, without seeing to it that the Israeli police step up their efforts to serve the citizens of the city better.
There are those who think it enough to shut off the cash faucets of Palestinian housing foundations without seeing to it that housing projects are built for the Arabs of East Jerusalem. There are those who think it sufficient to shut down the social services department in Orient House without seeing to it that mother and infant care clinics, health maintenance organization clinics, centres for the care of the elderly, youth clubs and schools in the Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem are set up.
There is a two-fold justification for extensive investment in East Jerusalem. First, every Israeli government has been committed to the principle of such investment although it has avoided implementing it as a principle. Those who want to exercise sovereignty over Jerusalem cannot settle for a limited demonstration of muscle-flexing in front of Orient House and for an exclusive concern with only one segment of Jerusalem's population. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. You cannot argue that Israel's sovereignty and responsibility extend to all of East Jerusalem and at the same time refuse to recognize - and refusing to do anything about - the enormous gap between East and West Jerusalem in terms of services and investment in those services. Investment in East Jerusalem is first and foremost a moral commitment.
Yet there is another side to the coin. In the past decade, Israel's governments have failed to acknowledge their obligation to remove every trace of the PA and its branches from East Jerusalem. Those who are sincerely bent on attaining this goal must provide an alternative to the various services that the PA and its institutions have been delivering over the last few years to East Jerusalemites.
The negotiations that the Barak government conducted over a final status arrangement for Jerusalem fell through - however, those negotiations did establish the starting point for all future negotiations with the Palestinians. There can be no doubt in anyone's mind that the Palestinians would definitely prefer to use the partition plan that was proposed by former American president Bill Clinton, and which was accepted by the Barak government as the basis for future talks with Israel over Jerusalem. Sharon's recent actions are an attempt to establish a new starting point for the negotiations over Jerusalem. This is a step in the right direction but it must be accompanied by other measures as well.
This article ran on August 16, 2001 in HaAretz
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Zionist Patriotism Revived
The recent Palestinian violence
has produced at least one positive result: the reawakening of Jewish
patriotism, namely, Zionism. Whereas until recently people gave voice here
to post-Zionist and global village ideas and said that Zionism had become
obsolete, the recent incidents in the territories and among the Israeli
Arabs have revived Zionism, rendering it once again relevant to our day and
age as well. Zionism has been taken out of the civics classroom and has
returned to being a relevant political position. It is difficult not to
discern this in our daily lives: the overwhelming support for the national
unity government and of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a dramatic cooling of
the religious, ethnic and social rifts, the impressive fortitude displayed
in the face of the frequent suicide bombing attacks, the top TV ratings
that the broadcasts of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Maccabiah
games commanded, citizens demanding to perform reserve military duty, and
even an attack by the pillars of the establishment, such as Professor
Shlomo Avineri, against Ha'aretz for being post-Zionist
This is classic Zionism, a Zionism of tenacity, a long-term self-perception based on a sense of having no other choice and a willingness for self-sacrifice.
In light of the circumstances, Zionism has come once again to be a means of
self-definition for Israelis and Jews who, until a year ago, considered
themselves to be citizens of the world.
The attacks from without, particularly from the direction of Europe,
have also contributed to the reawakening of Zionism. The intention to
revive the equation of Zionism with racism and the nefarious attacks
against Israel have produced the opposite effect from the one desired by
Europe: pushed into the corner, an increased spirit of davka ["in your
face," despite everything - INT], and the bolstering of Jewish patriotism
have arisen. Just as in the past the hatred of Jews was a major catalyst
for Zionism, the same has happened now when Palestinian patriotism is
legitimate in Europe while Jewish patriotism is perceived as colonialism,
condescension and an absurdity.
Patriotism, as opposed to nationalism, is immensely important for
strengthening the solidarity of any society. But in the last decade in
Israel there has been the feeling that Jewish patriotism is something that
had become obsolete, a dark and even embarrassing phenomenon. The result
was the collapse of the solidarity of the collective in our society, and a
prevailing sense of "what do I care." Now, when Islamic suicide bombers
reach everywhere and the threat is the same to everyone, the sense that we
are all in the same boat is bolstered, hence the weakening of
individualistic motifs in social discourse and a return to collective
This sociological process is deeper than we may think. Even a return to
negotiations will not change it, since it is now clear to us that neither
the return of territories nor any other magical solution will be sufficient
to reach a peaceful arrangement.
