Israel Resource Review 31st December, 2001


What is a Hudna - Arabic for "cease fire"
Ronny Shaked
Senior Arabic Affairs Correspondent, Yediot Aharonot

A hudna is an armistice in the broad sense of the word -- non-belligerency and normalization -- for a limited period of time. That is the idea behind the new initiative to put an end to the conflict.

In Moslem tradition, a hudna is a religious imperative that obligates everyone who bears arms. It is hard to violate it and it obligates members of all peoples. When the hudna expires, it can either be extended or the parties can move on to the stage of a sulha -- [reconciliation] just like between two clans.

According to Darawshe's plan, the declared hudna would have three stages:

1) A declaration of a cease-fire by President Moshe Katzav before the most senior Palestinian forum, and a statement of regret for the victims of both peoples.

2) Restoring the situation to what it was before the Intifada.

3) Negotiating the implementation of the agreements, namely, the Mitchell report recommendations and the Tenet understandings. If this last stage is not completed successfully within a year, the hudna can be extended.

This article ran in Yediot Aharonot on December 31, 2001

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2001: The Blackest Year for Israel's Ecomomy since 1953
Yossi Greenstein
Senior Business Features Writer, Maariv

2001 was the blackest year in the Israeli economy since the austerity year [known as the year of tzena, when there was rationing] of '53, according to data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics. The most conspicuous sign of the deep crisis is the negative growth of 0.5% in the Israeli economy this past year.

The gloomy statistics on the extent of recession were even gloomier than previous estimates published by various experts and economists. Last year there was a negative growth in the economy: Local output declined by 0.5%, and per capita output declined by 2.9%. For comparison purposes, in the year 2000, local output had jumped by 6.4% and per capita output by 3.6%. Business output declined by 2.1%, after rising by 8.5% in 2000, according to new estimates by the CBS. During the last few months of the year, the recession deepened. In the second half of 2001, negative growth reached a disturbing rate of 5.3%. Business output declined by 6.3% as a result of the crisis in hi-tech. Per capita output declined by 7.4%. Total investments declined by 19.5%.

Last year's growth was the lowest since '53, when output declined by 1.4% and per capita output by 4.1%. Moreover, since '53, there has not been an annual growth of less than 1%.

Private consumption has also entered a recession: The living standard (per capita consumption) grew by only 0.6% in contrast to 3.6% in 2000. Acquisition of cars declined by 8.1% and electrical appliances declined by 7.4%. Consumption of food and drink declined by 0.3%.

Domestic output in 2001 reached NIS 463.9 billion (USD 110.2 billion). Per capita output declined to NIS 72,000 (USD 17.1 thousand).

Another disturbing datum: Growth in Israel was the worst in the world (except for Japan).

And in contrast to pervious years, the start-up companies actually contributed to the deep recession in the economy: Without these companies, the output rose by 0.4%, in contrast to 4.4% in 2000.

Total exports declined last year by 13.1% after rising in 2000 by 24% and 12% in '99. The steepest decline was in the output of the hi-tech branches (including the start-up) companies and in the output of the construction industry. Industrial output declined by 4.6% in 2001 (as a result of the hi-tech crisis) after jumping by 10.8% in 2000. Construction output declined by 10.5%, continuing the decline over the last few years.

Investment in the construction of residential apartments declined by 15.8% to 7.2% in 2000. This means a steep decline of 17.5% in private construction and 4% in public construction.

It should be pointed out that the 2001 data are even worse than initial estimates published in October. But the really worst news is that the experts anticipate that 2002 will also be a year of recession and economic standstill: Growth will be lower than 1% and business output will be negative. A freeze in exports, investments and the living standard of the Israeli public is also anticipated.

This article ran in Maariv on Dec, 31, 2001

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Three Principles for Victory
Binyamin Netanyahu

The terror attacks of September 11 in the United States changed international reality clearly and unequivocally to Israel's benefit.

The US established three central principles in its war against world terror:

1) Moral clarity. In his speech to the American Congress, President Bush stated that nothing justifies terror. No claim, either real or imaginary, of personal or national oppression can justify the use of terror. Terror is a deliberate strike against innocent civilians and is always a heinous act. There are no good terrorists and bad terrorists - they are all bad. Like Nazism, terror is an absolute evil that must be fought. This determination is of immense significance because it denies terrorists their major defense - the wavering response of their victims, who are exposed to incessant propaganda that terror fundamentally is justified, and that they must therefore submit to its demands.

