Israel Resource Review 10th July, 2005


Americans Say Never Again
Gary Fitleberg

Never Again to indifference.

Never Again to silence.

Never Again to deportation.

Dear Friend of Israel:

The Sharon Government plans to deport close to 10,000 Jews from Gush Katif and Northern Shomron later this summer. Jewish lives are at risk both there as well as in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and other major population centers.

Even PM Sharon's own newly appointed head of the Shin Bet Yuval Diskin paints a bleak picture of Israel's security situation after the expulsion.

According to Diskin, "Northern Samaria and Gaza without the IDF means terror and the firing of missiles at Israeli targets all over the Land. It would leave the IDF without an effective method of fighting terror."

Our brothers and sisters in Israel have pleaded for us to do something to prevent this crime against humanity and violation of G-d's commandment to the Jewish people. They are counting on us. We will not let them down.

We must raise our voices. We must write to our President and Congress. We must educate them with facts, reality and truth. We must write to members of the media. We must join and organize against the disgraceful, dishonest, disastrous so-called "disengagement" plan which should be renamed the "destruction" plan.

One can call. One can email. One can donate funds to the cause. One can write.

Gaza belongs to the Jewish people, biblically, historically, legally, morally, and righttfully.

The same Sharon who supported the so-called "settlers" and "settlements" has now gone sour in his support of his Jewish brethren.

In late 2003 Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided that it would be in Israel's best interest to unilaterally "disengage" from Gush Katif and four communities in Northern Samaria by expelling the Jews living in those communities. By making what he considered a bold political move, Sharon thought he could win over the Israeli public, catch the Palestinians off guard and reap long-term public relations benefits that would silence the international community's unremitting critique of Israel and Israeli policy.

Sharon was wrong.

In hoisting the disengagement plan upon Israel, Ariel Sharon unfairly betrayed voters who overwhelmingly rejected Labor's disengagement platform in the January 2003 elections and brought Sharon and the Likud to power in the biggest landslide in Israeli electoral history. As the article excerpt above clearly illustrates, Prime Minister Sharon grossly misjudged the reaction of the Palestinians and the international community to the plan and his expected public relations bonanza will never materialize. In fact, the opposite is true - disengagement will foster additional pressure and criticism because the world already expects Israel to follow up disengagement with more unilateral withdrawals.

Perhaps Sharon's misjudgments should not come as a surprise, for the plan underwent a "rigorous" one-man analysis as Sharon shockingly divulged in a conversation with New York Times columnist William Safire on April 16, 2004:

"Back in November [2003], so many plans were around," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told me yesterday just before heading back to Israel, "from the Saudis, from Geneva, from the Arab League, and I saw we could not resist those pressures without a plan of our own . . . . I discussed this between me and myself and came up with a new initiative."

Thus, by his own admission, disengagement is the direct result of a "discussion" which excluded all other voices and Sharon's inability to withstand the pressure created by "peace plans" other than the "Roadmap" that had been universally adopted just six months earlier.

Although demonized by the media and vociferous supporters of Sharon's plan, the Israelis living in Gush Katif and Northern Samaria are like any other ordinary Israelis: Zionist in nature, proud to serve in the IDF and loyal to their country. Many residents of these communities are religious, but a sizable number are secular. Above all, these people are Israelis and simply want to continue living their lives as they have for decades in the place they love most: home.

What have any of these proud Israelis done to warrant their expulsion and in many cases the destruction of their livelihoods? They have faithfully carried out the vision of successive Israeli governments who set out to populate these areas for national, historic, moral and security reasons. They have volunteered to live on Israel's frontiers, braving thousands of mortar and missile attacks perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists. Now, against all logic, Sharon intends to reverse the national, communal and commercial progress made by Israeli governments and these brave pioneers over the past 38 years. Sharon's plan will only benefit the Palestinian terrorists who will inherit the homes of their victims who will be forced to seek refuge elsewhere.

Disengagement's impact on Israeli security is one of the most disconcerting issues associated with the plan. The terror war from which Israel is emerging is widely believed to have been encouraged by Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in June 2000 under premier Ehud Barak. Nearly five years and thousands of Israeli casualties later, Israel has painstakingly re-established an element of deterrence and weathered a crushing blow to its economy.

Exactly at the moment when Israel could reap the benefits of its victory and focus the international community on Palestinian terror and corruption, Sharon introduced disengagement. Although proponents of disengagement claim that the plan will somehow provide "the most efficiently security line possible" between Palestinians and Israelis, it is readily evident that it leaves Israel vastly more vulnerable to external threats as well as internally divided and traumatized than even Barak's poorly executed Lebanon withdrawal. The perception of Israeli weakness is not lost on Palestinian terrorist organizations. No matter how Sharon's spin doctors try to re-position disengagement and regardless of statements that Israel will never leave Jerusalem or other areas, terror groups understand one dangerous truth that paves the way to future bloodshed: TERRORISM PAYS.

Moshe Ya'alon, Israel's outgoing chief of staff and architect of the victory over Palestinian terror summed up disengagement's major security weaknesses in June 2005 stating:

"If Israel doesn't follow up the disengagement with more 'action' [unilateral withdrawals], there will be another outburst of violence. Terrorism will return in all its forms - shooting attacks, car bombs, suicide attacks, mortars, and Kassam rockets . . . Tel Aviv will be [under rocket fire] like Sderot."