This is an interesting paradox: Jewish patriotism is what created and
fired Palestinian patriotism throughout the entire 20th century, it
challenged it and forced it to respond. Now the picture is inverted: it is
actually the Palestinian patriotism that is fueling and rebuilding Jewish
patriotism. Ahmed Yassin and Yasser Arafat may not like it, but they have
indirectly made a significant contribution to the fortitude of the State of
Israel's society in the future, which should be of more interest to us than
An awakening of this sort is liable to bear with it some disadvantages,
such as a single opinion and an aversion to the other, but it is reasonable
to believe that the democratic Israeli consciousness will not allow that to
happen. In any event, being aware of this sociological change taking place
before our very eyes could help produce a new and original cohesive to heal
the rifts that were created in our society in the last number of years.
These bitter times may ultimately come to produce a positive result.
This article ran on Friday, August 10 in Yediot Aharonot
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Why Did Israel Close the Orient House: The Inside Story
News reports concerning the Israeli takeover of the PLO Orient House in
Jerusalem focused on the Orient House as little more than a symbol of PLO
presence in Jerusalem, and as a place where the PLO welcomed foreign
However, having covered the Orient House for the past seven years, and
having conducted extensive interviews with the Orient House staff over the
past year, an insider's view of the Orient House would not underestimate
the operational significance of the Orient House to the PLO.
Each department of the Orient House carried tremendous security
implications for Israel.
The Orient House was a hub of PLO activity throughout the past seven years
of the Oslo process and especially over the past ten months, when various
armed forces of the PLO made it their venue for meeting. Reporters visiting
the Orient House witnessed daylight meetings of the Tanzim, the Fatah
hawks, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. It was not unusual to witness them
brandishing their weapons. These varying security services were not only
involved in war with Israel. They were all involved in "law enforcement" in
East Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods, which often meant abductions of Arabs
from their homes for questioning and detention in Ramallah.
Last August, 2000, I interviewed with Khalil Tafakji, the Director of the
Arab Studies Society, the director of a project based at the Orient House whose task it was to computerize the land records of Jerusalem and its environs, cross-referencing property records with the ownership claims of the refugees. By the time that the project was completed in January, 2001, the PA had computerized records that show the present owner or user of each parcel of land in Jerusalem and the Arab owner of each parcel prior to 1948. Tafakji explained that the purpose of the project was to prepare a legal claims for return of the properties or claims for
damages for the value of the properties. In February, 2001, Tafakji
pioneered similar projects on the computer at Orient House that traced
land ownership in all other parts of Israel, with regard to properties to
which Arab refugees can now make claims.
The Orient House computer was not only emphasizing the technical legal
property claims for Arabs to receive compensation for their loss. The
Orient House computer became a most efficient vehicle for Arab refugees to
prepare for their actual return, even if the property that they had left
had since been developed as an Israeli neighborhood, kibbutz, moshav or
woodland since 1948.
This became very real to me when Tafakji casually pointed out familiar
streets in Jerusalem on the computer screen, and then clicked to the names
of the residents on those same streets from 1947, and then clicked to the
whereabouts of those same residents and their descendents in the UNRWA Arab
refugee camps today, where they have wallowed since 1949.
Since Arab refugee families in the UNRWA-run Palestinian Arab refugee camps
live in areas that are marked according to the precise neighborhoods and
villages that they lived in 1948, the Orient House mega-computer, working
with UNRWA, efficiently distributed computer print outs to UNRWA refugee
camp residents, so that they can realize their "right of return" to the
neighborhoods and villages from before 1948.
In September, 2000, I accompanied a BBC TV crew that reported the daily bus
trips for UNRWA camp residents to see the homes and neighborhoods that they will soon be claiming for themselves, in places such as Canada Park, the Tel Aviv University campus, and Ben Gurion International Airport.