2) Strategic clarity. The United States established that the main way to fight terror is to fight the regimes that are behind terror organizations, and not necessarily to concentrate the efforts on the terrorists themselves. After all, the terrorists do not float in space. They operate in immune areas run by certain regimes. Take away the support of these regimes, and the international terror structures will collapse. The United States is toppling the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and al-Qaida is crumbling in its wake. It is now threatening Syria in the same way to stop Hizbullah operations, and so it will also act against other terror regimes.

3) The importance of victory. The United States views a military defeat of terrorism as the correct way to overcome it. This is not a trivial observation, because there is a school of thought that contends that terror is the result of the despair that the terrorists feel, and that the real way to fight terror is to replace this despair with hope. However, the United States maintains today the exact opposite: The way to fight terrorism is to sow despair among its ranks, to obliterate any hope on the part of its operators and activists that they will ever achieve their goals by means of terror. In the war against terrorism, victory generates victory, discourages the self-confidence of potential terrorists, and thins their ranks.

And so, the "fundamental reason" for terror is the totalitarian mentality of those who use it: Their belief that they are permitted to violate every moral norm to achieve the political or racial goal for which they are fighting. And thus totalitarianism and terrorism have been linked from Lenin's time, through Hitler to the ayatollahs. Everything is permissible in the name of the sacred goal, including blowing up children, burning civilians, destroying skyscrapers and, if necessary, the annihilation of entire cities. This is also the reason why in innumerable genuine battles for national liberation and human rights that have been conducted by people with a democratic orientation, such as in the case of the French underground against the Nazis or the battles of the Afro-Americans for equality in the United States, terror has never been used.

And now the United States comes along and says: There is no point and no benefit in any attempt to soften, to persuade or to lobby such totalitarian mentalities. The only thing to do is to fight them - to the bitter end.

These three principles have great significance for us:

Moral clarity says that nothing justifies the Palestinian terror directed against us. This terror is nothing but a tool to achieve the Arabs' intention to destroy Israel, which is the real reason for the ongoing conflict. It is what has motivated them to attack us time and again, before there were "refugees" and "territories," and also after they were offered Judea, Samaria and Gaza and half of Jerusalem in Camp David. When we repulse Palestinian terror, justice, all justice, is on our side.

Strategic clarity says that the way to fight Palestinian terror is first of all to fight the regime that stands behind it. Only when Arafat feels that his regime is about to fall, as was the case recently, only then does he do something to rein in terror. This, of course, is tactical containment, and only temporary.

In order to eradicate terror from the world, or at least to reduce it to being negligible, Arafat's regime must be eliminated. Only so will the Palestinian leaders who succeed him realize that there is a painful price to pay for their assaults against us (the Palestinian victims in themselves are of no interest to Arafat). Only thus will Israeli deterrence be restored.

I do not know what the government of Afghanistan will be like after the Taliban in another two or three years, but there is one thing that I am confident about - it will do everything in its power to prevent terror attacks from its territory, otherwise, it too will be replaced. The same principle should guide us in our attitude toward the Palestinians.

The realization of the importance of victory says that we must not stop halfway, but persist to the stage of victory. The United States was warned that if it bombed Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of Moslems would rebel and tens of thousands of Moslems warriors would rush to Afghanistan. The exact opposite happened. Just like the US overcame considerations of "coalition" to achieve victory in Afghanistan (and in other places soon), we too must overcome our misplaced fear about the United States' attitude toward us.

September 11 caused an enormous shift in American public opinion. This is a moral people who will not tolerate double standards. The American public, its representatives in Congress and even its President, will understand very well that if the United States can topple regimes that dispatch terror from thousands of kilometers away, Israel has the right to do the same to a terror regime that dispatches terror from a distance of only a few meters from the centers of its cities.

With this in the backdrop, it is obvious that the negotiations being conducted by the foreign minister, with the consent of the prime minister, to establish a Palestinian state headed by Arafat, is a grievous error. Such negotiations send a message to the Palestinians that not only is there no price for terror, but rather they are ensured a great prize - a sovereign bastion of terror in the heart of the country. Not only are we not removing Arafat, we are giving him, in our consent to the idea of a "state," all the sovereign authorities of a state (such as control of the borders and control of air space) that are implicit in this term and which give it the power to destroy Israel.