Another troubling security issue is arms smuggling over the porous Egyptian-Gaza border. Astoundingly, Sharon expects the ill-equipped Egyptian army to prevent the digging of smuggling tunnels and the trafficking of advance weaponry into Palestinian-controlled areas along the Philadelphi Corridor. Such pro-active patrolling has proven a monumental challenge even for the technology-laden Israeli Defense Forces who have an obvious motivation in preventing arms from reaching Palestinian terrorists. Relying upon a foreign army to patrol a vital and volatile border region is irresponsible and a recipe for disaster.

Americans must loudly say Never ever again!!!

Gary Fitleberg is a Political Analyst specializing in International Relations with emphasis on Middle East affairs. His articles have appeared internationally in numerous publications including La Prensa (Managua, Nicaragua equivalent to the L.A. Times), Pakistan Today, The Kashmir Telegraph, The Iranian and many more.

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Sharon willing to forgo crucial peace treaty principles for disengagement
MK Arieh Eldad

"Mazuz snubs Knesset
by Ilan Marciano

There is no need to first get Knesset approval to change the terms of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty of 1979 in order to allow for an Egyptian force to patrol the Philadelphi route on the Egypt-Gaza border, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz said Thursday" - Yediot Ahronot, July 9th, 2005

When Israel withdrew from Sinai and transferred the peninsula to Egyptian control, we relinquished an area three times the size of modern day Israel.

Israel also handed over oil wells, uranium and coal deposits, beautiful tourist attractions; thriving settlements were uprooted. Some of those who were evacuated from the Sinai settlement of Yamit are currently slated for evacuation from Gush Katif.

If Israel gained anything in the peace treaty with Egypt, it was the demilitarization of east Sinai. Then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who was willing to give up everything and even recognize - for the first time - the Palestinians' right to "autonomy," insisted on the demilitarization principle.

Since then the Egyptians have done everything in their power to take full control over Sinai, and today, just so he may destroy more Jewish settlements in Gush Katif and withdraw from the Philadelphi Route, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is willing to let them realize their ambitions.

Initially Sharon was willing to permit the Egyptians to station one commando support unit in the area, but later he authorized the deployment of another 5,000 Egyptian troops, equipped with armored vehicles, helicopters and anti-tank missiles, not only along the Philadelphi Route but also along the entire Israeli-Egyptian border.

And all this for what? So they would replace the Egyptian police officers that are stationed along the border in accordance with the peace treaty.

IDF Intelligence Chief Aharon Zeevi-Farkash told the Knesset there has been no weapons-smuggling from Egypt to Gaza during the past two months; meaning: The Egyptian police officers are capable of thwarting smuggling attempts.

However, Sharon is willing to amend the peace treaty's basic clauses, forgo the demilitarization principle and create a Palestinian-Egyptian border that will not be subject to any restrictions or guidelines emanating from the agreement with Israel.

'Political considerations at play'

From now on the Egyptians will be able to transfer weapons to Gaza without having to smuggling them through tunnels. Sharon is doing all this so he may disengage from Gaza in peace.

But the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee was not willing to accept Sharon's ploy. It was clear to its members that his moves constitute a basic change in the peace treaty with Egypt.

According to legal experts who had appeared before the committee, only the Knesset, which approved the peace treaty with Egypt, may authorize any amendments to it. Sharon will probably present other legal experts who will claim that he is right and the Knesset is at fault.

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz said the deployment of Egyptian troops along the border does not constitute an essential change in the peace treaty, but even one prominent legal expert does not back his notion.

When Mazuz said at the time that Sharon should not be tried for his role in the Greek Island scandal, he did this against the opinion of then-State Prosecutor and current High Court Judge Edna Arbel. To this day Mazuz is having trouble proving his decision was devoid of political considerations.

When expert civil servants are willing to sacrifice their professionalism and distort their judgment to support their political views, they are not worthy of the public's trust.

This article ran in Yediot Ahronot on July 10th, 2005

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And Who Funded the Memorial Book for Shahids?
None Other Than the Israel Ministry of Education
Tamar Trabelsi-Hadad

"This book is dedicated to the memory of the families of the holy shahids"

One might have expected such a dedication to appear in a book published by Islamic Jihad or Hamas. But surprisingly, this book was distributed in courses held by the Israeli Ministry of Education.

The Ministry of Education conducts, via an outside company, first aid courses for Arab and Druze teachers. These teachers are supposed to be part of the first-aid squads in the schools where they teach. During one of the courses, a first-aid textbook written in Arabic contained the following sentence: "This book is dedicated to the families of the holy shahids of El-Aksa, beloved to us for their pure souls."

One of the teachers who received the textbook is a bereaved Druze father whose son was killed during his army service. The teacher was shocked to read the dedication in memory of the shahids and submitted a complaint to the Ministry of Education. "I was astounded to receive such a textbook as part of a first-aid course for teachers held by the Ministry of Education," the teacher complained. "As a bereaved father, this hurt my feelings a great deal. I do not understand how the Ministry of Education allowed something like this to happen."

He claimed that the Ministry of Education asked him not to contact the media and promised to get back to him, but when he received no answer he feared that the subject was not being dealt with, and therefore decided to contact Yediot Ahronot.

The Ministry of Education said in response that an outside company conducts the courses and that its textbooks received the ministry's approval, but in the case of this controversial book, it is a first-aid text produced by this company and not brought to the ministry for approval. The Ministry of Education claimed that the book was distributed as a private initiative of one of the course instructors. "The matter will be given to the Ministry of Education's legal department in order to examine this grave matter profoundly," the response said.

This piece ran in Yediot Aharonot on July 10th, 2005

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