The officials at the PA legal services department at the Orient house explained that this was similar to that of the Jewish claims against Germany, Austria and countries to which Jewish assets were sold or transferred by the Germans and their allies. It was also similar to the claims against Switzerland and other countries that benefited from the deaths of Jewish property owners whose assets were confiscated after their deaths at the hands of the Nazis.
The Arab Refugee Affairs Department at the Orient House, run PLO official
Daoud Barakat, made it quite clear that that the "our task at the Orient House is to mobilize Palestinians from around the world to return to their homes".
Barakat did not mince words about the Jews who had moved into areas that
had been Arab before 1948: "They will simply have to leave", Barakat
explained in a taped interview. "Then the rightful owners of their homes
would force them to leave", he said, referring to areas taken by
Israel in 1948, not in 1967.
The most cooperative and media-conscious PLO official at the Orient House
was Mr. Nabeh Aweidah, the Orient House press office manager. One of
Aweidah's most important tasks was to print up and to distribute thousands
of maps which conveyed the PLO vision of a Palestinian state in the future,
in which all Israeli settlements that were established since 1948 were
eliminated, and in which Palestine comprises all of the land of Palestine,
from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
A few months ago, our agency dispatched a TV crew to film the Orient House
in action - the security services, their mega computer, their lawyers and
their map department. The raw footage will be available for the press and
public to judge for itself as to whether the Orient House was only an
innocuous welcome mat for the PLO cause.
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How the Official Palestinian
VOICE OF PALESTINE Radio Covered the August Bombings
On the day of the massive bombing in Jerusalem--August 10, 2001--The Voice of Palestine opened its morning broadcasts at 7 a.m. with a
15-minute spotlight on Ali Joulani, the man who, 2 days earlier died while committing a terror attack in Tel Aviv. Joulani, 23, was lionized as a "shaheed," or "martyr" in the cause against Zionists.
The V.O.P.--in a most unusual 15 segment--featured Joulani as the apotheosis
of "istish-had"--an Arabic term that means both "martyrdom" and "heroic
death against infidels."
His drive-by shooting attack on everyone in sight
near the Qirya military base in Tel Aviv (he drove off the main Ayalon
Freeway near the main shopping mall) and began sooting up Kaplan Street,
wounding several men and women, mostly unarmed soldiers.
The Voice of Palestine condemned Israel for not immediately turning over
"the martyr's body" to Palestinian control for a hero's burial.
Seven hours later, the huge suicide bombing occurred (at 2 p.m. Jerusalem
time), and at the first opportunity, The V.O.P. announced (3 p.m.) that "it is
not clear if the explosion is a heroic martyr operation or an accident.",
in language putting blame on Israel and demanding that Israel seek a
Yet the "denunciation" or "condemnation" was very very
circumspect and not (repeat NOT) offered in Arafat's voice.
In fact, during its first full news round-up at 9 p.m., the headlines did
even mention the "istinkar" (condemnation) but only in the body of the
ninth news item.
The next day's main news show (7 a.m.) opened with a stirring
Palestinian condemnation ("the Palestinian Authority strongly condemns
[Arabic: adanat b'shidda] only the Israeli aggression at Orient
House") regarding Israel's closure of the illegal Palestinian operations in
Jerusalem's Orient House.
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"Sending Our Son Off to War"
David and Sara Bedein
This week we accompanied our first born son, Noam, to the IDF
army recruitment center in Jerusalem, where he was inducted into an IDF
combat unit, with three months of basic training lying ahead of him.
On the evenings before a young man goes in the IDF, neither he nor his
parents get much sleep.
The soon-to-be IDF inductee parties with his friends. The parents also do
not sleep - out of worry, fear and apprehension.
Our Noam, 19, was named after a soldier, Noam Yehuda, who was born in
Philadelphia and who grew up in Safed, and killed by a PLO missile at the
age of nineteen, on the fourth day of the Lebanon War in 1982.