After eliminating the terror organizations and replacing the Palestinian leadership with a leadership that gives up the right of return and the other components of annihilation, a future agreement may be possible in which the Palestinians are given authorities for self-rule, but without those authorities and powers that have the potential to threaten our existence.

This article ran in Maariv on December 28, 2001

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Israel Communist Party: Legitimate to Attack IDF troops
Aryeh Bender
Senior Knesset Correspondent, Maariv

A tempest erupted in the Knesset in the wake of a bill introduced by the Hadash faction, saying that the armed struggle by Palestinians against IDF soldiers in the territories should be considered legitimate action and not terrorist activity

The bill, which was introduced in the Knesset yesterday, was initiated by MK Issam Mahoul. It was also signed by faction members Tamar Gozansky and Mohammed Barakeh. According to the bill, the Law to Prevent Terror will be changed so that a "terrorist" is defined only as someone who carries out acts of violence that target civilians, or threatens to use arms for mass annihilation. In contrast to this, Hadash faction members propose that actions against the Israeli occupation, i.e., against IDF soldiers, be recognized as legitimate and not as acts of terror.

MK Tamar Gozansky explained last night that the UN Convention as well as a series of international conventions, recognize the right of nations to fight against occupation, and that a struggle against armies of occupation is considered a national struggle for rights. She said that Palestinian resistance against occupation should also be recognized as legitimate activity, just like that of the Jewish underground during the period of the British mandate, and that a distinction should be drawn between that and attacking civilians. "Every time the IDF plants bombs, shoots and bombards, they say it is a military action. But when the Palestinians fight against the Israeli occupation army, they say it's terror. We have to define exactly what terror is."

Communications Minister Ruby Rivlin (Likud) responded: "The Hadash faction has crossed the line. It is accusing Israel and the IDF of terrorist actions against the Palestinians."

MK Uri Ariel (National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu): "Tamar Gozansky and her friends are actually proposing that IDF soldiers be attacked and murdered. They don't belong in the Knesset. Shocking is an understatement in the light of such abandon. There is a deep moral perverseness here."

This article ran in Maariv on December 31, 2001

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Hadash MK Issam Makhoul: Palestinians Can Kill Armed Settlers
Dr. Aaron Lerner

Background: The Following is the precise text of "Proposed Law 4794B"

Presented by Hadash Mk Issam Makhoul, Mohammad Barakeh and Tamar Gozansky presented to the Knesset on 31/12/2001:

Proposed Law to Amend the Order for Preventing Terror (Struggle Against Occupation, 2001

Amendment to Paragraph 1: 1. In the Order for Preventing Terror 1948, at the end of the definition of "terror organization" will come:

Excepting a group of people who struggle against the occupation that do not carry out one of the following:

(1) Acts of violence that may cause the death or wounding of a person directed towards someone who is not among the security forces'

(2) Threatening the use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA interviewed Hadash MK Issam Makhoul, in Hebrew:

IMRA: I had a question about your proposed law. I see in the text the line "someone who is not among the security forces". What is the status of settlers in this law? Are they considered as being among the security forces?

Makhoul: These are things that should be clarified more when we make preparations in committee for the first and second reading. The proposed law does not say that there should or should not be opposition to the occupation, and things that are a part of the occupation such as the opening of a bypass road, confiscation of land, settlements. The proposed law addresses the question as to whether opposition to the occupation is terror.

From that standpoint it is not terror.

IMRA: There is a subparagraph and I will read it to you: "Acts of violence that may cause the death or wounding of a person directed towards someone who is not among the security forces". Are settlers considered as a group that is "among the security forces"?

Makhoul: Armed settlers who carry out hostile acts - yes.

IMRA: A settler who drives in his car and carries a weapon.

Makhoul: What can I tell you. I will be more concrete: from my standpoint blowing up a bus in Haifa or Jerusalem or blowing up the Sbarro restaurant is considered terror and the action at Alei Sinai was an act of war within occupied territory that was not terror.

IMRA: I am relating to what is written here. Subparagraph 1. According to the text you proposed are settlers considered "among the security forces"? A settler how caries a weapon in his car is considered "among the security forces"?

Makhoul: Look, armed people are part of the occupation forces.

The basic matter in this proposed law that should be taken into account is that there is considerable hypocrisy in the reaction to it after the proposed law by Yisrael Katz that a party list that supports a terror organization cannot run for the Knesset. We are, after all, trying to have the law be in accordance with international law. Everyone is going wild on this.

IMRA: A bus of settler children . . .

Makhoul: Look, for me this is something that is unforgivable. But I am talking about people who are carrying out activities that are part of the occupation.

IMRA: Are you aware of any Palestinian group that would qualify via this amendment for removal from the terrorist classification? The moment you say that an action against children who are settlers is an act of terror . . .

Makhoul: It is not part of the rules of the game.

IMRA: Then is there any Palestinian organization that would qualify to be removed from the terrorist classification?

Makhoul: Of course. Almost all the elements of the PLO that first of all are for peace and the struggle for the end of the occupation. As long as their activities are within this framework then it is not to be considered terror. It may be considered an act of violence and it could be considered something not to be done but it is not an act of terror.

IMRA: I get it. Someone who wipes out a bus of children would be engaged in something considered an act of violence but not an act of terror.

Makhoul: No a bus of children is an act of terror.

IMRA: So you are not thinking of Fatah Tanzim but some other group inside Fatah? I am trying to think of the subgroups of Fatah, which subgroup would have that description?

Makhoul: I think that Tanzim. Tanzim doesn't advocate it and do not do it. Ben Elizer and Mofaz can claim what they want all day but in practice they attack soldiers in the struggle . . .

IMRA: Only soldiers?

Makhoul: Soldiers.

IMRA: When I saw subparagraph (1) "Acts of violence that may cause the death or wounding of a person" does this mean that someone who throws a rock or a firebomb at a car that may cause death or injury would be engaged in terror?

Makhoul: But that is not an act of terror. It is an act of violence, rebellion. It cannot be compared to terror.

IMRA: I get it. Throwing rocks and firebombs in order to kill someone is not an act of terror.

Makhoul: It is a popular act. Around the world you see it - blocking roads, burning tires . . .

IMRA: And throwing rocks and fire bombs?

Makhoul: It is not terror. The strong claim that rock throwing is an act of terror.

IMRA: Was Arafat's letter of September 1993 in which Arafat promised not to use violence but instead to negotiate a forfeiting of what you see as an international right to use force to liberate the occupied territories.

Makhoul: It is not naive to make such a claim. This was a promise made within peacemaking - not to continue the occupation.

IMRA: So it was conditional.

Makhoul: I am not saying that. When you continue the war against the Palestinians you cannot expect this to be honored.

IMRA: You are saying that the Israelis started it?

Makhoul: That's not the point. I am saying who decided that Oslo is dead? Arafat gave this promise within that framework.

IMRA: The Fatah declaration that the Intifada should continue along with the negotiations is just rhetoric.

Makhoul: No. I think that if the Israelis with the help of President Clinton tried to impose a final agreement that was not just on the Palestinian People - that left some occupied Palestinian land under occupation - that should be freed according to UN decisions, and left other issues unresolved, then this is not acceptable.

IMRA: I do not want to take you time. Am I to understand from what you are saying that Arafat's commitment in the letter only applies if all the demands of the Palestinians are met?

Makhoul: All the commitments of the US and the international community.

IMRA: Let's put it this way: as long as Israel does not offer complete withdrawal to the 1967 line and the removal of the settlements in the final agreement then Arafat has the right to go out of his promise not to use violence.

Makhoul: That is my position - that the withdrawal must be to the 1967 lines. As long as the Israeli government continues with the position that they seek a military rather than diplomatic resolution of the conflict then Arafat's commitment does not hold.

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Reacting To Israel Communist Party Endorsement of Murder
David Bedein

This is the first stage of civil war in Israel

The Israel Communist Party has endorsed the murder of Jews who live beyond the 1949 armistice lines in Israel.

Such an endorsement cannot be dismissed as a rogue message from an insignificant political body.

The Israeli commmunist party represents the leading vote-getter in the Arab Israeli community, which represents almost 20% of the Israeli population.

The Israeli communists meet regularly with the PLO and endorse the PLO uprising now in process.

It would seem that there are a few options to respond to this newly announced policy of the Israel Communist Party:

  1. Engage services of a lawyer for a class action suit to close down the Israeli communist party

  2. Form a watch group to monitor everything that this group does, especially beyond the "green line".

  3. Initiate legal action to stop the Israel Communist Party and its affiliate, Gush Shalom, from getting support from around the world.

  4. Establish an intelligence task force to gather informtaion on the Israel Communisty Party's actions, in Israel and abroad.

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