The enemy was the same: Arafat and his terrorists who had set up a
world-wide terrorist organization from his base in Lebanon and was held
responsible for the murders and massacres of hundreds of Jews and Israelis
throughout the world. The irony is that our own Noam, nineteen years later,
is going to be forced to fight the same enemy - this time on our own land.
An enemy who had duped the world to such an extent that he received the
Nobel Peace Prize! An enemy who was invited by the Israeli government to
return from Tunis, given arms by the IDF and who turned the tables to set
up cities of refuge for his "troops" to again launch attacks against Israelis.
Unlike many other Israelis, Noam holds a US passport. He could easily skip
the country without too much difficulty and attend university in the US.
However, he chooses to stay and serve.
When you take your son on that proverbial ride to the draft induction
point, your son's entire life flashes in front of you. All those special
moments are quashed into those twenty five minutes of
negotiating Jerusalem rush hour traffic. His moment of birth. His Brit. His
first step. His first day in nursery school. His first day in first grade.
His performance in the local singing group and how he "cut" his first
cassette. His bar mitzvah. His going off to yeshiva. His summer of work
with down syndrome youngsters. And his resounding Shabbat meal send-off
with his friends, when they sang sweet Shabbat melodies along with varying
sounds, varying from Psalms to Punk Rock.
A few nights ago, we watched the evening news with Noam. Thousands of Arab
rioters shooting guns wildly in the air, as they ran through the streets
precariously toting the teetering body of yet another "shahid" - "holy
martyr" (a title given to terrorists who blow themselves up with innocent
Israeli civilians for the "Glory of Palestine") - Noam's comment: "Well,
Wish me luck! I'm going to be in a war".
Noam's mood on the day of his induction was enthusiastic and adventurous,
joined by two friends from his yeshiva who were being recruited together
with him as well as three other friends who had come to part with him and
wish him luck.
Watching our son joke with his friends while waiting to be called to get on
the bus, our heart swelled with pride at this wholesome, fine son of ours
who was eager to serve his country despite the gruesome predicament
the country is in right now
This past year has been a year of reflection for Noam. He was glad to have
made the decision not to go straight into the army following graduation
from high school. Instead he chose a Yeshiva preparation program with a
curriculum readies the yeshiva students for the army service through deep
philosophical discussions and basic physical education to prepare him for
rigorous army training.
It has also been a year of funerals. Too many funerals. Noam told us after
returning from the funeral of our daughter's 20 year old youth counselor
who had been shot dead in a drive by shooting, that "Now I know what I am
going into the army for. Going to all these funerals has made me aware of
what I must do: to protect the people of Israel".
At the induction center, only about twenty after we got there, Noam's name
was called out. The time had come to part. We hand over to the IDF a
wholesome, happy, wonderful son. Noam stretched out his arms and held each
of us in a tight embrace. The lump in each of our throats choked back the
words we had each planned to say. All we manage to say is: "Good
luck. Stay safe, May God be with you" .
Please God, we pray, return him to us unharmed, safe and sound - in body
Insert: From a reporter's desk on the day of my son's induction
Israel Resource News Agency
Beit Agron Int'l Press Center
Returning to my desk at the press center in Jerusalem, on the day of my
son's induction into the IDF, I look at several things that bring to mind
the wars of the past. My grandfather's diary from when he was an American
soldier in World War I. A postcard that my father, an American soldier,
sent his mother in World War II.
And my favorite book from childhood: the chronicle of the Civil War by Bruce Catton. As I send my son off to war, I cannot help but thinking of my visit to the Antitiem battlefield only 18 months ago, when I was covering the Israel-Syria negotiations in nearby Shepherdstown, West Virginia. I stood on that preserved pristine battleground, and thought of a generation in America when both two sides fought in battle who believed in what they were fighting for, with each side ready to pay the supreme sacrifice for what they believed.
Walking down that eery bloody lane, I could hear the drum roll
from Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage and the poetry of
Steven Vincent Benet, knowing full well that I would soon return
to Israel to send my son into battle, dedicated to fight for a
country that we choose to fight for.
Since I cover the Palestinian Authority and since I interview the officials of the PA, I know full well that they are equally dedicated to the fight
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